Science… never solves a problem without creating ten more. – George Bernard Shaw
In the midst of the deadly human cordyceps outbreak, scientists scrambled to find a cure, a vaccine or some way to contain the spores. It was not before half the world’s population was overtaken that they finally discovered a way to stop the spread. The poor souls who were already infected would be lost. but at least the human race would live on. The discovery was a vaccine, the compound was produced en mass in the few CDC facilities that were still operational. Soon after clinics were set up across the entire world. United under the common goal of saving what was left of the human race, countries and governments cooperated without indecent. The vaccine was hailed as the savior of the human race, and the men and women who had created it were regarded geniuses. But our accomplishments are viewed through the eyes of those who come after us. Years after the cordyceps threat had ended, women who would have been children when they received the vaccine started having children of their own. In about fifteen percent of cases the infants were born with a new and aggressive bone disease. (more…)
This is an up a followup to a post I did a while back. I always thought I should do a bit better version the original was quite rushed. And now a video game called “Last of Us” is coming out with a similar theme, so I figure what better time to do a more polished version. The original write-up an artwork can be found here.
This scene is the damp dark places the infected gravitate to. This specimen is in the final stages of the infection and will soon burst out of this isolation, fueled by adrenaline and the human need for help from others. This panic is the fungus’s way of propagating. The host searches for help and in doing so infects all in its wake.
This Poor soul was inspired by an episode of Planet Earth that introduced me to a little thing called a cordyceps fungus. This image is an example of a super advanced Human strain the parasitic fungus. In this sad gentleman’s case he is not granted death like the ant in the video below.
The following is meant to be a description of the Human Afflicting Cordyceps as if it were being featured on a nature show.
The first symptoms of infection are psychological the host becomes withdrawn and emotionless. Later stages of infection find the hosts being drawn to dark moist locations, under bridges, Storm sewers, parking garages and musty basements are common spots. After the body ceases locomotion for over a day a chemical is released that keeps the host, aware and alive but unable to move their body voluntarily. Now the process in which the parasite slowly turns the body into its spore factory begins. The bones grow up and out creating a V shape, the skin calcifies and hardens, almost turning it to an exoskeleton.
The cordyceps’ cocktail of neurotoxins activates a base instinct of survival the brain, if approached a primary instinct to survive kicks in, and the host will attack and kill if necessary. Motion during the transformation slows the maturation of the spores, so the cordyceps stay stationary in dark places during most of the transformation. As the transformation progresses the skull splits and a stalk protrudes from the opening. At this point the maturation of the spores is almost complete. The Final stage of the cordyceps’ cycle is airborne infection. Through the entire process the spores have been inert. In a final act of evolutionary biological war the spores become infectious. The switch from inert to infectious releases a chemical that pours down the stalk and into the exposed brain. This chemical neutralizes the chemical paralyzing the host. For the first time in the approximate four-week maturation the host is able to move voluntarily. Adrenalin and panic are the means by which this cordyceps fungus perpetrates. Aware and able to move the host will attempt to get help, moving to populated areas and putting all those in the area in danger, as the spores spray out of the stalk into the air. The host will die within minutes. The best way to take of a cordyceps Infected is to kill it with fire!! There is no cure.
The look of this one was inspired by the work of Wayne Douglas Barlowe, his “Inferno” sketches to be specific.
To find out more about real Cordyceps Fungi check out the video below… OR at your local library!