Author Topic: Time's End - POST SCRIPTUM  (Read 1855 times)

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Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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« on: December 11, 2021, 08:19:46 PM »
And so this cycle of the universe is completed and time itself has stopped to flow. Now new big bang will happen and once again stars will shine and new life will rise on some planets and conquer the final frontier, coming through the same way and eventually discovering the same truth for themselves.

Thank you to all who've been reading this DLC, hope you are satisfied with the ending as much as it was satisfying for me to end it the way I did. Also special thanks for nuclearslurpee for being there, providing his encouragement. This timeline was possible to be fixed by large thanks to his efforts, because now Groaxians will have access to his insights when deciphering human legacy encoded into the monolith which will help them develop and not go completely insane in a Dark Forest.

I'd be grateful for any final comments, stuff I should imporove, what you liked, what you didn't like and so on. Potential suggestions on future endeavours welcome as well (I might just have another idea for another DLC to this universe, but might as well do something entirely new).

Another thing I just wanted to say is that with this DLC I tried to (way more than with the main AAR) capture the sprit of No Man's Sky - I mean, No Man's Sky universe is literally the opposite of a Dark Forest, but it just has damn awesome lore that for me at times feels as if it really came from the skies that no man has ever seen before. So by "spirit of No Man's Sky" I don't mean the exact lore (though the system with Umbara fleet being non-existent and not matching any stellar charts was a direct inspiration from one of the questlines), but rather the general feel for cosmic mysteries or writing style and the way of introducing new concepts appearing through the story or explaining what was going on across the void. Hope I at least partially succeeded at that. And obviously go read Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy if you haven't already, at this point my work could be considered fanfic in many aspects given all the concepts I took and adapted to my needs from it.

To this post you'll find a final savefile attached so you can check on the Groaxian development from pure gameplay perspective. Also below is the list compiling all the Groaxian traits and characteristics that appeared through this DLC, each separately marked with spoiler so you could check how many you caught/remembered to this point, listed in no particular order. Hopefully I won't miss anything that should be placed on this list myself, been over half a year since I started this, after all...  :P

  • Breathe methane. Oxygen is toxic for them.
  • Prefer the temperature within the range of -40s Celsius. -50 is also alright, below it starts getting a bit chilly for them. -20 would be a particularly nasty summer on Genesis and human comfortable temperature range is absolute inferno.
  • Can make sounds, particularly random Groaxian screams of confusion, but do not speak as we know it. Instead they exhale pink-purple gas and different shades of these colours or created shapes mark different words and sentences.
  • Do not have blood.
  • On the outside may look simply like lizard-men or whatever, but their internal anatomy is vastly different, namely their brain. Their brain isn't located in just head, instead it is an entire tissue layer covering their entire body. Think about, for example, humans and their fat layer under the skin. Groaxians have a "brain layer". Such a great brain surface leads to their outstanding smartness compared to humans, but also means that if you shoot a Groaxian, every shot that connects will be a "headshot", but at the same time "headshots" aren't nowhere near as dangerous as for humans. They can casually lose large portions of their brains and recover without too much problems. Brain trauma isn't a serious danger for them.
  • Tend to live in spacious cities spread across enormous surface, bigger than human cities. They don't naturally build skyscrapers and expand horizontally rather than vertically, which is why human ruins on Yatune were a novelty for them.
  • The above is tied to them poorly handing too many Groaxians living too close to each other, which is because they're naturally psionically potent and simply hear too many thoughts around them which makes it hard for them to concentrate. This is why naturally they tend to spread out rather than pack themselves densely like humans like to do with their cities, but it still took a lot of scientific progress for them to understand and capitalize on this phenomena and become consciously psionic-capable.
  • Organised themselves into small clans that outlived the tribal age and prevailed through their entire history, the reason being what was explained in the point above.
  • Had much easier time with unification projects than humans and somehow they didn't require drowining entire Genesis in blood which they don't even have.
  • Need to periodically hibernate, just like all life on Genesis. Their homeworld periodically "goes haywire", temperatures drop far below anything survivable and methane levels flucuate. To survive, they just freeze themselves deep in the ice and thaw together with it at the beginning of next hibernation cycle.
  • Because of the above, hibernation cycles are the foundation of their calendar. They have nothing to do with how long it takes for Genesis to make one lap around Qi.
  • Name days as solar watches and nights as cosmic watches.
  • Strive for a perfect balance. They hate extremes and are hardcore followers of the "golden mean rule".
  • The above means that under optimal conditions average Groaxian is going to be much happier than average human, but the opposite will be true when smeg hits the fan.
  • Part of this balance is how they approach work - on daily basis they work much, much less than humans (working five solar watches in a row is insanity for them), but at the same time start working literally from birth (yes they are born as much stronger already than newborn humans) and retirement is also an alien concept for them. Just work in a perfectly balanced cycle to not get either too tired or too lazy and don't change anything because that could threaten the balance.
  • What would "send chills down the spine" of a human being would "raise the brain's temperature" of a Groaxian.
  • Groaxians have three genders - males, females and middlemen. Middlement do not form relationships, but instead serve as additional validation during breeding process to be absolutely sure nothing is screwed with the genetic material of a Groaxian baby, donating their own genetic material to fix whatever glitch might appear. This ensures Groaxian population is much more resilient to genetic illness and has a robust DNA base, far superior to humans.
  • Female Groaxians are excellent observers - that makes them the best hunters or astronomers, though the latter is only a tradition leftover from the ancient times where naked eye was the best atronomer's tool available.
  • Male Groaxians need to have some sort of bugs/parasites known as Craals injected to them every 14 hibernation cycles to prevent Disconnection Syndrome. This disease basically means new Groaxian entities would develop in their body like in some weird abomination of breeding process, but not really, causing the patient to go insane from multiple personality disorder of some sort.
  • Groaxian's brain excellent performance even after being fragmented is what lied foundations for the Distributed Groaxians project and later outright cloning programs. Thanks to this property combined with strong psionic skills, different chunks of Groaxian brain can remain in excellent communication and synchronization even when separated or put in a new body fresh from a lab vat, allowing Groaxians to control more than one body at once or just being literally bilocated. This is not to be confused with hivemind as at their core Groaxians are individuals, but the more psionic-capable ones can connect with others from time to time temporarily forming a hivemind in "lite version".
  • One of the most prestigious jobs in Groaxian society is the role of a Tempestsaur. To best translate it to human terms it would mean... Someone between the judge and an executor. Someone with a great influence over deciding the best course of action to be taken in case there's trouble with some individuals (Doesn't mean it's a case of guilt! Don't go with the judge and executor analogy too far) and also carries this action out. This job is also closely related to psionic skills of Groaxians, since it is often about cleaning the mess in someone's head or figuring out how to safely untangle Mental Synergy. Mental Synergy is a state in which minds of several Groaxians collide and become co-dependent or something, often causing self-propelled "loops" meaning one Groaxian thinks "we're all going to die", then another joins in, then the first one would like to cease thinking about it but suddenly can't anymore because the psionic connection gets out of hand his thoughts patterns become reinforced by the response he got from that other Groaxian and so it escalates.
  • Tempestsaurs of Achernar were named like that by Groaxians because their approach to Dark Forest seemed to be exactly like "middle ground between jury and executor", as they decided others had to die (jury) and tried to carry this sentence themselves, but really couldn't because were aware of being among primitive civilisations so didn't come to fully become an "executor" and needed to call for stronger civilisations to do the dirty work.
  • Don't really feel good about going to war (unlike humans), but they're far from pacifistic. They definitely can fight and excel at maing fearsome weapons and will utterly destroy you and tear all your planets apart if forced to do so. Their strategy and tactics on the battlefield would also cause anyone who'd neglect them as "pacifistic wimps" regret ever going to war with them.
  • To help them at war, they can enter a Combat Trance - basically a controlled type of Mental Synergy where soldiers combine all their bravery and will to fight.
  • Yatune laser-based mining equipment and vehicles have a long history of performing surprisingly well during combat. First official land military doctrine of space era was based on its performance during desperate defence against first Yatune invasion, after all.
  • Yatune initially became a very attractive destination for a group of middlemen dissatisifed with their role. That shouldn't happen by default, but in their case it did and as middlemen they felt like not having a "real purpose" or something, so wanted to start fresh on a new planet which was good for their mind in the long run and everyone was happy and everything was perfectly balanced. Humanity in that situation would probably wage at least one war and carry at least two exterminations of the "outcasts" instead.
  • Groaxian culture ad civilisation was so heavily influenced from the very early stage of development by human legacy that they started calling themselves the same way Humanity once called their race.
  • First piece of knowledge extracted from the monolith described construction and purpose of an ice axe - thanks to this tool first Groaxians conquered Thoania Rift, helping themselves with it in places where steep ice sheets were too much for their claws.
  • Dark Forest Theory caused many Groaxians to literally fall sick because it was that shocking for them to discover over and over again this is how the universe works. From a human perspective it would be described as psychological disease, but the line between psychological and physical diseases is rather blurry for Groaxians due to how their bodies and minds operate and the fact both worlds lay much closer to each other than they do for humans.
  • Dark Forest Disease described above turned out to be quite infectious during the Groaxian version of Covid-19 pandemic, too, making the difference between psychological and physical sickness even less clear, assuming there was any difference left at this point.
  • Another important job is that of a Soulseeker. In human terms that'd be the merge of a psychologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, political advisor and psionic operative. For Groaxians they are simply there to monitor the balance, help Conglomerate maintain it and care for the health of individuals (so a bit of a generic doctor, too). I guess later in their career some might become Tempestsaurs.
  • Tempestsaurs have proven to be an excellent material for military commanders.
  • Named quantum mechanics "soulgrain mechanics" for a reason. They instinctively knew right from the beginning this was going to be the foundation of the fabric of the universe and the key to the ultimate power of destruction and creation, allowing them to advance all the way to the last stage on Kardashev scale
  • Didn't terraform Yatune out of respect for their guides in the stars.
  • Bothered with endless discussions about nature of their own and nature of nature in general when improving their bodies through cybernetic implants, genetic modifications and eventually Distributed Groaxians. Still pushed forward, because they were not stupid.
  • Used human terminology and often looked up to them when it came to philosophy of warfare (what a surprise). Making soldiers identify with humans was what held them toghether during tough times of endless wars and the next iterations of Lost Generation Strategy eventually paid off for the greater good of their race. It was also additionally a good fit for resolving problematic Umbara integration.
  • Named computers "cybersouls". This was another example of how they viewed life and intelligence. For them computer was never a simple machine, but the best they could do in order to shape something resembling intelligent life even if it really wasn't one. Such concepts obviously aren't alien to humans, but Groaxians took it much further, yet at the same time never showed any ambition of making computers "really sentient", always aware it was a just a cybersoul (so not a true soul) for a reason.
  • Had a Dark Forest Gene hidden deep within themselves. Dark Forest didn't grow out of nowhere, it was tied to sentience all the way from the beginning of life.
  • First Groaxian spacecraft that took first Groaxians to the orbit of Genesis was propelled by methane. Seriously, what did you expect?! Don't ask me how they did it or why they didn't use hydrogen or something, I'm just a human, I don't get them either. But they did, okay?  :P
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End - POST SCRIPTUM
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2021, 12:32:21 PM »
As I said in the comment thread, a good ending and an excellent piece of work. I think having an ending you are happy with is a sure sign that you have come out at the end in good shape. Congratulations for finishing another AAR as well, it is an accomplishment to be sure and one to be proud of!

I have really enjoyed seeing how the writing has overall become more refined compared to the Humanity story, not that the former was bad at all but this one has been great and it's clear you've worked a lot on your craft in the process. I think you largely succeeded in writing an alien race that isn't a reskinned humanity with exaggerated traits for sure, particularly I think the close connection between Groaxian and Human histories has been the glue that holds it together by giving the reader (and writer) some familiar base of comparison to comprehend Groaxians. The plot also deserves high praise, with a lot of twists and developments yet everything came together in the course of the ending to make sense of the universe. It is often said that endings are the hardest to write so I commend you again for writing a fine one.

I also appreciate that the ending specifically, and the Groaxians generally, offer a balanced view of Dark Forest - I would say "optimistic" but this seems more appropriate.  ;)  It would be easy I think to see a view of the universe as nothing but competition for resources and wars of extermination as very dark and depressing, but the Groaxians have constantly hoped for something better even while engaging and accepting the Dark Forest reality and in the end their hope holds out. It is satisfying as a reader and I think a more complete resolution than the end of the Humanity story which was more specific to one (or a few) race(s).

Really the only suggestion I would have is that while I would likely enjoy any new work you chose to share with us, I would be interested to see how you branch out into a different perspective besides Dark Forest Theory. The philosophical bent of your work is an underappreciated draw, and I would be interested to see the same care and thought applied to another view of the universe if there is another idea which catches your interest.

Once again, congratulations on another finished work, and here is to the next one!!  ;D

Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Re: Time's End - POST SCRIPTUM
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2022, 03:52:20 PM »
So I guess it's time for me to say the final "thank you" in this cycle of the universe. ;)

So happy to have you around here motivating me to push forward through all this. And glad you liked it despite all my struggles related to writing in English, writing even in native language is already difficult enough. Also I feel satisfied with you liking my aliens, the ties with humanity were obviously there so I could cling to at least something when laying a foundation for life that has nothing to do with the DNA of Earth species and the human ways of thinking.

with a lot of twists and developments yet everything came together in the course of the ending to make sense of the universe. It is often said that endings are the hardest to write so I commend you again for writing a fine one.

The amount of times I got lost in all this mess myself is too big to even count.  ::) Trying to come up with satisfying solutions to clean one mess after another that I happily made in the past thinking "this is fine" was one of the reasons I took longer delays between updates near the end compared to the beginning. Not to mention that sometimes while cleaning one mess I'd end up making three new ones or otheriwse I'd risk the delivered solution not making any damn sense.

I also appreciate that the ending specifically, and the Groaxians generally, offer a balanced view of Dark Forest

One could probably say the Groaxians great intelligence was a direct result of their obsession with balance. Their natural drive just correlated nicely with the larger picture of the universe, allowing them to see it, meanwhile civilizations like humanity just played along within the predefined model of survival and expansion no matter what. Genesis was the "universe in a nutshell" while Earth really isn't in that regard so guess a creature evolved on which planet will have easier time.

more complete resolution

A common concept of structuring a DLC :)

See you in the next cycle of the universe. ;)
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