Bacillus cereus are hardy reproducers. They lay spores that can survive temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius—the boiling point of water—in the hot swamps surrounding the banks of the aqueduct through the Southern Dam region. Once the marshy water drops below 50 degrees, the spores begin to germinate. They emerge as fully grown, bison-sized creatures, sporting waxy scales; talons and fangs that compete both in size and degree of destruction inflicted; and a head larger than a mammoth’s.
They claw their way down the aqueduct’s banks, sending searing pain into the habitat through the very earth itself. As they reach the main conduit of the land’s vital nurturer, just south of the Southern Dam and thus safe from the branch of the Nodal Sentry that patrols the region, they release poisons that disrupt the aqueduct’s normally harmonious flow. These toxins, resembling large empty barrels, float to the edge of the aqueduct and burrow into the bank, creating channels directly into the surrounding soil. Some B. cereus produce a particularly powerful toxin that affects the communication to and from Sententia. These brutal creatures can also make their way to the boundary wall, where they can live for long periods of time causing sores and other irritation to Soma’s periphery.
The presence of B. cereus, a relatively uncommon tormenter of Soma, is hard to distinguish from that of other waste aqueduct dwellers, such as Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus, and can be just as vicious. But many B. cereus also have a softer side, and inhabit the aqueduct as peaceful contributors to the community, helping to limit invasions by more consistently violent Lords, like Salmonella and Campylobacter.