13 - The News
It’s been a rough week for this. News, I mean. Seems someone out there really wants us all at each other’s throats, and by “at” I don’t mean threatening (that’s kinda just, you know, Tuesday), I mean actually gouging and ripping and tearing and slashing. Possibly, but not necessarily, in that order.
So isn’t it nice of the Triglavians to be getting into the spirit of it all?
- Perun and Veles Clade “Bioadapted and Drone Armies Clashing on Vale II” in Bizarre “Battle on Gigantic Ocean Biomatter Raft” - Reports Claim
With their usual gusto, too. I guess that’s what you expect of a culture that seems to define “restraint” as “not simply obliterating all life.” (Completely uprooting, for example, is, you know, fine.)
I’ve been a little bit hard-pressed, up to now, to understand what was up with Perun Clade. I mean, it kind of seemed like Veles were the cosmopolitan, “Let’s all be friends! What’s this collar for? Oh, it’s just a symbol of FRIENDSHIP! Here, let’s just slip this on…” type while Svarog were the grumpy, “Not like us? BAD! We hit!” stupidly-violent xenophobe type.
And I just had no idea what was up with Perun, aside from them apparently being indifferent on the whole “welcome/maybe-enslave the drones or exterminate them?” issue.
This has never been a very satisfying understanding and it’s obvious in retrospect that I was plotting along the wrong axis in terms of even a basic understanding of the three. For one thing, it was never very likely that Perun was anything so simple as, “the moderate clade.”
What I find so absolutely fascinating about this little news blurb, fragmentary as it is, is its description of the armies.
Now, the blurb’s kinda vague in several ways, notably it doesn’t specify whether both armies are using both unit types or whether each army is using one unit type mostly or wholly to exclusion, but in the past we’ve only ever seen Veles ships deploying swarmers, and they seem like the likely ones to be deploying them here. Perun are the ones we keep hearing about aggressively bioengineering the captured civilian population in the territories they took.
If each is using mostly or entirely its respective unit-type in this conflict, a clearer portrait of the three Clades, and their specializations, begins to emerge.
We already knew Svarog were strong engineers. Leshaks: new, or if not new, then at least proprietary, shared to other Clades on Convocation orders due to Drifter threat. Deviant Automata Suppressors: widespread Svarog response (and seemingly expression of disgust) to Veles’ “playful communion” with the rogue drones. They continue to conduct their affairs in reliably brutal fashion; if there’s a problem, Svarog’s probably going to design and build a big machine to kill it.
If the Veles are keeping drones as kind of a signature unit, even adapting them to planetary combat, and NOT using bioadapted conscripts as much or maybe even at all, it starts to look less like they’re “cosmopolitan” and more like they’re just, well, good with computers: mathematics, logic, software, hacking, AI-- heck, it seems likely they’d have been making extensive use of AI themselves for a very long time. I’d guess the “artificial” Zorya voice is probably a Veles representative, and they’re the ones most responsible for how laughable our computer security seems against Triglavian infiltration. In that context, they’d be more likely to leave squishy stuff like biomodification and redeployment of civilian “assets” to …
… Perun Clade. The biologists. Maybe, also, stuff like social sciences and psychology?-- working with bodies and minds, the squishy kinds in both cases. Mutaplasmids and new bioadaptive devices have got to require a deft touch (a green thumb for gravid, an orange one to coax it all the way up to unstable, maybe?), and it really seems like controlling and ultimately weaponizing their new population was just about the first thing Perun started doing in their new territories once they moved in. We’ve got repeated stories in the news from that time about them hard at work on that, and … it didn’t stand out to me so much at the time, but did we have a single story about either of the others doing anything similar?
Svarog definitely didn’t; they just kinda blew up anybody who came to their attention. Did Veles?
If not, we can start to see essentially what all three clades bring to Triglavian civilization as a whole. Svarog, Veles, and Perun: hardware, software, and bio, respectively. Obviously they all share in all of their inventions to some degree, so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise if, when fighting each other, each might want to focus on whatever it’s been doing lately, trying out their latest work.
If it’s good enough, it probably propagates through the whole society, by Convocation directive or by challenge.
(Do they ever just, you know, trade? Somehow it seems like that might not be a thing they do at all.)