Building a Better Beastie

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jKaiser jKaiser's picture
Building a Better Beastie

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"Alright, ladies, gents, others, and indescribables. I got a client lined up who wants a special hunk of merchandise, and I thought it would be a nice little community-building exercise to boot up a think-tank before we start sculpting in realspace. I pulled you lot together because I've either worked with you before or you came well-praised through the grapevine. If my experience and your rep is any indication, that means this group is seriously deranged and unrestrained, as well as being some of the best damn genehackers and biosculpters out there. And a lot of you have extrasolar experience. That'll be relevant, trust me.

"Boys and girls, the client wants a monster. Usual confidentiality period's in effect, less we know less we can say, blah blah blah, all that crap, but the profile and parameters are pretty tell-tale sing-song. They want a monster, a biological killing machine they can turn loose and be assured of the results. They need it to be deliverable by a standard shuttle, so we're not resurrecting a cybernetic T.rex. Delivery system is up to us, but they want this thing to be a single organism, so no swarms or anything like that. Vacuum-survivable, too. They didn't specify reproduction, so stick with the letter of the parameters for delivery, but personally, I'd say giving the thing a means to replicate is pretty obvious for a bioweapon. They want it able to tango with military-level countermeasures and come out on top. Non-sapient, but obviously it's gotta be pushing some envelopes in terms of brainpower. And minimal to no cybernetics. I can't tell if they're going for style points or just want to make sure it's untracable, but either way it's gotta be as close to completely biological as possible. Should be deployable to any secure habitat, which means low-gravity and microgravity concerns, with targets under a million (but let's aim to overdeliver on that end.) And that says to me we need to be careful to make sure the genes don't trace back to us.

"I'm sure that got your thinkboxes going, but before you get too wrapped up in your own graymatter, I've got some fun news for this project. Whoever this client is, they've gotta have an in with Terragenesis, since they got me a huge database of xenobiology and xenobotany. I haven't had time to parse all of it, but this is the real stuff. With a little creativity, we could cook up almost anything in this list, it looks like. I'm forwarding copies to your muses. Per contract, keep those secure and set with deadman switches in case you flatline. Nothing gets back to the client. THere's some other stipulations on use and all that, but for getting to play with xeno material carte blanche, totally worth it.

"We've got enough time to really sweeten this puppy up in concept and run a few accelerated generation tests, so let's get creative. You've got the parameters, so lets see what kind of monster we can cook up."

[Inspired by the xenomorph thread, I'm curious how evil you guys can be with all the tools EP offers. Replies can be IC or OOC, your choice, but obviously the stat blocks are going to be...well, stat blocks.]

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Your client's a fucking idiot

Your client's a fucking idiot, or you're being set up. Take the database and run.

No critter that's nearly or wholly organic is going to come out on top against military countermeasures. I don't care how creative you get with the meat, it's not going to win a dance with a Daitya dockworker who has a plasma cutter or a big fuckoff circular saw, let alone a Reaper with a plasma rifle, and that's not even getting into the truly paranoid military countermeasures.

If you want to win those fights and mechanical augmentation - or better yet, entirely mechanical construction - aren't options, you need to go nano.

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jKaiser jKaiser's picture
Hey, I just provide the

Hey, I just provide the client with what they want and collect the money. Which is substantial in this case. If it doesn't fucking work, that's their fucking problem. They got what they paid for, even if it's a square peg for a round hole.

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
My fifty cents is that it's

My fifty cents is that it's some Venusian hyperelite wanting to try out a new exotic pet/hunting expedition/way to die.

I'm assuming it's not legal to troll the client by sending them the genetic information of a flat, or sleeving an exhuman into a zero?

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
SquireNed wrote:My fifty

SquireNed wrote:
My fifty cents is that it's some Venusian hyperelite wanting to try out a new exotic pet/hunting expedition/way to die.

I'm assuming it's not legal to troll the client by sending them the genetic information of a flat, or sleeving an exhuman into a zero?

I think we're well beyond legalities here.

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jKaiser jKaiser's picture
I suppose a bodybomb

I suppose a bodybomb technically would fit the parameters, come to think of it.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
jKaiser wrote:I suppose a

jKaiser wrote:
I suppose a bodybomb technically would fit the parameters, come to think of it.

Probably violates the spirit of things, but in that case...

A fast-replicating critter designed to explode with a fuel-air effect if you so much as look at it funny might well do some damage, and be good for a chuckle at least.

It wouldn't even have to be all that big! You could have one the size of a squirrel, or a big rat... A... boom rat, you might say.

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ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
I require context...

Hmm, are we limited to RAW bioware augments, or are we allowed to get... creative?

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Darkening Kaos Darkening Kaos's picture
*BANG*

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I'm thinking we need a hive mind. A queen with all the chameleon wizz we can splice in, preferably small, invertebrate, with tentacles, (possibly like a starfish but moves faster), and can lay lots of eggs. Which can then hatch and grow into a form of SD's boom(town) rats.

Boom Rat.
A small critter with a large bladder that fills up with an alkali-class liquid, say diphosphane or triethylborane, or even tert-butyllithium, which it could get from eating standard batteries. The pest exterminator will be in for a shock. Any damage to the boom rat and it goes, well, boom. Not only that, but the resultant smoke is generally toxic, or at the very least, requiring immediate medical attention.

Plus exploding rats, who doesn't want that? If given enough time, it's a swarm of exploding rats!

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Spoiler: Highlight to view

Popper from X-com Apocalypse

Your definition of horror is meaningless to me.......
I. Am. A Bay12'er.

thebluespectre thebluespectre's picture
Posted by: Anonymous Account #000.000.048

If your intent is to harm someone inside a space habitat, the simplest method is to remove the habitat out from under their feet, or squiddle arms, or any appendage for that matter. Exploding kamikaze monsters are interesting enough, but you've neglected the construction of their nest itself! BUILD CITY WALLS from stolen parts of the hull itself; give the things acid saliva, or even the ability to process rust and aluminum in its belly if you think that's possible. Genehack in some instincts to assemble something like a steel shantytown hive, and these space monsters will have staying power for anything short of a Plasma Rifle firing team.

"Still and transfixed, the el/
ectric sheep are dreaming of your face..." -Talk Shows on Mute

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
thebluespectre wrote:If your

thebluespectre wrote:
If your intent is to harm someone inside a space habitat, the simplest method is to remove the habitat out from under their feet, or squiddle arms, or any appendage for that matter. Exploding kamikaze monsters are interesting enough, but you've neglected the construction of their nest itself! BUILD CITY WALLS from stolen parts of the hull itself; give the things acid saliva, or even the ability to process rust and aluminum in its belly if you think that's possible. Genehack in some instincts to assemble something like a steel shantytown hive, and these space monsters will have staying power for anything short of a Plasma Rifle firing team.

The problem is that I'm pretty sure that literally all of that could only be accomplished by adding some major nanohives to the critters, which is outside the parameters of this thought experiment/slash criminal think tank.

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jKaiser jKaiser's picture
I guess the client thinks

I guess the client thinks nanotech is too easily identifiable. Or maybe it's "cheating," I don't know. Given the xeno catalog, this has to be something where he wants it to look like something slipped out of a gate (and given the specific catalog, the Vulcan gate) for...I dunno, reasons. Not paid to bother with that shit.

Though you might be able to do something interesting with some pretty hefty splicing between species of hive-building insects. I was able to engineer up a breed of siafu that worked off a tweaked parthenogenesis rather than bothering with a queen. I had a hard time keeping the test populations under control. Made them as small as I could, amped up their venom and spliced in as much waterbear and a few other extremophile strains as they could handle and smuggled them into a hydroponics lab. Pure chaos. Ate absolutely everything and doubled their biomass something like every half hour they had food. Absolutely unstable and debilitating mutations showed up within a few generations, of course. It was brute force, sloppy work I admit and more a proof of concept, but fuck was that fun to watch.

The holy grail here would be something that can metabolize metals one way or another. I like the idea of taking the habitat out, which adds to the effectiveness if you can split attention between killing the thing and keeping the habitat from failing. In theory, anyway.

Myrmidont Myrmidont's picture
My "initial thoughts".

Myrmidont@Δ.green.exonet.1a994d4gs9:1212131

Tangling with military-grade mech, cyberware and nano means you've either got to be hell tough or hell sneaky and smart.

My gut says to use an Earth-ecology predator as a basis since that's what we know the best.

Before I go further, your client's got to understand that biology doesn't mean “breeding war machines” - it means niches and niches means there are some situations and environments that it'll flounder in.

So here's my suggestion: The Combat Ammonite.

Here's how you make it – really sorry, I'm long winded when I'm explaining things.

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Start with a Humbolt squid – already, it's a lone-wolf predator that doesn't mind ganging up with a few of its buddies. It communicates with chromatophores in its skin, which means we don't even need to splice in much in terms of communication comprehension or chameleon skin. It's got proven ability to attack in both target-rich 'frenzies' and stalking lone prey through 3D environments. It'll also turn cannibal if food's short – biomass for the biomass god, right?

So take one of those, and then add a bunch of the Flying Squid enhancements – air breathing, zero-g adaptations. Use genome data from the Octomorph uplift project to borderline its intelligence to just-below-transhuman levels. Broaden the spectrum that the chromatophores can broadcast in to allow UV communication. Maybe even add UV-luminescent packs so they can talk by 'winking' over longer distances in the dark in UV, I dunno.
Add better eyes, hearing, and the best cyberclaws you've got. Add a nice neurotoxin to the bite – both Blue-Ring Octopus and Coral Sea Cone Shell derivatives are traditional, but any biogenic neurotoxin like Frog Bite will do. So standard. All we've done up to this point is just make a more fight-y Flying Squid, though.

So here's where the creative stuff comes in.

Part one – key the skin to also produce hagfish slime genes. Now you're thinking “what the hell is he on about?”. Hear me out. Modern combat is pretty much saturated with nanites. And without nanoware to counter, the best biological solution is something slimy: hagfish slime to gunk up and slough away any hostile nanites. A constantly-slimy exterior also provides a good barrier against flame weaponry – which locals afraid of piercing their hab skins with kinetic weapons might use – and dilutes the effects of acid and other wet contact liquids like splash nerve agents. Oh, and because we're using a squid, most crowd-control agents that most inner system habs have won't be effective against them, since they're targeted towards human soft tissues, which our squid doesn't have.

Now, part two of the triple whammy.
“Why the hell did he call this a Combat Ammonite? It doesn't have a shell-”
Yeah it does. Well, it does now. Most molluscs have dormant genomes for shell formation, but we'll use cuttlefish and abalone genes for ease since in those species they're already expressed.
We want both a honeycomb-lattice interior cuttlebone, and conic multichamber external shell. What for?
Well, the silvery abalone shell will make a fairly good laser-resistant outer covering. Best mirror-like material in the ocean. The hollow-chambered shell will allow our Combat Ammonite to hold a lot of reserve air, and allow it to seal itself up inside for hibernation. The internal cuttlebone – expressed as subcutenous armour – forms the basis for a vacuum sealing mod and endoskeleton to protect its vitals.

The last part?
Replace the squid's two tentacles with Mantis Shrimp punch-arms. This is the trickiest part of the splicing. The Ammonite moves in, opens its mantle to envelope a prey and -WHAM! cracks them open with special punch-arms.


The air jet method of propulsion – perfected in the Flying Squid - turns the conic shell into a meter and a half of pearly spear – it just jets itself at the enemy and pierces its prey with its own pointy end! Bite and claws pierce armour and deliver neurotoxin, then it jets away again, or it just grapples and pins until it finds a soft spot. Teamwork means multiple Ammonites will attack at once. The slimy tentacles coat the shiny, conic shell in anti-nanite slime. The shell serves as ablative armour – the ammonite only inhabits the largest, outermost chamber, so about half of the conic shell is empty air reserve and blocks a lot of thermal. If their conic shell is destroyed, they can still fly around independently, and can use their chameleon skin to excellent effect.
Hell, you could fire them - at low delta - at a habitat from deep space while they're hibernating in their shell, they impact, wake up, go to work. Their natural fecundity means if they inhabit a water tank they can be quite a pain later down the track.

They naturally attack light sources, so if you insert one in a low-population area like a maintenance corridor, they'll make the place nice and dark, navigating on thermal/sonar. Some techie comes to investigate? Last thing he'll see is a set of barbed tentacles, or if he's really unlucky, it'll ram the sharp end of its shell into his torso, then get him.

Obviously, they work best in zero-g or underwater. Not great in gravities. They'll perform badly against combat synths (what doesn't?) but against biomorphs, their neurotoxin bites, smash-claws or gang-attacks can bring even a Fury down. For an unprepared Hypercorp hab or a Jovian tin-can, they're pretty deadly, fairly stealthy and very smart.

I've made this one pretty simple – all Earth creatures, no fancy xenobiology, 'cause it's hard to splice genomes from separate gene pools.

---
OOC: No idea on stats, here goes:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Implants: 360-Degree Vision, Adrenal Boost, Direction Sense, Echolocation, Enhanced Vision, Light Bioweave Armour, Extra Limbs (8 arms with Claws, 2 Punch-Arms with Pneumatic Limbs and Telescoping Limbs), Grip Pads, Gills, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Immunogenic System, Enhanced Respiration, Hibernation, Poison Gland (BTX), Vacuum Sealing

Movement Rate: Submarine 4/36, Thrust Vector 4/28, Crawl 4/8
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 40
Wound Threshold: 8
Advantages: 8 Arms, 2 Punch-Arms, +5 COO, +5 SOM, +5 to one other aptitude of the player’s choice, +30 Swimming skill, Punch Attack (3d10+2+SOM/10 DV, AP +2) Beak Attack (1d10 + 1 DV, AP –1 with BTX), Limber (Level 2) trait
Note: Non-Mammalian Biochemistry trait

Conic Shell intact: Counts as Carapace Armour (18/13 – all modifiers taken into account) but it is totally ablative (reduce by 1/1 for each attack that the armour stops), following traits already incorporated into the shell: Fireproofing, Refractive Glazing, Thermal Dampning, O2 Reserves, Ram attack (1d10 DV, AP +2)

Conic Shell destroyed: Use internal bioweave armour (2/3), Chameleon Skin

Skills:
Deception (I'm Not Going To Eat You, Just Ignore Me) 30
Fray 50
Free Fall 45
Free Running 50
Infiltration 60
Interest (Coordinating Pack Attacks) 40
Interest (Copying Prey Behaviour) 35
Intimidation 30
Exotic Language (Combat Ammonite Bioluminescence Flash Signals) 60
Peception 70
Scounging (For Food) 40
Unarmed Combat 65

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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
jKaiser wrote:The holy grail

jKaiser wrote:
The holy grail here would be something that can metabolize metals one way or another. I like the idea of taking the habitat out, which adds to the effectiveness if you can split attention between killing the thing and keeping the habitat from failing. In theory, anyway.

Careful there, friend. It's one thing to let some kind of claws-and-venom beastie loose and murder some folk, and quite another to build a technical bioweapon tailor-made to destroy entire space habitats.

That's the kind of thing that gets parties in the dark unwholesomely interested in where you keep your backups, you feel me? Best to steer clear of any ideas of building something that metabolises the shit we make out habs out of. (Especially since that's the kind of thing that tends to lead to bioweapon designers suffering ironic deaths.)

Myrmidont wrote:
Myrmidont@Δ.green.exonet.1a994d4gs9:1212131

Tangling with military-grade mech, cyberware and nano means you've either got to be hell tough or hell sneaky and smart.

My gut says to use an Earth-ecology predator as a basis since that's what we know the best.

Before I go further, your client's got to understand that biology doesn't mean “breeding war machines” - it means niches and niches means there are some situations and environments that it'll flounder in.

So here's my suggestion: The Combat Ammonite.

Welp, that seems pretty nasty, all told, but it ain't gonna be able to deal with anyone who has the good goddamn common sense to wear heavy armor. Even an industrial vacsuit with the helmet up - hell, a set of light body armor with a full helmet - is going to bounce any kind of mollusk beak. Also, I'm not sure if your plan with the mantis shrimp legs is anything more than wishful thinking. Mantis shrimp are tiny, and I have serious doubts as to whether the mantis shrimp kick-leg would be able to scale up like that. The square-cube law is definitely not working in your favor here. That's the kind of force you'd need augmented heavy cyberarms to put out - and to withstand the forces of using.

If you can accept that these things will get exterminated as soon as folks wise up to what's going on, put on heavy vacsuits, grab the nearest set of plasma cutters or industrial grinders, and go hunting, then you've got a nice beastie that'll raise some hell in micrograv habitats.

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Myrmidont Myrmidont's picture
The intention is that three

The intention is that three or four Ammonites swarm the target and use cooperative Called Shots to attack unarmoured locations.

Yeah, the manris shrimp arms are stupid and they shouldn't have Freerunning, I blame late night spaz.

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ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
An Exhuman Perspective...

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Prejudice and ignorance.
Biomaterials offer performance ratings only exceeded through molecular assembly development. Synergistic Amalgamations enable advanced design features without excess genetic complexity.

Demonstrator Attachment: [Coelomate_Zoon_554A.GEN]
Learn.

Physical Description:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

From the outside, the CZ554A resembles the lovechild of a Conger Eel, a Millipede and several Geckos.
A sleek, predatory head is followed by a 7 to 8 meter long, 1 meter diameter cylindrical body, consisting of half-meter segments each with three gecko-legs arranged uniformly around the circumference, all armored with black chitinous scales.

Internally, the CZ554A is a annelid-esque tube of muscle, dotted with fluid-filled cysts and “floating” bones, the largest of which being the mandible assembly, consisting of two hinged jaws attached to a ring-shaped baseplate.
In gravity, the organism's form is preserved through an interwoven web of tendons anchored to the carapace.

Closer examination reveals that the entire organism is actually made up of colonies of smaller creatures, with sizes ranging from a few millimeters to 10 centimeters; the muscle is a mass of wormlike creatures covered with velcro-esque hook-limbs, whilst the exoskeleton is a swarm of beetles with interlocking shells. The fluid cysts are tick-like creatures, and contain either nutrient stores or highly reactive chemicals.

Specific Features:-
Modularity: The CZ554A is an organism optimized for high-threat microgravity combat. It's highly-modular internal structure allows it to spontaneously reconfigure it's anatomy to optimize it's mechanical properties for a given task or target, and the lack of internal organs or set structure grants extreme resistance to damage. Only attacks which cause large, volumetric damage such as seeker or plasma weapons have a significant effect, and even in that event CZ554A will simply rearrange to replace damaged or dead zoöid structures with unharmed individuals.

Biochemicals: The CZ554A makes extensive use of chemical reactions to augment it's mobility and armament. In microgravity, reactants will be used to form simple biological thrusters, or be fed into cartilaginous sacs, whose subsequent explosive expansion fueling jumps or mandible closure. Should infectious agents or hostile nanotech compromise penetrate the organism, the same chemicals will be released to burn away the affected area.

Regeneration: Save when dormant, the CZ554A is in a nigh-constant process of self-cannibalization and reproduction. The organism's constituents have no ability to self repair – damaged or dead zoöids are simply devoured and replaced with newly-spawned individuals, and their physiology is optimized for this state. This is a necessity, as the forces the CZ554A is capable of exerting during combat are such that self-injury is both unavoidable and expected, but also enables a great degree of self-repair, as damaged or dead tissues can be almost completely reabsorbed and replaced given sufficient down-time. Generic Biological Feedstock or similar source of nutrient can also be digested extremely rapidly, but the lack of a dedicated digestive system means actual prey may require upwards of a month to be consumed.

A healthy CZ554A with a ready nutrient source will reproduce through division, bifurcating itself to form two new individuals over the course of an hour.

Stats:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Cognition 15 Coordination 20 Intuition 15 Reflexes 40 Savvy 5 Somatics 40 Willpower 15 Initiative 11 Speed 4 Durability 100 Wound Threshold 10 Death Rating 150

Movement Rate: Walker (8/24), Thrust Vector (8/40 in Microgravity Only)

Implants (Senses): 360 Degree Vision, Direction Sense, Echolocation, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Smell, Enhanced Vision.

Implants (Bioware): Adrenal Boost, Basic Biomods, Carapace Armor, Circadian Regulation, Clean Metabolism, Digging Claws, Drug Glands (MRDR, Kick, Phlo), Eelware, Endocrine Control, Enhanced Respiration, Grip Pads, Gills, Hibernation, Muscle Augmentation, Neurachem, Temperature Tolerance, Toxin Filters, Vacuum Sealing, High-G Augmentation, Radiation Tolerance, Efficient Digestion.

Implants (Nanoware and Robotic Enhancements): Oxygen Reserve, Medichines, Respirocytes, Pneumatic Limbs.

Armor: Carapace (11/11), Shockproof, Thermal Dampening, Amorphous Resilience (See Below)

Skills: Climbing 40 (70 with GripPads), Fray 90, Free Fall 80, Freerunning 80, Infiltration 40, Perception 60 (90 for vision, smell and hearing), Unarmed Combat 100 (Bite Specialization). Weapons: All attacks include +1D10 DV for Pneumatic Limbs and +3D10 DV for extra Melee weapons. Digging Claws (Skill 100, AP -1, DV 5d10+6) Bite (Skill 100, DV 6d10. All bite attacks are called shots to ignore armor.)

Notes: Drug Glands are always active, and their effects have been included in the stats above. Nanoware and Robotic Enhancements are bioware equivalents. CZ554A can ignore up to 5 wounds worth of penalties, and counts as a large target in combat (+10 to hit).

Amorphous Resilience: Due to it's physical form, CZ554A takes reduced damage from all non-explosive or plasma attacks. Such attacks cannot deal more than their minimum value after armor has been taken into account.

Self Sterilization: Nanoswarms or Biological agents do not have their normal effect. Instead, the CZ554A takes 1d10/2 DV (ignoring armor), as it burns away the afflicted area.

Regeneration: As a 10 minute task action, the CZ554A can make a Simple Success Test against it's current durability. If it succeeds, it heals 1d10 durability, otherwise 1d10/2.
Wound Penalties apply to this check, and both taking extra time and rushing are possible.

OOC; I realize kind of breaking the rules by including Nanoware and Pneumatic Limbs, but the Nanoware is simply to represent the ability to store nutrients and/or oxygen, and pneumatic limbs are moderately easy to cover through bioware... and actual pneumatic limbs already exist in nature, so I feel justified about putting a bombardier beetle in a pufferfish.

Stats wise, I basically took a Neo-Orca, replaced the Swimming skills for Microgravity equivalents, and bolted on combat mods. I ignored Chameleon because it's too easy to bypass – ultrasound ignores it completely. This isn't something that's supposed to be sneaking around in any case; it's supposed to bum-rush combat morphs and bite their limbs off.

So, acceptable? I'd love to know what you all think (especially you, ShadowDragon8685 :D)

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Redroverone Redroverone's picture
Single organism, space survivable?

How's about a nice mushroom that feeds on metals? Say, mix RNA from a fast moving mushroom with Halomonas titanicae bacteria? Nothing to me more terrifying than something that eats your hull for breakfast - and if it runs out of food, it reproduces in the millions.

The dog ate my signature

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
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So, acceptable? I'd love to know what you all think (especially you, ShadowDragon8685 :D)

Well, I'll admit that's a pretty good beastie in theory, but it's going to be hell atop fusion rocket to actually get a gigantic colony of vastly dissimilar creatures to cooperate in usch a way as to act like something the size of a beluga whale.

If it works, though, it might work too well. This is also the kind of thing that might attract the attention of powers in the dark.

Also, I'm not convinced that something like this would have nearly the coordination required to do battle on a macroscale, let alone actually make called shots to bypass armor. Then again, if you actually succeed in getting that kind of mandible pressure out of it, you won't really need to.

I'm not convinced that it would be able to self-repair as quickly and as swiftly as you insinuate it would be able to, in order to actually compensate for combat damage, especially if an attacker targets its jaws to take off its mandibles. Or that it would really be able to compensate for some Badass Motherfucker in a Daitya grabbing it in its claws and literally chopping a bit off with an angle grinder, circular saw, or plasma cutter.

I'm not convinced you can actually get that kind of performance out of meat, not at that scale. Also, the OP specifically said it couldn't be too big, or he would have just modified Tyrannosaurus Rex to operate in microgravity.

Still, if it works as-advertised, that would be pretty dangerous and scary. At least until the Reapers, Battlesuits, and Daityas come out, at which point it becomes a somewhat more exciting bughunt than usual.

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ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
It creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides, across the floor...

Glad you like it :D
I shall use the forbidden art of Paragraph Reordering to address connected topics!

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Well, I'll admit that's a pretty good beastie in theory, but it's going to be hell atop fusion rocket to actually get a gigantic colony of vastly dissimilar creatures to cooperate in such a way as to act like something the size of a beluga whale.
-
I'm not convinced you can actually get that kind of performance out of meat, not at that scale.
-
Also, I'm not convinced that something like this would have nearly the coordination required to do battle on a macroscale...

The thing I really need to stress is that this beastie isn't a coherent organism, and the species don't really cooperate – it's an armoured bag full of bugs glued together by a parasitic fungal biocomputer – all the cohesion and coordination which make it a threat are externally enforced.
As an actual “creature”, it's an absolute failure – put in a natural habitat and it'll either starve to death, get out-evolved and consumed or ecocide itself out of existence, because all the systems which are evolutionarily favourable but compromise combat performance (the digestive system, the immune system, the reproductive system...) have been stripped away and replaced with systems to crack open combat synths.

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
I'm not convinced that it would be able to self-repair as quickly and as swiftly as you insinuate it would be able to, in order to actually compensate for combat damage, especially if an attacker targets its jaws to take off its mandibles. Or that it would really be able to compensate for some Badass Motherfucker in a Daitya grabbing it in its claws and literally chopping a bit off with an angle grinder, circular saw, or plasma cutter.

The speed and efficiency comes from the difference between self-repair and healing.
It's easiest to picture by imagining the beastie as a highly viscous fluid – you can “cut” it, but it just flows back together. The actual “damage” is just moved somewhere non-vital.
The mandibles are a weakpoint, and are the reason why the beastie isn't straight-up immune to wounds, and why the weapon damage limit is applied after armour reductions rather than before.

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
...let alone actually make called shots to bypass armor. Then again, if you actually succeed in getting that kind of mandible pressure out of it, you won't really need to.

To clarify, the Called Shot rule for bite attacks is supposed to represent the mandible pressure, or rather the beastie trying to get the right position/configuration for the leverage to achieve that pressure – at maximum, pretty much every “muscle” it has will be acting to close the jaws.
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Still, if it works as-advertised, that would be pretty dangerous and scary. At least until the Reapers, Battlesuits, and Daityas come out, at which point it becomes a somewhat more exciting bughunt than usual.

I know I'm biased, but I'd actually give the beastie pretty good odds against “baseline” Combat synths, at least in a habitat, as they're more likely to be equipped with kinetic weapons and the ranges should be close enough to allow them to get within melee within a turn or two.
Against high-end combat gear equipped with seekers and plasma rifles they die quickly, but then so do Synths.
At this level, the problem isn't that they're biological, but simply the lack of high-end ranged weaponry.
Still, some purely biological options would remain available, but would entail a level of houseruling beyond that I was comfortable with here; pneumatic limbs and 360 vision are a whole different ballgame from splash-grenades filled with superacid.
My personal bias is showing again here – IMO a good chunk of the nanoware and robotic enhancement list should be available as bioware, at least at high tech levels.

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
If it works, though, it might work too well. This is also the kind of thing that might attract the attention of powers in the dark.

Oh, they have muchmore dangerous bioconstructs available than this guy. I mean, it doesn't even have Shape Adjusting, unlike it's big brother...

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?