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Setting: "One Big Lie" Sci-fi RPG

The lies in this setting are an extension of relativity with a couple of extra dimensions allowing for FTL/Backwards Time Travel, and Thaumons.

Thaumons (Magic Bosons) are a class of particle that can be "programmed" by tuning their mass such that they decay in a roughly predetermined way. This is used by Thaumaturgists (Wizards) to power the VIG (Hyper-space-drive) and their Wands.

This can be used to generate substances (blast water or fire), affect quantum fields (zap with lightning), move things (typical telekinesis) and scry (seeing the past or things far away). It cannot be used to shapeshift, send psychic messages, or mind control anything.

Unbeknownst to mankind, another lifeform has been adept at the manipulation of Thaumic Fields for Centuries. A microbe has perfected the telekinetic manipulation of blood that it has already infected. It generates EMF to communicate with the nearby microbes and, when lots of them get together, the EMF they collectively generate starts to look very brain-like. The EMF is also used as a "beacon" for the telehaemokinesis which is why it can't use blood it has not infected.

The microbe has recently found a dead human and crawled its way inside, taking over its entire blood stream, forcing the heart to beat, the lips to form words, the legs and diaphragm to move giving the appearance of life. However, the brain is not active.

Collectively, these creatures are not stupid. They find the idea of human hosts incredibly useful, but the longer they spend in human hosts, the more they learn of morality. They eventually decide that human beings are worth respect.

They still need corpses. They still need fresh blood.

So they live in the bodies of the naturally deceased, as they adjust to their new homes and fully take over all the cells the body appears ill for about a month. They use this time to learn more about the human they inhabit and copy who he was. The month long illness would appear to most to be quite severe. Long bouts of unconsciousness, pale skin, very weak muscles, lots of coughing... the changes in the person afterwards are usually put down to how long they were out of the loop and people adjust to the new man before them as it adjusts to them.

But how do they get blood without revealing themselves or arousing suspicion? If I made a living taking over corpses I'd feel compelled to keep it under wraps.

Notes:

The blood must be drawn from a "similar" animal. So ideally a primate but if there's no better way any mammal will do.

The blood must be "fresh". If the blood is not alive when the vampire drinks it, then its likely to be uninfectable [sic]. Very recently dead is OK, but every second counts.

Due to their new-found moral concerns and care for humans, they would rather not drink blood from non-consenting humans or steal it from blood banks where it is used to heal the sick.

No human can be left with knowledge of them after feeding.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not 100% but I don't think that controlling blood flow would give you control of nerves - ruling out the use of muscles. I know that isn't your question, just a point you might like to flesh out (or not, your story doesn't need to be water-tight really). $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Jan 14 '18 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ They bodies are puppeted. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ The muscles don't need to be controlled when they can be forced. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ They have unnatural "glidy" movements as a result. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ I read the title like "Cruelty: Free Vampirism". $\endgroup$ – Mixxiphoid Jan 15 '18 at 6:23
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To me, the obvious answer is that your vampires run a hospital.

These vampires are going to have a very strong medical capability. If they're studying a human's social norms, it can only be because they've already mapped out the human body completely from a mechanical standpoint and are ready to address 'operational' concerns. The fact that these microbes operate throughout the entire body also means that they're probably operating as a non-homogeneous hive mind (a mind where individual participants still have specialisations that the others are aware of but don't need the complete knowledge of in order to function) where different clusters of microbes operate the heart, others the muscle control, etc.

This means that they would make excellent doctors, especially with modern diagnostic imaging equipment giving them internal information on living souls.

So; your vampires run the hospital, meaning people come to them willingly. Make it a public hospital so that you get walk-ins of all kinds, especially knife and gunshot wounds with lots of blood spurting thither and yon. You treat them, but you also take excess blood while cleaning wounds and the like and quickly disperse it among your vampire population. You also run a blood donation clinic (after all you're now the area's leading trauma hospital thanks to your reputation for saving people), and filter out the blood that you need in addition to trauma cases.

Here's where your triage comes in. The 'lost' cases you just drink because they're dead anyway. Some of your other patients are going to die no matter what you do as well. You take the most functional of those bodies, which just disappear from your morgue from time to time to populate new vampires.

The beauty of this is that you're not only masking your efforts behind necessary medical procedures, you're actually doing good for the human population; it's a win/win.

In time, you may even be able to take this public. Imagine that humans are presented with cutting edge medical science that is possible of curing what we currently consider incurable. The only price is that if you're a lost cause, your blood (and potentially body) is the price you pay. The emotional issues for your family are no different to organ donation, except for the fact that the doctors have to overcome a perception of self interest. That said, a documented history of curing all comers except for some that even human doctors claim were a lost cause would go a long way to disproving that.

So, your vampires provide their services 'free' apart from a blood donation. In countries with an already established public health system this would be less effective, but set up in a country without a viable public health system (like the USA) and I think you'd actually find a lot of people who, if given the facts, would jump at the chance to use such a service.

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  • $\begingroup$ A very strange idea, using a hospital as a disguise, something that I probably would never have thought of.....and it's brilliant! +1, and I hope something like this turns up in an actual story. $\endgroup$ – Palarran Jan 15 '18 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ It's turning up in mine :) $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 15 '18 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ Also, all my comments to L.Dutch's answer apply to this also which is great :) $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 15 '18 at 18:20
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They don't want to steal from blood bank, but they can start their own blood bank, officially for harvesting and distributing blood donations.

Volunteers among humans will happily donate their blood for a good cause. And the good cause will be either saving someone's life or feeding the hungry (and save their life, too).

But of course officially only the first will be made known.

Some blood will be provided to hospitals and other organizations requesting it, so that the appearances are saved. This has to be a necessary evil for preserving the fiction.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's good, it also means that my vampires will come into contact with a lot of downtrodden, all planets hail to the emperor but individual planets govern themselves differently. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ Some planets will have national health services but most won't and I want my Vamps to eventually try and overthrow the Emperor. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ So if they're constantly coming into contact with people that are neglected by the state, running private blood banks, then that's a source of motive. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ This does still mean poaching charitable blood donors from other causes though. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Jan 14 '18 at 21:48
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    $\begingroup$ I imagine since they do the blood tests there, they'd use the blood that's too low-grade for medicine to eat. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 16 '18 at 14:30
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Can they tolerate contaminated blood? If so:

Set up a "research" company. They buy blood from donors. Since it's for research they accept blood from those who are not allowed to donate for human use. This keeps them from interfering with the normal donations. (Accepting donations is functionally the same as taking it from blood banks.)

Since they have their own brain they don't really care about the brain of the body they have taken over and thus aren't going to care about vCJD. Thus they should be fine with getting blood from those who are prohibited from donating for having lived in mad cow territory.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well said, but remember that most blood banks are extraordinarily conservative in what they will take. Most of that blood is not contaminated but only carries a tiny risk of being contaminated. $\endgroup$ – TimothyAWiseman Jan 15 '18 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ @TimothyAWiseman If the contamination is of danger to the vampire they're not going to take it, either. I can't see mad cow contamination being a threat to them, though. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Jan 16 '18 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ I would beg to differ people consume food at risk of contamination all the time and death by food poisoning is common in some parts of the world with serious illness from food poisoning being common in all parts of the world. You cannot eliminate risk, only judge which risks are worth taking. $\endgroup$ – TimothyAWiseman Jan 16 '18 at 19:05
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Cirque du freak answers this. There is a way to get blood without bleeding them dry, though the last paragraph suggests moral abjections but it IS what they would probably have to resort to at first.

Arousing suspicion is a bit vague: if thirst for blood is the issue, then non-consenting humans are the only option because blood fetishists are too rare to sustain any reasonable populous (i think/hope). If the origin is the issue then they just need to be charming or cunning. Set up a blood drive yourself!

Depending on their capabilities with Thaumons and the strength of superstition they might be able to gather small cults able to provide them with blood without even telling them the origin of their abilities. "Ascended" cultists could be infected with new microbes to give the illusion of ascension. This might be considered immoral, but it would be effective. Rhetoric can be a powerful magic in it's own right .

If you could clarify what type of suspicion they want to avoid most and why that would be really helpful.

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    $\begingroup$ In the question it specifies cruelty free. Taking peoples blood without permission probably counts as cruel $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Jan 14 '18 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ They want to avoid humans discovering them. Period. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon performing a blood drive style blood extraction on a sleeping human who doesn't feel it and doesn't suffer from it seem cruel-free $\endgroup$ – Aaron Jan 14 '18 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Douglas you make it sound like a game of hide-and-seek, like even being seen is completely off the table. However after the month of illness, being seen doesn't give away any of their secrets. I was curious how principal they were about which secrets and to what extend of social spread of the knowledge would be acceptable without negative repercussions (e.g. mob with torches). $\endgroup$ – Aaron Jan 14 '18 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ The point is they don't want to get caught feeding or doing anything vampiric. They mostly just take over the lives of dead people. $\endgroup$ – Douglas Jan 14 '18 at 19:12
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There is nothing in the question that suggests they actually need blood. In fact, the question strongly suggests the bugs did just fine before they learned to infect humans. As such the gain of infecting humans seems to be limited to being able to interact with humans without the humans finding out they are dealing with exotic aliens that would be really fun to research in a proper laboratory envinronment.

This problem can be solved by using the internet. Unless the setting is vastly different it will be safer and more convenient to interact with humans remotely and electronically. While this does not remove the need to have some legal identities, the number needed is reduced. Unless you have a full on surveillance state, nobody will really care if one legal identity is simultaneously chatting with impossibly large number of people.

The physical host problem can be solved with technology. A simple vat or a convenient structure filled with artificial nutrient fluid refreshed by machinery is a simple solution that could be built with our current technology.

Similarly, if you take a normal embalmed corpse, where the blood has been replaced with a preservative, you should be able to replace the embalming fluid with a suitable "artificial blood". This can also, obviously, be used to animate corpses that have not been embalmed even after the natural blood is no longer viable. Such bodies would require frequent maintenance to refresh the fluid. But realistically the same would be true with normal blood.

Since this is scifi there is nothing really stopping the bugs from building their own artificial bodies optimized for their artificial blood and convenience with the necessary machinery built in. Such bodies could be built to resemble human to pass a cursory inspection. Reasonably they would be more life like and convincing than reanimated corpses. They could be also be made to have any appearance that is desired. The appearance could also be made modifiable at run time.

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They run blood drives, always moving from one place to another, staying ahead of the law and above suspicion. They pretend to be a medical organization but they keep the blood.

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