Chapter 5, Dagon Mind Slave Grubs
Although this seems to be one of many such events the case on Castobel in the Jericho reach is a rare example of one that is well documented.
After the appearance of Hive fleet Dagon and subsequent wars, the murder rate in the Castobel hives rose by over 2500%. To compound the problem there didn't seem to be any overiding pattern to the crimes, or motive. Gang activity rose during the period but not enough to cover a fraction of the murders and their didn't seem to be any major civil unrest to speak of, for the most part the populous were unaware of the events unfolding spin-ward of the planet. The worlds Enforcers and Arbites were completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with the sudden deluge of murder.
One, seemingly unconnected, phenomena was noticed by the population. A hitherto unknown reclusive flying bug had been seen hiding in the depths of the hive. This had been largely ignored until inquisitorial autopsy of a murder suspect revealed a large larvae like bug in the criminals brain. The hitherto unknown bug was later found to be the larval stage of the flying insect like tyranid organism that was found throughout the hive.
This organism was injecting eggs into head and neck of the victims, usually unnoticed and eventually affecting the brain of the host giving them an overwhelming urge to murder people. Although they were still concerned for their own safety so they had either joined, or become more active in, violent gangs or killed in secretly or with sabotage.
It was only when the planet came under direct attack that the full impact of the infestation was felt. The infected victims which until now were merely killing and and attempting to evade detection became savage creatures attacking soldiers and civilians brazenly in large groups. In spite of their savagery and lack of regard for their own well-being they were capable of using any weapons they had effectively, prioritising targets and engaging in coordinated battle plans. The mind slaves caused massive casualties and disruption inside the hive. Fortunately the desperate Imperial pushed the hive fleets forces back from the hive not a moment too soon as the mind slaves had overrun the Enforcers and Arbites inside the hive.
Identification: The infected individuals are difficult to distinguish early on in the life cycle the infected individuals; the wound from the bug lasts only a few days. In some ways it is reliant on the methods you would have learned to spot heretical cultists such as changes in behaviour, temperament, habits, tiredness, reduced cleanliness and becoming socially reclusive may all indicators that a person has been taken by the over by the compulsion to murder. Locating and tracking the effected persons in vital at the early stage as often the nest of bugs would be located close to where they live or work.
When the infection reaches the later stages it is more pronounced with open wounds on the head and neck, bleeding from the mouth, speech impediments, almost total sleep loss and often secondary infections due to the open wounds. Although victims will attempt to hide this and the most common victims are likely to naturally contract diseases with similar effects no quarter should be given but be careful of following false leads. In the event that Tyranid synapse creatures should happen by to allow the Hive mind direct control over the infected then identification should be obvious but this is likely to be too late.
While intensive auspex may pick up the parasitic larvae this is obviously not a practical option for wide scale usage. On the subject is should be clearly noted that in the cases currently identified dissections of long term hosts revealed genetic tampering. Enlarged adrenal glands, strengthened muscle, bones and other physiological abnormalities have been discovered. It is clear that along with the mind control other changes are made by the hive mind to make their mind-slaves more dangerous. This is similar to the bio-morphs seen in the other Tyranid organisms and with that in mind, although one assumes these would normally be fairly discrete it weighs heavily on me as to what the hive mind would do to their hapless victims in the future.
Spread: This bug organism injects eggs into head and neck of the victims, often while they are sleeping and usually unnoticed. When the eggs hatch the larval form of the organism borrows into the brain. Several of the larva extend a tendrils throughout the brain which effect the behaviour of the victim. The other eggs become larva and feed on flesh and blood inside the hosts head and neck, usually painfully and often forming obvious blisters. This continues until such a time that they are ready to become their 'adult stage'. These adult forms either burst from the neck or head of the victim or into the victims throat where they are coughed up. These adults can immediately infect future victims and they can feed on detritus for long periods, often spreading long distances but seemingly attracted to human habitation and transit.
Containment: Attacking both life cycles of the creature is of paramount importance. While the bug phase is the most obvious the logistical challenge in a hive or even a large city is clearly next to impossible. They do not need to nest as a group and are resistant to all standard toxins therefore large scale mobilisation with flame tools is as close and answer as there is.
In addition the larval phase must be treated, even destroying every bug in a city is futile when implanted larvae mature and spread again. Be sure to have all criminals checked by the authorities and any carriers having their hab and work zones checked for bugs as well they themselves being dealt with. In suspect areas have workers checked by their overseers and imperial personal checked by their medicae staff.
Even with the most stringent checks there for a hive there will such large swathes that cannot be checked in the under hive that it may linger for decades with quarantine protocols in place.
Standard Threat Classification: Xenos Majoris