Monday, July 05, 2004

Independence Day -- the sequel

Jonah Goldberg wants to know why there was never a sequel to the movie Independence Day. This reminded me that there was a sequel, only it was in the form of a role-playing game and only four people were involved. I ran a game shortly after the film that dealt with the aftermath of the movie. The ship wasn't destroyed, just badly damaged. The president had to send someone to investigate the ship and (as it turned out) stop the evil ETs from repairing it and destroying the entire planet.

I wrote up quite a bit of the game background, including the ET technology and several alien races. It was one of the most interesting RPG setting I've ever seen, if I do say so myself. My interpretation of Independence Day explains what the ETs wanted, why the armor seems to be part of the creature, why the captured ET didn't use it's telepathy more effectively, how an Apple computer was able to communicate with the ET computers, why the ET computers were so vulnerable to a virus, and why the ET aircraft couldn't lock on to the slower jet fighters and hit them with a shot.

I've been reading through the stuff I wrote and I've decided to clean it up and post it. I don't know if I'll put it on my web site or break it up and put it here on the blog. Here's a sample. There were lots of alien species in the big ship, and one of them was a Kraken:


The kraken are a race of huge deep-sea creatures about the size of a small house. They have a shell that looks similar to that of a nautilus. The kraken’s two meter long beak extends from the opening of the shell, surrounded by a bunch of thick two-to-three meter tentacles looking like whiskers. There are several different kinds of whisker tentacles, most having some sort of manipulation or sensory organ at the tip. At the top and at each side are the bases of three much larger tentacles, each about forty meters long. At the bottom is the base of a large foot that attaches to the ocean floor.

The foot contains an organ that is able to send complex ultrasound signals into the ocean floor and pick up such signals. These signals travel very long distances under the ocean, allowing kraken to communicate with other kraken hundreds of miles away. Kraken are very social in the sense that they communicate and form societies, but they are very solitary in that they seldom come into physical contact. When two kraken do come into physical contact, one of them is likely to get eaten.

Kraken reproduce like many earth sea creatures without ever coming into physical contact. They use the water to spread their sperm and eggs. A baby kraken hatches somewhere near the ocean surface and lives and grows without the benefit of a parent. Eventually the shell becomes too heavy to float and the mature young kraken sinks to the depths where he first discovers the society of other kraken communicating through the ocean floor.

The young kraken quickly learns to speak and begins to develop social relationships. Because of this development cycle, kraken view other kraken, not as creatures like himself, but as bodiless voices in the darkness. The kraken even tends to view his own body as an entity separate from himself, one that his mind just happens to live in, as his body just happens to live in its shell.

A kraken calls his physical body “the beast” and takes little responsibility for its actions. The beast pretty much cares of itself without the active attention of the kraken’s intelligent mind which is usually paying no attention. The mind is always “off somewhere” involved in social interaction or deep introspection.

Kraken cannot communicate directly but only through the ocean floor. They have no senses to tell where the communication is coming from or from how far away. Because of this, it is possible for two kraken who are best friends to meet and fight, one killing and eating the other and the victor never even noticing the event. The two kraken may well have been communicating during the struggle and the only thing the victor might notice is that his friend shows some distress and then quits talking forever.

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