Each story I write has a theme to it, a message I want to send to the world. That applies to each individual story of Shaun & Dmitry. I have my beliefs on what makes the world great, and what also makes it horrible. I believe the relationships we share with those close to us holds more value than anything - the connections we share empower us all into being great people. I also believe the biggest threat to that is the establishment - our governments, our religion, the corporate fatcats. In some cases these groups will bring people together, but on a worldwide scale they only exist to create conflict and separate us from each other. That is exactly what I hoped people would take away from this story: the potential consequences of global division.
We are all people with something to offer the world. Work and live together, embrace our differences. Don't build walls to separate them.
I wrote this story mostly to celebrate 'Blood Falls' winning an award for best of 2016 on nosleep and offer a thank you to those who voted for it. This story is yours because you asked me for it. But I also felt compelled by the recent events of my country and the utter incompetence and negligence of all governments to send a message to the world. I hope that message resonates with you.
Onto the handbook
THE FOURTH DOMAIN
I mentioned previously that this was an entirely new area of science, and to a degree that's true. What I wound up doing was combining the research of different fields and drew conclusions when those separate areas were combined.
A large part of the scientific background for this story came from research conducted by Stefan Luketa, a member of the Department of Biology and Ecology for the University of Novi Sad in Serbia. He has proposed what would actually be a five domain system that would add Prionbiota and Virusbiota as two additional domains. Luketa went into extensive detail dissecting our current taxonomy structure, offering alternatives to adequately classifying life in his paper "New views on the megaclassification of life". It's quite an interesting and educational read. Here is a direct link to the pdf of his work.
He says a few things in this paper that I used as a basis for creating the Angels:
- Animals are monophyletic; they originated not from fully developed plant predecessors, but rather from the predecessors of a lower organization.
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- Predecessors of contemporary eukaryotic cells had once ingested free-living prokaryotes, which became adapted to survival and proliferations inside the hosts cells over time.
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- Prions are infective protein particles with an ability to multiple/replicate and evolve. They live exclusively in eukaryotic cells and consist entirely of proteins without nucleic acids.
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One of the most important things of prions is the lack of genetic information. Genes necessary for prion replication are provided by the host cell.
I began thinking about the possibilities of prions having previously evolving into full multi cellular organisms and could self-replicate. And the link I used for this was Biological Dark Matter. As noted in the story, no one quite knows what it is and it's widely considered to be the blueprints for the fourth domain.
Here is a great video from Ted Talks that describes the nature of biological dark matter:
What if there was a way to basically take this dormant material inside all of us and just...turn it on? How could we do that? Prions served as a way of answering that question.
I also based the behavior of Angel peeling away her own skin on the prion disease known as Scrapie.
The bunker itself is a real place as well.
I'd like to give a HUGE thank you to /u/dration, who helped with the research of hidden underground bunkers. Without her help a lot of this story would not have been possible.
Object 506 is a real place that was used as part of Biopreparat. Here's a Russian news segment on the bunker:
A couple more useful links for other items mentioned in the story:
- Kolyma Highway (the road of bones) - additional photographs of the area.
- Oymyakon - the coldest inhabited town on earth.
This story took a lot out of me to put together. It was initially conceived last summer but I didn't have the proper information to make it all feasible. I've spent almost every moment of free time over the last two months writing and researching everything. So, for the immediate future, I'm going to take a bit of a break from writing. I'm somewhat burnt out.
Moving forward, though, I'm going to start exploring other areas outside of nosleep. Don't misinterpret, I absolutely love posting on nosleep and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. But I've thought for some time now that I should be looking ahead. Something /u/BLOODWORTHooc mentioned in his nosleep interview really hit home for me:
"Quit writing for nosleep. Start writing novels. Start a mailing list. Start facebook advertising. Facebook likes are for suckers; look-alike audience ads are where it’s at."
It's not the last time I'll post something to nosleep, but it'll be a long time before I return. There's this deep ambition within me to write full fledged novels, and I can't do that if I'm spending months at a time writing for something intended for nosleep. It's time I step away, at least for a little while, and focus on actually being a novelist.
I hope to see you all stick around for what the my future endeavors generate. All your kind words and encouragement has been so very dear to me. Thank you.