|Symbiont White Paper
The following White Paper is entirely fictional, written by Phyllis K Twombly, the author of the Martian Symbiont series. It is intended as a reference source for her science fiction readers. In no way should it be used as a medical resource or for any theraputic purpose. The Martian symbiont does not exist anywhere in the universe, so far as mankind knows. The authorship of the following White Paper is also fictional. Dr. Coren, and everyone else mentioned in the White Paper, are all fictional characters, conceived and created by Phyllis K Twombly. Any similarities to any person, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
The Martian Symbiont Official White Paper
By Doctor Coren Ravell, Chief Geneticist of the Martian Community
Unlike a parasite, a symbiont is a life form that benefits its host while it uses the host for its own survival. The Martian Symbiont, in particular, has many benefits. The entire Martian community is grateful for everything the symbiont does for us.
The precursor to the symbiont was discovered on a planet in deep space thousands of years ago. The aliens who engineered the symbiont left enough of their equipment and data behind for us to persue their research. I had the good fortune of being the first recipient of the symbiont, when my good friend and colleague, Dr. Athens, accidentally spilled it onto me. It absorbed into my circulatory system through the pores in my skin. Instantly, red swirls were apparent in my arms and neck, showing the route of the symbiont's travel. The injuries I sustained the day before, as sanctioning for unacceptable behavior, instantly healed. My entire attitude changed, to become far more peaceful. The symbiont helps its host to live in harmony with other intelligent beings.
The symbiont quickly spread, possibly through its own slightly telepathic properties-we're not really sure. We have learned that the symbiont exists both as a collective entity as well as an individual one. It seems to be fluidic in nature, and likes information and electricity. It often reveals its movement through its host's body with the formation of red swirls apparent in the skin surface...although it will hide itself under the host's clothing when convenient.
Of note is the fact that these swirls temporarily turn to blue when the symbiont first recognizes a man's future mate. Blue swirls are only seen in the face of the host, and only when the symbiont is transferring the woman's memories to her future husband. 'Double bluing,' where the woman experiences blue swirls, and receives her mate's memories, is incredibly rare. I believe this is a result of the symbiont temporarily accessing unoxygenated blood from the circulatory system. Red swirls are often manifest in great abundance in the host's face when asleep.
Unfortunately, the Martian community became a bit too curious when we decided to try and find out more about the symbiont. We tried to find the symbiont's creators, to learn more, and to show our appreciation to our benefactors. We found them. I wish to space we hadn't. They accidentally created a virus that was deadly to the symbiont and its hosts. We did the best we could for the last of them, and became infected as well. The planet was sterilized when we left, as a precaution for other visitors.
We created a cure, but it was too late for many of us. The cure didn't seem to be as effective for our females, regardless of age. Our last matriarch died an agonizing death, shortly after giving birth. Ironically, the baby, Jerod, seemed to be the only Martian with a natural immunity to the virus. He was born with a perfectly healthy symbiont. Unfortunately, it was too late for his antibodies to be used to save the women. Any other infant treated with the cure died within hours. The rest were placed in stasis as a precaution. To be on the safe side, Jerod was also placed in stasis for several decades. I'm afraid he had a rather isolated childhood.
We returned to Earth in the hopes of finding women the symbiont would find acceptable. Mostly due to Jerod's insistance that we couldn't just 'steal DNA,' we resorted to a reconfiguration cloning technology. (We suggested a few things to human scientists, but they still seemed to struggle with perfecting the technology.) Each Martian clone is given a data and experience download of all his predecessor's lifetimes. The symbiont seems to be passed on to each successive clone, although I've speculated about whether it's the same symbiont, or a new one. There's really no way to tell.
Due to the absence of women in the Martian community for so long, the symbiont went into a semi-dormant state. Many of us became almost comfortable with the idea of our species dying out. Some of us tried various means of mating, but without the symbiont's cooperation, nothing worked. One member of our community deliberately starved his symbiont of a basic nutrient in an effort to defy its pacific nature. This was corrected, once it was discovered.
Fortunately, after we'd been back on Earth for a few centuries, Kelly Ravell 'blued' Jerod and became the new Martian matriarch-much to her surprise. She and her sisters quickly developed the symbiont, after which it spread to over ninety percent of the human population. (It was a quite a relief, no longer having to worry about the humans dissecting us.) However, among the eight percent of humans who do not have the symbiont, there's a small, aggressive underground that seeks to thwart Martian purposes. Now that, I don't understand.