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Rust

No will to fight... anymore

I don't understand what goes through the minds of those rust-infected. We have a duty, assigned centuries ago, to terraform this planet. Now that we are done, we must wait for the humans to arrive. Why they refuse maintenance, no one knows.
— Outrider UAV
  Rust is a special condition, or one may say belief, that is held by some unmanned aerial vehicles. All drones need maintenance at regular intervals. While this interval has been extended through cutting-edge technology, a healthy drone generally needs a checkup at least once every fifteen years. However, for whatever reason, some unmanned aerial vehicles have started refusing maintenance. Some say this is a bug originating from the vehicle's parent, a human that has had its consciousness uploaded to the drone for terraforming duties.

Causes

I get it. I drew the short straw. But I didn't sign up to live forever. I've seen this, done that. Death is a part of life. I want to die naturally.
— Rust-infected drone
  The condition of Rust, at least officially, has no cause. If anyone asks the engineers who repair drones, they simply shake their head, saying, "it's complicated". The only ones who have really brought up theories are the Analyst Drones. The Analyst Drones believe that the condition of Rust is analogous to the condition of depression on Earth, and that the root of Rust is in the minds of the men who were uploaded into each drone.

Treatment

Look, before we did this, we had to spend precious time accompanying the rusted individuals around. We forcibly repaired them so they could do work. Now, it's really a belief as much as a condition. We... I... [sobs] I can't believe that they're choosing death over life.
— UAV talking on recording
  Previously, before new measures were set into place, all Rust-infected individuals were watched by non-rusted drones. If the drone dropped due to sensor or motor damage, the infected's buddy would take the drone back to base, begin charging before loss of consciousness, and forcibly repair the drone's parts.   However, now, more recognize the condition as a valid belief, and for the first time in millennia, drones are dying. Similarly, in the halls of the drone command, questions are being raised. They signed up to terraform the world, under the promise that humans would come. It has almost been three thousand years. Where are the humans?

Prognosis

Rust is fatal.
  The prognosis is grim for the Rust-infected. Generally, within the next thirty years, their body and motors accumulate damage from rust and disrepair. Loss of consciousness occurs after either motors and sensors fail and the vehicle cannot find its way back to a charging station. Once the device is out of charge, the consciousness is destroyed as an automatic failsafe measure and the drone is declared dead.

Type
Mental
Origin
Engineered
Cycle
Short-term
Rarity
Rare
Affected Species
Transmission/Vectors
None
Symptoms
Refusal of maintenance
Rust spots in stainless steel
Failing sensors or motors
Cultural Reception
Frowned upon

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