Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Steve » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:14 pm

Just in case anyone else is interested and since Shroom mentioned it, this is the link to the story in my series that premieres SOTS, specifically Solaris (and the Avalonians, a concept Shroom and I drew up): http://www.omniverseone.com/forum/viewt ... 200#p24015

The series proper is a space opera sci-fi setting with interuniversal drive tech, complete with crossovers. A majority of the characters on the hero ships are original, with the exceptions of TNG-era Scotty, Nicholas Locarno (the proto-Tom Paris in the episode of TNG when Wesley gets into trouble at Starfleet Academy), and Jarod from the 90s series "The Pretender".
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:54 pm



USS games expos will be like this. Earliest access games will have cognomemetic and even subtemporal quasi-mesonic glitches that make things go Event Horizon!
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:33 am

Remember the old ass idea of biomechanical abominations tearing through the rear frontiers of Bragspace?

I'm thinking of whether to call them The Dirge or The Cleave. Dirge might've been used before though. Whereas Cleave can be for how they've "cleaved through Brag space."

I'm wondering if they're just from unknown space, or if the initial strikes blindsided the frontier Brag defenses and no one knows where they truly came from and that they might be the rapidly replicating weapons of these advanced hybers disturbed by Bragulan colonists.

Part of me also thinks that they should be some karmic punishment. Like, some White Bragulans fled rearwards and blundered into some races... warred with them and some WMD got used, turning those caught in it into abominations that returned to Brag space (perhaps fueled by the mutatified White Brags' longing for home!).

Whatcha guise think?
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Siege » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:41 pm

Perhaps you can combine those two ideas. White Brags stumbled upon some ancient tombworld, tried to plunder its secrets for their own gains, they triggered the wrong protocol and the whole place went wonky on them, turning them into gribblies. Now they're mindlessly clawing their way into Bragspace, partially FOR VENGEANCE... But also because the thingmabobs they tried to rob woke up and are in hot pursuit!

The Bragulan Stavka will wonder why the Cleave are so obviously overextending themselves - they're just pushing tendrils into Bragspace that can easily be individually flanked, surrounded and cut off... But once they actually do that they'll find that the Cleave are fighting another enemy to their rear, that is literally pushing them back into Bragspace.

That would mean though that the Cleave would have to be vaguely recognizable in some way as former Brags? Otherwise I think it'd kind of defeat the point.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:48 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:33 am
Remember the old ass idea of biomechanical abominations tearing through the rear frontiers of Bragspace?

I'm thinking of whether to call them The Dirge or The Cleave. Dirge might've been used before though. Whereas Cleave can be for how they've "cleaved through Brag space."

I'm wondering if they're just from unknown space, or if the initial strikes blindsided the frontier Brag defenses and no one knows where they truly came from and that they might be the rapidly replicating weapons of these advanced hybers disturbed by Bragulan colonists.

Part of me also thinks that they should be some karmic punishment. Like, some White Bragulans fled rearwards and blundered into some races... warred with them and some WMD got used, turning those caught in it into abominations that returned to Brag space (perhaps fueled by the mutatified White Brags' longing for home!).

Whatcha guise think?
How does it jive with the idea that the Dirge/Cleave is the exact sort of threat that the Bragulan dialectical warfare complex is designed to institutionally shrug off and co-opt, and that having their frontier defenses blindsided is how the Empire as a whole detects serious invasions in the first place?

Reverse-engineering their technology aside, Bragule even has a vested interest in letting these horribly messed up but still recognizable ex-Bragulans raid the frontiers, as to demonstrate the grisly consequences of bears who stray beyond the light of the Imperator.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:51 pm

Invictus wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:48 pm
How does it jive with the idea that the Dirge/Cleave is the exact sort of threat that the Bragulan dialectical warfare complex is designed to institutionally shrug off and co-opt, and that having their frontier defenses blindsided is how the Empire as a whole detects serious invasions in the first place?
We can still go with it, that while the Brag frontier defenses might've been blindsided, Brag space itself is so vast that whatever holdings the Cleave... cleaved out of Brag space is still minuscule in the great scheme of things, while for them it's something they can barely hold on to while (as previously discussed) the real Brag forces encircle the Cleave-infected areas and begin the process of ideological exploitation!
Reverse-engineering their technology aside, Bragule even has a vested interest in letting these horribly messed up but still recognizable ex-Bragulans raid the frontiers, as to demonstrate the grisly consequences of bears who stray beyond the light of the Imperator.
Indeed!
Siege wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:41 pm
Perhaps you can combine those two ideas. White Brags stumbled upon some ancient tombworld, tried to plunder its secrets for their own gains, they triggered the wrong protocol and the whole place went wonky on them, turning them into gribblies. Now they're mindlessly clawing their way into Bragspace, partially FOR VENGEANCE... But also because the thingmabobs they tried to rob woke up and are in hot pursuit!

The Bragulan Stavka will wonder why the Cleave are so obviously overextending themselves - they're just pushing tendrils into Bragspace that can easily be individually flanked, surrounded and cut off... But once they actually do that they'll find that the Cleave are fighting another enemy to their rear, that is literally pushing them back into Bragspace.
I like this. Though the Cleave will still have enough independence so that they can still fight or flee from the ELDRITCH HORROR that infected them?

Ah. They're fleeing the ancient thing, and maybe if the ancient thing arrives they can try to fight... but they're fleeing because the ancient thing that mutated them has the means of utterly controlling them (to the point of commanding them to reduce themselves to their components)? Maybe whatever weapon was used was imperfect, degraded after eons of inactivity, so the Cleave had enough time to go "blargh look at the HORRORS we have become!" and flee! But this can imply a lot of the other Cleave didn't make it and got completely assimilated!
That would mean though that the Cleave would have to be vaguely recognizable in some way as former Brags? Otherwise I think it'd kind of defeat the point.
They'd be like how Strogg, which incorporates humans, still look vaguely human? Bear Stroggs! A ten foot tall biomechanicl spikey cyber-gigerian grizzly bear!

Seeing Endless Space material made me think of the Cleave again.

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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:51 pm

Also, Endless Space is a great source of ideas and nifty concepts and visuals. It's so Omniverse!
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Siege » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:29 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:51 pm
I like this. Though the Cleave will still have enough independence so that they can still fight or flee from the ELDRITCH HORROR that infected them?
Maybe the archeocrypt they messed with is pseudo-Karlackoid technology, in the sense that the farther away from an Apex Node the White Brags/Cleave are, the more their individual personalities resurface. If they are chased down the can first feel whatever gribbly gnawing at their minds telling them that it's getting closer, until eventually they are wholly subsumed and they totally lose their personality down some big well of swarm consciousness. Because it's so terrifying a prospect to lose themselves so totally they are naturally inclined to run the fuck away from it, and the only real way back now is right into Bragspace.

It's better to face the wrath of the Imperator than whatever they've left behind in wild space.

They're constantly fighting a kind of BSG-like running retreat in their rear even as they push into Bragspace. Maybe most of the stuff they fight there though isn't Apex Nodes but the gribblies it sends to fetch them. Only very occasionally do the actual intelligences behind the chase manifest themselves on the front line.

That would mean though that the Cleave would have to be vaguely recognizable in some way as former Brags? Otherwise I think it'd kind of defeat the point.
Yeah, that's sufficiently horrifying I'd think. You could even have things like undercover pro-Byzon operatives within the Cleave who get half-Stroggified trying to bring word back to the Imperator, but to do it they have to make it through Imperial lines without getting atomized, etc.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:31 pm

Siege wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:29 pm
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:51 pm
I like this. Though the Cleave will still have enough independence so that they can still fight or flee from the ELDRITCH HORROR that infected them?
Maybe the archeocrypt they messed with is pseudo-Karlackoid technology, in the sense that the farther away from an Apex Node the White Brags/Cleave are, the more their individual personalities resurface. If they are chased down the can first feel whatever gribbly gnawing at their minds telling them that it's getting closer, until eventually they are wholly subsumed and they totally lose their personality down some big well of swarm consciousness. Because it's so terrifying a prospect to lose themselves so totally they are naturally inclined to run the fuck away from it, and the only real way back now is right into Bragspace.

It's better to face the wrath of the Imperator than whatever they've left behind in wild space.

They're constantly fighting a kind of BSG-like running retreat in their rear even as they push into Bragspace. Maybe most of the stuff they fight there though isn't Apex Nodes but the gribblies it sends to fetch them. Only very occasionally do the actual intelligences behind the chase manifest themselves on the front line.
Sure, the transformation process probably means that even if part of their individual personalities manifest, they probably don't comprehend the fact that they used to be Bragulan, there are just these weird yearnings of Bragspace as safe sanctuary, loathing of the Byzonists, fear of the utterly alien intelligence that's threatening to subsume them...

And yet even their very flight into Bragspace is serving their distant masters' purposes! So while their conversion is incomplete, they've already been converted enough to act as a de facto vanguard force for the aliens!

Yeah, that's sufficiently horrifying I'd think. You could even have things like undercover pro-Byzon operatives within the Cleave who get half-Stroggified trying to bring word back to the Imperator, but to do it they have to make it through Imperial lines without getting atomized, etc.
Perhaps the "freshly" converted ones look still partially Bragulan but the longer the being is a Cleave (there's probably no reversing it), the more unBragulan and just coated in biomechanicals they become... the core Cleave territories are utterly Gigerian.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:50 pm

As a very minor suggestion on this idea, could the Cleave be the ones running and the Dirge be the Eldritch chasing them? And maybe the Dirge are so called because they, in their own way, are kind of remembering all the civilisations they destroy, and reproducing bits and pieces of them in their monstrous, Gigeresque constructions. You have to look closely to see it, but there are little touches of white Bragulan architecture on their ships.

Their equivalent of 'resistance is futile' could be something like 'we will remember you'
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:56 pm

speaker-to-trolls wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:50 pm
As a very minor suggestion on this idea, could the Cleave be the ones running and the Dirge be the Eldritch chasing them? And maybe the Dirge are so called because they, in their own way, are kind of remembering all the civilisations they destroy, and reproducing bits and pieces of them in their monstrous, Gigeresque constructions. You have to look closely to see it, but there are little touches of white Bragulan architecture on their ships.

Their equivalent of 'resistance is futile' could be something like 'we will remember you'
The Dirge could actually be... Aetherids!

EDIT: I like how you added the nihilistic aspect, a literal play on the 'Dirge,' which characterizes it beyond the initial proposed "eldritch archeo-thing" and actually connects it with something Vic and I have written. Like, we've got a LOT of already-approved things that are barely utilized, and in my scatter-brained approach I end up proposing something new that could easily be fulfilled by previous concepts.

The only thing is... we gotta make sure the "Dirge" name isn't something that's been used a lot in other franchises. :)
Aetherids

The most obscure of the known survivors from the distant Age of Titans. Little is known of the physical forms they once had, and little remains; theirs was a calculated dwindling even as the Apexai reached for ever-more golden heights, an attenuation into the background voids of space. It was for a fundamental disagreement over the course of the cosmos, and a profound despair over the cycles of chaos and suffering that civilization seemed set to generate. But the Aetherids committed no suicide. Their new forms abide, undetectably diffuse, in the depths of space, yet remain coherent enough to reach forth with technology worthy of their mystique and work upon unknowing subjects. They see to it that doomed and ravaged societies are granted the peace of hybernation, or are taken up into their plane of existence as a holographic cloud of unchanging quantum motes, their distinctiveness forever saved from the fire of entropy. Otherwise they are prevailed upon to reconstruct entropy-lost things in their inimitable fashion, or simply to temporarily subject mortals to their perspective, apparently at whim.

More insidious are seeming factions among Aetherids who strive to extinguish all fires, actively driving into ruin species and civilizations that they judge too chaotic. Through cold and subtle manipulations (a common tactic being to impersonate a far more benevolent guiding force than they are) the development of dangerous technologies and other ultimately self-destructive courses of action are pushed to their conclusion, and the damage to the wider universe - as they see it - can be contained. Nevertheless many victims manage to stumble from the trap, and for all the Aetherids’ pretensions as a universe constant, the greater among cosmopolities are yet too strong and vibrant for their maneuverings to find purchase.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:16 pm

Interception and/or rapid-recon optimized Bragulan gunskimmer:

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(Actually taken from a Facebook page called The Vault of Sci-Fi, captioned: The-Liberator Blake’s 7 Reboot Concept Art)
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:26 am

Vic proposed, and we brainstormed, a species that grow biological masks similar to those on Kill Six Billion Demons devils. Or No Face from Spirited Away.

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The face mask-plates might've served as armoring for territorial and mating displays and tests for the species' paleo-ancestors. Over time it evolved into something linked to their identity, with each individual's plates getting distinct features (like zebra stripes or fingerprints) over the years to correspond with their socio-psychological development, so there are grooves and colors and designs that spontaneously form and fix themselves over time... plus whatever they carve upon their faces. There's actually meaning in the symbols too... (so it's a little bit like Rorschach)... heck the mask marks might've been a precursor to their written language. So their masks and the stuff on 'em are crucial to individual and group psycho-society.

Vic adds that removing the mask, which can be painful but non-fatal, has some neurological feedback that causes amnesia and "defaulting" or the individual as a significant component of their personality is just destroyed. The hard tissue of the mask (akin to chameleon scales + fingernails) probably just wrinkles into uselessness when it is removed. The remaining socio-psychological components of the individual is sufficient enough to allow gradual personality reconstitution, but of course depending on the environment, most likely a wholly different person will develop. The pace of reconstitution often matches the speed of the mask's regrowth... heck, the pace of distinct life experiences that form the bedrock of personality development probably influences the pace of mask-plate regrowth. An individual just being a couch potato will regrow very slowly. Someone doing EAT PRAY LOVE across space or on Solaris or whatever will regrow really fast. :lol:

So beyond the face (which Vic likens to baboons as well... or kabuki mask, fetish-masks, totem masks, tribal masks, etc. Even the dragon/tiger/lion faces of Chinese dragon/lion dancers)... what we've got is.

A face set centrally on the chest, with no neck. Eye-stalks allow for widened field of view in lieu of the neck, like in crustaceans, but if it's beyond the stalks' range then the whole body can turn around. There are four arms set around the face-bearing torso. These guys move on two rear-folding legs, which make the torso stoop forward. A dense tail (flat like bears? or stubby and thicc like GILA MONSTERS?) provides counterbalance and might hint at pseudo-aquatic origins. Around the torso are ray-spines, like a sunfish, they are polychromatic and add to the displays/signallings... AND they can become reflective and can serve as natural rearview mirrors. Their mirror function allows individuals to see themselves and their faces (which are vital for identity).

They don't have sexual dimorphism, they don't lactate, newborn young have yolksacs and later are fed with pre-chewed foods (that is enriched with antibodies and such via gullet glands, sorta like breastmilk antibodies!). The paleo-ancestors saw males and females take turns in child-care, food-finding and territorial defense (like birds) but also operated in family groups, so "aunts" who have not yet returned to fertility plus infertile elders also help in food-acquisition and defense.

These guys are probably in the Bounty region. Their polities are to be determined.

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I guess these guys are like crabby blemmyes (of ancient Greek myth)... I think their maximum height's like a dozen feet tall. Large elephant or even Allosaurus-sized, at least naturally. With genetic modifications who knows. Vic and I theorize that there are like ten foot tall hume Mandragorans. Byzon's fifty feet tall. So there's a really wide theoretical size limit for beings. Phyrron sub-adult juveniles are like as big as Shaq if he's a centaur... adults are hippo/rhino to elephant-mass while chiefs and outright Phyrrax warlords are like StarCraft Ultralisk or brontosaurus height.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:48 am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:56 pm
speaker-to-trolls wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:50 pm
As a very minor suggestion on this idea, could the Cleave be the ones running and the Dirge be the Eldritch chasing them? And maybe the Dirge are so called because they, in their own way, are kind of remembering all the civilisations they destroy, and reproducing bits and pieces of them in their monstrous, Gigeresque constructions. You have to look closely to see it, but there are little touches of white Bragulan architecture on their ships.

Their equivalent of 'resistance is futile' could be something like 'we will remember you'
The Dirge could actually be... Aetherids!

EDIT: I like how you added the nihilistic aspect, a literal play on the 'Dirge,' which characterizes it beyond the initial proposed "eldritch archeo-thing" and actually connects it with something Vic and I have written. Like, we've got a LOT of already-approved things that are barely utilized, and in my scatter-brained approach I end up proposing something new that could easily be fulfilled by previous concepts.

The only thing is... we gotta make sure the "Dirge" name isn't something that's been used a lot in other franchises. :)
Unsurprisingly I support this.

Though the 'Dirge" probably *is* a technological intermediary of some sort because Aetherids being quantum death clouds can't Stroggify people directly*. And converting people into a bio-borg plague and sending them back at their own species is a more direct resort than Aetherids generally use, but maybe some of them thought "Hey, we have some borgification Apex Nodes lying around. Why not turn them back on?"

*Being distributed diffuse pseudo-organisms who dislike entropy and exist suspended at near Absolute Zero, it takes a bit of a violent quickening/heating process for them to be able to interact with carbon-based lifeforms, a process which is at the very least discomfiting to the Aetherid. Which means it takes the Aetherid with the most radical motivations to meddle with the cosmos...
Siege wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:29 pm
They're constantly fighting a kind of BSG-like running retreat in their rear even as they push into Bragspace. Maybe most of the stuff they fight there though isn't Apex Nodes but the gribblies it sends to fetch them. Only very occasionally do the actual intelligences behind the chase manifest themselves on the front line.
I prefer the idea that they are being chased by...themselves, if the completeness of their indoctrination is based on closeness to an Apex Node. There are still unbreakable directives enforced by their biomechanical parts, but the further away from the Node's influence the more they can rationalize it. The vanguard Cleave waves are still being driven into Bragulan space, but they think they're...looking for help. They're trying to smash their way to Bragule because, they reason, they want to throw themselves before Byzon's feet for clemency. The angrier, more indoctrinated waves of Cleave behind them? Surely they don't have good intentions, and since they're moving in the same direction, they must be chasing us!

I wouldn't be surprised if the "march back to Bragule" directive was something the initial White Bragulan infestees wished for.


RE: Luchador crab blemmyes

I personally think giving them eyestalks and the natural rearview mirrors is overdoing it, and their own social vigilance, armored bludgeoning tails (which can also rattle for warning), a quick rolling reflex and a healthy paranoia about their own rear arcs is good enough to compensate for the blind spot. Also because I want them to feel more like primates than crabs.

Nueki (?) masks can serve as personal mnemonics. A Nueki who hangs onto their shed mask recover their new personalities much faster, which when combined with the traumatic personality loss thing makes the mask a very spiritually important part of a person, akin to a fragment of their soul, and winning one from a rival after a mating fight (or later, ritualized status battles) has consequent implications, although it's not like a shed mask can cognometrically pass on personalities* or be reattached to another Nueki. Still, the winner inherits the loser's honor, status and responsibilities, and expect premodern Nueki chieftains to own a *lot* of masks and mask-like decorations, prominently displayed.

As Nueki came into technology and culture I also see them getting into painting and decorating their masks, carving into them marks signifying their feats and achievements that natural growth won't indicate. Really senior and undefeated Nueki who die might see their very elaborate masks become ancestral relics, watching over their clan and even retroactively honored with their descendants' achievements via careful scrimshawing.

*But if we're really going sci-fi Big Idea, OR CAN THEY.

I'm also back and forth on whether their masks naturally shed, because it seems weird if they don't but it doesn't count as a gross injury when it gets violently removed either. Maybe juvenile Nueki have a regular shedding cycle, and having a mask that stays on (and a consistent personality!) is a rite of passage into adulthood. Though even as adults, masks that come off grow back more easily for younger Nueki, and maybe there's even a point in age where the mask can no longer grow back properly, which links right into senility.

Due to a lack of expressions, Nueki language is highly literal. Which goes weird with their reputation as slippery oathbreakers because initially nobody believed their personality death thing!

If they belong to the Bounty, the Nueki would actually be the buffest species so far outside the Sajit themselves. Which is well enough because the Sajit'satyk lacks a member who does the heavy/grunt work anyway. Their masks also become signifiers of caste and sub-caste, swapping in and out with satykarmically ordained personalities.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Siege » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:17 pm

Invictus wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:48 am
I prefer the idea that they are being chased by...themselves, if the completeness of their indoctrination is based on closeness to an Apex Node. There are still unbreakable directives enforced by their biomechanical parts, but the further away from the Node's influence the more they can rationalize it. The vanguard Cleave waves are still being driven into Bragulan space, but they think they're...looking for help. They're trying to smash their way to Bragule because, they reason, they want to throw themselves before Byzon's feet for clemency. The angrier, more indoctrinated waves of Cleave behind them? Surely they don't have good intentions, and since they're moving in the same direction, they must be chasing us!
:-D That's a great idea, I fully support it. That makes the Apex thingies even more horrifying, because just being near one (and 'near' in this case might be a fairly significant interstellar distance) sunders their personalities so completely they turn on their compatriots without a second thought.

Perhaps on the very rear edge of the Cleave there are waves of elite White Brag units (now Stroggified) constantly rousing from their stupor just long enough to be absolutely horrified to find themselves standing amidst their slaughtered comrades, realizing just barely that they did that, only to be then inevitably embraced by the Dirge's influence again as they catch up, to repeat the cycle.

The idea of a number of vast, inscrutably alien entities slowly but inexorably turning this wave of Bragulan invaders back onto themselves like sheepdogs driving cattle is properly terrifying. How do you even fight something like that?
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:10 am

Siege wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:17 pm
Invictus wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:48 am
I prefer the idea that they are being chased by...themselves, if the completeness of their indoctrination is based on closeness to an Apex Node. There are still unbreakable directives enforced by their biomechanical parts, but the further away from the Node's influence the more they can rationalize it. The vanguard Cleave waves are still being driven into Bragulan space, but they think they're...looking for help. They're trying to smash their way to Bragule because, they reason, they want to throw themselves before Byzon's feet for clemency. The angrier, more indoctrinated waves of Cleave behind them? Surely they don't have good intentions, and since they're moving in the same direction, they must be chasing us!
:-D That's a great idea, I fully support it. That makes the Apex thingies even more horrifying, because just being near one (and 'near' in this case might be a fairly significant interstellar distance) sunders their personalities so completely they turn on their compatriots without a second thought.

Perhaps on the very rear edge of the Cleave there are waves of elite White Brag units (now Stroggified) constantly rousing from their stupor just long enough to be absolutely horrified to find themselves standing amidst their slaughtered comrades, realizing just barely that they did that, only to be then inevitably embraced by the Dirge's influence again as they catch up, to repeat the cycle.

The idea of a number of vast, inscrutably alien entities slowly but inexorably turning this wave of Bragulan invaders back onto themselves like sheepdogs driving cattle is properly terrifying. How do you even fight something like that?
So the Dirge that subsumes the Brags are just their fellow Brags who are just "more Dirge'd" than the rest of them? I'm good with that.

The Dirge that dirges them can be a pathogen that accumulates to such a point that the nanites or whatever end up manifesting in actual structures (the Apex Nodes... though we could rename that) that the Dirge'd Cleave/Brags can carry... like the Ark of the Covenant. ARK NODES. As their procession proceeds, as they close in on the running Cleave, these runners are subsumed.

So the Byzonist Brags can be like "oh these Cleave are foolish biomechanical perversion shits that are disorganized" and ruin the initial wave of distraught Cleave... but as the Dirge with their ARK NODES closes in, the runaway Cleave get totally subsumed and become even more formidable! Perhaps only when they are subsumed by the ARK NODE signals do the Cleave start converting uninfected Bragulans in the worlds they occupy. Before being subsumed they just shoot Byzonists, take prisoners, but are... in such disarray that they don't know what to do.

Even when the ARK NODES aren't near, the fleeing fearful Cleave are already broken as personalities.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:17 am

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I imagine a mass jammer is a moon (or larger) sized version of this.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:16 pm

The Grandeur of Auriga has an overall social philosophy that roughly analogizes as the "Garden of Man": humanity is supposed to be diverse, each strand encouraged to thrive to add their glory and beauty to the whole; humanity is also supposed to be controlled, its constituents carefully cultivated and weeded if necessary, to prevent everything from falling into chaos. This is the ideological bedrock on which the transhuman Houses great and lesser coexist, even if some transhuman lineages are manifestly better than others. This also informs the balance between superiority and duty between the Aristocracy and the less transhuman Commensality beneath them. The plebes may be lesser, but they still have their roles to play.

With this kind of cultural metaphor going around, it's unsurprising that Aurigans are also really into literal gardening, and yes I'm getting to my point.

Some transhuman talents are very obvious as to their functions: comprehension of languages, superior reflexes and 3D spatial awareness, acid spit, esper ability that only manifests as advanced psychometry, and so on. Lots of Houses and sub-House lineages can easily translate their abilities into an advantage in a technical or professional field, gene-marriages and mergers notwithstanding, and eventually achieve a kind of nigh-exclusive reputation as specialists without equal. However, most of the needs and functions of the Grandeur don't really map 1-on-1 to the transhuman abilities. There are a hundred different breeds of hyper-cognitive mentats in Auriga, a hundred varieties of super-manipulative socialites that all express their prowess in different ways. On the other hand, there probably is no transhuman lineage perfectly suited to be the ultimate baker or cheesemaker or something, but those jobs still have to be done.

For these reasons, the nitty gritty of the "Garden of Man' philosophy, the individual plants that are metaphorically supposed to go into it, are actually fairly abstract. If there are different ways to do a good job, there must be different paths to achieving virtue and excellence. Different breeds of mentats are allowed to form societies and academies where they can socialize, debate and cross-fertilize. Nobles with relatively relevant specialties form clubs and have contests and are encouraged to try their hand at pursuits where lots of different kinds of talents will help, like garden design.

Common knowledge base and learning aside, a garden designed by a super-pilot with superhuman spatial understanding and attention to detail is going to look very different from one designed by a super-empath who can intuitively predict the effects of sensory stimuli, and both will likely be fascinating in their own ways. Different styles of art and custom move in and out of fashion, and not always just based on the political fortunes of their creators. The most enduring art is probably the rare acts of supreme synthesis that comes out of a whole committee of different savants, anyway.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:06 pm

Idea: Some wisps/rayes, when transiting from sun to sun via solar-flare like superluminal emissions, can actually sometimes have enough critical "mass" to be more than just ethereal energies, but something tangible that vessels can actually cling onto. Star-sailers, Oolycyst dawnships, presumably the ancestors of the Trucials (Sardican off-shoots), could have used these... I presume that's how the Trucial Stars' founders did it, and I presume they settled their worlds at a different time (later?) than the proto-Solarians. Then again, with Deep Time or Deep History, places like the Fracture, the K-Zone, etc. could definitely have had multiple waves of migrations (ala the Kalaquelle).

Also, the Trucial Stars don't have the Fracture phobia of CIs, but they don't have Apexai-derived sub-mesonics... so I think they have minarets/towers that beam energy and information to wisp-inhabited suns, the wisps treat these like tasty snacks, morsels of information and radiation that's unlike the stuff they usually have inside their solar bodies... and after they process these, the byproducts are reflected off and retrieved by the Trucial minarets/towers and the exotic data-patterns are used for esoteric computational processes. Wisp-touched, these might not have the raw power of Solarian CIs but they're so odd that they've got their own niches.

Random name concepts: Irrilc, Iska
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Invictus » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:26 pm

SO, WHO'S READY FOR MORE MANDRAGORAN SEXUAL POLITICS

On a purely biological level, what a Mandragoran ovipositor deposits in the biological host is a fetus-blastocyst thing that absorbs DNA from the surrounding material (without any need for an ova) and grows into a baby Mandragoran that has most of the DNA of its parent, but also incorporates traits from its host as long as the DNA it absorbed is human-adjacent enough. If there's no DNA to absorb, then it just ends up a straight clone and while still useful, Mandragorans are still advantaged by breeding outwards. On the other hand, breeding outwards dilutes the Mandragoran DNA over generations until the ovipositor stops being functional and at that point you've got Sardicans or just generic fighty panhumans.

This is why when you have a big self-consciously Mandragoran polity like the Unyielding Principalities, reproduction is strictly controlled to maintain Mandragoran qualities. But for individual Mandragorans who happen to live outside strict regimented systems, there's no particular control over the attitude, cultural or EVOPSYCH or otherwise, of developing paradoxical attractions to formidable opponents. The Mandragoran equivalent of heterosexuality would basically be foe-yay, and "the bounty hunter chased me across three sectors and now we're dating" ought to be a common occurrence. :P

The original Mandragorans were designed by the Earthreign to be a clade of expendable shocktroopers and could be mass produced in vast pod-like machines that also flash-imprinted them with loyalties to the bygone regime, and all surviving examples of these things were actually banned as dangerous WMDs during NEUROM's founding. The Principalities pretty much had to deal with the fact that their original heritage was forbidden, which was why they had to come up with a kind of Timeless Warrior Ideal, independent of the circumstances of their creation, that they happen to embody. If a good Mandragoran soldier can be hatched out of the most dire foe, why couldn't the Principalities themselves be born from the work of unnatural cosmic tyrants and still be virtuous?

Unlike a place like Grand Auriga where your birth is the only things that matters, the Principalities recognize that strands of worthiness can theoretically be found in any human, and that individual merit and achievement does make you stand out among all your clonetrooper fellows.

Siege compared Mandragorans to the Aztecs and it made me wonder if we give the Mandragorans (of the Unyielding Principalities at least) some overt Mayaztecan flavor, especially regarding the value of human sacrifice. Maybe they prefer using human hosts for their reproduction and disdain even perfectly effective artificial wombs, which implies a lot about their demographics, and maybe they have cannibalistic feasts partly as squad-bonding exercises, partly as symbolic absorption of their victims' virtues.

Of course, because of the transgression inherent in artificial non-human reproduction, them sticking their tentacle-dicks into inappropriate things becomes the basis of their fetish porn.
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Re: Sovereigns of the Stars Supreme, revisited

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:38 pm

Oh don't forget even before "pregnancy" or "fertilization," a Mandra can absorb epigenetic cues that end up influencing the embryo-blastocyst thing in its tentacle-pouch/second-scrotum.
Invictus wrote:
Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:26 pm
This is why when you have a big self-consciously Mandragoran polity like the Unyielding Principalities, reproduction is strictly controlled to maintain Mandragoran qualities.
Note that this isn't just either community authorities (that are sort of also military departments) or Mandra matchmakers going [Fiddler on the Roof]matchmaker matchmaker make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch[/Fiddler], these are also like social conventions where if Full Metal Jacket were Full Mandra Jacket, everyone would want to bone Animal Mother or Gunny Sergeant Hartmann because they're the most badassest while someone like Private Pyles would be seen as some unattractive loser who'll end up being an incel lol.

Think barracks or football locker dynamics turned into reproductive dynamics. :twisted:

This is aside from actual institutions.
The original Mandragorans were designed by the Earthreign to be a clade of expendable shocktroopers and could be mass produced in vast pod-like machines that also flash-imprinted them with loyalties to the bygone regime, and all surviving examples of these things were actually banned as dangerous WMDs during NEUROM's founding.
Note that I think this ban might've pre-ceded NEUROM. The Mandras also rebelled against the Earthreign when the cerebromantic controls were weakened, right? Ala John Prophet. There could've been the EMANCIPATOR or LIBERATOR rebel hero figure of the Mandras who was somehow psionically insulated and led freed Mandras to slay Neuromongers controlling Mandra legions.

Well, I'm guessing the Mandra-making pods had Neuromongers inside them. So part of the Mandra "free warriors" thing involved killing said Neuromongers hooked to the Mandra-pods (and I bet the Earthreign failsafes meant that to prevent any reverse-engineering or tech-stealing, the Neuromonger and the pods are connected and if one dies, so does the other...).
Siege compared Mandragorans to the Aztecs and it made me wonder if we give the Mandragorans (of the Unyielding Principalities at least) some overt Mayaztecan flavor, especially regarding the value of human sacrifice. Maybe they prefer using human hosts for their reproduction and disdain even perfectly effective artificial wombs, which implies a lot about their demographics, and maybe they have cannibalistic feasts partly as squad-bonding exercises, partly as symbolic absorption of their victims' virtues.
Hmmm... the human sacrifice could vary between Mandra lines... some would literally drag a living screaming POW and either mass-impregnate them to the point where the multiple simultaneous births will kill the host, others might go "your POW terms include bearing one Mandra spawn and then you are repatriated."

Entirely artificial wombs might be seen as un-ideal compared to a LIVING WORTHY WARRIOR HOST - either POW or consenting warrior-mandra-brother-spouse! BUT ritual insertion of warrior DNAs into the artificial womb medium - either samples from ancient warriors (ala primarchs, heck their corpses might be preserved in BUNKER SHRINES) of a Mandra lines (or gifted genomes from other friendly lines, to promote geno-crossovers and prevent stagnation)... or combined with FUNERAL RITES where the remains of a noble warrior who died glouriously ends up being dissolved into fertilization-fluid in the wombs... or like, actual sacrifice involving worthy POWs or their remains being shoved into meat grinders and made into fluid for the wombs. Artificial womb-using Mandras would probably be more communal, with larger "brigade-families," than the Mandras that have actual parentage.
Of course, because of the transgression inherent in artificial non-human reproduction, them sticking their tentacle-dicks into inappropriate things becomes the basis of their fetish porn.
Yes. Mandra fetish porn involving Karlack ultragauntlinglisks.
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