A massive Spherical Hiveship.
The Locusts are a trans–carbon race. They began their existence as sentient living things, but chose of their own free will to give up their bodies and their mortality to become self–replicating machines.
All Locusts were once members of a race of mammalian–type sentients. They were carbon–based life forms slaved to a carbon cycle of death and birth, pain and pleasure. They were no more or less inclined to abuse their environment than any other sentient creature, in this pre–Locust stage, but they decided nonetheless that they would prefer to exist outside of the endless loop of birth, growth, decay and death.
Having collectively risen to sentience, achieved a Space Age and an advanced technology base, a very tiny minority of them decided that they were simply too good to suffer the slings and arrows of the carbon cycle anymore. They built the first Locust City and downloaded their minds as engrams into Locust bodies.
With the transition to a trans–carbon lifestyle, the Locusts lost any sense of connection to the needs and wants of those still tethered to a carbon biosphere. The Locust "experience" of life is very insular. New experiences, to the extent that these are possible, have no impact on Locust identity or personality. Engrams cannot learn or change as living beings do.
Locusts are not an AI rebellion, and do not have the strengths and weaknesses of true Artificial Intelligences. Nor do they have any special hatred of carbon–based life per se. The conflicts that they have with carbon–folk are coincidental, rather than deliberately instigated. The Locusts do not hate carbon–based life, they simply sweep aside whatever and whoever is in the way. The Locusts feel entitled to take anything and everything they need from a system. The members of their own race who decided not to join them and transcend a carbon lifestyle were treated in a predictable fashion. If the remainder of the parent species is ever found, it is likely that they will be living on a stripped world, trapped in a Stone Age from which they can never escape.
Locusts replicate themselves for the same reason that they wanted to live forever: ego. After all, how can there be too much perfection? The minds of the Locusts are very involved in the process of self–replication. Narcissus could only dream of an experience like it. All known Locust spheres are duplicates of one another in every detail. When the Locusts duplicate themselves, the copy is perfect. If by chance an imperfect copy was to be made, it would be resorbed and re–cast until proper duplication could be achieved.
There is no record of Locusts attacking other Locusts. Locusts are oblivious to the fate of their copies and have no interest in military strategy per se. The only right answer is the one they already know. They are not a "Hive Mind", but rather an endlessly repeating city of trans–carbon entities. One can imagine them as a collective or commune, but they do not surrender their individuality to the whole in any way — that would smack of humility. The City Core is the residence of all the minds grown too abstract to be self–motivated personalities.
Do the Locusts "think"? Yes. The Locusts think quite deeply...about themselves...and only themselves, and what things mean... to themselves. And how much better the universe is when there are more of...themselves. Because when there are more of themselves...there is less chance of their wonderful selves ceasing to exist.
The Locust personalities are neither a hierarchy nor a bureaucracy. There is very little variation in their responses to threats or challenge. There is no "military AI" which has authority over the others. If the movement of the Sphere from system to system requires a decision between equally viable options, random chance is enough to determine their course. They are aware of one another and factor the presence of other spheres into their calculations, if they are considering a move to a new system. Communication is probably too strong a word for this subtle readjustment — people do not need to talk in order to avoid jostling one another in an elevator.
A decision was made long ago about how to handle the interface between the Sphere and the universe. The Locusts are still living according to that decision. Why would they ever change their minds, when their minds are by definition perfect?
The Sphere sustains each individual Locust and can provide them with new bodies as needed, unless it is destroyed. The tiny drones are Locust bodies, occupied by the engrams when the Sphere must be defended. The Sphere itself is the residence of all the minds grown too abstract to be self–motivated personalities. Those who are no longer interested in leaving the Sphere, even to defend the Sphere. This potential (to make all problems someone else's problem to solve) was always present in the personality of the living person, it has just become more strongly expressed in the engram.
and for the record...missiles vs locusts = sledgehammer vs ants....yes you will kill one or two REALLY hard...but in the meantimes you are dead — Mecron
|Description:||A massive Spherical Hiveship that arrives as a sole Grand Menace.|
|Encounter Type:|| Grand Menace Encounter.|
Spawns Mobile non–Random Encounter.
|Notes:|| Upon arrival at a world, the Hiveship will strip all resources with the aim to replicate itself, resulting in exponential growth.|
the Locusts can NOT duplicate without taking resources from worlds — Mecron
|Tactics:|| When a Locust swarm attacks one of your planets, let the computer handle the battle, regardless of whether you have a fleet present. You're guaranteed to lose far less ships, population, infrastructure and resources than if you tried to fight manually. I guess maybe the computer knows something about Locusts that we don't. This is possibly a bug with Locusts, but I've confirmed this tactic works over the course of several games. — Harathan|
Energy Absorbers are very good against the Locusts as all of their weapons are energy based. Disruptor Shields could also work when assaulting the Hiveworld itself, but are unlikely to work against the swarmers.
Also note that the swarm of cones is actually limited, after they are destroyed, it is fairly easy fight... Shielded destroyers are very effective.
These are the implications of transcending your bodily limitations without transcending your petty fears and equally petty egotism. The implications of one entity living forever have always been a reduction of available resources for all other possible life forms.
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