The Sleepers


For a Cult member, it is considered an honor to be possessed by the worm and be changed by it, since not every worm develops into mature stages that allows it to freely alter a human body. Whole families celebrate when a colonist starts experiencing vivid nightmares, heavy bleeding from eyes and ears or uncontrollable outbursts of telekinetic power, even when such manifestations of enhanced parasitic possession sometimes shake whole settlements with waves of raw psychic power.
These changes are a true sign that the worm inside decided that it was time to manifest itself in full and step into another stage of its evolution together with its host. Once the celebration ends, the colonist is clothed in full military garments salvaged from storages of Niulangxing or produced by its automated factory modules, and led below the settlement into catacombs, there to be laid upon a large stone table in an embryo pose. In the next week, the Guardian inside the human chooses the form which the colonist’s body should take to suit the current needs of the settlement, the parasite and the Cult as a whole.
The basic form of superior symbiosis, a Sleeper, is a colonist in permanent lethargic slumber, with all bodily functions fully controlled by the worm, but without major changes in appearance. For the worm, this state that lasts for up to a decade is a perfect way to practice its control over the human body, and gives it time to decide which way of further evolution to undertake (unless, of course, a psychically dominating worm makes this choice for the lesser symbiotic entity instead). With every aspect of personality dominated, the Sleepers can be usually seen working alongside colonists yet to share their fate. In case of danger to the worms or the settlement, the Sleepers would grab their ceremonial rotary halberds and close with the enemy in slow yet steady stride, ready to swing their heavy weapons in wide blind arks, all while ignoring pain from ripostes and projectiles, dropping down as lifeless husks only when enough damage to the body or the worm inside is sustained.
Should a more specialized life form be required, the worm inside a Sleeper will trigger the next evolutionary change, most suitable for the situation at hand (whether by its own decision or after being commanded to do so by a stronger parasite). There are dozens of roles that could be beneficial to the Cult, and as years pass by, new strains of hybrids are created. With the individual worms having exquisite tastes of their own, many new creations bear individual traits. Yet, the Cult usually forces lesser Guardians to heed the Cult’s need and adopt a more standard, practical form.

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