"The Scinfaxi" is the name given to the parasitoid alien consciousness that first arrived on Earth in the late 1930s. It consists of two separate yet fundamentally linked organisms; a macrovirus capable of spreading a reddish mold-like substance, and a tall crab-like parasite which develops inside organisms infected with the Virus.
The Scinfaxi Virus
The most unique characteristic of the Scinfaxi is its relationship with a gold-reddish substance, theorized to be some sort of macro-virus or mold. It completely covers the bodies of the Scinfaxi, and quickly spreads over any affected area, growing in size and expanding rapidly. Its unabated spread throughout the Southern Hemisphere of Earth during the 20th and 21st Centuries had a noticeable impact on the planet's climate and ecosystem. The discovery that the planet would be unable to support human life by 2240 directly led to the development of spaceflight and the colonization programs.
|0-1 Hours||Virus makes contact with suitable environment.|
|24-48 Hours||Virus grows and forms visible mold type substance.|
|20 to 40 days||Viral growth begins producing spores.|
|60 to 80 days||Scinfaxi organisms produced from dense pockets of growth.|
Signs and Symptoms
Contact on human skin is usually non-fatal, although the virus will spread if not treated quickly. Early symptoms of the virus include dizziness, rapid inflammation of the skin and if inhaled or ingested; a heavy wheezing or bloody vomiting. As the virus progresses through the body, the victims digestive system and hormone centres (pituitary, adrenal etc) are affected often resulting in extreme weakness and even full incapacitation. Exposure by regular means is usually not fatal, however recovery is not necessarily guaranteed due to the parasites attempt to drain the victims body. The ingestion or inhalation of the virus is almost always fatal, as it will grow inside the body, eventually consuming the victim from inside out. Mercy killings were commonplace in the First Scinfaxi War when treatment of the virus was unknown.
Role in the Scinfaxi Race
The prevalence of the Scinfaxi Virus leads some to believe it is a type of advanced symbiosis, with the substance acting as a type of hive mind linking all nearby Scinfaxi to each other. Others believe it is a biological weapon, specifically geared towards the assimilation of foreign life. It's initial spread in the 1930s well in advance of the main Scinfaxi landings supports this latter theory. It's effects on the ecosystem of Earth also give weight to the idea that it might be some sort of terraforming agent.
Whatever it’s exact nature, the Virus does play some sort of role in reproduction. Observations made of Scinfaxi held territory during the First Scinfaxi War, indicated that the Virus will latch onto almost any organic matter, either living or dead, and slowly consume it, transforming it into more of the Virus. Larval stage Scinfaxi have been seen emerging from dense pockets of the Virus, but what role it plays is unknown.
The Virus also seems to be equally important to Scinfaxi technology; most of their vehicles and spacecraft are fueled, lubricated, and controlled by the Virus or it's derivative substances. The Scinfaxi appear able to use it to 'grow' components such as synthetic muscle, neuron control devices, and to provide a source of bioelectric power. Because the Virus dies off rapidly, little of its interaction with Scinfaxi technology is known.