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- The cause of the Omega's and Isoflex Alpha
- Doctor Gregory Nolan is doing experiments in the area of Energy Production (better, safer methods of generating electricity). He's a contemporary of Eugene, although he got funding where Eugene didn't. He builds a generator that utilizes matter/antimatter annihilation, his small-scale model works and is so efficient that they get the go-ahead to build a full-scale one. His secret is his method of generating the antimatter to begin with [and here's where we're getting into problems of "free energy" if he can just generate antimatter whenever he wants]. When he finally turns on the machine, it outputs a wave of exotic pions - atomizing him entirely in an instant. Then the machine begins operating as expected.
- So, the deal with Nolan Generators is that every once in a while during their operation with antimatter, sometimes the particles they create are mesons - that instead of annihilating to generate power, they combine into a particle that's both matter and antimatter simultaneously (mesons, of which pions are an example, are composed of a quark-antiquark pair). They don't last long (tiny fractions of seconds), but occasionally they create "exotic mesons" which last longer (like maybe a few seconds) and are traveling at relativistic speeds and so manage to travel fairly far before decaying. Some of these, interact with the energy vortices around Ley Line connections. Some of those will result in a liquid compound being created called Isoflux Alpha. When a person is exposed to Isoflux Alpha, sometimes they'll gain powers (which is generally related to who they are and what their immediate environment is - sometimes reinforcing those traits). The amount you encounter largely just effects how quickly a reaction will occur rather than increasing odds that it will occur at all.
- Nick and Jackson just happened to have a run-in with some jerk jocks who push them down into some mud containing Isoflux Alpha - the med-student/nurturing Nick Hernandez becomes a being of pure healing energy and the football-playing Jackson Bognetti gets bigger and tougher than he already was, but the small amount of Isoflux Alpha present meant that the change happened over the course of months. Dante Serpenta, who loves snakes, crashes into a ditch full of the stuff and comes out of it as a giant snake-man immediately. Here's where we get a new setting term - people who change after exposure to Isoflux Alpha are called "Omegas" - Dr. Medico, Mainstay, Night Snake, Quetzalcoatl, and others are Omegas (although they mostly exist in relation to the SS book as it was a tool used by the writers to explain all of the monsters and whatnot - although the backstory involving the Nolan Generator and everything was revealed gradually).
- About the Nolan Generator - it was a thing that existed in the story for quite a while. The system creates antimatter, and that process is the secret one that Nolan didn't pass on to anybody, and so turning off the generator only stops the annihilation process. The antimatter will continue to accumulate and so, as a plot device, you can't turn off the generator given that having lots of antimatter around is a recipe for a huge explosion. As a result, it will also continue to generate Isoflux Alpha unbeknownst to anybody and therefore also continue to create Omegas.