Horizon Plague

From Wikipedia of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, an online Star Wars Club
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Infected sith.jpg
Horizon Plague
Historical information
Created by:

Lysu Thren

Date engineered:

Circa 20,000 BBY

Biological information
Susceptible species:

All sentient Force users

Transmission type:

Unknown, likely contact

Symptoms:

Initial symptoms

  • Enhanced Force ability
  • Flu-like symptoms

Advanced symptoms

  • Loss of Force ability
  • Strong Force resistance
  • Enhanced physical ability
  • Decreased mental acuity
  • High pain tolerance
Treatments:

Unknown

Chronological information
Era(s):
[ Source ]


The Horizon plague was a disease created by Lysu Thren, a Je'daii follower of the Bogan. One of the few Bogan disciples to survive the Force Wars on Tython, Thren was sentenced to exile on the moon Bogan to ponder the Ashla. Escaping from Tython and eventually the system, Thren eventually settled on Drongar. There he would work to create a plague that would destroy Force users completely.

The plague itself was an extremely virulent example of Bogan magics, predating even the most ancient Sith Alchemy by thousands of years. Specifically targeting wielders of the Force, the plague initially greatly increased Force ability before stripping it from its victims and leaving them to die. Thren was never able to deploy his weapon against the Jedi, dying before he saw the chance to use it. Throughout the millennia, it would remain unknown to the rest of the galaxy at large save for a chance encounter by explorers from the Sith Empire. It would eventually be re-discovered by Archibald Zoraan and used by the former Grand Master against the Dark Jedi Brotherhood during the Horizons Crisis.

Characteristics

Diagram of the bota plant.
The Horizon plague was a bio-weapon created to destroy the ability to access the Force, driving its victims to insanity and murderous rampages after their connections burned out. It would eventually end in horrific death, caused by an accelerated and enhanced metabolism that was a side effect of the enhanced Force access. It was designed by taking the natural amplification effect of the bota plant, native to the planet Drongar, and warping it to provide excessive amounts of access to the Force. As such, the channels to the Force were opened so wide that it burned out the ability to use the Force at all after a short time of amplified power.


The primary spread of Lysu Thren's Horizon plague was incidental contact between infected Force users. It appeared to have no effect upon or interaction with the non-connected. As such, non-Force-sensitives were not vectors for the spread of the plague, making the source a fairly traceable event in a limited community. The timeline and development of the Horizons affliction were fairly standard, with very little in the way of deviation of time frame, making the first infection a critical indicator of the contagion's source.

The first indicators of infection usually developed within a week of contact, lasting for as long as two weeks before transitioning into Stage Two. The first critical indicator, especially among those new to using the Force, was Force ability far beyond that of what is normal - the use of Force Lightning by Journeymen was one such example. Another one would be an exceptional absorption of energy, such as that being emitted by an active lightsaber, ie: placing a hand near the hilt of the blade and absorbing a significant portion of it for more than a second or two. This was a tactic that not many Dark Jedi, save ones of Elder rank, should have been capable of.

The initial symptoms of the infection were usually most noticeable in the initiate stage of training, or during training leading to the level of Dark Jedi Knight. Those were the only times in which constant, regular use of Force ability was on display to be noticed and commented on by others. As such, an infection of the Equites and Elders would be far more likely to go unnoticed both by the infected and those around them. Furthermore, those that had passed beyond the Journeymen level had a connection to the Force that was wider than that possessed by an initiate or Journeyman.

A plague victim.
Later, the physical manifestations of the Horizon plague became far more noticeable and very dangerous. At this time, the body's metabolism began its march toward death by boosting the physical abilities of the infected. Often it began by converting more of their physical mass into muscle and making it easier to tone that muscle while also increasing their stamina. This was most noticeable among those who were previously less capable, especially when seen during combat. The mental effect of the plague at this particular stage was a reduction in self control, making the infected quicker to anger, less capable of making cognitive decisions, and far less likely to act in a coordinated manner. Another symptom that would manifest was an increased tolerance to pain. The most important change at this stage was to a subject's Force ability. A subject at this point would lose their ability to touch the Force, but he or she would also exhibit a greatly increased resistance to the Force abilities of others. Powers that had a direct, physical manifestation were more effective than direct Force abilities, and the weaker talents of Journeymen and Equites had a far reduced impact over those of an Elder.


Even further into the infection was a further increase of the physical capability of the infected. The physical acceleration of growth and change in the body began to take a toll on the mental state of the host. The metabolic change in the body reduced the mental capacity of the brain, due to altered body chemistry. The abilities to reason and react in a coordinated fashion became severely impaired as the body produced an immense overage of hormones and other chemicals that promoted aggression and physical performance, at the expense of chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.

The last stage of the infection would ultimately lead to death. The ability to reason and think would have entirely left the infected. They could not behave in a manner consistent with critical thinking or even the most basic levels of reasoning, leaving them easy prey to seasoned normals or Elders. The physical manifestation had nearly completely converted the body to a quivering mass of muscle and bone. With a near constant flood of adrenaline and nerve-stimulants, the infected assumed an almost twitch-like movement and reactions. Those who were more intelligent and less physically active than others at the beginning could have retained some glimmer of intelligence, but it was highly unlikely that any ability to use said intellect would remain. The near constant dump of unbalanced chemicals into the bloodstream would make coherent, rational, reasoned thought all but impossible in the quest for physical perfection.

If not cured within a week of the onset of Stage Four, the plague's drive to metabolic ruin consumed the host. The physical transition ate away at the bones, making them brittle and prone to snapping under the nervous convulsions that had stolen the last bit of coordination remaining to the infected. This complete physical collapse was irreversible when the brain finally became infected, the plague crossing the membranes and feasting upon the soft tissue itself. The nutrients in bacta only accelerated the process if the infection was not stopped in time as the disease fed upon them in addition to the host.

History

Exile of Lysu Thren

Tython and the moons Bogan and Ashla.
The roots of the Horizon plague started on Tython in 25,783 BBY. The followers of the Bogan and Ashla had fought a destructive war for ten years, leaving those who followed the Ashla victorious. The Jed'aii of Tython would eventually form the Jedi Order, but first, they had to decide what to do with their remaining foes. One of these foes was Lysu Thren, a powerful Force user with darkness in his heart. Instead of putting their captured enemies to death, it was decided that they would be handled as those who fell to the darkness had always been handled: They were to be exiled to the moon Bogan. On the dark moon, they would be free to meditate on the Ashla as they once again sought balance.


As an exile, Lysu Thren made the decision that he would instead try to leave the Tython system as opposed to enduring what would likely be a permanent exile on Bogan. Making arrangements with a few of his remaining sympathetic allies, Thren had himself smuggled from Tython to Furies Gate, the outermost world in the system. The only ships leaving the Tython system at the time were sleeper ships launched from Fury Station, designed with the intention of returning to the galaxy beyond. The Tythans, however, did not possess hyperdrive technology, and no word from the ships launched over the centuries had ever returned. Even when facing the possibility of never reaching any destination, Thren decided he would rather risk everything than remain in exile. He and his allies took control of one of the sleeper ships, and he launched himself into the void.

Diseases of Drongar

Drongar.
Thren's ship traveled a course from the Deep Core to the Outer Rim for the next five thousand years at sublight speeds. Eventually, by chance it entered the Drongar system, and the automatic systems determined that a planet within the system was habitable. The vessel awakened its sole occupant, and Thren set about making planetfall. The ship, barely functional, made a rough landing on the planet and the damage it sustained left it incapable of lifting again. That suited Thren - even though he was trapped on the planet, it was an exile of his own choosing.


Drongar also provided a unique biosphere in which to work. The native spores could prove deadly, a fate that Thren avoided only with the help of the Force. The world also was home to the bota plant, which could be used as a medicine as well as possessing qualities that could enhance an individual's connection to the Force. Thren discovered this property during his second year on Drongar, following an illness he treated with bota. The Force-enhancing ability of the bota plant would, over time, give Thren Force capabilities that outstripped even the most powerful Jed'aii of Tython. He immersed himself further into the Dark Side than any before the Dark Lords of the Sith. He forged a blade that rivaled the best ever crafted in years past by Tem Madog in the Great Temple of the Forge, Vur Tepe. His greatest achievements, however, came in the field of what would later be known as Sith Alchemy.

The one thing that drove Thren's every action was a desire for vengeance on the Jed'aii of Tython. He sought to create something, a weapon, that would sap the Force from them and destroy their minds. He wanted to rip the destiny of the Force from them, as he saw they had ripped it from him and his comrades during the Force Wars. The bota plant was the tool he would use for his revenge.

Lysu Thren developing his plague.
Thren would use the Dark Side to twist the bota plant to suit his needs. His dark magics made alterations to the plant that would carry with it other, more sinister effects. The altered bota plants would open up the user to the Force, but that Force energy would come in too great an amount. The infected would see powers greatly beyond what they were capable of before, and those with less ability would seem to advance the most as their bodies were opened up to a torrent of Force energy. The abundance of the Force, combined with the tendrils of the altered bota itself, would burn out the afflicted person's Force potential. He would call his plague "Horizon," following the thought that it was the place where even the Force would end.


Thren would create other abominations, the worst of which was one based on the deadly spores native to Drongar that would wipe all life from an entire biosphere in a matter of hours. However, he would never leave Drongar or put them to use. His dark powers were still not enough to take him from the world on which he stood and out into the stars. He would meditate for hours at a time, throwing his consciousness out into space to try to bring others he knew must have been there. He knew that in the five thousand years that had passed, the galaxy had developed and grown beyond individual star systems. Drongar, however, would not be discovered for millennia more. Stranded and alone with his hatred, Lysu Thren eventually died.

Found by the Sith

The Sith scoutship arrives on Drongar.
Drongar and the plagues of Lysu Thren would remain unknown to the rest of the Galaxy for nearly 15,000 years until they were discovered by the Sith Empire of Tulak Hord. In the two thousand years since the Sith had been conquered by Ajunta Pall and his fellow Exiles, their empire had survived through conquest and expansion. Tulak Hord took his power even further, conquering over 100 worlds for the Sith during his reign. His forces even pushed out beyond the traditional confines of the Sith Empire and the Stygian Caldera, searching for new conquests. One such expedition made its way to Drongar, beckoned by the dark call of Lysu Thren that still lingered there after his death.


Twelve young Sith landed on the planet and ventured to the remains of Thren's dwelling. They felt the dark energy there, but they knew that it was very different from that they were familiar with. Not knowing what they faced, the confident Sith were exposed to the Force plague, which containment had long ago failed. Eleven of them would die horribly, the Force burned out of them and their bodies ravaged. Their leader transmitted a call for help along with all data the team had collected. Tulak Hord himself led a warship crewed with only his most trusted warriors to Drongar. There, he ordered that the ship, along with any remaining survivors, be thrown into the heart of the system primary Drongar Prime. He then ordered that all references to Drongar be removed from the databanks, trusting only himself and the Dark Lords that would come after with the true secrets of Drongar. The planet was then declared off limits to any further Sith expeditions and quietly buried. It would remain that way for another five thousand years.

Rediscovery

Wreck of the Dazilomswi.
Drongar was the host to bloody battles between the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Republic during the Clone Wars. By then, the dark stain of Lysu Thren had receded, and neither Jedi nor Sith uncovered what evil Drongar held. The bota plants would mutate during the conflict, leaving the two combatants with little interest in the world. Both would eventually withdraw.


The Republic warship Dazilomswi was brought down during the Separatist bombardment of the planet, with few of her crew surviving. Those who remained found themselves nearly atop Lysu Thren's lair, and while they awaited rescue, they retrieved Thren's belongings and equipment and brought it on board. They themselves would eventually be killed by battle droids loyal to the Confederacy who would leave the ship, its dead, and the evils in her hold untouched.

Archibald Zoraan, a mad former Grand Master of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, would eventually piece together the knowledge of Thren's plague from long forgotten Sith records and through divination of the Force itself. Seeing the plague as the perfect tool for his plans, Zoraan dispatched his agents to bring back what he desired. He told them that he needed Thren's sword, unwilling to let them know about the plague they would be exposed to and carry back with them. Zoraan then turned the plague loose on the Brotherhood that had betrayed him, seeking to burn the Force from them as Thren had wanted to burn the Force from Tython and the Jed'aii 20,000 years before. Introducing the plague into populations that would soon have their Force-sensitives pressed into Brotherhood service, Zoraan carefully placed his agents within the Brotherhood's ranks to ensure that the plague would infect all of his enemies.

The Lyspair Dilemma

The Shadow Academy, where the first infections started.
In 30 ABY, the Dark Jedi Brotherhood was as unprepared for a biological assault as it had ever been. As it tended to happen in such situations, then, it was in that year that the Horizons plague was first detected in the halls of the organization.


The first stop for all prospective Journeymen was Lyspair, the home of the Shadow Academy. Although there still remains debate as to the true origin of the infection in the Brotherhood, most sources point to the epidemic originating in the Academy. The first individual to display symptoms, a young man known as Enaias, had come to the Academy from Shera IV. Almost immediately upon arriving, he had demonstrated a connection to the Force that surpassed his peers, and he rapidly became one of the most powerful Journeymen on Lyspair.

Before long, others at the Academy began demonstrating skill beyond their experience. Within days, the precocious young men and women were shipped from the Headmaster’s halls to their new homes within the Brotherhood’s Houses and Clans. Enaias, the first victim of the plague, arrived in House Plagueis to the delight of Quaestor Tra'an Reith. Within days, however, the situation soured.

Enaias, along with others in his graduating class across the Brotherhood, began experiencing more advanced symptoms of the infection. Mostly flu-like, the symptoms were not taken seriously. Other early victims were Garan and Jareese Na’Sel, Merlika, Vishaza, Cale, and M’bele Nsuso – all from the same Academy class.

House Scholae Palatinae was one of the first to detect a problem, when a Zabrak Guardian fresh from the Academy was slain by an Equite. Almost simultaneously, House Tarentum decided to detain and interrogate their recent import, growing suspicious of the Shadow Academy. Within days, most of the individuals within the Academy were infected.

The Plague Spreads

On Kapsina, Enaias was the first to lose his connection to the Force. Weakened and humiliated, he turned on the Plagueian leaders, charging them with greed and envy. The Journeyman angrily accused his leaders of stealing the Force from him, foreshadowing the crisis that threatened to consume not just Plagueis but also the entire Brotherhood.

Chaos erupts in Ohmen City.
In Ohmen City, riots broke out. On Morroth, nearly all the Plagueian Force users attempted to stifle the uproar. Journeymen lost their connections to the Force by the dozen, and even first-level Equites found themselves afflicted. None of the Houses or Clans of the Brotherhood escaped the plague, and brothers turned on brothers as they sought to explain the disappearance of the Force. Dark Jedi, robbed of their powers, were massacred by armored troops sent to quell their uprisings. The Grand Master, Muz Ashen, ordered the entire Shadow Academy to be locked down. Headmaster Ronovi Tavisaen directed her Praetor, Solus Gar, to implement a quarantine to attempt to stem the spread of the disease.


All was for naught, as the plague swept through the Brotherhood star systems, dividing Houses between those infected and those that could still access the Force. Crazed Arconan Journeymen even made their way to Judecca to begin a murdering spree. Consuls and Quaestors were forced to slaughter their own Force-blind initiates, and all order and hierarchy broke down.

The Enemy Strikes

Enemy ships attacking Karufr.
As the Brotherhood was swept up in civil war and sickness, the horizon betrayed them again. Taldryan was the first to detect an in-bound enemy fleet and was caught completely flat-footed. A fleet led by an Allegiance-class battlecruiser and flanked by a pair of Imperial Star Destroyers entered the Kr'Tal System and orbitally bombarded the capital of Karufr.


Elsewhere, enemy fleets invaded the Orian System, Dajorra System, Cocytus System, Jusadih System, and Yridia System. Most of the Houses tried to fight despite being woefully out-gunned. Others tried to flee, desperate to escape the destruction wrought by the invading fleets. The infection was already spreading to the higher-level Equites, many of whom were the leaders of the besieged Houses and Clans. Confusion and disorder consumed the Brotherhood, as most of the command structures broke down in the face of the biological and naval threats.

While the Equites had only just begun to feel the effects of Force disconnection, the Journeymen’s mental health had further deteriorated, though their physical power still increased. Within the Academy, it was a survival zone. The quarantine and attempt to lock down the interiors of the building had partially failed, leaving the infected to ransack the armory and prepare for battle. Ronovi Tavisaen, in attempts to fight off what some more cynical members would jokingly deem, “the herd,” was beginning to come up with a strategy to end the conflict once and for all, with assistance from her Praetor and a few Dark Jedi who had not completely lost their minds.

On Kapsina, panic had spread, resulting in a complete breakdown within the Plagueian facilities. Members were sequestered in the Temple of Plagueis on Morroth, with Journeymen showing symptoms being locked away in the medical wing. Equites were separated from the lower ranks, locked in the barracks or in the temple proper, preparing for worse to come. Plagueis, out of all of the houses, would face some of the more dire consequences of the plague in the oncoming hours.

Zoraan Returns

Macron Sadow fighting during the conflict.
The Dark Council had busied itself with a search for a cure, Macron Goura Sadow being the key alchemist in their employ. A possible inoculation was being discussed, but outside Antei, the situation was growing even more anarchic.


The last of the Equites had fallen prey to the virus, leaving the lower ranks to begin growing delusional or worse from the more severe advanced stages of the sickness. Within the Shadow Academy, one known Elder was still capable of wielding the Force: Anshar Kahn Tarentae, former Headmaster and steward of Lyspair, who had plans that greatly differed from that of Ronovi Tavisaen’s. As the Headmaster’s staff and assistants convened within the computer core room, the power having been shut down prior to their assembly, Tavisaen announced her intent to eliminate the alleged source of infection by overloading the main generator and subsequently destroying the Academy. Of course, none, infected or no, would be left behind.

Kahn, on the other hand, wished to find the source of the infection and seek to cure it. The two Dark Jedi’s arguments crescendoed into a near physical confrontation, while others worked to reboot the entire computer system. As Tavisaen was ready to set her plan in motion, no matter whether or not Kahn objected to it, the screens suddenly lit up with the images and information of the conflicts above Antares and Antei, a link maintained through the Academy’s flagship Paladin in orbit. Tavisaen and others realized that the Academy was not the true source of the infection at all, and that as such, all they could do was wait and hope not to die or succumb.

The Horizons plague, however, was not the last act of terrorism wreaked upon the Brotherhood. On Kapsina, another of Thren's bio-weapons was unleashed, swallowing the planet in decay and causing it to slowly die. Braecen Kaeth of Plagueis directed the house’s fleet through its run and gun tactics in order to preserve Plagueis's military assets in the face of the invading fleet, which continued to attack Jusadih space. The same bio-plague would also affect Yridia II, leaving it decimated. The lack of coordination that resulted from so many of the Houses' Jedi being brought down by the plague was one of the largest contributing factors to the inadequate defense of both Kapsina and Yridia II.

With the Brotherhood reeling from the latest attacks, Zoraan at last made his appearance on the field. Taking his flagship, the Avenger II, to Antei, Zoraan gathered his allies to his side and landed on the Brotherhood's throneworld. Moving through the infected members of the Brotherhood, he entered the Vault below the Dark Hall and retrieved his armor. Fully corporeal again, the insane Sith readied himself for his endgame, the plague's final blow to the Brotherhood.

Inoculation and Loss

With the civilian death toll growing massively, upward to approximately thirty million, the clans and houses had attempted to regroup and restrategize following the bio-weapon attacks. Macron had been successful in finding an inoculation for the plague and maneuvered quickly to Antei to deliver it. The Dark Hall, however, had been besieged, as Muz confronted Zoraan within the throne room.

Tra'an Reith, Quaestor of Plagueis, made the dramatic decision to abandon Kapsina and move the remaining Plagueis forces to open space. Several men were left behind to die, but the sacrifice had been nothing short of necessary. With the assistance of the Elders onboard, Reith and his house traveled to the Stygian Caldera, where a dark side nexus was presumably waiting for them. For some time, the whole of Plagueis would be presumed destroyed by the majority of the Brotherhood.

Muz, powerful as he was, handily defeated Zoraan and murdered him, minutes before Macron's arrival on Antei. The inoculation was administered through several methods, including contagious spread or syringe. It would ultimately grant immunity to each infected Dark Jedi, and soon the plague was eradicated from the Brotherhood ranks. Consequences, however, were rampant among the clans and houses, with the casualties of Force-sensitives still being quantified. The end of the plague also did not signify that the conflict was over, as the Brotherhood had to deal with Zoraan's remaining fleets in the aftermath.

Notes

The following text was drawn from the gold-winning wiki entry for the Horizons vendetta in 2012, approved as canon by Muz Ashen, Macron Goura, and Benevolent Whiner. The original article in its entirety can be found at Horizon - The Cure.