Harvesters are a newly discovered type of pathogen.
Anatomy EditHarvesters are incredibly advanced nanobots that are similar in appearance to amoebas. They can form many tentacle-like appendages. They reproduce by scraping chunks of metal off of things and crafting them into new Harvesters.
The process by which a Harvester builds another Harvester is not entirely known as the "parent" harvester completely envelops the metal during this process. The method by which they gain the power to function in the first place is also unknown.
When a Harvester infects an Irken's PAK (preferably a live one), the Harvester takes great care when building more Harvesters from resident metal. Eventually, an infected Irken begins to display unusual behavior, first showing slight discomfort. Then, it begins to hoard small metal objects, such as communicators, utensils, portable electronics and other small things. The Irken begins to put these things in a pile and jump into them. A small amount of Harvesters escapes out of it's PAK and into the pile, infecting the objects and reproducing in them. After some time, the Irken climbs out of the pile and gathers more objects to put in it. This process repeats, but the size or importance of the objects gained increases in intensity after each trip.
The Irken, notably, attempts to sell infected objects to other Irkens to spread Harvesters.
If the infected Irken cannot sell infected objects at the same rate that it finds new objects to add to the pile, and the pile reaches a certain size, it will turn into a hive. Harvesters will create suits of armor and act as muscles inside them, creating small, insect-like creatures. Tunnels will also be made. Not much is known about these hives.
Infected SIR Units also display strange behavior, eating metal objects and then throwing up a metallic-looking liquid that, after testing, is concluded to consist of nothing but thousands of Harvesters.
In more advanced stages of SIR Unit infection, either two things can happen:
The Harvesters establish a direct link to the SIR Unit's A.I module and other important parts such as the CPU, effectively obtaining full control over the SIR unit. These "controlled" SIR Units may be used for many things, especially in recursive infection. SIR Units infected in this way usually display normal behavior. However, when it believes it is unobserved, it will start to eat metal objects and throw up Harvesters to further the infection. Because of this, they are not easily noticed to be infected.
Or the Harvesters will turn the SIR Unit into a hollow shell, linking together to form muscles and constructing hollow, jointed legs to replace the standard floating legs, as well as other appendages for various uses. SIR Units infected in this way are much more easily noticed and because of this, they are much more aggressive, and used as soldiers and guards of hives instead of being used for spreading the infection.
It should be noted that events like this are not limited only to Irkens and SIR Units. Harvesters have been recorded to infect robots or spaceships that consist of technology other than the Irken Empire's.
- SIR Units infected with Harvesters in the second method emit what can only be described as shrieks. These shrieks are meant to induce fear, and should an Irken survive long enough in the vicinity of them, they will go mad.
- All attempts at convincing an infected Irken that he or she is not acting normally or is infected is never taken seriously by the infected individual. If equipment such as scanners are used to provide proof of infection, the Irken will dismiss the results as faulty.