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.
One of the most bizarre microbes yet documented by researchers using the revolutionary aether field nanoscope is HP 1939. The true nature of ‘the enigma’ is unknown: though superficially artificial in morphology and behavior, no known process of manufacture could produce the apparent complexity of HP 1939 on this scale.
HP 1939 can best be described as a unique type of benign and self-stabilizing carcinogenic cell. The enigma inserts strings of diverse code into the DNA of nearby cells, which then create a finite number of copies of themselves. This apparently genetic information, though legible to most species of all biological kingdoms, does not employ the four nucleotide bases of the canonical code, but rather a complex, almost syntactical system that varies from one specimen to another. Many of the amino acids produced by this ‘enigmatical’ code are unknown elsewhere in the catalogue of terrestrial life.
After a brief period of replication, the altered cells form a cluster around HP 1939. Once the microbe has entered its chrysalis, as it is fancifully known, it ceased interaction with the host and begins faintly emitting a complex but regular electromagnetic signal.
The means of reproduction of this fascinating organism remain a mystery to researchers.