They are hard to look at, I mean truly and hauntingly hard to look at. Its one thing to see a robot walking around with a brain floating in a glass dome for its head, or people who are wired into a mainframe, but these things. These things are nightmares. First off, they are ten to twelve feet tall, and have these thick and horrible artificial robot limbs, with synthetic covering, for some strange reason. Mock skin on a clanker ten feet tall. The upper half of the 'thing' is functionally a pribnow dummy and it voices the thoughts and dreams of the... abomination... that lives in the center of it. That is where the horror is. It looks like a human fetus, a five foot long hypercephalic human fetus, a flesh tadpole with human eyes, and the skull is almost completely non-existent so you can see it's brain, and the blood vessels, and translucent organs, all pulsing in this tank, in the middle of the horrible hulking robot.
Then there is that voice. They have these horrific childish voices, the robot talks like a whimsical child, and they laugh.
I don't know what urge is stronger when I see them, terror, or nausea, or irrational and involuntary hatred.
The Magnatheans were created by the Anunnaki to function as biological supercomputers, possessing the form of a genome computer, but having the power of an AISC without the mechanical limitations or synthetic personality limitations. They used genetic engineering to create oversized humans, titans, so that when they are biologically twelve weeks old they are the same physical size as an adult human. Their brains are enormous compared to body mass, and the neurotissue is denser, and they are accordingly dramatically more intelligent than normal humans. The tank and robot chassis are used so that the magnathean has human functionality, they have continuous life support, and their development is arrested.
There are discussion about what could happen with a magnathean were they allowed to come to 'full term'. The first limitation is that the gestation tank would have to be as large as an olympic size swimming pool or modest sized aquarium exhibit tank. Then, the magnathean would be a massive infant with the same limitations on mobility and general weaknesses as a human infant. The projected humanoid titan would reach an adult size of approximately 90 feet tall, and would be so heavy that their bones would be unable to support them. There is a line of though that they would be innate parapsychics and would manifest said powers and exist on the same level as a human teratomorph.
The other main line of thought is that all of the magnatheans would at some point self abort or become stillborn being simply too large to survive without constant arcanotech life support.
The Magnatheans combine the capabilities of an AISC, or artificial Intelligence Super Computer, with a dream tank, but alone. A magnathean daydreaming about an idea or project is almost the same thing as having a full research accelerator working on the problem. Their massive intellect is largely disjointed from the human condition. They have no gender, no sense of biological self identity, and are disconnected from biological impulses like hunger, fear, or the urge to reproduce.
The drawback of the magnatheans is that their existence is disconnected from the human condition. They have child like interests, and are often difficult to keep on track. Their discipline is also relatively low. It can often be offset by trends to obsess about certain interests, but forcing a magnathean to work on a task they have no interest in is nearly impossible.
The creation process for the Magnatheans was lengthy and full of setbacks, and by setbacks a more appropriate term would be crimes against humanity and nature. The process of creating supersized human fetuses took a horrific number of failed and discarded test subjects. Entire facilities and their staff were sanitized when prototypes went off the rails, and by sanitized, the facilities were destroyed by self destruct mechanisms. Eventually the magnathean genome was patterned, and the stable fetus was developed. The tank side of things was relatively easy, life support and arresting development treatments were commonplace.
An unexpected source of difficulty came from the staff side. Some members developed moral and ethical problems with the project and would try to end it, or failing that start actively sabotaging it. This lead to a number of purges, some simply involved relocation or firing, and far too many involved scientists having accidents or just vanishing. Another issue later in the development process was that as scientists worked with more successful specimens, they would grow emotional connections to the test subjects. Sometimes this caused errors in work, misreporting success or failures, and even at least one attempt to steal a specimen.
The New Plymouth Incident
The New Plymouth Incident involved three magnathean specimens becoming self aware, which was expected and hoped for, and parapsychically awakened, which was a disaster. The entire New Plymouth site was devoured by an Austerhagen device, and the three magnatheans are presumed deceased, and on official record it is listed as a failure of a high energy reactor. In truth, the three magnatheans quickly advanced to what is considered the fourth tier of parapsychic ability, often labeled as 'Mandarins'.
Azelf - manifested telekinesis, psychokinesis, and photokinesis, allowing the specimen to lift objects several tons in mass, control the minds of those around it in a brute force fashion, and to manipulate light, generate spontaneous laser strikes, and create illusions.
Yavanna - manifested pyrokinesis, cryokinesis, and electrokinesis. Yavanna could incinerate with a thought, freeze entire wings of the facility, and make lightning storms manifest above New Plymouth.
Gideon - manifested biokinesis. While only developing a single devotion, Gideon proved capable of reshaping staff members who angered it, or pleased it, or if it was bored.
The incident began when Gideon kickstarted its own growth, and then that of the other two specimens. They escaped their containers, and were in the process of leaving New Plymouth. To aid in their escape, Azelf instigated, by sheer willpower, a dimensional fatigue event. Reflex teams were sent in, and it turned into a bloody slugging match. When it was determined that incident could not be contained, and the second Reflex team ended up becoming puppets for Azelf, the decision was made to activate the self destruct system.
The production series magnatheans perform exactly as they were designed to, as walking, dreaming, biological super computer. part of their life support is a steady drip of parapsychic blockers, along with a cocktail of sedatives to keep them yoked and asleep. The facilities that are staffed with a magnathean have a dedicated team for maintaining the entity as well as making sure it stays contained.
Summary: The Magnatheans come from the idea of a giant brain in a jar that isn't just a brain in a jar. They are massive disturbing fetii in robot suits that are sentient, parapsychically active, but blur the line between being sleeping agents of humanity or lurking monsters who upon awakening will be the heralds of mankind's demise