Sathiid

A gruesome addiction, a brutal affliction

Etadia's fear twisted into anguish as the bullet punctured through her breast and threw her back into the wall. Blood squirted from the perforation as shattered ribs and threadbare muscle exploded from her back. Her assailant, the last man standing of the trio of self-named 'Vampire Hunters', realized he'd used up his magazine and fumbled for the backup pistol at his hip.   Weak from blood loss, pinned by the corpse of one of the other two, I aimed and fired. The first shot went wild, splintering one of the wooden supports of the porch. The second shot clipped his ass, earning a pained yelp that at odds with his imposing black body armor.   He spun to face me, swearing as he brought the gun to bear. I felt the impact of the shot against the body pinning me—a kick against my chest that suggested a couple degrees of difference would've seen my brain splattered over the deck.   "You couldn't fucking give up the little bitch, could you!" He said, voice a mixture of rage and horror. He had lost his two friends today, albeit from gun wounds inflicted by me rather than the sathiid they had come for. "She's infected. She's going to turn on you!"   "She's my wife!" I aimed at him. I hesitated. Etadia stood behind him, swaying, face contorted into an expression of loathing unlike any she'd ever made. Each muscle stood out with such definition that her face deformed from the sheer force. Blood welled in tears along her brow. A blood vessel in her right eye had burst, turning it red as the pupils dilated to massive proportion. Her wound was forgotten even as her left arm lay limp and useless from it.

She wailed just before he pulled the trigger. He missed. One of the planks of the porch balustrade exploded, pelting my face with splinters of wood.   He whirled as her scream reached a fever pitch. It wasn't deafening but I wish it had been. I wish I hadn't heard what followed.   Snap  
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Her jaw broke free of its moorings and her lips tore along the seams to reveal a cavernous maw of bestial fangs. She convulsed, and I heard a disgusting splorch from her belly as sickly green bile spewed from her mouth. Bloody foam formed in the wake of its passage through her maw. The lips I adored kissing blistered, pouring cherry blood down over her jaw until it fell, hissing, to the wood.

Some splashed over the hunter's face. He back-pedalled, growling, and brought his gun to bear.

With bloody eyes as wide as her shredded mouth she attacked. With casual grace she batted the gun from his strong grip, planted her hand on his vest, and slammed him up against the wall with such force that the wood splinter and heard the cabinets on the other side come crashing down.

Her mouth jammed against his neck. He screamed as she bit. I heard it. It reminded me of the sucking sound her lips made when she ate peaches. Her favourite fruit.

"Mmmmmhhh," she groaned. Her back arched. Her chest heaved. Her belly drew in and I heard the a muffled retching like she was getting sick. His screams grew louder, hitting an ear-splitting peak before falling silent. He sputtered, twitching, as some of her bile drooled from his mouth and nose.

A third heaving, this time drawing inwards. The chunky, sloppy sound of melting innards sucking into her gut prompted me to empty my own. I splattered puke over the porch and watched on as my wife fed on him.

My petite wife, who could not harm a fly.
Crack. "Mmmmmhhh~!" His clavicle gave way as she chewed through.

Her platinum hair dripped red as thick blood clumped it together.

My sweetheart, who had cried as the sathiidism had taken over.
He'd stopped moving. She was holding his corpse up.

She'd sworn to never drink Sophont blood. She had been living on deer blood.
I watched as her gut distended.

I looked away, unable to process any of this.

When I looked back, Etadia was sitting in a daze in a gruesome pool, prodding dazedly at her own devastated visage. The vampire hunter was nearly in two, bisected from shoulder to navel by the still sizzling bile and the path her mouth had carved.

Her lips stitched together slowly... the vessels in her eyes repaired and drained, she set her hand on her jaw and popped it back into place as it healed.

My wife was beautiful again, but it was hard to see my wife for what lurked beneath the surface.

She sat there, swaying. Tears ran down her face.

"I'm sorry..." she said, voice frail as she turned to face me with dread in her eyes. "I'm so hungry, baby..., it hurts. Please... help me."

Etadia began to crawl towards me, eyes dilating.

Transmission & Vectors

Sathiidism is transmitted through the blood, saliva, or bile of a sathiid. There is also a low chance of transmission by sexual contact.  

Blood
The most frequently encountered method of transmission. Consuming 200 milliliters orally or injecting 20 milliliters intravenously is enough to guarantee infection. At the height of its glory days Sathiidism was transferred through a ritual in which the Sathiid would cut their hand and either squeeze the blood into a cup or the receiver would drink straight from the wound.
 
Saliva
The least likely to infect a person but prolonged exposure to Sathiid saliva (such as by regular kissing or sharing oral implements with) can result in someone being infected. This may also affect those who are bitten by the Sathiid and survive with saliva in the wound.
 
Bile
Unlike saliva or blood transmission this is a method most would not volunteer for. If a person is attacked by a Sathiid and is splashed with their bile, if that bile gets into their bloodstream and doesn't kill them they will almost definitely become a Sathiid.
 
Sexual Contact
Prolonged sexual relations with a sathiid makes infection almost a certainty.

Causes

Sathiidism is the result of a Sophont becoming host to a mutualistic ecosystem of bacteria.

  • SATH-1: Increased adrenaline production and lowered lactic acid presence.
  • SATH-2: Increased rate of regeneration, moderates presence of SATH-3
  • SATH-3: Feeds on antibodies, and viruses. If left unchecked results in host necrotizing.
 

SATH-1

SATH-1 has two phases.   In its first phase, SATH-1-P1, it converts lactic acid to glucose via gluconeogenesis. SATH-1-P1 is present all throughout the muscle system of a sathiid but are particularly concentrated within the kidneys and adrenal glands, where it collects and mature into their second phase: SATH-1-P2   In its second phase, SATH-1-P2, it forms pheochromocytomaoid tumors and produces more SATH-1-P1 bacteria. The presence of the pheochromocytoma cause the adrenal glands to constantly produce low doses of adrenaline.   The more lactic acid the sathiid creates (via periods of high physical exertion) the more SATH-1-P1 they have, which in turn results in more SATH-1-P2, which in turn results in a heightened rate of adrenaline production.  

SATH-2

SATH-2 lines the digestive system of the host and it aids in rapidly breaking down consumed material and will bypass normal digestive process by taking raw materials to the parts of the body they can be used in.   SATH-2 feeds on SATH-1 and SATH-3, and so keeps both in check.  

SATH-3

SATH-3's main focus is feeding. It consumes the antibodies of the host and uses them in a symbiotic relationship, using them like bloodhounds to track down what is safe to eat, then using up that first. If it cannot find something to feed on it will then begin feeding on the host, necrotizing them.

Symptoms

From SATH-1

Consistent Symptoms
Constantly present to some degree.
  • Tachycardia
  • Increased Libido
  • Paleness in the face
  • Increased Blood Pressure
Episodic Symptoms
Brought on by other stressors.
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressive Fits

From SATH-2

Consistent Symptoms
Constantly present to some degree.
  • Slowed Aging
  • Enhanced Strength
  • Rapid Regeneration
Episodic Symptoms
Brought on by other stressors.

From SATH-3

Consistent Symptoms
Constantly present to some degree.
  • Improved disease resistance
Episodic Symptoms
Brought on by other stressors.
  • Necrotization
 

From Mataglap

Consistent Symptoms
Constantly present to some degree.
Mataglap itself is an episodic symptom and has no symptoms which fall under this category.
Episodic Symptoms
Brought on by other stressors.

Treatment

Sathiidism can be cured with a careful joint effort of hormones, antibiotics, and supplements to repress and ultimately eliminate the condition.   The procedure can be done with lower or more targeted doses to maintain a suppressed equilibrium of the condition, as is necessary if a female sathiid wishes to become pregnant.   SATH-1: Beta-Alanine can be given to suppress lactic acid and kill SATH-1 over a course of weeks, but to do purely that is dangerous as SATH-2 feeds on it, and from it gets the materials needed to be able to digest SATH-3. Without SATH-1, SATH-2 cannot digest SATH-3 and so SATH-3 will slowly become the dominant bacteria, which creates the necessary conditions for SATH-3 to nectrotize its host.   SATH-3 SATH-2 will naturally consume all SATH-3 in time. The best way to remove SATH-3 is to provide it with a slowly weaning cocktail of food which will take it a while to process. This will cause the SATH-2 to slowly take dominance and wipe it out. The danger here is that the host will be left with a compromised Immune system for a time until their body replenishes white blood cells—they cannot be given blood transfusion until it's certain the SATH-3 is dead (a period of 3 months is suggested) lest the SATH-3 resurge with the fresh material to consume.   SATH-2: With SATH-3 and SATH-1 removed, SATH-2 will subside on its own and will do no damage on its way out.   With all 3 removed the sathiid will still have many lingering issues left over by the condition, and will require years of gene-therapy, monitoring, and supplemental treatments until their bodies have reset.

Prognosis

There are multiple possible outcomes with sathiidism.  

Mataglap

Sathiidic Mataglap happens when the sathiid's amygdala becomes so damaged by their constant epinephrine production that their ability to make sound judgement suffers and their adrenal output goes into overdrive, putting them into a constant and intense state of Bloodrage which lasts until their body gives out.   Sathiid who suffer this rarely do so in silence; they hunt and kill fellow Sophont until they are stopped or die.  

Equipoise

If a sathiid survives for a large enough timespan (approximately 50 years) they will gradually enter a state called equipoise, wherein the three Sath bacteria will form such an equal ecosystem that it becomes very hard to imbalance fora any long period, and wherein they are so used to their condition that the sathiid can overcome mataglap by sheer force of will.   Sathiid with equipoise can enter states of mataglap seemingly at will, and can recess from it almost as quickly.  

Necrotization

An overabundance of SATH-3 will cause the SATH-3 to enter its secondary, aggressive state wherein it will begin to consume the host. This consumption first presents as rapidly spreading ulcers, blisters, and black spots which quickly evolved into open, rotting wounds.  

Resurrection

It is possible that if a sathiid experiences a severe enough brain injury they will experience brain death but will regenerate with no memories. This can result in a variety of memory loss and mental health issues. A resurrected sathiid may go on to experience a normal life, but more often than not they lose themselves to instinct and get lost to mataglap.

Hosts & Carriers

Sophont, particularly Verin, are the primary host. Secondary hosts include ticks, mosquitoes, flies, and any other parasitic species which ingest the blood or fluids of a sathiid.

Prevention

Antibiotics have some effect, but if incorrectly applied can cause the bacterial ecosystem to imbalance and will potentially cause damage to the host. Furthermore, if antibiotics take too long to act there's a potential that the SATH bacteria will adapt to the antibiotics or will trigger sickness or mataglap within the sathiid.

Cultural Reception

The public opinion of sathiidism has changed dramatically since its first creation by the Verin. It was once upon a time viewed as the highest honor that could be granted to someone—it was a sign of supremacy, wealth, and power among the elite of the early Verin Haimarchy.   Today its presence is more divisive. Within the Haimarchy it is still spread among the nobility and held in high esteem. Among the Apple of Hedonism, the ValuSelu Pact, the Free Planet Federation, and the Jupiter Syndicate it is tolerated with varying leniency and rights, though the people themselves aren't always in favor of its continued existence. Within the Church of The Somnolent sathiidism is reviled.


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Summary

Type
Bacterial
Origin
Engineered
Rarity
Rare

Transmission & Vectors
  • Blood
  • Saliva
  • Bile
  • Sex
 
Cause
A mutualistic ecosystem of bacteria.
 
Symptoms
  • Tachycardia
  • Increased Libido
  • Paleness in the face
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressive Fits
  • Slowed Aging
  • Enhanced Strength
  • Rapid Regeneration
  • Cancer
  • Bone Spurs
  • Hyperdontia
  • Improved disease resistance
  • Necrotization
  • Mataglap
  • Hypertension
  • Fibrillation
  • Fasciculation
  • Hyperventilation
 
Treatment
Hormones, antibiotics, and supplements.
 
Prognoses
  • Mataglap
  • Equipoise
  • Necrotization
  • Resurrection
 
Hosts
  • Verin
  • Sazashi
  • Human
  • Blood-sucking insects

History

Origin

Sathiidism stemmed from a similarly functioning ecosystem of bacteria native to Jhoutai. The Verin discovered it in their early forays into microbiology during the Crescendo Era and, via Therianthropy and artificial selection increasingly move intensive and volatile strains called sathiidism.  

Height of Popularity

The Verin Haimarchy granted sathiidism to its most esteemed members: generals, high warriors, musicians, orators, and so forth, who then passed it on to family members to create houses of sathiid. The upper crust of society became almost exclusively sathiid.  

Decline of Popularity

After the Sazashi Revolution, sathiid were reviled for their role in helping suppress the Sazashi peoples. Valuser'ran Rajhska warriors hunted sathiid down and executed them, often by burning them to death in public. Many relatives of Sathiid were killed as well, for suspected harboring of sathiid.   Those Sathiid which survived did so by retreating to the Verin homeland or by hiding in the dark places of the world.  

For Public Benefit

Thousands of years after the Verin created the sathiid, and using similar methods as them, scientists created new, tame versions of the condition and gave it to volunteers. This toned-back version of sathiidism granted enhanced strength, reflexes, and regeneration without the presence of SATH-3.   Over the course of several generations the modified condition became ubiquitous.


Cover image: Hologram Wheel by Ademal

Comments

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9 Aug, 2018 13:36

Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes....

9 Aug, 2018 21:57

Just a little nibble...

Admin of the World Anvil Codex & Discord | Director of Ethnis | My Ko-Fi | My Twitter
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10 Aug, 2018 05:31

But hey, after 50 years or so, it becomes almost like a super-power! A horrible, evil super-power!   Very well written <3

28 Feb, 2019 04:31

Fascinating. May I ask how the sathiid condition has changed animals and the like which have been infected and changed by it?

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