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View Full Version : Hi, need help with bio-weapons idea



RavenBasslady
03-20-2014, 10:56 PM
Hey there-- I'm new here, and was pointed to this board from folks at the welcoming committee.. :hi:

I'm working on a story which has as a plot device, a pregnant woman terrorist implanted with a fetus that is actually a bioweapon to be activated upon the birth of the baby. Basically a kamikaze stealth approach to biological warfare. What I'm trying to do if find resources so I can make it plausible--

I'm also thinking seriously of tying this to spider venom or a gene or cell that looks vaguely arachnid.

If anyone can give me any useful info, or point in the right direction, I'm be much obliged!

Thanks in advance, anything is helpful!:)

Marian Perera
03-20-2014, 11:00 PM
What do you need the weapon to do? Infect one person in particular, like the doctor helping with the delivery, or spread a disease through the population?

Telergic
03-20-2014, 11:42 PM
Well, perhaps needless to say, this is not within the scope of current science. Do you want the infant just to carry an infectious vector of some sort, or by "bio weapon" do you mean some kind of monstrous creature? The former is at least conceivable, if the disease is one that doesn't cross the placental barrier, but even so I would expect the mother to be infected through amniotic fluid and other forms of contact with the fetus. Perhaps the disease itself must somehow be activated by some external factor after birth.

Still, the whole concept seems essentially implausible unless some other circumstance in the story explains it. You might as well just send a parcel with instructions not to open it till Christmas or something if you want a delayed action infection....

ShaunHorton
03-20-2014, 11:57 PM
Huh, I wasn't thinking disease. I was thinking explosion. Like a packet of chemicals or something that would explode upon contact with the air when the baby is born or something.

You could do it with disease, though, as has been said we're talking about things beyond our current capabilities (as far as I know). But I could imagine the virus attached to a chemical which renders it inert inside the placenta, but upon contact with the air when the placenta is broken during birth, the chemical reacts, detaching from the virus and making it "live".

RavenBasslady
03-21-2014, 12:34 AM
What do you need the weapon to do? Infect one person in particular, like the doctor helping with the delivery, or spread a disease through the population?

This needs to be big enough to be considered a major terrorist threat. So, enough to take out a good portion of London.

RavenBasslady
03-21-2014, 12:35 AM
Huh, I wasn't thinking disease. I was thinking explosion. Like a packet of chemicals or something that would explode upon contact with the air when the baby is born or something.

You could do it with disease, though, as has been said we're talking about things beyond our current capabilities (as far as I know). But I could imagine the virus attached to a chemical which renders it inert inside the placenta, but upon contact with the air when the placenta is broken during birth, the chemical reacts, detaching from the virus and making it "live".

Ow! And, that's a disturbingly awesome suggestion. Thank you!

RavenBasslady
03-21-2014, 12:40 AM
Well, perhaps needless to say, this is not within the scope of current science. Do you want the infant just to carry an infectious vector of some sort, or by "bio weapon" do you mean some kind of monstrous creature? The former is at least conceivable, if the disease is one that doesn't cross the placental barrier, but even so I would expect the mother to be infected through amniotic fluid and other forms of contact with the fetus. Perhaps the disease itself must somehow be activated by some external factor after birth.

Still, the whole concept seems essentially implausible unless some other circumstance in the story explains it. You might as well just send a parcel with instructions not to open it till Christmas or something if you want a delayed action infection....

What I want to happen is that (1) the mother is complicit, so she's signing up, essentially for a suicide mission-- the baby, when born is what causes some sort of activation of a killer virus that could take out London. (Or a good chunk of it. ) ;)

Telergic
03-21-2014, 01:03 AM
Well, it's impossible for a chemical explosive that fits in a womb to take out any substantial area -- certainly not a chunk of London, not even a block.

But as for the disease idea, I still don't quite see why it's necessary to do this via an infant. All you need is a tiny capsule with the disease organisms -- encysted bacteria or virus in culture -- which should be easy enough to hide for months or years until it needs to be deployed, either suicidally by swallowing it to go around infecting people, or less dramatically by dumping it into a reservoir.

For sheer grotesquerie, I suppose the fetal concept is conceivably possible, but it wouldn't be a real-world approach that anyone would actually use.

RavenBasslady
03-21-2014, 01:11 AM
Well, it's impossible for a chemical explosive that fits in a womb to take out any substantial area -- certainly not a chunk of London, not even a block.

But as for the disease idea, I still don't quite see why it's necessary to do this via an infant. All you need is a tiny capsule with the disease organisms -- encysted bacteria or virus in culture -- which should be easy enough to hide for months or years until it needs to be deployed, either suicidally by swallowing it to go around infecting people, or less dramatically by dumping it into a reservoir.

For sheer grotesquerie, I suppose the fetal concept is conceivably possible, but it wouldn't be a real-world approach that anyone would actually use.


I may not be wording things correctly-- not an explosion-- more like massive contaminant.

I'm thinking of rhesus monkeys brought into the US that are carrying ebola or whatever. :-)

Also, my antagonist is absolutely bat-you-know-what-crazy.

So, that's kind of the effect I'm going for.

wendymarlowe
03-21-2014, 01:45 AM
Even if the antagonist is crazy, though, presumably he/she isn't stupid. And tying something like this to the birth of a baby is pretty ridiculous:

1) The timing varies dramatically, by a month or more

2) There's no way to accurately predict where the mother will be when she goes into labor - yeah, you can aim for a particular hospital, but she could just as easily have her water break while on the other side of town and get rushed somewhere else

3) Coming up with a virus/explosive which is dangerous enough to actually cause problems but safe enough to stay inside a living, breathing human for days/weeks/months is HARD (and impossible with current technology)

4) A pregnant woman has a much higher-than-average chance of having a doctor poking around and figuring out something's wrong before the event occurs

5) All of the antagonist's goals could be achieved much more simply and reliably by other methods: set a bomb with a timer, or spraying a virus around in a public place. There's no reason to use a pregnancy for the timer.

By all means, have your villain be crazy, but his/her actions at least have to make sense to him/her :-P

RavenBasslady
03-21-2014, 02:04 AM
Even if the antagonist is crazy, though, presumably he/she isn't stupid. And tying something like this to the birth of a baby is pretty ridiculous:

1) The timing varies dramatically, by a month or more

2) There's no way to accurately predict where the mother will be when she goes into labor - yeah, you can aim for a particular hospital, but she could just as easily have her water break while on the other side of town and get rushed somewhere else

3) Coming up with a virus/explosive which is dangerous enough to actually cause problems but safe enough to stay inside a living, breathing human for days/weeks/months is HARD (and impossible with current technology)

4) A pregnant woman has a much higher-than-average chance of having a doctor poking around and figuring out something's wrong before the event occurs

5) All of the antagonist's goals could be achieved much more simply and reliably by other methods: set a bomb with a timer, or spraying a virus around in a public place. There's no reason to use a pregnancy for the timer.

By all means, have your villain be crazy, but his/her actions at least have to make sense to him/her :-P

Actually, that *does* help. Maybe I'll try out something else...

King Neptune
03-21-2014, 02:50 AM
The general idea is good and has been used before, but it is a generational weapon, aberrant genes or something similar.

RavenBasslady
03-21-2014, 03:38 AM
The general idea is good and has been used before, but it is a generational weapon, aberrant genes or something similar.

Good to know I'm not on crack. ;)

I'll keep brainstorming.

Marian Perera
03-21-2014, 03:45 AM
3) Coming up with a virus/explosive which is dangerous enough to actually cause problems but safe enough to stay inside a living, breathing human for days/weeks/months is HARD (and impossible with current technology)

And making sure the mother's antibodies don't cross the placenta to attack the virus. That's what causes hemorrhagic disease of the newborn - antibodies made by a Rh- mother target the cells of a Rh+ fetus.