Dawn Bloom/Investigations/Diagnostic's Medical Status
This page details an investigation in the Dawn Bloom ARG.
During the drone attack on Q98A66, Diagnostic was exposed to a foreign material that became embedded in his leg, which appeared to be bone fragments. The team fell back to a safehouse in Rhode Island, a vet’s office.
Liaison checked in four days later, and gave an update on Diagnostic’s condition. He appeared to be worsening, with symptoms of severe radiation poisoning. His teeth were falling out, he was bleeding from his mouth, and his leg was not getting any better. The vet had examined him, and produced a handwritten report.
Lung cancer<br/> Spot<br/> A1 2.8(?) cm<br/> A2 3.2 cm<br/> A3 2.1 cm<br/> B1 2.8 cm<br/> B2 3.2 cm<br/> B3 2.4 cm<br/> Patient is Hostile!<br/><br/> Severe Pain,<br/> Dilation of pupil is Massive! Like Dog eye!<br/> Thought it was radiation sickness, but xray<br/> shows cancer in heart and lungs, blood<br/> pressure will cause death.<br/> This makes no sense!
During the period of time that they were present at the vet, Diagnostic had bitten the doctor which prompted them to get kicked out of the safe house. Liaison paused in his briefing of the agents to go to the bathroom with Brain, and Diagnostic soon appeared in a voice comms channel. A couple agents that were online at the time went into comms to figure out what was up, and they encountered a Diagnostic that wasn’t at all acting like someone who was seemingly on their deathbed. During the conversation it was revealed that he had hijacked the van the team was using (leaving Liaison and Brain at a homeless shelter in New Haven, CT) and was driving to a safehouse in Brooklyn. During the course of the conversation, several changes in his condition were reported:
- His leg that originally had been hit by the rod, and was essentially considered to be jelly, was fully healed - indicating enhanced cell regeneration
- He was able to do a backflip which he claimed he could never do before, more so with his leg being damaged - indicating enhanced agility
- The teeth he had lost were growing back and were sharper than before
- He no longer needed his glasses (he claims he was legally blind without his glasses before) and being able to see things clearly about 1 km away (he saw a deer while driving at about that distance) - indicating enhanced sight
- He was able to smell gasoline during the whole time he was driving - indicating enhanced smell
- He seemed to have heightened coordination with his hands and feet as he said he could steer the van using his feet.
- Was able to drive while 2 cc’s of morphine was in his system. He said he felt no effect - indicating enhanced metabolism.
- During the drive, Diagnostic was asked by Lexic_Meise to perform an exorcism on one of the bone fragments found in his leg
- During the drive it was suggested that he try wiping on his skin a baby wipe. After doing so he reported that it felt itchy like it was an allergic reaction. It was assumed the baby wipes contained Aconitum which is also called Wolf’s Bane which mythologically reacts to what Diagnostic was believed to be.
Ultimately based on all this information it was believed that Diagnostic had contracted some form of Lycanthropy. The running theory was that it was a curse linked to the bone shards in his leg, but because the other shards were in the possession of other individuals it was uncertain if it would be possible to counteract this curse.
Before Diagnostic had signed off, one last suggestion was given to try self-administering Aconitine, a poison that can be extracted from the Wolfsbane plant, as he said he’d have access to a centrifuge and other needed things. The hope was that he would be online for agents to assess the effects but instead he did not come online and injected it via IV himself. This put him into intense pain and knocked him out for the night. He was not gotten in contact with again until Agent codex suggested to track him using the phone tracking program to find lost phones (the phone Diagnostic was using was Liaison’s).
Utilizing the program led them to the address to send mail to for Brain and allowed us to regroup Diagnostic with Liaison and Brain.
During the second drone attack on Q98A66, Diagnostic recalled being blown to pieces. However, he was still physically intact enough for Brain to haul him onto a makeshift raft and bring him to shore. It’s possible that his body reformed itself in the time between the blast and Brain rescuing him and Liaison. Diagnostic appeared to have been completely healthy following the second drone attack, albeit with some physiological changes. He gained an extra 3 inches of height, and noted that his fingers and toes seemed quite a bit longer. Agents took note of these changes, but weren’t sure what to do with the information.
During Liaison’s check-in with the Discord on the 22nd, he shared some additional information about Diagnostic’s condition. Supposedly he is not suffering from lycanthropy, but instead has some sort of 'heart worm' like infection. Diagnostic has stated the worms are inside of all of his vital organs and are nowhere near surface level. The darkened portions seen in the lung x-ray by the vet then must have been worms. The science team onsite carbon-dated the shard of bone that Liaison (or someone else) had on hand, and Liaison interpreted their findings as 'hysterically old'. The worm that infected Diagnostic was apparently present in the shard in some sort of calcified, larval form. It incubated from this form to clusters of 250 in Diagnostic's body overnight (a nearly impossible incubation period). The foreign cells of the worm infection are replacing the cells in Diagnostic's body, and adversely affecting his limbic system as well as his bone marrow (according to Liaison). Despite the apparent effects on his limbic system, agents haven't noted any major issues with Diagnostic's memory when compared against events that we are aware of.
Liaison contacted agents through the Discord to report that Diagnostic was experiencing severe health complications. Many of his injuries sustained over the course of the last week or so were returning at a rapid rate, and the symptoms he had been experiencing in Rhode Island were also returning. As it was a full moon that night, the inference made was that the transformative process he underwent in Rhode Island was reversing itself. The new cells produced by the worm infection appeared to be dying off, and because such a large portion of Diagnostic's body had been replaced by them (due to the excessive amount of trauma he'd been through) it looked as if it could kill him. Liaison suggested that we find a way to stimulate the worms, and allow the infection itself to keep him going.
The initial thought was to use moonlight to stimulate the worms. Some initial research gave us the temperature value of 4100 Kelvins at 1 lux brightness for moonlight, so Liaison traveled to the operating theater and had Brain (who was assisting in the surgery, despite having no medical training) use a modified light therapy lamp (such as the type used for Seasonal Affective Disorder) to try and stimulate the worms. These values caused movement in the worms, but no cell growth. Liaison suggested that something might be missing for the worms to feed on, or to produce whatever it was that the worms fed on in Diagnostic's body. While the agents in the Discord struggled to determine what that could be, other ideas were proposed by people more local to Liaison for how to deal with the issue. Brain suggested an alchemical solution of some sort (Liaison described it as 'sacrificing a lamb in the operating room', but we're pretty sure it has to do with a salve of some kind), while the lead doctor in the surgery, Dr. Talcom, wanted to use Rupture Bone. Both Liaison and Bone were opposed to this idea, as it seemed like less of a solution to the problem and more of an attempt at an experiment. Liaison is ejected for his disagreement, as is Brain a while after, and two other doctors.
While this discussion was happening at the operating room, agents in the discord were determining the best way to stimulate the worms. Eventually, the link between lunar cycles, the limbic system (pituitary gland) and melatonin was discovered. In order to stop the production of melatonin, blue light between 460-480 nm would need to be shone on Diagnostic. Liaison teamed up with some nearby techs and a Lt. Andy who was enthusiastic about making a push into the room with a possible fix for Diagnostic's condition. Agents in the discord determined that actinic lighting, like those found in a fish tank, would output that wavelength of light at a high intensity, and Liaison said there was a fish tank in the complex that would have that type of lighting. The techs wired up a huge lamp with bulbs of that type, and they engaged with the guards in the operating room. Liaison exited the discord at 7:44 PM EST, and Brain picked up his computer and communicated directly with agents for the first time from 7:56 PM EST to almost 10:00 PM EST.
Later, Liaison first gave an untrue recounting of the events of that night after he had logged off. Later, over voice comms, he provided more accurate information.
Diagnostic emitted a black and viscous growth from inside of his body. He became enormous, still humanoid, but at least 10 feet tall. Had huge teeth and I can’t describe his hands. Gorilla-ish? And he went berserk, this was after we had already attacked security forces to break in to do this to begin with. Control and Tactical joined. I was stabbed in the chest. I’m fine. It was a minor injury, despite being a sucking wound. Luckily there were a bunch of surgeons around. […] Eventually Tactical wore him down, so to speak. Exhausted him, and got him into a locked room where we could vent the air out of. After oxygen was eliminated from the room, and blue light was restored, the blackness around him became a very, very dense or chitinous kind of outer layer. I wasn’t seeing much of it at the time. They recovered Diagnostic from the inside of it, […] he is alive. […] As long as he is not exposed to oxygen and under blue lights, I am hoping he will make a full recovery and be field active, which should be as early as tomorrow.
Discussion of Diagnostic’s condition with Medical (indirectly through Liaison) led to a deeper understanding of the possible underlying mechanisms affecting him.
The initial infection occurred after contact with a shard of what appears to be bone, which was introduced into Diagnostic’s leg via a rod that impaled his leg with a high amount of force. We think the rod weapon was carrying the bone as a part of a previous encounter with an entity, and the piece of bone is leftover gore from the engagement. The bone shard also harbored some kind of calcified, larval form of what can best be described as a heartworm-like parasite, and traces of either nervous tissue or mycelium (from some type of fungus).
The immediate response of the introduction of the bone shard to the host body is an immune response of some kind. We haven’t pinned down exactly the mechanisms of this response, but it appears to make the host more receptive to hosting the worm parasite. This allows the worm parasite to colonize the major organs of the host, including (and especially) the lungs. These appear as dark spots on x-rays, which can be misinterpreted as tumors. This parasitic worm proceeds to replace the host’s cells with its own alien cells, at a rate much higher than standard human cell production. This results in rapid recovery from injuries, faster metabolizing of toxins (and intoxicants).
Movement of the worms, as well as cellular activity, are directly linked to lunar cycles. The presence of melatonin in the host’s body causes them to become dormant and the alien cells produced by the worms to die off. Depending on how much of the host’s body has been replaced by alien cells, this can cause serious health complications. On full moons, the activity of the parasitic worms is likely to peak and result in a rage-like state. The only data we have on this state isn’t from a full moon, but from an attempt at replicating conditions by barraging Diagnostic with blue light in order to halt melatonin production. (See 1-26-2017)
Later, this shell dissolved into an ash-like precipitate which also contained black pieces of what appeared to be broken teeth or nails. The structure of these fragments was entirely dissimilar to the bone shard from the initial infection. It completely lacks the calcified larval worms and the nervous/mycelial structure, and seems to lack calcium altogether.
This suggests that an additional organism is involved in the reproductive processes of this parasite. The current working theory is that there is some kind of fungus endemic to rifts which has an endosymbiotic relationship with the parasitic worms. The ‘rage’ state could be a means for the worm parasite to guide a sufficiently altered host to the fungus (a rift site). There, the fungus spores would infect the prepared host, and colonize. Eventually, the host would begin to produce fruiting bodies similar to the ‘bone’ shard similar to the one that infected Diagnostic.
If the above information were correct, we would expect the next full moon to trigger a 'rage' event for Diagnostic, where he would find himself driven to locate a rift (likely underwater in False Point) in order to expose himself to the fungal spores. In his current state, the infection is in a sort of mid-reproductive stage. The possible uses for these worms are staggering, if a way to use them to 'sniff out' rifts could be engineered it would be a breakthrough for the Agency and would likely save hundreds of lives in future operations.