October 24, 2022

The Stalker Beetle: A Louisiana Foulbrood

While studying the Louisiana Event, researchers are often given information with variations in time gaps and reliability. That has caused frustration among historians from varying specialties including biology. The Stalker Beetle is one such creature that emerged out the haze of the swamp. It was only recently that we gained more insight into this mysterious creature and its ilk. Below are a few extracts restored from the journal of an apiculturist and entomologist that we believe studied the Stalker Beetle.

Journal of Unknown Entomologist

DATE: August 16th

A strange little thing found its way to me today. I was on my way to the 13th apiary when this odd one sprang to life. I thought it was simply a leaf until it reared its head back to reveal a shocking face. Two eyes, black as void, glared at me. Its markings showed bared teeth that appeared dipped in blood. It would surely send many a fair lady running if they encountered such a thing!

The apiary must do without me tomorrow. I will observe this fellow and its natural behavior for now.

DATE: August 17th

What an evening it has been! It seems the bees at the 13th apiary have been busy with something strange. I found many strange larvae in the combs. Could the insect I stumbled upon yesterday have been wandering over there? Perhaps it has seen a merit in sharing its genes and it began to breed with the queen, and the results are these strange little larvae? They are much bigger than the bee larvae so they must have been pushed out of the hive due to size, but still they thrived!

It's strange staring at them, I can't help but feel… lethargic, somehow. I get lost in them, and sometimes I can even see myself. It's odd, but wonderful. I will go back to the apiary tomorrow to gather all that I can.

DATE: August 30th

Discovery after discovery! The growth of the larvae was only expedited when I removed them from the 13th apiary and gave them more accommodating living space. I named them the Foulbrood, for their dark color, like they're diseased. After ten days nestled among their mother-kind's wax and honey I gathered from the 13th apiary, they began to receive enough nutrients to start building strange cocoons around themselves. Why, it seemed like it was mere hours once they were complete. Now the strange larva I discovered is nestled gently in its cocoon next to me and I await with bated breath its new form.

DATE: August 31st

It only took a moment, it seems. I can barely look away from it to write down my observations. The first one to come out of its cocoon, the First Born of a species I and everyone else are unfamiliar with. It chitters at me curiously and observes me. The void-like compound eyes have gotten bigger and developed a glossy outer layer. It sports a hardened carapace, surely to replace that terrifying defense mask from its larval stage. A few legs and feelers round out the equation to make a wonderful creature. It is strange, it doesn't bear any resemblance to its parents, and it's not a bee either in size, or in appearance. It seems the genes broke down completely to make something new.

But the most important thing is what it does, that mesmerizing thing, where it stares at me, and I can see myself. It's gotten stronger; a pulse and rumbling start in my ear and my vision goes black like in the Sight. I see a silhouette of me, almost feel a pulse but I can't move otherwise. It's all wonderful if not a bit terrifying.

Other Foulbrood are still in their cocoons, and I am thrilled to see them emerge, yet I fear what would happen if I saw my reflection through dozens of glossy eyes. It could drive one mad with just the thought…

DATE: September 23rd

The Foulbrood grow stronger by the day. The beetles have selected the First Born as a queen and that led to an unexpected discovery as to how they communicate as a species. They seem to work as a hive mind, following the orders of the queen. The Sight, it somehow seems to tune with the First Born, and I can see into the others. As I suspected, it left me dazed and mad for days - seeing through hundreds of little eyes moving as they willed! But I was able to get control. To the point where I could isolate to one, but only if I held the creature first. That contact, that physical connection, seems necessary, otherwise I fear what would happen with the sensory overload.

DATE: September 26th

Since fostering the connection, I've been taking the young with me into the incursion. Being able to see through their eyes, being able to act before the dangers lurk around do has been a boon. Yes, some have been lost here and there, but their worth has outweighed the cost.

But still, there is so much potential with this new species. The Stalker Beetle is but one Foulbrood, I'm sure of it. I can make them more resilient, be more useful. I'll start planting new larvae here and there. Maybe adverse conditions will help with selective breeding. If the crossbreeding of this mysterious larva and another insect species did this, what could the crossbreeding with others create? Now wouldn't that be a fascinating experiment?

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