Oh Jesus, you pretty much have the entire plot of Qaastvs written here. >[
Qaastvs, the Virus:
In the year 20XX, a group of travelers found a small boy in Riel, Malasoma, who was dying of a strange “infection”. The boy had chafed, blue-tinged skin and was feverishly mumbling to himself while he was bleeding profusely through the eyes.
This boy was the first recorded case of “Qaastvs” – called so because this was the only thing the boy would write and speak. He died six days after being found.
With Riel being independent of the world-recognized government, secret researches were pursued regarding the nature of the infection. This did not end well – while not contagious, the virus seemed to be able to choose who it would use as “host” (its parasitic nature was established in the boy’s medical report). Neighboring countries joined Riel in finding a cure to the infection. The symptoms and characteristics of the viral infection are as follows:
- sudden fevers
- nosebleeds, or tooth loss (teeth falls off gums without any external cause)
- numbness of fingers and/or toes for long periods of time
Stage One (day 01-05):
- skin discoloration
- chafing skin, esp. commonly exposed body parts (face, hands)
- constant thirst and/or hunger
- sudden weight loss
Stage Two (day 06-11):
- eye discoloration, blindness/narrowed vision
- constant peeling of skin
- loss of breath/heart contractions
Stage Three (day 12-13):
- bleeding through orifices on face, and at extremities
- black liquid material manifests from any open wound
- often results in dying
It seemed to prefer infecting females, esp. pregnant women, possibly because its nature did not allow it to reproduce naturally. Therefore, in theory, should all hosts of the virus be eliminated and the virus contained and effectively vaccinated for, it would not be able to cause any more damage.
Qaastvs was effectively contained and “removed” in five years after the initial recorded case. All possible hosts were also “removed”, prompting comparisons to witch hunts. When, after eight years, no new case of the infection was reported, the medical associations deemed the world safe from it.
One problem: a pregnant woman who was infected had successfully given birth just months before the first boy was found. Having died due to complications of childbirth before the first diagnosis was published, the woman’s son was not recorded.
The boy’s name was Shannen.
Qaastvs, the Person
Shannen Qaastvs, as a child, was considered unlucky. His father was mysteriously stabbed by an unidentifiable object, and the boy subsequently became an aphasiac at the age of eight, thrown into the streets by an unloving aunt at nine, then withdrew from society and became a chain smoker at twelve. At fourteen his body’s development stopped. He also started to have schizoid tendencies, speaking to himself constantly as though there were someone beside him.
At the same age, the symptoms of Qaastvs started to manifest. But instead of entering the stages in proper order he found himself jumping right to stage three. The bleeding furthered his growing detachment from the world, finally turning him into a schizophrenic.
Shannen started associating “the other kid” in his head as the cause of his body’s changes – and through this psychological detachment managed to fully harness the virus to its full potential, becoming able to force the black liquid matter that comes out of his body into a physical entity, or a shape or form that he chooses. At the age of fifteen, he reached a point where he could personally choose who to infect.
The first one was Arashi Nageshi, a runaway, then fourteen.
Qaastvs, the Organization
Founded by Shannen (age 15), who had taken Qaastvs as a surname, and Arashi (age 14), who dropped his last name, Qaastvs is primarily a retrieval group. The group got its start from hunting down bounties, but this proved a very risky endeavor for two teenagers.
They then decided on a retrieval and delivery service – that is, stealing back things that were stolen, rescuing kidnapped people in the absence of government assistance, transporting items too delicate or illegal for regular transport.
Finding brisk business, they soon began recruiting. The first batch of additions were: Elsa Fontene (age 19), illegal immigrant disowned by her family; Declan Thandie (age 18), runaway; and Kidd Monroe (age 15), grandson of famed mobster James Monroe. Shannen assigned Elsa on information gathering, Declan on tracking, and Kidd as back-up/decoy. After finding Kidd’s talent at palming small objects, Arashi decided to put him in the field as a primary, and added a new batch of recruits: Ryan Loven and Vivienne Ronzer (ages 16), bored teenagers; both were back-up and assists. Later into the year they added “Lukah”(age 13), having her specialize in transport.
The following year found Qaastvs gaining notoriety and reputation – and Shannen getting into politics. He sold out “hits” for a number of high-paying clients, eventually finding the group in a considerably formidable and untouchable position, both as a service provider and as a group in itself – as well as with their final addition, a nameless boy they named “Nine” (age 15). Kidd found himself taking offense at the change of course the group was taking and had a fight with Shannen, who threw him out of the group after beating him up. Shannen, finding the group short of hand, recruits Jess Ames (age 17), an orphan, to replace Kidd.
- Shannen Qaastvs (16)
- Arashi Nageshi (15)
- Elsa Fontene (19)
- Declan Thandie (18)
- Charles Monroe (15)
- Ryan Loven (16)
- Vivienne Ronzer (16)
- “Lukah” (13)
- “Nine” (15)
- Jess Ames (17) [replaces Charles Monroe]
Present Age Line:
Shannen(24) – Arashi(23) – Elsa(25) – Declan(24) – Kidd(21) – Ryan(21) – Vivienne(21) – Lukah(18) – Nine(19) – Jess(21)
I – Ryan
II – Vivienne
III – Declan
IV – [blank]
V – Jess
VI – Elsa
VII – Shannen
VIII – [blank]
IX – Nine
X – Lukah
XI – Arashi
XII – [blank]
XIII – Kidd
Number assignments are arbitrary – Qaastvs members merely pick numbers that they like.
The Nature of The Tattoos
As Shannen was able to transfer a perfected viral strain, all members of Qaastvs are able to make use and harness the parasitic matter that the virus creates as byproduct. The material is created with the purpose of being used as defense for the host, mostly by will and force of the host – however, since the first hosts were mentally unstable and physically deteriorating, the medical associations were not able to record this. With Shannen having developed psychological and mental imbalances early on in life, the virus mutated as it manifested – thus, when transferred to a mentally stable person, did not affect them as badly as the first cases of infection were.
(In simple words – because Shannen was already crazy, the crazy-making muscles of the virus atrophied; when they infected a new body, it was no longer able to drive a person crazy. Crazy makes crazy turn sane, there you go.)
Shannen “infects” people the same way the virus did, but with a sense of consciousness: just as the virus chooses its hosts seemingly arbitrarily, Shannen can sense if a person is compatible. One side-effect Shannen did not expect was the negation the new strand creates when it comes into contact with another host of the same strand – meaning, on a microscopic level, should one host attempt to infect the other, the transferred virus would attempt to kill the resident virus, prompting a cycle of viral resurrection and murder that taxes on the host’s energy, making him physically weak (this does not affect Shannen, as he was born with a different defense mechanism). While not fatal, it can knock a host unconscious for at least 36 hours – the least required time for the body to flush out the newly transferred virus.
Methods of host-host infection:
- ingestion of the other’s blood
- wounding a host with an object with trace amounts of the virus
- wound on wound contact
- consuming another host’s brain matter
- consuming blood-rich organs (i.e., heart, liver, lungs)
Methods of host-compatible infection:
- blood transfusion
- wounding a compatible with an object with trace amounts of the virus
- wound on wound contact
- sexual intercourse (no joke >[)
- organ transplant
As it were, Shannen managed to contain the virus to just those within Qaastvs and, in his second year in the group, managed to invest in a permanent drug that “neuters” the virus, and mixed this with the “ink” he used to tattoo his team members. Arashi took a lesser form of the drug, which does not fully cut off the virus (he will be able to pass the virus to his offspring, but not to his partner). Shannen did not take the drug, for obvious reasons.
The actual nature of the tattoos: they “filter” the liquid byproduct out of the body through a constantly open wound, in concentrated form. When fully controlled, it can change its density by reacting to the host’s needs. It has a preset density level and effect that varies from host to host – its form depends entirely on the host, however. (It is of note that while the virus-infused blood itself can weaken a host, the liquid matter only affects another host the same way regular inanimate objects do.)
As it is parasitic by nature, though, extensive AND excessive use of the defense taxes heavily on the physical capability of its host. The standard limit is three hours (3h) – Arashi and Kidd have the highest limit at 5h20m and 5h19m, respectively. Lukah has the lowest at 1.5h.
Form: bow and arrow
Form: Cutting knives (2) [she is the only one whose matter is detachable]
Form: bazooka [sucks in air backets and shoots them off]
Form: organic entity
Form: giant claw-things
Originally considered as an older version of Qaastvs (it was first diagnosed 50 years before Qaastvs) for similar symptoms, this unnamed illness affects 5% of the population. Those with the illness are often unnaturally physically fit, seeming superhuman to most. They are also born with a heart condition directly relative to the illness, and later in life develop a reddish eye color and/or faint blue tinges on their skin. Those born with the illness usually do not live past their first decade - reaching one's fifteenth birthday was considered relatively blessed, while reaching 25 is the equivalent of reaching 100 years of age for those without the condition. The illness is fairly recent and is only in its third generation, though treatments and drugs have been made to assist those with the illness.
As the years have gone, however, cases of this illness have drastically dropped, making treatment very expensive and hard to find.
THIS WAS A HORRIFYING EVENT FOR MY ARMS. D8