Chills convulsed down Cadice's spine once she heard Mio's question. "Yes," she replied slowly, "I do, and it's not one that you'll probably want to hear." The researcher lowered her voice to a near-whisper, just in case there were other people milling around the command center that shouldn't be privy to this information. She herself had only discussed it with the fellow scientists she trusted most, but somehow Cadice sensed that this group--especially Mio--should know the worst when it came to theories about Brieder reproduction.
"Harvest fields make perfect sense," she began. "From the studies that were conducted decades ago, when the Brieders first became a lethal threat, we know that 'like does not beget like', in their case. They do not reproduce sexually. At first, I thought that Brieders used something like artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization." She blushed and smiled. "I myself was a 'test-tube baby'. However, the more tissue samples I studied, the more I became convinced..." She stepped closer to Mio, giving her an intense look.
"Under a microscope, at first glance, Brieder body tissue and ours appear as radically different as night and day. However, if you study the 'links', the samples of human cells as they progressively transform into Brieder cells, you discover that this change takes place over time. We don't yet know how much time, but I can assure you it's shorter than I care to think about. Besides, if the toxin in the air is gone, perhaps captive prisoners are..."
She shut her eyes. "The Brieders don't kill every normal human they fight. My suspicion is that these captive prisoners are taken to your harvest fields and...grafted." Cadice swallowed. "How much tissue does it take to plant the 'seed' of mutation? More importantly, how long does it take the 'graft' to replace human tissue with Brieder tissue entirely? I...hope it's not true..."