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Re: Bio-Forces -- Was: SG2/DS2 help wanted...

From: Alexander Williams <thantos@d...>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 07:31:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Bio-Forces -- Was: SG2/DS2 help wanted...

On Mon, 3 Nov 1997, Ground Zero Games wrote:

> All S'V units (space and ground) are bio-constructs; humanity may
never get
> to see a real Sa'Vasku, and in fact they may never even leave their
> homeworld (maybe they can't? Maybe there is really only ONE
> The bio-constructs are loosely divided into Volitionals [V] (sentient
> their own right) and non-volitionals [NV] (machine/animals) [Some
> nicked from W.J. Williams' "Angel Station"].
> A S'V starship is a large NV, "crewed" by Vs - or maybe the other way
> round.....??
> S'V ground forces are similar in that an "APC" is a single NV
> "creature/machine", directed by a V "commander"; it's "troops" (I'm
> human analogues here) are smaller NVs held in a dormant state inside
> "APC", which can be awakened and deployed when necessary. The NV

Interesting ideas ...  I'd suggest a fairly simple means of seperating
Vs from NVs in S'V: if its a single fighting entity, then it'll be
Volitional; if it has a clear and short directive of control, it'll be a
single Volitional and several Drones; if its intended to attack and
destroy through sheer horde tactics, it'll be a cluster of Drones.

Given the above breakdown and applying it to space structures, most
will be Volitionals, as space combat is highly localized and extremely
moment-reactive.  Space fighters, or their rough equivalents in S'V
biotech, may be smallish flights led by a single Volitional (much like
human fighter flights with an Ace, except that if the S'V lose their
the rest become Drones) or lots and lots, a wing or more, of relatively
uninspired but extremely 'cheap' Drones which are more extended-time
missiles than anything else.

When taking ground, the same analysis leads to much expected results: in
matters of war, where on-site reasoning and consideration is needed,
Volitionals leading small Drone groups are the norm.  The equivalent of
platoon of tanks would probably be best served, in a situation where
attrition will be high, as all Volitionals (the vehicles themselves,
rather than any crew thereof), since the loss of one would severely
curtail their prime function if they lost the Controller, as they are,
fact, likely to.  On the other hand, in a defensive situation or one
the S'V are likely to have a lot of logistical support and can afford to
simply project force at a problem until it goes away, taking the
Controller structure and making the average DSII 'maneuver unit' of
larger than a platoon, perhaps up to 9 or 10 tanks in the unit, could be
extremely useful and 'cheaper' if the supply of Volitional minds is the
deciding factor.  That leaves, as the third possibility, the Horde
strategy, cheapest of all and likely employed as you outlined in APCs
where the Controller is much larger and more armoured than the Drones
may be able to generate any number of them given time.	It might be an
or even a facility (think Aliens, with the atmosphere refinery
as a Horde breeding facility).

I have an interesting idea for explaining the cultural source of the
which you are free to adopt for the high cost of just an acknowledgement
:) :

The S'V are not a race or culture at all, but the fleshly /remnants/ of
Transcended culture, in the mold of Extropian theorists, which became so
good at biomanipulation and creation that the culture itself uploaded,
masse, into an enormous bio-computational construct which, for want of a
better word, they 'infected' their homeworld with.  Of course, it would
wasteful to upload your mind and leave the flesh merely to rot, so they
crafted new 'pseudominds' to remain behind and maintain watch over the
homeworld, only occasionally peeking out of their new universe to check
how things were going.	The pseudominds had access to Transcend
biotechnology but no desire to use it (after all, they're not real
so kept things running, the homeworld (now, perhaps better refered to as
Cache) clean and everything clean.

Until the Transcend culture became bored and wanted new playmates.

After all, there's only so many things /to/ do in a massive simulated
universe.  After you've played God a billion times and raised entire
cultures only to destroy them when they tired you, you start getting
hungry for a new perspective on things.  So the S'V, (or, rather, the
creators of the S'V) instructed their agents to, if they happened to
stumble onto any living things, upload them a copy before adding them to
the S'V biotech materials labs.  (After all, isn't apotheosizing entire
cultures into gods themselves a rather keen thing to /do/?)

Thus, the S'V geared up for war, because its a very ready source of
minds and makes a wonderful diversion as well for the Cache.  There were
created several smaller TransCaches, like small, mobile homeworlds or a
Berserker base, into which volunteer armies of Transcend minds were
voluntarily, like an outing to the beach or the front stands at a
The S'V themselves do not, and likely cannot, understand the reasons
behind what they do; all they know is that they capture the enemy or
his newly dead body (as long as the brain's not terribly damaged), put
into a chamber for a while, and it comes out ready to join the S'V
biotechs.  For their part, the Transcend are having the time of their
unending lives.  A great war to watch from the frontlines, new folks
popping in regularly, an entire thriving pseudocommunity developing in
Caches, they haven't had so much fun in millions of years.  Most of
in the TransCaches are living in near-realtime just to enjoy it more.

Those captured and uploaded don't take long to realize that there are
numerous advantages to being where they are, essential imortality and
Godhood are hard to resist.  From time to time, however, the S'V have to
'release' an uploaded 'Prisoner of War' (who's fully integrated with the
Transcend culture already and very unwilling to leave).  Its very easy
recreate the original body, put in a pseudo-mind (usually crafted by the
'prisoner himself from a copy!) and turn it loose.  In such a way agents
can and have been inserted into the space-faring nations of Full
Thrust/DSII to nudge them along certain paths. 

Very occasionally, one of the Transcend will actually send a copy out of
the Cache to be involved personally in the war in a constructed body,
whether it be as an infantryman, armour or even a Hordemember.	There's
nothing that reproduces the feeling of 'being there' more than actually
being there.  As long as the living creature or corpse is recovered, its
memories and experiences can be salvaged and re-uploaded into its
'parent.'  Most of the best Volitionals are Cache members who've let out
Copies (or 'gunrunners' as they're affectionately refered to).	Its not
surprising to find Volitionals forged from NSE personel using NSE
with S'V bioforms just for fun.  After all, once your immortal, nothing
keeps you from fielding an entire battle group of soldiers and armour,
pseudo-cloned from your own mind at various resolutions.

All in all, a very interesting and compelling setup, making the S'V a
/lot/ more interesting than they might be if they were simply the
'faceless biomachine enemy.'  They really /o/ think that they're doing
what's best for everyone they meet, and they might be right.

[Yes, this Transcend culture /was/ developed as a far more interesting
basis for the Borg than what we ended up with in ST.  Under this
the post-Borg Jon-Luc Picard is just a pseudo-mind /created/ by the
original Picard (now happily uploaded into the Borg Collective and
frollicking with whatever floats his fancy) and was specifically
to nudge Starfleet down certain paths toward Transcend ...]

[  Alexander Williams {}  ]
[ Alexandrvs Vrai,  Prefect 8,000,000th Experimental Strike Legion ]
[	     BELLATORES INQVIETI --- Restless Warriors		   ]
      "If not me, who?	If not now, when?  If not this, what?"
	 "In nomine malas portas, convoco Hasturam Nefas."

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