It’s the hot new thing this year, direct from Europe or so they say. Genetically engineered microbes, smuggled over as nigh-undetectable spores. Activate them with nutrient agar, and strap in.

Nobody’s sure how they work. Hell, it’s not like they’re chemistry majors out there. Some say the bugs make hallucinogens as by-products like botulism makes Botox. Others say the bugs infect the part of your brain that keeps your consciousness grounded and unaltered (a pretty small par in some people, admittedly). One crackpot in Boston has even been heard saying that the critters rot out and replace a small but key part of the brain like a tongue-eating louse replacing a snapper’s tongue.

But regardless of how it works, everyone’s pretty sure it does work. The period of time you go under varies–a few minutes, a few hours–but in that time you’re enraptured in the most realistic psychedelic paradise dream this side of the Matrix. If it weren’t for inconveniences like needing to eat and drink, having to post trustworthy guards (or junkies taking their turn) over the sleepers, or the delay of 2-12 hours before the stuff kicks in after you dose it, most people would probably never willingly snap out of it.