TOS neural parasite

A blastoneuron encountered on Deneva in 2267.

The blastoneurons, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Denevan neural parasites, were a type of neural parasites, a dangerous lifeform of undetermined origin. They were roughly disc shaped, and anatomically resembled a single large brain cell. They were capable of individual flight, but most commonly attached themselves to humanoid hosts, via a "stinger" which tapped into the nervous system – for example, through the spinal cord. This allowed control over the host, though it also caused severe pain and madness.

These parasites were believed to have traveled from the Beta Portolan system to Levinius V, then Theta Cygni XII, and in 2265, Ingraham B. By 2267 they had reached Deneva, where they were encountered by the crew of the USS Enterprise. The crew of that ship discovered that the parasites, which were impervious to most environmental factors including high temperature and radiation, were vulnerable to high-intensity visible and ultraviolet light, and were able to eradicate them by placing a series of UV light-producing satellites in Denevan orbit. (TOS episode: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

In the Kelvin timeline, the blastoneurons had taken on a more gelatinous form, pink in color, and primarily encased the cranium of a victim. In this timeline, the creatures reached Deneva in 2258. (TOS - Operation: Annihilate comic: "Part 1")

The blastoneurons were only given their proper name in ST reference: Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual. Other sources since, the Star Trek Encyclopedia for one, have been under different editors and publishers and use the less specific disambiguated name "Denevan neural parasites". The name is exceptional since all sources agree they are not native to Deneva. Information about the Denevan neural parasite was displayed by the computer in Keiko O'Brien's schoolroom on Deep Space 9. (DS9: "A Man Alone", "The Nagus")

A graphic of the neural parasite was also displayed in the infirmary aboard Deep Space 9. (DS9: "Babel", "The Passenger", "Vortex", "Dramatis Personae", "Duet")

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