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Firewall Field Briefs

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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Firewall Field Briefs
I'll admit I'm not 100% that this is the right forum for this. (Should I move it to homebrew?) It deals with canon subjects, but is a GMing resource written up from an in-character point of view about setting facets, such as Factors, or TITAN Fractal Bushbots, which are part of the GMing Information sections of the books but which quite honestly Firewall ought to have some documents about. As always, I [b]wholeheartedly[/b] reccomend you read the [url=https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N-abDAsrTX9mZbr6yE66EzzFSeLv6njvN88r... on my Google Drive. It really is an unimaginable pain in the ass to keep reformatting these damn things for the forum, especially since the forum isn't even nice enough to have the fonts I painstakingly chose for this. If anyone has any requests for any more of these, I may take some I find interesting/amusing. I probably won't go to the trouble of reformatting them for the forum. [center][h1]Firewall Field Briefs[/h1][/center] [center][b]By ShadowDragon8685[/b][/center] [b]Out-of-Character Foreword[/b] This is an adaptation of some things I put together for my players. I've omitted the forewords pertaining to their specific missions, and their mission brief doc, etc, and cleaned up the routing information. The whole idea behind this is that these are the short documents that can be forwarded to Firewall Sentinels regarding things they may encounter in the field, the "this is what Firewall knows and thinks you need to know" documents. Much of it is intended to be vague, not entirely helpful, and overcautious, but still more than nothing. This is the sort of thing that a player group's proxies could forward them before a mission if there's a reasonable expectation of running into a given threat, or during a mission if they make contact with something they don't even know WTF it is, and contact their server with pics. The Titanians, PC, Oversight, Ozma, LLA, etc, almost certainly have their own versions of these documents, entirely possibly with changes/more information/less information/outright misinformation seeded into them. These documents are at present clear of any outright misleading practical advice. If that doesn’t suit the GM handing it out, feel free to modify the document as you see fit! (Or modify the creatures involved.) [b]Players[/b] If you’ve been avoiding the GM-only sections of the rulebook, you should probably avoid this, too. If you’ve already read up, then this of course constitutes nothing more than a fluffy, Firewall-flavored cotton candy retread of omniscient “this is how it is in the default setting” stuff you’ve already read yourself into, so don’t feel any particular reason to avoid this. [hr] [center][h1]FRACTAL FIELD BRIEF[/h1][/center] [b]CLASSIFICATION:[/b] SECRET / RED QUEEN EYES ONLY [b]THREAT THRESHOLD:[/b] Magenta-7 (Confirmed TITAN nanotechnological macroscale autonomous unit) [b]Compiler:[/b] Icarus, Firewall Crow Code-named “FRACTAL” for obvious reasons, this autonomous machine is an advanced form of bush robot, and is often referred to as a “TITAN Bushbot”. In their most commonly-observed configuration, they strongly resemble bushes (hence the name,) of some sort of metallic substance, starting with a central “hinge,” “joint,” or “ball,” from which a number of metallic branches split off. These branches each split into two or three smaller branches, and then split again, and again, and again, until they are invisibly fine, but together form what has been described as an eerie, or glittering, haze. The bushbot is believed to be a TITAN construction unit; whether it was an earlier, later, concurrent, or divergent design and how it relates in its intended role to nanoswarms is entirely unclear, though our present leading hypothesis is that it was intended for deployment in environments which were unsuitable for nanoswarms, such as the surface of Venus or close orbit of Jupiter. Nevertheless, they saw widescale deployment into theaters in which a swarm is perfectly capable of operating in, sometimes alongside swarms, possibly for logistics reasons, possibly because they were more suitable to a task than a swarm, for reasons we cannot fathom, possibly for no greater a reason than that one TITAN had a preference for swarms and another for macroscale construction units. Fractals are dangerous, and uncontainable for reasons which should hopefully be obvious to anyone reading this document, but for those truly interested in watching recordings of absolutely ghastly scenes, the videos of attempts to capture them are available. However, Fractals are not necessarily overtly hostile towards transhumans. In most cases of encounter, Fractals have proven to be entirely apathetic to the presence of transhumans up until the point when the transhuman in question interferes with its work or launches an attack upon it, either electronic or physical. They instead continue about the construction projects to which they have apparently been assigned; some of them presumably even now roam the blasted cities of Earth, reducing cars to scrap and turning them into headhunters, others work tirelessly on long-forgotten projects. They have never been recorded to be idle. Fractals are also adaptable. They appear to be readily capable of adapting and modifying the things they are creating, and themselves, on the fly. Their self-repair capability’s exact extents are unknown, but believed to be exceptional. They could potentially have the equivalent of any or even all robotic augmentations and modifications dreamt up by Transhumanity, and most likely ones we have not even considered. They have been known to construct integral weapons when early attempts to destroy them failed, and these weapons could be anything from a simple slugthrower to a plasma cannon, to a swarm of hostile nanotech, though they are perfectly capable of killing a transhuman very rapidly by simply rolling into them and disassembling them. Destroying Fractals is very difficult, and unprepared teams should not even attempt to do so. Fractals are apathetic towards the activities of transhumans, but they are not suicidally so: more than one ill-prepared Sentinel team has lined up a barrage of plasmaburst Seekers and taken aim, only to be shot first. Thus, Fractals do practice some level of active threat monitoring, and it can be safely assumed their sensors are as good as the very best that we have. Nevertheless, they are not omniscient, and so an overwhelming attack from stealth will usually work, if the appropriate weapons are employed. Projectiles and most beam weapons are futile. Contrary to the rumors, they do not appear to be capable of eating your bullets and using them to build a gun to shoot back at you, but projectiles have basically no impact on a creature which is mostly air. Severed bits of limb are simply captured and reattached. Area-of-effect saturation is your best bet; forget conventional explosives, go straight for the plasma or thermobarics. EMP has no discernable effects on a Fractal. Flamethrowers are not entirely ineffective, but not remotely ideal. The Fractal needs to be destroyed to something approximating totality. It is believed that its consciousness is distributed throughout its body, and it can extend limbs at will. For these reasons, plasma is the preferred method. If you have to use conventional means to disable the bushbot, do not assume that just because it’s stopped moving means it never will start again, and make damn sure you’ve incinerated it. Fractals have, on occasion, been observed to self-destruct, usually upon the completion of a project which was presumably the entirety of their mandate, or possibly their mandate included self-destruction. When this happens, they seem to vibrate intensely for a short period, then are consumed from the inside out by plasma. All attempts to hack them to remotely trigger this effect have failed to-date. [center][h2]Infection Risk[/h2][/center] Fractals are not, in and of themselves, known to be direct vectors for any form of the exsurgent virus, whether biological, nanological, or digital, nor to display or transmit any form of basilisk hack. However, they are more than capable of constructing things which are! Presumably they would also necessarily have the capability to manufacture or transmit the virus on their own, but for unknown reasons this has never been observed. Fractals should however be treated as infection vectors as well as basilisk risks. [center][h2]Nanofabrication Capability[/h2][/center] Fractals are fast; at least twice as fast as any Transhuman-made Cornucopia machine known to Firewall, or at least known to Firewall in general and this server in specific. Their construction speed under average circumstances can be likened to that of a TITAN Nanoswarm, though circumstances have been observed in which they are both faster and slower than Swarms. Like TITAN Nanoswarms, they can construct in-situ, with any constructions they make apparently free from the sort of errors that happen when a normal nanoswarm is ordered to construct a device in open environments. They have been observed to be capable of assembling complex biological creatures from whole cloth, up to and including what appear to be transhuman biomorphs, but almost entirely are occupied constructing mechanical or architectural features. (For obvious reasons, nobody has ever attempted to sleeve one of these morphs.) They are also, naturally, superb resource-gatherers, able to bore holes straight into the ground, solid rock, and solid armor. Additionally, they appear to have some picoscale manipulation capabilities, having been observed in certain isolated environs to have been working with quantities of elemental materials which they could not conceivably have sourced in the locality without converting one element into another. It is speculated that these capabilities are limited to crafting elements to manipulate conventionally, as their constructions never show the same evidence of picoscale manipulation as constructions made by confirmed picoswarms. [hr] [center][h1]FACTOR FIELD BRIEF[/h1][/center] [b]CLASSIFICATION:[/b] SECRET / OPERATION VINEGAR EYES ONLY [b]THREAT THRESHOLD:[/b] Orange-3 (Most-Likely Xenobiological Sapient) [b]Compiler:[/b] Marinara Surprise, Firewall Crow Here is what we know about Factors: Factors are truly [i]alien[/i]. Forget everything you know from sci-fi vids, XP, and games. Forget any hope you have of sitting down over a weird alien dinner and having a conversation in which you just shoot the breeze and find common ground the professionals overlooked in their staid, stoic approach. [b][i]DEFINITELY[/i][/b] forget any hopes you may have of engaging in sexual relations with one! You have more in common with (and more chance of getting laid by) the most brainfucked Exhuman or TITAN research victim than you have with the Factors. Hell, we would have had a better chance of finding common ground (vertical or horizontal) with the Iktomi than we do with the Factors. (Those of you xenophiles and horizontal diplomats now shuddering at the thought of alien spider-sex are advised to reflect upon the fact that it is officially considered to have been a more likely possibility - and probably more pleasurable and less fatal - than sex with a Factor. Take a vacation on a Scum Swarm if you want to get your freak on with weird morphology, and seriously, forget about trying it with a Factor!) The Factors’ technology at least equals our own in most ways; it exceeds them very greatly in some areas (particularly propulsion,) and in other areas they intentionally eschew the technologies we have developed. The fact that they purport to be much older than us may or may not say something about those technologies. The Factors [i]meddle[/i] in transhuman affairs. Nobody who is not willfully ignorant can fail to know of The Egg in geosynchronous Mercurian orbit, or to note that it keeps watch over Caloris 18 with as much vigilance as Firewall (and presumably Ozma, the Morningstar Alliance, Oversight, the LLA, and probably the Jovians and Titanians, as well as anyone in the vicinity of Mercury with a shred of self-preservation instinct.) Know too that they have issued veiled, nonspecific threats for tampering with it, and have claimed it as theirs. That does not mean that they should be regarded as monsters, however. They are a sapient race, with thought processes, biology, and evolution which is very unlike anything we’re familiar with. We know that they do trade with Transhumanity, though why they bother to trade for resources we extract when the technology they evidence demonstrates they could probably more simply simply extract and refine such resources at least as easily we do is a mystery. What we do [i]not[/i] know about Factors could fill volumes. In fact, it does fill volumes, specifically for facts for which we are hungry. Specifically, however, we do not know any of the following, which everyone on the Eye who gives a damn about them seems to want to know, ranked in order of how frequently these queries crop up: [list] [*]Do the Factors actually represent other sapient races? [*]Do they claim to represent Transhumanity to other sapient races? [*]Do Factors have sex? [*][list][*]We don’t know, but even if they do have a reproductive cycle which biologically meets the scientific definition of sexual reproduction, it unquestionably does not resemble what you’re thinking of as sex.[/list] [*]Are they genuine extra-terrestrial intelligences, or were they invented whole-cloth by the TITANs, presumably to keep watch on us? [*][list][*]All our evidence points to “fat chance” with regards to the made-by-TITANs theory, but we have nothing conclusive. [/list] [*]Why does their technology appear to be such a mishmash? Do they just steal/scavenge whatever they can? [*]Are they united in purpose, or is their race divided by factionalism just as we are? If so, do the Factors engaging with us in diplomatic relations actually have any authority to do so, or are they the equivalent of explorers who made vast claims on behalf of their crowns? [*]Did they undergo their own near-extinction event, as Transhumanity has? [*][list][*]Our suspicions are “yes, and it involved superintelligences and Pandora Gates,” but again, no conclusive evidence.[/list] [/list] There are many, many quality studies positing hypothesis after hypothesis regarding the Factors, everything from their biology to social structure. If you’re a Sentinel and are reading this, however, chances are the questions you’re looking for answers to are “how do I kill it,” “how will it try to kill me,” and “how do I capture it.” “Why do they look so different” is also frequently asked. If those questions are not hypothetically posed, we are all in deep shit. If you’re putting any of this into practice, transhumanity as a whole is in [i]very[/i] deep shit if you get found out, so you had better be at the [i]very top[/i] of the zero-evidence game, playing for unknown but assuredly high stakes against a player whose capabilities are unknown but may be safely assumed to be as good as the very best of our rivals (as we can be sure they too will be looking into this.). Pinning the hit on the Night Cartel, the Barsoomians, or even Project Ozma won’t cut the mustard here, though, since there’s a good chance the Factors will want to hold all of Transhumanity accountable, even if you do successfully frame another party or faction. Anyway, I will try to answer as best I can, whilst assuming very minimal scientific training on your part. [center][h2]How do I kill it?[/h2][/center] [b]The TL;DR version?[/b] Kill it with fire. I’m going to assume that like most Sentinels who ask these questions, you are primarily concerned with killing fleshy or robotic things like us. As such, you quite reasonably will have sought out the best means by which to do so, and having taken the utter impracticability of bringing explosives and plasma rifles to bear in all situations, will have invested heavily in your skill with projectile weapons. That investment is most likely wasted in this instance. Every observation of the Factors that we have at our disposal indicates that they are, physically, giant, homogenous, non-differentiated forms of motile goo. When you shoot a flesh-and-blood, or coolant-and-myomer transhuman, your aim is to sufficiently impair one of the organs that keeps them going; impair enough of those organs, and they stop going. Factors, as near as we can tell, have no organs with few exceptions, and of those exceptions, it is exceedingly unlikely that destroying them will kill it. While there’s no way to know for sure, short of capturing a Factor and performing the kind of tests on it that the name Mengele is still cursed for in medical and scientific communities, it is [i]highly unlikely[/i] that shooting it will have the same deleterious effects on a Factor that they will on a transhuman. At best, you [i]may[/i] be able to kill a Factor for good with repeated and vigorous applications of bullets, and at worst, they may not even remotely inconvenience it. I wouldn’t recommend trying edged weapons, either, let alone blunt weapons. Electricity is a wild card; we don’t know if stun weapons would impair the Factors or not. If you have to attack one, may as well throw some Zap rounds at it and see if they do anything. Fire is much more likely to damage it, especially in the excessive quantities which you Sentinels who like to think you could pinch-hit for an Erasure team and win the game like to use. (You’re wrong. Both about filling in for an Erasure hitter, and about how much fire you use. Yes, I know how much you use, and I know how much they use.) Even so, the quantities of heat you like to throw around will definitely do something almost assuredly fatal to a Factor. The non-differentiated nature of its physiology will cause heat to radiate quickly and evenly through its body, far, far faster than it could ever hope to shed it. This process is called [i]cooking[/i], and you have, I am sure, some understanding of what the process will do to living organic material. Beam weapons are a wild-card. A microwave agonizer might or might not affect a Factor. On Roast mode, it probably will, but almost certainly not as dramatically or swiftly as a plasma rifle. Lasers and particle beam bolters? I’d rather try one than a firearm, to be honest, but I wouldn’t count on spectacular anti-Factor performance simply owing to their unspectacular anti-anything performance. Explosives? Again, a wild-card. I wouldn’t rely on Frag unless it was all I had, but high explosives would probably effectively damage the Factor. Plasmaburst and Thermobaric, again, almost certainly would do so. There is no question in anyone’s reasonable mind that an antimatter reaction of any appreciable size whatsoever going off nearby will wipe out a Factor, same with conventional fusion and fission bombs, so if worst comes to worst, you always have the possibility of nuking it from orbit. Vacuum exposure is an unknown quantity. They may or may not need to respire gasses at all, though the trouble they’ve seemingly gone to install life support systems on their ships indicate that they do. Even so, however, I would urge you to consider how many Transhuman morphs can operate in vacuum, both for short periods and indefinitely, and ask you not to consider airlocking a quick way to end your Factor problem. Biological warfare, nanological warfare? Again, you’re in uncharted waters here. It is likely that some kind of bioweapon would prove effective, but the simple fact is that [i]we don’t know what bioweapons might be effective.[/i] Our most potent neurotoxins could, and most likely will, prove entirely ineffective against Factors, whilst something hilariously nonlethal to us, like itching powder, might be as lethal to them as Frogbite is to a Flat. Nanotoxins are more likely to be effective, operating on more gross physical lines, but we have no intelligence on what kind of nanophage equivalents the Factors might have, so you’d be well-advised to skip the Necrosis nanobots and go straight to Disassemblers programmed to destroy any vitreous goo. (And keep your eyeballs safe!) TITAN nanoplauges would almost certainly overwhelm any anti-nano defenses the Factors have, but if you’re even [i]considering[/i] using TITAN nanotech as an anti-factor weapon, then either you’re fucked in the head or the situation has officially passed the Godzilla Threshold. The last thing we need is Exsurgent Factors. There is a question as to how rapidly Factors heal. We don’t have any hard data on this, but there’s no reason to suspect they would heal damage that has already been inflicted in anything resembling a timeframe relevant to open combat. Yet, this rumor persists in making the rounds on the Eye, so I will address it. Let us then assume a worst-case scenario, and suggest that a Factor is capable of regenerating itself to life from any state whatsoever that leaves significant portions of its body in physical contact with other parts, as well as partially or wholly regenerating any kind of damage you can deal to it in a matter of seconds. In this instance, I can only wholeheartedly recommend killing it with fire, until nothing is left but ashes. If possible, scooping some into a specimen container before finishing it off would be helpful, but treat it with as much respect and fear, and paranoia, as you would a canister of active TITAN nanotech. In other words, be ready to [i]overkill[/i] it with fire at the slightest hint it’s about to get out of control. There is, however, some good news. Factors have never been observed clad in anything resembling clothing, let alone armor. While they may be physically resilient in and of themselves, to degrees that transhuman morphs simply cannot reach, in my expert opinion, no amount of biomodding and gelatinous structure is going to be as protective as layers of carbon fullerene nanoweave, superconducting materials, and aerogels. To the degree our fleshy, differentiated bodies and endoskeletal structures give us vulnerabilities that the Factors inherently lack, such as vital points to target, they also prime us to use protective gear in ways that we have no reason to believe Factors would even consider. This means that the kill it with fire option is likely to be much more effective than it would be if, say, you aimed a plasma rifle at a fireproof, energy-armored Battlesuit, and also leaves the Factors exposed to any biological or nanological vectors you may deploy, without the first line of defense that the armor we all know you invest heavily in represents. Ultimately, however, this is all guesswork. There’s only three ways to know for sure what kills a Factor and what doesn’t, in ascending order of preference and reliability: Field experience, unethical laboratory testing, and interrogating a Factor or their computer systems. If their species has, or has had, conflicts amongst each other which rise to the level of lethal warfare, they are assuredly experts at killing each other, just as we are. Even if not, they are likely to have a very good idea of what is damaging and deadly to them. The bad news? The Factors are very, very tight-lipped (to the point of not having lips, small xenobiologist joke,) about their own species, but we can’t shut up about our own. They have access to the Mesh, same as anybody else, so they are almost certainly better prepared to kill us than we are to kill them, though the question as to how well they understand what they’re seeing is a valid one. Valid though it may be, however, it is best to assume the worst, and presume that they know every facet of how to lethally disable you, and will likely employ those techniques. Which brings us to the next point. [center][h2]How will it try to kill me?[/h2][/center] [b]The TL;DR version?[/b] I don’t know, but wear a sealed suit. Pick a fight with one and have someone record it. As mentioned in the previous point, Factors have access to the Mesh same as the rest of us do. There is no way of knowing how well they comprehend what they have access to - imagine trying to comprehend a visual record of a battle when you aren’t believed to perceive the visible light spectrum. It’s like trying to explain to someone who’s never been sleeved in a neo-cetacean morph, or anything else with an echolocation mod, how echolocation works, and even then it’s not so bad, because they can sort-of extrapolate from their own experiences with sound. Our suspicions are that Factors have as much confusion about us as we do about them, but that they have the advantage of being able to skip the tedious scientific comprehension bits and get right to the parts where we’ve recorded what works to kill us and what doesn’t. For instance, you won’t kill a transhuman with a jet of water unless it’s going very, very fast. Imagine a species which dissolves instantly upon contact with water and thus has become used to thinking of water as the ultimate anti-personnel weapon, if very dangerous to handle, and watch as they experiment with killing us with water guns. Now give that species access to Transhumanity’s notes as regards what kills each other, and they can skip that embarrassing engagement (which is likely to go poorly for them,) and skip straight to adapting our railgun blueprints for their own use. So, at the very least, expect the Factors to come at you with the stuff that any transhuman antagonist would. At the very worst, expect them to bust out phased disruption beams straight out of [i]Star Trek[/i] which only have to graze you to vaporize huge chunks of your morph, and be ready for anything in between, as best as you can be. However, I can safely say that one needs no defense, or at least less defense, against a dead enemy. As is typical in a fight, he who gets in the first shot tends to win, whether that’s achieved through treachery, ambush, or just being the quickest draw in the room. Shoot first, shoot to overkill, and [i]don’t miss.[/i] Another thing to consider: Factors use the substance we’ve labeled “Factor Dust” to communicate. This substance has a rich and varied chemical composition, and we believe Factors can detect traces of it at astounding distances, and we know that is highly poisonous to transhumans, rapidly causing anaphylactic shock. Imagine if you could kill an alien antagonist just by shouting really loud at them, or beaming ordinary mesh insert radio jamming waves at them. That said, the resistance of the average Firewall Sentinel to poisons is much greater than that of the average transhuman, and it’s not going to be effective [i]at all[/i] against someone who is bio-sealed, or not biological in the first place. (Its efficacy upon non-human biology is questionable, but don’t bet your ass on Factor Dust not affecting your Novacrab or Scurrier morph, and take the appropriate precautions.) This could give you a momentary advantage if they attempt to use the dust offensively only to find it completely ineffectual against you; if you do get this momentary advantage, make it decisive, because they aren’t likely to make the same mistake twice! [center][h2]How do I capture it?[/h2][/center] [b]The TL;DR version?[/b] As carefully as possible, and as briefly as possible. We don’t know what exactly the Factors are capable of, but we strongly suspect that they can squeeze themselves through almost arbitrarily small openings. We do know that they communicate with one another through “Factor Dust,” which is highly poisonous to us and we suspect they know it, and wouldn’t hesitate to use it offensively if they got the chance. We don’t know if they can goop themselves around you and dissolve you, extrude tentacles to strangle you, or whip concealed tools from within their morphs to break out of confinement. What we do know is that they can interact with our technology. Not perfectly, as has been evidenced by a few notable gaffes at functions, assuming they weren’t staged incidents, but likely better than we can interact with theirs. So it’s not remotely as simple as locking it in an airtight box. We don’t know if Factors are good, bad, or indifferent with infosec.We do know that the few examples we’ve seen of hardware devices they use to interface with our mesh systems are vulnerable to hacking. As such, Factor containment needs to be as foolproof as possible. You need to get it right the first time, because chances are that if you fuck up, you will be punished for your mistake by the Factor itself long before the Eye gets around to excoriating your rep. The best plan, in this case, is to try to contain it the way you would contain an exsurgent, if for some reason you [i]absolutely had[/i] to contain an exsurgent. The strongest physical material you can get, with the strongest nano-protection you can get, Faraday shielded, low-res anti-basilisk monitoring system (although we don’t believe this is likely to be required, given that Factors have never evidenced anything resembling basilisk capabilities, better to be safe than sorry), isolated from everyone else as much as possible, and with a failsafe that burninates the thing into molten, unrecognizable ruination. Have a plan in place to pin the failsafe going off on some patsy at a moment’s notice, and be double, triple sure that whatever your failsafe was, nothing will have survived that could be identified as the remains of a Factor. Whatever measures you wind up taking, presume them to be temporary, and do your absolute best to get it out of your hands as quickly as possible, and into the hands of those who have put a lot of sleepless nights into thinking and planning for how to contain a Factor. [center][h2]Why do they look so different?[/h2][/center] [b]The TL;DR version?[/b] Why do Transhumans look so different? It is believed that Factors have a number of different morphological types which fall into their family, just as we do. Whether they evolved with strikingly different phenotypes, or have genetically engineered themselves to be such, is a matter for debate and mostly immaterial at present. So far we have identified three specific Factor phenotypes/morphs, although there are most assuredly many more. [h3]Ambassadors[/h3] These are the ones you’re most familiar with, and the first image you’ll find if you pull up the SolArchive article on Factors, assuming it hasn’t been recently vandalized by anti-Factor hate groups and trolls. They are ochre-orange in color, with green “stalks” and a trio of organelles that vaguely resemble a transhuman face, consisting of a silvery orb with two luminescent yellow “eyes” hanging above and to the sides of it. If you have to communicate with Factors, try this one first. If you have to kill Factors, leave it for last. If you have to capture Factors... Well, they’re all of critical priority on that front. The Ambassadors’ silvery orb-organ has been identified to somehow be capable of generating radio waves and interfacing with our mesh systems. We believe this organelle likely plays host to a mechanical augmentation not unlike our own mesh inserts, but we cannot rule out an entirely organic system capable of Mesh interface. Either way, if you have to contain a Factor Ambassador (or really, any Factor,) faraday cages are a must. Do not expect cutting the orb off to work! For obvious reasons, nobody has ever attempted to “hack” a Factor Ambassador. [h3]Guardian[/h3] Let me get this out of the way up-front: [i]Yes,[/i] the structure on the front of this Factor morph looks [i]almost exactly[/i] like a giant gray vagina. [b]Do not[/b] attempt to insert any appendages you’re attached to in any sense into a Factor Guardian! If you really want to have sex with an alien-looking thing available in the color gray, go find someone in a Gray morph; they appreciate the attention. (And don’t get any funny ideas about the tentacles, either.) That out of the way, Factor Guardians are apparently a bodyguard caste, with numerous fronds of tentacles and some kind of pod-like organelle at the front. You will never see an Ambassador unless it’s accompanied by one or two Guardians. They have never been observed carrying anything we recognize as a mechanical weapon, but just because we haven’t observed it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. On the few times someone with ill intent has gotten close enough to a Factor delegation to make a move on the Ambassador, the Guardians reacted swiftly, and subdued the target with tentacles, their body weight, what we recorded as electrical discharges not unlike Eelware, and practically drowning him in Factor Dust. If this is the extent of their offensive capabilities, then we can be reasonably confident that in open conflict with any degree of preparedness, any of you should be able to defeat them as long as you have weapons which are effective and can avoid being physically pinned. Do not count on it being the extent of their offensive capabilities, and plan accordingly. Otherwise, we believe these Guardians to be much more durable and stronger than an Ambassador, as their bodies do seem to be somewhat denser, but we don’t estimate them to be more of a physical threat than your average naked Fury, barring the deployment of unknown weapon systems. If you have to kill Factors, go for the Guardians first. If you have to communicate with them, try this one last. If you’re trying to capture any of them, we want these too. [h3]Green Phenotype[/h3] These have only been observed a grand total of once, lurking inside a Factor vessel when it landed, recorded by a hyperspectral fiber camera. It appears much more plain than both Ambassadors and Guardians, resembling a giant green slug with a few thin tentacles and a green pod-like organelle at the ‘front’. The Green Phenotype is hypothesized to be a Factor morph specialized for shipboard service, and may represent the ship’s crew. Their combat capabilities are unknown, but presumably inferior to those of a Guardian. If you have to kill them, it is suggested they be prioritized the same as Ambassadors unless you have reason to believe they are more dangerous. If you have to capture them, we want these [i]badly.[/i]
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