Source: The Hollow Cabal, pg(s). 55
Dycepskians are a mysterious species of fungus that infest creatures with a brain and central nervous system, assuming their hosts' identity in order to carry out their own nefarious plans. Dycepskians are canny enough to fool even the host's friends and family, and it takes a well-educated individual to recognise the signs of infestation.
Dycepskians originate as tiny pale green spores, too small to be visible to the naked eye. Someone infested by dycepskians can be recognised by yellow-green veins around the eyes, which the dycepskians take great pains to hide if they have to travel frequently. Strong musty breath is also associated with dycepskian hosts, who usually become concerned with dental hygiene. For the same reason, dycepskians are usually very susceptible to beauty aid commercials and scams, but those who do not live among the non-infected prefer to augment their stolen bodies, preferably with biotech, which they find easier to control than cybernetics. According to Ro, a lashunta who has been researching dycepskians for more than a decade, long-term dycepskian hosts sometimes grow a small stalk on the back of their neck, which is believed to serve to produce dycepskian spores and communicate with other hosts. Autopsy of dycepskian hosts reveals that their entire nervous system is replaced by fungi.
Dycepskians are not sentient until they take over a host, at which point they take over the host's body and inherit all of their memories and skills. However, dycepskians cannot understand the logical and emotional importance of each memory, and seems to put equal weight on all of them. For example, the dycepskian might fail to understand why its host was angry at being left out of a parent's will but will perfectly recall every word of a conversation. Dycepskians trying to reassert their normality often repeat memories from their host, resulting in a long recitation of trivia that only betrays their true identity. In addition, it has been reported that dycepskian hosts suffer from insomnia which constantly worsens.
There is some evidence that infestation begins with a short incubation period, the duration of which depends on the victim's body mass, as the fungi need more time to spread through and seize control of a bigger host. However, with a sufficient number of spores, dycepskians can take over large creatures almost immediately. During this time, the fungus spreads through the host's nervous system to learn the victim's thought patterns, while the victim is still partially conscious but cannot do anything other than displaying looks of confusion and horror as they lose their speech and motor functions. Eventually, the host is completely dominated and fades away.
During the incubation period, it might be possible to remove the spores, but this process has never been tested, and no known host has been successfully cured. Research in this area ended when the Verdant Shield burnt down Ro's laboratory along with years worth of results.
Dycepskians seem to have no inherent social structure, but can communicate via telepathy over short distances. Lab tests reveal that specimens from a host continue to react to stimulations and threats to a detached piece of tissue, suggesting that dycepskians might retain control over severed limbs.
Dycepskians reproduce by releasing spores from their neck stalks. Mature hosts produce increasingly large numbers of spores every month, and can store them to release later if there is no current target available. Dycepskians cannot be bothered to take care of pets, which might also end up infected; these dycepskians retain their hosts' animal intelligence, but instinctively react to the orders of sapient hosts.
The natural lifespan of dycepskians is unknown, though no creature has been observed serving more than 10 years as a host, suggesting that dycepskians constantly need to seek new hosts. When a dycepskian host dies a natural death, it explodes in a cloud of spores. Their corpses have often been seen in ventilation spaces, clinging to the surface and housing a rapidly-growing mycelium.
The origin of dycepskians is unclear and difficult to piece together. According to an unconfirmed account, when an explorer landed on a planetoid covered in giant mushrooms and spore clouds, their space suit was contaminated by spores, turning them into Patient Zero when they removed their helmet and eventually returned to the Pact Worlds. Other records suggest that dycepskians have been active before the Gap, which have often been rejected as hoaxes. In response, certain individuals insist that this evidence is nothing more than a ruse planted by an unscrupulous individual who seeks to lead researchers astray. In a notable incident, the entire Wise Council governing the Zeffrac Science Platform orbiting the Liavaran moon Nchak was revealed to be infested by dycepskians when it decompressed, foiling their plan to crash the platform into the moon.
No one could agree on the definite goals and plans of the dycepskians, especially as the majority of dycepskian activity is covered up by both the dycepskians themselves and governments who wish to avoid embarrassment and compromise. Conspiracy theorists lump dycepskians with the grays and reptoids under the Unseen umbrella, and a popular hypothesis even suggests that dycepskians were actually created by reptoids, even though in truth the three species are not allies and sometimes at odds, if not directly antagonistic. Dycepskians often employ needlehawks and threshwolves, which are suspected to originate from the same world as they do, as scouts and hosts to breed spores.
- Alexander Augunas, James Case, Crystal Frasier, Georg Mir, and Jessica Ross. (2020). Alien Archives. The Hollow Cabal, p. 55. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-230-3
- Katina Davis. (2020). The Mysterious Dycepskians. The Hollow Cabal, p. 47. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-230-3
- Katina Davis. (2020). The Mysterious Dycepskians. The Hollow Cabal, p. 48. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-230-3
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- Logan Bonner et al. (2017). Starfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, p. 497. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-956-1
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- Alexander Augunas, James Case, Crystal Frasier, Georg Mir, and Jessica Ross. (2020). Alien Archives. The Hollow Cabal, p. 58. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-230-3
- Alexander Augunas, James Case, Crystal Frasier, Georg Mir, and Jessica Ross. (2020). Alien Archives. The Hollow Cabal, p. 60. Paizo Inc.. ISBN 978-1-64078-230-3