Not Somewhere We Need To Go

Originally published at: Not Somewhere We Need To Go | The Associated Worlds

(Inspired by a reader comment comparing the Brigade in a Bottle™ to the Faro Swarm from Horizon: Zero Dawn.)

from the Eye-in-the-Flame Arms internal memeweave archives

From: Aldysis Cyprium (Directorate)
To: Diziet Cyprium (Director of Entertaining Research)
Subject: Biomass reductors and biopower generation system

I’m not denying that it’s a technical tour-de-force in the area of field refueling, and it is a tour-de-force regardless of what some lesser minds might say. It may be the operating principle behind green goo, but this is the first time it’s been operationalized on the macroscale.

Nonetheless, I must insist that we cancel project OM NOM immediately, and file the project records somewhere deep in the black store.

We’ve built a lot of interesting systems in our time, but the Directorate is agreed that not only are systems build with this technology a war crime in a box (any extensive use of it, and there’s always someone who’ll go too far, would qualify under the Tier IV provisions of the Ley Accords concerning ecocidal weapons), but we absolutely refuse to have our corporate name associated with any weapons systems likely to be seen in newsbytes eating prisoners.

Our corporate values include creativity, ingenuity, and rarity. Not cannibalism.

Your affectionate (if somewhat appalled) cousin,


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How open are they to strictly vegetarian biomass powered robots?

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Doesn’t fix the first problem.

An army of plant-eating warbots will still fuck up your ecology good and hard.

(This is the sort of thing that leads to the “We didn’t mean to commit planetary genocide, we just completely depleted their atmosphere of oxygen accidentally.” conversation. You don’t want to have that conversation.)

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Sometimes, you just need to not let some concepts go as far as they go…

…and, yea, when Eye In The Flame Arms says you’ve gone too far, you’ve gone too far

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I mean, don’t most weapons have that problem when taken to extremes? In small amounts nukes/non-self replicating dissasembler swarms/orbital bombardment are fine but in large amounts they could devastate up a biosphere to the point of violating the Ley Accords but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on selling them completely, you just have to make sure the only people you sell the product to in large enough quantities to kill a planet are the ones sane enough not to deploy them all on one planet in the first place. The potentially ecocidal folks can have the maximum amount of bots they’re allowed to buy be limited enough the biosphere can regrow faster than the bots can eat.

I mean, this IS Eye in the Flame we’re talking about, right? The same weapons manufacturer that seems to have the compulsive urge to stuff antimatter warheads into literally anything? I don’t think they can guarantee that level of sanity and restraint amongst their clientele.

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When the sort of people that make anti-matter derringer guns start going, “this is a bad idea and we really, really, really shouldn’t do it…,” not stopping for a moment to think about what exactly is being proposed and thinking about why this is a bad idea should be a sign of exactly how terrible it is.

I wanna see the biosphere repair on that. “Yeah says here I need a plasma cracker and several quadrillion tons of sand from wherever you can find sand. Oh and a transshipment terminal and a direct line to your most trustworthy silicon futures dealer.”

It’s a PR thing.

Exotic weapons are one thing, but you don’t want to be selling gift-wrapped invitations to warcrime, and this concept looks like an ecocidal weapon even if used with restraint. Bad for business.


That makes sense, the option that makes the most monetary capital isn’t necessarily worth it if you’re burning even more reputational capital to do it. I’m betting some smaller weapons company out there is developing these though, one which unlike Eye-in-the-Flame doesn’t have as valuable a reputation to tarnish, plus we Earthlings were researching biomass-fueled robots over a decade ago, even the less advanced polities in the Associated Worlds probably have the technical capacity to make these.