The Madness Dossier: WORMWOOD
NIGHTMARES MADE FLESH
They're the power elite. You see them on the street, on television; you may even vote for one this fall. You think they're human; you're wrong. They have infiltrated human society by preying on its greed, pride, lust for conquest and power. They use mind control and psychic abilities to destroy their enemies. They have power, they have control, and they can turn anyone against you; anyone.
They are thefirst of two known ETI (Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) species collectively referred to as 'esuritio', or 'locusts': the visser, 'fishers of men.'
The visser goals are simple in principle and frighteningly complex in execution: by 'protecting' human society while keeping it on the brink of chaos, they feed. Like locusts, eventually they will strip the Earth of life and resources, moving on to another reality, to infect its consciousness, to reproduce and conquer.
The visser reproduce rarely, thanks to some property of History A or Earth itself inflicting crippling, monstrous genetic defects on their human hosts. When they risk breeding or transferring their consciousness to a suitable host, they do so by infecting humans with memetics.
Visser come into being ontologically, warping the human body into their own nightmarish forms. Every one of them is unique, created from the darkest desires and fears of their victims. As the creature grows, its power to affect the minds of others grows with it, in time becoming nearly irresistible.
Recent events have altered the nature of this data. In the wake of OPERATION PRODIGAL, the Project has learned additional intelligence on the visser life-cycle.
The visser meme-parasite moves through several distinct life phases in a human body:
- The mememorph phase is their default 'infective' state, transmitted by a number of mediums. At this stage, the visser is not sentient; it is a memetic parasite capable of rewriting the DNA of its sentient host as an adaptation. During the mememorph phase, visser mortality is extremely high as the physical changes necessary to support the parasite often lead to the death or crippling mutation of the host via amplification as the mememorph transitions from information to a physical state. During the initial phase, the mememorph also engages in a 'war of ideas' with copies of itself, further endangering the host. Ultimately, a single visser mememorph emerges victorious and advances to the next stage.
- The second stage of a visser's lifespan/infection is the transition to tremetode, a wormlike parasite created from the host's neural tissue. The trematode attaches itself to a major blood-bearing organ like the liver or kidneys, and continues to grow as it infiltrates the host's body. During this time, medical examination might mistake the trematode as a parasite or malignant carcinoma, and certain therapies can limit (but not halt) it growth. Certain of the host's organs are altered fully or replaced entirely, and an novel structure, the 'goose neck' infiltrates the spinal column and brain, replacing certain vital functions and destroying the frontal and pre-frontal cortices. With the growth of the 'goose neck' structure (so named after the gooseneck barnacle), the host experiences personality death and the visser develops independent sentience.
- The final stage of adaptation settles the visser in the formerly human host. This stage of the visser-as-parasite, retains the prior stages' danger of spontaneous malignant mutation, though at a much-reduced chance. The host's internal organs and structures are repurposed and dynamically re-engineered to fully-support the visser, and the host's memories and personalities are literally digested and incorporated into the hybrid creature's own personality. The visser have enhanced cognitive abilities, perhaps owing to whatever purpose they originally served for the ETI.
The physical changes to the host give the visser hybrids a decidedly inhuman appearance, with semi-piscine eyes, areas of discolored or seemingly-ulcerated skin (though this is pigmentation and texture-based, rather than injury or disease), and a wider, lipless mouth similar to a lamprey or hagfish.
The addition of a tymbal structure that uses the visser's breathing and electrochemistry to produce the equivalent of a variant SANGUSH meme, allows a visser to conceal its actual appearance. This 'normalcy' effect extends to audiovisual media as well, barring specific forms of shielding derived from TEMPEST or long-range film photography.
Once the transformation of the host is complete, the visser hybrid is fully-capable of blending in seamlessly with human society and possesses a full suite of memetic abilities, including (but not limited to) manipulation of human perception and hypnotic and subliminal suggestion.
A few visser develop further abilities, classified as EPSILON – quantum-kinetic manipulation, alteration of matter states, and terminal interference with the normal electrochemical functions of the human brain. These visser gravitate to leadership roles in the shadow society the creatures maintain as representatives of the strongest members of the species.
Visser have a more limited but still powerful understanding of memetic technologies than SANDMAN's original foes, the annunakai, but their direct intervention in human society at its highest levels, ability to conceal themselves, and infectious capabilities make them deadly opponents.
This species is considered a Class Black existential threat. Agents are advised to capture if possible and kill if necessary.