Post by veritasseeker90 on Feb 22, 2009 21:41:27 GMT -5
Yes, another question, but for a different book. I give you permission to gag...my fingers, as you can't gag my mouth. That'll shut me up-- er...you know what I mean.
In the story, there is one character who gets, what I call "turned". Not in the sense of vampirism or anything, but that something happens that changes his loyalties against his will.
I was thinking that I would have to have explain this scientifically, and guess what hit me? The common cold.
It's constantly mutating (unless, of course, I'm thinking of another disease, which is more than possible ) so I was wondering if scientists could take it, manipulate it until it could attack the brain, possibly shifting one's loyalties and/or moral capacities? But then again, we don't know if any one part of the brain controls these functions.
Is there any scientific bearing in this? Or is this not even feasible enough to try and convince readers of?
If you spot anymore problems, that I did not, feel free to point them out. ;D
"This time I'm saying no. This world will know what I believe in. I've lost enough to know that this life's too short to waste." [br][br][br]--Barlow Girl
Some sort of suppressive virus might work, if it targeting specific areas of the brain that generally react more when moral decisions are being made it could theoretically shift allegiances or morals, but of course it wouldn't be perfect, and could hypothetically be beaten by antibodies or suppressed itself with medicine. It could work, if you wanted to convince the reader it would come across more as a scientific attempt to create the perfect citizen, unquestioning and oppressed, using the common cold, which is spread very easily. Of course, a virus such as the cold may always be mutating, but it is extremely weak in itself, and easily beaten by the immune system. A viral-bacterial infection might be better suited, or perhaps even a drug, a nerve agent, or stimulant or inhibitor.
I thought it was influenza that did all the dodgy mutating: bird flu, swine flu, asian flu, etc.
As for the cold, it is most assuredly not beaten by the human immune system. It has a built in timer. If it did not switch off after about 10 days to 2 weeks the common cold would be universally lethal. By the time the human immune system is even aware of the cold bug it is already at a 100 to 1 or more advantage over the immune system, and by the time it switches off that advantage is even greater. Unchecked, the commonist of cold viruses would completely overwhelm even the strongest of immune systems.
Also, if I am not mistaken doesn't the latest itteration/remake of the BodySnatchers with Nicole Kiddman make use of an alien behavior modifying virus?
Maybe what you want are designer prions (mad cow disease/scrappie) that target certain brain centers that control things like rage/impulse control.
Or maybe what you want is a gen-en virius that mimics the psychotropic properties of certian plants. There is a plant pollen used by shamans and more recently theives in nations around the Amazon. The inhaling of this pollen puts a person in a highly suggestible state very quickly for about 4 days. Thieves use it to get unwitting tourists to empty their atm accounts. The victems awake in a strange place in a few days with little or no memory of what had happened, though they quickly discover they have been robbed and their bank accounts deeply compromised.
If a virus could be engineered to churn out the specific psychotoxin in this plant (which is in the solenacae group, I believe from a small tree in the Datura family)...maybe...using the cold virus that has a built in timer. Give a person this type of cold...and soon enough they will do what you tell them for a few days. And afterwards...it would just be the worst cold they never remembered having.
Last Edit: Feb 23, 2009 12:41:49 GMT -5 by seraphim
I did a story like that before, a chemical neurosuppressant, and it was vital to the story because my main character and his military team were trying to find a cure, I introduced it with a lab tour by a prominent geneticist and biophysicist to a military "brass" tour, he can talk a lot and show you what it's about, then the brass revealed their intentions, taking the facility and stealing the drug. I used a friend's knowledge in biomedicine to help me out with that one.
It's been done many ways, many times before, so it's clear that it does work for the purpose of story, and that you don't have to explain it scientifically. The Matrix. Equilibrium. Dollhouse. was it Ultra Violet? As has been mentioned, the Body Snatchers.
More realistically, introducing disease would be just one method that could be used for interrogation or brainwashing, or both. "You're having a hard time breathing, aren't you? All your muscles ache, and you just wish you could pass out, right? Well you can, and then we can administer the anti-dote, but only if you tell us what we want to know. Otherwise it'll just get worse and worse. Your body can withstand this kind of . . .discomfort for, say, another month. Is that what you want?" Meanwhile, their immune system is broken down. They can't hardly think, for the pain, much less maintain good judgement and a strong will. You make friends with them by administering just enough drugs to bring relief to the symptoms, while depriving them of nutritious food, water, contact from anyone but yourself, daylight, anything that would help them tell the time. After a couple of weeks of this treatment, if it takes them that long, you'll be able to lead them around on a string and make them do whatever you want, in return for whatever will make them feel better, bring regularity to their lives, human contact, etc.
Or you could just use sensory deprivation. Or get them hooked on powerful narcotics. Or combine all of the above with just a little bit of pain. Just enough so they need the narcotics to deaden the pain, and to avoid withdrawl, and they'll do anything to get it.
Once they accept what you're offering, they owe you, and they know it. They are guilty of treason, ashamed, and you make sure they're afraid to go back to their former boss(es). They have no choice but to give you what you want. And the more they give you, the more you control them, because you keep records of what they tell you and do for you, and you'll hand those records over to their former boss(es) the moment you think they might turn against you.
On top of all of that, you learn what's most valuable and important to them. Not just what they say on the surface, but what would they die for. Is it they're family. You show them current video of their family including something that reveals the current date, so they know you have their family under surveilance at the present time. "Yes, we have your family, but they're safe, just as longa as you do everything we say, to the letter. Show one sign of doubt in us, one indication that you might turn on us, and we'll give a finger, or an ear, or some part of one of your family members. Do what we tell you, and they'll be fine, just as you see them there."
Or, instead of presenting them with the negative consequences that will occur against whatever they care most about, you present them with the positive rewards that will be rendered to whatever they care most about, if they comply with your wishes. These things were done to turn people in espianage, all the time, as I understand it.
The method used by the people trying to turn the subject depends on the resources at their disposal, their personality, the rules, mores and values under which they opperate, and what you as the author decide you want them to do.
Some struggle through the desert because He said . . .[br][br]". . .If you would be my disciples, you must take up your cross daily and follow me"
Wouldn't there be some difficulty in controlling a designed virus once it left the laboratory? I would think that a virus manufactured by, for example, manipulated mutation would be capable of mutations unforeseen by its designers outside of the lab's controlled environment. It would also have to be strong enough so that any individual's genetic or metabolic make-up would not interfere with the virus' performance. Or would the designers accept, say, an 80% success rate with the remaining percentage suffering either a headache or a viral lobotomy?
I wonder about that because I remember the rumor surfacing in the late 70's/early 80's that the canine parvovirus that swept the dog world was a manufactured virus intended to control coyote populations; but the virus mutated so that it also infected domestic dogs. Some of the show people I knew at the time thought the speed that a vaccine came available was highly suspicious, even though that vaccine had to be given every few weeks rather than annually as it is now.
Whether the rumor had any veracity will probably never be known; but one thing remains as true now as it was then. There are still certain breeds that are highly susceptible to the virus even after receiving the complete early regimen of vaccinations. It's as though the vaccine builds immunity in them slower than it does in other breeds.
Back to the human question, would there be some people more susceptible to a mind virus? Some less susceptible? Would such a virus need to be specifically coded to a particular individual's DNA in order for it to work in the way the designer intends?
I think a similar problem might arise with a drug used for mind control. Individual metabolism and tolerance plays a role in how a medication is assimilated in the body. I can think of several examples of a medication working for one person, not working for another, and causing mild to severe side effects in a third. How might a mind control drug interact with something else the person is taking or how might it affect a person with some other illness or genetic disease?
Post by knightofhyn on Feb 27, 2009 16:34:21 GMT -5
Human beings have more varied immune systems, as well. My own kidney failure was caused by an overactive portion of my immune system, so my body attacked itself. Other conditions exist that are the same way.
You might even have what was a handicap or a thorn become a boon. Even a character (main or lesser) who found himself glad for such a condition, despite the problems that it brought, as it made him able to function where others could not.
Post by knightofhyn on Mar 2, 2009 17:06:43 GMT -5
I was less talking about long term and more thinking about a person in the story. Your hero could be the underdog in all other things. I know dialysis had me laid on my back a lot of the time. Only the grace of God kept me working full time through it all, but a lot of things suffered during that time.