"I won't spoil the conclusion if you're eager to see this through."
This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS relating to
some of the most pivotal parts of Worm. Although all articles contain spoilers, this article will reveal major plot twists and should almost certainly be avoided unless you have finished the story.
The Corona Pollentia is the part of the brain that adapts to and controls the 'powers' that parahumans develop and display.
The Corona Pollentia is the part of the brain that is adapted to and connects the powers that come from individual EntityShards. With the appearance of this formation, usually accompanied by a dream, the subject becomes able to trigger. The Corona Pollentia is a startlingly common feature, even in unpowered people.
The Gemma is the part of the Corona Pollentia that controls the active use of a parahumans' abilities and powers, the same way there are parts of the brain that allow regular humans to coordinate and move their hands. Artificial Gemmas were known to give powers that were maladapted to stressful engagements.
Size, Location, and Integration
The size, shape, and location of the Corona and the Gemma changes from parahuman to parahuman. Usually, it starts as 1-1.6 inch-sized body settled between the frontal and the parietal lobes.
During the trigger event, Corona gets a spurt of development. It is a partial reason for people blacking out. Corona expands slightly, veins swell. Although it is still hard to distinguish a small but active Corona from bigger but inactive.
Young triggers have more pronounced Corona Pollentia with a noticeable effect called 'dimpling,' as if it is pressed down into the brain, and, sometimes, expanded webbing, enveloping the brain.
It is possible to get an impression of power expression from how Corona Pollentia is integrated with the brain. E.g. strong frontal lobe connection indicates Thinker-type perception powers, and Masters would get a stronger emphasis on the cerebellum.
The unpredictable size and location of the Corona Pollentia and Gemma prevents people from removing them surgically as, most of the time, trial and error does not work. However, sufficiently precise surgery is capable of removing them, in principle; Contessa's Thinker power allows her to inflict precise damage to the Corona Pollentia in such a way that the target loses access to their powers, and Cauldron makes use of this to remove powers strategically.
Cauldron vials trigger powers regardless of whether or not the subject has a Corona Pollentia. In those that already have one, there is a greater chance of deviant powers. In those that do not have a Corona Pollentia, one develops as they trigger.
The size and shape of the Corona Pollentia is also stated to depend on the powers of the parahuman with it and how their powers work.
↑ 1.01.1Various elements that were unique to every individual served as a signal that the passenger could reach out to in an attempt at reconnecting with a host. DNA, electromagnetic patterns, patterns she could barely measure with instruments, all contributed, none was absolute. Once the connection was established, powers were possible as well. A moment of trauma sped the process along considerably. Her initial assumption had been that coming to life would be enough for the clones.
The Corona Pollentia was developing as the originals did, drawing from DNA to form as a lobe in the brain, right from the outset. The dreams formed the connections between the corona and the clone. The bonds were forming too quickly and easily. - Excerpt from Interlude 25
↑It forms the connections and readies every tool that could be needed, poised so that the tips are molecular-fine, extending into reality. - Excerpt from Interlude 12.f
↑The assistant is half-asleep as Grasping Self forms the connection. His brain patterns form wavelengths and the wavelengths match Grasping Self’s consolidation of information for one eighth of one of the assistant’s seconds.
The dream is vivid, the process feels as though it is prolonged- to the assistant, it is hours of clear recollections.
The recollections are systematically wiped clean, but the impact of is not.
Days pass. Weeks. Grasping Self waits for an opportunity to connect.
Months pass. The assistant pursues side interests, studying the dreams.
Grasping Self is not concerned. When the connection is made, edits and alterations can be performed to ensure this does not pose any unusual complication. At this point in time, the assistant has knowledge but no power to utilize it. Later, the assistant will have the power, but will no longer hold the knowledge. -Excerpt from Interlude 12.f
↑If a shard can give any power classification, depending on the trigger, Wildbow:For the record, some shards can, but not all. Some shards are almost always going to just trigger Master, for example, and you just won't trigger unless you're in a state of mind that lends itself into a frequency match for the scan-manton snap (as Bonesaw describes in 11.h). - Alternative powers.Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2017-06-17
↑ 5.05.15.2“Corona Pollentia,” I said. “She has powers.”
“They take different forms. There aren’t hard and fast rules. But I’ve heard that if you trigger young, it takes more of a hold, with more… it’s called dimpling. Like a hand is actually pressing it down into the brain. That right there looks like dimpling.”
“You get more cloudiness in some kinds of scans where it expands out into the webbing around the brain, but we’re not getting that. It’s been way too long since I studied this,” I said. “The corona starts as a single marker, like a quarter-sized knot in wood, or a ball the size of a golf ball, pushed between the two lobes. Then when we trigger, it surges into life. It’s part of the reason we black out. It expands slightly, veins swell. But most of the time an unactivated corona is hard to tell apart from an activated one, and a surprising number of people have unactivated ones. Sometimes you look at them and the larger veins or structures suggest what the power is linked to.”
“What does this tell us?” Chris asked.
“She triggered young. It’s deeper set. People who had a corona for a long time don’t get dimpling, I’m pretty sure. Looking at the veins, where it seems to have reached out… [...] ...Cerebellum is senses, seeing, hearing, coordination of movement.”
“That makes me think of Mama Mathers,” Sveta said.
“If thinkers had an emphasis, I think it leans more toward frontal lobe. This could be a perception power, I guess.” - Excerpt from Torch 7.6
↑The deviations, the ones who didn’t take to the formula, tended to fall into certain categories. There were those who had some minor physical or mental changes; they were little different from the most extreme deviations that appeared in typical trigger cases. Such deviations occurred a mere eighth of a percent of the time. They weren’t what he was thinking of.
The formula wasn’t exact. Though they learned more every day, there were still unknowns regarding powers. Whatever connection the agents formed with individuals before or during a trigger event, it didn’t manifest as strongly through the formula. When the subject was stressed, their body engaged by that distress, the connection grew weaker. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
↑But the entity can still see fallout effects. There are parallels in memory storage. Not many, but there may be glimmers where the subject is capable of perceiving the information stored in the shard as the connections are formed.
For good measure, the entity breaks up one shard cluster, tunes it, then codes the effect into each and every shard. It studies the host species further, refines, attunes.
It takes time, but the entity forms a sufficient safeguard. The host species will forget any significant details.
The broken shard is cast off, joining countless others. It will bond to a host. The entity looks forward, checking.
After the target planet has revolved thirty-three times around its star, this shard will connect to a host. [...] This time, the shard settles in the male, then immediately shifts to the more distressed female.
Insinuation. The shard connects to the host’s neural network.
The bond is created.
The shard opens the connection as the stress peaks, and the host doubles over in pain, bewildered, stunned. The shard then forms tendrils that contact each individual in the area. It retains traces of the entity’s tampering, of the studies in psychology, awareness and memory, and is quick to adapt. It finds a manner in which it can operate, then alters itself, solidifying into a particular state. The remainder of the functions are discarded, the ones in the shard itself are rendered inert to conserve power, while the ones in the host fall away, are consumed by the shard. The host’s neural network changes once more.
The female disappears from the awareness of the hostile ones that surround it.
The entity looks to the future, to see if this is sustainable, efficient. - excerpt from Interlude 26
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