Experiment D

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Experiment D

The participants of Experiment D were kept completely underground for the entire length of the experiment. They were informed that this was a social experiment, to see how groups of people could cope with the changes of being forced to live in underground bomb shelters.

The bomb shelter

When the participants were first put underground, it was in a small bomb shelter. Very lost-hatch-like. There was a kitchen/dining room, a large communal bathroom, a living area, a small gym, a computer room, and several bedrooms. Each bedroom was identical, housing four bunks built into the walls. Participants were encouraged to take vitamin D every day, though it was not mandatory. The computer had, of course, no internet access, but several computer games. An interesting note is that none of the games playable had sunlight, either. There was a copy of the Sims 2 that had been edited to ONLY have nighttime. Interestingly enough, any sims created always ended up going insane or dying in horrible accidents.

Within a month of living in the bomb shelter, participants were going stir-crazy, and making demands on their computer journals to be let out, or given a new place to go. 32 days into the experiment, their wish was granted. A secret trap door was left open in the kitchen, with a ladder going down some twenty feet into a narrow tunnel. The tunnel was bare, and let on for several hundred feet, down twists and turns, leading to...

The house

The house was an interesting place. At one point the tunnel opened up into a massive underground room, larger than an airplane hanger. At the far end of the open space was a house. There was even a fake lawn, complete with fake grass, flowers, bushes, and trees. The house was a large Victorian mansion, which almost looked like a movie set. The house was sturdy, but still looked like it had been very recently built. Initially, several participants were afraid to enter it. But, the house held. Inside, things were a bit... surreal.

It looked like a perfect home out of the 1950s. All furniture was new, but in styles popular in those days. Many things inside the house also looked like a 1950s vision of the future - including some contraptions that looked like they'd come straight out of the Jetsons. In the kitchen, there was no fridge, but a panel where you only had to push a button and request what you wanted, for it to be near-instantly provided. There was a robot dog and a robot cat wandering around at all times. The house was always clean, even if the participants didn't clean it themselves. There were also fake views from the windows of every room. Each room had a different view - in the kitchen, it was a picturesque backyard and swingset. In one of the bedrooms, it was a busy cityscape. All of these views had artificial sunlamps set to timers. These lights from the window views were the ONLY exposure to artificial sunlight that they had.

The house had a kitchen, dining room, living room, game room, laundry room, and several bed and bathrooms. Curiously, there was NO computer in the house, although there were plenty of high-tech gadgets. There were also NOT enough beds for all participants to move into the house. Some either had to agree to sleep up in the bunker, or participants had to agree to alternate beds. This didn't work so well. Everyone had been going stir-crazy for a month with so little space, and by the time the tunnel to the house opened up, everyone was on edge with tempers flaring. Trying to decide who went where lead to several large fights, leading the group to form a sort of council and voting system, lest it become anarchy.

Additionally, after a month of having only the bomb shelter to move about in, all participants found they were weaker compared to when they first entered the experiment. Climbing the ladder was difficult for people, and actually lead to at least one serious injury. The first few trips back and forth from the bunker to the house were extremely tiring. The participants had to build their strength back up once they had more room to move about.

The tunnels

The house was not the first change to their world. After a week of living in the house (or taking turns living in the house), things began to change. The closet disappeared from one bedroom, and another closet across the house doubled in size. The next day all closet dimensions changed. The next, all ROOM dimensions changed. The participants began to make daily measurements of the rooms to prove they were not going crazy. Forty days in, the bunker changed drastically. Everything but the kitchen and the computer room disappeared entirely. On that day, a secret door opened in the house that lead to a basement. In the basement were three doors, each leading down a different tunnel.

Attempts at exploring the tunnels didn't go far. Each tunnel dead-ended after about fifty feet. The housemates would have dismissed the three tunnels entirely, if it weren't for the fact that some time later, another tunnel opened up. This one lead back to the original tunnel that had taken them from the bunker to the house in the first place. They tried to ignore the tunnels, but could not. They began to hear the echo of footsteps coming from tunnels - ALL tunnels, and even when everyone in the experiment was accounted for. Within a weeks time they were hearing all sorts of noises from the tunnels. Animals growling, people whispering and murmuring, laughter, crying... the sound carried, and was impossible to ignore. When exploring the initial three tunnels for the source of the sound, they found that each of the tunnels had grown, the end of each impossible to be seen.

After a while, they made the decision to search the tunnel where the crying was coming from. After what felt like a mile of twists and turns, they found a ladder down - into a tunnel completely filled with water. Initially, the housemates were too scared to try and swim through it, so they headed back and tried another tunnel. The tunnel with the laughter lead to a maze of tunnels. The group got seriously lost, but were able to follow the laughter to a door that lead - you guessed it - to another tunnel, up a ladder, and down through a trap door in the ceiling of the computer room in the original bunker. The tunnels with the whispers and murmurs, and the tunnel with the growls, both lead to a large spiral staircase. The whispers tunnel's staircase went up. The growls went down. Groups tried each and walked for hours, but they never found the end of the stairs. If they ascended the staircase in the whispers tunnel, temperatures rose to over 100 degrees F, and they turned back. If they descended the staircase in the growling tunnel, temperatures dipped near zero. All initial searches failed in finding the sources of the noises.

Physical and mental effects of the participants
Those that survived the experiment have to deal with a number of effects from their time underground. These include (but are not limited to!)

  • Vitamin D deficiency. Those with darker skintones were even more susceptible to vitamin d deficiency. Most prominent are the bone deficiency conditions that can occur. Bone Mineral Density will occur at varying degrees. Osteoporosis can set in, and bones may be more brittle than that of the average person. What this means is brittle bones--which means they are far more likely to break bones than anyone else. Beyond the bone density issues, it can contribute to increased susceptibility to the following ailments: high blood pressure, cancer, chronic pain, depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, and several autoimmune diseases.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder. This disorder is basically a seasonally dictated depression. It could hit with participants of this experiment specifically due to the sudden cut off from any seasons, being underground with no access to the normal world. It can manifest in different ways, including all symptoms of normal depression, irritability, excessive sleep patterns along with sugary or starchy food cravings.
  • Solipsism Syndrome. This is the belief that reality around the person isn't actually real. This extends to all events as well as people. Everything seems to be viewed as more like a dream, that the sufferer can't wake from. They become detached and lonely, eventually becoming apathetic as well. One thing that seems to have popped up in participants is the idea that because it's all a dream, then their actions have no consequences, considering none of it is real. So if there are no consequences, if no one around them is real...what will they do?
  • Weaker to exposure to natural light. Because these people have been underground for so long, their skins have all gone much paler, and their eyes are too weak to handle a lot of sunlight. They will all need to be in therapy that slowly reintroduces them to exposure to natural light. This doesn't mean they can't go outside. It means they can't be outside for long periods, because they will burn very easily and badly. A lot of sunlight will also give them migraines fairly easily if they aren't wearing very dark sunglasses.
  • Agoraphobia. Some participants may experience agoraphobia, fear of wide open spaces. They will want to surround themselves with walls at all times, and may become Shut Ins(individuals who refuse to leave their home, and suffer crippling panic attacks at being forced to exit their living space.) They will not be comfortable outside for any length of time, and will want to keep walls around them at all times.
  • Claustrophobia. Some participants may experience claustrophobia after having been in an enclosed space for such a long period of time. They won't like being shut up anywhere, tight spaces may send them into a panic attack, and they will try to avoid any situation where they might be locked in somewhere. They would avoid elevators, basements, or any other area they aren't able to view exits in. They want to surround themselves with open, airy places, and may want to spend most of their time outside.

Experiment Overview

January

The participants get to know each other and their surroundings for the next year. It takes only days for everyone to feel the effects of being invaded of all privacy and personal space, being in such a limited place. Personalities clash and lead to a very volatile, stir-crazy month.

February

On the first of February, an open trap door is found that leads down into the first tunnel, and to the house. Everyone realizes that they've become physically weak, and just making the short trip down the ladder and through the tunnel is enough to exhaust all of them. Three participants are terrified of the house, but when it is revealed that there aren't enough beds inside for everyone, fights - some of them physical - erupt. It takes several days for people to calm down and work together. While several participants openly oppose the idea of a council or voting system, they are outnumbered.

On February 7th, things in the house start changing. This leads to even more paranoia. On February 10th, the bunker changes drastically - and now there are not enough beds for all the participants, and no sleeping in the bunker. A door appears in the kitchen of the house, leading to a basement. In the basement are doors to three dead-end tunnels.

A week later sounds started coming through the tunnels. This was ignored for a few days, until a few couldn't take anymore and searched them out. All searches were abandoned when no end or source of sound could be found. The noises do not stop.

On the 27th, a participant disappeared for the first time. Thuyet Lam was never seen again. He'd been very quiet through-out most of their time there, and kept to himself as much as humanly possible. The participants tried to come up with an explanation of where he had gone and how he might be safe, but few people agreed on what was most likely.

March

Immediately after Thuyet disappeared, Remy Wilkes becomes convinced that Thuyet must have left in search of finding a way out. He argues that this may be exactly what the scientists are waiting for - for people to find their own way out. As he was initially one of the biggest trouble-makers in the group, and one that fought a council system tooth and nail, he has trouble convincing a lot of people - though he does plant the seed of doubt.

Eric Greene, a likeable, somewhat shy man that was one of the elected council, began to wonder if Remy had a point. Unfortunately, a woman he'd grown very close to in the experiment - his girlfriend, Leigh Welsley, was beginning to develop claustrophobia from their time underground. She did not like the tunnels, and would stay in the house and hanger at all costs. One night in the bunker, she and Remy got into an argument, in which she shoved him - accidentally shoving him down the open trap door. Remy suffered several serious injuries from the fall - including a dislocated shoulder and elbow from getting his arm caught in a ladder rung on the way down, and a broken leg. Remy would not be able to go journeying through ANY tunnels now.

Leigh was horrified by what she'd done. The group now had two very serious problems - how should Leigh be punished, and how could they help Remy? There was no facility to properly treat serious medical conditions. Eric didn't stick around to find out. He and two others - Alegria Nunes and Luke Watson - left in the night, leaving a note to say they'd gone through the underwater tunnel. Several participants went with flashlights to try and see if they'd made it, but they couldn't see anything. They also didn't find any bodies.

April

Arguments raged over what to do with Leigh, though little came of them. Indecision put the decisions off for too long, and due to complications with his injuries, Remy died in the second week of April. The closest anyone came to dealing with the problem of punishment is putting Leigh under room arrest, which Leigh cooperated with fully.

After a lot more debate, it was decided that Remy's body would be taken care of in the incinerator, since no one had any other good way of dealing with a corpse. The tunnels were not in any way able to be dug into--people tried, who greatly opposed the incineration idea, but it proved impossible. Due to rotting, the decision was made and Remy was incinerated. All other corpses were treated the same.

Late in the month, there was a period of three or four days where the lights failed. This left everyone in complete darkness(the flashlights only lasted so long, after all) and it lead to hallucinations and intense fear/paranoia/claustrophobia. The lights returned, but that long in the pitch black left a mark on just about everyone.

May

The effects of Vitamin D deprivation were starting to really be seen--there were several broken bones to attempt to tend to during the month, and without proper medical facilities. Most of the breaks were clean and were set as well as possible, though not all were set perfectly. One participant, Bapoto Ba suffered a broken leg, and died later, no one is positive how, though it's speculated that it was the result of a blood clot from the break.

Everyone was advised to take things as easy as possible, but the general attitude is one of worry and sickness. Arguments broke out over simple labor tasks, and it eventually lead to lotteries being drawn for certain jobs to be handled. However, due to the increased likelihood of broken bones, most tasks were done with more than one person contributing--even if normally it would be a one person job.

June

It becomes obvious that people couldn't keep up watch for Leigh's room, and guard duty for it became patchy. It also became evident that she didn't seem to notice, or if she did, it had not altered her behavior at all. She remained under self-imposed room arrest. Eventually she was told that she is no longer under arrest, as everyone seemed to feel there were bigger and more important things to deal with. Even after being told this, she still adhered to room arrest, and later in the month was found dead. It was deemed a suicide, though no one knew for sure.

July

It's the month of crazy tunnels. This month the tunnels expanded and retracted, seemingly at random, and sometimes they changed path completely overnight. People exploring the tunnels often would get lost for days, no trace of them whatsoever, only for them to return, sometimes with stories of tunnels no longer being present in the morning when they woke, and sometimes with no memory at all of what transpired. Still others reported only believing they had been gone for a few hours or a day, as opposed to the several they were missing. During this time no one seemed to go permanently missing, but most who ventured into the tunnels at all at some point spend time lost.

August

This month everything kicked up a notch. Not only were the sounds in the tunnels still there, but they'd gotten louder. Unignoreable. There were occasional poundings in the walls, seeming to be trying to send codes, the patterns were all the same, but no one could interpret them. Also, when looking in the tunnels, shadows up ahead or behind would appear, though no one ever found the source of them. Footsteps, almost in synch with those exploring were heard, but not quite, and they would stop a few seconds after. They were coming from either just beyond the bend either in front or behind any people in the tunnels, but no one ever discovered a source for them either.

September

The household was pretty sure fairly quickly that the scientists had put them on mild hallucinogens. People were consistently seeing things--though never the same things, and everyone was behaving rather oddly. There were both auditory and visual hallucinations going on, good trips, bad trips, trips for everyone--until the experiment got discovered, and the participants were rescued.