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Arachnid Motivations don't make sense

Set in the Starfire strategy game universe, co-authored by David and Steve White, these novels feature the clash of the Terran Federation, the cat-like Orions, the genocidal Rigelians, and the "Bugs"...join us in the discussion!
Arachnid Motivations don't make sense
Post by imperatorzor   » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:30 am

imperatorzor
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There are several points I would like to bring out involving the Arachnids and their motivations. David said quite clearly that they were motivated by a simple desire to survive and expand. However some things don't add up with that...

1: Colonization limitations: The arachnids only lived on habitable planets. Why do this? Why not build Space Stations or Moon Colonies?
2: Raising sapients as livestock: Sure it's a vilanous thing to do, but it's hardly practical. Eating dead enemies is one thing, they're there and they got good meat, why not? But raising sapients as livestock makes little sense. The animals that humanity domesticated were selected in part for being controllable and breeding fast. You get much more meat raising pigs or cows than you would raising humans or something which has a life cycle on par with a human.
3: Ground Warfare: Why not use a full range of vehicles (tanks, artillery, APCs) instead of just limiting themselves to naked warriors running around in mobs with only helicopters for support. Not using said machines is wasteful
4: Fighters: sure their bodies are not configured like a human body, but that does not mean that a seat for them could not be contrived.
5: The Big One, Survival at Any Costs covers Survival by Coexistance: The Bugs are supposed to be smart. They seek to understand their foes to best fight them. Obviously they would try to understand their foes biology and their ways of thinking. How their society works. They would work out that humans communicate by sound and try to work out what specific sounds will mean for reasons on the battlefield. This also goes to learning how to read as well and understanding history and how it involves independent beings operating together. They would also notice that they are being assailed by other species who cooperate towards the end of continuing to exist against a common foe. As such it would be logical for them to think, once they get put up against the wall to attempt to try to surrender. Even if they are curbed in expansion continued existence beats oblivion.

Zor
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Re: Arachnid Motivations don't make sense
Post by zyffyr   » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:12 am

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#4 was answered within the books. Arachnid intelligence is 'distributed', with a minimum number of bodies needed in close proximity to achieve useful levels of intelligence. A fighter just can't have enough of the bugs on board.

For #3, it is entirely possible that they had never previously found a need for those vehicles. Different history leads to different developments...
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Re: Arachnid Motivations don't make sense
Post by munroburton   » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:40 am

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The Bugs did have large space stations. But even large space stations are tiny, don't have that much population capacity. I mean, those Home Hives had 20 or 30 billion bugs per planet. Hard to see stations adding much to that. If anything's wrong with the Bug colonisation model, it was that they don't actually expand very quickly, preferring to fill up a system completely before exploring beyond it.

Gotta remember that the Bugs don't care about their individual quality of life, only control of resources. What resources do the stations provide(rather than consume) the Bug empire with?

There's a theory which suggests interstellar trade should never become a thing, except perhaps for unique and exotic resources. We're not talking about dilithium or unobtainium - rather, luxuries like alien-bear pelts or medical supplies synthesized from alien plants. The sort of thing Bugs don't care about.

#2, the thing I never understood about the sentinent livestock was, why the bloody hell did they have kids? Humans trapped in a bug food farm aren't going to breed willingly - they might still screw, but not for procreation. Definitely not after seeing a few babies gobbled up as snacks.

#3, Humans only have such extensive ground warfare equipment because we've spent five thousand years killing each other on the ground. The Bug Hive Mind would not have fought itself - this also explains some of its poor strategical and tactical decisions - and it wouldn't need most of those if it had orbital support available.

#5, the Bugs are simply incapable of that sort of thinking. They're morons operating mostly on instinct. There's a bit in the last book where it's made clear the Bug intelligence considered(or tried to) whether it could have done things differently. Its conclusion was no, it would have done the same things all over again. It's clearly a highly reactive entity, rather than proactive.

The real mystery is how they ever made the leap into space. My guess is that one of those multi-planet Home Hives had another sentient race in addition to the bug's original homeworld. They landed and captured specimens. Brought them home. The specimens broke out of containment and eventually took the planet over, or fed the interplanetary hive mind with knowledge of technologies.
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Re: Arachnid Motivations don't make sense
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:39 am

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munroburton wrote:#2, the thing I never understood about the sentinent livestock was, why the bloody hell did they have kids? Humans trapped in a bug food farm aren't going to breed willingly - they might still screw, but not for procreation. Definitely not after seeing a few babies gobbled up as snacks.


No contraception besides withdrawal and rhythm. Neither is all that effective.
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Re: Arachnid Motivations don't make sense
Post by feyhunde   » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:06 pm

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zyffyr wrote:#4 was answered within the books. Arachnid intelligence is 'distributed', with a minimum number of bodies needed in close proximity to achieve useful levels of intelligence. A fighter just can't have enough of the bugs on board.


#4 also answers why they generally preferred large planets. Because of their distributed intelligence, they can function better as a hivemind the more of them they are within an appropriate distance. We also see as the war turns against them, that the home hives start to diverge in thoughts and opinions. It really feels like the bugs prefer not to create more home hives until they reach a max population on existing hives to ensure the home hives have an equal status to reduce the chance of a split.

As for living food, I can think of a few reasons. Perhaps dense brain mass is useful for their biology.
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Re: Arachnid Motivations don't make sense
Post by n7axw   » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:16 pm

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There is some question that lingers throughout the books if the Bugs were truly sentient, at least in terms of being self-aware in a human sense. That question is never definitively answered. But it does suggest that our notions of common sense really apply here due to how utterly alien the Bugs are.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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