A Chunk of SciFi – 3.01 Evophage [Disease]
“There are too many of them, they are getting too full of themselves. It’s not just them as well, it seems to infect anyone they are allied with, they almost seem to be evolving and growing faster than before. It has to be stopped. Luckily I have the solution…”
Unknown, transcript 2 weeks before the outbreak/deployment of Evophage
The universe as a whole is full of many species. Some are long-lived and practically immortal, other are, in comparison, short lived and only live what would be 100 Terran years or so. There is even a species that, due to gravitational and temporal shenanigans live for what appears to be less than 24 hours. Typical, the younger, short-lived species are more reckless and outgoing, with the slower, longer living races being more sedate and cautious.
This has led to something that the older races do-not like. The younger and short-lived species, like humanity, appear to be taking over the universe. The shorter life-spans and thus increased breeding rate also introduces more chances for mutations and evolution to take place. This is something that most can deal with. A couple, however, fear this and see it as a threat to the stability of existence. They decided to do something about it. They knew they could not just wipe the multiple species out in war, so they came up with something more insidious. A disease called “Evophage”. Its name coming from a combination of evolution and bacteriophage. Their goals were simple – to slow down or stop the evolution of the younger species.
Evophage was quite simple. It manifested as a type of mild influenza. It would re-write the host’s genetic code to stop mutations in offspring. Each species had their own version tailored to it. To begin with, all was well and it worked as planned. It even had the added benefit of stopping certain types of cancers. However, there was a snag and that snag was known as hybrids. Some individuals shared genetic code from several species. They became infected with multiple versions of Evophage. This, ironically, mutated. The newer, mutated version of Evophage did the opposite of what it was intended to do. It accelerated mutations and changes that would take normally 20or so generations to manifest now took 1.
Seemingly overnight, mutants and “evolved” beings started to appear more and more amongst the younger races. Over a period of 6 months, this rate grew and now 1 in 20 children are born classed as “mutants”, with 1 in 20 of those being classed as “evolved” or having mutations with no obvious downside. Many parents now have themselves tested for Evophage before trying to conceive a child. This is especially true for cross-species partnerships as the chance seems to double. Gene therapy is available for those who wish it, but the process is costly and not always successful.
As yet, no-one has discovered just who created the Evophage. The elder races have a bounty out for this person that amounts to enough credits to purchase a star system.