Factor reactions.

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It that must no... It that must not be named's picture
Factor reactions.

I've read over some of the stuff about "the Factors" and I see a couple issues here.

1 is that I can understand them being leery of humans making AIs that can evolve on their own and basically become more advanced purely on their own without external control or limit. Yes, I can see the Factors more or less saying "Please don't do that, it ends up creating monsters that cause problems for other intelligent races. Believe us, we've seen it before."

Now the second issue is a little cloudier. They're asking humans not to use the stargate, excuse me, I mean the pandora gates, to move outside the solar system.

This issue does worry me a little, or it would worry me if I actually live in the EP world. It could almost be interpreted as saying "Please don't use the only means you have of leaving the solar system and settling other planets, we'd really rather have you all in one nice, contained area. Why? Oh, uh, you're safer that way. Yes, that's it, we would like you to all stay in one solar system for your own safety, we worry about what could happen to you if you were spread out in more solar systems."

Now who knows? The factors may be telling the truth. Maybe going thru the gates would be heap bad juju for humanity, maybe it would result in them bumping into something they weren't ready for, maybe it would result in them encountering something that decided they were a big enough bother to get dalek on.


Maybe they have less altruistic reasons for wanting trans/humanity all in one solar system. Maybe it's like "They bought it? They're not going thru the gates and settling other planets? Good! Now hurry up and get that nova trigger finished before they get wise!"

Does that sound paranoid? Well duh! Of course I'm paranoid, you dolt! ;) I'm a gamer for god's sake! I couldn't keep a character alive long enough to collect my first XP if I weren't paranoid!

So those are just my first impression re the factors. Not wanting humanity to build evolving Ais seems reasonable and even good advice perhaps offered out of enlightened self interest.

Not going thru the pandora gates could be likewise, or possibly not so altruistic.

I se possibilities here for player suspicion already and I've only spent a coupe hours scanning the massive pdf. EP has possibilities...

"I learned the hard way that if you take a stand on any issue, no matter how insignificant, people will line up around the block to kick your ass over it." -Jesse "the mind" Ventura.

GregH GregH's picture
Of course they could be

Of course they could be another creation of either the Exsurgent or even the TITANS, though the question then becomes if, for the sake of authenticity, they even know that they are pawns. Greg Bear did something along that notion with his series "The Forge of God" and it's sequal "Anvil of Stars" (think the Fall only in the 80's and far, far worse... at least in EP Earth is still in one peice). In the first book there was an alien being that delivered a somber story of the planet-killing nanotech threat that wiped out it's people... only later on it's discovered it's essentially a biological robot and it remains unknown if it was a collaborator or (even creepier) actually honestly believed it's own story. The second book got even uglier, with the main baddies essentially existing as infomorphs and creating a sophisticated biological civilization as a cover to operate behind. When the heroes have a chance to avenge humanity's suffering it's faced with a nagging quandry... if the pawns are unaware of the fact they they are pawns does destroying them constitute killing an innocent?
For my own part, I definately agree that there is a LOT more to their story than they are letting on. What is mentioned regarding the Pandora Gates suggests that perhaps they are not even TITAN tech to begin with. Given that, perhaps the Factors are exactly who they say they are but don't themselves know what the Pandora Gate can accomplish, and are telling us "no" knowing full well that we're going through the gates anyway (then dealing in secret with those that have been to exoplanets under the guise of an XP recorded or even a military or scientific organization). Maybe man itself is the Factor's Gatecrashers...

It that must no... It that must not be named's picture
I'd read HoG and AoS long

I'd read HoG and AoS long ago. You reminded me of them.

Ever read John Varley's "The Ophiuchi hotline"? It dealt with advanced aliens who actually gave humanity useful technology for free, but did want something in return. They had valid reasons for it and really were more benevolent than not, and might make good models for EP.

I could see an essentially benign species with an attitude like "Hey, look, we're descendants of living creatures that evolved naturally, you're the descendants of creatures that evolved naturally. There are a lot of hostile AI types who want to kill us all for whatever reasons they might have, so let's work together to survive as we have more in common with each other than they do with either of us."

I think Bear's "Sea of stars" series had a plot slightly like that.

"I learned the hard way that if you take a stand on any issue, no matter how insignificant, people will line up around the block to kick your ass over it." -Jesse "the mind" Ventura.

GregH GregH's picture
Then there is another

Then there is another possibility that came to me later on that night after my first response, one that could explain the Factor's reactions. What if the Pandora Gates are another layer of the ETI's agenda to do whatever it's doing to other races? Give a race a gate or five and before you know it they think they're SG-1 and darting about the stars... sooner or later some of those travellers are going to include those infected with Exsurgent (the fact that the Discord Gate was actually destroyed... then re-constituted itself dovetails nicely into this). The Pandora Gates are not a wonderful gift or someone's left-behind stellar roadway, they exist to make sure Exsurgent is spread and re-spread to other worlds. As for the Factors? They know, but you don't stay one step ahead of Exsurgent by advertising you know of it's tactics... the most they can do to help us is to warn us knowing full well it's likely futile in the end. That's why they have so many forms and different ships as well, keep Exsurgent thinking they're interstellar bumpkins that have some trite fear of the gates and AI when they know all too well what the real deal is...