Dr. Rowen Sharpe – 30/03/2023
Celeste Hills, Jervo, Novella Islands
Novellan National News Service
Next-generation defoliant passes final testing and approval phases
The Novella Islands Industrial Chemicals Corporation (NIICC) today unveiled its latest product offering, with a rather decisive practical demonstration. Chem-7 Gen.2 – the rather clinical official designation for the chemical, which has the more memorable codename, “Green Wave” – was shown off to both chemical industry professionals and military officials, at a secluded field in rural Jervo. As a large cargo aircraft flew overhead, a thick purple mist filled the sky, and slowly settled upon the rice crops before the gathered congregation. Over the next hour, the plants turned from their vibrant green, to a sickly yellow, before finally settling on a decisively deceased-looking brown.
The NIICC, in their public report, outlined in detail the mechanism of action of the chemical, although stopped short of releasing either an exact chemical description, or the production method. “Green Wave” acts on the chlorophyll within the plants cells – the green pigment inside the plant, allowing it to convert sunlight into energy – effectively starving the plant of any sustenance. While the previous generation of this line of chemical defoliant – Chem-7 Gen.1, “Green Rain” – also acted upon the chloroplasts of the plants, its mechanism of action was to stop their reproduction. This allowed the plants to continue to grow, until their existing cells died out, potentially allowing a smaller harvest to be made.
“Green Wave” is expected to be primarily produced for use by the military, either to remove extensive vegetation used as cover by enemy forces, or to starve an opponent out in a siege. Both applications have been developed in concert with military planners, with the aim being to avoid more conventional methods of attack, which may cause direct loss of life.
The chemical may also see a smaller use by the farming industry, for use in land clearing and other related activities, although precisely what effects the substance has on human subjects has not been comprehensively tested and verified. While early research demonstrates an acute level of toxicity only in substantially greater quantities than would be consumed in normal circumstances, the NIICC has committed to adding a bitterant to the mixture in production, in order to dissuade human or animal consumption of affected crops.
Nonetheless, many activists have condemned the demonstration and development of the chemical weapon, arguing it falls afoul of the Dell Government’s commitment to disarmament under the recent Indiscriminate Weapons Partial Ban Act 2023, a claim which is resoundingly rejected by the Office of the First Minister.
“The development of new technologies is not in and of itself a violation of the act, and indeed, developing safer and more humane weapons is a cornerstone of our requirement under the law,” a spokesperson for Dr. Edmund Dell said. “The Novella Islands takes both its domestic legal obligations and its public commitments to international law very seriously.”
It is expected that industrial-scale production of the chemical will begin within the next few months, and will become available to the farming industry after comprehensive testing of any adverse effects has completed, thereafter.