Almost unknown in the western world until recently, the LTD2 Virus is a highly mutagenic recombinant retrovirus. Once entering a host, the virus possesses the ability to attach to its self in a parasitic manner at a cellular level. Once attached the LTD2 virus will mutate DNA and recombine genes, thereby altering and strengthening particular characteristics in a host organism, but causing detrimental mutations when cells developed abnormally. [/box]
The LTD2 Virus is an acronym for La Tazza Di Dio, Translation The Cup of God (Italian), the common name of a rare West Central African fruit that carries the natural strain of the virus. While there is no recorded history of its first contact with humans, it is theorized that the LTD2 virus must have initially existed in an isolated environment. Its parasitic nature and zoonotic attributes indicate it would have become a trans-species pandemic had it not been.
The legend of the LTD2 Virus was originally discovered by Count Pietro di Brazza Savorgnani an Italian born French explorer in the early 1870’s. Brazza was embarking on a peaceful colonial mission, with a minimum of arms and several tons of cloth, glassware, and tools to be used for barter and as gifts for the tribal chieftains.
His entire staff consisted of two Europeans a French doctor and an Italian naturalist, 12 Senegalese infantrymen, and two native interpreters.
Between 1875 and 1878 this first mission covered 900 miles of inland territory, discovering several rivers and many plant and animal species unknown in Europe, all with the aid of the native tribes. Brazza’s natural charm and unhurried manner always seemed to enable him to establish friendly relations.
Whilst on an expedition up the now known Ogooué River, Brazza and his party were told the local legend of the “Agandi People” a tribe that was supposed to live on the top of the Great plateau.
This tribe was believed to have super human powers and could not be killed by other men. Brazza was also told of a rare fruit that was supposedly the source of the tribes’ powers.
Brazza was lead to the base of the plateau and shown the best way to ascend to the top. Not being equipped for such an expedition and already several weeks over due to return to France. Brazza instructed his Naturalist to record the information with the intention of returning to explore the Plateau.
Returning to Paris, Brazza found the government in doubt with his colonial policy. To stimulate interest in his explorations, he made the rounds of Parisian society and gave immensely popular public lectures. Reports of his travels and transcriptions from his notebooks were published in illustrated magazines. Merchants began selling Brazza cigarettes, Brazza fountain pens, and romantic pictures of the explorer. The resulting enthusiasm yielded support for subsequent missions.
However Brazza preoccupied with the French colonisation of the Congo never returned to investigate the reports of the “Agandi People”.
After Brazza’s untimely death in September 1905, it wasn’t until several years later that his notebooks were rediscovered in an archived area of the Louvre that was being used for storage. By that stage much of Africa had been explored and with the recent Boer Wars, not many expeditions were being funded by the French Government.
A Naturist and Historian Marcos LeSauvage, was tasked by the museum to restore the notebooks for display in The Bibliothèque nationale de France. Upon reading Brazza’s note books, LeSauvage was intrigued by the story of the “Agandi People”.
Once it became public knowledge that Brazza’s note books had been found, LeSauvage was approached by an Italian virologist Dr. Luigi Biscotti. Biscotti had attended one of Brazza’s Talks of his expeditions up the Ogooué River. He had been intrigued by the Agandi People their apparent super human powers. But when he had approached Brazza directly to fund an expedition to research these people, Brazza had refused, as his primary goal was to colonise the Congo’s for France.
Biscotti had tried to find the Plateau himself several times but without detailed information he had achieved no success in finding either the plateau or the tribe.
After discussions between LeSauvage and Biscotti, it was decided that the two of them would lead an expedition to find the Agandi People. Using the detailed notes in Brazza’s notebooks they travelled up the OgoouE River and retraced Brazza’s expedition.
Arriving at the site where Brazza describes meeting the tribe that had told him about the Agandi People, they find the village long burnt and destroyed. With no other option but to continue, the Party followed the instructions in Brazza’s note book to the entrance that would lead to the top of the plateau. Reaching the top of the Plateau the Party were surprised to discover that they are not the first Europeans who have made the journey in search of the Agandi People.
Brazza’s Naturalist, Professor Maritizio Genarrdo, had returned in search of the Agandi People and their fabled fruit only a few months after Brazza had first returned to Paris. For over 30 years Genarrdo had studied the fruit he had named La Tazza Di Dio and the virus it contained.
When LeSauvage and Biscotti finally found Genarrdo’s camp they were amazed at the sight. It more resembled a zoo than a field camp in the wilds of Africa. Genarrdo unaccustomed to the human company immediately set upon the intruders and it was only after he was subdued by most of the party that he calmed down enough to communicate rationally.
In the coming weeks Genarrdo explained how he had found the Plateau and what remained of the once great Agandi People. When he arrived he had with him a small staff comprising of an assistant, a native interpreter and 4 hired solders. His assistant was the first person killed by the ingenious booby traps set by the Agandi people. By the time Genarrdo had found the Agandi Village his party had also lost a solider to some unseen beast in the thick jungle.
Genarrdo explained that the Agandi people first found the fruit in the central Plateau area while hunting several hundred years ago. Knowing better than to just eat a new fruit, the Agandi, who had never before seen this vibrant red fruit, harvested some to take back with them as tribute to their chief.
As the fruits were being harvested the hunters noticed that the red juice stained their skin. After harvesting the fruits the hunters resumed tracking their prey and that is when they noticed the effects of the juice.
Those tribe’s men who had the red juice stain their skin were able to track and hunt their prey with ease. Once they returned to the village the chief was the first to eat the fruit. Its effects were almost immediate and the Chief began to swell visibly in front of the rest of the tribe. Fearing that they had poisoned their chief, the rest of the tribe captured the hunters and imprisoned them while the chief was moved to his hut to await his fate.
The next morning the Chief had transformed. Retaining all of his mental capacity his body had increased in size and muscle. Towering over the rest of his tribe they all bowed down in reverence. Attributing the transformation to the new found fruit its self, the tribe declared it a gift from the gods; it was guarded and revered as holy. As thanks for discovering the newfound fruit the chief allowed the captured hunters to eat some as a reward.
However the result on the hunters was somewhat different to that of the Chief. They transformed into hulking creatures with little more intelligence than the beasts of the jungle. They attacked and killed their fellow tribe members and brought great devastation to the village before they were finally captured and caged.
After that time it was declared that they were unworthy to eat the fruit and only the chieftain and his blood line were allowed to eat the holy fruit. The Agandi cultivated the fruit and it was used during holy ceremonies and as war paint in attacks upon other tribes. Prolonged use of the juice contained in the fruit applied topically aided in muscle growth and had regenerative properties, and with it the Agandi conquered the entirety of the great plateau and some of the tribes in the lower jungle surrounding the Plateau. The hulking hunters were used as beasts of war against the other tribes of the plateau for many years.
At some point many hundreds of years later whether by accident or by design a member of the Agandi tribe was appointed chieftain that was not of the original blood line. By this time the Agandi had grown to a veritable kingdom with a great walled city on top of the isolated plateau. After the traditional ceremony to ordain the new chief and the ingestion of the Agandi red fruit the new chief became terribly ill.
He transformed into a mindless creature that began wholesale slaughter of the Agandi people.
Not prepared for the attack from within their own kingdom, the Agandi were unable to stop the creature that was to be their new chief. Some among them thought it a good idea to eat the red fruit to gain the strength to stop the creature. But after their transformations were complete they had become just like the creature they had wanted to stop.
Trapped within the city with a multitude of super human creatures it was only a matter of time before the Agandi were almost completely wiped out.
By the time Genarrdo and his party had arrived, the Great Agandi city was deserted and partly destroyed from fire and the elements. A small tribe of Agandi descendants remained in a tiny village on the outskirts of the city. After many months of trade and communication, Genarrdo was finally accepted as an honorary member of the tribe, and that is how he learnt the tragic history of these once great people.
Genarrdo was intrigued by this story of the red fruit and set about trying to find it. He spent many months exploring the great plateau in search of it to no avail, and it was only when one of the solders in his party suggested they explore the city its self that they found any evidence that fruit existed at all.
As they got close the central stone ziggurat he began to discover activity that proved the city wasn’t deserted as he was made to believe, however what he found there was not what he had ever expected. The city was inhabited by the shambling cadavers of the dead Agandi people. Although rotten and disheveled the dead Agandi were able to move about slowly.
Once they were aware of the exploration party the dead Agandi began to attack. While at first it was easy for the solders to hack them apart with their large machetes once they reached the more populated central area, fatigue and the weight of numbers began to take their toll. With no other option but to retreat, Genarrdo and his party made their way back to the small village outside the city.
When they arrived there they were confronted by the armed Agandi tribesmen who would not let them pass. With the dead Agandi at their back and the live Agandi to the front, Genarrdo had no option but to order his men to open fire on the live Agandi to allow them to escape.
Fleeing into the Jungle it was several days before his party ventured back to the small Agandi village to check for survivors. All they found were the gruesome remains of the slain villages striped of flesh and dismembered. Of the reanimated cadavers there was no sign.
Genarrdo determined to get to the source of this situation dedicated the next 30 years of his life to discovering the source of the red fruits powers which he named La Tazza Di Dio otherwise known as The Cup of God. By the time LeSauvage and Biscotti had arrived he had discovered that the fruit contained a virus that would infect a host and change its natural characteristics making them stronger, faster or more aggressive. He claimed that he had finally found the fabled Holy Grail of the Natural world.
Under the cover of the Great War the trio used the shortage of aspirin to push the effectiveness of their new virus. Many soldiers that suffered minor wounds were able to continue fighting as long as they continued to receive the shots of the virus; its regenerative properties helped them heal at a tremendous rate allowing them to return to active duty.
However the first indication that there were adverse side effects occurred when the virus was administered either to a severely wounded patient too late.
In its initial form the virus required an incubation period of a few hours to begin to work, however if administered to a patient that was too severely wounded and that died in that time period an extremely unusual thing occurred. The patient would return to a semblance of life. Although medically dead the solider was able to continue to move albeit at a reduced pace. The effects were not properly studied in the field as the reanimated solider would be overly aggressive attacking former comrades often wounding and killing several of them before being subdued with extreme force.
To prevent further out brakes a weaker strain was developed for the military and the unexpected side effects were never reported again. However these side affects intrigued Genarrdo and Biscotti. And they spent the next several years researching exactly what had happened when the virus was present in a dyeing host. It was the results of this research that would change the company forever.
A New Purpose.
Genarrdo with the aid of LeSauvage and Biscotti moved his research back to France. And with the aid of Biscotti began to explore the applications of this new virus. The world was a different place than the one that Genarrdo had left all those years before and many things had changed. With the beginning of World War 1 Genarrdo was faced with a new challenge. Their research had entered an extremely interesting stage. They were now able to isolate and synthesise a simple form of the virus that could aid in the regeneration of wounds and combat infection from disease. Using the current war as a perfect place to field test the new virus, hundreds of troops were injected with the virus. It proved to be the turning point in their research.
The results were successful and after receiving several large government grants to produce more, Gentec Industries was born.
*Disclaimer: All the information above is fictional, created for game purposes*