Cicada Path

Though monads are mostly known for their antibody and hormone production capabilities they can also interfere with the pace at which a human body operates by enacting a certain amount of control on heart rate, breathing and brain activity. Limited uses of this capacity are implemented by monads on a day-to-day basis in various domains: sleep aid, planetary adaptation, wound stabilization, enhanced perception of time.

There is however a way to induce much deeper and permanent effects. Through medication, exposure to low temperatures and meditation, a well-tuned monad can slow down metabolism to a point where the human body enters a state of quasi-hibernation with a very low heart rate, feeble blood pressure and quasi nonexistent brain activity. A human being who enters this state may remain as such for months or even years, subsisting very limited amounts of food and water, with their metabolism having essentially crawled to a halt. At regular intervals, the monad will wake up its host to maintain bodily functions, eliminate waste and feed if need be. This is called the Cicada Path.

The Cicada Path function was originally designed for sublight interstellar travels: deep space travellers could spend decades or even centuries in space while only ageing a few years. Though the advent of FTL travel has made this function useless the Cicada Path remains widely used in settled space. People who are unable or unwilling to tolerate gee variations may use the Cicada Path to spend months in space as if they were mere hours. The slowed metabolism can also be used to alleviate the effects of radiation or infections during deep space travels. There have also been recorded occurrences of stranded explorers using the Cicada Path to subsist for decades on minimal amounts of supplies until a rescue ship arrived.

Finally, a few eccentric persons have decided to use the Cicada Path as a way of life, living in a periodic manner, spending five years in hibernation for each regular year. This practice is relatively widespread on Vyiranga, a planet of decade-long seasons and week-long days. "Cicadans", as they are called, are often found by the sea in cosy homes that drones carefully watch over.

Interestingly enough, it is to be noticed that the Cicada Path does not suppress dreams: in fact, oniric activity is even more intense during monad-induced hibernation than regular sleep. 

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