((The first part of my build up to MARATHON 2-3))
I've seen alot of horrible things in my lifetime...but nothing measures up to this...Parasite for lack of a better word. The dead made thinking, the flesh made warped, laughing in sick, horrible voices of a mocking legion that tore down a civilization built by gods. And it knows where our planet is.
The parasite from beyond the stars
"Oh it's just gonna be like one of those zombie movies" I know you're saying, but stop it, the Thought sin is far more dangerous and subversive than any zombie virus. For one, they are a hive minded live form. Every individual cell of them is linked. They get smarter with each bit of intelligent life they absorb. They absorb knowledge, use the powers of the bodies they absorb, can use our tech, these aren't just zombies, they're an infestation.
When I snuck aboard the MARATHON bound Peacekeeper fleet with my fellow members of Tombstone incorporated, I expected to primarily encounter the aliens they mentioned in the reports I managed to steal. For a time, I did. Then I encountered them. Devils, Monsters. A flood of infestation with a mind to bring everyone aboard into a grave of servitude.
But many of those lost to them were not only aliens, but humans with full knowledge of where our planet's location is. I don't think Carol's destruction of the ring ended the threat, only forestalled it until someone else bumps into one of those damned things.
As such I have gathered all resources I have on this infestation in hopes of educating you all on their weaknesses and how to beat them.
What the thought sin does
The thought sin is essentially a parasite at the cellular level, assimilating all organic tissue that is compatible with it and assimilating it into more of itself. There are some living things the thoughtsin cannot infect, such as life without a central nervous system, those with a compromised or highly nonstandard nervous system or those lacking calcium, but anything organic can be killed and used as biomass later on.
There are two major vectors of Thoughtsin infestation, spores and infection forms. The spores work more slowly but eventually get the job done, while the infection forms work in seconds or minutes. Due to my undead and spectral nature, I am immune to infection but still it disquiets me.
The thoughtsin seems to seek out sapient life forms to the preference of all else. Only going after life incapable of abstract thought as a last resort. And once they assimilate knowledge from an infected life form, they all know, and they seem to gather the smartest, or at least the life forms with the most useful knowledge into one place to form into a massive sort of brain. Admiral Guido met his end this way after being infected.
They seem to especially target things that can get them off planet en masse, space ships primarily. Which is part of why I went out of my way to destroy both Peacekeeper and hierarchy ships during the battle on MARATHON. And I can't help but feel we've only scratched the surface of their capabilities.
List of Thoughtsin forms.
Infection forms: Roughly the size of a football, deceptively fast, and coming in large swarms. The primary defense against them is armor or skin too thick for them to penetrate, and it better damn be good protection because they can go through three inches of industrial steel without trying, an immune system that can somehow fight the supercell, or best of all shielding, which makes them burst, though it can damage most shielding. If it gets ahold of you and you aren't protected against it, it will rapidly mutate you into a hideous combat form and immediately turn you against your allies. If you are unable to kill an infection form within five seconds of it coming into contact with a team mate or friend, give them the final mercy, it'll be better than what comes next.
Combat form: Once an infection form has gained command over a host, it begins a process, liquefying organs and drawing anything it deems unnecessary out of the body to provide biomass to create the growths evidenced here. It then either consumes or snaps aside the head as the infection form takes it's rough place on the organism to command the body. Alien, human, mutant, living or dead, it doesn't matter, it can infect them and create what you see here. The new combat form still has access to the memories of the original host, which it shares with rest of the hive mind. It is immediately able to use any technology or weaponry the host was able to, but the infection process appears to damage the systems responsible for hand eye coordination, resulting in less accuracy and finesse. Combat forms do not seem to register pain very well and keep on going regardless of injury.
Carrier forms: When a combat form has been in use for a while, the parasite converts all tissue into Thought sin super cells, radically altering the body into something that can no longer even be recognized as having once been a person or alien. It is now bulging with infection forms carried within, arms withered into tentacles, legs turned into flexible caricatures of stumps, and it moves with the intent of exploding and dying to release their progeny by the dozens. Just the explosion alone can potentially kill a man, but even worse is the cargo it carries.
Stalker forms: Now we're getting into creatures made solely from Thought sin biomass, no host organism involved. Of course once again it still acts parasitically, needing to draw in biomass from other forms of life to form into these abominations. Designated a "pure" form for not being part of a life cycle borne directly out of a host organism. Stalkers are capable of bio camouflage, changing their color and texture across all spectra of light to hide, and make disturbingly little noise. They are capable of jumping great distances to rip into something with claws that can shear metal or even punch through metahuman skin if they're made of a dense enough concentration of biomass.
Ranged form: Obviously, ranged forms attack you at range. Folding a nest of spines upwards to present a seemingly unlimited supply of projectiles for a combination of a squeezing action and a biological railgun to fire out it's regenerating supply of spikes. While virtually useless in melee save for a single set of claws and a mandible, the ranged fire support they provide can range from merely annoying to lethal depending on how much biomass was used to create the organism.
Tank forms: As the name suggests, Tank forms are really good at soaking up hits and dealing out slow but punishing blows, they can also vomit out infection forms at a target to spread the contagion. The strength and durability of a tank form is variable, as is it's size, but the average one I've encountered is about twelve feet tall and stronger than I am. However, they don't fight with skill, just animalistic fury, and as always retain a weakness to the extremes of temperature.
Bomber form: Carrying bio-acid spores, exploding bundles of infection forms that can explode like carrier forms, and biological fragmentation spores, Bomber forms rain terror down from the skies, making sure anything they fly directly over is going to have a very miserable day.
Grappler form: Drawing in foes who try to hide from a distance to fight the Thoughtsin where they want to fight, Grappler's can extend their tentacles to up to a hundred feet for the average sized one, grabbing their opponents and yanking them into the reach of the rest of the melee obsessed swarms.
Swarmer forms: Air superiority organisms, these fire out spikes much like ranged forms and strike with extremely sharp and surprisingly strong leg blades. These can range from being the size of tiny bats to fighter jet sized or bigger, though variable size is a trait of all Thoughtsin pure forms.
Juggernaut form: On average the largest of the Thought sin's pure forms, Juggernauts are tremendously strong and attack by vomiting out explosive bags of infection forms, two ranged form spiker pads, and two massive tendrils they can use to whip and crush foes, harden to slash them apart, or open up to release rivers of acid.
Transport form: This is actually something of a misnomer. A transport's duty is to convert biomass into Thoughtsin flesh rapidly and efficiently, more so than spores would, in essence creating Pure forms just as how infection forms create combat forms. Any organic matter they eat rapidly becomes new biomass that can be instantly turned into pure forms or biomass to spread across surfaces to turn into Thoughtsin hives.
Tombstone's notes: The tentacles on their mouths can stretch out for three hundred feet for an average sized creature, but unless the biomass they're made from is designed with superpowers in mind (and thus more "expensive" to produce) they'll have noted trouble digesting super tough or armored creatures.
Thoughtsin Artillery form: As the name says, Artillery forms sit back at long distances and lob forth bioacid, fragmentation, or infection form spores that explode after sailing across long distances and help spread forth the plague, though some are big enough to fire other pure forms out like a cannon, which can be a very surprising and unwanted occurance when a mob of Tank forms lands in your face. They can also act as anti air by firing their spores to detonate in the air, while ranged forms act as more rapid fire systems.
Brain form: I only encountered one, made from the amalglation of all the smartest creatures the parasite could find, one of them happened to be the unfortunate admiral caught by the Parasite. I had to punch into his skull to receive his brain chip so I could set his ship to overload under a special process of my design and self destruct to take out the ring and every one of these foul things with them. And all throughout it, I could have sworn it was whispering to me, taunting me.
Countering the Parasite
The parasite primarily relies on massive numbers, but occasionally uses clever tricks to try and get by, such as coming in by unexpected dimensions, using assimilated knowledge to poke holes in enemy plans, and filling the minds of it's soon to be victims with that god awful whispering.
So my suggestion is to bottleneck them in places where they can't flank, or at least flank in unexpected locations. Don't share your plans with everyone, lay out traps, automated sentries, and mines out ahead and set up defensive positions and be prepared to give God's mercy to anyone who becomes one of those things.
Bring lots of incendiaries and freeze weapons, they don't like the cold or the heat. Weapons that can blast out large chunks of them are better than precision weapons that target individual organs. Engage at range if at all possible to minimize the amount of time you risk getting infected.
If at all possible, establish a line of immunes to hold them back. Undead, Elementals, Robots, those whose physiologies make them immune (only if you are certain that they're immune) while the vulnerables hold in the back.
In melee, always go for the sensory organs, these are the achilles heel of the parasite and their ultimate weakness, don't go trying to break bones or organs, because they don't care and won't stop until one of you dies or you become one of them.
Do not hesitate to kill them no matter what your past history with them was. Any hint of humanity they had is now gone, lost to the parasite. And if they should land on earth and containment procedures fail. I can recommend no other option but burning the landing site to the ground until I can mass produce my cure.
I found that a local predator in Exemplaria, the Hunter-Stalker, an extremely violent and powerful apex predator that dwells in the old sewers, has a curious effect on Thought Sin samples. Upon contact with their genetic code, the Thought Sin super cells simply die as the Genes and cells of the Hunter Stalker seem to suck the life from them and eat them.
The reaction seems so specific to them that I can only conclude that the Hunter-stalker or it's ancestors were created with the specific intent of predating on the Thought Sin. The fact that in my tests with the terminally ill volunteers, the Hunter stalkers also violently seek out anything infected by the thought sin and kill it without mercy, utterly obliterating it.
But I've also found that their genes can be spliced into other organisms and once this is done, the organism not only becomes immune to the thoughtsin, but their touch is like acid to them, draining them, burning them, making them afraid. Making their very flesh poison to the parasite.
After testing it on all my thought sin cultures and samples with Aleksei Andreinov, I found that there was irrefutable proof that I did what the Masari couldn't, I found a cure. Even on already infected organisms, the process restores them to normal in seconds, leaving them with knowledge of the Thought sin's hive mind that's let me study them more deeply.
However, acquiring Hunter-Stalker genes is very difficult considering the violent tempermant and eerie intelligence of the brood minded creatures and the humans corrupted by them. Not to mention that the largest concentration of them, Exemplaria, is currently closed off due to a massive Nazi assault.
I need more samples of them, if I can the world, or at least enough people to form a counter strike force, I could save the world and perhaps more from a future plague of apocalyptic proportions.