Stinging Infiltrator

I'm begging you, kill me before I completely loose my mind and that ... thing pops out of my head.
— A father to his son
 

What it feels like to be attacked? I don't know if I can do the horror justice.

When it falls onto your neck and stings the confusion is too large, but almost immediately your body will go numb. In that moment you know what will happen and as your body stops responding you will panic to no avail.

Make no mistake, that is not the worst part. the worst part is when the creature starts walking on your skin over your head. You can feel every step on your skin as well as other stings that it does. As that happens you can do nothing but remember the stories you were told and realise that none properly express the fear that you feel.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Both the male and female start off as eggs that hatch into nearly identical looking larva. The male stays in this form, while the female pupates into its adult form when she is ready to reproduce.

Larva

Due to their small size only the general shape is known, which boils down to oblong with a mouth piece at one end that can attach to blood vessels. The only interesting adaption is that the mouthpiece is shaped in such a way that if you try to remove the larva, it will inevitably rupture the blood vessel.  

Adult females

When the adult crawls out of the dead hosts skull you might initially mistake it for a scorpion.

It has a distinct two part body, like other arachnids, as well as 8 legs attached to the cephalothorax. The opisthosoma is long and segmented in order to be flexible and it has a stinger on the end.

The stinger is shaped in such a way that it is most effective at stinging targets below the Stinging Infiltrator. This is because the stinger is designed to be inserted in the neck, between two vertebra while making sure that the spinal cord is undamaged.
The stinger serves two functions:

  • As a way to deliver venom, both defensibly and offensively.
  • As a way to insert eggs into a host body.

The venom contains a mix of chemicals. The most obvious one is a neural inhibitor that prevents neurons from firing and it also prevents signals from propagating. If injected near the spinal cord it is capable of knocking out a humanoid in a second or two, making it easy to inject eggs. Injected in other places you get a spreading numbness and loss of motor control.

Other chemicals suppress the immune system locally, in order to give the eggs better chances of not being detected, as well as nutrition for the female egg and larva.

For most people the features that separates the Stinging Infiltrator from scorpions are that the cephalothorax is covered with very fine hair and that the opisthosoma has long feelers that protrude between the segment plates. It is also told that these creatures are able to latch on to skin extremely well, alongside being able to walk up side down even on smooth surfaces.

 

What are you drawing, son?

The insect you told us about, the Stinging Infiltrator.

 

It's very good, it looks exactly like that.

Daddy, how do you know what it looks like?

 

sneeze I think that is a story for later, daddy needs to go outside for a moment.

Genetics and Reproduction

Both the male and the female start off as eggs that have been injected into a humanoid host body. The female egg is placed next to the spinal cord, between the 1st and 2nd cervical vertebrae, after the target host has been rendered paralysed by the venom injected.

After that, multiple male eggs are injected into the blood stream, where they'll eventually end up in the lungs. Once there, small larva hatch from the eggs and position themselves in such a way that they have access to the blood stream for nutrition and also so that their reproductive parts stick out into the lung cavity. Their remaining life is limited to producing genetic material and excreting it into the lungs, even for a while after the host dies, making the body potentially infectious.

After the female larva hatches, it will crawl up along the spinal cord, possibly eating small parts of it. Once it reaches the medulla, which is the part of the brainstem responsible for sneezing, among other involuntary functions, it will attach itself to an artery for nutrition and oxygen.
In this stage the larva will be mostly dormant, only stimulating the medulla on occasion in order to make the host sneeze out the male genetic material.

Once genetic material from a male in a different host is taken up from the blood stream the female larva will pupate while still attached to the artery. The result is a small version of the grown female. At this point the female will start to consume the hosts brain. It will first consume the cerebrum, which takes about three weeks, making the host loose his personality, memories and most of the voluntary movements, followed by the cerebellum, causing the host to loose the last remains of voluntary movement within one week. At this point the host is in a state resembling coma with only involuntary movements, like heartbeat and breathing remaining. The brainstem will be eaten within three days, during which the host dies.

The last thing that the now fully grown adult will do in the host is to eat its way out of the skull.

I thought he couldn't be serious!

Maybe you should have trusted our father instead of making false promises.

 

False promises? He is still alive and I want to find a cure, not kill him.

A cure? Do I need to remind you of the stories that he told us?

 

Sigh
Stung once and death is inevitable. Stung twice and death is imminent.

Oh, so you do remember. Now look at him. He can't remember any of our names, his speech is slurred.

He is loosing his mind and death is not only imminent, but also inevitable. So stop thinking about a cure and instead uphold your promise.

 

I can't ... I can't just kill my own father.

You are not "just killing" him. You are sparing him from madness.

Growth Rate & Stages

It takes between two and three days before the larva hatch after the eggs are inserted into the host.
After the male larva start producing genetic material, they can live for a few decades. Their lifespan is shortened to a few days if the host dies.

The female larva can stay alive for as long as the host is alive, but if the female pupates, the remaining lifespan is a few years.

Ecology and Habitats

The first and most important requirement for the Stinging Infiltrator is that humanoids are around, since they are needed for reproduction. The second requirement is that the temperature is slightly warmer then moderate. It is worth noting that if a humanoid carries larva, those larva can survive in the body until the hosts core temperature becomes so low or high that the host dies.

As long as there is any kind of food around for the adult females, the environment can change dramatically without affecting reproduction. For this reason the Stinging Infiltrator can be found all over the world, be it in forests, cities or savannas.  

Dad, have you gone insane!?! Why are you burning the barn down?

There was a Stinging Infiltrator inside. It got me, but I refuse to have it get anyone else.

Dietary Needs and Habits

As far as all humanoids that have been able to study this insect are able to see, the larva only consume the blood of the host by attaching to a blood vessel.

The adult female has been much more difficult to study without falling to it as pray. The current best guess is that the Stinging Infiltrator eats bugs, taking them down with their venom.

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Eyes

The eight eyes are divided into four pairs, each pair capable of detecting slightly different frequencies of light.  

hair follicles

The hair strands attach to the cephalothorax and are the main way the Stinging Infiltrator detects air currents and sound vibrations.  

feelers

Located between the abdomen plates, the feelers are capable of detecting heat, touch and taste.

Lifespan
An adult female can live for 5-7 years
Conservation Status
Kill on sight, but be careful
Average Height
2-3cm
Average Weight
50g
Average Length
1cm (larva)
20cm (adult female)


Cover image: by Snake Venom

Stinging Infiltrator

Tiny beast, unaligned
Armor Class 6
Hit Points 1 (1d4-1) 1d4-1
Speed 10ft Climb: 10ft

STR
2 -4
DEX
11 0
CON
8 -1
INT
1 -5
WIS
10 0
CHA
1 -5

Damage Immunities Falling damage
Senses Blindsight (30ft) Darkvision (10ft)
Languages None
Challenge 1/8


Actions

Sudden sting: The Stinging Infiltrator drops onto, or targets an incapacitated (reach 5 ft) humanoid and makes a Melee Weapon Attack: 1d20+4 to hit, one creature. Hit: 1d2 piercing damage.
If hit, the target must make a dc 5 constitution saving throw. On a failure the target is unconscious, but fully aware of its surroundings, for 2d6 minutes. The saving throw dc increases by 5 for each point the attack exceeds the target ac.   Sting: Melee Weapon Attack: 1d20+2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d2 piercing damage.
If hit, the target must make a dc 5 constitution saving throw. On a failure the target is unconscious, but fully aware of its surroundings, for 2d6 minutes. The saving throw dc increases by 5 for each time the target has been hit by a Stinging Infiltrator in the last 10 minutes.   Reproduction: The Stinging Infiltrator inserts her eggs into an unconscious humanoid within 5ft. This takes 1 minute to complete.


 

Stinging Infiltrator

Moderate climate with humanoids around.

Stinging Infiltrator Banner
by Snake Venom

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