Flesherism is a disease present in the Viperius Galaxy. The germ devours the flesh of most species, resulting in extreme muscle loss and death.
When Salsenes are infected, they become ravenous creatures intent on devouring the flesh of other beings.
Flesherism is caused by a bacterium known to scientists as Corpophagus. It has this name as its feeds on the flesh of infected individuals. Because of this, Fleshers are often covered in blood and wounds, as the bacterium multiplies and consumes more flesh. Torso muscles are evidently prefered, as they are the first to be consumed.
During the course of its feeding, the bacterium produces a hormone that increases aggression levels in the Salsene body.
After two weeks, infected individuals become immobile due to muscle loss. After this, they die after only a day or two. Salsene Fleshers can last longer, as their healing is more rapid. In extreme cases, when the infected succeed in providing proper medical care for themselves, they can last up to a year.
The germ is highly contagious; due to its presence on the skin of victims, even touching a Flesher can result in infection.
Salsenes infected with the Corpophagus germ are known as Fleshers. These unfortunate individuals are no longer capable of controlling themselves, becoming extremely violent and savage. Intelligence is not diminished; Fleshers have been observed carrying weapons and even operating machinery.
Fleshers are capable of somehow sensing the presence of Corpophagus in other Fleshers, and do not attack each other except when conflict arises over food and water.
In laboratory tests, when Fleshers were given the choice between Salsene flesh and the flesh of other species, they always chose the Salsene meat. When given the choice between a sapient species and a non-sapient species, the sapient was always chosen.
It has been observed that Fleshers are driven wild at the sight of theri own reflections, driven back in horror at their own situation. Some survivors of Flesher attacks have spoken of repelling Fleshers with hand-held mirrors. However, this method risks enraging the Flesher to the point that nothing, not even a mirror, will stop it. Time and time again, it has been proven that the only way to survive a Flesher infestation is to keep a level head, a head full of practical knowledge, and very large weapons.
The first known case of Flesherism occured in a Salsene colony on the fringes of the Viperius Galaxy. The source of the germ remains unknown. After a brief but bloody conflict, the Salsenes managed to destroy all Fleshers present, and collected samples of the disease. They arranged to ship the samples to another colony, for further study.
However, several scientists studying the germ were infected, and spread the germ to several other planets before finally succumbing.
Recently, the government of Centro passed a law that states that all visitors to the planet must undergo tests to make sure no person brings the plague to the planet. The high percentage of Salsene individuals on the planet ensures that such an infestation could cause mass turmoil and destruction.