|Biological & Chemical Innovations|
|Function||Creating life, and destroying it|
|Brief||Various technologies dealing with living organisms as well as chemical processes affecting said organisms.|
When it comes to waging warfare, humans have never been alone. The same dogs used by European lords to hunt game and wildlife were also trained and outfitted to march into war to take down enemy warriors. Horses, camels, and elephants have all seen use in the cavalry of nations and forces worldwide. Ancient Megarians set pigs on fire and directed them towards enemy lines, pack mules were used to haul supplies, and oxen towed heavy artillery pieces to war. Despite the increasing belief of modern warfare as a largely mechanized process, the use of animals in warfare still extends to the 20th century: Allied attack dogs and dolphins are sometimes more famous in war torn regions than the actual Allied eagle, Soviet War Bears are well known to the veterans of World War 3's Western Front, and even the mysterious robot sightings have reported animal-like metallic creatures scuttling and writhing amidst aluminium horrors and technological terrors.
The Technocratic Combine, however, has turned the use of biological organisms into an art form. Where other organizations use animals mainly in circumstances where vehicles or mechanical replacements cannot be used, the Combine has turned to training and utilizing animals, plants, fungi, and other living organisms for everything from espionage to open warfare. Under the slogan of "One Mother, Many Children", numerous projects are carried out for the purposes of studying, training, teaching, and experimenting with biological beings of all shapes and kinds.
The reasons for doing so are many and varied in nature. The United Technate, for example, exists in a region highly noted for its incredible biodiversity and ecological makeup, granting them access to many unusual or rare species with capabilities useful when combined with human ingenuity. McBurgerKong, in another example, is already highly invested in combating disease and plague in its herds of farm animals and so has researched heavily into discovering and treating bacteria and parasites that might infest its food supply. Other reasons include the lack of automated drone technology and AI so common in the First and Third worlds respectively, the relative ease of training a biological unit for a task as opposed to making mechanical variants, the lack of suspicion aroused by civilians witnessing an animal or plant as opposed to a tank or turret, and the positive publicity generated by the idea of species working together to achieve a common end, as opposed to warmongering faceless machines in human form. Lastly, there is the genuine train of thought that such actions are necessary not just for people, but for all life on Earth - and by extension, Earth itself: if life is to survive in a harsh universe, it must do so through cooperation and mutualism.
As evidenced by numerous posters across Technocratic military and civilian centers, some of the species used in Technocratic military operations include:
- Mammals: Chupacabrae act in the capacity of guard and scout dogs, sniffing out disguised enemies and would-be infiltrators; Horses are used by Outriders for patrols and scouting as well as by other soldiers for emergency transport use; mules transport everything from supplies to replacement vehicle parts to injured soldiers when trucks or airships cannot be used; common agouti detect and safely dig up minefields without triggering said mines; sea lions detect naval mines as well as relay signals between ships and alert of incoming vessels; fruit bats are used for carrying incendiary bombs while vampire bats assist in aerial scouting and feed on the blood of enemy scouting animals; spider monkeys are trained to steal enemy equipment such as rations, gun magazines, and radios as well as (for the elites) 'ride' and direct enemy animal scouts.
- Avians: Ravens will act as recon and intelligence for CBURA operatives and military intelligence, carrying small cameras strapped to their chests and recording all they see, as well as being used in murders to create no-fly zones for aircraft; pidgeons are commonly used for carrying messages between bases in a local area when radio operations are jammed, as well as 'pilot' guided missiles; vultures are released onto the battlefield to feast on enemy remains for psychological purposes; chickens are used as an early warning system against gas and chemical attacks; seagulls are trained to poop on foreign submarines and ships in conjunction with thermal radar systems as well as scatter supplies on board enemy naval vessels; reports of various bird species of Central American origin attacking Panama and American remain unconfirmed.
- Amphibians: Toxins from Poison Dart Frogs are used to augment liquid chemical weapons, while the frogs themselves are snuck into enemy barracks and common rooms by infiltrators for psychological purposes; newly discovered orange-ringed salamanders give off hallucinogenic secretions used for the disabling of personnel, commanders, and base security by infiltrators.
- Reptiles: Coral Snakes are used similarly to Poison Dart Frogs, being placed in traps, enclosed vehicles and aircraft, or enemy living quarters by infiltrators for the purposes of psychological damage and morale loss; Green Anacondas once properly trained are used for assassination via asphyxiation as well as occasionally drowning; Black Caimans are occasionally used for ambushes of non-Technocratic boats in brown-water operations; new 'Megaconda' anaconda species confirmed by Operation Myth Examiner, domestication/training experiments to begin shortly.
- Fish: Piranhas are often used in aquatic operations as supplements to more conventional naval mines as well as defense of said mines against aquatic infantry, and are an integral part of BOW Strategic Operation Hungry Ocean; bioluminescent jellyfish serve as beacons in night conditions and may be used to clog and disable offshore or waterside power plants and base facilities; abyssal viperfish may be used for target ship elimination and psychological damage with the proper clearance from Project Dark Tooth.
- Invertebrates: Due to their interesting anatomical design, invertebrates are the easiest type of animal to eugenically modify and so compose the vast majority of eugenically modified animal forms; both enlarged meat eater ants and enlarged army ants are regularly used in Project Bone Sword for varied purposes such as psychological warfare, tunnel excavation in conjunction with military engineering, and wide-scale food and natural resource procurement; modified enlarged ticks are used to burrow underneath and into enemy tank systems in order to deliver a variety of payloads including chemical and shrapnel bombs as well as propaganda leaflets; enlarged crabs created from the Project Bone Sword/Project Gaia's Bounty joint sub-project are beginning to see use as naval transport and cavalry mounts for infantry in situations where aquatic travel is necessary yet naval transports are unavailable or inefficient; Humbolt Squid are unleashed in schools to target and disable enemy naval movement and operations through sheer numbers and weight; a newly discovered species of Venezuelan spider with many similarities to ants, bees, and other 'colony' invertebrates is being tested for modification in Project Bone Sword; enlarged Brazilian Wandering Spider 'Charlotte' remains the companion and mount of one Lady Genevieve; locusts modified from experiments with the genetic code of Rocky Mountain grasshoppers are currently unused for active military purposes but remain a part of BOW Strategic Operation Dead Sky.
- Dinosaurs: CLASSIFIED: MEMBERS OF PROJECT LOST WORLD ONLY
- Plants: Poison Ivy and other plants containing irritants are regularly used alongside other components and materials when creating traps for infantry and enemy scouting animals on the battlefield; eugenically modified Thorned Kudzu is planted and seeded around enemy bases and in nearby terrain to create areas nearly impenetrable to infantry and tough to clear even with vehicles though must be cleared with fire after victory to avoid unwanted spread, also a key component of BOW Strategic Operation Midnight Jungle; eugenically modified carnivorous sundews may be seeded in ruined buildings, thick terrain, or shallow waters to guard nearby areas from scouting animals or unwary infantry; eugenically created Delirium Poppies emit a soporific scent that calms and makes lethargic nearby animals and people, seeded near enemy bases or alongside other traps to lower enemy response time to counter attacks; the eugenically created Calavera Tree is planted inside Technocratic military bases and used as both a source of nutrition and food when opened correctly and as an impromptu grenade when struck hard enough against a surface otherwise.
- Fungi: The Unes Fungus, a divergent form of cordyceps, is notably used in the creation of so-called 'fungal zombies' in concordance with available corpses, mainly for psychological purposes; eugenically modified Black Molds are used by infiltrators to infest the filtration and ventilation systems of enemy civilian and military buildings, leading to high amounts of illness, infection, and often closure or condemnation of the targeted building; the eugenically created Rainbow Bullet Mushroom has often fatal levels of toxins when ingested directly, but is more commonly chopped up and used by Technocratic infiltrators to spike the food supplies and rations of enemy combatants, leading to widespread hallucinations in the opposing ranks: particularly favorited towards members of the Confederacy.
Walk into a Combine factory, and you will see a strange sight. Equipment, shaped almost like a giant, deformed limb, manipulating, constructing and moving objects, with a surprising grace. Even outside the factories, similar machines can be seen. Public transport moves in a preset pattern around the city, with unusual fluidity. Automatic equipment starts when people walk up to it, but ignores all other motion. Squat 'robots' pick up litter, greet visitors and carry equipment, without the cold efficiency of drones. These 'Automata' seem to be robots made to be like animals, but in typical Combine fashion, the truth is more strange: they are animals made to be like machines.
To make an Automata, an animal (typically a lab rat) is used. The animal is placed in the mechanical shell, and put under anaesthesia. Catheters are added to remove wastes, and supply air and nutrients to the animal, and hypodermic needles added to allow administration of drugs. Then, with some delicate surgery, and the use of special nerve growth factors, the nervous system of the rat grows throughout the shell, attaching to artificial 'muscles' throughout the shell. After this, electrodes are placed in the rat's brain, specifically the pleasure and pain areas. When this has been completed, the mechanical shell is as much a part of the rat as its own muscles (in fact, after the rat's normal muscles atrophy, the shell is almost more a part of the rat's body than its own body). At this point, the training takes place. Using the pleasure/pain electrodes, the rat is punished for not performing its proper task, and rewarded when it does so. Acting like an 'orgasm button', the animal will keep trying to receive a burst of pleasure, until it works itself to death (however, with supplied food and life-extending drugs, this is not for many years). Soon, the animal learns to do the task required of it repeatedly, being rewarded by a burst of pleasure from the electrode. After a few months, all the animal can do is the task asked of it, continuously, until death. In a sense, the rat becomes the machine, with the shell as its skin.
There are a few downsides to automata: it takes specialised technicians to create and manage them, and they take longer to be set up than purely mechanical devices. However, there are a set of benefits, too. Automata literally work at the speed of thought, with a fluidity not seen in a standard machine. They do not require specialised parts or equipment for upkeep, only food and air. And they will work constantly, for years, until their death. Even that point is not much of a hindrance: new rats are always easy to find, after all. On the whole, the Combine believes that the benefits outweigh the downsides, and so continue to use them whenever they can.
Needless to say, some are uncomfortable with the idea of these 'enslaved' animals. The Confederates in particular are horrified by this 'abuse' of animal rights, and when they can will often try to free Automata, or petition for the outlawing of this practice. However, this rarely goes anywhere. Most automata cannot live outside of their shell, having long since forgotten how to each or move on their own, with nearly destroyed immune systems. As well as this, outlawing it has been problematic. Since the animal receives literal euphoria from its work, it can hardly be said to be 'unhappy'. And the debate whether it counts as a machine is more complicated every day. If the animals are not a machine, then logically neither would battlesuits, and the Confederates do not wish to anger the Syndicate with this point. However, if they are machines, then there is little reason to stop them. To this end, automata are still used, with the Confederates attempting to 'mercy kill' any they find.
"But it was so artistically done..."
This page (Biology) requires, at the very least, serious rewrites.
There is something off about this page; it fundamentally contradicts established lore, is poorly thought out, has thematic issues, or maybe it just plain sucks. Whatever the reason may be, it needs to be remade from the ground up in order to preserve the quality standards of the wiki.
Eugenics has, in a sense, always been around; since the first farmers bred crops to try to improve them, since the first hunters bred livestock for food, and since the first people domesticated the dog, a primitive form of eugenics always has existed.
Eugenics is, in simplest terms, 'breeding out' traits you find undesirable, such as low crop yields or viciousness, and encouraging 'desirable' traits, such as delicious taste of friendly demeanour, to get something you want. If early humans had a disgusting wheat with high yield, and a delicious wheat with low yield, eugenics would, with patience, let them gain a delicious wheat with high yield. While eugenics may allow you to gain something with patience, however it is an incredibly slow process, sometimes taking hundreds or thousands of years for only basic changes to become apparent. As well as this, it can be quite hit and miss; going back to the wheat, the result may not be the desired, but a disgusting wheat with low yield.
The Combine has, however, changed this process in ways God never intended. The plants showing the desired traits are placed in a vat of nutrients, often the pulped remains of failed results, and bombarded with low-level dark energy. The time dilating properties allow these plants to create hundreds of generations in mere hours; it is possible to simulate millions of years of directed breeding in mere weeks! The process is halted every few hours for inspection; any undesirables are pulped to feed the results conforming to the enlightened vision of the Combine, and unexpected and unusual results are removed for further study. By the end of the process, the result is near unrecognizable as the original specimens, and recklessly bred throughout Combine territory to replace the 'inferior' natural product.
Even worse for the world at large, the Combine has their sights on results above mere wheat. The results of their gaining mastery over nature have results varied and impossible! While some products are simply cosmetic, such as the gold and silver roses laid at Combine scientist's funerals, there are more practical results. From the engorged grapefruit that gives a day's worth of nutrition each, to tomatoes that kill pests and give off 12 harvests a year, the metaphorical and literal fruits of Project Gaia's Bounty are in the process of being spread to Technocratic farms throughout the Americas, predicted to increase national food outputs more than three times over. The worst use, however, is the militaristic use of eugenics; from giant, man-eating sundews, blossoms that release neurotoxin-tipped pollen, to trees whose fruit explodes in a storm of thorns, the Mobile Defense Force is starting to consider the possible benefits of using nature itself against the enemies of Utopia.
Reinventing the Genome
Thirty years ago, the idea of human eugenics was a relatively unexplored field full of possibilities and promise. The idea of taking the same practices that had applied to farming and evolutionary biology and applying them to the human population in order to encourage genetic improvement and eliminate negative defects reached its peak in the 1920s and 30s, and all across the world people and communities joined forces to try and guide the evolution of the human race.
Ten years ago, the idea of human eugenics was a joke, a laughable pseudoscience on the scale of astrology, anthropometry, and N-rays. The Soviet's overeager trust in lysenkoism and ape-men hybrids had turned the Western world sour towards trying to genetically modify humans to improve their physical capabilities, and with syndicated scientists beginning research into improving the human condition through mechanical rather than biological means the idea of genetic modification became little more than fodder for mad scientists on television.
Five years ago, the Columbia Future Society officially welcomed the Human Eugenics Project into the ranks of the Technocratic Combine.
A loose collection of fringe theorists, cranks, and scientists who still earnestly believed in what was widely dismissed as a practical or attainable field, the Human Eugenics Project once sponsored sanitariums in the United Kingdom to keep those with mental illnesses away from the general population, assisted local and state hospitals in the United State with the sterilization of individuals with hereditary diseases, and handed out birth control supplements to areas where censors indicated unhealthy levels of 'impure gene mixing' was occurring. In recent times, however, the Human Eugenics Project has changed in focus with the realization that its previous efforts were reactionary instead of proactive, focusing now upon the active improvement and elimination of undesirable elements of the human body rather than attempt to metaphorically starve said elements out. To that end, the Project has engaged in the study of everything from microbiology to biochemical reactions to psychology in its mission to improve the human condition, performing esoteric and occasionally questionable studies in hopes of finding that one big breakthrough. And less than a year ago, they made one.
The Heroes are the first successful test subjects of the Human Eugenics Project, twenty four men and women of various ages and nationalities that have voluntarily gone under the knife in Project laboratories and emerged from it as eugenically-modified humans. A system of various chemical serums and drugs monitors their vital signs and controls activity allowing them to stimulate or relax their systems as required on an ongoing basis; modifications to their bone structure and musculature systems gives Heroes increased muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility compared to unmodified humans; modified cells seek and destroy cancerous growths or transform to replace certain lost ones while eugenically modified tapeworms live in symbiosis with their hosts by ingesting harmful substances and secreting nutrients; even the brain's mental capacity is affected, increasing the span of both long and short term memory and increasing the speed of neural connections in the Hero allowing for quicker reaction times. With the success of these twenty four individuals, the go ahead has been given for more funding to be added to the budgets of the Human Eugenics Project, for if the process can be streamlined, made safer, and most importantly made cheaper, then the possibilities are endless: a civilization full of polymaths and geniuses that can send their nation to the stars and beyond the folds of reality; military ranks made of soldiers that shrug off small arms fire, bend assault rifles into twisted hunks of metal, and straight arm opponents in close combat faster than the eye can see; spies that can find any hidden cultists and outwit any opposing infiltrators.
All these possibilities make the first crop of Heroes more than normal men and women, turning them into a symbol of what the Human Eugenics Project strives for: a New Man, a child of humanity that is above and beyond its parents in the same way that homo sapiens was above and beyond its predecessors. But they are only the beginning in what is almost assuredly a long and hard road: the current process used to create said Heroes requires a human subject to already be in high physical and mental form...and willing to accept the risk that the tests and processes needed to uplift them might very well result in death. As such, the majority of volunteers willing to undergo the process are Explorers, people who are still in shape and sharp of mind but who are aware of their advancement in years. Such volunteers are largely unconcerned with the possibility of death, seeing it as an acceptable risk when the alternative is often a lonely decline in quality of life after years of adventure and service.
Skilled as they are in the arts of chemistry and biology, it is no surprise that the Technocratic Combine is known for solving environmental problems through the careful (mostly) study and manipulation of biotechnology. In particular, they have invested great time in what is known as the "poor man's nanite" - bacteria. Bacteria are easy to work with, easy to change, and can have very dramatic effects for their size and ability. And while examples abound, the most famous use of bacteria on the battlefield would have to be the Geobacter colonies.
A genus of protobacteria, Geobacter are an anaerobic respiration bacterial species with many qualities that, when augmented by Combine manipulation, have proven useful in both civilian and military work. Their greatest trait, one that has revolutionized Combine affiliated societies, is the fact that the Geobacter can effectively breakdown oil pollutants, miscellaneous toxins, and radioactive materials while giving off carbon dioxide as a byproduct, and even when working with multiple species breakdown chemicals a single species couldn't normally. Combined with an increased metabolism courtesy of the Technocracy, and Geobacter colonies are capable of cleaning up a great deal of pollutants, and in the process, repair any damage done to the environment. In addition, the increased metabolism coupled with the natural ability to produce electricity has made Geobacter in the Combine effectively living batteries - even now, many of the poorest villages and towns across the Americas have suddenly been given access to both electricity and clean water thanks to installed Combine Geobacter plants - yet another factor in the spreading support of the Combine.
However, their use in warfare relies on a different quality - the ability to oxidize metal. While the ability of the colonies to oxidize metal was already known, it was not foreseen that the sudden increase in metabolism would have a drastic effect in the way the Geobacter did so - with such an increased metabolism, without being carefully held in special containers a Geobacter colony can simply degrade metal to rusted scrap in minutes just by coming into contact with it. This was first discovered after a Geobacter transport truck accidentally broke the protective seals on the bacteria - by the time the driver had lead officials back to the remains, almost two thirds of the truck had simply rusted into uselessness from the bacteria oxidizing it to pieces.
Now, Geobacter colonies have found use in war as cheap and long-lasting anti-armor and anti-air weaponry. Kept sealed in special ceramic globes, a globule of Geobacter can be launched at high speeds and shatter against a hull or airframe, and immediately start corroding it - even if the initial damage is not very high, the bacteria will keep going and going for several minutes. This is especially potent against air targets - thin frames and the danger of your craft disintegrating around you is highly effective when it comes to downing planes. It is even useful, though not quite as effective, versus infantry or animal targets - while the bacteria can eat their guns and armor away and leave them useless on the battlefield, the relative lack of metal compared to armored targets means damage will more likely come from the jagged ceramic globule shards than the bacteria itself.