taking science to the next step
This post, by the way, is in honor of it being student nurses week and the fact that today (when you see it, Not when I wrote it.) is my student nurses convention day.
I was learning recently in one of my classes about the nerve sends messages through the body through action potentials. We got to the part where the action potential gets to the synapse (which is like a gap between two axons (nerve parts)). What basically happens there is the action potentials eventually open up these calcium channels that cause these special chemicals (neurotransmitters) to go across the gap. Once there, they attach to the other nerve axon, and start sending a pre-action potential (graded potential) through the nerves.
The problem with this is that if the neurotransmitter isn’t removed, it’ll keep sending the message about the stimuli constantly to the brain as soon as it can. So it needs a way to be removed and there’s a couple. If you care, they either use an enzyme to break it down, another cell picks it up, or it just drifts away after it sends the message.
NOw that you’ve had your pre-science lesson, the real lesson. Nerve gas causes these neurotransmitters to stay on the axon, and constantly send the message. When they are constantly sending the message, the muscles in the whole body contract. (Yes, this is very painful.) It also paralyses the diaphragm, which means that the person can’t breath.
This might be really morbid, but considering that most writers have to be part crazy already, it’s not too surprising. By taking a basic scientific structure, like the neurotransmitters being stuck to the axon continuously instead of leaving, we have a weapon. If we are to taken something else that should be maintained by the body’s general checks and balances, and throw that out of whack too, then what kind of chaos can we cause for our characters? What kind of chaos can we cause as an evil overlord?
So, two more thoughts that I’ve learned from nursing. (Maybe I’ll get more too eventually.)
IF you need to confuse an elderly character for whatever reason, but don’t want it to be too out of character, give them a bladder infection. Sometimes the only sign that an elderly person has a bladder infection is confusion. (You could also make them dehydrated, because that occurs easily in the elderly.)
If you want to have a tough group of characters, like special mercenaries, you can give them a stomach tube. The idea being that a doctor would basically create an artificial hole from the inside to the outside of the stomach wall. Some of the protections they have for this will allow someone to go into water and everything, without making it obvious. Then, say they are doing something that they can’t eat, but they really probably should be eating, they just stop, pull out a syringe filled with nutrients and such, and inject it into the little tube that leads to their stomach. TAda! This could be classified under the same idea as Jack Bauer goes to the bathroom during the commercial breaks.