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  1. The Flood is basically a hegemonizing swarm with a biotech substrate, rather than the more common nanotech or infotech. In fact, it is quite inefficient at dealing with infotech countermeasures — it had to seduce Mendicant Bias into switching sides. And AFAICT it has no means of infecting silicon-based lifeforms. I am sure the Empire has plans for dealing with heggie swarms, though likely not for one with the precise parameters of the Flood.

    My guess? Start with blockade and quarantine, which is much easier for a stargate plexus than for slipstream. That’s only a delaying tactic, but it’s more than enough breathing room to build a sterilization fleet with galari crew, drone waldoes, and extensors for the Transcend. The Empire’s not going to send a single military AI to do a distributed archai’s work.

  2. Shoot it. A lot.

    (It’s a classic.)

  3. That’s sort of what I meant by surviving Precursors. Normally I would have said still corporeal, but given that apparently they had a Hactar Protocol to reassemble from a cloud of dust particles, that’s not a very precise term.

    Yeah, any Precursors who chose dimensional transcension are not part of my ethical calculus, since I have no data on them.

    Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Proposition 7

    I have no idea if they were arbitrary requirements or not, but AFAICT neither were the Forerunners. Or anyone else.

    What I do know is that the Precursor policy of genocide upon “unworthy” candidate species is directly contrary to the whole concept of the Mantle as usually described, and the Imperials would be even less impressed by Precursor uplift policies than they are by their own aman uplifters/designers.

    The Forerunners seem to be surprised, too. Frontal assaults on active Powers… should not work under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, we only get a sort of Rashomon semi-consistent viewpoint set frames by the agendas of those who created the remaining records/memories/servitors.

    I wish I could agree, but the Primordial — who apparently either caused the corruption of the reinstantiation, or comandeered it by imprinting himself onto the developing Gravemind — shows every sign of active malice.

    There are fragments of less entropically oriented Precursors remaining on the mundane ‘brane, so I won’t say the species were collectively d!cks. But the Primordial most definitely was a d!ck.

    Did they? Or is that was the Forerunners decided ex post facto?

    Which brings me back around to the topic of the Imperial / Eldraic Transcend reactions to the Flood…

    What legends do the eldrae tell cognate to our stories of zombies? They must exist; violation of person, identity, and volition are three of their greatest stimuli to provoke horror, and zombies tick all three boxes. And I’m not referring to the relatively mundane horror of a sophont’s ‘shell being converted into a Combat Form, or even the deeper horror of corrupted mind-states by memetic hackery. The ‘vengeance’ faction of the Precursors, as embodied by the Primordial, took the fragmentary remnants of dead and/or ascended transsophonts and reassembled and reanimated them into this shambling, half-Transcendent blight that is simultaneously a heggie-swarm and an ontotech version of an Instrument of Regrettable Necessity.

    In short, it’s a zombified Power. This is way beyond ripping stargate kernels out of a corpse; it’s even past the risks taken by god-botherers. The Imperials are way better equipped to deal with the Flood than the hidebound Forerunners, the deceptive meme-tyranny of the Covenant, or any of the Erde-Tyrenne civilizations. But they’ll still have to take it very seriously indeed.

  4. You may, however, not want to let the Fifth Directorate and ONI compare notes.

  5. As I recall the story, both, but in this particular case, probably mostly the Precursors. Something like:

    • The Precursors decide that the Forerunners aren’t worthy inheritors of the Mantle, so disinherit them and wipe them out (as a mistake)
    • The Forerunners hear of this, and attack the Precursors first and wipe them out first
    • The Precursors (either before or after their Coming Back Wrong) overreact spectacularly to this betrayal of their betrayal, and conclude that they’re going to turn all other life into obedient zombies so they can’t be betrayed again, and also torture it for the rest of ever because, hey, their life sucks now and so should everyone else’s

    Not really the sort of chaps who should be given the Mantle of Responsibility for the Morning Coffee, either one, if you ask me.

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