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The following scenario takes place on Earth, sometime in the next few decades. An unethical biotech company has developed a deadly bioweapon that uses humans as a vector, almost like a suicide bomber strapping a bomb to their chest. A rogue state decides to hire the biotech firm, and use this bioweapon to strike at their enemies, who they can't match up to when it comes to numbers and raw firepower.

Unfortunately, the biotech firm wasn't nearly as good at developing this new bioweapon that they thought they were. Instead of killing a specific target, the bioweapon spreads further than it was supposed to, infecting hundreds upon hundreds of people. Strangely, the bioweapon does not end up killing its victims but it does leave them with some strange physical attributes:

  • Poor eyesight
  • Aversion to sunlight - active during the night only
  • Higher susceptibility to autoimmune diseases
  • Physical disfiguration - blackened lips, reddened eyes and prominent veins
  • Shortened lifespans - most of the engineered humans have a life expectancy of about 1-2 years after the gene manipulation process
  • If they don't die after this time period, they slowly go insane, losing control of their higher cognitive functions and becoming more aggressive, violent and feral
  • Surprisingly, they are not sterile and can still reproduce (not exactly unwanted, I suppose)

Given the above factors, and assuming that the "virals" want to keep on surviving and trying to improve their now horrific quality of life - what would they be harvesting from regular, uninfected humans? Let's assume that there are educated biologists and doctors within the ranks of the virals. What can we, as "pure" humans, have that they can use in order to deal with some of their physical issues?

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I think we have to do this in the reverse order. What might they want? Traditionally, blood.

What for?

One possible answer is, to tackle two of their problems:

  • Higher susceptibility to autoimmune diseases
  • Shortened lifespans

...they need transfusions. And quite a lot of them. While they try and develop a working haemodialysis technique (which possibly might work even better), uninfected human blood is the life.

And actually until the haemodialysis gets really cheap, harvesting unwilling "donors" will always be the only resort for the less well-off infected with no access to a blood bank.

In fact, even if blood transfusions didn't actually work, all that it would be needed is for the infected to believe they did. Rhino horn does zilch for sexual potency, but people believe it does (it's not even horn, it's something between hairs, nails and cemented snot), and that was enough for rhinos to get hunted almost to extinction.

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    $\begingroup$ Lol, we had the same thought. +1 :) $\endgroup$ – Qami Oct 22 '19 at 21:16
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Going for the obvious: blood transfusions.

There's a lot of research being done into the question of how blood transfusions from healthy individuals within a species can benefit sick individuals of the same species, including the question of whether or not blood from a younger individual can keep older individuals younger/healthier for longer. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_blood_transfusion )

As the article states, this is currently considered a pseudoscience--it is not clinically proven to have any benefits, and of course the question of side effects needs to be thoroughly investigated.

But for your genetically altered victims, there could be a whole host of cells, chemicals and/or immune system components that are compromised by the genetic alteration; for which the only simple and effective treatment would be regular blood transfusions from a healthy human with a compatible blood type.

Plus hunting people for their blood is great nightmare fuel for your world.

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  • $\begingroup$ You beat me to the punch, I see :-D $\endgroup$ – LSerni Oct 22 '19 at 21:16
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For the sane infected, what they would want would be somewhat similar to what sick humans need, they would most likely go for transplanting of healthy organs and blood, to extend the lifetime of these organs and possibly their lifespan.

Laser eye surgery and glasses theft may also occur, in terms of tools that these infected may desire for quality of life (sight).

Once these humans actually do go insane, along with a feeling of desperation for healthy organs and sight, however, there will be a larger variety of things these infected would harvest from humans.

Given their loss of sight and rationality at the same time, the instinct to see again would probably still be present, although it would manifest as infected developing a habit of collecting or eating eyeballs.

Similarly, the instinct of preserving their intelligence may develop into a case of harvesting/eating brains.

Those with the instinct to preserve their lifespan would go after hearts.

These obsessions and the symbolisms are likely to merge into one as they descend into insanity, causing them to treasure and envy the parts the healthy humans have that they do not.

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