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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Delicate Balance.

I don't even know where to begin, or if I even should.

After 4 weeks of observing the Loki Variation outside of a host, I was invited to spend time at the lab of the other team, where the actual testing of the variations was taking place. I had braced myself for the hard part of testing, the use of animals. I wasn't ready for what I found.

I am trying to justify it in my mind, and I am not sure I can. This is my career choice, I fully stand behind what I am doing, and there are things that I will have to accept in order to continue. I just don't know if this is one of them.

But they are testing on chimpanzees. Not rats. Primates. I have never felt more like one of the extremist animal activists as I did when I saw them, all lined up in rows in a fluorescent-lit,stainless steel lab, some of them drugged or sedated, others...well, not.

I bit my tongue, though, and was able to actually be a part of the testing and observation for a while.

The Loki Variation is producing the same symptoms as what is normally called an adrenaline rush. The adrenal gland is stimulated, and releases the endorphins necessary to bring about what is known as the "fight or flight" response. This is what you experience when you have a moment of panic, and your body does things that prepare you for what you might have to do next to survive. It's the most basic of instincts that most living creatures experience.

Let's say you are walking down the street minding your own business, and suddenly you come face to face with a lion. Your adrenal gland is stimulated by the sight of the lion, and it goes into action. It releases chemicals that tell your body to do things, like make your heart beat faster to pump blood faster so that you are already ready to go if you need to run. It pushes a chemical into your muscles that make them stronger than normal, temporarily, in case you need to fight the lion. It dilates your eyes a bit so you can see more, especially in dark scenarios, and it sometimes even makes your body dispel extra weight to move faster, which is why some people urinate or defecate on themselves in times of terror. Your body is preparing for either fighting the lion or running away from it, and this all takes place in a matter of a few seconds, all controlled by a tiny gland.

The Loki Variation is not the first external cause of manipulating the adrenal gland. Several recreational drugs can do this, as well as putting yourself in a situation where your body's natural reaction is fight or flight, like skydiving or something. Ever heard of the term adrenaline junkie? That's why.

But, what the Loki Variation can do is turn that gland on, and have it produce the adrenaline rush for an extended period of time. That is where we are right now in testing. These chimpanzees exhibit the symptoms of an adrenaline rush, from the rapid heartbeat to the involuntary shaking of the pumped muscles, the dilated eyes to the higher pain tolerance and strength. Can you imagine being locked in an adrenaline rush for hours, days, weeks?

That's not even the most horrifying part.

Another apparent symptom of the manipulation of the adrenal gland is some kind of neurosis or psychosis, where they become violent and uncontrollable. It's like watching a horror movie. As soon as a tech enters the room, the entire place goes nuts; screaming, banging, some of them hurting themselves trying to get at the techs.

And so far, they don't know how to get rid of the Loki Variation, there is no off switch. Except death.

I don't know how long this blog will stay up. I am putting my job at an incredible risk to post this information, but it's a very delicate balance for me between marching forward with research that could help society, or reporting something I find indescribably cruel and pointless. I don't know which one this is yet.

I will post more as soon as I can.