Sunday, December 22, 2013

356: The Mind Parasitoids

ENTRY 356: The Mind Parasitoids

"Oh my ghost, it's adorable!"
- Fan Wong, gatecrasher

On the exoplanet they evolved, the mind parasitoids are the highest form of life. Xenobiologists believe that the hot-pink invertebrates faced unusual competition in their path to dominance over their primeval swamps, likely facing all manner of close relatives parasitoids in competition for resources - most especially host animals - and were forced to develop multiple methods of influencing and altering the behavior of their hosts, and a degree of social organization similar to Terran insects in scale and complexity, actively "farming" certain hosts for food substances and directing other hosts to build dam-nests to create pools for the mind parasitoids to breed in. As near as researchers can tell, at least a thousand years before transhumanity opened the Pandora Gate to their homeworld, the mind parasitoids had spread to every habitable corner of their globe, and stood unchallenged as the nonsentient lords and masters of their world.

To the mind parasitoids, transhumanity must have seemed a frustrating prey. Their skin lacked the chemical gateways that the invertebrates' venom had evolved to pass through the skin and into the nervous system, and their anatomy and biochemistry were very different from the mammaloids that roamed their home exoplanet. All the careful tricks of nature that had made the mind parasitoids absolute in their environment utterly failed them against transhumanity. Worst for them, with their great big eyes and hot pink dermis, transhumans considered them almost irresistibly cute.

While xenobiologists are continuing their studies just to make sure that there's nothing harmful in the mind parasitoid's biology or biochemistry to transhumanity, the gatecrashers that discovered their unnamed homeworld are already planning the media blitz and crunching the numbers on the pet trade, with early responses from focus-groups being very positive.


  • A synth researcher outside the loop of the mind parasitoid main group suspects that the critter's cuteness is more than skin deep - and that the extraterrestrials harbor a bacteria similar to Toxoplasma gondii that is warping transhuman biomorphs to show more affection to the alien brain slugs and possibly spread the infection. The truth is more alarming - the mind parasitoids have a low-level psi power that accomplishes the same thing.
  • Scientists working on "accessories" for mind parasitoid pet owners have designed an interface patch augmentation which can allow the alien invertebrate's native abilities to function on cats, rats...even transhuman biomorphs. Live tests are being run on the exoplanet to see how the mind slugs and their hosts adapt, with the PCs brought in for security. The results are frightening as the transhuman-hosts start building things...and become outright dangerous when the PCs notice a transhuman-host installing an "interface patch" and mind parasitoid on an unwilling researcher!
  • The pet approvals have come through and a bounty has gone up for mind parasitoids - the player characters are sent out with a quota for 1,000 healthy specimens, with a bonus for more. All they have to do is brave the dangers of an alien swamp and a semi-sentient hive of hot-pink alien slugs.

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