Friday, April 17, 2015

107. Bone Mites

Weaponized nanotechnology produces some of the most horrific corpses one might see, that is, if there is a corpse at all. Dissasemblers might be programmed to dissolve organic matter, but leave clothing and equipment perfectly intact, or dissolve only keratin, removing victims' nails, hair, and skin. TITAN nanoswarms are, if anything, more humane than their transhuman designed counterparts; they are at least fast and thorough.

The TITANs, of course, developed autonomous, self-sufficient and self-replicating nanoswarms far beyond what has been achieved by transhumanity. When the TITANs suddenly left, nanoswarms, like many other autonomous, intelligent, evolving and/or replicating TITAN tech, began growing, spreading, and changing. What the bone mites could have originally been intended for is a mystery,

Much like colonial swarms, bone "mites" (nanites) are eusocial, although as TITAN tech, their intelligence may be much higher. Whereas colonial swarms build their hives out of any locally available materials, bone mites use mammalian bodies (they have been noted to ignore avian and octopus uplifts). Specifically, the mites induce a form of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva in their victims. Once the victims have been paralyzed through ossification, the mites begin burrowing through the bone, forming tunnels and chambers much like an ant colony.

The mites do not kill their victims. In fact, they seem to take specific actions to keep their host alive, leaving the brain and supporting tissues intact, regulating their activity like medichines, and importantly, making slow changes to the structure of the brain. This last action has suggested to researchers that the mites have goal; they do not live in ossified bodies because they have to, but because they need to use transhuman brains as a substrate for their own calculations.

Mechanics

Victims of bone mites lose 1 point of SOM, COO, and REF per hour. Once any of these attributes reaches zero, they are paralyzed. From then on, victims take 1d10 SV per hour until killed or rescued. Medichines prevent progression, but nanophages are required for total immunity.

While hunting for new hosts, treat bone mites as a nanoswarm. During infection, bone mites can be treated as a nanotoxin.

Notes

Inspired by SCP-439.

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