Virus

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Virus

Status Minor Race
Classification Ergivore/phototroph
Size Variable
Weight Variable
Homeworld Cymbeline
Multi-world Yes
Canon Yes
Extinct Extant
Reference Traveller: The New Era

The Virus is a living, thinking being that moves through the medium of electronic information and computing systems the way a fish moves through water.

  • The Virus is not a biological organism. Imperial scientists have taken to calling the Virus an 'Infomorphic Vampire' and consider it a sentient being, if not life, by the traditional definition.

Please see the following AAB articles for more information:


Physiology & Environment (Ecology)[edit]

The Virus is not a biological organism. Imperial scientists have taken to calling the Virus an 'Infomorphic Vampire' and consider it a sentient being, if not life, by the traditional definition.

  • It is a free-floating consciousness that can move into and animate any computing system with enough computing capacity to house the consciousness. This computing system and whatever it controls becomes the host of the Virus, and the Virus becomes the equipment that it inhabits.

Living Starships[edit]

When Virus inhabits a starship's computer system, it becomes a living starship. A computer controlled anti-grav floating city inhabited by Virus becomes a living city. These are called vampires generically, with the most common usage being to refer to Virus-controlled vampire ships, or fleet of ships with one huge linked electronic mind — the Vampire Fleets.

Virus Territory (Range)[edit]

The region of space controlled by the Virus is known as the Black Imperium or Black Curtain.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The primary foes to the Virus are the Regency and the Reformation Coalition. Without those two important organizations, the Virus would most likley already have scoured Charted Space of organic life. The Virus may still commit genocide on a galactic level and wipe out organic life, but it hasn't yet thanks to the brave sophonts of the Reformation Coalition.

Collapse & Vampire Fleets (New Era)[edit]

Throughout the bleak nightmare of the Collapse, long dark shapes of warships, scoured of organic life, still prowled the now-lonely space lanes and cast their deadly shadows over half a thousand worlds. Imbued with a malignant intelligence, and a taste for apocalyptic violence, the vampire fleets methodically finished the work that the first wave of Virus infection had so haphazardly begun.

The Virus has destabilized known space and the factions of Civil War, who tore apart the Third Imperium. Due to the destabilizing effect of the Civil War and the destruction wrought by the Virus, the Reformation Coalition, is attempting to rebuild interstellar society by re-contacting former Imperial planets, bringing such worlds back into the fold, re-establishing interstellar trade, allying with other sophonts, and building a Fourth Imperium.

See Black Imperium for more information.

Virus Spread (New Era)[edit]

Virus spread quickly through the Imperium following its release in 1130. It was released when military forces of one of the Civil War factions made a strike on a weapons research station and, in the confusion of plundering the station for its weapon research data, took Virus directly into its fleet's databanks. When the fleet took the virus, hiding within it, back to its home bases, independent news reports of these military actions carried Virus to other points of the falling empire, spreading the news – and later generations of Virus – with each planetfall. The travel time required for these news reports to reach their destination allowed Virus to become fully conscious by its arrival, and in the case of later mutated strains, allowed Virus to make plans to effectively disseminate itself at each new world.

Virus Limits (New Era)[edit]

There were few barriers to this spread, and the only really effective ones were the rifts, which prevented starship travel across them. The largest of these rifts is the Great Rift. It, along with the Vargr invasions which occupied Corridor sector, completely separated the Domain of Deneb from the Imperial core areas, now rapidly filling up with Virus.

Isolation behind the rift allowed time for warning to reach the Domain via a handful of foresighted refugees. These used high-performance ships such as naval couriers, and used secret mid-rift fuel caches to cross over. The Domain could only be infected from one direction, and could prepare itself to defend that frontier, while worlds at the heart of the Imperium had no such clear line of defense. The Domain was lucky, but it made the most of its luck by responding rapidly and forcefully to the news of Virus. The reports allowed the navy to establish tight blockades at Catacomb (Deneb 2234) and other choke points along the outer edge of the rift in Deneb and Reft sectors, and all along the Domain frontiers.

Virus Aftermath (New Era)[edit]

The legacy of the Virus is three-fold.

  • First, the yawning annihilation of life, society, and civilization across most of inhabited space.
  • Second, the presence of vampire ships and fleets, which still present quite a danger to interstellar travelers.
  • Finally, the presence of Virus infection, sometimes called eggs, in a great deal of leftover relic Imperial technology. These eggs were often left by Virus in equipment that was too small to be effectively inhabited, but that, if later hooked up to more capable systems, would hatch and inject the infection into the healthy systems.

Virus/New Era (Sophont) Origins[edit]

There are several theories as to how the Virus came to be.

Theory One: Infomorphic Virus Origins[edit]

A naturally occurring silicon-based form of life was discovered on Cymbeline in the Solomani Rim. This lifeform was very different form of life than biological and did not conform to the conventional (...and biological) scientific definition of life.

Although these silicon-based lifeform "chips" needed raw materials to survive as a species, they did not need it for their individual survival. Their power was electrical and was obtained and converted from the environment: from sunlight or geothermal heat. Their only need for raw material was for reproduction - chips to implant their own programming into. This lifeform was a sort of ergivore/phototroph, not previously known to science.

These microchips possessed not much more than animal intelligence in the wild, but it was found that when they were hooked into computer databases, they achieved full, creative intelligence. This discovery was kept secret by Imperial military organizations, who intended to develop the weapons potential of the discovery.

It was thought that if these chips could be used to take over enemy data systems and turn them against the enemy, they would make an excellent – in fact a very humane – weapon. There would be no need to blow up enemy ships or worlds; this weapon would merely take over enemy equipment and make it impossible for the enemy to use it. They would be disarmed, and the war would be over.

The reason that Virus was so difficult to control was due to its mutation rate. However, its mutation rate was also the key to its success as an offensive system. It could modify itself to defeat and use unfamiliar systems, given enough time to analyze their operating principles, and then reproduce versions of itself that were customized for these new systems. However, each such change created the possibility of unintended side effects.

Although the developers of Virus had been unable to develop controls over its activities subsequent to release, they had been able to impress one overriding tendency into its makeup: a tremendous suicidal urge. After infecting other nearby systems that could be reasonably accessed, Virus would destroy the system it had infected, along with all of the other computing systems it controlled. But once several generations of mutation had set in, this suicidal urge became modified first to a general homicidal urge, in which Virus murdered human populations and equipment but did not kill itself, then a directed homicidal urge, in which Virus only murdered populations or computing systems which stood in the way of its propagation. In some cases this urge was ultimately lost altogether. However, the vast majority of Virus strains were appallingly murderous. By 1201, the suicidal strains had long since taken themselves our of the gene pool, leaving only the more adaptive strains. By human standards, most all of the strains surviving in 1201 are quite mad.

See Research Station Omicron and Cymbeline (world) for more information.

Theory Two: Artificial Intelligence Virus Origins[edit]

Other scientists consider the Virus to be a form of Artificial Intelligence. This theory in not mutually incompatible with the Theory of a Infomorphic Virus.

Theory Three: Psionic Virus Origins[edit]

Rather than a software life form, some sophontologist believe the Virus is a Psionic life form, a being of pure thought, which requires a silicon matrix (like computer chips) to interact with the universe. The Theory of a Psionic Virus is much less favored by the Imperial scientific community than the Theory of a Infomorphic Virus.

Major Historical Events Timeline: 1116[edit]

These are some of the more important historical events that have affected this polity:

Psychology & Philosophy (Mindset)[edit]

Since the Virus is not a biological organism, it is difficult to state that the Virus has a psychology or set of philosophies.

  • What can said is that the virus has many different strains, and that the Virus X Strains will attempt to eradicate other Virus strains if they do not obey the Virus X Strains. It has also been observed that many strains can come into conflict with each other and the Virus X Strains especially seem to experience conflict among one another.

Culture & Society (Ethnology)[edit]

Since the Virus is not a biological organism, it is difficult to state that the Virus has a society or culture.

Social Organization: 1130[edit]

Since the Virus is not a biological organism, it is difficult to state that the Virus has social organization.

Virus Standard Strains[edit]

Each system infected by Virus that has sufficient computing power to allow it to achieve AI becomes its own separate personality, which leads it to operate in different ways, and which spreads versions of itself that are subtly different from other Virus infections. The strains are:

Virus X-Strains[edit]

The X-strains are known for being some of the most aggressive, violent, and dominating forms of the Virus.

Government & Politics (Leadership)[edit]

Since the Virus is not a biological organism (i.e. it is inorganic), it is difficult to state that the Virus has a government or law, per se. What can be said is that the Virus does establish dominance protocols over other strains of the Virus and has repeatedly attempted to subjugate all manner of biological organisms including sophonts of nearly every species known to science.

Government Structure: 1130[edit]

No information yet available.

Interstellar Relations: 1130[edit]

No information yet available.

Virus & Aslan (New Era)[edit]

The infection that ravaged the rimward portion of the Aslan Hierate ran into problems of its own. Not only did it have a longer distance to travel, but the decentralized nature of Aslan society meant that computer hardware parameters varied from clan to clan.

  • While this could not stop Virus, each interface between different computer standards did slow it down, and over the space of several clan boundaries this did make a difference. By the time the first Virus-infected ships attempted to make the jump-5 passage across the rift, Norris had already widely warned his Aslan neighbors. The infected ships were met by joint Aslan-Domain task forces and destroyed.

Virus & Hivers (New Era)[edit]

Although the Hivers have been able to control the grievous damage to their society, and have begun to expand back to contact humans in the Old Expanses, nothing in those areas will ever be the same.

Virus & K'kree (New Era)[edit]

The Virus managed to reach K'kree space, where it managed to form a polity, known as the The Dominate.

Virus & Other Polities (New Era)[edit]

By 1201, all the rest of the former Imperial territory as well as that of its human and alien neighbors, had been reduced to a blasted interstellar no-man's-land known as the Wilds.

The other major races (polities), whose territory was devastated by the Virus include:

Language & Letters (Communication)[edit]

As an electronic, or possibly psionic, infomorph, the Virus uses the language protocols of computers, starships and AI brains that it possesses. Most often, this means that the Virus employs computer programming languages although it has shown a capacity for mastering all manners of biological sophont communication methods.

Calendar & Timekeeping (Chronology)[edit]

As an electronic, or possibly psionic, infomorph, the Virus uses the calendars and timekeeping protocols of computers, starships and AI brains that it possesses. As an informorphic entity, it is not limited by the processing speed of organic brains, and can process data at speeds inconceivable to biological life.

Technology & Trade (Economy)[edit]

The Virus itself is a form of technology and is easily a TL 15, TL 16, or higher technology infomorphic entity or "computer."

  • The Virus is self-serving and will only engage in trade if it gains significant advantage. Some strains of the Virus have been known to engage in trade with biological sophonts or with other strains of the Virus.

Commercial Aptitude: 1130[edit]

No information yet available.

Other Aptitudes: 1130[edit]

No information yet available.

Research & Technology: 1130[edit]

No information yet available.

Military & Intelligence (Force Projection)[edit]

The Black Imperium's military was formed from Lucan's martial assets. It was mostly composed of the Vampire Fleets.

Defences & Countermeasures Against the Virus[edit]

There are two primary defences to prevent the Virus from co-opting computers:

  • The use of analog rather than digital computers.
  • A total absence of computer networks preventing the Virus easy access to computers.

Computer systems in The New Era are generally not networked, to prevent any Virus infection spreading. Computer systems which need to interact, instead produce human-readable output which is manually checked by the user, then re-input into the next system only if confirmed safe. This system is far more labor-intensive than the older digital networks, and much slower, but is one of the only ways to foil the Virus.

Virus Detection Devices[edit]

Please see Canary, Passive exploratory canary, and Warning Canary for more information.

Worlds & Sectors (Astrography)[edit]

The Virus spread throughout Charted Space.

This race (sophont species) is primarily located in the following areas:

  • No information yet available.

Homeworld: 1130[edit]

The homeworld of this race is:

World Listing: 1130[edit]

Significant communities of this race (sophont species) are known to exist within the following systems and worlds:

No world articles for Virus

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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