The Flare was discovered by Katie McVoy, a scientist of the Post-Flares Coalition (PFC), after she researched the biological weapons that AMRIID had in containment. McVoy believed that the disease worked quickly and painlessly to shut down the brain of its victim and that the infection rate would slowly weaken as it spread to different hosts, eventually stopping altogether. However, after Chancellor John Michael approved the systematic release of the disease, its true effects soon became apparent.
The public was led to believe that it was freed from containment when the Sun Flares destroyed parts of the earth, but that is not the truth. It was revealed in The Death Cure's exclusive files, and in The Kill Order, that the governments of the world created and released it as a population control method. This was due to the need to control the general populace during the turbulent times of the sun flares, as well as to cut population, due to the destruction of food resources by the sun flares.
A small percentage of the populations were labelled as Immunes - people that are not affected by The Flare. WICKED attempted to use the Immunes to find a cure by looking at how the brains of the Immune people reacted to certain situations, as well as the physical make-up of the brain of the Final Candidate. People immune to the Flare include Thomas, Minho, Brenda, Jorge, most of the Gladers and some of Group B. Immunes were very rare, comprising less than 1% of the Earth's population. A deep feeling of hatred is often felt by Cranks towards those who are uninfected or Immune to the Flare.
There are various stages of the Flare. Early on in the disease, a Flare-infected person will often feel "off" somehow, exhibiting symptoms such as sudden mood swings, paranoia, irrational anger, and aggression. These symptoms gradually worsen, stripping the victim of their humanity and turning them into a cannibalistic, zombie-like creature. When they have gotten to the point where sanity is completely lost, they are referred to as being 'Past The Gone.'
An extremely active brain, often triggered by stress, will quicken the rate at which the virus grows. Due to this, a treatment (not a cure) known as the Bliss was created to sedate a person's senses and neural activity. However, the costly drug is only affordable by the extremely wealthy and only delays the inevitable. The Bliss slows the brain's activity, making a person seem more relaxed in a situation. It is quite easy to tell if a person has been taking the drug.
The second film portrays Cranks as black-veined, long-armed zombie-like creatures. Strange vine-like growths protrude from their bodies, and they do not seem to be capable of speech.
- Winston (movie)
- Group B member
- Thomas' parents
- Brenda (movie)
- The cult that Deedee is from
- Many other people across the whole globe
In The Game of Lives (book three of James Dashner's Mortality Doctrine series), the protagonist is described as a Flare-infected Crank.
- ↑ Crank palaces are filled with Flare-infected people who have just arrived and are at an early stage of the disease, and others who are past the Gone and have become completely mad and cannibalistic.