Author Topic: Shivan sociology -- help!  (Read 15430 times)

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Offline TDM/JM

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Shivan sociology -- help!
Hey, people. Reading through commentary here and on the VBB, it's obvious that there are a lot of different ideas about the character of Shivan "civilization" and the features of Shivan psychology. The two most popular interpretations are the "hive mind" and the "elemental force" -- "HM" being component intelligence with a core facilitator (a "queen"), and "EF" being a sort of complex instinctual behavior that is quite alien to the human perspective.

My question: are there other alternatives that correlate with V canon? Or, failing that, can you help define "elemental force" in a more usable way? (No offense to folks, and please feel free to try to change my mind, but I'm thinking the hive mind thing has been done to death in SF. The idea of a starfaring civilization based on instinctual programming is interesting, however.) Anyone have any thoughts? The FS 2.9 initiative is going to have to deal with this issue directly -- I think we're already aware of that. So I'm trawling for ideas.

Thanks!

Ascraeus

 

Offline Nico

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well, I'm in favour of the elemental force thinguy (Ace hammered me with that, and eventually he converted me lol).
As any elemental thing, it's not really possible to explain it  
But I'll try in my campaign ( well, to a certain extent anyway, giving all away would suck and kill the main shivan interesting side: the fact they're so mysterious   ).
SCREW CANON!

 

Offline Ace

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Plasma and IceFire have a lot of good ideas that reinforce the elemental force camp, especially Plasma. Dark was a fan of it, and felt that Volition didn't make the Shivans quite terrifying enough as it was  

The main goal of Volition's writers was to create a foe with no socially redeeming values, you've seen what taking the hive mind concept too far did to the Borg in StarTrek...

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Offline Su-tehp

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Yeah, I'm in favor of the elemental force theory as well. The hive mind thing HAS been dont to death (culminating with the Borg as the most famous/infamous example).

Im not sure I know much about EF; "complex instictual behavior" is a rather broad term, too broad for me to comment on becasue I don't know exactly what it means.

When other people elaborate more on this in their posts here, I'll come up with some comments then.  

No socially redeeming values, huh? This should be an interesting conversation...

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Offline Nico

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what with the borgs? (excuse my ignorance, I can't help it, I just won't like ST)
SCREW CANON!

 

Offline Black Wolf

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I'm very much in the hive mind camp, primarily because of the differences between the Lucifer and the Sathanass.

Assuming that both were available at thbe same time, why send the Lucifer, when a fleet of Sathani were available? The way I see it was that they needed to send the lucifer, as it held a queen (or maybe even was a queen) and this assisted in the coordination of attacks. This would explain it's emphasis on defense, as a queen would be protected at all costs, and the fact that after it's destruction, the shivans became disorganized and easily defeated (I haven't heard any good EF arguements which include this).

In FS2 we saw a more cautious, but equally pissed off type of Shivan. Rather than send a queen to coordinate little attacks, they sent a fleet of sathani to wipe out anything in their path by sheer brute force and weight of numbers. This would require less coordination, and so the queen could be kept well away from the front lines.

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Offline Setekh

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How about genetic knowledge? Do Shivans even have the good ole' deoxyribonucleic? (I have a feeling I missed a few letters in there...  )
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Offline Nico

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Quote
Originally posted by Black Wolf:
I'm very much in the hive mind camp, primarily because of the differences between the Lucifer and the Sathanass.

Assuming that both were available at thbe same time, why send the Lucifer, when a fleet of Sathani were available? The way I see it was that they needed to send the lucifer, as it held a queen (or maybe even was a queen) and this assisted in the coordination of attacks. This would explain it's emphasis on defense, as a queen would be protected at all costs, and the fact that after it's destruction, the shivans became disorganized and easily defeated (I haven't heard any good EF arguements which include this).

In FS2 we saw a more cautious, but equally pissed off type of Shivan. Rather than send a queen to coordinate little attacks, they sent a fleet of sathani to wipe out anything in their path by sheer brute force and weight of numbers. This would require less coordination, and so the queen could be kept well away from the front lines.


waitwait! you say sending a queen in a super destroyer, escorted by 3 lesser destroyers, on their own, was safer than sending a queen in a sathansa, with 79 other sathanas around it, and hundreds of destroyers backing them?
I think I missed the point.
Plus with social insects, when they go at war, there's no way they would send their queen with their armies: w/o a queen, most ant species and termites hives are doomed. hornets and bees are more lucky on this point, coz if the queen dies, they can turn any of them into another queen, but it still is a great loss.I doubt Shivans would be more stupid than insects.
SCREW CANON!

 

Offline TDM/JM

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Does the idea of the Shivans as a "programmed smart weapon" fall under the category of "Elemental Force"? There's a novel by the SF writer Greg Bear called THE FORGE OF GOD, in which Earth is invaded by AI-based smart weapons that are millions of years old. It's a security strategy of an "ancient" species who concluded that the safest universe was one in which they remained the only sentient species. So everytime a species reaches a certain broad technical level, the AI weapons show up and WHAMBAM! Earth is reduced to plasma-laced rubble.

I seem to recall something about the cybernetic qualities of Shivans from a cutscene in FS1. So, are the Shivans a smart weapon created by some as-yet unknown species "further toward the galactic core"?

Should we start planning for FS4? The discovery of the species that wields the Shivans like a sword? (So what's bigger than a Dyson Sphere?)  

Ascraeus

 

Offline aldo_14

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If IRC, the 'Aliens' from the ALien series were created as a war force, but became too dangerous and were dumped on the planet in Alien 1...

I think the Shivans are simply a totally malevolant (SP?) force, and they funciton in a hive like fashion.  I think they have altered themselves cybernetically... in order to survive in space and kill more efficiently.

Maybe they were even forced to, by another factor in the FS universe.

 

Offline diamondgeezer

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Offline mikhael

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When I look at the Shivans in the cutscenes, I don't see a hive mind and I don't see an elemental force. I see an artificially bred warrior race, as TDM/JM mentioned.

I don't think that any intelligent species is going to evolve in zero-g and vacuum. The Shivans are either zero-g adapted from something else, or built from scratch. The Greg Bear link is apt, but another one of the Killer Bs gets you a step farther: Gregory Benford postulates a race of AI robots hunting down the remains of a nomadic humanity across a backdrop of the galactic core.

That's the Shivans. A race of intelligent weapons who concluded that the best possible and safest universe is one without life. They wiped out their creators, and they wipe out anything else that they come across. They might be biological, mechanical or cyborg in nature.

Shivans aren't scary because they black and red and fast and uncommunicative. They're scary because they are implacable, unstoppable, and utterly amoral. They are the ultimate fanatics, built and bred and designed with only one purpose, to cleanse the universe. They don't care if you're human or vasudan or Ancient or even their progenitors.



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Offline Eishtmo

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Those theories are all wrong.  The Shivans are obviously partiers who need beer and beer nuts and the GTVA is the only source they've been able to find recently.

Silly people.

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Offline joek

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Quote
Originally posted by mikhael:
That's the Shivans. A race of intelligent weapons who concluded that the best possible and safest universe is one without life. They wiped out their creators, and they wipe out anything else that they come across. They might be biological, mechanical or cyborg in nature.

Shivans aren't scary because they black and red and fast and uncommunicative. They're scary because they are implacable, unstoppable, and utterly amoral. They are the ultimate fanatics, built and bred and designed with only one purpose, to cleanse the universe. They don't care if you're human or vasudan or Ancient or even their progenitors.

Kinda like the Terminator huh? That's an interesting idea.   I guess that's the message those Shivan comm nodes were sending: "We'll be back."  

Joe.

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Offline IceFire

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The warrior race essentially fits the elemental force theory that Plasma get me started on (and Ace, and Dark, and so on...and so forth - I'm really glad you HLP guys took note  ).

The whole elemental idea sort of focused around two parts.

1) In a litterary sense, the Shivans are the universe embodied
2) In a more scientific sense, the Shivans are a race of highly adaptive and instinctual creatures

This does not rule out that they weren't bred for the role.  But it also sort of establishes the Shivans as something that opperate in a pattern of chaos as a natural force of nature.

Linked into all of this is some sort of special emphasis on subspace.  They don't have much interests in planets and they place a great deal of emphasis on subspace nodes (this is all from FS1 and FS2's stories and tech room information).

So whatever subspace means to them, its the method for their observation and destruction of species that reach the subspace "age" so to speak.

If the Terrans had never entered subspace.  The Shivans probably would never have come.  Thats what I get the impression on anyways.
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Offline Ace

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what with the borgs? (excuse my ignorance, I can't help it, I just won't like ST)

Pretty much with the Borg they went from the unstoppable "We are Borg, you will be assimilated" into needing a diplomat to talk with humans, then having a Queen that talks with humans, to then diplomacy and finally the Borg just being a regular bad guy race with the queen as Janeway's nemesis numero uno. (really overgeneralizing though)

No elemental force theory goes against the Shivan disorganization after the Lucifer's destruction? Well first off you have the Terran and Vasudan fleets in Delta Serpentis regrouping from the attack, and the Shivan fleet was divided over several systems securing nodes for when the Lucifer would have "won." (the blockade of Terran space mentioned in the command briefing of the Altair series of missions was just this) Then you have sub-space nodes being altered and Shivan sensitivity to them.

Just giving some rough examples to show that a queen on the Lucifer isn't the only explanation. (now you see what type of stuff GTVA scientists have been arguing about over 32 years: "They look like spiders! They're bugs, a hive mind, Shivan queen!" "Spiders aren't a hive!" "Your mother was a Vasudan!")

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Offline TDM/JM

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Ya, I've noticed the implications about Shivan interest in subspace, particularly in FS1. Hate to leave that issue at "whatever it may be," though. Anybody have an idea? Is there any information in V canon on this?

I'd forgotten about the Benford novels -- ACROSS THE SEA OF STARS, and maybe five others. Interesting idea.

Ascraeus

 

Offline Nico

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Just one point:
I just hate the idea of the shivans being bred, it makes them much less scary, whatever they can do. If they cfan be bred, well... it's the complete opposite of the elemental force, btw (sorry icefire). An elemental force would be born from nature (I don't mean the shivan are the universe hanger and all that bullsh1t, tho). Bred creatures are unatural, you know, genetically enhanced insects, grown up with hormons, hop! I stuck a plasma gun between their shoulders, hop! a super cutting claw, hop, laser eyes! hop, I'm god, I just created a species --> creator is superior to created (since w/o him, the created wpecies wouldn't exist). So shivans= inferiors, so shivans= not scary, even if they can destrooy stars and are billions. It's just the feeling, bred species sux and can't be the bad boys of a story (robots are another story). btw, Aldo, where did you heard the aliens were bred by the other xenos like the one in the Alien1 derelict?
SCREW CANON!

 

Offline joek

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Good point Venom... plus: I don't remember if it was at the VBB or the VWBB, but I remember reading once where someone mentioned that the word from DaveB is that what we see of the Shivans, are the real Shivans... thereby kinda ruling out that they're just a weapon created by another, superior, race.

And, on a mikhael's saying that: "I don't think that any intelligent species is going to evolve in zero-g and vacuum." I'd have to disagree. 1) because the universe is so vast and we are always learning new and more mysterious things that scientists had thought impossible before, and 2) it adds to the "mystery" factor of the Shivans. How did they evolve in space? Could space-based life evolve in a nebula like gravity-based life evolved in a tide pool? Could that be why the Shivan's were mining the nebula gas, that they eat it like whales filter plankton? Allowing the possibility for the Shivans to have evolved from life born in space (like how we humans evolved from life born in tide pools), allows for the Shivans to be a more complex, and alien, lifeform than most others.

Joe.

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Offline ^Graff

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What DaveB said was that we aren't seeing any space suits or creatures that live inside other creatures(like ID4)
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