Chapter 5: NZT-48
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Make no mistake. NZT-48 was not one of the AKB48 sister groups idolized by otakus. Rather, it originated from a 2012 movie.
This was a substance that could unleash the brain’s potential.
What was the brain’s potential?
Theoretically, human brains could remember everything that was seen, heard or felt.
However, human memory was the most unreliable thing in the world.
During exams, for instance, facts and complicated topics would have been studied and revised beforehand. Even so, due to problems of memory and mental capacity, a blank answer space remained a blank answer space.
Studies on neurons in the brain indicated that, although humans used their brains at a 100% capacity, from an evolutionary point of view, there was still more cerebral potential to harvest.
Potential here did not mean that “the brain is only using one part, another part is idle”. Instead, it meant that “on the basis of already using the brain fully, we could still become smarter.”
NZT-48 was a drug that would increase one’s intelligence.
It allowed one to access the darkest recesses of one’s memories as well as automatically processed and assimilated all this knowledge.
By taking this drug, the user would have an eidetic memory and attain astonishing insight and logical thinking. One could even integrate details and data that would typically go unnoticed and swiftly arrive at a conclusion.
As an example, the reasoning and memory of ordinary people were like a disarrayed warehouse. Volumes of memories are piled up haphazardly within. It was a momentous challenge to go through all this information.
After taking the drug, one’s reasoning and memory would be like rows of bookshelves in a library. Each memory would be organized into its appropriate position. With just one look, anything and everything could be located.
Nonetheless, just like the other substances, NZT-48 had huge negative side effects.
In the original work, the substance seemed like a metaphor for hard drugs. It was a novel that satirized North American society at that time.
In the movie, the substance, just like a drug, would cause dependency. Once the user stopped taking it, they would experience intense withdrawal symptoms.
It included headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and even...
Still, this was not a good reason to scare Chen Chen off.
Even all the drugs in the movies had negative side effects. How could Chen Chen possibly fail to understand that there was no such thing as a free lunch?
Furthermore, Chen Chen specialized in biosciences. As befitting of his field, he could do what the protagonist did by manufacturing an antidote to neutralize the side effects.
With this in mind, Chen Chen immediately turned on his laptop and downloaded Limitless.
After over ten minutes of waiting, the movie was successfully downloaded. Without hesitation, Chen Chen copied it into the USB drive, then clicked play –
After the extended opening shot, the iconic blue eyes of the main character, Eddie Morra, appeared on screen...
Chen Chen clicked on the movie’s progress bar and slowly dragged it forward. At last, the video paused at the part where the protagonist had found the large bag of NZT-48, which his brother-in-law, Vernon, had hidden in the oven.
Chen Chen muttered. At the same time, he subconsciously reached out toward the screen.
Following that, an astounding sight occurred...
In the video, the tightly sealed bag of NZT-48 floated up and gradually drifted toward the camera.
Simultaneously, Chen Chen’s hand seemed to reach through the screen, closer to its target...
Then, there was a soft touch and Chen Chen instinctively grabbed with his right hand!
By the time he had recovered his senses, there was a sealed bag in his hand, around the size of his palm, filled with unknown pills!
He had succeeded!
Chen Chen stood up with a clatter with wild glee shimmering in his eyes.
He turned over the plastic bag in his hand with a look of incomparable wonder. He felt as if he was dreaming!
“Relax, relax. Chen Chen, there’s still much you have to do...”
Chen Chen forced himself to calm down, then he ejected the USB drive. Chen Chen only plugged it out when the computer signified that it could be safely removed.
It was only when he noticed the USB drive’s current appearance that Chen Chen thoroughly regained his composure.
After instantiating a bag of NZT-48, the USB drive was now dull without a hint of gloss. It was like a piece of rubbish that had been left out in the weather and abandoned for decades.
‘I hope it can be recharged...’
Chen Chen prayed silently. He patted his pockets but was not sure where to hide the USB drive.
In his pocket? The quality of the material was so poor. What if it tore?
In the closet? What if someone picked the lock?
Under the bed? That was even worse...
At this point, Chen Chen was like a farmer who had suddenly gained riches. No matter where he hid it, he would feel anxious.
In the end, Chen Chen simply looked for some adhesive tape and bound the USB drive firmly to his arm. He wound the tape four or five times around his arm before he felt remotely safe.
Following that, Chen Chen started up the antivirus software and deleted all the records in his laptop before shutting it down.
“Right, there are still these...”
Chen Chen took out the notebook he had written in and the two Pikachu caps. After that, he fished out a lighter from the drawer and walked toward the toilet.
In the toilet, he set the notebook on fire and tossed it onto the ground, then flung the two caps into the bonfire too.
Five minutes later, Chen Chen exited the toilet. The ashes of the fire had been swept into the urinal and flushed down the pipes. By the time the ventilation fan removed the smell of smoke, there would be nothing left.
After patting the bag of drugs hidden in his underwear, Chen Chen did not return to the dorm but went down toward the animal laboratory center.
He was a student at the Institute of Biological Sciences of Mainland China’s Shangdu Jiao Tong University. Although he had not gone into a narrow specialization, he knew that any new drug must undergo clinical trials.
After all, the NZT-48 extracted from the USB drive could have any sort of chemical composition. Chen Chen was not foolish enough to test it on himself.
Currently, he did not have the means to run clinical trials. However, animal testing was still feasible.
At the animal laboratory center, Chen Chen bought eight Kunming mice and a couple of M1 mouse cages which were used in experiments, along with other apparatuses.
With these items, Chen Chen did not return to the dorm nor did he go to the laboratories. Instead, he went off-campus.
There were too many people in the dorms whereas the experiments in the laboratories were monitored and recorded. Thus, it was not suitable for him.
In the end, Chen Chen carried the two cages of Kunming mice and booked a standard room in a hotel near the campus.
After entering the room, Chen Chen locked the door, then fished out a black marker pen to assign numbers to the white mice. They were numbered 1 to 4 in each cage, separated into two groups.
Following that, he began the experiment.
Chen Chen had to test the toxicity of the NZT-48 drug toward the white mice.
Chen Chen had bought white mice that were purebred for medical purposes. The constitution and immune response of these mice were close to humans and their genomes were highly similar to humans too. Many human diseases would cause similar symptoms in these mice.
In short, if these white mice did not die after ingesting NZT-48, theoretically, Chen Chen should not die either.
First, he sterilized the apparatuses he purchased, then took out an NZT-48 pill and weighed it. Based on his own mass, he calculated the corresponding dose for a mouse. After that, he dissolved it in a solution and diluted it as appropriate.
After completing these preliminary preparations, Chen Chen took out white mouse Number 1 and using a gavage needle, fed it an amount of NZT-48 liquid that was proportionate to his own body weight.
As for white mouse Number 2, Chen Chen fed it twice the dosage. Number 3 had three times the dosage, and Number 4, four times.
He did the same for the second cage of mice.
After feeding them the drug, Chen Chen stored the remaining NZT-48 liquid into a sealed vial, then carefully observed the responses of the two groups of mice.
He was a little relieved that even white mouse Number 4, which had taken four times the dosage, did not seem to change much.
If he was forced to make an observation, he would say they seemed to be livelier than before...
He waited until six in the evening. Nothing abnormal had happened to the two cages of mice.
Chen Chen heaved a sigh of relief. At least he could ascertain that the NZT-48 instantiated from the mysterious USB drive was not acutely toxic.
In terms of chronic toxicity, he still had to observe a while longer.
Seven days – Chen Chen was expecting to wait this long.
As long as nothing abnormal happened within seven days, Chen Chen would begin his daredevil venture.