The Krytos virus was created by General Evir Derricote under orders from Director of Imperial Intelligence Ysanne Isard, who released the plague upon Coruscant immediately before the capital world was captured by the New Republic in 7 ABY. Isard hoped the virus would cause resentment between the Human and non-Human populations, ultimately leading to the destruction of the New Republic, which was nearly rendered bankrupt due to the costs of acquiring bacta to treat the illness. Millions of aliens were killed by the Krytos virus, resulting in conspiracy theories among the non-Human populations and political maneuvering within the New Republic Provisional Council.
The plague was eventually eradicated by the Vratix, a bacta-producing insectoid species from Thyferra, who combined bacta and ryll kor to develop rylca, the most effective medicine against the disease. Although the virus itself was short-lived, it helped ignite the Bacta War conflict and did much to fan the flames of anti-Humanism among extremist alien factions throughout the galaxy. Nolaa Tarkona often referred to the Krytos virus in recruiting for her anti-Human Diversity Alliance, and was inspired by the example set by the virus to seek the Emperor's Plague, a Human-specific virus also designed by Evir Derricote, in a failed attempt to wipe out the Human species.
After a twelve day incubation period, the Krytos virus entered into a one-week debilitating process in which it replicated itself in the host body. Once a cell was filled with the virus, that cell soon exploded and the cell next to it became infected. The circulatory system carried the virus throughout the body cell by cell. The virus did not destroy pain receptors, so the process was particularly agonizing for the victim, particularly during the final stages. A miasmal stench grew stronger as the symptoms of the virus increased.
The debilitating process took place in seven stages, one for each day of the disease. The subject started off feeling only slightly ill, not unlike a case of the common cold, but otherwise appeared and felt relatively normal. During the second stage, the subject began to feel more fatigued and placid, and increasingly appeared to be in a stupor, with glassy eyes fixed on a specific point. Next, in the third stage, the subject's skin began to show signs of splotchiness, with flesh weakening and sagging. By the fourth stage, black boils started radiating on the subject's skin, including the tongue and feet, with an appearance resembling a spiderweb of lines that connected the boils to one another. The subject typically avoided putting pressure on the boils in an effort to reduce the pain from them. The subject also experienced dryness of mouth and a lack of mucus or saliva. In the fifth stage, the black boils began to break open and the flesh cracked along the spiderweb-like lines. By the time the subject reached the sixth stage, the pain continued to grow and dementia kicked in. The subject began to run hysterically, darting in all directions and hurling him or herself against walls, tracking blood and infectious fluids everywhere and vomiting blood. Finally, in the seventh and most painful stage, the flesh began to fall apart completely or, in the case of some species, liquefy. Skin became disconnected from the bones and muscles snapped, resulting in the subject's death.
Although the general process was always the same, elements of it varied from species to species. During the final stages, the skin of most species became translucent and discolored and hung in ragged ribbons from the subjects. However, the skin of more aquatic-based species, like Quarren and Mon Calamari, went completely black and the bones liquefied, leaving the victim little more than a sack of Krytos-infected fluid.
The list of species susceptible to the Krytos virus included, but was not limited to, Quarren, Mon Calamari, Gamorreans, Shistavanens, Duros, Twi'leks, Wookiees, Eloms, Gotals, Trandoshans and Baragwin. The virus was designed with cross-species susceptibility in mind, so only a handful of alien races were immune to it, most notably Bothans.
The Krytos virus was specifically engineered to target alien species, and as such Humans were immune to the disease. While developing Krytos, Evir Derricote acknowledged the possibility that a spontaneous mutation could change the virus enough that Humans could become infected, but the chances of such an incident were extremely remote and would have taken up to 1,000 years to come to fruition. In that time, the species could build an immunity or develop a vaccine, although Derricote said such a measure would require ten to twenty times more resources than he needed to design the virus.
A subject could become infected by the Krytos virus through contact with virus-laden bodily fluids and tissues. One milliliter of an infected patient's blood could infect an adult. If physically injected or ingested, as little as one cubic centimeter of virus-laden liquid was enough to infect a subject, with an almost 100 percent infection rate. If the virus touched flesh, however, about ten cubic centimeters of viral fluid were needed to infect a patient, and the infection rate dropped to 20 percent. The virus was viable for thirty-six hours outside a host, and could survive longer in warm and moist weather conditions.
The Krytos virus could survive in water for about one day and, as it could be frozen and thawed without any loss of viability or lethality, tended to freeze into glaciers and continue to affect bodies of water over a sustained period of time. The virus was not, however, transmissible by air because the same genetics that would have allowed this would also have greatly facilitated a spontaneous mutation that could have made the virus affect Humans. The high rate of mutation also weakened the virus's defenses, which would eventually contribute to the virus being studied and eradicated.
The Krytos virus was designed to include a brief incubation period in order to circulate the lethal virus more quickly but, in fact, the illness spread too rapidly to be as effective as possible. Those infected died too quickly to spread the disease very far, leading to a shortage of hosts that hampered the ability of the virus to spread. Due to the cross-species susceptibility of the Krytos virus, it was also prone to mutations, which rendered the illness less virulent.
Treatment and preventionEdit
The Krytos virus could be treated and cured with bacta, the synthetic chemical substance used to treat almost every type of injury and ailment known in the galaxy; however, vast quantities of the medicine was needed to cure the virus, and the more severe the case of the disease, the more was needed. During the later stages of the virus, some organs and extremities became so damaged that they required cybernetic replacement, even despite extensive bacta treatment. Bacta therapy prior to infection provided no deterrent to the Krytos virus.
Ryll, a weak form of spice from the planet Ryloth, could be combined with bacta to increase the medicine's efficiency. The impact it had varied widely among the various ryll classifications, and ryll kor, the rarest grade of ryll, which consisted of only about three percent of the spice, contained the trace elements that had the strongest effect against the virus. Combining bacta with ryll kor enhanced the alazhi component of bacta and created rylca, the most effective medicinal treatment.
The creation of the virusEdit
Ysanne Isard, Director of Imperial Intelligence, devised a plan to destroy the New Republic by developing a fatal virus that specifically targeted non-Human species. She planned to release the virus into Coruscant, then give the New Republic control of the capital planet, believing the strained relations between the Human and alien populations would eventually destroy the New Republic. She also wanted it specifically designed so that bacta could cure it, which would further bankrupt the New Republic as it paid for huge productions of the medicine. Isard became impressed with the skills of General Evir Derricote, who had developed a profitable Alderaan Biotics facility on his Imperial base on Borleias, and she brought him to Coruscant to engineer the virus.
A laboratory was established in the lowest levels of the Imperial Palace for production of what would become the Krytos virus. The space consisted of stark white and silver surfaces, lacking the exquisiteness of the rest of the palace, with labyrinthine stainless steel corridors leading to an array of rooms including laboratories with surgical droids for dissecting aliens, and chambers for the subjects fitted with triple-paned transparisteel windows for observation. Each room had negative air pressure to prevent any viruses from escaping the lab in the event of a problem.
Derricote was given command of a cadre of scientists, all of whom were Human to avoid possible contamination. Imperial Intelligence Agent Kirtan Loor, as part of his overarching mission to destroy Rogue Squadron, was assigned to provide Derricote with whatever assistance he needed. Isard also assigned a number of brainwashed sleeper agents to provide assistance and manual labor to the scientists, including Diric Wessiri, the husband of New Republic spy Iella Wessiri, who Isard secretly appointed to spy on Derricote.
Derricote and his scientists began making requisition requests for test subjects starting with Gamorreans, who provided a good platform for creating a virus that could also migrate to other species. Isard had subjects rounded up from the Alien Protection Zone, an area in Coruscant the Empire used to segregate aliens from the Human population; in fact, Isard believed Derricote's demands to be too conservative and demanded that more aliens be kidnapped than he requested.
Some Gamorreans were dissected to give Derricote and his men a better sense of the biology of the species, while others were used to test the earliest stages of the Krytos virus. Soon, Derricote and the scientists reached their first breakthrough by establishing a form of the virus with an incubation period of one month, which was contagious during the final four days of the infection and fatal in 75% of cases. Despite the significant step forward, Isard found the results unacceptable, demanding a shorter incubation period and an airborne virus, although Derricote knew the latter demand was impossible.
Derricote found the metabolism of the Gamorreans was too sluggish and requested Quarren subjects, which had less cross-species susceptibility but a higher metabolic rate. Isard also began to grow impatient with the slow-moving progress and started threatening to kill everyone involved with the project, but agreed to all of Derricote's requests, provided he cut the incubation period to one week. The Quarren subjects proved extremely helpful, allowing Derricote to lower the incubation period and improve the virus so that only a milliliter of a patient's blood could infect an adult. It was during this point in his work that Derricote named the virus Krytos, a combination of the world names of the viruses he combined.
The scientists next moved on to a species more similar to other races in order to further develop cross-species infections. Derricote originally requested Wookiees, but Kirtan Loor rejected the request because he did not want to eliminate a slave labor source, so Derricote instead asked for Sullustans because they could serve as a bridge race to Shistavanens and Bothans. While this species was also not preferred because its SoroSuub Corporation designed many useful weapons, droids and vehicles, Isard felt the prospect of eliminating Bothans outweighed the disadvantages.
By then, the growing kidnappings in the Alien Protection Zone was creating an environment of fear and resentment, leading to the formation of an all-alien, anti-Human group called the Alien Combine, which would resort to violence against Humans deemed suspicious. The Combine did little to prevent the abductions, however, and when Derricote grew impatient he even started conducting his own raids on the Alien Protection Zone for Sullustans. He personally reviewed his kidnapped aliens to choose the healthiest possible specimens; during one such raid, he unknowingly took and infected Aril Nunb, an undercover Rogue Squadron pilot.
By the time Ysanne Isard's deadline for the Krytos virus ended, she was furious to learn that not only did the virus continue to resist airborne transmission, but the incubation period was a complete total twelve days, much longer than Evir Derricote had anticipated, or wanted. Derricote requested four more days in order to develop enough of the strain to infect the whole planet, but Isard's patience had come to an end, and she demanded Derricote begin replication of the current virus strains. Since the flesh-contract was greater when the virus was ingested, rather than simply via flesh contact, she ordered the virus to be released into the water supply, where it could also freeze into glaciers for a longer effect.
Kirtan Loor also ordered Derricote, against his wishes, to release his still-experimental myriad versions because he no longer trusted the general's transmission numbers. Loor also demanded he test bacta on a few of the Sullustan subjects, a measure Derricote had argued was unnecessary; in doing so, Loor unwittingly saved the life of Aril Nunb. Shortly after the virus was soon released, Isard allowed the planet to fall during the Seizure of Coruscant, with the hope that the New Republic would collapse under the strain of the Krytos outbreak.
Meanwhile, Isard herself remained hidden aboard the Lusankya, her secret Executor-class Star Dreadnought buried beneath Coruscant's planet surface, where she awaited the expected downfall of the newly established government. Isard also ordered Derricote imprisoned in her private prison on the Lusankya, for his failure to design the virus to her specifications.
Unleashing upon CoruscantEdit
Infections and unrestEdit
Once the twelve day incubation period ended, millions of Coruscanti aliens began to die, creating waves of panic not only among the infected races, but among Humans and other non-infected species who feared the Krytos virus would eventually spread to them. Resentment quickly grew among the non-Human populations due to the Human immunity, and that resentment made any initial precautions by Human bureaucrats ineffective. Although Humans and Bothans both volunteered to treat infected citizens, their presence was yet another reminder of their apparent immunity to the disease.
The New Republic's entire store of bacta was insufficient to cure all Krytos cases, which further induced panic among citizens. The price of bacta shot up and the New Republic had no choice but to pay to avoid dooming billions of aliens to die. As a result, the newly forming government began to suffer financially, almost to the point of bankruptcy. As bacta supplies dwindled, the black market began to thrive, even though the quality of the medicine dropped and the prices grew to astronomical heights. Some people started hoarding bacta, which further built a sense of resentment and distrust. In order to accommodate the shortage of bacta, the New Republic Defense Force became drained of their supply, leaving the military susceptible to attacks by Ysanne Isard and Warlord Zsinj.
Although low-income alien populations were hardest-hit, even high-profile aliens became exposed to the Krytos virus, like Sian Tevv, a Sullustan member of the New Republic Provisional Council, and Rogue Squadron pilots Nawara Ven, Portha and Riv Shiel. Visiting Coruscant became an act of extreme bravery, and both the world and ships coming from Imperial Center were quarantined so the disease would not be spread, further disrupting the New Republic's weak economy and damaging its authority. Some infected citizens believed bacta was simply out of reach to them and failed to seek medical assistance, which resulted not only in their deaths, but in a failure to effectively contain the virus, and consequently, more infections. Some victims who sought help failed to do so until the virus was so far along that bacta therapy was useless, creating a sense among others that there was no hope of being cured.
All of these problems were further perpetuated by military attacks, both abroad and on Coruscant. Kirtan Loor, who was running a pro-Imperial terrorist organization called the Palpatine Counter-Insurgency Front, launched attacks against public locations, bacta supplies and medical facilities. These attacks created a further sense of panic, leaving citizens to choose between seeking a cure or risk falling prey to acts of terrorism. Loor kept a supply of bacta for himself and sold it in small lots to the New Republic, thus using the government's own money to finance an organization dedicated to destroying it.
Anti-alien conspiracy theoriesEdit
Conspiracy theories soon emerged regarding the virus. Although the New Republic tried to inform citizens that the Krytos virus was an Imperial creation, many began to believe that New Republic Humans were encouraging infected aliens to return to their native worlds specifically to spread the disease and kill off entire planetary populations. Citizens who witnessed failed attempts to treat the virus became convinced that medevac units were actually thinly disguised extermination units that took the sick away and destroyed them.
Others accused the New Republic of not providing bacta to those who needed it most, and rumors spread that members of the Provisional Council were practicing favoritism by obtaining bacta for themselves and chosen constituents. Since the Zaltin and Xucphra Corporations, the two bacta-producing combines on Thyferra, were run by Humans, any batches of bad bacta also ran the risk of non-Humans pointing to another Human conspiracy.
Implementing treatment programsEdit
As the Provisional Council began to discuss treatment programs that would be fair to all victims of the Krytos virus, debates raged over the best methods to heal and prevent the disease. Virtually all of the public bacta supply went toward treating infected individuals, which public health officials argued could limit the spread of the disease. But others, mostly members of uninfected species, argued that a prophylactic use of bacta to prevent the spread of the illness to new populations was the best approach.
Bothan Councilor Borsk Fey'lya, seeking to improve his political standing and appeal to his constituents, who were not impacted by the Krytos virus, became the key spokesman for this argument. He cited reports, which he failed to provide, that claimed a few hours of mist therapy per week would be sufficient to destroy the virus before it had time to incubate. Fey'lya proposed preventative therapy centers be established to stop the spread of the disease.
Public health officials, however, argued there was no proof that pre-exposure bacta therapy could prevent infections. Councilor Leia Organa argued Fey'lya's approach would simply waste much-needed bacta; Admiral Gial Ackbar further countered that it would bring vast numbers of people congregating in an environment where contact with infectious fluids was likely, and that overexposure of bacta could lead to a bacta-resistant strain of the Krytos virus, which could then destroy the entire galaxy.
The Provisional Council instead opted for an approach suggested by Ackbar, which included securing the water supply where the virus started, removing infected glaciers that still had not melted and continuing intensive treatment for infected citizens. The Council also agreed to Ackbar's proposal to project the image that the Krytos threat could be defeated and treating the virus as an enemy against which everyone was enlisted. This morale-building technique was similar to those used by the Rebel Alliance after devastating losses at the battles of Derra IV and Hoth.
Although his treatment proposal was rejected, Fey'lya continued his attempts to improve his political standing in the face of the Krytos virus, so much so that Ackbar even speculated that Isard purposely designed the virus to leave Bothans alive so they could help split the New Republic apart. Fey'lya made veiled allegations of Humanocentrism and speciesism against Human members of the council, including Organa and Doman Beruss.
In private, Fey'lya cited the creation of the virus as an accomplishment of Human excesses. He also unsuccessfully petitioned Rogue Squadron pilot Asyr Sei'lar, a Bothan, to falsely blame the Humans of her squadron for military losses. Although Fey'lya ultimately fell short of the influence he attempted to command during the Krytos scare, his politicking helped create further unrest among both the Provisional Council and the Coruscanti population.
In an attempt to distract the public from the Krytos outbreak, the Provisional Council also politicized the trial of Tycho Celchu, the Rogue Squadron pilot falsely accused of serving as a spy to Ysanne Isard and killing Corran Horn. New Republic officials feared showing leniency toward Celchu would be taken as a pro-Human bias, and hoped his alleged Imperial associations would draw some of the public outrage on Coruscant toward the Empire. Ultimately, however, defense attorney and fellow Rogue Nawara Ven presented a powerful defense that revealed the weakness of the case, which hurt the government in the eyes of the public even more.
The eradication of the virusEdit
Assistance by the VratixEdit
During this time, the Vratix, a bacta-producing insectoid race native to Thyferra, wished to be represented in the New Republic government. The alien species knew it would be impossible because the move would risk the Republic's bacta supply by upsetting the Zaltin and Xucphra Corporations. The companies held a monopoly on the bacta market and the New Republic, which was already suffering financially, could not afford the startup costs to manufacture its own bacta. The Ashern Circle, a sect of Vratix disenchanted with the Human-controlled bacta cartels, decided curing the Krytos virus would provide their race with an opportunity to join the New Republic.
Ashern representative Qlaern Hirf tipped the New Republic off to the location of a large bacta shipment and convoy being stored at a Zsinj-controlled space station, which was subsequently captured by Rogue Squadron. Rumors began to spread that the government now had enough bacta to take care of all its residents, which, although false, helped boost morale and drop the black market bacta prices. Having earned the trust of Rogue Leader Wedge Antilles, Hirf requested that the commander agree to represent the Vratix before the New Republic in exchange for helping develop a cure to the Krytos virus. Antilles agreed, and was particularly impressed that the race would risk possible infection in order to provide assistance.
General Pash Cracken assisted the Vratix in setting up their secret research on a New Republic outpost on Borleias, a planet in the Pyria system, knowledge of which was concealed even from Mon Mothma. Hirf and the Vratix analyzed the virus and determined that ryll had some effect on the virus, and that the ryll kor classification of the spice could be combined with bacta to form rylca, a medicine strong enough defeat the virus. Ryll kor was the rarest of the ryll classifications, and in turn Ryloth merchants rarely exported it, but Antilles was able to secure a significant amount during an expedition to the Twi'lek planet with the help of Tal'dira, a warrior who eventually joined Rogue Squadron. Word of the trip spread quickly and the Zaltin and Xucphra Corporations became angry, with some even proposing to cut off the Republic's bacta supply altogether, although neither corporation made good on their threats.
The Xucphra faction agreed to supply the New Republic with a substantial portion of bacta, under the condition that the transfer be disguised as a private transaction with Mirax Terrik, a smuggler secretly working with Rogue Squadron, in order for Xucphra to maintain an appearance of neutrality so it could sell to both sides. The secret exchange, however, was revealed to Ysanne Isard by her spy in Rogue Squadron, Erisi Dlarit. Isard leaked the information to Warlord Zsinj, who destroyed the bacta and presumably killed Terrik. Zsinj sent a HoloNet transmission to Coruscant encouraging the citizens to flock to his banner and claiming he destroyed the bacta because it was tainted by the New Republic in a deliberate attempt to kill the Coruscanti alien population. His effort was thwarted by Rogue Squadron, which transmitted evidence of the truth behind the attack, but the loss of the bacta was nevertheless a blow to the people's morale.
Terrik secretly survived the attack because her ship, the Pulsar Skate, was not present at the bacta transaction, but instead had been ordered by General Airen Cracken to bring the ryll kor to Borleias and allow the Vratix to develop rylca. Her mission was a secret to everyone in the New Republic except for Cracken, Antilles and the Vratix themselves, and they allowed the public to continue to believe Terrik was dead so she could conduct her mission covertly. The ryll kor was synthesized at the planet's Alderaan Biotics facility, a hydroponics factory used by Evir Derricote before New Republic forces took control of the planet during the Second Battle of Borleias. Soon, the Vratix were able to use the ryll kor to enhance the alazhi component of bacta, thus creating enough rylca to cure all cases of the Krytos virus.
Eliminating the virusEdit
The rylca was secretly transported to Coruscant and distributed to the infected. Tensions were not immediately soothed among the population due to a governmental accounting office report that indicated less ryll was available than previously expected, leading to rumors that the supply had been stolen. Although New Republic officials assured the public that the shortage was actually due to the fact that the medicine was being well distributed to the people, the Coruscanti citizens were suspicious of governmental lies after years of living under the Empire. Nevertheless, the rylca was circulated rapidly and, within a matter of weeks, the Krytos virus was eradicated. The quick treatment helped end the resentment building between the New Republic Human and non-Human population, but the Krytos virus had already claimed millions of alien lives by this time.
The Bacta WarEdit
As rylca was being generated to eradicate the Krytos virus, Ysanne Isard committed her forces to support a revolution on Thyferra that placed the Xucphra Corporation in charge of the entire bacta cartel and effectively gave Isard control of both the planet and bacta distribution for the entire galaxy. Although Mon Mothma assured Coruscanti citizens that the New Republic was generating enough rylca to destroy the Krytos virus, Isard incorrectly dismissed this as Rebel propaganda and believed cutting off the supply of New Republic bacta would allow the virus to ravage Coruscant.
The Provisional Council could not order military action against Isard because the revolution was considered an internal Thyferran conflict, and interfering could frighten other potential member states from joining the New Republic. Wedge Antilles and his fellow Rogue Squadron pilots, however, resigned from the New Republic in order to launch a private assault against Isard, thus launching what would later become known as the Bacta War.
During this conflict, Rogue Squadron launched several hit-and-run attacks against Thyferran bacta convoys and refineries. Although they used the stolen bacta to finance their war, they also donated a great deal of it to the New Republic to help fight the Krytos virus. This bacta was used along with the rylca, and was helpful in speeding up the treatment of the final Krytos cases. Eventually, Rogue Squadron overthrew Isard and restored the New Republic's bacta supply.
The Emperor's PlagueEdit
Some aliens species that were hit hard by the Krytos virus, like the Baragwin, threw their support behind the New Republic in response to the Imperial-crafted bioweapon. However, the virus also had a long-term effect of increasing an anti-Humanism sentiment among many alien factions. The Alien Combine movement on Coruscant during the virus outbreak was a precursor for the much more violent Diversity Alliance in 24 ABY, seventeen years after the Krytos virus was eradicated. Nolaa Tarkona, the Twi'lek leader of the anti-Human terrorist group, often referred to the Krytos virus in recruiting aliens and denouncing Humans.
The same year the Diversity Alliance was formed, an alien scavenger named Fonterrat discovered the Emperor's plague storehouse, an uncharted asteroid in the Deep Core where Evir Derricote worked between 3 ABY and 4 ABY to develop a series of species-specific viruses for Emperor Palpatine. Fonterrat sold the information to Tarkona, who planned to use the Human-targeting Emperor's Plague to wipe out the Human race, in an ironic inversion of the Krytos virus. Tarkona ultimately failed when the Emperor's plague storehouse was destroyed by explosives planted by the young Jedi trainees Lowbacca, Jacen Solo and Jaina Solo.