There are many types of mutant animals in the Odemark series. The most prevalent and disturbing mutants are Lurkers, humans who have been turned into abominations through exposure to mutagenic bombs. Many Lurkers are from the Old World or are children of Old-World Lurkers.
Mutagenic bombs from the Old World are gas bombs comprised of DNA from thousands of animal species. This DNA, mixed with bio-engineering, is turned into a weapon. When exposed to the human body, the body is tricked into thinking it needs to follow all the instructions from the vast swaths of DNA samples, creating a destructive growth process that targets the whole body, especially the brain.
Many things can happen in this process. Some people die from damage to their bodies, such as organ failure or brain damage. Some become dormant as parts of their brain shut down.
A select few undergo this process “well” and remain functional. Some of these Lurkers become aggressive and feral. Some form packs with others, some seek help, and some hide. In most of these cases, the Lurkers become animalistic and focus on survival.
The mutants seen in the Odemark series are the ones who remain functional and focus on survival. For these types of Lurkers, there are four stages.
The first stage is the initial change when the brain succumbs to emotional imbalance and loss of humanity. First-Stage Lurkers look like humans and show some signs of damage. They may have tumors or growth on their bodies, show injuries from a lack of self-conscious preservation, and display primitive behaviors. Typically, stage one lasts for a year or so.
Stage Two is when the mutagenic in the body are more visible. These Lurkers have had their minds entirely destroyed or changed, and their bodily growths are now highly prevalent. Many have small limbs or extra body parts like eyes growing on them, and most are covered in tumors.
Stage-Two Lurkers are the dominant type of Lurker and are the ones who live in packs and reproduce. They become part of the New World ecosystem. Stage Two lasts for a few years, if not a decade.
Stage Three Lurkers are seen later in the Odemark series and are rarer than Stage Two Lurkers. Stage Three is seen in older Lurkers, where the mutagenic in their bodies have been allowed to grow for an extended period of time.
These Lurkers can be born from Lurker packs, where mutagenic DNA from two parents mixes and grows worse, creating a child who is worse than the parents. Stage Three typically lasts for the rest of a Lurker’s life.
Stage-Four Lurkers are the final type of Lurker and the rarest. There are very few cases of Stage-Four Lurkers. These Lurkers are typically comprised of multiple separate bodies in one or are huge hulking masses. Typically, they are either dormant or highly aggressive.
Since Stage-Four Lurkers are so large, they are deadly due to their strength and have wrecking ball power. They can live for a very long as most of their body remains undamaged, though they are subject to painful deaths if part of them dies and poisons the rest of the abomination.