|This page contains information about the background story of Dead Frontier. Due to the chaos during the outbreak and the lack of confirmed information, the background story is a mixture of facts, theories and guesses which may change over time as more information appears.|
Nerotonin was supposed to be the most valuable weapon against one of humanity's greatest plagues, yet ironically ended up destroying the human race far more than anything else in history.
Technically, Nerotonin is a series of artificial nano-viruses engineered by the pharmaceutical company Secronom Inc. as a cure for cancer. Although the first commercial versions did not carry out on this task, they became common in modern medicine due to their extraordinary healing capability. Only after expanding into the ambitious goal of curing cancer did Nerotonin become the scourge most now know it as.
There are currently 5 known types of Nerotonin viruses:
Nerotonin Type 1
Not much is known about Nerotonin type 1, since neither the resulting virus nor information about it was publicly released. The project was most likely a total failure, leading to a project overhaul and various genetic modifications of the virus along with the subsequent name change to Nerotonin 2. It may have been a stronger version of Nerotonin 2, however, too strong that the pain the victim suffered was enough to kill.
Yet, most of the rumors of the outbreak, save the ones about the actual infected, are reserved for Nerotonin type 1. Some stray scientists have even told tales of this virus. Most suggest that the virus was actually intended for instant repair of a severed or damaged body, and that curing cancer was just a ploy so no one would question their work, or that along the lines of development the project showed potential to be moved in to cancer research. Reasons why the experiments on Nerotonin type 1 were disbanded remain unknown. A new rumor also states that this is what created the Behemoth, but this is still unknown.
Perhaps the most widely accepted rumor about Nerotonin type 1 is the Behemoth theory (as this theory adapted from the rumor of the Behemoth's birth via type 1). The basic idea is that Nerotonin type 1 exists in the all of the current zombie population, and it's predecessors, and that all mutations are caused by type one. In a rough way ; The Nerotonin that caused that outbreak (type 3-4) broke down over time in the zombie hosts and reverted back to Nerotonin type 1. Since Type 1 is said to radically change the hosts biological systems and structures in response to injuries, then it makes sense that it would do the same to zombies. Scientists think that the virus saw the lacerations and gun wounds in them, for example as injuries, but instead of closing the flesh, it fixed the flaw which allowed that particular injury (or other downfall, like shorter reach) by, for example reinforcing the skins strength by growing more layers under the old ones or covering the entire body under the skin with a exoskeleton. This can explain the ever mutating undead horde as well as the speed at which the undead regenerate and mutate.
Again, this is all speculation, but if survivors are to fix this mess, they have to start somewhere.
Nerotonin Type 2
Nerotonin-2 surpassed its predecessor as a practical medication and became an instant commercial success. Altering the metabolism of tissue, it fostered healthy growth at an extraordinary rate. Not simply muscle, or skin, but bone, internal organs, even nervous tissue. Previously handicapped persons showed signs of beginning to regain their original body functions in a fraction of the time needed for effort and cost intensive rehabilitation. Combat medics and emergency response teams now had a powerful tool to save lives in almost any situation.
After preliminary testing conducted by the governments of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan, along with extended debate in the international medical community, the mostly unproven compound was approved for manufacture, with the condition that the government would need to approve the individual purchases. It has been theorized that Nerotonin-2 was released publicly to make up for the staggering losses created by "failures" within the expensive Project Nerotonin, and that Secronom had made quite a gamble with their rushed product.
Despite relatively wide use, Nerotonin-2 was strictly made for use by professionals. It was never intended to be a fire and forget medication, and the consequences of overdosing were said to be dire, though officially, such instances were never reported. This was the main reason that each purchase had to be approved by the government. It has also been speculated that the careful regulation of Nerotonin may have been out of fear that such an all-inclusive substance would set the complex infrastructure of the international medical market off balance, rendering many fields obsolete and unneeded.
The exact reasons may never be known, but Secronom managed to keep their miracle in the hearts, if not the hands, of the general populace. It was produced in large enough numbers to last through the initial outbreak. Today, vials of the blue-green substance, or even the silver cases of an entire kit, are coveted items amongst survivors, and only the most skilled and trusted of physicians are ever allowed to administer them. The ingrained fear of their misuse has made standard bandages, sutures and stitches the preferred tools of the medical profession, although ironically, some of these said dressings were treated with Nerotonin-2 to heal local tissue.
It fulfilled various healing procedures far better than any other medication, but it failed to fulfill the initial goal - to eradicate cancer cells and prevent existing cells from turning into cancer tissue. In fact, the mechanism it operated off of was similar to an early tumor: growth of damaged tissue, albeit self-moderated by the Nerotonin compound.
The following is a function and explanation of N2:
(explanation for the scientist) " x-Aminobutyric acid (NATA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, where it exerts its effect through the ionotropic NATAA receptors and the metabotropic NATAB receptors. The NATABreceptors belong to the family C of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily. Two receptors, NATAB(1) and NATAB(2), have recently been cloned, and several splice variants of both receptors have been identified. NATAB(1) and NATAB(2) form heterodimers. Gene knockout studies have shown that NATAB(1) is a necessary part for virtually all central NATAB receptors. The majority of the NATABheterodimer complexes are either of a NATAB(1a,2)or a NATAB(1b,2) composition, and the two NATAB(1) splice variants differ in their expression pattern and their pre- and postsynaptic localization. The major part of this region shares a weak amino acid sequence similarity with a family of bacterial periplasmic binding proteins, as is the case for other family C receptors such as the metabotropic glutamate receptors and the calcium-sensing receptor."
(explanation for the common survivor) "Nerotonin-2 is a mixture of (aminomethyl)cyclohexaneacetic acid, a genetically-engineered synthetic virus, a nutrient serum, and another mysterious compound. Therefore N2 is a frequently administered anticonvulsant that has been shown to prevent partial seizures and generalized tonic-clonic seizures in epileptics. Furthermore, the compound has displayed promising results in animal models of various forms of pain, amyotrophic sclerosis, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
The nanovirus contained within the compound is specially engineered to target and destroy any cell or organic body that does not express the surface proteins commonly found on healthy cells in the human body, or which expresses non-native surface proteins (such as those expressed by a cell infected with a virus). This makes N2 a highly effective exterminator of pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungal infections, and even parasites within a human patient's body. The virus additionally has the capability to stimulate accelerated reparation of damaged tissue in a manner similar to that of prescription steroids, but with a much faster rate of cellular regeneration. N2 is also engineered to target and enzymatically break down organic foreign bodies, such as blood clots, cholesterol depositions, and cerebral amyloid plaques (which were considered to be the main cause of Alzheimer's in the pre-outbreak world). However, because the N2 virus was designed to use the basic human DNA sequence as a template for identifying malignant or unhealthy cells, it fails to identify tumors and other cancerous growths as pathogenic (as cancer is the result of minor mutations in the DNA)."
With its medical products selling across the globe, Secronom, gradually cut back the production of the "miracle medicine" Nerotonin-2. The next trick for Secronom would be synthesizing a compound that eliminates cancerous tissue and replaces it with healthy flesh.
Nerotonin Type 3
The objective of the Nerotonin type 3 development was to engineer a virus with the same groundbreaking healing properties as type 2, but with the added capability of eliminating unstable tissue. Cancerous tissues can only be eliminated by outright removal or chemotherapy. Either method placed heavy strain on the patient and was subject to fail entirely.
According to scavenged reports and interrogations with surviving Secronom personnel, the initial N-3 prototype virus was highly successful in destroying cancerous tissues - along with everything else. Apoptosis, or cellular suicide, is a process involved in normal growth. It allows organisms to form distinct body parts. This is regulated by the body throughout its entire life, and without a method of regulating N-3, mass cellular breakdown inevitably ensued.
The exact circumstances during the last days at the laboratories are unknown, but apparently the Nerotonin type 3 prototype injections were either accidentally - or possibly even purposefully mixed with another virus sample in the Grenoble facility. Some popular rumors suggest that Secronom may have been working at another virus at the same time, which was aimed at creating genetically enhanced soldiers - which would explain the unusually powerful muscles, the thick skin and the extreme aggression of all N4 infected.
Another hypothesis states that Nerotonin-3 may have simply mutated heavily after coming into contact with a working human nervous system, which led to the release of most natural blockades
within the human muscle controls and thus extreme gain of strength - since the normal human body only allows a small amount of the actual muscle potential to get used, due to long-term survival purposes.
Yet another hypothesis pushed the idea that Secronom simply synthesized N-3 with N-2 to balance out the deterioration, causing an upwards spiral of reaction and mutation, explaining the series of both advantageous and negative traits that the Nerotonin mutations inevitably created. [Note: the photo below is an artists impression of an electron micrograph taken from the current zombie population (given how hard it was to produce, the actual E.M is being withheld in Fort Pastor where it was taken by their science division). You may choose to consider the picture as one of either type 4 or type 1 based on your beliefs, but for practical uses it is being considered as type 4 by the current surviving scientific authority)
Nerotonin Type 4
In the end, the virus showed the same results in every test subject - first a heavy nervous breakdown, loss of immune system functions and eventually death. However, the subjects somehow revived themselves in less than an hour and eventually showed symptoms of heavy aggression towards the scientists, as well as extreme hunger and an apparent loss of communicative ability. This apparently mutated version of the virus was nicknamed "Nerotonin-4" by the scientists, which later became the official name for the now highly infectious virus. The test subjects - now deemed totally uncontrollable due to mental instability - were scheduled for execution on the following day, which sadly never happened.
On an early Tuesday morning, June 28th, 2016, the facility was raided by the National Gendarmerie, the military police force of France, after various complaints about possible human abductions for illegal experiments, which freed the 109 captives carrying the highly infectious virus and sealed the doom of the civilized human world as we knew it. And so the end, began...
There is no known reason to explain why and how the entire world got infected so quickly, but speculation has it that the virus was purposely released by Secronom as soon as their research facility in France was raided by the French military. As Secronom's true purpose and goal remains hidden to this day, only time will tell.
Another possible rumor has also spread, but again can't be proven. Secronom Scientists were secretly experimenting with N4 to make their own "Personal" army of 'Brain-Dead' people, but this theory isn't likely. Secronom had no need of an army of any kind. Being the main distributor of Nerotonin gave Secronom power all on its own, allowing them to build factories and labs all over the world.
There is even more controversy surrounding Fairview, because Secronom's facilities in the city formed the American branch that decided not to conduct human experiments (due to human rights and ethical issues). This may explain why there are that many survivors in Fairview. Although another story has it that Secronom's lead scientist is still present in Fairview to conduct further human research on lowly looters. The true reason to why Fairview still exists is still unknown at this stage in time, but for now, surviving is all that matters...
Much later, a survivor on a looting trip was going through an old Secronum building happened upon a cache of something labeled "Nerotonin 8B." He brought some back to an Outpost, where scientists determined that it was a special strain of Nerotonin Type 2 and was even more effective than its parent virus. With the entire supply brought back and still more being found around the city, the 8B strain remains a jealously guarded and extremely expensive medication, able to repair all but the most fatal injuries. With the mystery around this new drug as to why it was never released to the public still unsolvable due to the lack of available Secronum scientists and employees, it still is incredibly valuable to survivors that sustain severe injuries in fights with bosses and powerful infected.