Cortical Borer (Entity)
This article refers to the being. For the article pertaining to round type, see Cortical Borer
Cortical Borers are beings reminiscent to a slug-worm hybrid. They're slimy, unpleasant, and about the width of the average ear canal. They breath through their skin when outside of their host and via the host's blood when inside of a host. They have no mouths, but instead feature an indent in the front lined with long nerve endings. Besides this hole there are two specialized appendages designed to wire their nerves to their host's brain.
Borers were never formally discovered, as their existence is only known about in rumors, generally only known by Nanotrasen's highest ranking researchers. While some rumors slip down, little past "zombie parasite" will be known about to the research department, and nothing to anyone outside.
The Unabridged Lexicon
Cortical Borers are short, thin, and highly compact beings, with their body's exterior being mostly muscle and contracted while outside of a host/water. Their flesh is highly porous and must remain moist to allow gas exchange, for this is their main method of oxygenating their blood outside of their host. The slime that coats the exterior of the borer contains a weak numbing agent to help mitigate the feeling of forceful entry through the ear canal. Their own brain runs down their back in a sort of spine format, being coated with a thin layer of a chitin/bone compound for protection. Their underbelly has a similar coating, forming a type of flexible rib-like structure that only connects to the brain-spine and the opposite side’s flesh. Their flesh itself is a soft, thin, weak layer that is easily pierced. Due to the nature of their home planet’s environment, borers are cold-blooded conformers, requiring a heat source to remain alive. It is for these reasons that being inside a host is favorable.
Once inside, their rear forks will burrow into soft tissues within the skull and set up a similar form of exchange system to that of a child in the womb. From there, the borer will wire in a few basic neurons to allow them to hear, see, and feel what the host feels.
Inside the skull, a borer's body will cease contraction, allowing byproducts from its body to be stored in these sacks. These byproducts can be hastily synthesised into a variety of helpful chemicals to help maintain the host. These chemicals were poisonous to the creatures that predated it on it's home planet, however their effects are highly beneficial for a mutualistic relationship. Their ability to manipulate brain tissues comes from their requirement to survive outside of the water. Their main disadvantage on land on their home planet was proximity to the sun and a weak magnetosphere resulted in borers that strayed to dry up rapidly. Once inside a host, however, resources could be replenished safely and the host’s body could be used to combat predators in the form of amphibious reptiles and glorified seagulls.
A borer may choose to remain dormant and simply observe, or it may commune with the host via forced thoughts. Some choose the muturalist approach and will co-operate fully with the host, while others go the parasitic route and assume direct control. Each method has their own pros and cons, and it is usually up to the borer in question.
Borers are to be considered sentient and sapient, however in comparison to other races as a single being they are not very impressive, and their reliance on another being for any form of major motion is evidently a setback. Their view on the humanoid races is heavily tarnished, as their initial interactions were far from friendly. It is for this reason that many borers prefer to take the subtle route or full parasitism rather than a muturalist approach through fear of destruction.
The Borer home planet was a planet a little smaller than Earth with a relatively thick atmosphere at about 2.322 atmospheres of pressure. It’s surface was around 60% water, however it’s surface was also a lot flatter than Earth, overall leading to a large, flat, planetary rainforest with a large number of lakes and rivers. The borers are primarily water-based, traveling in groups, with their chemical sacks fully extended. Upon encountering a predator, their group response is to huddle together an excrete their chemicals, functioning as a deterrent to the aggressor, however this only works for water based assailants, and generally birds can dive in and pick borers off with ease. Borers normally feed through absorption of chemicals from the water, however they cannot generate enough from water alone to reproduce.
Once a borer population feels the need to reproduce, they will hide in a collection of rocks near a shallow section of river, where crossing herds of animals will then be assaulted. This works by the borers shooting from the water and quickly burrowing into their skulls. They will then begin ordering the body to digest itself, sending specialized cells into the host’s bloodstream (essentially self-fertilized eggs). These cells then ball up within the being’s stomach, rapidly multiplying into a full sized borer, which will then be forcefully vomited out of the host.
Their contact with humanity began when a borer-controlled herd was attacked by a Nanotrasen exploration party, having recently discovered the planet. It’s proximity to Nyx made it a prime water source, and as such a landing party had been sent. After a small base was established by a waterside, the borer herd’s corpses were used to feed the crew. However, the crew had been wasteful and had mostly consumed leg and breast meat, leaving the head mostly intact. The next night, it was noted by many of the crew that some of the corpses were missing, and those that were not had been moved. This was written off as predators eating scraps, however the lack of additional damage was concerning.
The corpse trend continued over a number of nights, and after the first week the second shuttle had arrived. Many of the original crew were noted to be acting off, however no concrete evidence was set. A few corpses were sent for analysis, however there was very little in the way of noted, except that some corpses had strange holes in areas of the skull, with indents in sections of the brain. This was attributed to rot, and the colony continued.
By the time a formal base of operations had been constructed, the total population was 22 people. Of them, 14 were suffering from apparent schizophrenia and 3 had been locked down for aggressive action. An investigation team was scheduled to arrive within a week, however it would not arrive before full-scale infection occurred. When the investigation arrived, they were greeted formally, and an attempt of a force conversion was mounted. Of the 22 borer-bound humans, only 3 survived. These 3 borers then infected the newly incapacitated investigation team and returned to Central Command, with both the infected and uninfected declaring that they had been assaulted by the crew and were forced to protect themselves. With the borers aboard Central in reasonably high-ranking positions, they were then able to find a viable target, an under-protected and isolated station, the NSS Phoenix. From there, they relocated into staff headed towards the station.