I'm going to be doing a high tech sci-fi game in a couple weeks and I need a good terminal illness to have the ships NPC mechanic to be secretly suffering from, (leading to some later sub plots and solid reason for betrayal of the group when she's promised a cure later on) unfortunately I'm drawling a blank on something suitable.
Specifically I need an illness with the following requisites:-Incurable and ultimately terminal
(something high future tech can't cure with cyber implants, gene therapy, and future medical science stuff and will ultimately result int eh death of the host in a matter of months to a few short years.)-Few outward symptoms during the majority of the disease
(Ideally so the person can, with the right medical injections appear healthy and maintain a degree of functionality until the final stage of the illness.) Relatively rare-
Something obscure enough the rest of the crew likely won't have heard of the illness before, lending an air of suspense and mystery behind it.Low risk of transmission-
Ideally it should be hard for the carrier to transmit the illness to the rest of the crew in the current stage of the illness except under specific rare conditions (blood contact/exposure to spinal fluid, etc..) Later on it can always become more contagious, but for now I'd prefer it if the rest of the crew don't run the risk of contamination during their opening adventures.
So far I have the following concepts but nothing solid enough to use yet: Neural failure:
Some sort of slow neural damage/degradation due to long term exposure to hyperspace energy fields and what not in the reactor chamber. On the plus side it ties in nicely with the mechanic background, but doesn't seem like it would be continual and terminal if one stopped working around machinery and would likely be a commonly known hazard associated with starship mechanics.Retro Virus:
A nice nasty alien virus that corrupts DNA resulting in eventual mutation and death, or collapse of the RNA substructure over time. The downside is it could be theoretically cured relatively simply via gene therapy/augmentation. (Which is a standard medical technology in the game world and it's common to see groups enhancing operatives/military etc.. with gene splicing)Alien parasite:
Some other worldly nasty infecting a vital part of the mechanics body that will eventually kill the host upon maturation. (Perhaps thread worms interwoven around the spinal cord or some sort of larvae nestled in the center of the brain.) The downside is it could be easily cured with surgery and cybernetic replacement of any damaged organs so it would have to be especially nasty parasite to work as the illness. (such as a parasite that releases a deadly neurotoxin upon death/attempted removal or emits a psychic death scream that drives the host insane)Prions:
Essentially an infectious agent composed of protein in a misfolded form. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion
) These have real promise since an alien prion could prove all but impossible to destroy in an infected host, yet hard for the host to transmit to others. The downside is they don't seem especially easy to detect via medical scan/exam someone is infected with them in the first place.
Any ideas to further develop the terminal infection/infestation would be most appreciated.