June 25th, 2013

scotty, spawkward

Commanding officer ordering leave for medical reasons?

Hello! I have a question for a fic set in the Mass Effect universe (space marines, ~200 years in the future, so assume significant medical advances at the very least). I don't know a lot about the military, so in a lot of ways, I'm in over my head regarding many things I want to write and how exactly to make them work.

My MC (a woman in her mid-twenties) recently witnessed a traumatic event and has developed PTSD. She has been covering up the full extent of the trauma and resisting getting treatment, entirely because of stubbornness, convinces herself that she's fine, et cetera. Some time after she returns to active duty, she ends up in a triggering situation (non-combat, but still in a situation where she's taking orders--I'm currently thinking drills or some sort of ground exercise) and has a panic attack bad enough that she freezes up and can't keep going. Her CO realizes what's going on pretty quickly, knowing her history, and orders her out of the exercise and back to their vehicle.

The questions: Can (or would) her CO order her to take some form of medical leave, or order her to see a counselor/therapist/other applicable source of help (assume that decent help is available and is not a hardship to get to)? If so, is there any specific terminology, any specific order her CO would give? If her CO can't do this, is it appropriate for them to recommend in a more personal/private capacity that she get treatment?

I'm a bit at a loss as to search terms for this, but I've read the wikipedia article on Leave (U.S. military) and I've googled a few variations on "military leave", "medical leave", and "convalescent leave", which have turned up some information about how to get it and some dates/numbers, but not much with regard to the protocol for this situation.

Thank you in advance!
Mike may be beyond even my help.

Appeals process in New York state courts & proving miscarriage of justice

I've got a story set in present-day New York, in an alternate universe in which, instead of a massive prison system, the main mode of punishment in for most crimes in the US is to have your labor leased for a period of time to private, corporate, or governmental entities in what amounts to a modern-day, punitive slavery. (Significant because there's a lot of abuse in the system; in particular, while leased convicts are theoretically still allowed to avail themselves of legal services, there's no requirement that a leaseholder must provide them with any specific ways to get in contact with/initiate those services, like internet access, phones, or access to mail. So privaely-leased convicts can end up unable to take a lot of action for themselves.)

One of my characters has been forced into this system by a combination of planted evidence and a public defender who was paid off to flub the trial. She was sentenced in a state court, not a federal court, so that's the appeals process I'm looking at. My questions are:

1) Would she have to be involved in the process of filing an appeal – would her signature need to appear on a form, etc? Or would a third party be able to hire a lawyer to file an appeal on her behalf, without her input?

2) Regardless of what happens in the appeals process, someone in the FBI starts looking at the trial because one of their actual investigations has dovetailed into it. (It looks possible that this woman has been set up so that someone can purchase her lease so they can secure information on someone she once worked for who the FBI now has an active investigation on, but there's no hard evidence.)
a) Once there's suspicion that the public defender took a bribe/evidence was planted, who would look into it? Would the investigation be handed off to the NYPD, or stay with the FBI?
b) If the investigation revealed that the defender was paid off, what would happen? Would the trial have to be re-done?
c) If the investigation revealed that evidence was planted, what would happen? Would the trial have to be re-done?

Any insight here is appreciated. I'm already working with an alternate universe, so I can probably feel justified in making some stuff up, but I'd like to keep as much recognizable as I can. And I'm flailing in the dark on a lot of this – I can find a lot about how appeals work, generally, but I haven't had luck finding the specific information I'm looking for.

Researched: Variations on "how to file an appeal", "appeal filed on behalf of", "appeals process", "new york court appeals", "wrongful conviction", "miscarriage of justice", "investigation of bribery in court"; spent a lot of time pouring over legal resources on how appeals are conducted.

medications to induce ADHD in neurotypical people

I am working on a story set in a culture where ADHD is not a disorder, but the norm. People who don’t have it are impaired by their inability to multitask, their deficits in creative and lateral thinking, their difficulty noticing things that aren’t right in front of their faces, their obsession with schedules and routines, and so on. They may of course seek therapy for this condition, and that therapy may involve drugs. Obviously, I could just make something up, but it would be nice if I could refer to actual drugs that would induce ADHD symptoms in real-world-neurotypical people who are trying to get along in an environment designed for the convenience of people with ADHD.

(I don’t have ADHD, but I have relatives who do, and I have been trying to educate myself by reading various books and online resources, and by lurking on the ADHD subreddit.)

Possibilities I have considered include:

  • Alcohol — at least for social-lubricant purposes

  • LSD or related chemicals — I’ve seen claims that low doses of LSD enhance creativity

  • MDMA — makes people more talkative; “improved pattern recognition”, Wikipedia says

  • antipsychotics — affect the dopamine-seratonin balance, a part of brain chemistry that is also implicated in ADHD; I don’t see much related to attention in the description of antipsychotic drugs’ effects, but one side effect that caught my eye was “akathisia”, the inability to sit still

As you can probably tell from the above list, I am leaning towards some kind of LSD/MDMA combo, but I would appreciate input from people who learned psychopharmacology from something other than Wikipedia.