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Hyperpsychosemantic Adaptation Syndrome (or HPAS) was an in-universe term for a viral condition formerly mistaken for vampirism. It was first introduced into Trek fiction by the United Space Federation character Chance Poe, who was afflicted with the disease.
The condition was also known as Stoker’s Disease.
Abbreviated symptoms included radically hyper-vigilant immune system, advanced mental capacity, allergic reactions to most mixtures of oxygen and ultraviolet radiation, iron deficiency, fatigue, and altered psychological state.
HPAS was poorly understood until after the end of the Eugenics Wars, in which a vaccine was developed and mass-produced. Prior to the 20th century, those who suffered from HPAS were regarded as “vampires” and subject to harsh persecution. With the rise of modern medicine in the late 1800’s, scientists began searching for alternative explanations for the peculiar symptoms observed in first-hand accounts, often dubiously detailed, of victims.
Unfortunately, victims were known to be both aggressive and reclusive, making study almost impossible. This was further complicated by human rights issues as there were no laws in place governing a victim of HPAS any differently than a normal human.
With the onset of the Eugenics Wars, increasing speculation and reaction to genetic alteration raised awareness of what was then considered an advanced stage of hypoferremia combined with resulting psychosis. It was revealed that, in addition to the obvious iron deficiency and altered psychological profile of victims, an individual’s metabolism and actual rate of psychosemantic response time had radically advanced as well.
As laws governing genetic alteration were set in place at the end of the Eugenics Wars, those afflicted with the newly termed Hyperpsychosemantic Adaptation Syndrome were required by law to begin taking a vaccine that both supplemented the necessary iron levels required to keep them from relapsing into psychotic episodes and inhibited the brain’s hyper-vigilant evolutionary process, keeping it at a point that, while still highly advanced both physically and mentally, will cease growth at a certain, set stage.
Incubation and ProgressionEdit
Even in the 24th century, HPAS is poorly understood due to laws governing human rights and the almost universal tendency of victims to refuse to be tested. Indeed, the most reliable tests have been conducted by Klingon scientists on human captives.
Through continued study of the afflicted in controlled environments such as these, it has been discovered that the virus passes by way of fluid transfer and is carried in the blood stream.
Iron deficiency sets in approximately 24 hours after transfer, along with an intense allergic reaction to ultraviolet radiation and oxygen combined, said reaction resulting in severe burns.
Within 48 hours, the victim’s psychological profile becomes unstable, gradually shifting into a state similar to intense narcotic addiction. By the end of the second day, an untreated individual’s entire thought process revolves around the attainment of missing iron, which the redeveloping olfactory and culinary organs will instantly recognize in blood. This is the time when psychotic episodes were most often reported.
Somewhere within the next two to three weeks, an individual’s brain begins redeveloping its neural link with the body itself, increasing metabolism and psychosemantic response time. Above symptoms excluded, an afflicted person’s health will improve at an exponential rate. Even with the neural response inhibitor of the HPAS vaccine, individuals can expect to remain in good health for an indefinite period, barring severe brain trauma or damage to the central nervous system at a rate severe enough that the psychosemantic response time is incapable of repairing damaged tissues and nerves before the individual expires.
Long term side effects for an untreated individual include, but may not be limited to, anemia, hypoglycemia, severe burns over surface tissue, dementia, fatigue, and death. Victims most often expired due to shock, diabetic coma, or injury resulting directly from actions taken during a psychotic episode.
Additionally, in some cases, untreated individuals developed extrasensory abilities, such as telepathy, empathy, and clairvoyance. In extremely rare cases, additional capabilities occurred. Treated individuals most often retain such capabilities, once gained, but have difficulty expanding them due to the genetic inhibitor present in the vaccine.
Although the vaccine has proven effective, long term side effects for individuals in remission remain, and may include fatigue, skin irritation when in direct contact with ultraviolet radiation and oxygen mixtures, enhanced psychosemantic response, and sleeping disorders.
Furthermore, long-term psychological effects have yet to be thoroughly studied. In a survey of cooperative individuals, all in remission, it was found that an individual experiences a sort of depersonalization over time. It should be taken into account that most such individuals had lived at least 100 years, the span of a normal human life in the 21st Century, before exhibiting this trait, and most often reported an accompanying feeling of persistent déjà vu in regards to their relations to others and the outside world.
The HPAS vaccine was developed somewhere in the Earth year 1997, by German-born physicist Anton Kramer. It is a hybrid iron supplement, oxybenzone derivative, and genetic inhibitor. It is administered by injection into an artery, and the length of time required for the compound to become effective is directly proportional to the amount of time an individual has been untreated. The vaccine should be administered once in a 24-hour period, but as it has a tendency to build up in the system, an individual may go as long as 36 hours before regression begins.
Examples In Trek FictionEdit
The only strictly "canonical" example of this syndrome thus far is the case of Chance Edward Poe, whose player introduced it to Trek fiction as a means of scientifically explaining an otherwise supernatural character.
In the case of Counselor Poe, the virus had progressed to such a rate as to allow him to have developed strong empathic abilities, with occasional forays into other extrasensory abilities such as clairvoyance and telepathy. Tapping into these additional abilities was a notably painful experience for him, described as being very similar to suffering a stroke. He strongly hinted at many others possessing the condition, as well as extrasensory abilities just as potent as and potentially different from his own, but has yet to name any such individuals or meet them in person during the events of the game.
It should be noted that HPAS is meant to provide a scientific basis for vampires, so if accepted as canon, any vampire character may be potentially a victim of HPAS or a variant thereof.