The Klikundus bug (Carabidae narcosium) of Ozasobi IV is a brightly-colored, pill-shaped insect that feeds upon rotting vegetation. It is unique among insects in that its life cycle requires it to be ingested by another organism in order to reproduce.
The beetle’s coloration is enticing to predators and small children, and its body contains a potently addictive chemical compound which makes the insect seem preferable to all other foodstuffs in the environment. The more beetles an organism ingests, the more of the chemical is absorbed, which in turn causes an alteration to the organism’s cellular replication mechanisms.
Without intervention, the addicted organism will eventually lapse into a state of suspended animation, during which the outermost layer of skin hardens into a chrysalis while the rest of the body is converted into new Klikundus bugs. When they are mature, the cocoon splits open and the mass of insects emerges, scuttling off in the hopes of being eaten.
Certain enterprising neopirate pharmacotechnicians discovered a method of extracting the euphoric chemical and separating it from the mutagenic compounds. This drug (called “klik” in Eckian argot) was subsequently marketed on the Restricted Trade Grid. Errors in the purification process have had predictably dire outcomes; as a consequence, Klikundus bugs can now be found on all colonized worlds within the Orahalciades.
- entry by Jirge Imega of Erifu IX