Mutant X, being a science fiction television show, has some interesting technobabble written into the scripts in order to explain the plot's background. The majority of the babble is produced by Adam Kane, since he is the scientist of the group, and supposed to be the smartest man alive. In the third season, with Adam's disappearance, the responsibility for spouting forth scientific information is shared a little more equally as more scientists are introduced. To learn more about the various technological tools used in Mutant X, look here.
For better or for worse, here are some examples of the 'science' of Mutant X...along with some links to the real-life science correlates.
Fool for Love
Adam: This guy really got to you, didn’t he?
Shalimar: It was like, BAM! The minute we laid eyes on each other.
Adam: Hm. An instant feral attraction.
Shalimar: No, it was more than that. I mean, you hear about love at first sight...
Adam: Mm-hm. It’s basically a shift in brain chemistry. In your case, accelerated by your shared mutancy.
Shalimar: Believe me, Adam. My brain had nothin' to do with what went on back there.
Adam: Of course it did. You found yourself in a highly charged situation. The dopamine and phenylethylamine released in your brain created a euphoria. Simultaneously, the norepinephrine triggered an adrenaline release, which stimulated flushed cheeks, heavy breathing, sweaty palms, and this sudden shift probably triggered a limbic system takeover, allowing reduced integration with your cortex, resulting in feelings of infatuation.
Shalimar: Whatever. That was hot!
* Read about the neurophysiology of romantic love here and here.
The Meaning of Death
Shalimar: Got any idea what we’re dealing with?
Adam: Yeah, Cladosporium. Here. It’s a simple, common airborne spore. Completely harmless to most human beings, but in the case of a rare genetic aberration, which occurs in less than one percent of all new mutants, exposure to this spore causes uncontrolled genetic mutation, and eventually death.
Shalimar: Less than one percent? Well, not to sound heartless, but I mean, if we’re only talking less than one percent, then what’s the big deal?
Adam: It’s what happens after the exposure that’s the big deal. Once the person shows symptoms, they become highly infectious, and the disease is passed on, new mutant to new mutant.
* Read about the spore Cladosporium here and here.
Adam: Once we can identify and extract the proper genetic strand, then I can execute a massive replication.
Shalimar: Yeah, but how are you gonna get the antidote to the rest of the new mutants in time?
Adam: Theoretically, if I can transform the binary components of your genetic code into a microwave form, then I can uplink it into the GSA communications satellite and then disperse it across the continent in a biotransmission.
Shalimar: Kind of like a blanket innoculation?
Adam: That’s the idea.
Brennan: Station 12 has a 400 megawatt capacity. You’re saying that one of these three elementals absorbed that much power?
Adam: Yeah. He or she is mutating. Which means that the hunger is so intense that only enormous quantities of pure energy is gonna satisfy. And then not for long.
Brennan: You can stop the mutation, though.
Adam: Well, that depends on what biological stage it’s in. But Brennan, this doesn’t mean that this is going to happen to you.
Brennan: We’re genetically related, though, right?
Adam: Well, yeah, you’re all elementals, but you know, the similarity ends there. Besides, I’ll be monitoring you.
Brennan: Yeah, well, Jesse and I will go check out the station.
Adam: No, no, no. Shalimar and Emma will do that first thing in the morning. I want you and Jesse to work the data from here.
Brennan: What? What’s the problem?
Adam: The problem is, this new mutant consumes energy, all right? So, I mean, you can think if it like this. If this rogue elemental is DC power, you’re AC. So you two get together, it could be explosive. Brennan, potentially lethal.
* Read about the difference between AC and DC electricity here.
Jesse: And if Ashley dies?
Adam: Then Brennan dies with her.
Emma: What happens when she draws power?
Adam: Well, with Brennan inside her, it could be devastating. When she absorbed him, both their systems started creating antigens. And that reaction's building toward a catastrophic release.
Shalimar: So the more energy she absorbs, the greater the electrochemical reaction.
Jesse: How big are we talking about?
Adam: An explosion that could be big enough to level the city.
Adam: Okay, Emma. I've re-routed the ionizing filter to you. Now, as soon as you're online--
Emma: I'll be ready here.
Adam: Good. Now once Ashley starts drawing energy from the power station, we have a brief window to bring down the spark gap, which I'll do from here. The spark will ionize the air, magnetizing the Double Helix, creating a lightening rod.
Emma: And that’ll pull Brennan from Ashley?
Adam: That's the idea.
Dark Star Rising
Emma: Rafflesia pricei. A genetically engineered parasitic plant which spends most of its life as a thread-like infection strand within a host.
Jesse: Yeah, what's the big deal with this plant?
Adam: In the early days of DNA research, we were humbled to learn that the genetic difference between a human being and yeast was a single strand of code. So we all looked for a link between the animal world and the plant world. The Rafflesia pricei Project was a misstep that Genomex made in their attempt to manipulate human DNA.
Jesse: The 25 year growth cycle have anything to do with their problems?
* Read about the Rafflesia pricei plant here.
Shalimar: Could Emma have been cloned or something?
Adam: I think it happened when you and Emma were attacked by Conlan. By supercharging the electromagnetic charge of Conlan's, I think that you unwittingly created a power that was capable of cutting through cellular material to a genetic level.
Brennan: I did?
Shalimar: So...Emma's walking around with only half her chromosomes?
Adam: No, no, it's more like the double helix pattern was cleaved into a mirrored base sequence and then reformed to make two separate entities. And if we can't find a way to reintegrate the two Emmas into one complete person, it could be fatal to both of them.
Emma A: Well, she is nothing like me.
Adam: Evidently one of the byproducts of this genetic split is this division of personal characteristics where she's more impulse driven and you're more cautious.
Jesse: Adam, I'm getting a really weird reading on the spectrometer here.
Adam: What kind of reading?
Jesse: Don't really know, I've never seen anything like it before. It seems to cover the entire wavelength spectrum.
Adam: Conlan could have hit the internal stasis system with one of her electromagnetic charges.
Jesse: Yeah, that would be consistent with the readings.
Adam: The entire compound could be covered with a stasis field.
Jesse: Adam, it's getting stronger.
Adam: Good. That means that we've still got a chance. Jesse, hit the compound with a microwave blast.
Adam: Just do it! It's the only way to neutralize the charge.
Jesse: Caleb is among the walking dead.
Adam: Great. And now I know why we couldn't locate him in the database. It's because he's listed as deceased.
Brennan: So, what? He can revive himself after death?
Adam: It looks that way.
Jesse: You mean like a modern day vampire?
Jesse: How's that possible?
Adam: Well, you know that there are new mutants who can subsist off the absorbed energy of plant life, right? So maybe what we're dealing with is an evolving mutation with a similar ability.
Jesse: So you mean this guy is feeding off the life force of new mutants?
Brennan: Yeah, by giving them the kiss of death.
Adam: Or something like that.
Dr. Harrison: More alarmingly, the body of Caleb Mathias has mysteriously disappeared.
Mason: But where is it? It couldn't have just gotten up and walked out.
Dr. Harrison: I'm afraid, sir, that is exactly what has happened. I had one of our techs retrieve a blood sample from the scene of the accident. These cells not only appear to be alive, they're actually regenerating.
Mason: How is that possible?
Dr. Harrison: It's my theory we're dealing with a new mutant whose serial killing rampage is driven not by deviant criminal behavior, but practical necessity.
Adam: Look, last night I broke into a doctor’s office and did a little research on my condition.
Adam: Yeah. It’s either retrograde, post-hypnotic, or emotional hysterical, usually caused by trauma. And I ruled out injury because I know that you lied to me about hitting my head. I also found out that memory loss is usually treated by sodium amobarbital or thiopental, which, fortunately for you, did nothing to alleviate my condition. So now I want you to tell me what’s going on.
Marc: You sure don’t sound like a guy with amnesia to me.
Adam: No, because my ability to store short-term memory hasn't been affected, and I seem to have a natural affinity for learning things.
Marc: So you're an intelligent murderer.
* Read more about amnesia here and sodium amobarbital here.
Emma: What's anomite?
Adam: Where are you reading?
Emma: Something about the GSA arranging to acquire a stolen supply of anomite. Uh-oh, that's your serious look.
Adam: Yeah, try very serious. Imagine Eckhart with the ability to render the most sophisticated cyber security system completely ineffective.
Emma: Even ours?
Adam: Yeah, well, anomite's a virus. It can be introduced into any connected computer. If he gets his hands on it, he'd have the ability to compromise any safeguard I could come up with.
Adam: Yeah, she's a new mutant. We've got the file down here.
Emma: Before she was born, she underwent genetic splicing with arachnid DNA. Specifically from the species Androctonus australis.
Adam: A scorpion. It was an experimental procedure designed to boost her compromised immune system. I'm sure they had no idea back then that she'd mutate into something so dangerous.
Shalimar: So Brennan's with her?
Adam: Yeah, well according to the transmitter location and what Emma picked up.
Shalimar: And what did you pick up, Emma?
Emma: I didn't really get a clear hit from her, so I couldn't make out that many features, but he was definitely with a woman.
Shalimar: Brennan would not bond with someone like that.
Adam: Well, he might not have any choice. If she was exhibiting scorpion characteristics (chuckles) the female scorpion, when it attracts a mate, it emits a powerful chemical, right, a pheromone. I mean, she may very well be the one woman on earth no man could resist.
Emma: Yeah, well, from what I was picking up, he wasn't doing too much resisting.
Shalimar: So what are we waiting for? Let's go get him.
Adam: No, no, no, we can't just go get him. I mean, if he's under her pheromonal control, he's gonna fight us to the death to protect her.
Emma: Well, then maybe we should just wait until it wears off.
Adam: Well, there's a risk in that because once scorpions mate, if the male is around long enough, the female eventually kills him.
* Read about the Androctonus australis scorpion here.
Ames: What's that?
Adam: It's an antivirus I created from a trace component in your blood. This should counteract Lorna's pheromonal control over you.
* Read about pheromones here
Adam: The only thing keeping him alive is his new mutant antibodies.
Emma: He's burning up, Adam.
Jesse: Adam, he's at 107. I thought you gave him the anti-venom.
Adam: I did. It hasn't kicked in yet. I've gotta find a way to bring his body temperature down, or he's going to suffer brain damage.
Within These Walls
Adam: According to Denny Logan’s autopsy report, his serotonin, his dopamine, his epinephrine levels were through the roof.
Adam: Meaning that the reason he was so violent was that somebody was using his own body chemicals to alter his behavior.
Emma: And who else in here would know how to do that but Rigas?
Emma: Adam, I found a wall safe. It’s full of bottles of some kind of serum. There’s a notebook. It’s about tests of something called ST1277. Looks like it’s some kind of steroid.
Adam: A steroid? All right now, that makes sense. Maybe they’re affecting the somatosensory cortex with a steroid.
Emma: Okay, you lost me.
Adam: Well, the brain regulates its chemistry with neurotransmitters, right? Now remember how Rigas said that he could dial down somebody’s aggression?
Adam: Well, this stuff would allow them to dial up the aggression.
Emma: Yeah, but that doesn’t make any sense. He spent his whole life researching the opposite effect.
Adam: I know, but this would explain the levels of the chemicals that we found in Denny that would cause the violence.
Brennan: Adam, there’s something going on with Emma, okay? Ever since Ray’s death, she’s been different.
Adam: Well, I can’t say I’m surprised.
Adam: Given your telempathic abilities and the amazing connection you had with this guy when he died? I was afraid there might be repercussions. Maybe what happened is Ray’s energy merged with yours when he died.
Brennan: So what are you saying, we need to call in a priest?
Adam: Listen, everything that we experience, your thoughts, our emotions, our feelings, they’re all just kinds of energy passing through us, right? And just because the body dies it doesn’t mean that the energy ceases to exist. It’s got to go somewhere.
Emma: Yeah, that’s exactly what I think happened. You know, somehow Ray’s spirit took over a part of me.
Adam: Maybe because at the moment of his death, you were the path of least resistence.
Crossroads of the Soul
Shalimar: Hey, Adam. Almost ready with the payload.
Adam: Good. Now the night that Brennan disappeared, I found out that there was a lightning storm. That may have destabilized the dome long enough for him to slip through.
Shalimar: Yeah, we can’t exactly wait for another storm.
Adam: Not exactly. Which is why we’re gonna give Mother Nature a little helping hand by seeding the area with this supercharged silver iodide. If there’s any electricity in the air, that stuff is gonna make it sizzle.
* Read about cloud seeding with silver iodide here.
Jesse: Walderson Industries didn’t want to make it public, but what those bikers got away with was something called a particle decelerator. 6 months ago, it would have been science fiction. Apparently, it can completely freeze electron movement.
Brennan: Well, that means it can also shut down anything electrical.
Jesse: That’s right. Computers, communications, or the power grids for an entire city.
Emma: So what would happen if you used it against another person?
Jesse: Well, that’s where it gets nasty. It would completely shut down their brain and their central nervous system.
Emma: Like turning people off.
Brennan: Well, looks like someone finally invented the death ray.
* Read about particle decelerators here.
Nikki: No, I changed my mind. I don’t like the look of that.
Jesse: It’s all right. It’s harmless. All that’s gonna happen is we’re gonna put this contraption on your head, and you relive the fight in the street, okay?
Emma: And then I will give you a telempathic boost and the machine converts optic memories into digital images.
Jesse: If we’re lucky, we’ll see what you saw, okay, maybe a feature of the shooter or something.
Emma: All you have to do is relax and remember.
Nikki: And you’ll see everything I saw?
Jesse: Well, only what you focus in on. Which is why we need you to zero in on the facial features of the shooter.
At Destiny's End
Adam: So the OMDI corporation is an experimental oil treatment plan. They’re trying to create a bacterial enzyme that actually thrives on petroleum products.
Brennan: Sounds like they’re working on an environmentally friendly concept.
Adam: Well, except that they’re not ready for prime time. They haven’t figured out a way to control the bacteria.
Brennan: Control it how?
Adam: Well, right now, if this bacteria got into the atmosphere, it wouldn’t stop eating until there was no more oil in the world.
The Wages of Sin
Jesse: That’s what was in the container. It’s called a prion.
Shalimar: What is it, some kind of poison?
Jesse: It’s a modified protein molecule. Now, there it is up against a normal body protein. The amino acid sequence is the same in both, but the three dimensional configuration is different. Basically, the prion is a mirror-image of a normal protein. The nasty part is that it’s able to convert a normal protein to its own shape, molecule by molecule.
Brennan: The biological equivalent of a nuclear meltdown.
Jesse: Yeah. And it’s been weaponized. It’s distributed in an aerosol form. Now just a couple of ounces of this in the water supply will take out half a city.
* Read about prions and the diseases they cause here and here.
Brennan: You wanna tell us what's going on here?
Dr. Arrigo: It’s pretty complicated genetic theory.
Lexa: Well, try us.
Dr. Arrigo: My field is behavioral shadowing. It's a rare phenomena where parasites actually control their hosts instead of feeding off them.
Shalimar: Like little puppet masters.
Dr. Arrigo: So far it's only been proven to occur with the lower species--spiders, rats. Our directive was to create a parasite that could influence human behavior; allow us to gain control over an entire enemy force just by infecting it.
Brennan: That's possible?
Dr. Arrigo: It's happening right now on this base. Let me show you. The parasite we designed secretes a neurochemical that triggers hyperaggression.
Brennan: Oh, well you just infect one of them and then sit back and watch as they infect each other?
Dr. Arrigo: We could win a war without firing a single shot.
Lexa: Okay, what are we doing here?
Dr. Arrigo: Experimenting with anti-sense agents. Different varieties are toxic to different parasites.
Lexa: Okay, is now a good time to tell you I failed chem class? [The sample boils up.] Is that good?
Dr. Arrigo: No. [Lexa blasts the dish with a laser.] That may have been overkill.
Lexa: What happened?
Dr. Arrigo: We verified what we saw during Peter's experiments. The parasites have apparently developed some kind of protective mechanism, and hen they sense an attack, they multiply. No, it's all right; you can't be that easily infected. You need broken skin.
Jesse: Maybe. I ran some recognition software on Arrigo’s bug. Hacked into a parasitology database. Got kind of a match.
Lexa: What do you mean, kind of?
Jesse: Well, Arrigo's bug has kind of a defining physical characteristic. It stores iron in a very peculiar manner in its body. Now the only other parasite that does that are called plasmodiums. Plasmodiums cause malaria.
Lexa: And this is exciting why?
Jesse: Because plasmodiums can be killed. Now, there are four different plasmodium groups, though, and they each have their own cure.
Lexa: Yeah, but it’s a hell of a good way to start.
* Read about plasmodium species and malaria here.
Lexa: What about the malaria issue?
Jesse: Looks promising. There's a new treatment which involves dosing the host with rotating electromagnetic fields. It causes the iron in the parasite's body to twist, rupturing them.
Lexa: So you can fry the parasite without harming the host?
Jesse: Exactly, but only if it's done with the right frequency and pulse, otherwise it could be deadly.
* Read about the use of magnetic fields to treat malaria here.
Lexa: We think we’ve found a way to treat him. Well, you know the fence?
Shalimar: Yeah, I can get to it, why?
Lexa: We need you to get Brennan to form a tesla coil and then throw him against the electric fence.
Shalimar: Are you crazy? That'll kill him.
Lexa: No, it would kill a normal person, yeah. But with Brennan, we're thinking that it will create an electromagnetic field that will rupture the parasites in his system.
The Taking of Crows
Shalimar: It’s called dexenfluramine, or an adulterated form of it anyway. It was developed in the early days of Genomex by a Dr. Sara Stanton. So what the drug does is create a highly potent synthetic form of serotonin in the body.
Brennan: So what? Genomex was in the business of experimenting with better ways to get high?
Shalimar: Actually, the project was supposed to be about controlling mutant aggression and the narcotic effects on humans was just a side effect. A highly addictive side effect.
* Read about the drug dexenfluramine (also known as the infamous dexfenfluramine "Fen fen") here.
A Normal Life
Keith: The big problem with suspended animation is ischemia. That’s the damage that happens when the cells are deprived of oxygen at death. I realized that the answer was to step up the production of glycose which feeds the cells through the vitrification process.
Shalimar: Sorry. I used to cut science class.
Keith: Well, I wish I had too sometimes. Anyway, the thing that always frustrated me was the problem of maintaining the cell’s integrity as I brought the subject back.
Shalimar: So you never finished that part of the process before you disappeared. That means whoever suspended those hostages had no intention of bringing them back.
* Read about vitrification here.
Shalimar: Now, how close are you to solving this thing?
Keith: Well, I can bring the cells back from stasis, but the process is too slow. Too much damage occurs. I need a way to excite the cells as they revive. A microwave accelerator would help the process.
Keith: The speed of the reverse vitrification is ramped up to almost where it needs to be. The trick now is to prevent cell damage introduced by the free radicals when the cell was shut down. It’s a fast-moving scavanger virus that bonds with the free radicals, stabilizing them. If this works, it should treat the whole system in seconds.
Shalimar: What’s happening?
Keith: It’s not pervasive enough. Too much cell damage is happening before the whole organism would be viable.
Shalimar: Well, some of the cells lived.
Keith: Yeah, but we have to reanimate the entire organism at the same time: lipid, cell structure, even the DNA has to be protected.
Age of Innocence
Brennan: Doc, is it possible to reverse the aging process through genetic manipulation?
Dr. Saunders: Well, so far, science has looked for ways to extend life, as opposed to trying to reset the biological clock.
Shalimar: What are we talking about here, Doc? The fountain of youth?
Dr. Sanders: Not exactly. The catalyst used to set back his clock is only temporary. He represents a work in progress.
Dr. Francis Gallant: Sir, the good news is the Sirtuan stimulators were successful in effecting cell rejuvenation.
Colonel Henry Burns: Only for a few hours. Hansen’s free radicals quickly became unstable.
Dr. Gallant: Nevertheless, this is the biggest breakthrough we’ve had so far. I’m sure with time, we can sustain the reaction.
* Read about Sirtuan (SIR) genes here.
Dr. Saunders: Well, your grandfather’s blood pressure’s probably lower than yours. His preliminary tests show that he’s got the physiology of a thirty-year-old.
William: What about my cancer?
Dr. Saunders: Based upon your x-rays, the tumors have completely vanished. I can’t explain it.
William: Hear that, kiddo? I got a clean bill of health.
Dr. Saunders: Well, not exactly. I did find something in your bloodwork that was a little puzzling. The free radicals seem to be oxidizing at twice the rate of a normal thirty year old’s.
Lexa: Wait a minute. You lost me after puzzling.
Dr. Saunders: Well, oxidation produces byproducts called free radicals. It’s how we age. When this process occurs in metals, it’s called rusting.
William: I don’t feel too rusty.
Jesse: Is this something we should be worried about?
Dr. Saunders: It could just be his metabolism adjusting to whatever the active agent was that started the process in the first place.
Lexa: At this point, we still don’t even know what that is.
Dr. Saunders: I’m afraid not.
Dr. Francis Gallant: The results of his bloodwork. I’ve discovered the key to preventing cellular regression. The Sirtuan levels must be consistently regulated.
Henry Burns: In other words, booster shots must be administered on a regular basis.
Dr. Gallant: Exactly. The same way a diabetic uses insulin.
She's Come Undone
Adam: And now?
Lexa: I see spots.
Adam: That’s the occipital lobe. Try talking?
Lexa: There once was a man from Nantucket...
Adam: Ok. And here?
Jesse: Oh, her hands moved! That’s the–uh,uh, the gross motor.
Adam: That’s the precentral gyrus. It’s just in front of the parietal lobe. Alright, good, so we have the surgical area completely mapped. Now I think that we should do this in two phases. First, we should neutralize the implant hardware so that it doesn’t self-destruct once it senses our intrusion. We neutralize it here, then we can completely sever it from the nerve here.
See a map of the brain and its functions here.
Jesse: Tell me what’s going on.
Dr. Olivia Robinson: He’s starting to mass around the bullet. The incision has triggered a defense mechanism. It’s using a proton coupler to connect to directly to your nervous system. It’s using your own powers against you, Jesse.
Shalimar: Jess, you’ve got to try to stop it, okay?
Jesse: I can’t. I don’t know how to control it.
Brennan: Doc, what does this mean?
Dr. Robinson: I’m not sure. But unless I find a way to stop it, the massing will continue and then it will reach his vital organs. If they’re massed for too long, the vital organs will cease to function and Jesse will die.
Dr. Robinson: The bullet has an internal power supply that allows us to control Jesse’s nervous system. Now if we can stop that, it can be rendered harmless.
Brennan: But how can we do that, though?
Dr. Robinson: I can’t. But maybe you can. What I’d like you to do is deliver a controlled electrical charge, enough to damage the electronics in the bullet.
Brennan: No, that could kill him.
Dr. Robinson: No, it won’t. Not if you don’t disrupt his heart rhythms.
Brennan: Oh yeah, yeah, that’s a great idea. How’m I supposed to know if I’m doing that?
Dr. Robinson: I’ll tell you.
Sebastian Conway: I want to clone her body and her brain. Personality, memory, everything.
Nolan Blackledge: Uh. I’ve never attempted an entire replication.
Sebastian: Well, it’s obvious she’s not working alone. We need to know what she knows in order to turn it to our advantage.
Nolan: Memories are nothing more than electronic impulses, so we should be able to reproduce them organically. I mean, there’s gonna be holes, I can’t replicate everything.
Sebastian: That’s fine. There’s no reason this shouldn’t work like the others. The key is to maintain control of her mind. Then we send her back to where she came from as a Trojan horse. Problem solved.
Jesse: I’ve been poring over Nolan’s research. He’s a genius.
Lexa: How so?
Jesse: He’s figured out how to create synthetic clones by combining genetics with nanotechnology. These synthetic clones are virtually indistinguishable from their human counterparts.
* Read about the world of nanogenetics here.
Jesse: I finally figured out the off switch. Since these guys are based in nanotechnology the only way to dis--
Brennan: Just cut to it!
Jesse: E-lec-tricity. You could be the key, Sparky.
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