Name: Hyper-Evolutionary Virus (HEV)
Hosts: Organic organisms
Description & TransmissionEdit
The hyper-evolutionary virus is associated with the zerg, and used by these aliens to infect and assimilate other organisms into their collective race.
The most common means of infection are from the bites of parasites that live on the zerg, most notably from the defiler breed. Not all bites lead to infection of the hyper-evolutionary virus however, and most cases of infection occure when victims encounter colonized zerg, as opposed to free ranging wild individuals. Contact with zerg 'creep' is known to cause infection in some cases.
Symptoms can vary greatly, depending upon the victim and whether or not the virus is being manipulated by the Hive mind (the leader of the particular colony which the virus originated).
- In most cases, infected individuals experience general malaise a few hours after exposure. Cognitive abilities rapidly decrease and individuals become dispondant and act as if in a stupor. After twenty-four hours, most individuals will become completely dispondant, and lose desire to eat, sleep, or respond to any outside stimuli. If they are being manipulated by the Hive mind however, it is at this point that they will be controlled entirely by the Hive.
- Within twenty-four hours, the body undergoes massive transformations, with caustic fluids building up within the host, and spine-like bone deformities growing both inside the body, and out through the skin. Tentacles and semi-functional, zerg-like appendages may grow at random about the body, mutating from the zerg genes within the virus.
- These mutations may continue on for days, until the host is no longer recognizable from their original form. At this point, most hosts die of starvation or dehydration, which is exacerbated by the high metabolism of the zerg virus. The Hive mind may prolong a host's life for as much as two to three weeks by keeping them in contact with the creep, though they will eventually succumb to starvation. In most cases involving the Hive mind, hosts are sent to engage enemy forces, and will blow themselves up using the cocktail of caustic fluids built up in their bodies.
- This type of infestation occurs when the Hive mind specifically targets an individual (usually multiple individuals of the same species) for assimilation into the colony. Instead of allowing the virus to completely overtake the host and render them a mindless, self-destructing slave, the virus is carefully manipulated to mutate the host at a slowler rate, with each mutation carefully controlled to prevent the hosts's death and optimize their use to the colony.
- As this is a rare occurance, not much is known about the symptoms. The end result, however, is that the host is rendered mostly unrecognizable to their original form. If the assimilation is deemed a success by the Hive mind, the mutated individual will then be the first of a new breed of zerg, and their newly modified DNA will be added to the colony to endlessly propogate this new variety.
- The third and rarest response to the virus is known as the 'Psionic' response, and happens when the virus encounters an individual (typically humans and likely other humanoids) with either strong psionic cababilities, or a specific and unique genetic code. As with the Assimilation Response, the virus is always being monitored and manipulated by a Hive mind in these events.
- Within days of infection, a victim's brain will begin to undergo a number of changes that slowly weaken their willpower and make them subservient to the Hive mind. The degree of change varies, with some losing all control, while others retain most of their own identity and merely become more connected to the zerg in general.
- Physical mutations begin a few days to a week after infection, and can continue on for many weeks or months afterwards. Mutations vary, but generally involve the growth of scales, carapace, spines, and other features closely associated with the zerg. Change in eye-pigment is comony. It is at this point that victims will gain the high metablism and healing abilities of the zerg.
- Depending on the individual, it can take as little as a month to over a year before their minds are mostly erroded by the Hive. Fragments of the personality generally remain intact, as does their intelligence, but their previous morals and behavior are generally swayed to benefit the colony.
There is currently a nano-serum developed by the protoss which will erradicate the virus. For individuals suffering from the Zombie Response, the serum must be administered within four hours of infestation to be effective. After the four hour mark, the success rate of the serum drops dramatically. If the virus has not been stalled after six hours, humane euthanasia is recommended, to prevent suffering as well as to avoid potential harm to others due to the build up of caustic fluids in the body.
If a victim has a reached a stage of infection where bone growths are visible, extreme caution is urged when interacting with them, as they have the potential to explode without warning, and the bones (almost always grown in a spike or lance-like formation) have the potential to pierce cybertronian armor.
The prognosis for victims of the Psionic Response are much better, particularly if individuals are treated within a week of exposure. The standard nano-serum will not destroy any mutations, nor will it revert any alterations or damage done to the brain, but it will erradicate the virus and prevent further mutations from occuring.
2008 - Kerrigan infested dozens of humans with the virus, and sent them to explode within Laissez Faire's Medical Facility. Several more were present in Demesnen and used to attack Laissez Faire's forces, upon entering the city.
2010 - Pulse was infected with the virus after being captured by Kerrigan and Starscream. Already infected with a prawn virus, it was Kerrigan's ambition to combined the two pathogens and create a new strain of virus that could overtake cybertronians and other mechanical creatures and technologies. Within days however, the prawn virus overwhelmed the zerg virus and destroyed it.
2011 - Konjac, Contus, Sherok, and Briana were among a group of individuals potentially infected with the virus when exposed to an unusual strain of zerg creep, once again at the hands of Kerrigan. When rescued several days later, none showed signs of the virus, though all were given the precautionary nano-serum.
Briar Moss - Perhaps one of the best known cases on Earth, Briar Moss was infected with the virus after being captured by Kerrigan May of 2008, who had sensed something 'special' in the young human. Briar was fortunate enough to be rescued and administered the serum before any mutations occured, and appears not to have suffered any serious brain altercations other than a heightened ability to connect with and control the zerg. This unique ability as led him to taking command of a small zerg colony in Laissez Faire, and also aids him in looking after Vnithin and the rest of the hydralisk family in the city.
Jessica Alba - Another human infected with the virus in 2008 who experienced the Psionic Response, Jessica has not shown any ability to connect with the zerg. During her infestation, she was under the control of Kerrigan, who was able to manipulate the woman and to speak through her. Her eyes had turned from hazel to yellow during this time. She has since been treated for the virus, without any significant problems.