For a story I'm working on, there is an old and advanced civilization consisting of three races, 2 organic and 1 artificial. An ancient enemy has returned, bent on destroying this civilization, and has hit upon a unique idea. They have created a virus that affects the Artificial life forms, forcing them to obey the commands of this enemy and turning them against their organic fellow citizens.
What I'm trying to get a handle on is how quickly it spreads, and how difficult it will be for the other races to stay ahead of it. So let's crunch the numbers:
- Assume approximately 100 worlds, 1/3 of which are homes to the AI life forms. Also assume they are evenly spread amongst the other planets.
- The virus can only be spread by physical contact. To this end, the enemy has created a Nano-swarm as a vector. Their role is to make contact with any friendly spacecraft and introduce the infection. While it will do nothing to the ship itself, or to organic life forms, any AI that interacts with the ship's systems will become infected.
- Assume no incubation period, or one only lasting a few seconds.
- While ships are FTL capable, this civilization also has a communication system that is for all practical purposes instantaneous, meaning other worlds can be warned that plague ships are en route.
- Once infected, the virus commands its host to do two things...to infect as many other AI life forms as possible, and to attack the organic life forms. In essence, what we are looking at an extremely aggressive Zombie Virus for Androids/Robots.
- EDITED: Once a ship has been taken over by the infected, the infected crew will immediately make for the AI home worlds, to spread the infection. If another vessel tries to prevent this they will fight back, though they will probably not be as effective in combat as an uninfected ship's crew.
- The organic races (with the full support of the non-infected AI's) will attempt to quarantine the AI home worlds. This being said...there's only so many ships to go around. Some hard choices will have to be made.
- On average, assume a 1-2 day journey from one world to the next by FTL.
- It will take time to come up with a cure, but a cure is coming.
So, my question. Given this data, can a Pandemic be stopped before it consumes the entire civilization? How many worlds will they lose? Just how ugly is "Galactic War AI-Z" going to get, before they turn the tide?
Note: The good guys do win...but that doesn't mean I plan on making it easy for them. :)