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[Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced 
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Post [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
So some of you may recall I recently got into a bit of a discussion with fellow forum-goer dragoongfa about his story The Pale Horse. The content of the discussion is rather irrelevant, but it did get me thinking: what else could you do to make an encounter between a race like the Loroi and a TL16 humanity interesting, without turning the Humans into Q or the Doctor? The question wouldn't go away, so here we are. Hopefully this will kick that pesky bug out and I can go back to my other projects.

Originally this was going to be quite a bit longer, but as I ended the second scene I realized I didn't need any other scenes. I also realized I didn't need the first scene either, so my short story suddenly became quite short indeed.

Feedback is quite welcome.

Part 2 is now up.

Part 3 is now up.

The conclusion has been published.

All dialog is mental unless otherwise noted.

---

Doomed scout ship. Lone survivor. Alien rescue. Some things don’t change. But some things do.

SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED

“Body temperature, heart rate, and breathing have all stabilized. Brain activity has been slowly climbing for the past few bima. He is waking up.”

Fireblade nodded, sending her two subordinates to stand on either side of the prisoner. At the insistence of the medical staff and the energetic little Tozet that kept buzzing around, they weren’t pointing their weapons at him, but she insisted they keep them ready. There was no sense in taking chances.

A surge of emotions crashed against her mind without warning, so swiftly she almost couldn’t make sense of them. The alien’s eyes had shot open and now darted around the room, before quickly relaxing again. Unable to muster the concentration for a mental strike, Fireblade instead resorted to raising her rifle to shoot the creature in the head. Before she could pull the trigger, the mental attack subsided, and the alien laid back calmly.

GREETING

It wasn’t a word, just a sensation backed by enormous mental pressure. Judging from the reactions of the rest of the room, she hadn’t been the only one to receive the message.

“We suspected, but…you are capable of sanzai?” asked the Tozet, her mental tone a mixture of fear and surprise.

Fireblade was ready this time, but the torrent of sensations and jumbled images that radiated from the alien still almost overwhelmed her.

“I am sorry, we could not understand that,” stated the Tozet as she pressed one hand to her head. Fireblade didn’t blame her. To one unskilled in the stresses of mental combat, the alien’s attempts at mental speech were likely quite painful. “Perhaps, do you speak Trade?”

NEGATIVE

Though still forceful, this sensation was milder than the previous one. It appeared that simple concepts were easier for the creature to transmit. Fireblade wondered if it might have the same problem she did with her psychokinesis: too much power with too little control. She instantly dismissed the thought as irrelevant. She faced an unknown creature with powerful abilities, it was hardly the time to dwell on her personal failings.

“…how unfortunate,” the Tozet replied when the echoes of the alien communication had faded. “Can you identify yourself or your nation? We have never encountered a species such as yours before.”

NEGATIVE

“Perhaps the question was too broad? Can you simply tell us who you are?”

Another tidal wave of emotions smashed against Fireblade’s mind, but this time she could recognize some of them. The feeling of laughter at a joke. The satisfaction of executing a clever ploy. The curiosity of exploring a place she had never been. The sorrow of losing a friend. The mixture of emotions was not a name, but perhaps it came close.

“…thank you. I think I understand,” said the Tozet after a few moments. She appeared exhausted and in pain, but gamely continued onward. “What can you tell us about your people?”

Without warning, Fireblade felt a memory rise, so strongly it felt almost as though she were there again. It was during her EV training, the first time she had released her magnets to drift without any support. She had felt so helpless, staring at the millions and millions of stars that stretched on forever. It was one of the most humbling experiences of her life, seeing the vastness of the universe and realizing just how tiny she really was.

Then the memory was gone and she was left gasping. She actually reached up to touch her face, feeling for the EV mask that wasn’t there. It had felt so real… In front of her, the alien reached up a hand to point at her and nod knowingly. This calm agreement with her feelings almost distracted her from the shock of realizing he had somehow slipped his restraints. Almost.

Her gun came up in an instant, and she lashed out with a telekinetic strike that would flatten him back to the medical cot where he lay. The alien didn’t even move. Instead, she felt something inside her mind bend, and the attack rebounded. She was thrown across the room, smashing into a console in a burst of sparks.

Fireblade saw stars, and when her vision came back she realized the rest of her squad appeared to have been subdued in a similar fashion. One of them had gotten a lucky shot off though. The alien’s head had been reduced to a smoking ruin, the scent of burnt flesh filling the room and almost making her gag. The little Tozet wasn’t so fortunate. Fireblade could hear her vomiting.

She climbed to her feet, but even as she began to survey the room she caught a glimpse of movement from the alien’s body. She started to raise her weapon, then stopped in sheer disbelief.

The creature’s head had reappeared. One moment the alien was a burnt corpse, the next it was completely unharmed, glaring at her with an unreadable expression on his face. It was as though the injury had been completely erased. She almost shot him again purely out of shock, but something in his stare stopped her.

A new memory sprang up, of her own bidding this time. She had seen that look before. It was during another phase of her training, this time an exercise in the jungles of Perrien. One of the local predators had mistaken them for an easy meal and pounced on one of her squadmates. The cadet had worn that same bored expression while she watched the creature try futilely to maul through combat armor with its claws, before casually flinging it off into the jungle with her telekinesis.

The pieces fell together, and Fireblade took a step back in horror. She understood now why the monster had shown her the time she stopped to stare into the darkness.

Somewhere in the brown eyes of this unassuming alien, the infinite abyss of the universe was finally gazing back.

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Last edited by joestej on Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:04 pm, edited 5 times in total.



Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:12 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
I like it!


Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:57 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Grayhome wrote:
I like it!


Why thank you. Any especially good parts or areas that could have used work?

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Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:28 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
The concept that humans are Cthulhu is a strange one, and difficult to pull off. However, I believe that you have captured that with such a Lovecraft element even simple communication would be a difficult, if not potentially lethal


Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:37 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Grayhome wrote:
The concept that humans are Cthulhu is a strange one, and difficult to pull off. However, I believe that you have captured that with such a Lovecraft element even simple communication would be a difficult, if not potentially lethal


Thank you! There's actually a fun reason Human telepathic communication is so painful for the Loroi (beyond the obvious Lovecraftian themes), but there wasn't a good way to reveal it in the story without basically ruining the atmosphere.

Spoiler: show
The idea of using technology to mimic an ability naturally possessed by another species is nothing new, even to modern humans. Flight, night vision, echolocation, etc are all things that naturally occur in certain animals, and that we have learned to replicate with technology. And once we can recreate it, we improve it.

For example, compare a whale and a nuclear submarine. Both use a form of sonar to 'see' underwater, but the submarine's is much more powerful. It's so strong that whales have been known to beach themselves just to get away from military sonar. That's basically what we're seeing here.

Human telepathy at this point is much more advanced that the "Speech+" version the Loroi currently use, and Human version of Sending is much closer to a transmission of intent than an actual message. To someone who can handle it, the transmission is ideal: you automatically know what the 'speaker' was actually trying to say without any room for misunderstanding or misplaced words. But while Alex can try to tone it down as much as possible, his version of telepathy is just too strong for the Loroi to handle at their current level of development. Thus, it's painful and difficult for them to understand.


His ability to bounce telekinetic attacks back at the sender and 'reset' his body when it gets damaged also have scientific explanations, but that's an entirely different kettle of fish...that again couldn't be shown in the story without ruining the mood.

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Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:18 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Have you seen GURPS Psionics? It offers a lot of interesting content involving Telepathy including a "reflective" upgrade to the mind shield which bounces any attack back at the attacker.

Quote:
Mind Shield see p. B70
This advantage is so useful that GMs may wish to even
allow it to nontelepaths in a campaign that restricts all PCs to
one power. Anyone with Mind Shield is automatically alerted
to failed telepathic attempts against him. Successful attempts
use the rules under Detecting Psi (pp. 11-12).
Special Enhancements

Lockdown: Your mind is a trap for unwary mind readers.
Any time you successfully resist a mental attack, roll a Quick
Contest of your Mind Shield skill against the attacker’s skill. If
you win, he becomes trapped within your shield! See A Cage of
Thought (p. 66) for details. +100%.

Profiling: When someone fails to penetrate your Mind
Shield, you know what ability he was trying to use. This gives
you +2 on any follow-up abilities to determine more information
about the attack. +10%.

Reflection: Your shield bounces telepathic attacks back at
your foes. Any time you successfully resist an attack, if your
Mind Shield level exceeds your foe’s original margin of success,
he is affected by his ability instead of you! This is most
effective against Mental Blow, Mental Stab, Sleep, and Psychic
Vampirism abilities, but it will typically cause at least one second
of mental stun (after which roll Will every second to snap out of
it) for anything more aggressive than Telereceive. +100%.


Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:53 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
joestej wrote:
Grayhome wrote:
The concept that humans are Cthulhu is a strange one, and difficult to pull off. However, I believe that you have captured that with such a Lovecraft element even simple communication would be a difficult, if not potentially lethal


Thank you! There's actually a fun reason Human telepathic communication is so painful for the Loroi (beyond the obvious Lovecraftian themes), but there wasn't a good way to reveal it in the story without basically ruining the atmosphere.

Spoiler: show
The idea of using technology to mimic an ability naturally possessed by another species is nothing new, even to modern humans. Flight, night vision, echolocation, etc are all things that naturally occur in certain animals, and that we have learned to replicate with technology. And once we can recreate it, we improve it.

For example, compare a whale and a nuclear submarine. Both use a form of sonar to 'see' underwater, but the submarine's is much more powerful. It's so strong that whales have been known to beach themselves just to get away from military sonar. That's basically what we're seeing here.

Human telepathy at this point is much more advanced that the "Speech+" version the Loroi currently use, and Human version of Sending is much closer to a transmission of intent than an actual message. To someone who can handle it, the transmission is ideal: you automatically know what the 'speaker' was actually trying to say without any room for misunderstanding or misplaced words. But while Alex can try to tone it down as much as possible, his version of telepathy is just too strong for the Loroi to handle at their current level of development. Thus, it's painful and difficult for them to understand.


His ability to bounce telekinetic attacks back at the sender and 'reset' his body when it gets damaged also have scientific explanations, but that's an entirely different kettle of fish...that again couldn't be shown in the story without ruining the mood.


Any chance you'd be willing to spoiler those explanations? I'm certainly curious.

As for your story, I found it interesting. I mean, even without Lovecraftian themes, a TL16 being is only going to notice a nascent TL11 being because they chose to notice.


Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:22 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Grayhome wrote:
Have you seen GURPS Psionics? It offers a lot of interesting content involving Telepathy including a "reflective" upgrade to the mind shield which bounces any attack back at the attacker.


I'm only loosely familiar with GURPS, though I know the Outsider tech levels are loosely based off GURPS' 3rd Edition tech levels. Still, I've found that RP rules are often rather limiting from a narrative perspective (for example that shield you listed only works for telepathic attacks, not telekinetic ones) and I wanted to go a different way with how psionics worked.

Mr Bojangles wrote:
Any chance you'd be willing to spoiler those explanations? I'm certainly curious.

As for your story, I found it interesting. I mean, even without Lovecraftian themes, a TL16 being is only going to notice a nascent TL11 being because they chose to notice.


The abilities Alex has displayed are actually based off some ideas found in String Theory. In this particular context, his rebound trick is as much a 'power' as judo is.

Spoiler: show
Certain versions of String Theory suggest that there aren't just three dimensions, or even four, but as many as eleven. The accuracy of these models can be debated (the extra dimensions only exist to make the math work), but for the sake of my story I assumed that they were correct and that reality really is 11-dimensional. This means that all life (Humans, Loroi, dodos, whatever) is actually 11-dimensional. They just don't realize it.

Effective use of additional dimensions can already be found in nature, if you're willing to squint hard enough. Without the benefit of technology, land animals like Humans can only utilize the 3rd dimension of movement in a limited fashion. But certain animals, like birds, have evolved to rely on 3D movement almost entirely.

Thus I envisioned psychokinetic powers to actually be a natural evolution where certain beings can use unseen organs/limbs/whatever on higher dimensions to affect the three dimensions we can currently perceive. A pig may not be able to look up and see the bird flying above it, but they can see what the bird drops. Similarly, the bird knows how to fly, but does not know why what it does works...just like the Loroi know how to use psychic abilities, but don't know why they work. This also saves us from whole 'psychic powers break the laws of conservation of energy' problem, because the energy is being gathering and expended as normal, just in a dimension we can't normally observe.

And yes, I did mean 'limbs'. Not swirling currents of energy, actual physical bits. Why? Compare how your body looks in two dimensions to how it looks in three. There are a lot of details 2D just doesn't capture, right? Same goes for 4D, 5D, etc. This is Cthulhu-themed, after all, and what's Cthulhu without some body horror?

Now, we already know what utilizing higher dimensions can do for warfare. Limited use of the 3rd dimension, in the form of observation balloons, had been popping up for some time before planes were invented. This is effectively what the Loroi's far-sense is: using the Nth dimension to peak at reality from a different perspective. But when you really start to utilize other dimensions, things get crazy.

Efficient use of the 3rd dimension gave us jet fighters, strategic bombers, and ballistic missiles. If we assume the 4th dimension is time (though it may not be), you can start with things like guns that literally aim where their targets are going to be, and then move toward impossible weapons like missiles that destroy ships while they are still under construction. That's the 4th dimension. Now imagine what happens when we add the 5th dimension. And the 6th. And the 7th...

In closing, Alex was able to reflect the Loroi telekentic strikes because he can actually see the attacks coming (in whatever dimension all the fun action is occurring on) and thus can spin them back around, just like a trained martial artist can use a poorly thrown punch to dislocate an attacker's arm. While I leave it up to you to decide if his 'reset' was due to a piece of medical equipment he has shunted off into the Nth dimension (matter replication, brain-saving, cloning, and teleportation are all easy technologies at this stage), or just him mucking around with time, it's definitely a derivative of his dimensional abilities. To borrow a phrase from another TL-16 individual:

"It's bigger on the inside."


Long and rambling, but that's what I get for trying to make sense of TL16 stuff without saying 'it's science-magic!' If any of that made your head hurt, then I've done my job.

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Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:24 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
That's quite similar to what I have in my mind for an original fic, the problem with putting that on paper is that String Theory is a little bonkers to put down for even super-geniuses. Geniuses who have all produced math that works with vastly different models. For example Bosonic string theory has 26 Dimensions (iirc) while Super-String theory has 10 (iirc).

Because of the headaches I have gotten I am thinking to just go with the 'rules of the universe are different here' approach.

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Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:34 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
dragoongfa wrote:
That's quite similar to what I have in my mind for an original fic, the problem with putting that on paper is that String Theory is a little bonkers to put down for even super-geniuses. Geniuses who have all produced math that works with vastly different models. For example Bosonic string theory has 26 Dimensions (iirc) while Super-String theory has 10 (iirc).

Because of the headaches I have gotten I am thinking to just go with the 'rules of the universe are different here' approach.


Pretty much. At that level of physics things get very weird, so you're basically making it up as you go along anyway. The fewer details you include (or the more mind-warpingly contradictory they are), the more believable things will be.

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Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:35 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
joestej wrote:
Grayhome wrote:
Have you seen GURPS Psionics? It offers a lot of interesting content involving Telepathy including a "reflective" upgrade to the mind shield which bounces any attack back at the attacker.


I'm only loosely familiar with GURPS, though I know the Outsider tech levels are loosely based off GURPS' 3rd Edition tech levels. Still, I've found that RP rules are often rather limiting from a narrative perspective (for example that shield you listed only works for telepathic attacks, not telekinetic ones) and I wanted to go a different way with how psionics worked.

Mr Bojangles wrote:
Any chance you'd be willing to spoiler those explanations? I'm certainly curious.

As for your story, I found it interesting. I mean, even without Lovecraftian themes, a TL16 being is only going to notice a nascent TL11 being because they chose to notice.


The abilities Alex has displayed are actually based off some ideas found in String Theory. In this particular context, his rebound trick is as much a 'power' as judo is.

Spoiler: show
Certain versions of String Theory suggest that there aren't just three dimensions, or even four, but as many as eleven. The accuracy of these models can be debated (the extra dimensions only exist to make the math work), but for the sake of my story I assumed that they were correct and that reality really is 11-dimensional. This means that all life (Humans, Loroi, dodos, whatever) is actually 11-dimensional. They just don't realize it.

Effective use of additional dimensions can already be found in nature, if you're willing to squint hard enough. Without the benefit of technology, land animals like Humans can only utilize the 3rd dimension of movement in a limited fashion. But certain animals, like birds, have evolved to rely on 3D movement almost entirely.

Thus I envisioned psychokinetic powers to actually be a natural evolution where certain beings can use unseen organs/limbs/whatever on higher dimensions to affect the three dimensions we can currently perceive. A pig may not be able to look up and see the bird flying above it, but they can see what the bird drops. Similarly, the bird knows how to fly, but does not know why what it does works...just like the Loroi know how to use psychic abilities, but don't know why they work. This also saves us from whole 'psychic powers break the laws of conservation of energy' problem, because the energy is being gathering and expended as normal, just in a dimension we can't normally observe.

And yes, I did mean 'limbs'. Not swirling currents of energy, actual physical bits. Why? Compare how your body looks in two dimensions to how it looks in three. There are a lot of details 2D just doesn't capture, right? Same goes for 4D, 5D, etc. This is Cthulhu-themed, after all, and what's Cthulhu without some body horror?

Now, we already know what utilizing higher dimensions can do for warfare. Limited use of the 3rd dimension, in the form of observation balloons, had been popping up for some time before planes were invented. This is effectively what the Loroi's far-sense is: using the Nth dimension to peak at reality from a different perspective. But when you really start to utilize other dimensions, things get crazy.

Efficient use of the 3rd dimension gave us jet fighters, strategic bombers, and ballistic missiles. If we assume the 4th dimension is time (though it may not be), you can start with things like guns that literally aim where their targets are going to be, and then move toward impossible weapons like missiles that destroy ships while they are still under construction. That's the 4th dimension. Now imagine what happens when we add the 5th dimension. And the 6th. And the 7th...

In closing, Alex was able to reflect the Loroi telekentic strikes because he can actually see the attacks coming (in whatever dimension all the fun action is occurring on) and thus can spin them back around, just like a trained martial artist can use a poorly thrown punch to dislocate an attacker's arm. While I leave it up to you to decide if his 'reset' was due to a piece of medical equipment he has shunted off into the Nth dimension (matter replication, brain-saving, cloning, and teleportation are all easy technologies at this stage), or just him mucking around with time, it's definitely a derivative of his dimensional abilities. To borrow a phrase from another TL-16 individual:

"It's bigger on the inside."


Long and rambling, but that's what I get for trying to make sense of TL16 stuff without saying 'it's science-magic!' If any of that made your head hurt, then I've done my job.


No, no head pain. Actual string theory, yes, that has lead to brain cramps in the past. I think this is perhaps the most interesting use of string theory I've seen in fiction. Forget time-travel, instantaneous interstellar travel or pan-dimensional energy beings: everyone's literally a Cronenbergian horrorshow and they don't even know it.

As for Alex's head, I didn't think it was actually destroyed. I figured that what was in fact truly "Alex" wasn't really in that regenerator, it was just some facet of the whole. Turns out I was partially right - there's a whole lot more of him in that medbay than the Loroi can actually perceive.

If you have more ideas along these lines, I'd like to read them.


Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:15 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Mr Bojangles wrote:
joestej wrote:

No, no head pain. Actual string theory, yes, that has lead to brain cramps in the past. I think this is perhaps the most interesting use of string theory I've seen in fiction. Forget time-travel, instantaneous interstellar travel or pan-dimensional energy beings: everyone's literally a Cronenbergian horrorshow and they don't even know it.

As for Alex's head, I didn't think it was actually destroyed. I figured that what was in fact truly "Alex" wasn't really in that regenerator, it was just some facet of the whole. Turns out I was partially right - there's a whole lot more of him in that medbay than the Loroi can actually perceive.

If you have more ideas along these lines, I'd like to read them.


THERE IS A REALM OF EXISTENCE FAR BEYOND YOUR OWN. I AM BEYOND YOUR COMPREHENSION. I AM ALEX.

Sorry. Someone had to do it :D


Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:22 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Mr Bojangles wrote:
joestej wrote:
Grayhome wrote:
Have you seen GURPS Psionics? It offers a lot of interesting content involving Telepathy including a "reflective" upgrade to the mind shield which bounces any attack back at the attacker.


I'm only loosely familiar with GURPS, though I know the Outsider tech levels are loosely based off GURPS' 3rd Edition tech levels. Still, I've found that RP rules are often rather limiting from a narrative perspective (for example that shield you listed only works for telepathic attacks, not telekinetic ones) and I wanted to go a different way with how psionics worked.

Mr Bojangles wrote:
Any chance you'd be willing to spoiler those explanations? I'm certainly curious.

As for your story, I found it interesting. I mean, even without Lovecraftian themes, a TL16 being is only going to notice a nascent TL11 being because they chose to notice.


The abilities Alex has displayed are actually based off some ideas found in String Theory. In this particular context, his rebound trick is as much a 'power' as judo is.

Spoiler: show
Certain versions of String Theory suggest that there aren't just three dimensions, or even four, but as many as eleven. The accuracy of these models can be debated (the extra dimensions only exist to make the math work), but for the sake of my story I assumed that they were correct and that reality really is 11-dimensional. This means that all life (Humans, Loroi, dodos, whatever) is actually 11-dimensional. They just don't realize it.

Effective use of additional dimensions can already be found in nature, if you're willing to squint hard enough. Without the benefit of technology, land animals like Humans can only utilize the 3rd dimension of movement in a limited fashion. But certain animals, like birds, have evolved to rely on 3D movement almost entirely.

Thus I envisioned psychokinetic powers to actually be a natural evolution where certain beings can use unseen organs/limbs/whatever on higher dimensions to affect the three dimensions we can currently perceive. A pig may not be able to look up and see the bird flying above it, but they can see what the bird drops. Similarly, the bird knows how to fly, but does not know why what it does works...just like the Loroi know how to use psychic abilities, but don't know why they work. This also saves us from whole 'psychic powers break the laws of conservation of energy' problem, because the energy is being gathering and expended as normal, just in a dimension we can't normally observe.

And yes, I did mean 'limbs'. Not swirling currents of energy, actual physical bits. Why? Compare how your body looks in two dimensions to how it looks in three. There are a lot of details 2D just doesn't capture, right? Same goes for 4D, 5D, etc. This is Cthulhu-themed, after all, and what's Cthulhu without some body horror?

Now, we already know what utilizing higher dimensions can do for warfare. Limited use of the 3rd dimension, in the form of observation balloons, had been popping up for some time before planes were invented. This is effectively what the Loroi's far-sense is: using the Nth dimension to peak at reality from a different perspective. But when you really start to utilize other dimensions, things get crazy.

Efficient use of the 3rd dimension gave us jet fighters, strategic bombers, and ballistic missiles. If we assume the 4th dimension is time (though it may not be), you can start with things like guns that literally aim where their targets are going to be, and then move toward impossible weapons like missiles that destroy ships while they are still under construction. That's the 4th dimension. Now imagine what happens when we add the 5th dimension. And the 6th. And the 7th...

In closing, Alex was able to reflect the Loroi telekentic strikes because he can actually see the attacks coming (in whatever dimension all the fun action is occurring on) and thus can spin them back around, just like a trained martial artist can use a poorly thrown punch to dislocate an attacker's arm. While I leave it up to you to decide if his 'reset' was due to a piece of medical equipment he has shunted off into the Nth dimension (matter replication, brain-saving, cloning, and teleportation are all easy technologies at this stage), or just him mucking around with time, it's definitely a derivative of his dimensional abilities. To borrow a phrase from another TL-16 individual:

"It's bigger on the inside."


Long and rambling, but that's what I get for trying to make sense of TL16 stuff without saying 'it's science-magic!' If any of that made your head hurt, then I've done my job.


No, no head pain. Actual string theory, yes, that has lead to brain cramps in the past. I think this is perhaps the most interesting use of string theory I've seen in fiction. Forget time-travel, instantaneous interstellar travel or pan-dimensional energy beings: everyone's literally a Cronenbergian horrorshow and they don't even know it.

As for Alex's head, I didn't think it was actually destroyed. I figured that what was in fact truly "Alex" wasn't really in that regenerator, it was just some facet of the whole. Turns out I was partially right - there's a whole lot more of him in that medbay than the Loroi can actually perceive.

If you have more ideas along these lines, I'd like to read them.


I believe the exploded head thing was Alex screwing with their heads. The fought they had shot him, seen the head explode and brain matter splatter everywhere but in reality, they did nothing. They got false memories placed into them just because he wanted to. he is fully capable to mind control them if he want to. If he want to send Fireblade away to assassinate Stillstorm, then he merely need to wish it and Fireblade will be convinced it was her own idea and she will find all rational reasons for doing so on her own.


Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:52 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Or he pulled a Deadpool.

Will there we follow up chapters to this story?


Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:35 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Sweforce wrote:
I believe the exploded head thing was Alex screwing with their heads. The fought they had shot him, seen the head explode and brain matter splatter everywhere but in reality, they did nothing. They got false memories placed into them just because he wanted to. he is fully capable to mind control them if he want to. If he want to send Fireblade away to assassinate Stillstorm, then he merely need to wish it and Fireblade will be convinced it was her own idea and she will find all rational reasons for doing so on her own.


Well I deliberately left it vague for just such a reason (there are lots of ways the trick could have been done) but if I had to choose one I doubt mind control would make the most sense. Alex is so powerful he has difficulty speaking to them, a mind control attempt would likely fry their minds.

Grayhome wrote:
Or he pulled a Deadpool.

Will there we follow up chapters to this story?


Probably not? It was a fun think to write, but I'm not sure where to go with it now that the big reveal is over. There's not really much reason for Alex to get involved with the Loroi, and they can't do more than temporarily inconvenience him.

If anyone has any ideas of an interesting scene I could be tempted though.

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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
joestej wrote:
Sweforce wrote:
I believe the exploded head thing was Alex screwing with their heads. The fought they had shot him, seen the head explode and brain matter splatter everywhere but in reality, they did nothing. They got false memories placed into them just because he wanted to. he is fully capable to mind control them if he want to. If he want to send Fireblade away to assassinate Stillstorm, then he merely need to wish it and Fireblade will be convinced it was her own idea and she will find all rational reasons for doing so on her own.


Well I deliberately left it vague for just such a reason (there are lots of ways the trick could have been done) but if I had to choose one I doubt mind control would make the most sense. Alex is so powerful he has difficulty speaking to them, a mind control attempt would likely fry their minds.

Grayhome wrote:
Or he pulled a Deadpool.

Will there we follow up chapters to this story?


Probably not? It was a fun think to write, but I'm not sure where to go with it now that the big reveal is over. There's not really much reason for Alex to get involved with the Loroi, and they can't do more than temporarily inconvenience him.

If anyone has any ideas of an interesting scene I could be tempted though.


How about whoever blew up Alex's ship (assuming that's how he ended up with the Loroi) learns exactly what they blew up?


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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Mr Bojangles wrote:

How about whoever blew up Alex's ship (assuming that's how he ended up with the Loroi) learns exactly what they blew up?


Will make hara-kiri)) This will be the most reasonable action in his position.


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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Mr Bojangles wrote:
How about whoever blew up Alex's ship (assuming that's how he ended up with the Loroi) learns exactly what they blew up?


Someone did blow up his ship. But they knew exactly what they were doing when they did. The Loroi, Umiak, and even the Historians don't have a snowball's chance in hell of destroying a Human ship. Even a civilian ship has enough mobility and ways to escape they'd never bring it down before it shifted away.

Alex's ship was actually destroyed by another TL16 race, one that Humanity is currently at war with. The Loroi haven't noticed this war because it is being fought across space and time: this is likely the first time any of the combatants have wandered into this bit of space in this particular era. Not that they would care about the Loroi's little war one way or the other.

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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
joestej wrote:
Mr Bojangles wrote:
How about whoever blew up Alex's ship (assuming that's how he ended up with the Loroi) learns exactly what they blew up?


Someone did blow up his ship. But they knew exactly what they were doing when they did. The Loroi, Umiak, and even the Historians don't have a snowball's chance in hell of destroying a Human ship. Even a civilian ship has enough mobility and ways to escape they'd never bring it down before it shifted away.

Alex's ship was actually destroyed by another TL16 race, one that Humanity is currently at war with. The Loroi haven't noticed this war because it is being fought across space and time: this is likely the first time any of the combatants have wandered into this bit of space in this particular era. Not that they would care about the Loroi's little war one way or the other.


Well, that could be an interesting story. The species of the Local Bubble suddenly find themselves in the middle of a war they can't see, but is wreaking utter havoc upon them. Maybe you could do a set of brief snippets from their perspective as they witness their all-too-likely end? Wouldn't be a happy story, but HumansAreCthulhu.


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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Mr Bojangles wrote:
Well, that could be an interesting story. The species of the Local Bubble suddenly find themselves in the middle of a war they can't see, but is wreaking utter havoc upon them. Maybe you could do a set of brief snippets from their perspective as they witness their all-too-likely end? Wouldn't be a happy story, but HumansAreCthulhu.
Funny thing about Human wars: the ants experience almost none of it. They are not, after all, the targets.


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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Absalom wrote:
Mr Bojangles wrote:
Well, that could be an interesting story. The species of the Local Bubble suddenly find themselves in the middle of a war they can't see, but is wreaking utter havoc upon them. Maybe you could do a set of brief snippets from their perspective as they witness their all-too-likely end? Wouldn't be a happy story, but HumansAreCthulhu.
Funny thing about Human wars: the ants experience almost none of it. They are not, after all, the targets.


Absalom has pretty much hit the nail on the head here. Combat between TL16 civilizations would largely be beyond the ability of a TL11 civilization to perceive. Even any collateral damage that might theoretically occur wouldn't look like much, as weapons of this magnitude are almost certainly the kind that not only kill you but also make sure you never existed in the first place. While any of these races could easily take out a star, to a TL11 race it wouldn't seem like something had destroyed it. The star would simply be gone and no one would remember that it had ever actually been there.

Eleventh dimensional warfare gets complicated, as it's a lot closer to chess than it is to anything else. Though in this case each 'player' is a legion of pan-dimensional quantum supercomputers the size of planetary orbits networked across space and time, the board is every micrometer of the universe in every microsecond between the Big Bang and the heat death of the universe, and the pieces are incomprehensibly vast multidimensional warships with weapons strong enough to wipe out all life in a star cluster a galaxy away three million years in the past.

On the other hand, I might be able to work something out. Originally I had assumed that Alex would be completely unable to interact with any of the Loroi systems, as they're just too primitive. It would be like trying to interface your tablet with an abacus. But that limitation was arbitrary just to keep him from having too much of an 'I win' button. There should logically be dozens of ways for Alex to get the knowledge he needs to make a Loroi computer work. This would open up a few more narrative possibilities, though they'd still all be of a very 'Alex wins via curbstomp' nature, which could be a bit boring.

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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
joestej wrote:
Absalom wrote:
Mr Bojangles wrote:
Well, that could be an interesting story. The species of the Local Bubble suddenly find themselves in the middle of a war they can't see, but is wreaking utter havoc upon them. Maybe you could do a set of brief snippets from their perspective as they witness their all-too-likely end? Wouldn't be a happy story, but HumansAreCthulhu.
Funny thing about Human wars: the ants experience almost none of it. They are not, after all, the targets.


Absalom has pretty much hit the nail on the head here. Combat between TL16 civilizations would largely be beyond the ability of a TL11 civilization to perceive. Even any collateral damage that might theoretically occur wouldn't look like much, as weapons of this magnitude are almost certainly the kind that not only kill you but also make sure you never existed in the first place. While any of these races could easily take out a star, to a TL11 race it wouldn't seem like something had destroyed it. The star would simply be gone and no one would remember that it had ever actually been there.

Eleventh dimensional warfare gets complicated, as it's a lot closer to chess than it is to anything else. Though in this case each 'player' is a legion of pan-dimensional quantum supercomputers the size of planetary orbits networked across space and time, the board is every micrometer of the universe in every microsecond between the Big Bang and the heat death of the universe, and the pieces are incomprehensibly vast multidimensional warships with weapons strong enough to wipe out all life in a star cluster a galaxy away three million years in the past.

On the other hand, I might be able to work something out. Originally I had assumed that Alex would be completely unable to interact with any of the Loroi systems, as they're just too primitive. It would be like trying to interface your tablet with an abacus. But that limitation was arbitrary just to keep him from having too much of an 'I win' button. There should logically be dozens of ways for Alex to get the knowledge he needs to make a Loroi computer work. This would open up a few more narrative possibilities, though they'd still all be of a very 'Alex wins via curbstomp' nature, which could be a bit boring.


Yes, the ants aren't the target, nor can they even conceive of what the beings so far above them are actually doing. But, in the vein of the HumansAreCthulhu trope, the story isn't really about the humans, much as it is that many of Lovecraft's stories aren't necessarily directly about the various gods themselves. It's about how everything lesser reacts, either to the actions of the higher beings themselves or simply to the idea that such beings exist.

Alex can't help but win via curbstomp against the Loroi. It's the nature of his existence. The "I win button" is as much a fact for him as "the sun rises in the east" is for us. I think you are right - how can you really tell a story about incomprehensible beings that have the power to remake reality? You can't, since assigning them motivations we can all understand would make them in some way relatable to us and doing that would defeat the purpose.

Just to reiterate, I actually agree with what you're saying. In order to really tell this type of story, you'd need contrivances or plot devices. Things that give the lesser beings very murky, dim windows into the actions of creatures so far beyond them that there is no difference between the lesser and an ant. It could just be the feeling of a Loroi: "I could have sworn there was a star there..." Just a little niggling thought and a question that cannot be answered in any sane way. And in that lay madness - humans would truly be Cthulhu.

In any case, these are just my rambling thoughts. Please don't take this as me telling you how your stories should be written. I enjoyed your story and should you publish more, I'll gladly read that, too. :)


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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Mr Bojangles wrote:
Yes, the ants aren't the target, nor can they even conceive of what the beings so far above them are actually doing. But, in the vein of the HumansAreCthulhu trope, the story isn't really about the humans, much as it is that many of Lovecraft's stories aren't necessarily directly about the various gods themselves. It's about how everything lesser reacts, either to the actions of the higher beings themselves or simply to the idea that such beings exist.

Alex can't help but win via curbstomp against the Loroi. It's the nature of his existence. The "I win button" is as much a fact for him as "the sun rises in the east" is for us. I think you are right - how can you really tell a story about incomprehensible beings that have the power to remake reality? You can't, since assigning them motivations we can all understand would make them in some way relatable to us and doing that would defeat the purpose.

Just to reiterate, I actually agree with what you're saying. In order to really tell this type of story, you'd need contrivances or plot devices. Things that give the lesser beings very murky, dim windows into the actions of creatures so far beyond them that there is no difference between the lesser and an ant. It could just be the feeling of a Loroi: "I could have sworn there was a star there..." Just a little niggling thought and a question that cannot be answered in any sane way. And in that lay madness - humans would truly be Cthulhu.

In any case, these are just my rambling thoughts. Please don't take this as me telling you how your stories should be written. I enjoyed your story and should you publish more, I'll gladly read that, too. :)


Actually, I agree entirely. That's my problem: the climax of any Cosmic Horror story is the moment the protagonists realize just how insignificant they really are. Now that I've dropped the Cthulhu bomb, what's left to tell?

I think in reflection there is still story to tell. Alex is insanely powerful, but his multi-dimensional nature hasn't really been touched on, nor has the idea of a war beyond the ability of the Loroi to perceive. Such revelations would be just as sanity-snapping, if I could find a way to showcase them interestingly. Having Alex spell it out wouldn't really work, as any meaningful communication on his part would take away the 'comic horror' part of his character (and be boring), but I haven't come up with a good way for the Loroi to piece together something so huge all on their own.

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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
joestej wrote:
On the other hand, I might be able to work something out. Originally I had assumed that Alex would be completely unable to interact with any of the Loroi systems, as they're just too primitive. It would be like trying to interface your tablet with an abacus. But that limitation was arbitrary just to keep him from having too much of an 'I win' button. There should logically be dozens of ways for Alex to get the knowledge he needs to make a Loroi computer work. This would open up a few more narrative possibilities, though they'd still all be of a very 'Alex wins via curbstomp' nature, which could be a bit boring.
The Loroi recoil in fear as they sense Alex create a psionic life-form from a "formula", to act as an (often bizarre, and possibly even random) intermediary?

joestej wrote:
Actually, I agree entirely. That's my problem: the climax of any Cosmic Horror story is the moment the protagonists realize just how insignificant they really are. Now that I've dropped the Cthulhu bomb, what's left to tell?

I think in reflection there is still story to tell. Alex is insanely powerful, but his multi-dimensional nature hasn't really been touched on, nor has the idea of a war beyond the ability of the Loroi to perceive. Such revelations would be just as sanity-snapping, if I could find a way to showcase them interestingly. Having Alex spell it out wouldn't really work, as any meaningful communication on his part would take away the 'comic horror' part of his character (and be boring), but I haven't come up with a good way for the Loroi to piece together something so huge all on their own.
There's also futile struggles, and Pyrrhic delays (not victories, most of the time), and if you ever defeat Nyarlathotep then Azathoth still will be every bit as immortal and blind.


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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Sufficiently Advanced
Absalom wrote:
joestej wrote:
On the other hand, I might be able to work something out. Originally I had assumed that Alex would be completely unable to interact with any of the Loroi systems, as they're just too primitive. It would be like trying to interface your tablet with an abacus. But that limitation was arbitrary just to keep him from having too much of an 'I win' button. There should logically be dozens of ways for Alex to get the knowledge he needs to make a Loroi computer work. This would open up a few more narrative possibilities, though they'd still all be of a very 'Alex wins via curbstomp' nature, which could be a bit boring.
The Loroi recoil in fear as they sense Alex create a psionic life-form from a "formula", to act as an (often bizarre, and possibly even random) intermediary?

joestej wrote:
Actually, I agree entirely. That's my problem: the climax of any Cosmic Horror story is the moment the protagonists realize just how insignificant they really are. Now that I've dropped the Cthulhu bomb, what's left to tell?

I think in reflection there is still story to tell. Alex is insanely powerful, but his multi-dimensional nature hasn't really been touched on, nor has the idea of a war beyond the ability of the Loroi to perceive. Such revelations would be just as sanity-snapping, if I could find a way to showcase them interestingly. Having Alex spell it out wouldn't really work, as any meaningful communication on his part would take away the 'comic horror' part of his character (and be boring), but I haven't come up with a good way for the Loroi to piece together something so huge all on their own.
There's also futile struggles, and Pyrrhic delays (not victories, most of the time), and if you ever defeat Nyarlathotep then Azathoth still will be every bit as immortal and blind.


Perhaps humanity or their enemy sets off a weapon that has the side effect of driving lesser telepathic beings insane. The fact that Alex was in the Steppes could suggest that some new front has opened in the local realspace/timeframe of the Local Bubble. Not every weapon deployment need result in a rewrite of history - tactical considerations, perhaps?

Does humanity still consider Earth their home turf? If so, Loroi space is pretty much at the doorstep given the reach of TL16 species. Maybe humanity is on the back foot and is going to start lashing out...


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