942 words • 3~5 min read

The Cyborg Crisis: new digital virus is fatal to augmented humans

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


What began as a relatively benign, though eminently annoying cybernetic virus has evolved into a global catastrophe. Alpha Cloner was just the beginning of a series of increasingly malevolent molecular vectors. Once the code was out, creatives got to work, hacking together more clever, more wicked software packets. The flood gates were open.

Even the barrage of behavior modifying bugs was a distraction. Whoever coded Zero Cloner knew that there would be hundreds of hackers altering their code. They were counting on it.

The genius of Alpha Cloner was not that it tricked augmented humans into queuing up at a food truck. The genius of Alpha Cloner was that the ad hoc fix was for augments to shut off their internal geolocators. This practically guaranteed that the Center for Disease Control and Digital Security would be incapable of tracking the virus as beyond the initial outbreak or document the spread of the Zero Cloner base code–which we now know acts as a critical architecture for further infection. As, one by one, cyborgs opted out of the National Tracking Matrix, the origin and extent of the infection was obscured. 

We were caught completely by surprise. The first cyborgs dropped in clusters around Manhattan, where Zero Cloner began. The firewalls went up fast, quarantining the island, but that, too, was a distraction. Omega Cloner, the deadliest augment virus yet, had already spread across the world. Its protocol is simple–anytime a randomly selected number of cyborgs gather close enough to interface (either physically or in virtual gathering places), the virus stops their hearts. Sometimes it is as few as two, other times, thirty at a time flatline.

Initial reports confirm at least 50,000 causalities. It will almost certainly be more.

The nasty brilliance of this infection is that mounting a response is practically impossible. The best cybernetic programmers and system administrators are themselves augments. Cyborgs, infected or otherwise are isolating themselves, effectively shutting down the network of augmented researchers pushing the limits of human cybernetics.

This is not a fluke. This is not an accident. This is not the natural evolution of human-machine interfaces. This is an intentional act of mass murder. And you better believe someone has taken credit for it.

They call themselves the Standard Deviants, an anti-augmentation hate group of radical hackers that oppose all forms of cybernetics and demand that all humans maintain purity with the Status Quo.

Ever since the Khan decision de facto validated the superior status of augmented humans, anti-augmentation groups have been on the rise, fighting to push back the tide of cyborg rights, demanding that the most heavily augmented be treated more like appliances than humans in the eyes of the law. They see the rise of cybernetics as an affront to the purity of humankind that will ultimately result in the end of our species.

On that last point, they might not be wrong, but that doesn’t mean that their actions are justified.

The Standard Deviants have been brought into custody, but enhanced interrogations have revealed that not only is there no cure, but that Omega Cloner was designed to be incurable.

The global medical community, as well as all non-essential AIs, have been deputized into searching for a potential cure. Until then, all augmented humans are encouraged to remain quarantined and avoid any contact with other cyborgs.


On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


Connect with SFS