rAge Is In All of Us

“That’s how it starts. The fever, the rage. The feeling of powerlessness- that turns good men….cruel” – Alfred pennyworth
Those are the immortal words uttered by Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler to describe the symptoms exhibited by individuals that have the rAge and are unable to go to The Dome . It is a condition caused by a symbiotie that turns its host into a rAge zombie whose sole purpose is to go to the Dome in Randburg where they revel in all the entertainment on offer there.

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First discovered in 2002, the rAge symbiote has infected more and more individuals with each successive year bringing its hosts together from all around South Africa. Although it might seem as though it is a parasitic organism, the relationship between the host and the symbiote is actually mutually beneficial to both the host as well as the rAge. Unlike similar organisms like the Ophiocordyceps lateralis, that infects ants, this species does not kill its host.

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Zombie ant fungus:

Infection occurs when the host is exposed to spores that spread via contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces such as websites infected with the rAge spores (they can traverse the internet and infect susceptible hosts). Once infected, the spores migrate to the brain stem where they sprout and there something interesting occurs:

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Different strains of rAge symbiote produce different effects: Cosplayers get their appearance because the symbiote causes them to compulsively construct outfits based on their favourite characters from their favourite t.v, movie or anime shows.

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Comic book readers compulsively seek out comics or action figures at stalls within the dome under the influence of the symbiote.

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As for gamers, their muscles become locked in place around their mice and keyboards in such a way that they are unable to move for the duration of the event which lasts for 3 whole days.

The rAge symbiote imbues its host with the above mentioned abilities and in return the symbiote is given a place to live and afterwhich it can propagate itself.

At the conclusion of the event, the symbiote becomes dormant again for another year waiting for conditions to become favourable. In this time the host is filled with reminders of how awesome it was to be at rAge.
This researcher enjoyed himself when he was at the rAge event and will return there no matter the weather or the length of the queues that usually await those that try to enter the dome. Then again it could just be because I too have become host to the rAge symbiote.

Special thanks to ChompGear for allowing us the use of their photographs.

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