On the Hive-mind theory, I don't like it either. But the idea that they actually "evolved" out of it is quite interesting. Or that there is a hive-mind hybrid. Much like the Zerg in Starcraft. Weren't there like four hive-minds and then the ûber-mind that controlled them all?
I specifically draw a distinction between hive-mind and hive-society, for exactly this reason. I do not believe that the Shivans were ever a 'hive-mind', as there would be no reason for such a conciousness to split itself. I distinctly postulate a hive society in which the societal needs outweigh all individual needs, and in fact subsume them. I believe that Shivans started out as many large hives (much like bees or ants) and slowly evolved into many smaller micro-hives. At all times, however, there was an individual mind to each Shivan.
... Also has everyone totally forgotton the Iceni?!! If Shivans cant handle 1g then how the hell did they invade a NTF vessel take Bosch and then slaughter the crew. As for non-carbon based lifeforms, one would be wise to assume we do not know every single element, we could just be at the tip of the iceberg.
To your first point, no one has forgotten the Iceni. I suggest you an alternate solution that fits just as well.
has stated that the Shivans in the hall fight are definately, Shivans and not power suits or space suits or robots. When have they ever said that Shivans CANNOT wear power suits or space suits or have robots? What if they, like Terran marines, went into the Iceni with full battle kit, consisting of hoplite smart-plate armor with servo assisted joints? Something they could take off when not actively going into battle. Before anyone argues "Why weren't the Shivan's in the hall fight wearing such combat suits then?", I have an answer. The Shivans in the hall fight weren't soldiers. They were the equivalent of comms techs or even if they were soldiers, they were second echelon infantry, rather thant the sorts you send to the front line in a boarding action. They wouldn't have heavy armor handy.
Too your second point, you are correct that we might be at the tip of the veritible iceberg with Mendelyev periodic table of elements. However, there is a slight hitch. From what we know of subatomic particles, and indeed, the quanta that they built from, there are a finite number of stable, valid configurations. That means there are a finite number of types of stable subatomic particles. This in turn means, that ther are a finite number of stable elements. So no, there is no chance life arising from chemical compounds based much further up the chart into realms we do not know. I sincerely doubt (given certain other limits imposed by energistic interactions) that any such compound could form above the iron barrier, and more likely, not even past the realm of silicon.
Back to Dark_4ce:
BUT, we cannot forget that the techroom does state that the Shivans could have been, either made or "redesigned" by a third-party.
I don't think they were redesigned or made by anyone. They evolved naturally on a low gravity, arboreal planet. While they initially started as a hive-society, like ants, they eventually evolved into a society of sentient individuals organized into small family-hives. These hives prosper by cooperation, not by conquest. They are dangerous because they understand that the individual is helpless alone and therefore are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of their hive and their hive is willing to sacrifice itself for the good of the society. They don't retreat, so much as leave when they are done with a task.
ruhkferret on ICQ/AIM
"Your guy was a little SQUARE! You had to use your IMAGINATION! There were no multiple levels or screens. There was just one screen forever and you could never win the game. It just kept getting harder and faster until you died. JUST LIKE LIFE." --Ernie Cline