Author Topic: The Shivan Manifesto, Version 2.0  (Read 22483 times)

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Offline aldo_14

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Quote
Originally posted by Sandwich


PMT?

Sigh....

Pre Menstrual Tension

 
one problem- why did shivan cruisers try to escape capella?

 

Offline aldo_14

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they saw the big fireball.

anyways, when did they actually try to escape?

 

Offline Sandwich

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Quote
Originally posted by aldo_14

Sigh....

Pre Menstrual Tension


Is that not the same as PMS?
SERIOUSLY...! | {The Sandvich Bar} - Rhino-FS2 Tutorial | CapShip Turret Upgrade | The Complete FS2 Ship List | System Background Package

"...The quintessential quality of our age is that of dreams coming true. Just think of it. For centuries we have dreamt of flying; recently we made that come true: we have always hankered for speed; now we have speeds greater than we can stand: we wanted to speak to far parts of the Earth; we can: we wanted to explore the sea bottom; we have: and so  on, and so on: and, too, we wanted the power to smash our enemies utterly; we have it. If we had truly wanted peace, we should have had that as well. But true peace has never been one of the genuine dreams - we have got little further than preaching against war in order to appease our consciences. The truly wishful dreams, the many-minded dreams are now irresistible - they become facts." - 'The Outward Urge' by John Wyndham

"The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don't hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others' intolerance - especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide - then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated." - Bren Carlill

 

Offline Krackers87

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Jeez whats with all this pulverising of noobs with beams lately?
Put this in your profile if you know someone who is fighting, has survived, or has died from an awp no scope.

just like seventies goofballs
he's waiting on last calls
well listen method man
'cause if you leave on the last line
don't leave on the ground kind
born just a little too slow

 

Online Antares

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  • Author of The Shivan Manifesto
Manifesto follow-ups, part II
Once again, I've secured some free time to more thoroughly discuss the points made in the Manifesto.  I'll try to handle your questions point-by-point.

Sybiene: The Shivans do not "use" Knossos portals, per se.  The portals exist in Shivan-controlled areas, but so far as we know, the Shivans do not know for certain how to activate them, or precisely what they are used for.  It was Admiral Bosch who drew the Shivans' ire with his activation of the first Knossos; we cannot know for certain if the Shivans, on their side of the node, were even aware of its existence.  In their monologues, the Ancients state that the Destroyers did not seek "territory, technology, or resources".  The Shivans appear to concern themselves primarily with their own technological advancement (if they advance--see earlier comments on stagnation), and in all likelihood, they are more interested in the jump node created by the Knossos portal than in the workings of the device itself.  This, however, is an uncertain point; much of our theory centers around the Shivans having a great deal of subspace expertise, so it is logical to assume that they would know a device capable of manipulating subspace when they saw one.

Akalabeth Angel: You make several quality points, and I shall endeavor to address each one in turn.

Volition's "symptom" wording is admittedly very vague, but obviously with the intent to be so.  It leaves the Shivan origin wide open to a great deal of speculation.  Perhaps a better term would be "sign"--an indication that something is happening on a larger scale in the galaxy that the Shivans are only a small part of.  I'm not comfortable with equating "symptom" with an abstract concept like "good vs. evil" or "survival of the fittest"; I do not feel that Volition would have provided us with this clue in the first place unless it were to lead to a more concrete conclusion.

The title of "The Preservers" is truly an ironic one to apply to the Shivans.  In Freespace's final monologue, the narrator--presumably the pilot you've been playing--pretty clearly illustrates the meaning of this phrase.  Here is the actual wording from the Freespace Reference Bible:

"I know why the Ancient Ones were destroyed.  And I know what they knew.
I know that if not for the Shivans they would have been conquered long before.
Without the Shivans, someone would have discovered them long before, in their infancy.  And destroyed them, just as surely as they destroyed countless billions of others.
I believe it is only the destroyers who are destroyed.  The Shivans are the great destroyers, but they are also the great preservers.  That is why there was no one to destroy us.
Long had we been the destroyer.  Our turn had nearly come.
In the Vasudan war we learned how to adapt.
We learned how to study our enemy.
We learned how to overcome.
We learned how to survive.
And so we did."


The narrator explains, in simple terms, that the Shivans exterminate older, advanced races to ensure the survival of younger, undeveloped ones.  The predecessors to the Ancients, whoever they were, were destroyed by the Shivans so that the Ancients might thrive; the Ancients, in turn, were themselves destroyed so that humanity, and presumably Vasudans (although there is evidence that the Vasudans themselves may in fact be descendants of the scattered Ancient population) could survive.  As the narrator mentions, humanity--having assumed its own mantle as conqueror of the cosmos, rampantly colonizing, exploring, and waging war upon the Vasudans--had nearly reached the time of its own destruction.

You make a valid point when you ask whether or not such is the fate of all space-faring races: to be annihilated once they stumble upon the secrets of subspace travel.  In one of the few uplifting points of the entire Manifesto, I can say with some confidence that the answer to this question is "no".

In one of his own monologues, Admiral Bosch provides us with the following question to ponder:

"Thirty-two years ago in the Altair system, Vasudan scientists discovered the remnants of an extinct civilisation we now call the Ancients.  Here, we found the secret to defeat the Shivans.  How close did we come to being a footnote in the history of a future species that would happen upon our ruins ten thousand years from now?  Would they indulge in the fiction of their own immortality until the Shivans came for them, and how long had this gone on?
Did the Ancients stumble upon the monoliths and the tombs of their predecessors in this distant corner of space, dismissing the warnings carved into the walls of the sepulchre?  And when the Destroyers came at last, what did the Ancients think as they sifted the cremation of dust and bones, staring into the mute remains for a key, some solution to their plight?
What if there had been countless races, stretching back into infinity, and like the nine cities of Troy, each civilization had been built on the rubble of the one that came before, each annihilated by the Shivans?"


Bosch suspects that the cycle of destruction perpetuated by the Shivans has continued for a very long time--longer, perhaps, than any of us can estimate.  If the Ancients did indeed uncover ruins of the races that came before them, ruins providing some clue or hint as to how the wrath of the Destroyers might be stayed, then that warning was either ignored, or understood too late for it to have any meaning.  The Ancients fell just as the innumerable races that came before them did, their empire turning to ash.

In the case of the Alliance, however, something has changed.

At the end of the First Great War, the Shivans failed to complete their objective of xenocide--quite possibly the first time they had ever failed to accomplish their monstrous task.  Unlike the Ancients before them, the Terrans and Vasudans were able to heed the age-old cautions they discovered, able to learn from them, able to adapt them for their races' own purposes.  As the narrator of the final FS1 monologue so eloquently states, the Terrans learned how to study their enemy, how to adapt, and how to survive.  Thus, the cycle of wanton destruction that has continued without end for countless millennia has at last been broken.  The GTVA is not simple prey, like the other fallen empires, but a sophisticated enemy, one the Shivans will require more than brute force to extinguish from the universe.

In a fashion, this in itself may be the answer to the question of the "Great Preservers".  Perhaps the rise of the Alliance, a force that, like the Shivans themselves, "did not die", is something the Shivans--maybe without realizing it--have been fostering for centuries.  It was inevitable that eventually, there would come a race that would learn from the mistakes of those that came before, one that would not so easily knuckle under to the Destroyers.  Unlike the dead and buried societies of the past, the GTVA has potential, potential to learn and adapt, potential to discover a final, permanent solution to the conflict with which they are faced.  It is possible that, in the distant future, Terrans and Vasudans may stumble upon a means of travel superior even to that of the subspace corridor, allowing them to maintain their integrity as a society without incurring the hateful, desperate rage of the Shivans.

The question which this poses, however--one we are, at this time, unable to answer--is whether one or both sides of the Great War will perish in the hellfire of battle before that time should arrive.

Your comments on Shivan subspace travel confuse me.  You seem to accept the notion that they possess superior subspace engine technology, yet in the same breath, you claim that by using "hidden" subspace nodes--those either uncharted by the Alliance, or too unstable for use--the Shivans inflict needless damage upon the subspace fabric.  I offer the following as counterpoints:

1.  If the Shivans do possess highly-advanced subspace technology, we hypothesize that their use of subspace nodes causes little or no damage, whether the Alliance has knowledge of those nodes or not.
2.  If the above statement is half-true or not true at all (i.e., the Shivans can use unstable nodes, but still cause subspace damage nonetheless), then their use of "secret" nodes is, in fact, relevant in terms of strategy.  We've stated several times that the Shivans aren't dumb; if it were absolutely necessary for them to make use of subspace travel for the sake of waging war, then they would do so.  However, they would seek to do so in the most efficient way possible, a way which would quickly end the conflict at hand, and minimize the damage sustained by the subspace dimension.  We should also factor in the reasonable assumption that the Shivans will want to minimize the losses to their own forces.

In FS1, for example, the Shivan armada levels Tombaugh Station in the Ribos system while gathering their forces there for a strike upon Vasuda Prime.  In response, the GTA sets up a blockade in the adjacent Antares system, which is the only "stable" route to reach Vasuda.  To reduce the hassle to themselves, the Shivans jump through a "hidden" node directly to Deneb, which is also one jump away from Vasuda.  This allows the Shivans to circumvent the Allied blockade and destroy Vasuda Prime more quickly, hence shortening the duration of the war itself.  Admiral Petrarch also clearly states that the Shivans made inter-system jumps without the use of recognized jump nodes during the Great War, so the question is not if the Shivans make such jumps, but why.

You make a good point when you say that the juggernaut armada might have used inter-system nodes of which the GTVA had no knowledge; I had always visualized system-to-system nodes as lying along the "edges" of any given star system, not smack in the middle.  It seems unlikely that each juggernaut was jumping through a separate node--this would indicate that a large number of such nodes were bunched very closely together, something we have never seen--meaning that if such a jump point existed, it would be one very large node.  In all the time that the GTVA has been studying subspace, we have never heard anything to suggest that "supernodes" exist in close proximity to stars.  Therefore, I feel my theory that the Sathanas fleet creates its own node is more credible, in this respect.

This also provides an explanation for a matter I had neglected in the main body of the Manifesto, for at the time, I myself had been unable to explain it.  Carefully observe the "End Game" FS2 cutscene.  You will see that some juggernauts continue to activate their subspace "charges" while the other ships depart, even after the Capella star has already turned green--and, we assume, already been affected by whatever the armada did to it.  When the main body of the fleet has departed, the charges on the ships left behind dissipate entirely, and the juggernauts themselves "go dark", their characteristically red glows fading to simple black.

Why do the stranded juggernauts power down?  Do they know it is futile to try and attempt the explosion of Capella, and therefore make no effort to do so?  Have the Shivans on-board these ships somehow been evacuated to those that escaped by means of a teleportation technology?  We have seen no evidence of such capability on behalf of the Shivans (in fact, the Freespace Reference Bible provides a graphic description of Shivans physically leaping from ship-to-ship in the course of a battle), so this seems unlikely.  Therefore, what conclusion are we to reach?

It is my own belief that the "marooned" juggernauts were using the full extent of their energies to sustain the artificial jump node while the other craft in the Shivan fleet made their escape.  If we accept, for the moment, that the juggernauts are "alive" as some evidence suggests, then we could interpret the dimming of their surface lights as a form of "death".  We know for certain that their subspace charges took some time to energize--at least three full days--and that by the same token, they were likely to be very intense.  Left with no remaining energy, the Sathani--dead or dying--could only drift, derelicts in space, waiting for the supernova to overtake them.  It sounds cliche, to be sure, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

As I mention in the body of the Manifesto--and as you yourself quote--the amassing of the juggernaut fleet and the destruction of the Shivan "Comm Nodes" may be nothing more than simple coincidence.  We will never know for certain what would have happened if Commander Snipes had chosen not to destroy the devices.  However, there are a few points which suggest that the Shivan objects have a more vital purpose than simply that of communication.

1. "In the Lion's Den" is considered by many--including myself--to be the most compelling and exciting of all the Freespace missions.  It provides a unique perspective from the cockpit of the Shivan Mara, an exhilirating intro ("DIVE, DIVE, DIVE!"), and witty commentary throughout by Snipes.  It also gives the player the first real glance at Shivan space (although technically, under the Cocytus theory, there is no real Shivan space), unobscured by thick nebular clouds.  Wouldn't you think it somewhat anti-climactic, therefore, for the main targets in this mission to be little more than glorified satellite dishes?
2.  Don't you think the Comm Nodes make unusually big bangs upon their destruction, if they are really simple communications equipment?  The Alliance has studied Shivan comm systems before, but these give off "unusual" sensor readings before they go kablooey.  Why?
3.  I never once claimed that destroying the Comm Nodes would slow the Shivans down.  If anything, it would make them more aggressive, and more eager to swiftly terminate the conflict with the GTVA.  The SOC recon mission signifies the first real Allied incursion into strictly Shivan territory (as the nebula itself remains contested throughout much of the game), and is perhaps the first such "invasion" that the Shivans have ever experienced at the hands of an adversary.  With their first juggernaut destroyed and the Alliance advancing ever-further into their space, the Shivans are left with no choice but to switch to more effective tactics.
4.  The binary system where the Comm Nodes are discovered is not "lightly defended" by any means.  Secured within a Shivan fighter, you are able to conduct espionage, a tactic with which the Shivans are likely to be unfamiliar (as, to the best of our knowledge, it was used against them only once, and against a fleet that could presumably not communicate with Cocytus, in "Playing Judas").  Thus, you are able to fly freely (for a short while) among the Shivan defenses, composed of at least three Rakshasa-class cruisers, numerous Astaroth and Aeshma fighters, several wings of Nahema bombers, and--if you stick around long enough--infinite waves of the awesome Dragon-class fighters.  Even when you are engaged by the Shivans, you are piloting one of their heavily-armed craft, one that has been made even better than the original by Terran engineers.  Had you arrived on the scene in a lesser craft, like a Herc II, a Perseus, or even a Myrmidon, your chances of survival would have been much lower, due both to your more fragile craft, and the fact that you would have been instantly recognized and fired upon by the Shivans.  In all probability, the Ravana-class destroyer Nebiros would also have been recalled from its station more quickly, so that it would sooner engage your fighter wing.

As for defensive installations, we have never actually seen any Shivan installations apart from fragile sentry guns, so this point is moot.

I believe I adequately-covered the topic of the Sathani retreat in a previous post, so I'll skip over your next point, save for one comment.  You seem to believe that the Shivans would have been better-off by collapsing the Gamma Draconis-Capella jump node, rather than setting their sights upon Capella itself.  You must remember that technically, the Shivans have nothing to defend; to our knowledge, they possess no home planet, no space stations, and--following the destruction of the Comm Nodes--no television reception.  Therefore, whether or not the hypothetical GTVA fleet is invading their territory or assembling a blockade at Capella is irrelevant.  Collapsing the node would only cause further subspace damage, the very thing the Shivans have set out to prevent.  So, when faced with unpredictable opposition (as we discussed earlier), the Shivans set course for the nearest escape route--the nearest compatible star for a jump to Cocytus--and get out while the getting is good.  We have no way of knowing what sort of star systems exist beyond the Comm Node system, and therefore, no way of knowing if any of them would have better suited the Shivans' needs.

I can understand why you would view the concept of a "living ship" as being cliche, but it is nonetheless a valid idea, one that has been present in literature, film, and animation for years.  There's even a section on HowStuffWorks.com about "How Self-Healing Spacecraft Will Work"!  Mathematician Buckminster Fuller sometimes referred to Earth as a "spaceship", and claimed all of humanity was its crew.

When you question the Shivans' familiarity with matter in "our" universe,  we enter a very gray area in which we are forced to make educated guesses.  If we hold as true the generally-accepted theory that the Universe as a whole is approximately 13 or 14 billion years old, we still have no idea as to when subspace came into existence to provide support for said Universe.  The cosmos would have been in an understandable state of disarray following the Big Bang, so we will allot a considerable amount of time for things to "settle down", and assign the birth of subspace an arbitrary age of 5 billion years.  This is roughly the same age of the Earth, meaning we can accept it as a reasonable date for when the Universe became a more or less stable place for life to exist.  

As for the Shivans themselves, we can only speculate as to when they first evolved within the subspace void.  Since they would have no bodies to speak of, they would have had relatively little need for evolution (barring their creation or construction by a higher entity or race).  This could mean that the Shivans are quite young in historical terms, perhaps no more than a million years.  However, since subspace itself seems to be a fairly static environment, devoid of change or substance to bring about change (save for the apparently random formation and collapse of unstable nodes), we can assume that the Shivans were not "brought into being" by any subspace material that was not already present when subspace stabilized, and can therefore assign them a date of creation around or near the birth of subspace itself.  Again, this will be an arbitrary figure of some 4 or 5 billion years ago.

The Shivans' first foray into "normal" space is a total unknown to us.  It would have been dependent on the emergence of a non-Shivan subspace-capable race at an indeterminate point in the past.  If we must assign a date to this time for the sake of completeness, then let us use some Earth reference as the standard for our scale.

Assume, first, that this unknown race is terrestrial in nature, and evolves on a world either similar to Earth, or one that would have the proper conditions to foster the growth of complex life forms.  Now, in a judgment call on our part, we will accept Earth's late Triassic period as being the earliest era in which large, multi-capable, vertebrate life--namely, the dinosaurs--can exist (something we know to be false, as vertebrates existed prior to this time, but many were wiped out in various extinctions; dinosaurs, however, are very well-recognized creatures, and provide us with a fixed reference point), at about 225 million years ago.  We will also grant these creatures comparatively larger brains than said reptiles, perhaps on par with early human beings, allowing us to bypass the problem of gradual brain development, and continue our discussion in terms of figures we know to be approximately accurate.

Barring any world-altering event such as an ice age or asteroid collision, let us assume that the life forms currently living on our hypothetical world in this period are allowed to evolve, unopposed, into more intelligent creatures, able to fashion tools, metalwork, and soforth, until finally reaching a stage of relative technological advancement (computers, artificial satellites, and of course, subspace travel).  This process took between 4 and 6 million years for human beings, so we will accept a mean figure of 5 million years for our alien society to advance, resulting in a nice, round figure of about 220 million years ago for the emergence of a subspace-capable race.

We can only wonder at what the Shivans must have thought when they felt the first subspace tremors.  Perhaps they looked upon the walls of their dimension in the same way as early man looked upon the stormy sky, unable to comprehend the exact nature of the lightning bolts that split it asunder.  As the Shivans follow a path of evolution and development unfamiliar to us, we have no way of knowing when they first began to experiment with ways to explore this phenomena, and determine its cause.  Their initial science must have been crude, much like our own space program was, during its initial days.  When did they manage to open the first portal into the material universe?  We cannot know.  Our knowledge of subspace, however, does permit us to form a rather grisly hypothesis about the first Shivans who dared to enter the rupture.  We know that subspace is inherently unstable, both due to the brief formation/collapse of most nodes, and due to the fact that jump portals--once opened via jump drive--do not remain open for long, but quickly seal up after the vessel in question has entered the subspace corridor.  If the Shivans are, in essence, living subspace energy, then their first explorers would have met a grotesque end, the very energy composing their beings dissipating and drifting off into the void.

Gradually, their techniques would have grown more cautious, more refined.  They may have been able to catch brief glimpses of objects in the material dimension, and from their observations, begun to fashion the surrounding subspace energy into the first crimson containment crystals.  From here, we see more progression; the advent of a protective crystal sheath to protect Shivan "astronauts".  Modifying this material to make it more malleable, more flexible, permitting for physical movement.  Developing an energy shielding system and other supporting materials to prevent crystalline degradation in outer space.   Realizing the concept of an energy-driven engine to allow for independent locomotion in the vacuum.  Creating electronics systems to properly operate said engines, and fashioning the hulls of their first vessels on which to install them.  And, of course, a field of research into which the Shivans are most proficient: the development of energy weapons to discourage or kill whomever was wreaking harm upon their home.

Of course, the Shivans of this era may not have been even remotely war-like; initially, the first physical Shivans may have been very peaceful and serene indeed.  Perhaps, after initial communication difficulties, the Shivans were able to convince our hypothetical race to put an end to their subspace travel... and then again, perhaps they weren't.  We have no way of knowing.  What we know for certain is that eventually, the Shivans would have encountered resistance, come into contact with a race that absolutely refused to surrender the benefits of the subspace corridor.

And the Shivans would have crushed them.  Brutally, without mercy, for there would have been no other option.  After this first genocide, the Shivans may have felt remorse, even guilt, for what they had been forced to do.  We do not know when their hive mentality developed, or if it was a trait they possessed since the time of the birth of their race; it may have emerged as a psychological defense mechanism, to prevent them from feeling sorry for the species they were forced to annihilate.

And there must have been others.  Surely the Shivans encoutered more than one race across the eons who would not give up  the prize of subspace.  How many had to die?  We have no indication, not the faintest estimate.  If Bosch's guess is true, then the casualty figure is truly astronomical in scope: countless civilizations, entire species wiped clean from the cosmic canvas.  Each and every one providing the Shivans with the same, simple, damning answer: "No."

How long was it, I wonder, before the Shivans finally stopped bothering to ask?

Your point about the Shivans simply passing through subspace to "recharge" their energy reserves is one I considered myself.  However, from a biological standpoint, it seems unfeasible.  Subspace isn't something the Shivans can just pick up a pint of and chug down on their way to a sortie; the unstable nature of subspace energy means it would dissipate quickly.  You certainly don't see Shivan vessels hopping in and out of subspace every few minutes when they need a "fix".

Think of subspace being to Shivans as to what oxygen is for human beings.  We breathe, but healthy people breathe regularly, without significant interruption.  We can hold our breath, but not for any reasonably long period--a few minutes, at the most, unless you're a freak and it's something you make a point to practice.  We don't breathe in frequent gasps; oxygen is all around us, ready to be inhaled at our leisure.  For the Shivans, however, subspace energy is more than simple air; it is the very essence of their beings, literally their life-force.  It is something they would require in a ready, constant stream, something to sustain their existence on our material plane.  Hence, our theorized purpose for the Shivan "Comm Nodes".

I have not asserted that the physical movement of solid matter through a subspace corridor contributes to subspace damage, although that is entirely possible.  I have said that I believe the frequent opening of subspace jump portals to be a source of damage.  Any given object making use of subspace travel must open at least two portals: one to enter subspace, and another to exit.  When you have thousands of fightercraft and civilian vessels opening countless jump portals every day, to say nothing of the larger, more damaging portals opened by capital-class craft, then the damage quickly accumulates.

It has been my intention--perhaps not clear enough on my part--to depict Shivan crystal as essentially pure subspace energy, encased in a thin matter shell.  Hence, being mostly composed of subspace itself, its presence would not cause damage to the subspace fabric.  My theory is that within Cocytus, Shivan craft and any structures are composed wholly of this crystal, until they are fitted with the black "support" material needed to ensure their functionality in normal space, like a sort of exoskeleton.  Even the Comm Nodes are fitted with these bracers, which not only ensure the integrity of the crystal at the center, but also--due to their "spinning" motion--distribute quantum pulses and subspace energy throughout a wide area.

Not all stars create black holes upon going nova; a star must (in theory) meet certain criteria in terms of mass before a black hole will result from its demise.  Surely, as subspace-conserving beings, the Shivans would be careful not to open jump portals by destroying stars that would only serve to cause subspace damage in the long run.  This is just one more reason for the Shivans to choose to utilize Capella instead of searching their "home" space for a star with the right qualifications.  You yourself said that the Shivans might have killed Capella for the sake of nebular gas; if this were the case, then Capella obviously didn't implode into a black hole, or there would be no nebula to harvest.

It was poor word choice on my part to say that Shivan activity is "proportional" to subspace activity, for I did not mean to imply that more Shivans would come running to quash heightened subspace traffic.  I had meant to imply that the presence or arrival of Shivans is directly linked to subspace travel in the sense that increased subspace activity makes Shivan intervention more probable.  Say, for example, you are watching television on one side of the room, when a knock comes at your door on the other side.  You are reluctant to get up--no knock at the door is worth missing Knight Rider, damn it--but if the knocking continues, steadily growing louder and more frequent, then eventually, you will get up, if for no other reason than to silence the sound.  The case of the Shivans is not so casual--they are fighting for their survival, not for mere silence--but as we know, according to the FS database, subspace is a natural occurence, and subspace activity undoubtedly takes place on some natural level.  Therefore, activity by non-Shivan races must be more intense--must be "louder"--before the Shivans will stand up and take notice.

Before addressing your next point, I feel it necessary to decry the labeling of the FS2 box art as being "canon text" by you and others.  C'mon guys, I give you more credit than that.  The wording on the box was probably handled by Interplay anyway, and therefore serves as advertising hype, not as evidence we can use in a comprehensive analysis.  Use your common sense; would a scouting party, i.e., one intended for reconaissance, consist of innumerable fighters and bombers, several cruisers and transports, at least three major destroyers, and a heavy-assault superdestroyer almost three kilometers in length, equipped with an impervious energy shielding system and three flux cannons suited for planetary bombardment?

"Scouting party".  Geez. :doubt:

It's fairly common knowledge that the Lucifer armada was the only Shivan battlegroup deployed during the Great War; if it hadn't been, we would have heard about it in Silent Threat, or mentioned somewhere in FS2.  When I mentioned reinforcements, I meant calling to the primary hive in Cocytus for back-up, not sending for other Shivans already stationed in normal space.  Even the Alliance can send messages from system-to-system, as evidenced by frequent contact with Allied Command; surely the Shivans are capable of the same feat.

It seems rather apparent that when Capella goes supernova, the lesser Shivan craft within the system are otherwise occupied with Allied forces; it would be a little difficult for a Shivan cruiser to jump out when engaged in a duel with an Allied corvette.  The real question here, however, is the availability of escape routes.  The "main" jump node leading to Vega is successfully guarded from Shivans by the GTCv Lemnos, and even if we accept the existence of other "hidden" nodes within the system which only the Shivans have charted, it is extremely unlikely that enough inter-system jump points exist for the Shivans to make a clean getaway.  As we've discussed, sacrificing cruisers and smaller craft in an attempt to kill the Allied refugees would be acceptable, but the clear majority of the Shivan forces are stationed upon the juggernauts; it is they who have priority to survive.

Your last point merely reinforces my own; the highly-advanced and alien nature of Shivan technology makes it difficult to integrate with Allied systems.  Although some progress has doubtlessly occured over the last three decades, Allied understanding of Shivan materials is probably mediocre, at best.  We can assume that the GTVA has a sizeable stockpile of captured Shivan equipment; if the GTI was able to experiment upon captured Shivan specimen, then those Shivans must have been on board something, be they fighters, bombers, transports, or cruisers.  If Allied technicians had a detailed understanding of Shivan workings, however, then they would be able to regularly incorporate those features into Allied designs, instead of utilizing Shivan technology only when they are able to secure Shivan craft.  Our point of focus is Shivan engines, however, and unless the Alliance can master those, then their other expertise in Shivan tools--be they weapons, armor, or something else altogether--becomes moot.

Thank you for your most sincere criticism of the Manifesto; it took me several hours over the course of two days to make an adequate reply, and you've given me a great deal of new material to edit into the Manifesto proper once I have the opportunity!

Unfortunately, it's getting late, so I'll have to stop making responses for the time being.  I'll try to get back to the rest of you when I get the chance!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2003, 08:32:00 pm by 1461 »
We have returned to continue our purification of this galaxy. It is again your turn to be crushed beneath the great force that is the Antaran army. All your petty squabbling with the other beings in this galaxy is meaningless. The Antaran fleet will destroy you all, one by one. You may not surrender. You cannot win. Your only option is death.

 

Offline Taristin

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Re: Manifesto follow-ups, part II
Quote
Originally posted by Antares
In a fashion, this in itself may be the answer to the question of the "Great Preservers". Perhaps the rise of the Alliance, a force that, like the Shivans themselves, "did not die", is something the Shivans--maybe without realizing it--have been fostering for centuries. It was inevitable that eventually, there would come a race that would learn from the mistakes of those that came before, one that would not so easily knuckle under to the Destroyers. Unlike the dead and buried societies of the past, the GTVA has potential, potential to learn and adapt, potential to discover a final, permanent solution to the conflict with which they are faced. It is possible that, in the distant future, Terrans and Vasudans may stumble upon a means of travel superior even to that of the subspace corridor, allowing them to maintain their integrity as a society without incurring the hateful, desperate rage of the Shivans.

 


I actually seem to have a different thought on that.

For some reason, I see our survival as maybe our 'coming of age.'

I am also finding it hard to expain what I'm thinking... meep.

I'm trying to think along the lines of: 'Now that the Shivans have found a species, or in our case a pair of species capable of withstanding their wrath, that maybe it is our duty to a: Eliminate the Shivans, and b: Take over where they left off. Guard the little'uns, and the like.'  Maybe? Passing the torch, if you will.

I don't know. I don't think often, and when I do, I get stuff like this... :/
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Offline StratComm

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I still don't think the Shivans could use any nodes that the GTVA can not...  The movement of the Lucifer fleet around the allied blockade is never really explained, but presumably the GTA/PVN could have simply not found the node in Deneb before the Shivans arrived.  (For that matter, when there is a choice between FS1 "cannon" and FS2 "cannon," FS2 will win every time.  And I still maintain that the Shivans could have forcasted a period of stability in a node leading to Ross 128 in order to slip their fleet through, and that this is more plausable than them simply not using nodes or using horribly unstable ones.  And "damaging subspace" to me means having a lot of high-energy dispersals (such as combat or the explosion of extreme-yield weapons) take place within the confines of a subspace corridor.  There is never any mention of damaging local subspace, and indeed by its nature from the FS techrooms and what we see in game, this hardly seems possible.  Yet, the two are inescapably linked.  Like has been mentioned before, the very idea of damaging the fabric of space (as subspace is by definition a part of space itself) seems like an idea ripped right out of Star Trek, and an unconvincing one at that.

Antares, you've put together a well thought-out piece here.  I don't agree with almost any of it, nor do a lot of folks around these parts, but that doesn't speak any less of it.  We won't ever accept it as cannon, (or even as close to cannon, as it gives the Shivans too much humanity IMHO) and most of your explanations will meet stiff opposition, but that is simply the nature of the beast.  Welcome to the HLPBB.
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Last edited by StratComm on 08-23-2027 at 08:34 PM

 
Didn't the Shivans use a Knossos Gate besides the one activated by Bosch?  I seem to recall discovering another Knossos Gate in a nebula and seeing a huge Shivan ship jump through it.

 

Offline Taristin

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maybe the activation of one triggered the other's...
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Offline Setekh

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Antares, you should make this an illustrated essay. We could publish it for you. :D
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Antares, you have too much time.

but if you enjoy writing, go to www.nodewar.com and check the forums.
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Online Antares

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Manifesto follow-ups, Part III: The Revenge
A few more replies, since I have some time.

First, an addition to Sybiene:  You claimed that the Shivans would opt to simply destroy the Knossos portals, but we do not know for certain if this is even possible.  The briefing for "A Flaming Sword" states that the Alliance chooses to destroy the first device via Meson bomb deployment as opposed to main gun barrage for "strategic and scientific reasons".  This presents us with three possibilities:

1.  The material of which the Knossos is made will react in a strange manner when directly exposed to beam energy.  We can only guess as to what this reaction might be, or why it would even matter, since the Alliance's goal is to destroy the portal anyway.
2.  The portal is either partially or totally resistant to beam energy, making Meson bombs a more efficient method of its destruction.
3.  Bean cannons can damage the device, but Allied scientists would rather use the opportunity to test the Meson bombs.

The player and various other vessels can fire on the Knossos in-game with no visible effect.  We know for a fact that the portal is a sturdy structure, simply because the detonation of the first Meson bomb--despite wiping out all small craft within some three kilometers--caused no apparent damage.  Whether or not the Knossos could withstand assault by a Sathanas is another question entirely, but since the largest Shivan vessels to enter Gamma Draconis prior to the destruction of the portal were of cruiser-class, then the point becomes moot.

Kazan: If what you say is true, then it certainly does a punch a rather large hole in the Manifesto, but in all the time I've played Freespace, I can't recall seeing anything of the kind being mentioned.  You may be thinking of the database entry mentioning that only subspace nodes expected to remain stable are sanctioned for travel by the GTVA.  If you can pin down exactly where the notion that subspace travel stabilizes nodes is located, I'll be happy to take a look at it.

TrashMan: Non-corporeal life-forms have been a staple of science fiction for years (for example, the film Titan A.E. specifically depicted malicious, Shivan-esque energy creatures called the Dredge), not to mention being crucial components of several major religious doctrines.  Just because we don't know about a thing does not mean that it does not exist.

Ghosts!  That's what the Shivans are!  Ghosts!  O_O

Karajorma: First, let me apologize for looting your transcripts of Bosch's monologues and Admiral Petrarch's speech; all are taken from your own FS page, something I intend to credit when I go back and re-edit the main body of the Manifesto.  As for your point, it's hard for me to imagine the Shivans interrogating Bosch, for a few reasons.  Firstly, and most importantly, the Shivans have never previously been interested in talking to either Terrans or Vasudans, and have never taken prisoners (with the exception of Bosch and his command crew).  We are granted very few glimpses of Shivan/Terran personal interaction: once in the "Hall Fight" cutscene, and again with the apperance of the Lucifer at Tombaugh Station (described in the Freespace Reference Bible).  We may or may not wish to include the boarding of the Iceni as a third example.  In each case, contact has been extremely violent, with no intent to discuss any sort of terms, or indeed, to ask questions of any sort.

Secondly is the problem of the language barrier itself.  Humans aren't Shivan, as Commander Snipes so succintly points out to us, and we don't speak "quantum pulse" very well.  So far as we know, the only ETAK prototype was aboard the Iceni, and that was recovered by the GTVA.  Despite Bosch's rigorous study of the Shivans, he's no MacGuyver, and it seems unlikely that he would be able to rebuild such a device completely from memory.  Even if we accept that Bosch had the ETAK blueprints stored on his nifty little laptop, and that he took it with him when he was captured (something that is virtually guaranteed to be untrue; if the Alliance hadn't recovered Bosch's computer, then we probably wouldn't be reading his personal log), then he is still aboard a Shivan vessel, with no Terran tools or materials with which to assemble his device.

Therefore, if, when you say that Bosch was probably "interrogated", you really mean "dissected", then you are likely to be correct.

Your next point is a very good one, one I am hesistant to even address.  As much as I hate to shun reliable sources, I am afraid we must be forced to ignore some real-life astronomical statistics when dealing with the Freespace universe.

The folks at Volition are, by profession, game designers--and damn good ones at that, or I wouldn't have poured so much time into Freespace as I have.  So far as we know, none of them are physicists who have any more basic knowledge of astronomy than you, me, or anyone we would meet on the street.  I remember reading in an interview that an author was hired to create the main plotline for FS2, and we can safely assume that he, too, was just another average guy looking to get his paycheck.  I find it very likely that rather than pick and choose star names to assign to various systems in accordance with their specific needs--a process that would have taken a tremendous amount of time--the Volition staffers simply randomly chose the names of popular stars, or stars that they happened to be fond of.

This supposition is not without some supporting evidence.  Take Capella, as it is depicted in FS2: a system with one star, densely-populated, a center of industry, and the headquarters of the GTVA's 3rd Fleet.  This would lead us to assume that either the planets in this system are suitable for habitation, or that the system itself is legion with installations fit for both residential and mining/production purposes.

In reality, Capella is a rather inhospitable place to be.  The system itself contains at least ten stars, including the G-type giants Capella A and Capella B, which are generally those most-associated with the system.  We never see any of these sister suns in FS2.  Capella A and B are large stars, and have a narrow orbit around one another (about the distance from Earth to Venus), and the potential for a stable planetary orbit around either star is small.  Even if planets were orbiting around Capella, those worlds would be severely irradiated by both stars, and would also be tidally locked, meaning that the same side of the planet would always face the sun (in the same way as the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth--hence, the "dark side of the Moon" is the side we never see).  This eliminates the potential for planet-based life as we know it, leaving us to rely upon life existing upon heavily-trafficked space stations... something I view as being more than a little difficult with almost a dozen stars crowding the immediate vicinity.

The point I'm making is that for the purposes of our discussion, we should try to regard astronomical details as they are presented within Freespace itself, without turning to outside sources.  I don't fault Volition in the least for randomly naming their star systems; it's a time-saving measure, and some games, like the Master of Orion series, provide random names to every star in the galaxy (with the exception of the homeworld, which has a pre-set name determined by species, a value the player can change) as selected from a set list of some 300 stars.  It may not be the most realistic approach to take, but then again, the designers of these games hardly expect the vast majority of their fans to look into the titles with as much depth as we have.

Woolie: My preliminary hypothesis for the Shivans' origin was as doomsday weapons intentionally unleashed in a long-ended war.  The exact circumstances of this conflict were never fleshed out completely, but I toyed with various ideas, including the Shivans' creators being the survivors of one of the many civilizations slaughtered or enslaved by the Ancients during their overzealous conquest of the galaxy.  The Shivans would have been programmed with three relatively simple directives, which I could never agree upon, since Shivan behavior in itself is somewhat erratic; the closest I ever got was something along the lines of Purification, Adaptation, and Survival.  The Shivans proved to be too well-made, however, and eventually turned upon their creators, killing them along with everything else their race came across.  Sybiene shot down the idea in her own unique fashion, making the (valid) point that any race sophisticated enough to actually build other sentient creatures would not forget to include a "Do not harm your creators" directive.

While I'd been messing around with various short-story ideas for a couple of years prior to this point, Inferno had been released shortly before this time, and I'd considered writing the story as an add-on to the campaign, since it was (and is) the best that has yet to be produced (and will probably stay that way, since I doubt that the Holy Grail of Freespace campaigns, Paradigm Shift, will ever be released).  This was the reason for the inclusion of the "Adaptation" directive, since according to canon material, the Shivans are decidedly not innovative; in Inferno, however, they have a bunch of new hardware to show off.

This idea was eventually dropped, because I consider myself a highly creative person; as much as I like Inferno, I wasn't comfortable with boosting off the hard work of others.  The second Shivan backstory depicted the Shivans as eco-cyborgs that had gone haywire; they had a similar list of directives (Purification, Multiplication, Efficiency), but they reached the unfortunate conclusion that fully-organic sentients were inherently impure (overmining their planets, polluting their air, and so on), and therefore needed to be eliminated.  Sybiene didn't like this idea either, claiming that a species whose purpose was environmental preservation probably wouldn't waltz around the galaxy glassing the surface of planets and blowing up stars.

Another Inferno-esque story that didn't focus as heavily upon the Shivan origins depicted the future of the Great War.  I.E., an elder race decimates the Shivans in the distant past; the Shivans recover, slaughtering their attackers, and later the Ancients, who had crushed so many races beneath their heel; the Shivans wound the Terrans and Vasudans, but are driven back on both occasions; the surviving Ancients ally themselves with the GTVA, and launch a final, deep strike against the Shivans to end the alien threat once and for all.  By this point in time, the Alliance has so heavily researched Shivan technologies that they are effectively building their own Shivan ships, using their destructive weapons.  Clad in these weapons of war like their enemies before them, the GTVA-Ancient Combine unleashes a new crusade upon the galaxy to ensure that such a threat as the Shivans will never rise again, rampaging across the stars, conquering all who submit to them and killing those who will not, having duly assumed the mantle of the Destroyers.  Sybiene thought this story was too gloomy and depressing.

As you can probably tell, Sybiene doesn't like many of my ideas. :doubt:

The Shivan-subspace-origin theory had not yet originated at this time.  Early species ideas gave them a homeworld, a factory-planet named Kali hidden deep in Shivan-controlled space, where a planet-wide supercomputer meted out their commands and computated their battle-strategies.  A more recent theory depicted the Shivan star system as a vacant, desolate place on the very edge of the galaxy, so remote that no light from adjacent stars could be seen; even the star in-system was not natural, but artificial, a gigantic Shivan construct that bathed the system and its hellish inhabitants in an eerie red glow.

Sybiene and I had a big argument about the plausibility of a Shivan star, involving Dyson Spheres.  I won.  :p

The only Freespace story I ever got down on paper was a work entitled "Devil in the Dark", involving the emergence of a second Lucifer-class craft that rampaged through GTVA space, destroying numerous warships (including the Aquitaine) before finally being destroyed by the newly-deployed GTVA Hades.  The story was thirty pages in length, and--being written about three years ago--wasn't especially good.  My skills with the pen have much improved. :D

One cheesy story dealt with another mega-weapon--a very large, spherical, beam-arrayed construct called the Dark Star--that had been built by a race able to survive the Shivan onslaught.  The Dark Star energized itself by consuming matter and converting it to energy; the story had a neat scene where the weapon sucked up a nebular cloud to power its internal reactor, another where it carved up a planet with its gargantuan frontal beam cannons, and another where it literally ate a Sathanas juggernaut.

I can't really blame Sybiene for not liking that one.

StratComm: Taking the attitude that we know nothing about the Shivans, and therefore shouldn't even try to understand them, is cynical.  Sure, much of the Shivan appeal lies in their enigma, in their mystery, but a great deal of the fun lies in trying to unravel that mystery, in guessing at just who or what the Shivans might be.  Humans can't resist a good mystery, and it is our right--if not our obligation--to seek the answer to a puzzle, when we find one.  Volition wouldn't have crafted the Shivans in such a way if they didn't want us to wonder.

We don't know whether the Shivans attacked any Vasudan or Terran colonies, as no other planetary bombardments are mentioned in FS1.  They did level any Allied installations they encountered.  Nor do we know for certain if the Shivans knew for certain that Vasuda was the Vasudan homeworld; it's possible they would have been able to deduce this from fleet movements (as Volition comments imply), but they wouldn't be able to glean this knowledge from the content of any intercepted Allied transmissions.

Destroying every star in the GTVA would be insanely time-prohibitive, when we consider how slowly juggernauts move, how regularly they would have to be replaced (assuming a percentage are destroyed every time a star supernovas), and how long it takes to charge up the necessary subspace pulse.  It would have been more efficient for the Shivans to wipe out the Allies colony-by-colony, dispersing the Shivan fleet evenly throughout Allied space.

Sybiene again:  The NTF rebellion lasted a mere 18 months, in comparison to the 14 years of the T-V War.  The duration of the rebellion was probably too short to attract the Shivans' attention.

It's not as if the Shivans intended for the Lucifer to be destroyed, sheesh.  It wasn't their fault the Allies figured out how to break through their defenses.  The collapse of the Sol node was just an unfortunate accident, for both sides.

If you're referring to the collapse itself drawing Shivan attention, then no, it wouldn't have mattered to the Shivan forces stationed "back home".  Shivan forces had already been dispatched to deal with the present problem, so what more could the Shivans do?  They likely ignored the cataclysm either as a result of the ongoing conflict, or as a natural subspace collapse, and with the reduced subspace activity following the decimation of the Allied fleet, probably assumed that the mission to destroy the invaders had been a success.

You jump to conclusions when you say that the Shivans would have simply popped right into the middle of Allied space, were that within their capability.  Look at the situation from a strategic standpoint.  We know from Volition comments that--despite much in-game commentary to the contrary--Ross 128 was not the first system to fall under Shivan attack.  In the Freespace Developer's Mailing List archives, Adam Pletcher states, in effect, that the Shivan forces approached Ross 128 through fringe systems of far less importance, so loss of contact with them was not an alarming thing.  From all indications, the Shivans prefer to strike at the edges of an enemy's territory, and on multiple fronts.  This wasn't possible in FS2, because the Shivans had only one point of entry into GTVA space.  The Shivans like to "test the waters", so to speak.  Assuming they could make an accurate jump into the middle of enemy territory, they would not do so, because such a tactic amounts to a suicide mission.  The Shivans in the Great War had no prior contact with the GTA or the PVE, and would have known nothing of their weaponry or fleet capabilities; if the Allies were perhaps thirty or forty years more advanced in the way of technology, they would have been able to outmatch the Lucifer fleet, making such an attack a useless strategy.  Instead, the Shivans take a more cautious route, "feeling out" the GTA and PVE before launching deep-strike sorties.

I thought I had indicated this in the Manifesto--I'll have to check--but I agree with you when you say that the Shivans probably already had at least part of the juggernaut armada on-station prior to the destruction of Capella.  Not every Shivan craft has the capability to force-nova a star and return to Cocytus, suggesting that there are probably fair-sized Shivan forces already existing in normal space as the remnants of fleets that have already returned, or of squadrons that were never intended to.  These forces would, in all likelihood, patrol a given area for the presence of hostiles.  This explains the presence of the nine initial juggernauts, but it is unlikely that the Shivans would have over 80 of the craft in the immediate area to be able to deploy them in such a short amount of time.  The destruction of the Comm Nodes, however, would have sent a clear flare to the Shivans that reinforcements were needed,  and the resulting subspace disruption would have allowed them to pinpoint the location to which to sortie their fleet.

Remember that the Shivans are probably efficient creatures.  They must balance their needs between swiftly ending a conflict and preventing needless sacrifice of their own legions.  A Sathanas-class juggernaut--the largest canon vessel we know for certain to exist in the Shivan fleet--was probably considered to be a suitable weapon against the Alliance.  Why would the Shivans waste the time and effort of deploying dozens, when one would suffice?  It's highly unlikely they anticipated the destruction of the mega-destroyer at the hands of the Colossus; this, in turn, would prompt them to act in greater force than before.  After all, if you're right, then why didn't the Shivans send in all their juggernauts at once, instead of deploying the first few one at a time?

If the Shivans are as proficient in subspace physics as we believe them to be, then don't you think they would be able to figure out a way to make their shields function there, if they were intended as a defensive measure?  This is why I think the energy shieldings to be a holdover from early exploration attempts, rather than barriers against weaponry; the shields don't function in subspace because they were never designed to.

Sandwich:  A symptom is a characteristic sign or indicator of the existence of something else; it is a direct effect, not an incidental one.  Diseases produce symptoms, medications produce side-effects.

The quote from the Ancient monologue you use doesn't imply weakness on their part in any way.  If anything, it strengthens my own, for the Ancients admit that they intruded into a place where they had no right to be--i.e., subspace.  "Weak" races don't establish galactic empires.  Terrans and Vasudans were "weak" compared to the Shivans, and very likely to the Ancients themselves, and yet--through a stroke of luck--they were able to beat the Ancients back.  If the Shivans really were some variety of galactic-evoluntionary-Darwinism race of aliens, then shouldn't they have won the Great War?

Dude.  Police negotiate to free hostages.  They try to diffuse situations.  Shivans kill everyone. :doubt:

Flaser: I'll reiterate.  Irrational races don't build spaceships.

Setekh:  But I can't draw. :p

Thanks to one and all for your intruiging comments.  I'll work into incorporating all the new information into the primary essay, when I have the opportunity.  This will probably be the last update for a while, as these posts are very time-consuming, and I have something resembling a life to attend to.
We have returned to continue our purification of this galaxy. It is again your turn to be crushed beneath the great force that is the Antaran army. All your petty squabbling with the other beings in this galaxy is meaningless. The Antaran fleet will destroy you all, one by one. You may not surrender. You cannot win. Your only option is death.

 

Offline Gloriano

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You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.- Nietzsche

When in despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won; there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.- Mahatma Gandhi

 

Offline StratComm

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I still don't agree with a lot of this Antares; the idea that the Shivans sortied the rest of the Sathanas fleet upon the destruction of the Comm nodes I find ludacris though.  There just happens to be 7 of them passing through that one system alone, in a rather stoic precession I might add, so thinking that they suddenly cut off as soon as Alpha jumps out (and then the rest come later) is not something I can accept.  Granted, you can disobey your order to jump, and no more juggernauts will arrive through Knossos 3.  However, we cannot expect Volition to make the missions script to eternity when the mission has to end in 15 minutes.

You're also still relying heavily on the fact that subspace is being refered to by the Ancients in their monologues.  I don't take it to mean that at all.  I think the line you're refering to actually makes reference to their vast interstellar empire, controlling planets vastly distant from their own and wreaking havoc on any lesser races that they came across.  They make specific references to conquering others, after all, but never do they imply that the Shivans came to kick them out of subspace.  So according to the monologues, the Shivans are not the Great Preservers of subspace, or some higher cosmic order.  To the Ancient in the monologue, they are the great preservers of life and development, in a twisted and somewhat evil way.  Also, they can be seen as the preservers of their own superiority, a far more likely connotation.
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Last edited by StratComm on 08-23-2027 at 08:34 PM

 

Offline Woolie Wool

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Quote
Woolie: My preliminary hypothesis for the Shivans' origin was as doomsday weapons intentionally unleashed in a long-ended war. The exact circumstances of this conflict were never fleshed out completely, but I toyed with various ideas, including the Shivans' creators being the survivors of one of the many civilizations slaughtered or enslaved by the Ancients during their overzealous conquest of the galaxy. The Shivans would have been programmed with three relatively simple directives, which I could never agree upon, since Shivan behavior in itself is somewhat erratic; the closest I ever got was something along the lines of Purification, Adaptation, and Survival. The Shivans proved to be too well-made, however, and eventually turned upon their creators, killing them along with everything else their race came across. Sybiene shot down the idea in her own unique fashion, making the (valid) point that any race sophisticated enough to actually build other sentient creatures would not forget to include a "Do not harm your creators" directive.


Yes, but the directives the creators gave the Shivans in my timeline were not absolute, and thus when the Shivans discovered that their foes were not stupid apes like their directives stated, they abandoned the directives. As for the "do not harm your creators" part, I'm well aware that a creator race would make sure to put such a directive in. It was the creator race that fired the first shot once they found that the Shivans had betrayed them.
16:46   Quanto   ****, a mosquito somehow managed to bite the side of my palm
16:46   Quanto   it itches like hell
16:46   Woolie   !8ball does Quanto have malaria
16:46   BotenAnna   Woolie: The outlook is good.
16:47   Quanto   D:

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--General Battuta

 
Taken, broadly speaking, from the concept brainstorm for 'Apocalypse Nigh':

The Shivans have abandoned planetary existence, because their race has grown to the point where they would strip a planet to the core in a few years just to get the resources they need to survive.  They instead harvest resources from nebulae, and if necessary they make their own...

While they are all subservient to a 'hive mind', this does not prevent them developing individual personalities and traits.  Also, a hive mind would be unable to coordinate military efforts between galaxies.  Hence, each galaxy that the Shivans have spread to has a 'hive node', which also defends an intergalactic jump node.
This intergalactic jump node is actually the core Black Hole of the galaxy.  The gravity well of the galaxy's core warps space sufficiently to allow intergalactic travel under the right conditions.  Galactic cores are not well suited to supporting life, though.  The Shivan 'home base' takes the form of a gigantic Dyson Sphere built around the Black Hole...

The Shivans are a species just like any other.  They have altered their bodies over millions of years to enable them to survive in a vaccuum with no ill effects, thereby reducing the resources they require to heat and pressurise their ships.  This also makes their ships more resilient: they don't have to contain an atmosphere.
They have dominated their original galaxy, and completely consumed the resources of their home system.  There is no longer even a nebula to mark the death of their original star.  The Destroyers have reached across space to other galaxies, such as our own.  They are at the top of the galactic food chain, and they have crushed countless species as they look further and further afield for resources.  They have sufficient star systems to last them millions of years, but they cannot risk becoming complacent.  They fear that if they do not lay claim to the Universe, they will be challenged by a more powerful species in many millions of years time, when their existing resources are running low.
Since they dominated their galaxy, they have not needed to adapt.  By sheer, overwhelming force of numbers and technology, they have obliterated younger races.  Never before have they been defeated.  Never have they lost a Superdestroyer.  Previously, they fought infant races that were either alone in their galaxy or were powerful enough to crush opposition without effort.
The GTVA is small, right now.  Insignificant.  It has won a victory, though.  It is dangerous.  It is an unknown factor, and so they test its strength.  The Terran and Vasudan races were evenly matched in the Great War, and so they had been forced by conflict to evolve, and survive.  Amongst all the races encountered by the Shivans, the Terran and Vasudan races are unique because they are used to fighting for their very survival.
When the Shivans lost the Sathanas, they realised that we were a threat.  We had learnt from their technology in a very short time, and we were adapting faster than any species they had fought before.  So they used Capella to create a temporary node, allowing them to pull back their Juggernauts while they observed us.  Observed our reaction to their display of power.  And they tried to learn from us.

Forty years have passed.  The Shivans have not been seen since Capella was destroyed.  During a mop-up operation in Zeta Aquilae, clearing up the remnants of the Hammer of Light (which survived Operation Templar by retreating in secret to an unexplored region of space), another Knossos is discovered.  The HoL has activated it as an escape route.  When the GTD Aquitaine moves in to follow them, a Moloch-class corvette exits the portal.  The Moloch's main beam is stronger than usual: A single Sathanas cannon has replaced the three small beams it usually carries.  The Shivans are adapting their ships, having realised that their technology is no longer light-years ahead of their competitors.
The Moloch heavily damages the Aquitaine, and the Destroyer only escapes because of a young pilot who secretly had a Helios loaded into his Myrmidon (long story: you'll have to wait until I've finished writing this bit).  His warhead destroys the Moloch's weapon and breaches the reactor, tearing the corvette apart but not before his fighter is destroyed by the Shivan warship's flak guns.  He ejects and is later recovered by the GVD Memphis' Argo-class 'ejection boat' transport.  The Aquitaine is taken back to drydock for repairs, and undergoes an experimental upgrade procedure.  She becomes the GTVA's first true superdestroyer, of the GTSD Morgul class.
Packing twin Sathanas cannon variants and multiple Pulse AAA Beam turrets, she leads a strike force into the portal to determine the extent of the Shivan forces.  Resistance is light, and Command decides to withdraw from the portal lest the events of the Second Shivan War be repeated.

Shortly afterward, a small Shivan fleet led by a Sathanas enters the newly-discovered system and sets course for Regulus (Zeta Aquilae links to Regulus).  There, it attacks New Alamo station, the GTVA's primary weapons research installation.
Command deploys a new warship, built for system defence: GTVD Revenant.  Larger than the Colossus, and built in Regulus near New Alamo, Revenant is designed to obliterate capital ships.  Although unweildy, the warship's main weapon can atomise a Sathanas in seconds, which it now does...
This is the first combat test of the Hyperbeam Cannon, which uses a subspace warp to store a vast amount of energy and focus it into a beam.  It is not classed as a Beam Cannon per se, but the effects are similar (but on a far larger scale...).  The front of the ship sustains minor damage from the massive energy output, so it withdraws for adjustment and repair after driving away the Shivan force.

At about this time, the GTVA is testing the Apollo Gate, a type of Knossos portal.  After initial alignment tests it is focused on Sol, and a group of Pegasus fighters (Columbus Wing) are sent through.  They arrive in a nebula, quite obviously not the intended destination, but Command insists that the coordinates are correct for Sol.
There are Shivans in the nebula.  Rahu-class miners.  About to return home, Columbus 2 detects a distress signal originating from a nearby asteroid.  The signal format is unrecognised at first, but is determined to be a variant of a Great War SOS signal.  The beacon contains a sound recording, detailing the last minutes of an evac transport from Earth.
The Apollo Gate was on target.  The nebula is all that remains of Sol.  The asteroid field is all that remains of Earth.

With final adjustments to Revenant completed, and a variant of the Apollo Gate system installed in its jump drive, Command sends out a Zone Call on the newly-discovered Shivan system beyond Zeta Aquilae.
Every combat-capable warship apart from skeleton defence forces converges on a single star system.  Their goal: to take ground from the Shivans.  To exact revenge for the annihilation of Sol.  Revenant leads the fleet.


The Shivans are caught completely off guard.  No race has ever dared attack their systems, and no race has ever fielded a weapon that they do not already have.  Unable to comprehend the Hyperbeam, the Shivan armada retreats.  The GTVA follows.
The Shivans make feints into GTVA space through uncharted nodes, but Revenant's Apollo drive enables her to respond to any attack almost anywhere in known space.
Eventually, the GTVA fleet penetrates the heart of the Shivan-held territories.  The Shivans have massed all their ships there, retreating in the face of the GTVA's ultimate weapon and preparing a defence.  A formidable defence.  They no longer possess superior technology, but the Shivans will always have numbers on their side.
Ships pour forth from the great shipyards around the hive node.  The Shivans prepare to crush the GTVA's attack, then eliminate the problem once and for all.  The GTVA is daunted by the Dyson Sphere, but they are not unable to penetrate it.  Fighting through waves of Destroyers, Revenant manages to breach the hull of the Shivan base.
And a single vessel runs the blockade, and reaches the Black Hole within.

The GTVA learned a great deal from Capella.  The Pegasus fighters that monitored the Sathanii collected a great deal of useful data, especially the brave pilots who flew close enough to scan the systems producing the subspace field.  With typical ingenuity, the GTVA research corps, New Alamo particularly, have adapted the technology and succeeded in mounting it inside a single Orion hull.  The Orion is unable to carry or power anything except the subspace field generator, but it doesn't need to.  Launched like a giant missile, it enters the Black Hole and fires up its own Apollo Gate.
Assisted by the stationary Apollo installation back in Vega, it enhances Black Hole's gravity well until the event horizon reaches the inner surface of the Dyson Sphere.
The GTVA fleet escapes through a node created by Revenant, slingshotting into subspace beside the flagship.  When the Shivan hive node finally collapses into the Black Hole, the fleet has already reached a safe distance and the crews watch the ensuing annihilation of the Shivan fleet...

They all share the thought, but only the Admiral of Revenant voices it:
'May God have mercy upon us for what we have wrought this day.'

EPILOGUE

The Shivan Hive Node was completely destroyed by the Black Hole.  Their remaining forces, now deprived of the node's control, retreated in disarray before our armada led by the GTVD Revenant.  The Ultimate Destroyers, the conquerors of our Galaxy, had finally been vanquished.

I write this now as a warning.  The GTVA possesses a ship, an unstoppable weapon, which alone defeated the Shivan armada, just as their Lucifer did to us in the Great War.  We now have total dominion over our Galaxy.
But not over the Universe.
The Shivans' origins are unknown, but it is likely that they once found themselves masters of their Galaxy, and cast themselves across the void of Deep Space in a search for new territory, new challenges, and new resources.  They have been driven from our empire, but doubtless they still exist in the depths of space.

As they were to the Ancients, so we are to them.  We weild technologies undreamed of fifty years ago.  We replace our greatest enemy.  History repeats itself.
And eventually, a future species will see the GTVD Revenant as 'Lucifer', and us as the Ultimate Destroyers.

And our own Apocalypse draws nigh.










Damn, should've enclosed all that in [shameless plug] tags...
It's mostly bull****, but I was going for the dramatic.
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Offline Flaser

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Antares I never meant that they were irrational in the sense of the word meaning stupidity.

What I tried to grasp was the the very human racionalism is something quite irrational compared to the universe (tell me why is it that the most common number in nature is actualy e an irrational number).

So they are quite rational - In their own way!
Even on Earth the difference between western and eastern lifestyles and view of things are extremely different. Imagine what a completly alien race that had to endure space for milenias would make of all the racionality you speak of.

About this evolution/origin issue:
I don't like the subspace origin, however the whole theory has many good thoughts that I believe could be true.
I think Shivans were born on a planet just like any other race - however they had to take upon themselves the role of Destroyers when the time finally came.
That time was when they finally left their home and took residence in space. That very act had resulted in their behaviour since from then on space superiority was the only dimension of their life.
Living in space does more than getting used to living in weightlessnes.

For instance evolution does not stop - so their bodies would have started to adept. Meanwhile they could help the process with eugenetics and cybernetical enhancements.

Psychologically the change is even more important than the new body: a mind experiencing space in a limitless 6 degrees of freedom would have a very special view of things. The presence of gravity always presents us an angle - we tend to value things on a single scale one dimensionally.
Since Aristoteles a scientific statement is either true or false.
In Eastern Philosophy they never made such science of Logic, instead their belief is more like this: A statement can be true or false, then I can prove and disaprove both. So there are 6 states for a statement.
In a certain situation even two seemingly contradicting statements could be true simulteniously.
A space-faring race would see things in differently balanced view than our one-dimensional thinking - it would be more spacy, 3 dimensional.

The vast emptiness of space enforces the importance of the idividual and consciousness in general, while it also strengens the power of community as the only other source of life.

So the Shivans, even if they originated on a planet, are the most alien thing we can think of. Space has transformed them.

I really liked the idea of the GTVA being forced to take the position of the Destroyers - I think that's exactly what the Shivan had done once.

It could be that Cockytus is the centre of the cluster where all the nearby galaxies interlop in subspace.
As such it would be the natural candidate for any multigalactic civilisation - tyranny or democracy alike.

So all who came beforehand must have tried to hold it. It could be the most ancient thing - even older than the Shivans by magnitudes.
Structures in scale of planets, factories big as moons....everything is possible.

However it seems that the Shivans no longer use them....or they never used them - their Destroyers did.
They merly exploit the wreckages of a civilisation that has once gripped the entire cluster in its mighty hold.

Even if the Shivans did estabilish quite a few facilities themselves, right now they don't likely still do so.
They are decadent IMHO, the milenies forced a static structure on their society and way of life - this could lead to facistm, elitist and racist movements that suit a xenocidal race - so they no longer try to improove or evolve...They fend of the remains of the past.

It's somthing similar to the Foundation trilogies Empire - Trantor is big death trap, it holds the key of the galaxy, however he is filled with acid itself - the essence of decay.

The Shivans came to be the destoyers and in doing so they must have freed the galaxy in a sense, but then they started to resemble their earlier tyrants caught in the same unmanagable situation:

It is impossible to run an empire of that size.

Rather than going down the same path, the Shivans simply abandoned it and left it to fall apart on its own - allowing other races to rise and spread their wings.

They travel the galaxies looking for any remainder of the old destroyers - or someone with the potential to become one.

This is their last act of stoic resistance in face of time's challenge.
They given up on development - they think it only leads to evitable fall. After all death is the ultimate end of evolution...
So instead they focuse on preserving - even at the cost of killing the flowers of their efforts.
It is still better to trample a few than bring about another cataclysm or an era of Chaos like the Empire used to be.
"I was going to become a speed dealer. If one stupid fairytale turns out to be total nonsense, what does the young man do? If you answered, “Wake up and face reality,” you don’t remember what it was like being a young man. You just go to the next entry in the catalogue of lies you can use to destroy your life." - John Dolan

 

Offline Sandwich

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Re: Manifesto follow-ups, Part III: The Revenge
Quote
Originally posted by Antares
Sandwich:  A symptom is a characteristic sign or indicator of the existence of something else; it is a direct effect, not an incidental one.  Diseases produce symptoms, medications produce side-effects.


Oops, my bad - musta been very tired. :p But that strengthens my point, that Shivans are a direct result of life's ability to kill other life off - a needed part of the equation.

Quote
Originally posted by Antares
The quote from the Ancient monologue you use doesn't imply weakness on their part in any way.  If anything, it strengthens my own, for the Ancients admit that they intruded into a place where they had no right to be--i.e., subspace.  "Weak" races don't establish galactic empires.  Terrans and Vasudans were "weak" compared to the Shivans, and very likely to the Ancients themselves, and yet--through a stroke of luck--they were able to beat the Ancients back.  If the Shivans really were some variety of galactic-evoluntionary-Darwinism race of aliens, then shouldn't they have won the Great War?


Yes, the Ancients were trespassers in subspace (Vanquished). But if it was merely that trespass that signed their death warrant, why did the Shivans not come for them until they started conquering and killing other races?

Going back to the crime analogy, say a criminal breaks into a house protected by a security system. Motion sensors line the front and back yards, cameras cover the house from a number of angles, etc. When that criminal stepped onto that lawn, he was a trespasser onto property owned by the owners of that house.

But now widen the example a bit, an imagine a neighorhood protected by a similar security system. It has walls to prevent casual and accidental trespassing, and more sophisticated measures to detect the intrusion of those with possible criminal intent.

So a few criminals hop over said wall and set off motion sensors (Ancients discover subspace and begin using it). This alerts the police that something may be amiss (Shivans take note of subspace use). Those persons are trespassing, not on the police's property, but on the property the police is guarding (Shivans are guardians of the life of galaxies by monitoring subspace use).

So the police send out a squad to check the situation out (Shivans send Lucifer fleet on scouting mission). The squad arrives to find screaming and gunshots coming from inside a house (Lucifer fleet discovers the V-T War). The squad alerts HQ, and tries to do what they can to deal with the situation - using force as violence has already broken out and is escalating by the moment (Lucifer fleet presumably contacts the rest of the Shivans about the V-T War situation, and then attempts to deal with the heart of the matter - Vasuda Prime and Terra). The police squad manages to kill one ringleader, but they are killed before they can eliminate the other source of violence (Lucifer nukes Vasuda, but is destroyed before it can nuke Earth).

Back at police HQ, they haven't heard anything further from their squad after the report that the squad would try to deal with the situation, and are unable to raise them on the radio (Shivans are unable to contact Lucifer fleet for a number of years - remember that this is a galactic time-scale we're talking about here). HQ sends out a SWAT team to prevent the situation from expanding beyond the confines of the house (Shivans send out Sathanas fleet).

So the analogy works pretty well IMO. Anyone else care to expand it?

Quote
Originally posted by Antares
Dude.  Police negotiate to free hostages.  They try to diffuse situations.  Shivans kill everyone. :doubt:


The analogy doesn't work all the way, obviously, but perhaps thinking of the Shivans both as the police and the SWAT team of the universe would help. Whatevers. :p
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Offline TrashMan

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