The War of the Teratomorphs
The War of the Teratomorphs wasn't a military campaign, but rather it was a highly tumultuous period of human history where rampant arcanotech was misused and unleashed a storm of teratomorphs on the world. The creatures fought each other as much as they preyed on humanity.
The Secret War
The War of the Teratomorphs covered less than a decade total, and active campaigns were less than thirty months of actual action. As there was no declaration, and the teratomorphs did not represent a cohesive foe, it was not in any way a recognized or formal war. Instead, it was a number of holding actions, brutal strikes, and the unleashing of wonder weapons to fight a foe more monstrous than any imagined. For most, the period of teratomorph activity ended as mysteriously as it began, and few complained when the last titan was recognized as the last titan. According to official records there were just nine teratomorphs. The actual number is closer to 216.
Classified Information 001
The Teratomorph infestation was directly tied to a single piece of arcanotech equipment, the Psionic Resonator. Initially designed as a detector and sensor, the Resonator demonstrated theoretical principals that hinted that the teleportation and time travel were possible. In function, the Psionic Resonator acted as a beacon, and a materialization device that drew teratomorphs to it, and pulled them into analog space. This was highly destructive and disastrous.
Classified Teratomorph Information
The most basic type of titan, these were mass wise in the 40 to 60 ton range, and could easily take most mecha and armored vehicles apart simply due to their natural agility and massive strength. While certainly dangerous, most Cat 1 titans could be handled by heavy and assault mecha, or similar equipment. The danger of these creatures was in their ability to produce magnaspawn, much smaller versions of themselves that could infest and overrun an area. While horrific and tending to cause high casualties, these 'bug hunts' were typically not desperate save the human race battles.
The most common cat of teratomorph to appear, Cat 2 titans ran 60 to 200 tons and were dramatically stronger and more damage resistant that Cat 1s. The offset was that their speed was much slower, and none could match the agility of Cat 1s, and a number of those lesser titans could do things like fly. The most common forms of teratomorph in this category were reptilian and mammalian, and a small number of insectile or crustacean. A mech company or battalion could contain a Cat 2, though a pack often required to involvement of aerospace assets, including ships with naval grade weaponry.
Less common, Cat 3 teratomorphs were large, running 300 to 600 tons, and towering over all existing mecha. They were slow, buth could ignore tons of damage, and anything less than an assault mech was a toy in their claws. Fighting Cat 3 titans required mecha battalions, armor support, artillery barrages, and fleet support. Most of the nine official teratomorphs were Cat 3.
Accordingly rare, Cat 4 teratomorphs are true terrors. They weigh thousands of tons, and their armored hides can ignore mecha and vehicle weapons, and only the big guns of battleships and anti-warship torpedoes carry enough punch to harm them. The three most destructive titan encounters were Cat 4s, and bringing them down involved naval rail cannons and orbital bombardment. Containing their magnaspawn sometimes took months.
There was a single Cat 5 teratomorph and it is not counted among the nine. The creature was a marine leviathan and was estimated to be 20,000 tons in mass. The creature was confronted and defeated by a coalition of Pacific Rim, Atlantic Federation, and Eurasian Alliance forces. Ships and submarines were lost, austerhagen warheads and atomic weapons were detonated, and it was only defeated after it was hit with a string of Neo-Soviet cryogenic generators, freezing it solid so that a wave of ultra-heavy torpedoes, armed with trans-explosive warheads, shattered it.
The End of the War
The destruction of Cobarah, a ninety foot long neo-serpent, under the linear guns of the Augustgrad wall is considered the end of the War of the Teratomorphs. The blame was assigned to the terrorist factions of the Silk Road, and that the multinational T-Force had not just eliminated the threat of the titans, but it had successfully hunted down the villains responsible for the acts, and brought them to a swift and violent justice.
Profile of a Teratomorph Incursion
The average incursion began as a catastrophic failure of a psionic resonator. This was fairly easy, since a resonator wasn't a single massive structure, it was more often a field of the devices, dozens or even hundreds of water cooler sized machines. These generated a field, and when one failed, it would quickly cascade through the network, and generate a rift. Most of the time, fail-safe systems would be overridden because a rift was a rift, regardless of how it generated, and many teams pushed for more rather than caution. The rift would invert, and then the titan would be in the middle of the test ground. Larger titans would be heralded by swarms of magnaspawn, which frequently overran security and containment protocols, and then the scientists were bug food, the facility was infested, and the rogue titan was loose.
Reflex forces would respond as they would to any potential DFE and for many teams this was disastrous. Most early stage responders are as much scouts and troubleshooters as they are anti-cosmic horror marines, the titans and their spawn made quick work of them. For 207 incursions, the titans were caught. neutralized, or destroyed without escaping the general containment zone. In later series tests, more robust forces were present, including mecha assets, drone power armor, and contingency weapons like implosive devices or austerhagen warheads. The nine official breaches were large and powerful titans who smashed through attempts to contain them and escaped any attempt at secrecy. They were made known, and the conflicts to contain them are well documented. Hosts of mecha marching against a swarm, destroyer warships making strafing runs against the teratomorph, aerospace fighters divebombing them with superheavy ordnance, to even capital warships and the defensive measures of Castles Avalon engaging them with beam and gauss cannons.
Clean up operations took weeks, or months. Biological contamination from their parasites and even blood requires extensive bioremediation, and in some instances the toll on the local environment was devastating. This was sickening to the average Cosmic Era citizen, being on par with a major oil spill in a wildlife refuge, or a wildfire in a children's hospital.
Dirty Secret 002
The war never ended, because it was never really a military conflict so much as it was the military and the research and development branches of several major powers working without knowledge of the other's actions. Psionic Resonator R&D was reconfigured, and in many places, completely cut. While making giant monsters appear was certainly neat, and their unique biologies were very useful for biotech research, their collateral damage and habit of laying clutches of eggs, leaving trails of magnaspawn, and some having parasites the size of humans, was not worth the benefit. The projects that remained active were equipped with failsafe devices, so that if there was a potential DFE, something akin to an austerhagen warhead would devour the faulty equipment before it gated in a titan. Other options included moving research into this tech offworld.
Dirty Secret 003
The teratomorphs had a direct impact on communications technology. Research into recovered Imbrian relics showed that there was something missing from some of their tech, something organic. The answer came with the Cat 3 teratomorph coded as Zenector. It was almost a fluke, and almost completely overlooked during the dissection of the beast's corpse. A technician familiar with both realized that the gap inside the relic Imbrian data engine matched the relative size and shape of the titan's brain. The biomass was placed in suspended animation, fed nutrients, and carried to a computer research center where it was mated to an existing but nonfunctional Akira Core. Once the brain was inserted and the system powered up, it started working. Thus, the first fully functional Cognitive Node was born.
The Akira Core was a major upgrade to the 3rdNet, as the previous cores were organic memory cores, and sometimes required large numbers of donor brains to work, sometimes more than were available through available cloning technology.
Dirty Secret 004
The War of the Teratomorphs could have been ended after the third incursion, out of the actual 216, because the people in charge knew what was going on and it was deemed that drawing in the creatures for research purposes was beneficial. This was emboldened after the Akira Core became operational and deemed stable. They wanted more brains, more biomass, more organs, and more glands for their research and study. Dozens of pieces of modern Cosmic Era technology were rendered from teratomorphic corpses and research. The largest benefactors of this were biotechnology companies, genetic engineering firms, food production companies, cosmetics, and the rest of the list is stricken with a black marker.
War of the Teratomorph Spinoffs and Kickstarters
The War had a number of ripples that came from it. Most of these were civilian or industrial in nature, as mentioned above. Once teratomorph cellular biology was cracked, things like replicating biomass were unlocked for food production. Most people chowing down on prepackaged meals from their kitchenettes or hitting up the local food dispensary are eating protein that was either inspired by teratomorphic corpses, or is still being cloned from it. Part of Dirty Secret 004 is that Zenector was white meat, and anything labeled as pork protein has a really high chance of being of having come from clonal cultures taken from the corpse. The corpse itself was rendered down, and what wasn't kept for samples or scientific research was made into protein bars, slabs, and nuggets.
Not Really a Dirty Secret but Still a Secret 005
Nothing was wasted from Zenector's corpse. The brain went into the first Akira Core, and then clonal cultures were used to start growing more. The beast's skin was used to make, of all things, very high end, very well made, leather boots and shoes, typically worn by the executive and scientific branches of the AtFed government. These are gifts given when new people take up certain offices, and periodically the shoes and boots are resoled, because the leather outside is so durable that they've survived airplane crashes, building fires, and worse. There was the notion of making leather armor out of the material, but the general consensus was that it was 27th century, and not the time for leather fetish daddies and rennfaire LARPing. Shoes and boots.
Teratology or Kaijutronics, the Choice is Yours
Teratogenics specifically researches the human biological uses of teratomorph organics. Despite being highly alien and having many synthetic materials in their bodies, the majority of teratomorphs have a foundational biology that makes them compatible with terrestrial life. There is a dark theory that teratomorphs, for their alien biology, are actually terrestrial in nature. They have DNA, and all of the same amino acid groups, and then some that humans and other life doesn't.
The Dark Teratomorph theory holds that teratomorphs are terrestrial in nature and origin, but that they were artificially created, most likely as weapons or terraforming tools. The culture that created them has since vanished, and there is no record of their existence. Given the length of the modern human civilization compared to what the teratomorphs are revealing under research would aim at a civilization in the vicinity of 10 to 12 thousand years old, compared to humanity's less that 3 thousand year history, interrupted as it was by multiple setbacks and dark ages. The Dark Teratomorph theory is generally placed in the same category as ancient aliens, atlantis, and bigfoot.
The first great breakthrough in teratogenics was synthetic blood. This advent allowed for human blood to be produced in large sealed vats, rather than relying on massive donation and collection systems. Once synthetic blood was created, it was relatively easy to start creating other organic materials artificially. Skin, muscle, basic organs, were all relatively easy to begin creating from just cell cultures. Eventually even advanced organs could be created, and the Cosmic Era quickly embraced teratogenic designs like organic memory cores, cloning, and limb and organ replacement are commonplace.
The most important advancements that have come from teratogenics were the extraction of elixer and anagathics. Elixer was instrumental in creating artificial parapsychics, allowing for more stable supersoldiers and pilots for psychoframe machina to be created for said machines. Anagathics, life extending treatments and serums, were also derived from the various fluids of the kaiju. Dozens of projects involving immortality are underway thanks to this biotechnology.
Technorganics explores the biology of kaiju. While being organic, and seemingly using the same organs and metabolic systems as terrestrial life, the teratomorph has the innate ability to create artificial materials within their bodies. The corpses of teratomorphs have been found to contain carbon fiber, synthetic diamond, and a whole host of other artificial organic materials. Some of the most basic teratomorph materials; sinew, muscles, tendons, and bones, have been reverse engineered to create tremendous strides in manufacturing, cybernetics, and human medicine. Many of the materials that were reverse engineered from teratomorph corpses were instrumental in creating human cyborgs, replacement limbs, and even advanced human augmentation, replacing bone and muscle with superior tissues, cultured from the host and teratomorph cell samples.
Technorganics have also been a massive boon to the military industry, as the single greatest innovation for the battlemech came from synthetic muscle tissue. Mech myomer was in development when insights from technorganic research opened decades of advancement in months, and allowed for muscle fibers to be made from entirely synthetic and non-organic materials. The mecha equipped with these fibers had their power requirements drop, waste heat generation decreased, and mobility increased. Most modern battlemechs are equipped with a hybrid system that uses servos, linear actuators, hydraulics, and myomer systems, as the myomers aren't fully trusted yet. It is projected that the 6th gen mecha, those slated to begin appearing in the next half century, could go fully myomer and dispense with fully mechanical systems.
Teratomorph hide is impregnated with carbon fiber and synthetic organic diamond lattices, making it enormously strong and resistant to damage. The density of the hide armor, and the heat dissipation of the enormous circulatory systems of teratomorphs even negates the effectiveness of lower energy beams weapons. This material has been thoroughly exploited to create ultralight, beam resistant, and organic based armors for everything from personal body armor to the hulls of ships.
Mecha Dreams and Nightmares
One of the factors revealed during the War of the Teratomorphs was that the then existing mecha were not up to the task of handling something like a teratomorph, and that their success in handling DFEs and bug hunts was not superiority of equipment, but luck. On a basic level, technorganic research drastically improved mecha construction materials, making the machines more mobile and more capable. The war time mecha was massive plodding things, and survived through weight of armor and energy weapons. The generation of mecha that followed them were more agile, faster, and more weapon systems became relevant with the new performance specs. There were other projects pushed into the works, most of them dumb, or ambitious.
Combiner Mecha was the laughable notion of have a single heavy mech and four medium mecha link together to create a single super-heavy war machine. The idea was that the super form would only be used rarely, limiting the amount of stress and fatigue on the mechanical components, and that most of the time, five individual machines would be able to do the job. The combination sequencing was a nightmare, and took entirely too long in the field, and usually required external assistance from recovery mecha and mechadrome facilities. Pilots found being turned into arms and legs sickening and disorienting. And finally, if a single mecha was disabled prior to combination, the entire system would fail.
Mechanoids were the notion of having light and ultralight mecha that were transforming machines that could 'equip' themselves to existing machines and do things like provide more power to the host mecha, or become a new weapon for them to use. The notion of a supercharger or new rifle running up to a mech and equipping itself was laughable, though it did made modular systems like interchangable hand weapons and backpack systems much more appealing and commonly used in the Atlantic Federation.
Mechaformers, or land-air mecha, were designed with the notion of being able to go from mech to aerospace craft, and back, as needed. The idea was versatile, but the transformation sequence was lengthy and easily interrupted, and any base or ship hosting a mechaformer had to have both mech cubicles and fighter hangers to deal with the issues that a single vehicle might have. The weight from the various components ate into the combat performance, so that even if a mechaformer worked, it was still going to lag behind a dedicated mech or aerospace craft by a not inconsiderable margin.
Cybernetic Teratomorphs were created, and placed into cryonic vaults. Also known as mechakaiju, the cybernetic teratomorph has extensive cybernetic work done to it, implants through its skull to control it, either through direct access to its spinal cord and brain, or through using more primitive techniques as vocal commands and using threats of pain via implanted agonizers.
Dirty Secret 006
The Cybernetic Teratomorph project has been very successful. The greatest strides have been made in bringing the magnaspawn of the titans under mechanical control, turning them into material components for beast machines, drone mecha and walkers, and similar nightmares. Cybernetic 'dogs' have been made from harvested material, as well as ventures into projects best described as criminal, both against humanity, and against nature.
Dirty Secret 007
The treatise on the outer gods mentions seraphs, or the seraphim. This what happens when teratomorph cells, specifically certain glands and organs, are implanted in a human host, creating a sort of human/titan hybrid. The host takes on the characteristics of the original titan, its genetic material being far more dominant than mere human DNA. Most develop parapsychic powers, drastically increased physical abilities, and the host psyche seldom lasts more than a few hours or days against the onslaught of the will of the teratomorph. Even material taken from slain beasts retains their sense of will and purpose, albeit fractured and shattered. These individuals demonstrate tremendous and terrifying potential, and all so far created have been cryonically frozen, fed to fusion powered incinerators, or otherwise contained.
Dirty Secret 008
The legacy of Imbria and its last outpost, Atlantis, are echoed in the mythology of Mesopotamia and Egypt. The last bastion of Imbrians had a number of lesser seraphs in it's control, and dealt with the last outbreak of teratomorphs on the planet. This ended with the beasts slain and the seraphs likewise destroyed, in a mutually assured destruction. The origin of most of human mythology is rooted in the legacy of Imbrian bioweapons fighting each other, Marduk and Tiamat was really the conflict of a seraph and a kaiju, with mythic elements added later. The animal headed gods of Egyptian mythology might be the most accurate description of Atlantean seraphs in existence. The echoes of gods fighting monsters at the end of the world, be it the Norse Ragnarok, or Greek titans and olympians, is more of the same, the last hosts of Atlantean knights and seraphs slaying rogue titans and renegade factions of Imbrians.
Not Registered Yet? No problem.
Do you want Strolenati super powers? Registering. That's how you get super powers! These are just a couple powers you receive with more to come as you participate.
- Upvote and give XP to encourage useful comments.
- Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
- Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities (super powers).
- You should register. All your friends are doing it!
? Responses (1)
So I find my question answered on the last submission with this horrifying reveal. 5/5