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Author Topic: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!  (Read 27391 times)
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Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« on: December 17, 2008, 11:30:50 pm »

It's speculation time!

I know we can just discard things like these as story weaknesses, or say "it's just a game, no use rambling on about it" or some such. However, I think that using our imaginations to go deeper into the SC universe can be good fun, and thus I look forward to your ideas! Smiley


So... one of the things I'm wondering about: (I used the search function, but haven't seen anything quite similar)

The Dnyarri slave empire lasted for what, 2000 or 3000 years? This would mean that the Milieu races were mentally compulsed for a VERY long time...
As the Dnyarri's reign reached its end, the Ur-Quan and other slave races rebelled... with great hatred toward their masters. So, the slaves apparently had enough free will (even if they could not act upon it) to hate the Dnyarri and desire freedom, even though they never had it in their lives (and neither did tens of generations of their ancestors... although how many varies according to each race's lifespan).

Firstly, the Dnyarri conquer the Sentient Milieu.

During the first few years everyone who's mentally compulsed harbors a secret hatred towards them. Then another generation is born... a generation that never knew freedom, whose parents and all acquaintances are themselves constantly under mental compulsion, and these children are themselves mind-controlled basically since the day they are born. They have no opportunity to lead a normal life, to have a normal education, etc. In fact, as the parents are mind-controlled, they are probably completely uncapable to tell their children about freedom, to utter a single word against their masters, or to transfer their hatred of the Dnyarri to the children. So, the children grow up around the Dnyarri, who can mold (brainwash) them as they wish, and those who remember what it was to be free can do nothing about it.

And so it goes on for generations, until freedom itself is forgotten. All that exists in the lives of the slaves is the Dnyarri. They are a fact of life to the slaves, and the slaves' hatred is long gone. Only mindless obedience remains.

This seems to me as the logical course, even in a much shorter period of such total psychic enslavement... and yet, as UQM canon tells us, it wasn't so.

The slaves didn't forget... far from it. They never surrendered to their fate. An obvious example of this is when Kzer-Za (the person) gains a few brief moments of freedom, and tells all the Ur-Quan the way to break free, they all immediately do this, and don't hesitate a moment to kill any Dnyarri in the vicinity.

So, 2 or 3 thousand years of the most perfect dictatorship weren't enough to brainwash the slaves into total submission. How is this possible?

The only explanation that occurs to me is that the Dnyarri's control was far from perfect, even before the end was close (when they were supposedly getting lazy and sloppy). Apparently, those who were born as slaves did have a chance to learn from their ancestors, and their unbroken spirit managed to survive for thousands of years. This required relatively lengthy periods of either total freedom or something not far from it.

This brings to mind the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. They were genetically engineered to be bureaucrats, administrators, and - perhaps most importantly - scientists. Now, if I remember correctly, the Umgah who were fully controlled by the neo-Dnyarri came off as quite dumb. They couldn't make jokes, and spoke like zombies. This doesn't seem good for scientific thinking.

It seems that, to a point, scientific thinking requires free thinking to really work. This requires the Dnyarri to somewhat loosen their leash on the Kzer-Za researchers.

People under total compulsion seem to only be capable only of the most basic tasks - for instance, eat, move or kill. Anything more complex requires a certain amount of individual drive, of free thought independent of the Dnyarri.

This loosening of control seems to make sense if we take into account the Dnyarri's full character. In addition to the will to dominate, they are also:
- ambitious
- somewhat lazy

and, maybe most importantly - greedy.

The Dnyarri had at their disposal 7+ races of perfectly obedient zombies. They obey their masters' bidding without question, and in the beginning, this is good. However, the Dnyarri want more, and dumb grunts no longer completely satisfy them. Improvement is required, and for this the Dnyarri need the slaves to show initiative. It also seems likely that the Dnyarri were, for all their intelligence, scientifically quite underdeveloped. Rather than absorbing the wealth of knowledge from their slaves, the lazy Dnyarri let the slaves do it all for them. This required some substantial loosening of control on the part of the Dnyarri. The loosening slowly proceeded to such an extent that the slaves were fully capable to communicate their discontent to each other, which soon spelled disaster for the masters.

---------------------------------

Well, I tried to answer my own questions, but I feel the answer is still somewhat incomplete Tongue
Do you have any theories on this? Please, share! Grin
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 02:43:44 am »

Hmmm, interesting question. One problem is that we're forced to take it from the human point of view, where something imposed over several generations is theoretically implemented into the next generation, forgetting what was formerly part of the race.  This doesn't necessarily apply to Milleu races, but let's just assume that it does.

I don't know if anywhere in the code it mentions the extent of the Dnyarri's power, and if the mind control was strong enough to eliminate self-awareness. If this wasn't the case then there's the argument of whether being self-aware makes one naturally desire freedom.

The other side of it was the way the Excrutiator worked. Suppose one Ur-Quan for some reason felt enough pain to be free from the Dnyarri for a second, would the natural course of events lead to them creating a pain device, freeing more Ur-Quan, etc.

My opinion is that 2000-3000 years (or however many drahn) isn't as large of a timescale for Milleu races compared to human time. I mean look at the Doctine of "Now and Forever". I'm sure that the Ur-Quan were powerless to the Dynarri, but at the same time desired their freedom, almost like a multiple personality, but the Dynarri is stronger.  They probably were forced to live with it until they stumbled into a way to free themselves.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 01:04:36 pm »

About the passing generations and hatred - look at the Mycon - they have genetic memory to the full extent of the term .
Another point is the mental compultion - the Kzer-Za researchers - in the game , if you come to neo-Dnyarri unprepared , you find yourself far away in the middle of hostile sphere of influence . If the compultion could reach this far , the Talking Pet would not need any "plans" to re-take control of the Ur-Quan , he would just "ask" to bring him closer to the events . On this basis I think Dnyarri could seed an imperative for a research and leave the scientists to it , as flying the ship and commanding a large crew needs fair brain power , not unlike any research .
This being said , when a researcher was busy developing , free of control , if he came into great enough pain , the compultion would brake , and as expected time period did not pass , window of free will would occur . Being beurocrats , Kzer-Za could protocol this observation for the next occurance of free will , without being checked - Dnyarri's ego would prevent it from admitting to self's mistake and laziness would take care for the lack of checking . Dying individuals would be free of control as well , and thus have pretty extended window of opportunity to leave messages to next generations of rebellion researchers .
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 09:36:13 pm »

Aren't the Dynarri also notoriously lazy?  Don't know if I saw it in the UQM version or the original PC version, but I think one of the Ur-Quan sub-races (probably the Kohr-Ah) mentions that the Dynarri over the course of years became somewhat lax in their control over the Milieu.  The researcher Kzer-Za was actually tasked with studing the mental damage caused by long-term Dynarri compulsion, in his studies he discovered that when a slave died the Dynarri had to disconnect from the slave or the Dynarri would die too, and that excruciating pain would also force the Dynarri to disconnect.  During a moment where the Dynarri had let him (Kzer-Za) have some free thought he injured himself mortally, and during those remaining seconds of his life, he broadcast the secret to defeating the Dynarri to the remainder of the Ur-Quan.

The Dynarri's laziness in their control over the Milieu races, particularily the Ur-Quan (the race most vulnerable to psychic manipulation), led to their undoing.  The Dynarri having researchers determinine how to deal with the mental damage caused by long term compulsion, put Kzer-Za in position to discover the secret to defeating the Dynarri.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 10:43:13 pm »

Aren't the Dynarri also notoriously lazy?  Don't know if I saw it in the UQM version or the original PC version, but I think one of the Ur-Quan sub-races (probably the Kohr-Ah) mentions that the Dynarri over the course of years became somewhat lax in their control over the Milieu.  The researcher Kzer-Za was actually tasked with studing the mental damage caused by long-term Dynarri compulsion, in his studies he discovered that when a slave died the Dynarri had to disconnect from the slave or the Dynarri would die too, and that excruciating pain would also force the Dynarri to disconnect.  During a moment where the Dynarri had let him (Kzer-Za) have some free thought he injured himself mortally, and during those remaining seconds of his life, he broadcast the secret to defeating the Dynarri to the remainder of the Ur-Quan.

The Dynarri's laziness in their control over the Milieu races, particularily the Ur-Quan (the race most vulnerable to psychic manipulation), led to their undoing.  The Dynarri having researchers determinine how to deal with the mental damage caused by long term compulsion, put Kzer-Za in position to discover the secret to defeating the Dynarri.

I think the Melnorme give that information
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 10:46:16 pm »

Aren't the Dynarri also notoriously lazy?  Don't know if I saw it in the UQM version or the original PC version, but I think one of the Ur-Quan sub-races (probably the Kohr-Ah) mentions that the Dynarri over the course of years became somewhat lax in their control over the Milieu.  The researcher Kzer-Za was actually tasked with studing the mental damage caused by long-term Dynarri compulsion, in his studies he discovered that when a slave died the Dynarri had to disconnect from the slave or the Dynarri would die too, and that excruciating pain would also force the Dynarri to disconnect.  During a moment where the Dynarri had let him (Kzer-Za) have some free thought he injured himself mortally, and during those remaining seconds of his life, he broadcast the secret to defeating the Dynarri to the remainder of the Ur-Quan.

The Dynarri's laziness in their control over the Milieu races, particularily the Ur-Quan (the race most vulnerable to psychic manipulation), led to their undoing.  The Dynarri having researchers determinine how to deal with the mental damage caused by long term compulsion, put Kzer-Za in position to discover the secret to defeating the Dynarri.

I think the Melnorme give that information

You might be right.  It's been a while since I've bought information from the Melnorme.  I usually only buy technology and fuel from them when I play and get the Deep Child info from the Mycon.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2008, 06:06:21 am »

So, 2 or 3 thousand years of the most perfect dictatorship weren't enough to brainwash the slaves into total submission. How is this possible?

My guess is that it has to do with the Ur-Quan's territorial instincts. Think about it. The Ur-Quan you meet in SC2's game are so territorial that they hate being on the same ship as each other. Each individual Ur-Quan must have naturally developed a loathing for their Dnyarri masters in a way that successive generations of human mind-slaves in that same position would not. So although the Ur-Quan were the Dnyarri's best slaves, they were also the most dangerous if left unchecked.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2008, 06:05:28 am »

It may be that the dnyarri kept the ur-quan on a loose leash. Didn't Kzer-Za send out a message to everyone that pain interrupted the dnyarri's control, and that ur-quan who received the message grabbed the nearest vial of acid or broken glass and hurt themselves in order to get to the nearest dnyarri and crush him? It may be that the Ur-quans had sufficient autonomy to think certain things and even to do certain things fast enough before the dnyarri could respond or notice that something is out of the ordinary.
Once the pain was consistent, the dnyarri couldn't re-establish control.

The Dnyarri was probably in the habit of suppressing any sort of independent thoughts in Ur-Quan that they were "seriously considering" but that a small amount of independent thoughts below the surface were always there. The Dnyarri slavemasters just had to prune them before they got out of hand.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2008, 12:12:20 pm »

It may be that the dnyarri kept the ur-quan on a loose leash. Didn't Kzer-Za send out a message to everyone that pain interrupted the dnyarri's control, and that ur-quan who received the message grabbed the nearest vial of acid or broken glass and hurt themselves in order to get to the nearest dnyarri and crush him? It may be that the Ur-quans had sufficient autonomy to think certain things and even to do certain things fast enough before the dnyarri could respond or notice that something is out of the ordinary.
Once the pain was consistent, the dnyarri couldn't re-establish control.

Since Red isn't here I'll post the relevant quote instead.

Quote from: Melnorme
The Ur-Quan named Kzer-Za was a Green, a researcher specializing in repairing the mental damage
inflicted by long-term exposure to the Dnyarri's psychic compulsion.
By this point in history, the Dnyarri had grown lax in their dominance
and on occasion accidentally permitted their slaves moments of self-direction.
Kzer-Za was able to use those few scattered minutes to compose a theory.
From its observations, Kzer-Za realized that when a slave died
the Dnyarri `disconnected' from the slave's mind, lest it too be dragged down to death.
Further, the Ur-Quan scientist uncovered the fact that when a slave underwent great pain
the Dnyarri temporarily disconnected -- but that the degree of pain had to be extreme, nearly lethal.
Kzer-Za chose its moment carefully -- it waited until it was near an open transmission unit.
Then, in a short moment of mental freedom, the Ur-Quan injected itself with a dose of acidic poison
sending incredible waves of pain through its long body.
In the few moments before its death, Kzer-Za was able to wrest control of the transmitter
to send word of its discovery across the planet, and into space as well.
Before the Dnyarri knew what was happening
Ur-Quan everywhere were hacking at their own bodies with chunks of glass, burning themselves horribly
doing anything that would give them the few seconds of freedom necessary to find the nearest Dnyarri
and crush the bleating creature.

So basically the *Dnyarri got lazy and started allowing their slaves some uncontrolled minutes here and there. But they usually kept them on a tight leash.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2008, 01:34:19 pm by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2008, 10:21:50 am »

Quote
So basically the *Dnyarri got lazy and started allowing their slaves some uncontrolled minutes here and there. But they usually kept them on a tight leash.

I guess it depends what you mean by tight leash. I imagine controlling millions of minions would be fairly effort-intensive.
The question in my mind is, while it's clear that ur-quans had a few minutes of freedom of action here and there, did they have freedom of thought in other times? Or maybe they had the stirrings of thought in their subconscious but were punished with psychic pain if they thought something too extreme like "I hate dnyarri" -- something that might turn into action?



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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2008, 01:42:07 pm »

I guess it depends what you mean by tight leash.

Of course this is all open to interpretation, but I read

Quote
By this point in history, the Dnyarri had grown lax in their dominance
and on occasion accidentally permitted their slaves moments of self-direction.

To indicate that they were usually not allowed any self-direction, i.e independent thought. Of course, self-direction might just mean control over their body, but

Quote
Kzer-Za was able to use those few scattered minutes to compose a theory.

seems to indicate that when not allowed self-direction, Kzer-Za couldn't even think. Otherwise, nothing would have stopped him from figuring this out whilst being under control.

As an explanation, it is possible that Dnyarri mind control simply suppresses the self, causing the victim to become a thoughtless drone, who is then very receptive to commands. Essentially, being turned into a non-sentient but highly advanced robot.

Quote
I imagine controlling millions of minions would be fairly effort-intensive.

Considering that a single Dnyarri took over all the Umgah, they might be fairly powerful. and once they'd established themselves as masters, I imagine their population rapidly grew.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2008, 05:47:42 pm »

Quote
Considering that a single Dnyarri took over all the Umgah
Heh , I sometimes think it could be just another joke , like "let's pretend we're all under control"
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2008, 12:30:57 pm »

In regards to the original topic, I think Shiver makes a good point. The Ur-Quan probably only tolerate eachother during mating season, they had to work hard to build a civilisation. That kind of anthipathy on a basic subconcious level is probably hard to erase.

Another possibility is that Ur-Quan pupae weren't under as much scrutiny as adult Ur-Quan. They might have had enough time without control to learn basic language and functions (a slave that doesn't understand what you want is pretty worthless, then you have to physically guide them each step of the way). During that time I'm sure they'd have learnt to resent the Dnyarri.

A third possibility has to do with punishment. Kzer-Za figured out that the Dnyarri withdrew their control while punishing slaves by causing intense pain. The Dnyarri seem like the kind who'd enjoy causing pain just for the sake of it. So most Ur-Quan might well have had plenty of free time being while being punished, which would be enough to foster quite a bit of resentment.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2009, 06:26:32 am »

I cant remember enough from the game to substantiate this but is it possible that the Ur-Quan have genetic memory? I dont remember it being said in any of the conversations that they looked at records or anything like that (I know, just because they didnt say it isnt proof)

This would sort of explain why they still maintained a feeling of hatred towards the Dnyarri after generations of enslavement and would also explain why years after the defeat of the dnyarri it is still such a traumatic experience for them. All Ur-Quan 'know' what it was like to be under the terrible control of the Dnyarri.
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Re: Mysteries of the Star Control Universe... theories much appreciated!
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2009, 01:44:36 am »

As an explanation, it is possible that Dnyarri mind control simply suppresses the self, causing the victim to become a thoughtless drone, who is then very receptive to commands. Essentially, being turned into a non-sentient but highly advanced robot.

It is explained in the game that the one being controlled feels like he is sleeping. In full control, slaves have no idea what is going on.
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