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from: BROWN
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 8:17 AM
subject: W.A.L.F. AQ34

So it looks like corpo wants to put the scramblers on hold for now. I know, I know, but we knew it was coming. At least it's for a project with a simpler goal: they want a modification of the Writher (WALF XV3) to work on sharks, and easily spread throughout wild shark populations. I'm sure you can see the potential here. XV3 was the trematode line we tailored to terrestrial herbivores, I believe before you signed on, but the majority of trematoda specialize in aquatic hosts so this should be a simple enough mod. We just need to work out the most effective vector mechanism. What have you got for me?

from: Morris
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 10:00 AM
RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

I am well acquainted with your work on XV3, as a matter of fact I have been studying your processes and must admit to being impressed.

I propose we sample additional sequences from Diplostomum pseudospathaceum, an easily accessible species with a number of advantages we were already experimenting with for the 00Z-1 project. Like a majority of marine flukes, the parasites develop first in gastropoda until they emerge as free swimming larvae (cercariae) and seek a fish as their next host, but D. pseudospathaceum is one of a few species to take up residence inside of the host's eyes. This is significant because the interior of the eyeball lacks lymph vessels and is largely closed off from the bloodstream, making it one of the easiest places in a living body for a parasite to remain undetected by the host. Since it doesn't need to adapt as carefully to the immune system of a given host, D. pseudospathaceum can infect a much wider variety of fish than most other trematoda.

Convenience and adaptability aside, it is also one of the many flukes known to alter host behavior patterns. Infected fish spend more time actively swimming than resting or hiding, and swim closer to the water's surface where they're easily preyed upon by the parasite's primary hosts, seafowl.


from: Brown
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 9:05 AM
RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34


You're definitely on to something, but once we get our bug into Jabberjaw how does it spread? Normally the birds disperse the eggs in their droppings, most of the eggs get eaten by plankton, and just a tiny fraction find their way to snails on the sea floor. This is still a lengthy process, and I'm sure we can hack it so they go straight from the adult to the cercariae, spreading directly from shark to shark, can't we?

from: Morris
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 10:00 AM
RE: RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

I'm afraid that presents a few difficulties. Some forms of cercariae infect the host by penetrating tissues, but need to be quite small to do so, and XV3 can't be made much smaller without sacrificing signal strength. It's not a problem for domestic livestock hosts which are all but guaranteed by geographic location to wreak havoc even undirected, but in an environment as vast as the open ocean the client will need to maintain direct control over the host or it could wander for hundreds of miles in any direction without ever encountering human life, let alone the client's intended targets.

The control signal will also have to penetrate water in addition to living tissue, so I'm afraid we're going to need fairly substantial "bugs" to receive transmission without interruption.

Generally, larger cercariae invade hosts via aggressive mimicry, moving in the water column and behaving similarly to the prey organisms of the desired host species (see attached). This is how we could get AQ34 into the initial fish host, but it may not be a viable strategy for significantly larger host animals as the parasite itself would have to be large enough to capture their attention, and then we run into the opposite problem: if the parasite is too large, it won't have an easy route into the host brain without causing an undesirable degree of tissue damage.

I can of course conduct further research into trematode life cycle strategies and get back to you.


Direct Video Source: Rafael Martin Ledo

from: Brown
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 10:18 AM
RE: RE: RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

No need, I already found something promising: zygocercous cercariae. This is an adaptation of the aggressive mimicry you're already talking about, except the worms form an aggregation, linking together to emulate a larger prey organism. Data seems limited and many of these species are still undescribed, but some years back there was even a video of what was eventually identified as one of these aggregating flukes:

Almost looks like a baby octopus, doesn't it? These worms build themselves into a natural fishing lure. I've been deep sea fishing with my folks and we used squids to bait marlins, but we actually hooked a lot more sharks than anything else. What do you think?

from: Morris
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 10:35 AM
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

I think we're proceeding in a promising direction. I believe we can not only modify XV3 to assimilate with Elasmobranchii, but assemble aggregations of larvae in the host gut that effectively emulate Decapodiformes. We may however benefit from field research before settling on the aggreggation's ideal specifications, and if my understanding of corporate is correct, we are almost guaranteed funding for the necessary experimentation if they are permitted to participate. It is evidently their favorite liesure activity, judging by expenditure reports, and I doubt they can resist an excuse to write it off as critical data collection.

from: Brown
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 11:00 AM
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

...Are you suggesting we tell a bunch of suits that to develop a new bioweapon, we actually WANT them to get drunk and go fishing?

from: Morris
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 11:15 AM
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

I had not considered it in those terms, but they're not necessarily inaccurate. I believe such an arrangement may even be conducive to securing additional long-term resources applicable to more than project AQ34. I apologize if this line of thinking is inappropriate.

from: Brown
date: Monday, September 06, 2025 12:01 PM
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: W.A.L.F. AQ34

Not at all, Morris. I'm impressed.

I'll submit the proposal tomorrow and let you know what they think.

from: Brown
date: Monday, September 07, 2025 4:15 PM

AQ34 is officially a go. Access codename NIXIE. The only catch is they know not all of them are going to find hosts and they don't want those to go to waste, which was an issue with the Wigglers (ZS002). They still want to commandeer sharks, but they're also asking for the Nixies themselves to pull their weight even without a host. At the very least some E-class tactical application, like Johnson's meatmites or even, as much as I might like to forget them, the jumping beans.

from: Morris
date: Monday, September 07, 2025 6:00 PM

Not unreasonable. You were unavailable to work on CF19, but before they discontinued the project we had successfully developed a category 4 puppeteer capable of alternative metamorphosis into a free-roaming offensive unit. It should not be difficult to apply this to your "nixie" and augment the enzymatic action by which cercariae already breach a host's epidermal tissues.

I should have our sub-alpha specifications by Thursday.