ENTRY 187: Parasitoid Pod
Parasitoid pods were developed by exhumans experimenting with different ecological relationships. As the name implies, the parasitoid pod spends the majority of its existence within another living entity, most often another transhuman morph or pod. The elongated body of the parasitoid pod curls amid the host organism’s guts, tapping into its circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems to derive basic nutrition; early efforts at tapping into the host’s nervous system were eventually abandoned in favor of using basic Mesh protocols.
Unlike natural parasitoids, the parasitoid pod does not enter the host’s system innocuously and grow slowly over time. Implantation (and escape/removal) tend to be traumatic experiences for the host; the average parasitoid pod is 1-2 meters long and 2-4 centimeters in diameter, and the morph is quite capable of chewing its way in (or out) using its claws, though most egos prefer surgery to avoid placing undo stress on the host. Once installed, the parasitoid places an increased burden on the host’s system, requiring greater food and water intake to sustain both systems.
The reasons behind occupying a parasitoid pod differ from ego to ego, and tend to be complicated. Some exhumans simply prefer the lifestyle, where they are kept warm and nestled womb-like in the guts of another morph—either a chosen victim, or a pod selected specifically as a carrier and to aid in interaction with transhumanity at a greater remove. Alternately, some transhumans have taken to carrying a parasitoid pod as a quick “back up” morph that they can quickly resleeve into should their regular morph be damaged (or if they need to abandon it quickly). Practical egos in need for subterfuge have noted the advantages of hiding within another morph, and Firewall has become aware that parasitoid pods are difficult to discern with psi sleights, perhaps masked by the host’s nervous system.
Generic Parasitoid Pod Stats
Parasitoid pods have all of the advantages of pods (Eclipse Phase, p.142).
Enhancements: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Clean Metabolism, Cyberbrain, Puppet Sock
Aptitude Maximum: 25 (5 for Coordination, Reflexes, and Somatics)
Wound Threshold: 2
Advantages: Psi Chameleon (when in host), Fang Attack (1d10 DV, use Unarmed Combat skill)*
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod), Unfit (2), Blind, Deaf, Mute, No hands but five hundred feet
CP Cost: 10
Credit Cost: High
* Success is automatic if the parasitoid is already installed in a host.
Entering or leaving a host biomorph inflicts 1d10 DV on the host morph per round, and typically takes 1 round per every meter long the parasitoid pod is (or longer, if the entry is contested by grabbing the parasitoid as it enters). The parasitoid pods typically enter or exit from a point just within the host’s mouth or anus, but other places are possible. Once installed, the host’s cost of living increase by 25% as their needs for water, oxygen, and nutrition increase. Parasitoid morphs can be removed surgically, though they will often seek to leave of their own accord if they become aware of this, or can be poisoned by various medications (treat as a poison, but half cost and only the parasitoid is effected, not the host). When removed from the host, parasitoid pods have limited ability to accept nutrition—if they do not enter another host or a vat of nutrient and oxygen-rich fluids within 24 hours, the pod will expire. In some habitat sewer systems, a parasitoid pod could theoretically survive indefinitely without a host.