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Author Topic: 'They' cannot see you now.  (Read 36783 times)
FalconMWC
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #120 on: March 23, 2004, 05:37:10 am »

Well shofixti with a ak 47 if you don't understand it then read the thread! - Yes, most of what you posted was already discussed.

Meep-eep - Yes, I am sure, if you want I can get a link for you....







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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #121 on: July 10, 2004, 05:22:19 am »

Some theories on the Orz, based on their words, avoiding excessive extrapolation where possible:

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We are Orz! Orz are happy *people energy* from the outside.
Inside is good.


The Orz are from a dimension other than our own who have come here for an unknown (but, we can infer, vaguely sinister) purpose.  They are comparable to our concept of living, sentient beings.

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*Time* is not one but many.
*Space* is many. *Colors* are many. You are so *sticky*.
You cannot *slide* like Orz from *outside* to *inside* and *in between*.


There are many dimensions other than our own, each with their own independent rules for time and space.  We (humans and our neighbors) are unique in that we do not move between the dimensions.

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We are from *outside*. Also the Arilou *quick babies* are from *outside*.
It is the same, but not.
Orz are from *below*, Arilou are from *above*.


Both the Arilou (who are a much younger, shorter lived race compared to the ancient Orz) and Orz are from two different dimensions, the Arilou from a "higher order" dimension (presumably what we call Quasi-Space) directly above our own (if you visualize the multitude of dimensions as the floors of an office building) and the Orz from another directly beneath our own.

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Better parties in *the middle* for sure.


*The Middle* might be another way of referring to our dimension, ie the one between *above* (the Arilou home dimension) and *below* (the Orz home dimension).

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Here is *bright* and *smooth*. The other place is *hurt* Orz too much tired for keeping together.  Other place is **Frumple**


Our dimension is a more pleasant place to stay than where the Orz came from (possibly their native dimension), where (possibly) they must exert constant effort to simply maintain corporeal form.

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That is *funny*. You think you *see* Orz but Orz are not *light reflections*.
Maybe you think Orz are *many bubbles* too. It is such a joke.
Orz are not *many bubbles* like *campers*. Orz are just Orz.
I am Orz. I am one with many *fingers*.
My *fingers* reach through into *heavy space* and you *see* *Orz bubbles*
but it is really *fingers*.


The Orz, in essence, are an immaterial presence - they're not made of matter (tiny bubbles = atoms) but they can project their presence(s) into our dimension (heavy space) and only thus have a material body we can see and talk to.  The "many fingers" statement, uttered in the singular first person, suggests that the actual entity "Orz" might be an individual, and every member of what we perceive as their "race" is a projection of this single entity.

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Can you come together with Orz for *parties*?
Now you are a *happy camper* and Orz can give *heavy space* ships for *dancing*.


*Parties* and *dancing* almost certainly refer to general concepts of hostility, combat, fighting, destruction.  Heavy space ships are ships made of matter.

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I am already telling the everything story. It is too much.
You do not asking about us the many.
Next it is the *party* and you will *become*.
It is best.
After this you are so *happy* you do not ask the many questions.
Do you anticipate? Yes! You do!
I am too *tired* the *silly* word *game*.

Do you want to see our surprising *toys*? No!! Do Not!!


The TFB guys did mention that they wanted the Orz to be more creepy than they ended up coming off as (which was sort of whimsical, if very weird) so you can generally read what they have to say as being very hostile and threatening.  Here they seem to be telling you not to ask any more questions... or they will become annoyed and attack you... and you will no longer be alive.

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We are not *dead*. Orz is never *dead*.
Orz are not *dissolve*! Why is the *silly cow* say Orz are *dissolving*?


As the Orz bodies are only material projections, their destruction does not actually harm the Orz entity.  They view human death as "dissolving" because our souls are tied inextricably to our material bodies, and once the body dies the soul "dissolves".

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Orz is thinking *silly cow* are want to *dance*.


*Silly* comes off as a supreme pejorative for the Orz.  Only utterly despised enemies are referred to as *silly cows*.

Disclaimers:

- The * * terms are not necessarily consistent, and it's probably better to think of them as evocative of general concepts rather than specific words.  Remember, the ship's translation logic is having a very difficult time rendering these words.

- There is no set answer for any of these questions, as the TFB guys were tactfully vague in many places, and probably didn't know 100% where they wanted to go with certain concepts anyway.  So while speculation is fun the point isn't necessarily to get anything concrete from it.
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #122 on: August 01, 2004, 04:25:38 pm »

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That was fast, and I meant that was why the Precursors left the first time. You know, 200,000 years ago, or whatever the date was.


An interesting idea, but the Orz do not seem all that powerful- sure, they're strong, but they are hardly a match for a Kohr ah (as is demonstrated if you let the game drag on for too long).  In order to accomplish much of anything, they'd have to get the 'smell' of their adversary, or have superior ships.

That said, even your lone, skeletal precursor service ship can prove itself to be more than a match for any number of Orz ships (provided you upgrade your crappy human technology).

For that matter, the Arilou do not seem all that powerful either... odd.

And if there were even greater forces out there, ones which the Precursors could not combat, then why wouldn't those forces have killed the Orz and Arilou?

For that matter, if the Precursors were fleeing some cataclysm, why wouldn't they have taken their poor, helpless buddies (the Slylandro) with them?  Surely they coulda rigged SOMETHING up...

Quote

And since I don't want to waste space random thought: Perhaps the Syreen was a branched experiment? They have powerful psychic abilities, humans don't really have much at all. The Arilou had two groups, both going for a different approach to their problem. The Syreen failed, perhaps because they grew to lazy, or their psychic abilities were making them harder to influence. Eventually, the Arilou decided to focus on guiding the humans.


This is a very intriguing idea.  The Kzer-Za/Kohr-Ah come to mind, as do the Pkunk/Yehat, and, though its a bit of a stretch,  ZoqFotPik, and the Supox/Utwig.

Quote

My memory is a bit failed on the timeline, but this might have to do with the sudden burst of activity by the Arilou in the 1940s era. I'm not sure when the Syreen got kicked off by the Mycon, but it might have been relatively soon after the burst of Earth activity and/or when the Syreen were abandoned.


One would think, though, that the Arilou would have a history of meddling with the Syreen as well as the Humans- yet we never see any indication of this.
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #123 on: August 01, 2004, 08:15:35 pm »

Almost any ship can defeat any other ship in the hands of a skilled captain.
(exceptions like human/chmmr spring to mind, impossible.)

As for the Slylandro, it depends.
The Slylandro are EXPERTLY hidden, almost impossible to find unless you know what to look for.
They're pretty much indestructable from what i know, theyre made of gas.
If the Precursors COULD have taken them, Why?? It would only make the Slylandro bigger targets/more vulnerable.

The Slylandro probably werent at risk, the Precursors obviously were.

The Zot-Fot-Pik are completely different species, as are the Utwig/Supox. They are just on very good terms.

The Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah were split genetically by the Dynarri, and this occured one hell of a long time ago (16000 years?).

The Yehat and the Pkunk might have been such a case, but it seems unlikely, to me.

Personally, i think that the Syreen are a huge, hilarious consequece, that opens up a really cool sequel plot. Hot, Syreen Alien Gratuitous Sex Scenes!
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #124 on: August 01, 2004, 09:00:12 pm »

They aren't invincible- in fact, if you talk to them you will hear of a ritual in which they go really high in their atmosphere, until they almost 'burst', then come back down.  The scars are supposed to attract comely mates.

As for the other part of your message, I didn't mean that all those races were exactly the same, just that they had similiarities, if only in spirit.
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Death 999
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #125 on: August 02, 2004, 09:41:12 pm »

The Slylandro aren't invincible, obviously... but they are well hidden. Only the Precursors, Ur-Quan, and Melnorme visited them, and of the others only the Arilou knew of their existence.

(oh, right, melnorme)
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FalconMWC
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #126 on: August 03, 2004, 04:03:55 am »

Even the player could not have found them had the probes not happened.....


Makes you wonder about the other planets....


**Goes a searchs all of them

Nope....
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #127 on: August 03, 2004, 03:43:34 pm »

The opposite is true, when they go low, the 'pressure' almost ruptures their 'skin' membrane, producing the attractive scars. When they go higher they behave inappropriately.
And how do we know its physical harm? It could be that they need a certain atmosphere to breath in, whereas higher up its not as common, so they get dizzy. Whereas the deeper areas possess heavier poisonous gas.
How do we know how big they are? Maybe they are Sentient Microscopic organisms?
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #128 on: August 03, 2004, 04:54:04 pm »

Quote
The opposite is true, when they go low, the 'pressure' almost ruptures their 'skin' membrane, producing the attractive scars. When they go higher they behave inappropriately.
And how do we know its physical harm? It could be that they need a certain atmosphere to breath in, whereas higher up its not as common, so they get dizzy. Whereas the deeper areas possess heavier poisonous gas.
How do we know how big they are? Maybe they are Sentient Microscopic organisms?


Well, to be serious about it, sentient microorganisms are a tough concept (IGNORE STAR CONTROL 3 AND MY KEEL-VEREZEY POST). Yes, you can fit a powerful computer on a tiny chip, but life processes created by evolution are necessarily less efficient and require more redundancies to survive in the long term than computers we manufacture; the human brain's structure is in some ways a lot more complex than a computer's, and that complexity comes from the bundled-up neurons that have to be a certain size to function.

You probably could have a human-like intelligence in something the size of a rabbit or a badger or something, but my impression was that, say, intelligent individual earthworms are really unlikely, and truly intelligent-the-way-humans-are-intelligent bacteria or viruses are impossible. But then, there are more things in heaven and earth...

But just solely based on the fact that your ship can see the Slylandro without the Slylandro having any communicators or radios to beam their images to you from Source, and the fact that Slylandro last a very long time without dying (which tends to require that something have a lot of mass for redundant systems) and that they can swim far enough up and down in Source for there to be noticeable pressure differentials, and that "gasbag" puts me in mind of both hot-air balloons and overweight politicians, I tend to think of Slylandro as big. Maybe room-sized, paper-thin hollow membranes with the weird flimsy glowing bits growing out of their insides. Like big balloons, and they'd be dependent on the pressure scales of Source to stay *intact*, much less alive -- lifting them out into space would probably cause them to dissipate into vapor, and figuring out how to prevent that would probably be too much of a headache even for the Precursors.

And yeah, there really is no reason to assume whatever the Precursors ran away from was a threat to the Slylandro. The Precursors were, after all, a gigantic galaxy-spanning supertechnological civilization that messed with a whole lot of things and left a lot of amazing laws-of-physics breaking gadgets around, while the Slylandro are a kind and curious gasbag people who have no technology, no spaceships and no real desire to do anything but sit and listen to people tell stories. What the Precursors were afraid of was probably something caused by something to do with their status as godlike rulers of the galaxy, not some mindless threat out to mess with all sentient life forms everywhere, as Star Control 3 naively assumes.
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #129 on: August 03, 2004, 05:15:08 pm »

Re Syreen and Humans:

I'm pretty sure it's Humans who are the messed-with ones and Syreen the un-messed-with, for whatever reason (Syreen are a control group; Syreen are descendants of Humans accidentally left on Syra by careless Arilou UFOs; Humans are Syreen kidnapped and taken by the Arilou to start a new species on Earth; etc.)

Humans have an unusual level of technology for their degree of cultural advancement, at least in the opinion of the SC1 Ur-Quan, who find them to be shockingly backward culturally, despite the fact that we know the Alliance is completely dependent on Earth's industry to keep it afloat. Also, Humans passed through two centuries of their "atomic age" without inventing the trappings of spacefaring like hyperwave broadcasts, hyperdrive, and so on. Everyone else seems to equate being spacefaring with being in the atomic age. Human nuclear weapons, after all, pack enough punch to be effective against other races' ships; Humans may lack some exotic knowledge, but they are advanced enough to be seriously important in the war, and yet before the Chenjesu talk to them they don't have things that races like the Spathi developed as a matter of course -- *everyone* has hyperdrive, even the endlessly warring Ilwrath and the nuke-ourselves-every-Tuesday Thraddash, and hyperwave is simple enough that the Chenjesu develop it as the result of natural crystal processes, yet Humans have not a clue about it. And it's a special and particular exception; in all other ways Humans are advanced enough to be a powerful race for the Home Sector. The Yehat consider Humans to be a natural race like them, completely non-uplifted, and respect them greatly for it, even though hyperwave and hyperdrive were both free gifts by the Chenjesu.

Having a race that's unusually technologically advanced for its level -- becoming the backbone of the Alliance on the resources of *one star system* -- yet that completely fails to develop one particular kind of technology, spacefaring technology, on its own is a weird coincidence. I'm pretty convinced the Arilou were trying to speed up Human technological development while blocking them from outside interference by the rest of the galaxy. There definitely was a lot of interest in the Humans' unique potential, judging by the SC1 manual's description of the aliens' anticipation of first contact with Humans. Maybe they were puzzled that Humans never progressed beyond radio, never communicated by Hyperwave or sent probes through hyperspace, until the Chenjesu finally forced the issue out of desperation. Who knows?

I think this also has something to do with the puzzling lack of psi in Humans compared to Syreen. Psi abilities are natural in *both* species -- psi-capable Humans are common enough that there's a standard test for them, and two random crewmen in one random expedition are both powerful potential psionics. Yet the power *remains* potential. Syreen society seems to be based on the manipulation of psionics; they have hypnosis and other forms of persuasion, clumsy tools in the Human world, developed to a science, and we receive repeated reminders about how Syreen society is built around negotiation and persuasion rather than conflict and force. I think for them psi is a natural, subtle weapon used in daily life, the main weapon they use against their enemies and the main reason (besides their high-quality physiology) they're so darn seductive to Humans -- they have no particular questions or qualms about it that we can see.

So how come Human encounters with psi are clouded by superstition and ritual, surrounded by doubt and disbelief, and largely on the fringe of Human society all through Humanity's modern age? How come Humans never learn to use psi?

I think because of the structure of Human society (that whole raider vs. farmer thing). More than that, the recent structure of Human society, highly technological and industrial, that particularly suppresses close human interaction and empathy. There's many a science fiction story about how humans' combat and warfare causes us to develop (metaphorical or real and supernatural) psychic shields against each other's thoughts and feelings.

What if that's intentional? What if there are dangerous beings out there, and the Arilou have for most of our history been steering us away from them by teaching how to shut out ESP and telepathy, by making a society that doesn't show us how to *look* where we ought not *see*?

My tentative theory: The Syreen's development is just a lot slower than Humans'. They attract no undue attention before the war, and only become part of the Alliance because of their narrow escape from death at the Mycons' hands; they probably ended up with the Alliance mainly because of their powerful effect on Humans. They're the natural state of Humans, what Humans should've been; a slowly industrializing, friendly, noncompetitive, non-ambitious race. No wonder we think of their world as Eden.

We are Syreen who have been pushed in a certain direction. Pushed to expand and grow and stretch. Any wonder that Arilou interference steps up during the 1950s? They wait until the right moment and begin pushing, doing more experiments, just at the time that we begin exploring space, building industry, becoming powerful. They want us to grow into a mighty spacefaring race but... in a certain way.

Why are the Androsynth the ones taken, and not Syreen or Humans? Maybe because the Arilou want a species with a certain potential -- a certain ability to perceive the extra dimensions. Maybe none of the other races in the area really has it or if they do they don't have other qualities the Arilou need (like the Pkunk, who are hardwired to be a milion times more cloistered and unambitious and peaceful than the Syreen). Maybe the ability is safe as long as it's weak and channeled properly -- maybe (borrowing from sf and fantasy) it's not dangerous if you don't have an ambitious or tainted mind, a mind that attracts dark thoughts and desires for power and such. Leaving the Pkunk and Syreen safe as long as they stay content.

But if the Arilou want to push their children to become great and mighty, on the path to becoming something (who knows? Their successors?) then they take the risk that the groping, questing, power-hungry Humans will encounter Them. So during Humans' growth phase they work especially hard to fight against Humans' use of psi power (hence a correlation between industrialization and widespread skepticism about ESP and stuff). The Androsynth are under no such protection, and have all the problems of Humanity multiplied: They're perfectionists, they see themselves as a superior race worthy of power, they seek power as protection from the prospect of reenslavement. And they have increased IQ and strength and probably increased psi potential too. No wonder they got picked up by Them so fast.

Just tenuous theories, but my two cents.
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #130 on: August 03, 2004, 06:20:08 pm »

Man, Art, you know Star Control down to an... art.  Grin

The Arilou influence could explain why us Humans never got around to hyperspace. It'd be the first step to looking for Them, and there was no way we could survive if we did find Them. Most likely, the Arilou supressed that technology as long as they could, building up Earth and its industry as much as possible, until the Chenjesu simply gave it to us.

Space travel requires a ton of resources. Colonies often need way more resources than they could give back, and space ships have big upkeep costs to go with them. Without hyperspace, though, we couldn't spend our resources on space travel. The next best place to put them was in more industry, which increased Earth's potential even more. I bet the Arilou let that cycle continue for as long as they could, so when we did get into hyperspace, we'd have a big head start.

One thing I noticed, is that the Ur-Quan burn everything over 500 years old. Yet, most of Earth development is nowhere near that old. What if that was done on purpose? A slow and steady growth would leave many places old enough to be destroyed in the rains of fire. But if you have a sudden explosion in development, the Ur-Quan would leave most of it intact. Commander Hayes did mention that most of the US was unaffected by the rains of fire, which means that Earth still had a large industrial power at its command. When that slave shield goes down, Earth will still be just as powerful as the day before it was enslaved.
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #131 on: August 04, 2004, 12:41:58 am »

Quote
and the fact that Slylandro last a very long time without dying (which tends to require that something have a lot of mass for redundant systems)

I don't see that. You can achieve long life span by making sure damaged systems are repaired before they fail, and protect systems from being damaged at all.
Repairing damaged systems before they fail requires some redundancy, but not much more than what humans have, unless you get lots of external damage. But where the Slylandro live there isn't much that can externally damage them.

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Like big balloons, and they'd be dependent on the pressure scales of Source to stay *intact*, much less alive -- lifting them out into space would probably cause them to dissipate into vapor, and figuring out how to prevent that would probably be too much of a headache even for the Precursors.

All that is needed is a capsule that can withstand a presure in which a Slylandro can contiously live. The layer of the gas giant which houses the Slylandro is the outer 500 km of the atmosphere of Source. It doesn't seem unlikely to me that the Slylandro can live in an almost earthlike pressure. I would bet that humans even today could build a capsule that could house a Slylandro. (Of course "house" does not only mean "contain", there should also be some way to feed them and to get rid of waste, but I don't think that will be beyond human capabilities.)
I suspect getting a capsule in and back out would be trickier. A long sturdy cable and something to keep the capsule stable in the wind should do the trick. The Precursors shouldn't have much problems with that.
A larger problem may be to get all Slylandro of the planet, if there are many of them. They would need a lot of ships or really big ships, or a lot of time. Say they can handle 1000 Slylandro per (Earth) hour. That would take them about one Earth year to evacuate 10 million Slylandro.

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What the Precursors were afraid of was probably something caused by something to do with their status as godlike rulers of the galaxy

What is this theory based on? And why do you think this is so probable?

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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #132 on: August 04, 2004, 10:21:56 am »

Love the thread - figured I'd seed some more ideas, see what sprouts.  oneirotekt's post has a nice big variety of topics in it, so it's convenient for me to just reply to everything he said as a way of introducing my own ideas - I don't mean to attack them specifically, so I hope it doesn't come off that way.  To the contrary, I picked that post to respond to cuz it has lots of good ideas for me to build on.  Smiley

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The Orz are from a dimension other than our own who have come here for an unknown (but, we can infer, vaguely sinister) purpose.  They are comparable to our concept of living, sentient beings.


As you comment further on, most people seem to like the interpretation of the Orz as a single sentient being with multiple projections into this dimension.  As such, Orz is a singular sentient being (rather than many sentient beings), but whether there are other Orz's (i.e. other sentient organisms of the same 'species' as Orz), or whether Orz is a singular and unique phenomenon, is open to speculation.  Also, I don't think Orz exactly 'came here', since I don't think it really 'left' wherever it was before - it seems more like it is now here in addition to wherever it was before, and may at any time be in lots and lots of places at once, spanning multiple dimensions.  I agree, though, that Orz's agenda in this dimension seems vaguely sinister, and I like that phrasing.  Smiley

But, there is ample room for variation just within this interpretation: for example, maybe the projections are like different fingers (i.e. they know they're all parts of one organism and work together), or maybe they're more like different echos/reflections (i.e. something about the nature of interdimensionality causes the single Orz entity to be 'reflected' multiple times in this reality), in that each individual 'finger' doesn't think of the other 'fingers' as separate from itself - it is aware of the fact that its presence is fractured and echoed in this dimension, but it relates to itself the way we would relate to all our reflections in a house of mirrors.  We can see what look like lots of copies of us, but we know the other ones are all false.  Orz's speech (such as using 'we') doesn't really support either of these interpretations, but then again, Orz speech can't be taken literally anyway.

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There are many dimensions other than our own, each with their own independent rules for time and space.  We (humans and our neighbors) are unique in that we do not move between the dimensions.


I don't think there's any reason to conclude that the races in our dimension are 'unique' in our inability to travel between dimensions - it seems just as likely that the races in our dimension (that we know about, who knows what's in other galaxies) are all too young to have figured that out yet.  What's more, some of our neighbors (to use the term slightly more broadly, time-wise) - specifically, the Androsynth and the Taalo - DO seem to have figured out how to move between dimensions, and this advancement then led to the ultimate fate of both of these races (whatever that may have been).

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Both the Arilou (who are a much younger, shorter lived race compared to the ancient Orz) and Orz are from two different dimensions...


Who says the Orz are older than the Arilou?  For that matter, who says it even makes sense to talk about the 'age' of an interdimensional species?  As you've already commented, each dimension could easily have completely different rules of physics and temporality - the idea of 'age' almost definitely doesn't translate very direactly between dimensions.

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... the Arilou from a "higher order" dimension (presumably what we call Quasi-Space) directly above our own (if you visualize the multitude of dimensions as the floors of an office building) and the Orz from another directly beneath our own.

*The Middle* might be another way of referring to our dimension, ie the one between *above* (the Arilou home dimension) and *below* (the Orz home dimension).


I think this is the topic on which I disagree most with that seems to be the dominant interpretation of multidimensionality that I've seen expressed in this thread, so forgive me if I get a little longwinded here.  Although the best-fit terms (*above*, *below*, *middle*) seem to suggest it, I think visualizing the dimensions as a linear 'stack' like an office building is not the right way to think about it.  Multidimensionality doesn't necessarily just mean adding an axis to everything, such that any given location in spacetime (3 spacial coordinates, 1 temporal coordinate) in our dimension has a counterpart in all the other dimensions (by adding a dimension coordinate) - that implies way too much linearity (i.e. the idea of one dimension having exactly two neighbors, one in each direction).  I think it's much more interesting and plausible to think of multiple dimensions as far, far more complex phenomenon; linkages between the dimensions are not a simple matter of finding a way to change your dimensional coordinate, but rather involve a very convoluted process of translating what passes for matter and energy in our dimensions into an equivalent sort of 'existence' in another dimension, and this is why natural portals are so rare and interdimensional travel seems to be one of the last things a sentient race ever figures out.  To anticipate a counterpoint, it is true that Hyperspace and Quasispace seem to have very similar laws of physics (i.e. the fact that you ship can 'go' there and look pretty much the same, the fact that you can fly around in those places the way we fly around in truespace, etc) doesn't mean that other dimensions are also similar: maybe the reason we use those dimensions as clever means of travel is because they happen to be two of the few that _are_ similar enough to serve that purpose.  As such, sentient races figure out Hyperspace pretty quickly, and probably figure out Quasispace not too long after that, but figuring out how to interact with 'less similar' dimensions, as the Taalo and Androsynth presumably did, takes more work.

This has some interesting implications for a lot of other topics in this thread.  For example, the idea of interdimensional beings *smell*ing eachother becomes more complex - if the dimensions were all stacked up neatly one on top of the other, it seems like a relatively simple matter to just travel from one to the next looking for life forms.  Also, under such an interpretation, why would *They* need to *smell* a life form in order to get to it, and having *smell*ed it, why would *They* be able to access it so immediately?  Getting from wherever *They* are to our dimension would have to involve traveling through all the dimensions in between, and if they were that close to us in the stack, wouldn't they have found us already anyway?

I think it's better to think of interdimensionality involving several axes, maybe a huge or even infinite number: you can go 'up' and 'down' through dimensions, but maybe you could also go sideways, forward, backward, inside, outside, around, ana and kata (for anyone who's read the scifi book I'm taking that from but can't remember tha name of), etc etc.  In that case, finding something in interdimensional space is like finding something in single dimensional space: we would never have found the Slylandro if nobody had told us where to look.  The Ur-Quan would never have found any of its victims if they hadn't traced their hyperwave broadcasts back to them.  Similarly, *They* can only really find a race in interdimensional space if that race does something that penetrates interdimensional space, like start opening portals (which might create some kind of interdimensional reverberation that could be detected and pinpointed).

Then, the Arilou's efforts with humans becomes something like putting up a hyperwave shield around a planet: if the hyperwave transmissions, which are detectable, are blocked, nobody has any reason to look at that planet so nobody ever does, and the inhabitants become basically 'invisible' to someone like the Ur-Quan.  Similarly, if the Arilou tampered with humans to dampen or eliminate anything in our existence which might have 'reverberated' interdimensionally, that prevents *Them* from pinpointing us.

In fact, multidimensionality probably isn't even as simple as thinking of more axes along which to travel between dimensions: if getting from another dimension to this one was the hard part, and getting around within one dimension was the easy part, then why haven't *They* devoured everything in this dimension?  They clearly know this dimension exists and even know how to find it, since *They* either came here to eat the Androsynth or else caused the Androsynth to move to *Them* - but if *They* could do that, why wouldn't they do it to everyone else in this dimension, too?  Why would they need to *smell* each race separately in order to get to them, even if they're all in the same dimension?

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As the Orz bodies are only material projections, their destruction does not actually harm the Orz entity.  They view human death as "dissolving" because our souls are tied inextricably to our material bodies, and once the body dies the soul "dissolves".


I don't necessarily agree.  People seem to like this interpretation because it allows them to take the next step and point out that Orz might not realize that destroying our ships actually does hurt (and in fact permenantly destroys) sentient beings.  I don't like this interpretation, first of all because we never specified what kind of 'projection' of Orz it is that we see; if they're literally like 'fingers' that 'poke through' into our dimension but share some kind of connection to the 'true' Orz, then wouldn't it hurt a little to cut those fingers off?  It is possible that the projections are more like holograms - something that we can perceive and allows us to interact with the Orz, but which is not 'real' and does not have any impact on the 'true' Orz.  But even if this is the case, it seems plausible (from other things Orz says) that Orz understands that *dancing* in *heavy space* is actually bad for, and hurts, the people who live in *heavy space*.  If it didn't think that, why would it threaten to *dance* with us in order to get us to stop doing something it doesn't like, such as ask about the Androsynth?

Some other random comments:

I agree with a previous poster that the Taalo probably met Orz in another dimension, after the Taalo figured out IDF.  But has anyone in the SC2 universe ever expressed concern that the Taalo might have fallen prey to *Them*?  If the Taalo have been galavanting around between dimensions, it seems that they would have almost definitely encountered *Them*, since the Androsynth had only just begin to poke a few holes when *They* immediately came and wiped them out.  So if the Taalo were somehow not vulnerable to *Them*, how come?  Maybe it has something to do with the Taalo's other precularity - their psionic ability.  If the Taalo were a species whose consciousness was such that psionic ability was second nature, maybe that also protects them from *Them*?  (That sounds convoluted, I know)  Maybe *They* 'eat' species not in a physical or literal way, but in a psychic way - like 'eat'ing their souls, and it only works if the prey can't protect itself psionically.  On the other hand, if that were true, it seems like the Arilou would have encouraged psionic ability in Humans to enable us to protect ourselves, and that doesn't seem to be the case.  On the other other hand, maybe the Taalo were, in fact, devoured by *Them*, and we just never heard about it.  Or maybe we did and I'm just forgetting it.

Why do the Rainbow Worlds point to the Galactic Core?  A random idea here, and in a way similar to and derived from the explanation in SC3, but maybe the Precursors were also trying to protect the future inhabitants of this galaxy from *Them*.  Modern physics suggests that there are probably supermassive black holes at the center of most galaxies, maybe even lots of them; singularities of that magnitude might be the sort of thing that would cause natural interdimensional weaknesses, and maybe that is a point of 'close contact' to other dimensions, where *They* are.  In that case, the galactic core would be one of the places where *They* could 'see' into this dimension and possibly *smell* if anyone interesting lived here - what if the Rainbow Worlds were made to shield us from that 'sight'?  If the Precursors found some inanimate material (like the hyper-radioactive whateveritis that the RWs are made of) which was capable of masking our presence - our *smell* - from *Them*, it would make sense to orient that shield toward the place where *They* would be looking from, which would be the galactic core.

Along those lines, maybe the Precursors ultimate destination wasn't another dimension, but rather extinction: maybe the Precursors attracted the attention of *Them* and were just as vulnerable as the Androsynth.  Knowing that *They* were coming, and not wanting to put other life in this galaxy at risk, maybe the Precursors set up the Rainbow Worlds to mask our *smell* and then went somewhere else in order to draw *Them* away from us; when *They* caught up to the Precursors and devoured them, at least *They* didn't also catch wind of the other life in this galaxy in the process.  It would seem in line with the Precursor's noble image to sacrifice themselves to protect fledgling life.

If you actually read this whole post, I admire you.  Sorry to be so longwinded, I talk alot when I get excited.  Smiley
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #133 on: August 04, 2004, 12:55:10 pm »

 
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I don't see that. You can achieve long life span by making sure damaged systems are repaired before they fail, and protect systems from being damaged at all.
Repairing damaged systems before they fail requires some redundancy, but not much more than what humans have, unless you get lots of external damage. But where the Slylandro live there isn't much that can externally damage them.


Well, there's no proof of Slylandro size one way or the other -- but I find them easier to imagine as room-sized than microorganism-sized. They would need *at least* human levels of redundancy to survive, and that kind of complexity is probably impossible at the microorganism level, as is sentience.

But Source life is radically different in pretty much every way from Earth life, so I won't push it. Nonetheless there should be room for common sense estimates even in science fiction, and one of the things we do know about Slylandro is that they're evolved from predators, which means they had to physically surround, overpower and consume other life forms. That implies they're probably not tiny for Source life. The immense length of their memories, and the fact that even on Source physical laws are the same as on Earth, means that there's a physical limit to how small they can be and still retain data encompassing lifespans measured in Drahn. And the efficiency of whatever system they use to store memories shouldn't be miraculously high -- in order to develop randomly through evolution organic systems like brains are always cruder and more robust and therefore take up more space than artificial systems like computers.

The analogy I always had in my mind for Slylandro was deep-sea creatures. And the intelligent top-of-the-food-chain species in the ocean do tend to a larger size than similar animals on land; in a buoyant environment the costs of being big (having to support yourself against gravity, losing manueverability and speed) are weakened and the benefits remain the same or greater. If anything, the pressure within a gas giant is a lot *greater* than the pressure in the Earth's ocean. It gives the Slylandro more reason to be big, since support structures in general are going to have to be larger and contain more redundancies not to be crushed by random movements in the ambient medium. There's a reason that the idea of the gigantic gasbag is familiar; it's been done in a few other science fiction stories before, and the native inhabitants of Jupiter or wherever do tend to be described as enormous in scale, because a life form that can survive the titanic energies in a gas giant is more believable as large than small. (Never mind that, although we don't know what sensors the Precursors or the Melnorme had, for them to be detectable inside the maelstrom of a gas giant they'd probably have to be pretty large and noticeable.) To the Slylandro their environment is boring, because they're adapted to it and have long since killed off their natural enemies, but the medium they live in is one that would utterly destroy the Vindicator if it flew into it because of the sheer kinetic energy, discarding concerns about heat or radiation or active chemicals. Gas giants play around with a lot more power on the inside than *any* rocky world does, and I'd imagine Slylandro would have to be a lot more physically robust than a human just to live. They wouldn't be aware of it any more than we're aware of the complex processes that allow us to survive on a planet with gravity and atmosphere that would probably annihilate anything that grew up on the surface of an asteroid.

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Like big balloons, and they'd be dependent on the pressure scales of Source to stay *intact*, much less alive -- lifting them out into space would probably cause them to dissipate into vapor, and figuring out how to prevent that would probably be too much of a headache even for the Precursors.

All that is needed is a capsule that can withstand a presure in which a Slylandro can contiously live. The layer of the gas giant which houses the Slylandro is the outer 500 km of the atmosphere of Source. It doesn't seem unlikely to me that the Slylandro can live in an almost earthlike pressure. I would bet that humans even today could build a capsule that could house a Slylandro. (Of course "house" does not only mean "contain", there should also be some way to feed them and to get rid of waste, but I don't think that will be beyond human capabilities.)
I suspect getting a capsule in and back out would be trickier. A long sturdy cable and something to keep the capsule stable in the wind should do the trick. The Precursors shouldn't have much problems with that.
A larger problem may be to get all Slylandro of the planet, if there are many of them. They would need a lot of ships or really big ships, or a lot of time. Say they can handle 1000 Slylandro per (Earth) hour. That would take them about one Earth year to evacuate 10 million Slylandro.


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's the *first* 500 km of the gas giant's atmosphere. It's *a* 500-km pressure zone that's safe for them to move around in, but it's still safely inside the atmosphere of the planet. Moving into "The Void" only slowly decreases their ability to think clearly and maintain their inhibitions as they ascend, rather than killing them. Since we know they can't survive outside of Source, this means that entering the Void isn't the same thing as leaving Source, and entering the Void is more like going up to Mount Everest and getting low-oxygen giddiness for humans than leaving the Earth's atmosphere (which goes on for quite a ways beyond Everest levels).

And I find it just plain unbelievable that you can get sentient life from a gasbag whose internal pressure is no more than 1 atmosphere. Life processes require a certain amount of density of the chemicals involved in order for there to be a certain rate of chemical reactions that allows life processes. If chemicals are too sparse or too rarefied, life can't survive, or life only survives in very small and simple ways. Hence Earth life depends on the properties of liquid water and the large amounts of different light compounds it can hold in solution in order to function -- hence all  cells are made of colloidal compounds based on water. For the Slylandro to have complexity like ours they have to have a medium like that, some rich soup of highly pressurized gases. A medium as rarefied as our *own* atmosphere is really unlikely to have lots of active compounds close enough to each other to start creating self-sustaining chemical processes. Earth's atmosphere dissipates too fast, lets gases separate quickly without reacting with each other -- almost everything important we take from the air must be dissolved in water before it's in a form useful to life. This is why aspiring xenologists barely bother to speculate about finding life forms as giant gas clouds on Mars or Venus or Titan; if there isn't a liquid medium or the equivalent (and superpressurized gas inside a gas giant is an equivalent) then it's not worth looking for life as we know it.

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What the Precursors were afraid of was probably something caused by something to do with their status as godlike rulers of the galaxy

What is this theory based on? And why do you think this is so probable?


Occam's Razor. There are a lot of things that make the Precursors special other than the fact that they're very ancient sentient life forms. It seems kind of much to assume that whatever they were afraid of had to be some kind of universal threat, rather than something specific to the Precursors themselves. For all we know it could've been something irrelevant to *anything* we know about the Precursors -- maybe a deadly disease that affected Precursor biology, or the depletion of some resource Precursor technology and only Precursor technology depended on. But if we have to assume something, it doesn't make sense to assume that the problems of a race as unique and powerful as the Precursors were some sort of threat to All Sentient Life Everywhere.

That's the route Star Control 3 took, and it's not necessarily a *bad* route -- I don't mind the general idea of the Eternal Ones as a plot device. But there's no reason it has to be true if SC3 isn't canon, and *certainly* no reason based on SC2. Certainly the fact that the Slylandro remained unmolested, while it's not proof of much, is weak evidence against the idea, as is the puzzle of how old the seemingly ancient Arilou are allowed to be. And the Precursors' reign was so long ago that lack of evidence about their contemporaries really says nothing much -- it's doubtful that a race that wasn't as powerful as the Precursors could leave enough artifacts that would last long enough for us to know anything about them this many years later. Frankly I think it's a lot more likely that the Precursors ran into a resource crisis because of the unprecedented size of their empire than that huge godlike beings who want to absorb all sentient life offed them and are now after us pitiful humans too, even if the latter idea is cooler and a better idea for a sequel. (And if that becomes our standard for what's "likely" in the Star Control universe, well...)
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Re: 'They' cannot see you now.
« Reply #134 on: August 04, 2004, 01:09:38 pm »

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The opposite is true, when they go low, the 'pressure' almost ruptures their 'skin' membrane, producing the attractive scars. When they go higher they behave inappropriately.
And how do we know its physical harm? It could be that they need a certain atmosphere to breath in, whereas higher up its not as common, so they get dizzy. Whereas the deeper areas possess heavier poisonous gas.


They specifically tell us the damage to their bodies from entering the Depths is in the form of physical scars on their gasbags caused by the pressure rupturing their bodies. They don't mention suffocation or poisoning, just the physical effort of staying down there as the challenge of going into the Depths. That's not to say that, since the atmosphere of a gas giant is likely to be somewhat chaotic, leaving the safe zone wouldn't impose chemical dangers as well as physical ones, but since they are relatively delicate gas bags the pressure thing is a big deal.

I don't think going into the Void is the same thing as going into space -- just because it's thin air for them that makes them get woozy doesn't mean that they're anywhere close to actually leaving the planet at that point. And since they probably are heavily dependent on particular chemicals in the gas to survive, it's quite likely that a slowly ascending Slylandro would suffocate before he popped, just like if you were slowly pulled up off the ground by an airplane you'd probably pass out due to oxygen sickness before anything else happened to you..

But that doesn't mean the pressure of completely leaving your planet for the void of space is no big deal. It's a big deal for *humans*, whose lungs and joints will pop if you take them into space (why else would we spring for expensive pressure suits for astronauts rather than just giving them scuba tanks and masks?). Even if your blood oxygen was constantly being replenished, the difference between one and zero atmospheres would do a lot of harm to your body if you found yourself in space. And the Slylandro most definitely live at pressures much higher than Earth's air, or maybe even Earth's oceans -- even the upper layers of Jupiter register hundreds of atmospheres. There's no way space wouldn't make them pop, and the cost of building a capsule that could hold that much pressure inside of it would be an immense engineering problem, even if the Precursors, say, had the knowhow to do it.
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