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New 'SARS Warts' Theory Counters 'Star Wars' Theory of Imperial Collapse

Infected Emperor
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SARS Warts
Los Angeles, CA-- Researchers announced Wednesday the results of a study to be published in The Journal of Pointless Academic Research. The study seeks to refute the long standing explanation of the fall of the Galactic Empire by putting forth a new theory, that disease, not corruption and moral decay, was the leading factor in the collapse.

"We have all heard the story by now, 'a long time ago in galaxy far, far away,' blah, blah, blah! The traditional story passed down over the centuries to explain the collapse of the Galactic Empire has been repeated so many times that few thought to question it," lead researcher John H. Crabtree told reporters at the press conference. "The film series by George Lucas based on this oral tradition has immortalized the demise of a once great empire. In the Stars Wars retelling it is moral decay and evil influences that ultimately lead to downfall of this once great interstellar power."

The new "SARS Warts" theory blames the ruin of the empire on the spread of a strange space epidemic.

"SARS as we know it is a fast acting disease that stands for Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The SARS that we believe killed many legions of Imperial Storm Troopers would have been much different. SARS in this case stands for Slow-Acting Rot Syndrome. The diseases are spread the same way, via airborne pathogens, but symptoms are manifest in starkly different manners," explained Crabtree.

The main symptom of Slow-Acting Rot Syndrome is visible in the form of what look like warts on the patient's skin, an observation reflected in the name "SARS Warts."

Many of these researchers' theories are based on the same evidence as the Star Wars explanation of Imperial collapse. The strongest piece of evidence to support their theory is the skin of Emperor Palpatine himself.

"With the Emperor manifesting symptoms of this disease his whole staff, as well as many leading senators, would have been exposed, and therefore it would become necessary to quarantine all those who came in contact with him," explained epidemiologist Franny Ferdinand. "With that many high government officials severed from the power structure for public health reasons an entirely new ruling group would have to supplant them. If this replacement process were done secretly to prevent widespread panic it is easy to see how rumors of a coup or violent regime change could begin to circulate widely enough to become presented as fact."

The theory attributes the bulk of the dissemination of the disease to the legions of the Imperial Storm Troopers who were stationed throughout the galaxy and were frequently moved and transferred.

"Many of the space transport vessels used by the Galactic Empire for Storm Troopers were very small for efficiency reasons," said Spacecraft Historian Alvin Whiteballoon. "In space all vessels are forced to use re-circulated air since they are operating in a vacuum. The introduction of an air-borne infection into this situation would lead to widespread infection among the crew."

Researchers say the slow-acting nature of the disease would have allowed infected individuals to be carriers and transmitters of the disease for some time before manifesting signs. Even after manifesting the disease Storm Troopers would have been able to continue in service since their uniforms would conceal the SARS Wart infection from view. Although weakened, the troops would have had enough strength to function normally in non-combat roles. Combat, however, may have been too much.

"We believe that the SARS Warts caused many Storm Troopers to be so weaken that many normally non-fatal laser blast wounds would have overwhelmed them and caused death that otherwise would have just been a battle field injury," said Doctor Crabtree.

The other point of contention raised by advocates of the SARS Warts theory is the reason for the destruction of the Death Star. The consensus view, supported by George Lucas and others, is that rebels destroyed the Death Star.

"We believe that the Empire itself was forced to destroy both the first Death Star and the second Death Star to try and control the outbreak, as both had become contaminated with the SARS Warts pathogen. The first Death Star was a base for Storm Troopers, and shortly after the arrival of the disease the entire facility would be compromised. The second Death Star, while operational, though never completed, most likely became contaminated by Storm Troopers brought in to complete construction," theorize Crabtree and his colleagues.

Anthropologists agree that it is possible for superstitious beliefs, widely held and that time, to cause people to link the deadly disease with evil. Those superstitions over time became converted into the myth we know as "the Force."

"While this culture was highly advanced from a technological standpoint, they had many superstitious beliefs and traditions, like so many other civilizations of the ancient past," said Crabtree.

Researchers say the next step is to see what connection, if any, SARS Warts may have to the extinction of life on the planet Mars.

"There is mounting evidence of the existence of life on Mars in the past. Whether the SARS Warts pathogen reached Mars in its original form, or whether it mutated into a related disease called Mars SARS, and whether either of these diseases wiped out the Martians we are seeking to know," said Crabtree.

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