Gaunts are large leech-like worms from Gestrun that latch onto other deceased lifeforms and reanimate the dead matter to act as a host form.
Without a host, a 'Gaunt worm' is a large, three-eyed black creature with four spines which they use to latch onto hosts and sting prey. Relatively harmless on their own and have a weak venom that can only hold one effective sting before the subject is immune to the poison. In groups, the stings can overwhelm the lifeform's nervous system and kill them.
Within a host
When latched onto a dead creature, the Gaunt worm reanimates it and supplants its own mind within the creature's dead brain, replacing it. When in a host, the Gaunt is capable of all things the creature was (depending on rate of decomposition). The skin of the host will turn green.
Powers and abilities
A Gaunt worm can do little without a host, merely only able to sting once before the venom is ineffective to the prey. While in a host, they are able to do anything the host once did when alive, depending on the state of the body. Also, they are able to reproduce within the stomach of the lifeform and spit out their young from the mouth. They usually do this after killing another creature so the worms can use them as a host. If the creature was able to speak in life, the already intellegent Gaunt worm can communicate through the host.
Gaunt worms were native to the swamp planet of Gestrun, and quickly dominated the planet's other wildlife by killing them and using their bodies. With Gestrun completely filled with the parasites they began to move onto other planets, using the technology of explorers that they hunted down. Unfortunately for them, they were easily dealt with by more civilized or advanced planets and they scattered and became scavenging parasites, inhabiting abandoned planets or spacecrafts or killing lost travellers.
The Omen trio
Three Human Gaunts managed to make it inside the abandoned ship nicknamed, the Omen. They were probably not the previous crew as Dr. Protheon's videos revealed that there was about 12 crew members with her. They were found by a group of fugitive space scavengers named 'the Rippers' by the Shadow Proclomation, and were subsequently dealt with.
One of the Gaunts mentioned that they are not the crew members, and the hosts they inhabit were theirs before they entered the ship. They found no other lifeforms but kept looking due to the ship's vastness.
- The Gaunts are partly inspired by Necromorphs from Dead Space who use dead bodies as hosts. The ability to vomit leeches stems from the ability the puppet Leech Woman had in the horror movie, Puppet Master.
- Human Gaunts look similar to Hunter zombies from the video game Left 4 Dead.