Following his disappearance in the Summer/Fall of 1939, a strange document was discovered in the desk of Dr. Hans Peter Alter of Miskatonic University’s Biology Dept. It was a simple anatomical diagram of the kind one would expect among the professional effects of a renowned man of science. Clearly related to subject 20.XI.19, the document stands out for two particular reasons.
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This bizarre organism floats through the nanosphere on delicate ‘wings’. With these vascular structures X. fur, known as the lesser butterfly, both eats and breathes.
The reproductive method of X. fur is ingenious and unique. It captures and ingests the globules of other organisms, then slowly converts the foreign genetic material to match its own. Through a process of forced and controlled mutation, the globule becomes a viable egg of the butterfly. Once conversion is complete, the egg, now an entirely different species than before, is ejected to develop on its new course.
Though many of the strange lifeforms revealed by Dr. Alter and his team in those feverish months of research pose no threat to macroscopic organisms, an alarming number can harm us in ways we are presently powerless to combat.
The ‘worm’, as it is often called, swims within the bloodstream of mammals, burrowing into red blood cells, where it hunts hemoglobin. The semi-rigid segments nearest the mouth each sport three spines, which serve as a kind of lateral line to detect aetheric disturbances created by organic molecules. When shai-hulud grows too numerous within its host, that individual may suffer shortness of breath, weakness, and an unhealthy pallor.