A seemingly parasitic lifeform, with the only known example found only in a desolate, fossil-like wreckage, the Innumerian is much larger than the it's initial forms may suggest. In fact, the initial worms are mere blood cells, if one may, obtaining the materials needed to protect, maintain, and grow the hive, which is in all actuality the true Innumerian.
Life Cycle Edit
Though little is known of the full capabilities of the Innumerian race, the dormant worms on Tei Tenga IV left enough to make one cautious.
Calling itself The Innumerable, the strain displayed an ability to rapidly assimilate or control organic material through use of what was originally thought to be the Innumerian life form, an initially rather small ringed worm with a heavily toothed mouth filled with specialized microorganisms.
Gestating in small eggs up to centuries at a time, they would hatch upon detecting an organic presence, and the then-minuscule worm would immediately seek out the presence, either instinctively or by telepathic guidance, if there is an established hive in range.
In the case of humanoid beings such as Irkens, the worm would then attempt to seek the head or neck and burrow in, it's microorganisms immediately going to work as it attempt to establish a link to the host and begin to assimilate their flesh for the needs of the Hive, which in all actuality is, in itself, the Innumerian.
At this stage, upon successfully establishing a link to the host's nervous system, the worm then acts as a relay to the Innumerian Hive-Mind; an intelligent network of organic brain-like material with powerful psychic powers. In the case that there is no hivemind within range of the worm, however, the host is broken down by the worm into raw biomass, which is then mostly specialized into the base gray matter of a new hivemind node, and starts the life of another Innumerian.
In the event that there is no need for another hivemind node, however, the host is commonly turned into a meatpuppet with which the hivemind is able to morph to it's will, given sufficient material. Meatpuppets can take virtually any form with enough material, though one of the most common mutations known is the 'shambler'; a multi-purpose meatpuppet possessing biomass cysts and enhanced strength to support the growing worm, and is capable of wielding available weaponry such as a shock-spear. Most of the time the host's mind is either lost, driven insane, or consumed by the hivemind.
Notably, in some cases (especially so with Irkens, due to their PAK), some individuals are doomed to witness their body be horribly mutated and manipulated to further their new master's ends. Some of the time this is purposeful, in the case of Irken Captain Sevo, while other times this is only an anomaly, and in both cases the host will try to warn those it approaches, or beg for death.
With a hivemind, a host, and a purpose, the Innumerian lifeform will begin to accumulate more and more meatpuppets and biomass. Upon reaching a sufficient level, the hivemind will attempt to centralize itself in a secure location, becoming even more powerful and gaining the ability to subjugate the minds of nonsentient beings. At this point, it will also attempt to organize itself, with the infestation aboard the Majestic taking root in the Command center as the life form begins to manifest itself proper. Notably, 'organs' dedicated to various functions, such as nests in the Majestic's food-storage pods taking root for more advanced horrors.
A summary of the above: Worm form hatches, finds host. Host becomes biomass, brain, or meat puppet. Innumerian is formed and/or grows to the centralized intelligence level. Hive begins to form massive organ-like sections. What is beyond that is speculation, but judging from the starship-like fossilized wreckage found on Tei Tenga IV, it is very likely that the Innumerian lifeform can grow to the point of interplanetary travel using it's own body. Given the possible longevity of the lifeform, it is conceivable that the Innumerian is capable of making interstellar voyages, despite a lack of FTL technology, the hard way.
Notable forms Edit
Worm Eggs and Worms Edit
What it says on the tin. Worm eggs are the primary source of the parasitic 'blood cells' of the Innumerian, which is the basic worm. While it is unknown what the full spectrum of colors the worm may take is, worms from the Tei Tenga lifeform took on a maggot-white hue, and grew from about the size of a pinkie, all the way to the size of an arm, elbow-down. Acts as a Psychic Relay for the Hive-Mind.
Notably, it's filled with and covered in the microorganisms that convert organic material to usable biomass, and possesses a sucker-like mouth with three toothed 'hooks' in addition to surprisingly strong muscles.
A form unique to infestations with Irkens present, the PAK-lid (alternatively just paklid) is essentially a PAK with a worm inside of it, infesting and corrupting it until it's completely under the worm, and thus the hive's, control. Durable, small, and agile, paklids primarily serve as a sort of powered armor for the worm, with it's arsenal at the worm's disposal. The Irken consciousness inside is almost always gone, or shattered and left without an inkling of sanity.
Notably, the paklid can wrestle control from someone without corrupting them if they attach, though the standard rules almost always apply when it's on a non-Irken (the PAK kills them due to incompatible biology).
An individual controlled by a paklid has a chance of being saved, as the worm often remains inside the PAK, minimizing infection and corruption of the host's flesh.
The basic form of humanoid meat-puppet, shamblers are commonly rather unchanged, save for the biomass cysts, enhanced strength, and somewhat weaker flesh due to structural changes wrought by the worms. Their minds are commonly drained, lost, or insane, and if the hivemind has assimilated a being with basic knowledge on operating firearms or swinging things, then they will be imbued with those abilities.
Irken Shamblers will sometimes retain the use of their PAK, and will continue to function despite a lack of a PAK. Or a limb, or four. They're often not exactly durable, but they can take some work to kill.
Notably, they're highly adaptable and can change shape at will given sufficient Hive Intelligence/Corruption of the Host, and may grow tough, bone-like armor or weapons.
Short for 'Scavenger', Scav is the term used to refer to the type of meat-puppet that transports eggs and worms inside of it, usually scavenging around for any potential source of biomass to inject said eggs and worms into. In the case of Irken Hosts, Scavengers generally resemble the individual they once were, save for an exposed chest cavity filled with eggs and young worms. Their skin is often covered in cysts and tough, bone-like patches of armor, and their hands are often warped into hollow claws through which worms and eggs are injected.
Incapable of wielding weaponry, the mind of the host is either lost, driven mad, or focused on corrupting others with the dozens of parasitic worms within. The body of a Scav is often optimized for speed and durability, with most of the useless mass and organs within converted to worm eggs, resulting in a quick and hard-to-kill monster who can turn friend into foe with ease. They drip freshly-born worms and eggs everywhere they go, and once they've exhausted their payload of either, they often break down into another useful form, or get recycled.
More to be added at a later date.
Other Facts Edit
- The Majestic infestation in the original Trials and Errors is currently non-canon fanon, but as the only current RP with the appearance of the Innumerian lifeform it works well enough.
- The Innumerians are based heavily upon System Shock 2's The Many, with influences from XCOM's Chryssalids and Dead Space mixed in as well.