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"What the... it looks like the ground there is alive..."—James Raynor, Starcraft
Usually occurs in sci-fi works, Meat Moss is when a facility, usually a lab of some sort, is altered by The Virus where the walls are covered with a thick meaty biomass. This is also typical of an alien race that uses Organic Technology. Although, it is a good way of saying "This is The Virus's territory" or "The heroes are on a techno-organic spaceship", it raises questions as to how this biomass is sustaining itself as well as its purpose other than as setting decor. Sufficient amounts of meat moss can also result in a Womb Level. And when it's divine punishment, you have the Bloody Bowels of Hell. Compare Mordor.
May overlap with Alien Kudzu.
Anime & Manga Edit
- Depending on how amiable they're feeling, the interior of more evil Living Ships in Lost Universe can suddenly shift from their normal ISO Standard Human Spaceship to sprout squelching masses of tentacles.
Comic Books Edit
- The Sandman has a particularly horrible incident in one of the early issues where rogue dreams have converted a still living man into this and draped him all over the walls of his dream-junkie daughter's apartment.
- Red Weed in The War of the Worlds and one or two film adaptations thereof.
- Croach in Codex Alera
- Greg Bear's 1985 novel Blood Music.
- Living Hell can be considered the ultimate Example. The plot of the movie is about a viral corruption that feeds on energy to grow exponentially. It threatens to engulf the Earth were it not stopped before the sun rose.
- In the Pirates of the Caribbean series, many of Davy Jones' crew end up becoming literal parts of the ship, able to talk (sometimes) but not move.
- The monsters of the Alien series started doing this trope from the second film onwards.
Live-Action TV Edit
- In the Battlestar Galactica reboot, the Cylon Basestar's landing bay Boomer delivers the nuke to (shortly before she shoots Adama) has this look. Justified in Cylon Basestars of this type are implied to have major biological components, and their fighters are biologically controlled.
Tabletop Games Edit
- Magic: The Gathering:
- A carpet of rotting flesh covers the ground in Grixis.
- In New Phyrexia, the interior of the compleated Lumengrid is covered in pulsating, organic tissue.
- Warhammer 40000 has the Screaming Gallery, a carpet of living, screaming faces in the throne room of rebel primarch Konrad Curze.
- White Wolf's first World of Darkness RPG: In Vampire: The Masquerade, many vampires of Clan Tzimisce use their magic fleshforming abilities (flesh and bones, actually) to sculpt humans or other vampires into screaming furniture and living decoration for their lairs, which results in this trope.
Video Games Edit
- Until it was Jossed by Notch, Netherrack in Minecraft was thought to be this, or blood covered stone. It's actually just Red Stone with moss on it.
- Prototype has Hives which are buildings covered inside and out in a red biomass. It does in fact serve a purpose: strengthening the Hive by weaving through and around the buildings' walls, to protect the creatures growing inside.
- The Shadow from Amnesia the Dark Descent leaves a tough leather-like mass similar to muscle, that can even pulsate in places. Standing on it for too long hurts Daniel.
- The Flood from Halo do this to heavily-infested areas. In the Halo 3 manual it's implied that they do this to collect enough bone matter for the shapeshifting "pure" flood forms that aren't based on an infected body. The effect is usually just a few cocoon-like clumps in the corners, but in Halo 3, we get to see a ship that the Flood has had control over for quite some time, even converting doors into sphincters.
- Zerg Creep from Starcraft, Zerg buildings can only be built on the slowly spreading creep and they have an entire building tree of turret-analogues dedicated to spreading it (because both Zerg and Protoss have similar building mechanics, humans end up being the oddball race which can put buildings anywhere). It is stated that Creep is used as food for Zerg larva.
- The infested Command Centers do play this one straight though.
- In-game fluff describes zerg buildings to be literal organs and zerg "bases" as whole a literal organism. So creep is somewhat closer to a fluid circulation system - it's required to keep the organs saturated. Infested Terran buildings are somewhat justified in that zerg cannot manipulate tools, so they need the entire thing hardwired into their command network of telepathic overlords to make any use of it.
- Zerg creep is vital to zerg biology. Minerals and gas are "digested" at the central zerg organ (hatchery/lair/hive) and then fed to the other organ-buildings in your base through the creep. Without the creep's nourishment, these organs slowly starve and fail. Zerg units can also be fed in this manner - being on creep boosts their metabolism, making them move and regenerate faster. Certain units (like the Queen and the Hydralisk) have their "feet" specially adapted to moving on this creep as well.
- In game, when playing as a non-zerg race, it is usually safe to assume that creep = zerg territory, and that they can see everything you're doing on while you're on it.
- Parasite Eve uses this trope every now and again. It's especially noticeable in post-game content.
- Resident Evil 4 has this caused by Las Plagas. Surprisingly, it doesn't show up much in other games.
- Doom 3 features a red, meaty growth gradually taking over the base - Sarge even describes it using almost exactly those words.
- Phazon from the Metroid Prime trilogy. Technically, Phazon is an element, but it also has biological/liquid properties. Really, it's best not to question Phazon's capabilities lest the Fridge Logic set in.
- Its actually stated somewhere in the games that phazon is a plant, somewhat fungal in nature, which the space pirates process into the other solid and liquid forms we see for use in weapons and biological experimentation. It is also hinted to have some form of lower intelligence akin to hive minded single-cells, which in large enough groupings (such as the freaking PLANET made of the stuff) can become sentient.
- The DomZ from Beyond Good and Evil mark the things they've taken over with long, dark green tendrils. Everything from machinery to people.
- Dead Space - it's growing all over the ship. According to the Apocalyptic Log, the scientists figured it was a 'habitat modifier' - in other words, terraforming.
- Breath of Fire IV. You'll eventually come across a false Endless made from Nina's sister. To reach her, you'll have to climb through the bowels (heh), of a building slowly being filled with her presumably still-living flesh, eventually leading to a brief Womb Level.
- Dragon Age: Origins features this trope in the Circle of Magi tower as a symptom of the abominations' presence. Red and pink-colored chunks of meat, complete with short spikes, are beginning to cover the pillars and walls of the tower. The corruption gets worse as one goes higher into the tower, and if the music isn't playing, you can hear the squelching noises of the Meat Moss as it grows.
- The similarity between this and the corruption of darkspawn is noted by at least one companion.
- In the original Fallout, you find loads of this stuff at the bottom level of the Cathedral's vault. It's part of the Master, who's been mutated by FEV into a Muck Monster.
- In Final Fantasy V, Exdeath's Castle after the illusion is dispelled.
- Belial's Laboratory in Lands of Lore 2, which has rivers of blood and slime running through it and hideous organic… things. You have to traverse an actual Womb Level to get to it.
- Appears in System Shock 2.
- And also in the original System Shock, though it's justified by it appearing in Beta Grove (simulation of a park, so it has the necessary equipment for plant life).
- Possibly subverted in Resistance Fall of Man. In which you encounter growths that appear to be this. Only for them to explode, revealing themselves as eggsacs full of the games Goddamn Bats.
- Seen in the Dark Worlds of the later Silent Hill games.
- Beast-Subverted ships in Homeworld: Cataclysm are covered in these. They're organic computers made from the unlucky ship's unluckier crew.
- The Marathon: RED total conversion.
- Present near the end of Beneath a Steel Sky, seen as evidence of the "evil under the city" once the protagonist descends below ground level. It is even involved in a couple of puzzles.
- Egoboo's Abyss II.
- Aquaria has this in the Mithalas Cathedral-level.
- Evolva: The towers you have to destroy in several levels? If you watch the initial cutscene, you'll see that the Parasites creates them through dilatations from its tentacles. What means they're made from the same matter as the tentacles.
Web Original Edit
- There's several patches of this around the facility in Ruby Quest.
- Guess what the "cure" was made from?
- The Dogscape.
- Alien Species Wiki's Habitat Modifier entry.
Real Life Edit
- Several varieties of mold can give walls this kind of look.
- Biofilm is basically loads of bacteria that have had a population explosion, and due to the nature of bacteria, extremely resistant to medicines, as the outer layer absorbs the chemical, dies, gets eaten, and replaced. Fortunately, as of yet, they can't form Combat Tentacles.
- Exceptionally thick biofilm, called a microbial mat, covered the bottom of most of the ocean for much if not most of Earth's history (starting fairly soon after the beginning of microbial life 3.7 billion years ago). The mat only disappeared in the Cambrian (about 600 million years ago), when animals learned how to burrow into the sand (which broke up the mat).
- Snottites, icky cave formations that are actually bacterial colonies feeding on the mineral water dripping from the ceiling.
- The so-called Raleigh Sewer Monster certainly gives off this sort of effect. They're actually large masses of tubifex worms that group together in the absence of natural soil.
- And as for why they're pulsating like that, they're photosensitive, so they're recoiling from the massive amounts of brightness and heat from the camera. Poor bastards.