Major and Minor Effects of Sopron (as Pertaining to Federation Operations in post-Andromedan Incursion Period)
By Prof. X. Travagant Lee Dispozed
The basic properties of the substance known as Sopron are common knowledge, but it has long been theorised that the material may exert a subtle influence over events in its immediate vicinity. A review of reports and documents – and certain eye-witness accounts – covering the attempted theft of the Kairopan harvest during Equinox of Kairos n/z04/02/1980 has revealed the following:
1. The effect of Sopron on previously ruthless and self-centred criminals (in particular those with leanings towards computer fraud) is to render them obsessed and almost completely oblivious to events around them—but not, it appears, to the possibility of guards hidden on a transport ship. They are, however, likely to forget which is the nearest planet. And the possibility there might be guards hidden in the Kairopan containers.
2. The effect on ruthless and self-centred autocrats is just as marked; on less than an hour’s acquaintance they will sign over the pride of their battle fleet to any artisan who waxes a bit poetic about naked backs and coerces them into osculation. Certain credible sources have referred to this as the ‘brain-went-into-her-panties’ effect, but the definitive establishment of the principle awaits the creation of a suitable control group of dictators.
3. Experienced practitioners of all sorts of combat will suddenly find themselves unable to: (a) stand upright after being pushed gently against another person’s head—both parties in this encounter being protected by helmets (b) look as if they have ever raised a fist or a foot in anger since they paddled in the Sarran seas. One suggested form of protection against this crippling syndrome is to wear a tunic open to the waist that appears to need a medallion to complete the look. This has been tagged 'The Abominable Showman’ effect.
4. Telepaths will become susceptible to the influence of anyone with anything resembling a plan, even if that plan is to completely ignore the life-and-death struggle of the ship that is their home to play with a rock. They will also fail to protest when manhandled by colleagues, and fail to intervene when colleagues are in danger of being throttled.
5. Retired Space Command officers will become so delusional that they believe working in construction on projects in deep space enables them to feel the Earth’s sun on their naked back. They may even suffer from the belief that they laugh with joy at being alive. They will also forget the name of any woman and be forced to refer to her as ‘woman’.
6. Senior Space Command Officers will suffer from melodrama. Unable to say ‘his name is’ for example, they will be forced to say ‘They call him…’
What Sopron does not do is reduce the tendency of terrorists and criminals to bicker entertainingly. It does not convey magical powers on the special effects teams of BBC viscasts. And, if I may be permitted to end on a personal note, it does not enable one to escape self-doubt. As I sit here gazing at my Sopron paperweight I am certain that it could have presented the results of my researches for more convincingly than I have done.
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Tim Pieraccini is a writer, artist, filmmaker and one-time stunt double for Jon Pertwee. Among his work are two short films he wrote, produced and directed: Hello and All Heart.