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So... the CA are evil, right?

Discussion in 'Combined Army' started by Varsovian, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    I've pre-ordered the Betrayal graphic novel, which means I'll be getting the new Ko Dali mini. She looks cool and it'd a shame to sell her... so, I started thinking: how about making a small CA team to accompany her, so that I could use her in the game? And so, I finally read the CA fluff...

    Dear CA players, am I correct to understand that these guys are supposed to be *evil*? They aren't the usual "every faction has its hands dirty" thing we get with other Infinity factions... they are actual evil invaders?

    I mean, the EI seems to be pure egotism and self-interest, with its goal of achieving transcendence by exploiting every other race. The Morats are like an extreme version of D&D / Pathfinder hobgoblins - a militarized race build around subjugating others. The Shasvastii are a traumatized race, but their self-interest is appalling. And the Umbra... the fluff literally describes them as the biggest monsters the galaxy has ever seen. From what I get, the only likeable CA race are the Sygmaa... unless their notion "we were lied to by our own government" is false? They might all have been Sepsitorized, for what we know...

    And then, you have characters like Sheskiin...

    So, these guys are supposed to be evil, right? Or am I misreading things?

    BTW. Has it ever been explained what exactly the Ur are supposed to be? Do we even know what they look like?
     
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  2. RobertShepherd

    RobertShepherd Antipodean midwit

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    I can answer the last question, lat least: the Ur look something like Kerr-Nau or Nexus Operatives. Both are from a species called the Urkherit, which are primitive Ur that haven't been subsumed into the EI. The bulk of the rest of the species still exist, but are heavily networked into the EI to the point that they're mostly extensions of it.

    The morality of the EI itself is complicated. It isn't quite into Paperclip Maximiser territory, but it's the product of a species whose reach exceeded their grasp and that contradiction is at the inescapable core of its nature. What little we know about civilian life in species client to the EI isn't horrifying, but it's not necessarily some calm utopia either (an entire clan of the exrah were annihilated for trading EI technology and weapons with the enemy).

    Basically, the case that the EI are the bad guys of the setting isn't total, but it's very strong. At the very least, it and many of its client species operate on an entirely different set of moral imperatives to what we'd recognise as good in a liberal western society.
     
  3. Alphz

    Alphz Kuang Shi Vet. Retired.

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    For me a lot of infinity lore reads as point of view accounts. That is, its all incredibly biased.

    So most of the information about the EI is written from a largely human sphere centric view point, which will paint the EI as very evil. But there are subtle hints all around about that not being entirely true... or shades of grey. The Sygmaa fluff points to this in how they found life under the EI not much different to life under the trinomial and felt betrayed by the lies that the EI would destroy tohaa kind.
    Maybe its a bit of stockholm, or a dosage of sepsistor, who knows?

    I wonder if N4 will lean more heavily into the shades of grey of EI, which allows the general setting of black ops amongst human factions continue - as humans interact with the EI more and some groups believe the EI is better than aleph.
     
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  4. A Mão Esquerda

    A Mão Esquerda Deputy Hexahedron Officer

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    Kenobi’s words to Luke on Dagobah are very apt to describe the EI and its motives.
     
  5. Devil_Tiger

    Devil_Tiger Your Friendly Neighborhood Asura

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    Well, there's some good and a lot of bad to the Combined Army/civilization/EI

    Civilizations that are fit to be integrated are treated fairly well, left to develop with some supervision. Those that don't are deleted, those that fight back will eventually be assimilated or eradicated, blowing up a planet or two might be required to make a point.

    If you're a dissident or falls outside the grid of the Combined Civilization, your fate is not much better than it would be in Yu Jing or PanO.

    Then there are the EI cube, the EI has full access to these and can assume direct control any moment, essentially killing you in the process (i think?), that mean no actual privacy, and the constant threat of being monitored by a EI aspect.

    And then there is the fundamental problem of hte EI itself, it's wrong and broken, on a quest that it cannot fulfill because of a fundamental design flaw, it's on a horrific fool's errand to achieve transcendence for the Ur, while they are nowhere near ready and perhaps even incapable of it, and at this point the Ur themselves are not much more than sock puppets for the EI and part of it. The EI just conquer species in hope that one of them will figure it out for it so that it can piggyback on them, and perhaps destroying their chances of doing it in the process.

    Finally, there are some more "low level" arguments as to the morality of the EI, that is, the use of terror weapons, such as the Umbra, sepsitors and some other weaponized life form that do horrible things, some of them have been deployed on Paradiso. They also don't seem above using mass driver weapons for orbital bombardment and stuff like that. But hey, if we're making those particular arguments, Yu Jing is not that much better (Looking at you Kuang Shi) and they'd probably use Sepsitors without thinking twice about it if they had access to them. (But that's just my opinion)
     
  6. RobertShepherd

    RobertShepherd Antipodean midwit

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    I haven't read Betrayal yet, but I believe there's strong evidence in it that the EI doesn't just sepsitorise species wholesale (there's something about a prospective rebellion, which obviously wouldn't happen for an entirely sepsitorised peoples).

    This also makes sense in terms of the EI's overall goal, which is contingent on a multitude of unique perspectives, which again wouldn't survive wholesale sepsitorisation and sublmiation of its client races (especially those tasked with their own transcedence programs).
     
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  7. A Mão Esquerda

    A Mão Esquerda Deputy Hexahedron Officer

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    Without spoliers, Betrayal expands on already started themes, such as the complete selfishness and drive for species survival of the Shasvastii, plus their long memory for those who have hurt their children, and has some good glimpses behind the mask of the Combined Army.
     
  8. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    @Devil_Tiger Betryal implies very heavily that the EI can't do the "assuming direct control" thing with Mnemonica. Either there's a way to block it by unwilling targets, or the process itself is more symbiotic than it appears.

    Anyway, the EI is less evil than PanO or O-12, more evil than Ariadna or Haqqislam. So it fits right in there with the rest of the factions.
     
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  9. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    Quick question before I had for work: Kerr-Nau is an Urkherit? I thought he was a Shasvastii! I can't tell these lanky aliens apart...

    As for the CA morality: I may be wrong, but even PanO or YJ don't go around exterminating civilizations just because they have no use for them..?

    BTW. Question about Speculos: do they normally look pasty and have that horizontal marking across their faces? I suppose that, when actually doing their imposter business, they look completely human..?
     
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  10. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    Kerr-Nau and the Nexus are Urkherit. The Pneumarch is like a robo-Urkherit.

    What either of them would do the Nomads if they weren't cockblocked by O-12 would be on par with what the EI does.

    They are not necessarily pasty; the markings on their faces seem to be more of a "wink wink" to the audience than anything that people notice in-universe.
     
    #10 Hecaton, Sep 2, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
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  11. SpectralOwl

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    That's more ALEPH's wheelhouse, at least if the Bakunin fluff is to be believed. PanO and Yu Jing would absolutely obliterate the organisers and leadership though, given the Nomads publicly support organisations that that are to them what ISIS is to the US, and I don't think even O12 would have the clout to stop any nation in its membership from nuking the Hassassin mountain into radioactive glass the moment Haqq loses the Silk monopoly. Haqq is not rainbows and sunshine by any means.
     
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  12. bladerunner_35

    bladerunner_35 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, CA is evil but so is everyone else in this 'ere Sphere.

    I am sure PanO and Yu Jing have plenty of crimes against humanity and even genocide under their belt and the rest all have plenty of shady business described in their lore. Especially Yu Jing with Japan and Ariadna with the sentient life forms that they share their planet with.

    Regarding CA there is a piece of Tohaa fluff that makes a big deal out of how Tohaa fought to the death against the CA invaders only for the Tohaa in the conqured parts to discover that their lives didn't change much, and sometimes for the better. A large part of Tohaa (Sigmaa?) felt betrayed by the Tohaa leadership when CA didn't end up all genocidal.

    I guess it is like any other homicidal regime. If you don't stick your head up you're ok but if you're noticed you're fucked. If CA is more evil it is more on a sense of scale rather than the morality of their actions.

    But with Infinity lore it is often difficult to know what is "fact" written directly to the player and what is in-game fiction or propaganda.
     
  13. Devil_Tiger

    Devil_Tiger Your Friendly Neighborhood Asura

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    I'm sorry but PanO (and O12!? wat?) are not possibly on the same level as the EI, i'm not sure what logic leap let one say that they're MORE "evil" than a twisted ancient AI that casually annihilate whole civilizations if they don't fit in its plans, and turn some into little more than extensions of itself if they are not fully adequate, only those that have some use get to enjoy some autonomy and reap the fruit of the Ur Hegemony. And for the species that are considered viable for Project Transcendance well, it can go pretty well or be absolutely horrific, depending on how the EI think it can put them on the path.

    What's the worst thing PanO did? Probably nothing more at its scale than what the US did in the past century, and even then, the worst of that don't hold a candle to what some other countries did in the same span of time.

    And all that is nothing compared to systematic genocide of even just one entire planetary civilization, and no doubt the EI has done that many times.
     
  14. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    I mean that's what YJ attempted to do with the Japanese in Uprising and uhhh... well modern day China is doing just that right now, Uyghyurs have no friends with power and aren't long for this world.
     
  15. Aspect Graviton

    Aspect Graviton Friendly Alien Overlord
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    Literally turned North america into a nano-tech harrowed wasteland, subjugation and genocide of Helots on Varuna. There's two.
     
  16. SpectralOwl

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    I think the US has actually done that in the past century. The past year, actually.
     
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  17. Aspect Graviton

    Aspect Graviton Friendly Alien Overlord
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    ... Fair.

    I always wondered what dubbulya mean't by "I'm sure the worlds of man and fish can co-exist peacefully together."
     
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  18. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    If the severity of these ethical crimes is not reduced to a numbers game, then the EI and some of the human factions are pretty much equally evil. The EI is just a bit more overt in their intentions and approach.
     
  19. Errhile

    Errhile A traveller on the Silk Road

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    Forgive me the digression, but - I'm pretty sure the Hassassin leaders, starting with the Old Man himself, are very, very aware of that. Meaning, they certainly have a contingency plan.

    I guess no nation in the Sphere is eager to actually test what the Hassassin contingency plan is... :P

    Indeed it isn't.
    Then again, who in the Infinity-verse is...?

    One of the nicer things about the setting, IMO :P
     
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  20. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    Well, no faction - neither CA, PanO, YJ, or anyone else - commits atrocities for teh evulz. They just have their goals, interests, and doesn't particularly care how many heads will get broken in the process of achieving those goals. PanO is kleptocracy, inc. CA is on a wild goose chase. YJ tries to achieve internal stability and external status. Nomads are only "good", because we're culturally conditioned to consider rebels in fiction works the good guys. Haqq is probably the most decent faction, and even they have a ruthless side to them, making them simply a lighter shade of grey than the other ones.

    And, just as Errhile said, it's one of the nicer things about the setting.
     
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