So Doctor Promethean got back to me on the whole woman-mummified-by-sunnless-tanning-lotion thing. The lotions we confiscated contained high levels of dihydroxyacetone and sodium carbonate decahydrate suspended in a matrix of cyclomethicone. The first is common in tanning products, the second was used by the ancient Egyptians to mummify the dead and the third is basically silicone. There were also traces of various vitamins, aloe and [REDACTED], a chemical used medically to carry compounds through the skin. Most worryingly was the discovery of a compound unknown to science but known to the department as “VvFS.”
Doctor Promethean is the only living world expert in VvFS and has created 4 variations of the compound based upon the original, VvFS-2 through to 5. However the compound we discovered in the lotion was not one of these. Doctor Promethean has dubbed it VvFS-b1.
VvFS, in every known variant, is psychoactive, mutagenic and Fictionally-active. It’s most dramatic property is its ability, when combined with a suitable energy source, to restore activity to inactive biological tissues. Indeed when combined with the mutagenic properties it’s possible to use it to create, what are in essence, chimeric organisms from previously dead tissues. It even appears to be able to reverse and hold off recent tissue degeneration; reverse decomposition in other words.
In living tissue the effects are less dramatic but no less concerning. Living subjects exposed to it tend to become closer to their mental image of themselves. This might not seem so bad if your mental image is several pounds lighter, physically fitter and more intellectually active. However this is a process as much of the Id as the Ego and it is common for a person’s darker aspects to manifest themselves, both psychologically and physically. In the infamous case of an Edinburgh doctor it resulted in a split personality in which he alternated between his virtuous self and a rampaging psychopathic monster driven by the most base of impulses.
Furthermore the transformations wrought by the serum push the subject away from human norms. Quite often this puts them into what we call the Uncanny Valley. They become subtly and instinctively disturbing to us; either inhumanly beautiful or ugly depending upon the nature of their transformation.
However it is theoretically possible that someone with the right psychological profile could take a variant of VvFS and become a ‘perfect’ human being; free of all weakness, physically and mentally superior to the rest of us; a transformed human, a post human being, a paragon. Indeed there were some experiments during both world wars, on both sides, with using VvFS variants to create “super soldiers” with minimal successes. I’m not cleared to pass on the details at this time but every single record I have access to shows that the experiments resulted in the destruction of both the subjects and the facilities they were carried out in. In two thirds of the situations detailed the facilities were destroyed by the same forces responsible for their creation. The remainder were either destroyed by opposing forces or by the test subjects themselves.
Dr [REDACTED], whom I have now codenamed “Dr Tequila;” his idea not mine, tells me that the two women who collapsed when we tried to question them have also undergone spontaneous mummification. He suspects that it may be due to prolonged exposure to the lotion followed by sudden withdrawal. This puts us, the department, in a sticky situation. We can’t order the withdrawal of the lotion from the market without killing possibly thousands of people.
Thankfully not my decision to make.