Elecdrone Swarming

The elecdrones are one of the most fearsome threats faced in the galaxy, mostly because none of the conventional rules of war apply. As far as the best sapient minds have been able to discern, they cannot be conquered, they cannot be appeased, they cannot be reasoned with, and they seemingly cannot be stopped.

Typical Elecdrone

Agility 5D: acrobatics 6D, brawling 6D, dodge 6D, running 6D

Mechanical 2D

Strength 3D+2: climb/jump: 4D+2, stamina 4D+2

Knowledge 1D+2: willpower 2D

Perception 3D+2: command 4D, search 5D, sneak 6D

Technical 1D

Strength Damage: 2D

Move: l0

Fate Points: 0

Character Points: 2

Body Points: 21

Wound levels: 3

Disadvantages: Achilles’ Heel: Metabolic Difference (R3), requires bioelectricity from living organisms; Devotion (R3), to the elecdrone generator; Employed (R3), by the elecdrone generator

Advantages: Contacts (R4), the rest of the planet-bound elecdrone swarm, who will die for it under the right circumstances; Size: Small (Rl), scale value 3

Special Abilities: Armor-Defeating Attack (R2), bioelectrical attack, negates up to +2D in armor, doesn’t work against insulated or plastic armor; Attack Resistance: Mental (R4), +4D to mental harm; Extra Sense (R5), +5D to search checks to detect elecdrone within a 100-meter radius; Immunity (R4), +4D to Strength or stamina cl1ecks against ilh1ess or poison; Iron Will (R3), +3D to all willpower rolls and +6 to standard interaction difficulties against it; Life Drain (R2), for each four points an elecdrone attack succeeds by, it drains 6 Body Points or 1 Wound Level from the victim; Longevity (R1), with Additional Effect (R3), does not need to eat, breathe, or rest; Natural Hand-to-Hand Weapon: Bioelectrical Attack (R2), damage +2D

Note: The elecdrone may have other abilities as needed, such as low ranks of Flight or Skill Bonus.

Typical Elecdrone Generator

Agility 2D: dodge 4D

Mechanical 2D

Strength 3D

Knowledge 3D: languages: people killed by brood 5D; tactics 5D; willpower 6D

Perception 4D: command 6D

Technical 2D: medicine: brood-redesign 6D

Strength Damage: 2D

Move: 10

Fate Points: 1

Character Points: 10

Body Points: 19

Wound levels: 3

Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Achilles’ Heel: Metabolic Difference (R3), requires bioelectricity from its own brood; Devotion (R3), to making new elecdrones and wiping out organic life; Employed {R3) by the elecdrone swarming; Hindrance (R4), cannot move

Advantages: Authority (R10), planet’s elecdrones, who are created by and will die for the elecdrone generator; Size: Large (R1), scale value 3

Special Abilities: Attack Resistance: Mental (R4), +4D to mental harm; Extra Body Part: Broadcasting Ability (R1), with Additional Effect (R20) can alert any elecdrone on the planet to its status and desires; Immunity (R4), +4D to Strength or stamina checks against illness or poison; Iron Will (R3), +3D to all willpower rolls and +6 to standard interaction difficulties; Life Drain (R2), for each 4 points an elecdrone attack succeeds by, it drains 6 Body Points or 1 Wound Level from the victim, with Restricted (R2) only works on elecdrones; Longevity (R1), with Additional Effect (R3), does not need to eat, breathe, or rest

Physical Appearance

The Elecdrone Swarming received their name after a small group of them were discovered on a world. The explorers emerged victorious after a brief battle, and the deceased specimens were brought back to the scout ship. Examination showed the creatures to be an amalgam of electronic and biological components; these were no mere cybernetic implants, but rather a full-Hedged integration of the parts into the whole on the cellular level. Since the creatures seemed to be mindless creatures, they were given the name “elecdrone,” short for “electrical drone.”

A second visit to the planet revealed that these creatures were more common than thought, and another pitched battle resulted in the explorers fleeing. At this point, the creature’s classification and name were changed to represent their large numbers,and they became known collectively as the “elecdrone swarm.” Shortly after this first encounter, the full magnitude of the creatures’ danger became clear; within a year, three worlds outlying from that system were overrun by elecdrones. Thus a new nomenclature was required; while elecdrone refers to one and swarm refers to many, the “elecdrone swarming” came to mean the entire threat these creatures pose.

The bodies of all elecdronic life combine organic and mechanical components in a way that baffles scientists; a wounded elecdrone is equally likely to spurt ichor, emit sparks, or do both at the same rime. The typical elecdrone is a radial five-limbed creature, making it resemble an odd star; its appendages provide both mobility and a means of attack and manipulation. Although sizes vary considerably, the typical elecdrone is about one meter across. The greater threat, however, is the elecdrone generator, a “queen” of sorts. This being much more closely resembles a humanoid, in that it has a face, eyes, and mouth. However, the rest of its oversized grotesque body exists solely for the purpose of creating more of its brood. It’s believed the generator cannot move on her own, so her lair is always surrounded by dozens or hundreds (or more) of elecdrones.

Known History

Almost nothing is known about the history of the elecdrone swarming. Experiments on what seem to be their combination brain/databanks have yielded only tantalizing clues that were probably copied over from successive generations. These fragments seem to indicate that the first elecdrones were made as a solution to a great threat of some kind. Their self-replicative nature allowed for them to continue working long after their opponents succumbed to the onslaught. Unfortunately, the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any way of deactivating them (at least, not all of them all at once) means that they probably ran amok after defeating their foe, leading to the scourge that they are today.

If this story has any merit, it leads scholars to ask two disturbing questions. First, what alien species would be capable of creating a threat such as this; the combination of creativity, shortsightedness, and desperation required boggles xenobiologists’ imaginations. Second, what threat could possibly be so great that even contemplating the creation of the elecdrone swarming seemed like a good idea … and could this threat still be out there, somewhere?

Mode of Operation

In combat, an individual elecdrone attacks by entangling a victim in some way and using its bioelectrical nature to harm the victim. How it does this depends on the creature’s reserves; if low on energy, it might drain it from the victim, and if Hush with power,it might electrocute instead. While not intelligent, per se, the creatures are cunning and exhibit a tenacious creativity; choking, burying with heavy objects, or suffocating are all possible means an elecdrone might use to dispatch its opponent.

However, it is not one-on-one combat that most frightens battle-hardened soldiers. Rather, the danger lies in their huge numbers, capable of overwhelming even a seasoned fighter if given. a chance.

Although the nonqueen elecdrones are not terribly intelligent, they have a surprising sophistication in their instinct (or programming, depending on how one views them). If there are more than 10 functioning elecdrones in an area, their overriding command is to “swarm” – find all organic mobile life forms and kill them. However, once they can no longer detect at least 10 of their own kind functioning within their immediate area (100 meters), their compulsions become more complex and devious.

At between six and 10 elecdrones, their mode seems to be “regroup”; members of the remaining party scatter and look for others of their kind. If they discover any, they move toward their areaandjoin them. If they don’t, they continue scattering further and further, until additional programming takes hold.

At two to five elecdrones, their command set toggles to “distract” In this mode, one elecdrone (the least damaged one) is designated the “survivor” while the others serve to distract it, giving their lives to any attackers to allow the other to escape.

At one elecdrone, its overwhelming instinct is “repopulation.” If it still has a signal from the elecdrone generator, it seeks to return to the “queen” to upload findings and information. If not, it assumes it is alone and cries to repopulate the planet. A lone elecdrone on a planet must become the elecdrone generator, which requires the amassing of about 30 days’ worth of energy and resources (primarily minerals and immobile food). Once it has done so, it looks for a secure location; this is usually underground, although any place with significant shelter and seclusion can work, such as a bombed-out office building. Once there, it grows and assumes the form of an elecdrone generator, where it churning out more drones. The rest of its immobile existence will be in its lair; it acquires nourishment by assimilating its brood into itself after they have fed on the bioelectricity of organic life.

An elecdrone’s sensors seem able to detect interstellar- capable spacecraft nearby (again, within 100 meters). If one is detected, and its regroup, distract, or repopulation programming has not been activated, it seeks to become a stowaway on this vessel, hoping to find a new world (or moon or space station) to spread itself to.

The elecdrone queen has incredible transmission powers, but they are only one-directional; thus she is able to issue commands and information to her brood, but they cannot reply. This transmitter can reach anywhere on a world but does not extend to space. The elecdrone generator’s only role in life is to keep making more elecdrones – usually at the rate of one a minute, although for one minute a day this production can be increased to one elecdrone every five seconds if there is a need.

If the elecdrone generator has received information from her brood (which is accomplished by their being reabsorbed into her), she can alter her output accordingly. With this information, she can also alter the offspring somewhat; for example, if the elecdrone queen learns a large, armor-plated species has landed on the planet, it might produce larger elecdrones (to batter the defenses) or smaller opponents (to squirm inside the armor), depending on what it determines would be useful. The generator still seems limited to the same mass of offspring, however, so (for example) in a day it might make half as many double-sized elecdrones or four times as many quarter-sized versions.

Elecdrone generators appear to be ad east vaguely humanoid, complete with the ability to carry on conversations in other languages (if a generator has absorbed an elecdrone who bio- electrocuted a victim). Nonetheless, they don’t seem interested in negotiating or working out a peace; rather, they prefer to use their abilities to torment those who have breached their inner lairs. Eve11 so, this ability to communicate may prove useful at some point, especially if information about its origins or creators can be obtained. from it. At present, there have been few willing to try.

Food for Ants

The Sergeant staggered toward the front of the briefing room; his artificial leg echoed with a plasti-metallic clang on every other step.

“The General asked me to offer some insight into what all y’all will be facing on Planet H4934e.” His face turned sad but expressionless for a moment, as if he was suddenly haunted by the ghosts of several friends.

He continued. “Imagine opening your door and seeing a large ant hill right outside your front step. Lacking all sense, you decide to kick it, repeatedly. And it turns out that this hill is filled with the biggest, meanest ants you’ve ever seen. And you find yourself so stunned by this that you can’t move for a second, and so you get covered from the waist down with these huge ants, all biting any piece of exposed flesh they can find.

“Now imagine you fight back, as hard as you can. And you eventually win; you kick this giant hill down flat. And you stagger back indoors, your body a mass of bites and coagulating blood and dead ant bodies still sticking out of you from where their talons embedded into your flesh.

“Now imagine that you spend an hour recovering. and decide to go outside to survey your handiwork. So you open your front door again. And, to your surprise, you see – not only the first ant hill, as big as it ever was – but nine others just like it, surrounding your home. And as the ants in these hills – new and old alike – notice you and start streaming toward you, you consider running, but discover you can’t because your legs are still on fire from the pain of the first encounter. So they cover you whole, and your last thought before you black out is knowing that your body will feed these ants and form the basis of a new anthill.”

There was another uncomfortable silence before the Sergeant continued. “Any questions?”

D6 Space Aliens, Volume I (WEG 51022), © 2005 Purgatory Publishing Inc.
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