As everyone knows, the Wasteland is full of dangerous critters, the type that can tear your balls off if you don’t know what you are doing. Usually folks go fucking around like true jackasses, without any second thought to what kind of beasts they might go across, and then it’s time for regretting and bleeding. That’s why I have decided to consecrate my life to be a boffin about all this, a respected Official Bugger and Mutardologist from the Scrapbridge Methane and Meat Electro-proteic Guild (in which I am founding member, as well as president, secretary, treasurer and field specialist). I am doctor Sarious, and I will try in this Guide to the animals, critters and mutations of the Wasteland to make a cool study about the animals that populate our world.
Everyone knows wasps are mean animals, you run just to get away from them and they chase you down and they really don’t need many reasons to sting your ass. But they are tiny, you can smash them quite easily and… I don’t know, their colors are pretty. But fuck those puppeteering hornets, they are ugly motherfuckers alright! They are not only big-sized and all that, but if they sting ya, you don’t only get a welt, but one of the nastiest deaths you can even imagine (although you can laugh you ass out if you are just a witness).
A puppeteering hornet is, at first sight, quite similar to a regular wasp. But two feet long. Their brighter color is not yellow, but range from rust brown to dark orange, and they also have a meaner look on their face (maybe it’s the same angry face of regular wasps, but at this size, man, you have to notice it). Their sting is thick as my nephew Braulio’s dick, but this creature DOES keep it hard. It also have massive claws and their legs end in some kind of hooks, all of it engineered to hold you tight while they sting your sorry ass and introduce their eggs inside you.
And then there are their victims, hosts to their larvae, known as addlernets. This name is easy to understand; at first glance, if a human is host to one of these larvae, it can resemble a mindless addler but their movements will reveal their true nature. If you spot an animal, beast or person looking like shit, walking around with stiff limbs, shaking like they were suffering massive muscular cramps, it surely might be an addlernet. The longer the larva is inside a host feeding on its body, the most gauntly it will look to some extremes in which it just looks as a dried up carcass.
Puppeteering hornets make their nests in extense, vertical, clayey surfaces, where they open up big caves. I have no clue about how big, extense or long these galeries might be, because I am not crazy enough to get in one of those places and I haven’t found anyone stupid enough to do it for me neither.
Although you can find a bunch of these creatures around Scrapbridge, the best place to cross paths with a puppeteering hornet is around the Great Rift, where full colonies nest and live. Large areas of this rift are made of the clay material they love so much to make their homes in, so I rest my case, your honor. And, of course, this is also the area where you are most likely to find addlernets.
A wasp the size of a big dog is gruesome enough, but that’s nothing compared to their life cycle. I imagine at some point a male hornet will hum a female hornet. You got that? I used ‘hum’ as a sinom… symon… mysonym… byword for ‘fuck’. If you didn’t get the joke, you can go hum yourselves. The thing is I couldn’t make apart males from females, all of them have a sting and they all seem capable of releasing larvae, so, what the fuck should I know. Maybe they are hermaflorists, which for those of you who don’t know, means that they don’t need a second person to breed or they just wank it off. Or maybe males just spend the day sitting in a dark hole, just like all my brothers in law.
The thing is that for these creatures to breed, they have to sting a suitable victim and introduce a quite big egg into its body for the larva to hatch when it is already warm inside the new body. This host can be an animal, creature, person… but always at least the size of the parent hornet. The puppeteering bitch grasp its victim from behind, with its maw around the host’s neck and holding it down with their spiky legs.
Then two things happen: first the host starts to lose control of its body, which is from now on controlled by the larva as if it was a puppet (oh, yeah, you bright bastard, that’s where the name ‘puppeteering hornet’ comes from) and then, the new guest starts to feed from the insides of its host. If you end up in this revolting situation, congratulations, you are now a member of the addlernet community.
What I found very intriguing is that the addlernets are not completely random in their acts. They don’t usually get far from the main colony, but they can even eat extrange things they can find, from roots to small dead animals. They can even engage in some kind of clumsy close combat. I don’t really know if the larva inside them has some kind of inteligence to control the host, or if this later has some type of ‘memories’ allowing it to repear very simple tasks.
The larva keeps feeding from the addlernet, stealing its lifeforce, but even so the doomed host retains certain hability to perform basic jobs. It depends on the host’s size and strength how long this phase is, but for what I saw it ranges from two to four weeks. When the body can simply go no further and the larva has grown almost to full size, it rips off the body and wanders free to go humming around the world.
The few times I managed to capture an addlernet to study, I wasn’t able to get the larva out of it without killing the host.
This is a creature you don’t want to use for anything, but it seems to be a tribe near the Great Rift that hunts, captures and extracts the eggs of these beasts (not their nuts, you know, the eggs of the larvae I mean) for some stuff. Stories say that they are capable of keeping the eggs «alive» for some time, and then implant them in new hosts without affecting the life cycle of the hornet. They might use them for many crazy things, such as torturing prisioners or maybe an insane rite of passage. I can’t tell for sure if this is true, because I never met this tribe of savage and fuck me if I wanted to.