The Gift Parasite, usually just called the Gift. It is also known as The Mind Opener, The Bringer of Light, The Great God or The Eye of Conscience among many other names. It's a parasite used by the nation known as The Union to enhanced awareness. It is implanted in its citizens, whose vast majority belong to the religion known as Unionism. It is written in the law that someone cannot be a citizen of the Union without being a member of the Unionist Religion and thus, without having a Parasite Implanted on them.
The Planet of origin of the Gift is Isso, a planet in the Lewis Galaxy. It was discovered by the early colonist. These were escaped slaves from The Great Slave Revolt of the Empire, who defected to unknown areas of the Galaxy in the early days. Here they began to raise a new society in freedom. However, they noticed something strange in the Planet they had settled, when a third of the animal fauna, especially in lagoon and humid areas was infected. This strange condition was soon passed on into humans.
The first humans were tried to be removed of the parasite, with fatal consequences. This led to this infected population to cohabitate with their condition. In the long term, it was observed that the parasite did not reduce the live of the host, but it rather enlarged it. It also had an amazing effect on making those who had it more attractive, more athletic and strong, smarter and more awake mentally, etc... They found out how the parasite benefited from improving the host they lived within. As they could not be detached, the parasite tries to live as long as posible so it repairs the body and heals it, and improves it so they are better suited for survival, greating them skills way better than those naturally given to Humans.
Soon many humans wanted it to be implanted on themselves to adquired the same abilities than those infected. A religion around the parasite also started to be created and some time later almost all humans in the nation had already been implanted and converted into the new religion, creating the Union nation as a theocracy.
Those who did not want to be implanted or those who wanted it to be implanted later or with control were expelled indirectly when the law forced all citizens to convert and to implant themselves with the Gift. Those who left the Union founded Mirdan and Nova
- Early Phase
The Gift Parasite has two phases. The first one is related to the larvae phase. The eggs hatch in the water, usually not salty although the eggs and larvae can survive also on salty water. Here, they grow for a while, getting food from either their abdominal sack or from the enviroment. Usually very small quantities.
Then, the young grow into bigger and stronger Larvae and began hunting for a host. Usually they prey on animals or humans who swim or come close to the water. They usually bite the future host to keep it docile and then insert themselves in their spine. Here, they can began to grow into the second phase.
- Adult Phase
Adulthood is the second phase of the Larvae. They began adapting the sex of the host due to hormones and adapting into their new body. They improve it to make it optimal for survival. Then during the late adult phase and from a period of time they began paying attention to other members of the same species that are infected. Then their host will reproduce and through the sexual organs of their host they also exchange the seed for the new generation of parasites. The female parasite then releases a bag of fertile eggs that are expelled when the host is close to a water source. Those eggs then can initiate another cycle.
- Altered Phase (Pregnancy of Infected individuals)
The problem sometimes is that when the female host is already pregnant, one of the eggs produced by the parasite in their host female may insert themselves in the fetus, and thus avoid the first phase of growth. The new parasite larvae is introduce in the fetus through the blood stream, infecting it and then it grows alongside it.
Those humans (which are rare) are known as those "born with the parasite" and are usually meant to be priests of the Unionist religion. It is seen as a sign of choosing.
The parasite can awake different paths, or ways. It is a strong allied of the host and through training, infected citizens can get to manipulate the gift to enhance some aspects beyond what is normal, adquiting larger dexterity, strength, etc...
- The Path of Wisdom
- The Path of Dexterity
- The Path of the Senses
- The Path of the Warrior
- The Path of the Seer
The Parasite is raised in Sacred Pools in every single Unionist temple. When the children reach 12 years of age, early puberty, they are implanted in a ceremony of choosing, in which the parasite choses the child and implant itself in it. They are thus granted official citizenship and welcomed in the Unionist religion. Sometimes, due to sickness or other problems, the choosing is done earlier or the implantation is artificially made.
All people born with the parasite already from the womb of their (also infected) mothers, are directly given the status of Priests. This is important as Priests are the rulers of this nation and can climb the social ladder until becoming High Priests and later High Theocrats, ruling the Nation. Being born with the parasite is seen as a sign of choosing. Only 1 in every 10 000 is born with the parasite. This also grants those born like this more control and binding with the parasite, allowing them greater abilities.
Statehood of Implantation
In The Union there is a heated debate among factions between those who would like to allow Aliens the use of the Parasite and convert to the Unionist religion and those who are opposed to allow any aliens to have access to the Parasite. In fact, there was a war about this matter in which those who supported Alien implantation were defeated. Ever since, the Parasite has been an exclusively Human thing. Still, many factions are pushing towards allowing aliens to implant themselves too.
In the later, there are two factions. Those who peacefully want to extend the parasite to all willing lifeforms to grant them the benefits of the Parasite, and those who want to conquer the entire Universe and implant the Parasite even by force to all intelligent life and forced them into the Unionist religion. For now both are minority factions.