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The Emancipation virus was a program developed by Droid Abolitionist Movement members Xalto Sneerzick and Babalabbet Swoont. It was designed to work its way into a droid's programming and destroy any subservient traits, and also would destroy the droid's life preservation systems.
Sneerzick had been raiding Cosmohaul Shipping transport vessels, looking for droids to free, when he was presented the opportunity to take control of the Argent Lady and its cargo of 100 R5-series astromech droids. He set the Emancipation virus free among the R5s, hoping to test it further and enlist more followers. However, the R5 personality matrix - as programmed by Industrial Automaton - was poorly completed in order to shave off a few credits in the price of the droids. The test ended badly with the R5s turning on Sneerzick and his followers.