Author: Jinxyy PM
When all adults over the age of 20 mysteriously begin to express extreme violence towards all minors, those surviving must ban together to best protect each other. But what if one amongst them begins to feel himself slipping into the same aggressive instincts that the adults around them are showing?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Suspense - Chapters: 40 - Words: 130,315 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 04-29-13 - Published: 01-25-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3095255
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The end of the world as its inhabitants understood it to be was twenty years in the making, but its spiral into its own destruction occurred in a few moments of carelessness.
For the past twenty years, Lindsay Inc. had been the leading authority on research on human behavior and anatomy, with a specific and controversial field of research focused on studying, influencing, and ultimately changing the workings of the human brain. Its prestige was well-known, its studies published yearly, its most prominent successes used to provoke funding for charities of many types. But within its walls, research was conducted of a more intensive and experimental nature, research which had tremendous potential to cause more damage than it could possibly repair, if rendered a success. This, of course, was kept well out of the public eye and knowledge, and so when the day came of its accidental unleashing, very few could have possibly understood what had happened, and absolutely no one could have been prepared.
For several years Lindsay Inc. had been studying the brains of adults convicted of violence, particularly assault and murder, towards children. Those adults who had volunteered themselves to study received delays of their executions, and sometimes even pardons, in return for their cooperation with very experimental and potentially life-threatening research. Their DNA, as well as small pieces of their brains, was studied thoroughly, until a conclusion was made that it was not just the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls decision-making, impulsivity or lack thereof, or the amygdala, which controlled emotions such as fear, anger, and arousal, that contributed to violence towards people, or children in particular, as was originally thought. Rather, it was discovered, through studies particularly of mothers and fathers whom killed their children, that adults carry a neurotransmitter in their brains by the name of arginine-vasopression, or AVP. The release of AVP in adult brains regulated maternal and paternal aggression, particularly towards offspring and children. Its intention, from what their research could determine, was to insure the survival of youth.
If blocked off properly, as was intended by the brain's receptors designated to "match" with the AVP, or if never developed or released at all, then adults would remain rational and loving towards their children and others' children. If the release of the AVP in an adult's brain, particularly a parent's, was too rapid, then extreme aggression and a lack of bonding towards children, even and perhaps especially their own children, was discovered to occur, particularly if the bond between parent and child was already strained, detached, or showed other signs of serious fractures. Further studies showed that a development of a fake, or synthetic AVP, when released into the adult subjects' brains via surgery or injection, would result in increased adrenaline, emotion, lack of emotional or impulse control, and above all, a greatly heightened aggression and desire to commit violence against children rather than to nurture them. Serotonin, or the chemical in brains which helps to promote levels of good feelings and well-being, was destroyed by the additional AVP, which only accelerated violent impulses.
It was a puzzle, at first, as to why similar studies, when performed on juveniles, even those who had committed violent crime, were not replicated, until the mystery of the AVP neurotransmitter and the non-adult brain clicked into place. Children below the age of eighteen, and sometimes even young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 as well, had not yet developed the AVP or else had not yet integrated it fully into their system. Attempts to inject the children with the synthetic AVP were ineffective, for what seemed to be the incomplete, still-forming nature of a child's brain. Whereas adult brains had developed a fully formed prefrontal cortex and AVP neurotransmitters and receptors, and could not handle the additional AVP added or to have their original AVP tampered with in any way, resulting in permanent neural damage, children's brains were still resilient and able to work around and past the additions, as they had not yet "set in stone" their own neural pathways or developed in full their own AVP. Extra synapses in the young brains, not yet interconnected with a fully formed prefrontal cortex, seemed to block the AVP from completely taking over the neural circuits. Myelin, a coating on nerve cells, also seemed to have something to do with the difference; young brains had developed less myelin, which brought signals to the various parts of the brain more slowly, and it seemed that the synthetic AVP was simply given too many obstacles and too slow of a pathway to reach the vital parts of the brain to change the children's behavior in the same way it would that of an adult.
More research was planned to determine whether, once exposed to the synthetic AVP, the children's brains would hang onto it and be affected as their brains continued to develop, or whether it would continue to not affect them. But this was never to have an opportunity to occur.
In the course of this research, a chemical was created with the synthetic AVP which, if placed within the framework of bombs, would be able to be released along with the bomb into the air, spreading like an airborne virus to affect all adults in the area, and to continue to pass on from adult to adult. The theory was that, by creating such a bomb, any enemies of the United States could be defeated by forcing them in essence to kill their own youth, denying them a future in their own country or new replaceable foes in their side of the war. Although the chemical was not approved to be used, it remained in existence.
The protest arson of the Lindsay Inc. building could not have been predicted to occur…nor the results when those chemicals, in the course of the destruction, were released into the air.
Within minutes, the workers still escaping, the firemen and police officers coming to assess the scene had breathed in residue of the AVP traces, and already, outside of their own perceptions, a change was occurring. With each exhalation they continued to spread their own taint into the air, with each interaction, as each returned home that evening to their own families…and by afternoon the next day, nearly every person over the age of twenty within a twenty mile radius was affected, and the effects continued to spread steadily.
The end of the world as all had known it was slow in developing, but took little time at all to settle in full.