Trope-a-Day: Bizarre Alien Psychology

Bizarre Alien Psychology: Most of them, to one degree or another, however well concealed it may be by translation and commonly agreed protocols. Particularly notable are the aklaknak and embatil, both of whom are collegiate intelligences rather than single consciousnesses; the codramaju and seb!nt!at, who don’t use identity the same way we do; the cusaron and hjera, which are hive minds of different internal topology; the járaph, who are total solipsists; the mezuar, who are forests; the múrast and voctonari, who have five or so minds each; the tennoa, who are obligate utilitarians; and the vlcefc, who have a sessile brain with coordinating independent non-sophont motiles.

Also, of course, much of the point behind uplift – so you can have minds around the place with fascinatingly different points of view.

Only a Precaution




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All referenced data within the security group SANGUINE MYRMIDON relates to a hypothetical S-level threat attached to the presence of hjera segments within the Associated Worlds volume. Note that threat is characterized as BLACK SWAN, i.e., with negligible probability and high severity.

The hjera are a hive mind species characterized as polycentric/hierarchic; the totality of the hjera is made up of multiple independent hive minds (hordes), each of which is controlled in a centralizing-hierarchical manner. This is not to imply that any hjera segment is capable of individual functioning, merely that there exists a multiple-layer cognitive chain, and that the primary personality functioning of a hjera horde remains within a single, or a small number of, biologically specialized segment(s), believed to reside deep within the oceans of the hjera homeworld or the five hjera colonies.

While it appears to be the case that the non-primary personality-bearing hjera segments remain unaffected by natural succession of the primary personality holder (or the hjera primary personality holders are an unaging variant of the species), evidence gathered from covert archaeological studies and biosampling carried out under BLIND SEERESS suggests that these segments have evolved to “fail deadly” in the event of the demise of the primary personality holder, presumably as a deterrent defense mechanism. Simulations suggest rapid cognitive decay akin to violent psychosis, along with corresponding hormonal changes resulting in rapid threat excursion.

It is the view of the SANGUINE MYRMIDON working group that this threat excursion, in the modern context of the widespread hjera expatriate community and, in particular, the hjera economic practice of renting large groups of labor drones to other star nations, will pose an immediate society-level threat, possibly rising to a civ soft kill event threat, in the event of the demise of one of the hjera primary personality holders.

Ref. also: OPERATION SANGUINE MYRMIDON DENDRITE (containment of threats to the hjera).


All SANGUINE MYRMIDON data is subject to the highest degree of information containment. It is the view of the Imperial Security Executive that release of this information to sophonts of suboptimal rationality could lead to inappropriate containment measures being exercised against the hjera, potentially including genocidal acts. The Executive have therefore authorized preemptive containment action to prevent or reverse the disclosure of this information to uncleared sophonts, extending to the most serious censure.


CASE SANGUINE MYRMIDON LASH provides for immediate cauterization action in the event of a SANGUINE MYRMIDON threat excursion. Under SANGUINE MYRMIDON LASH, pre-positioned Second Directorate and naval assets will move to expunge hjera segment populations associated with the horde which has undergone death of personality. (Note that full cauterization is called for; such segment populations contain no individual salvageable personalities.)

A secondary objective is population protection of non-associated hjera segment populations from unconsidered extremal actions of local authorities.

CASE MYRMIDON SANGUINE LASH calls for cooperation with hjera clean-up efforts in such a case (if any); however, as hjera responses to such an event are unknown and diplomatic approaches on the question have proven unfruitful, such should also be considered a secondary objective.

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PDISCLAIMER: All population figures found herewithin should be considered provisional and contested.

Ongoing controversies exist where the correct measurement of population figures is concerned, including:

  • Accounting of clone families;
  • Accounting of fork families, both synchronized (cikrieth) and desynchronized, and the measurement of repeated non-persistent forks;
  • Accounting of group intellects, including both true hive-mind species (such as the hjera and cusaron) and independent Fusions, representing single minds in a multiplicity of bodies, and collective consciousnesses (such as the Eldraeic Transcend), representing multiple independent minds sharing only specific layers; as well as multiple intermediate and overlapping cases;
  • Accounting of collegiate-intelligence species, such as the embatil and aklaknak;
  • Accounting of naturally fork/merge capable species, such as the codramaju;
  • Accounting of biologically casted species in which only a single caste or a subset of castes is sophont, such as the vlcefc, or the gender-based equivalent;
  • Accounting of polysapic species possessing multiple natural minds acting in accord, such as the múrast and voctonari;
  • Accounting for members of species not possessing sophoncy at all points during their lifespan, including but not limited to the majority of r-selected species;
  • Accounting for presently-inactivate species members, including those in long-term cryostasis/nanostasis or data storage;
  • Accounting for the deceased retaining active cognition within technologically-mediated afterlives;
  • Accounting for unconventional forms of identity, such as teleological threads;
  • Location accounting of infomorphs (by processor or by avatar/point-of-interaction location);
  • Legal differences of opinion on the prosophont/sophont boundary;
  • Calibration of population accounting for post-sophont entities, both regarding the appropriateness of categorizing such minds on an equivalent scale with baselines, and inasmuch as high post-sophont minds are capable of generating transient and/or lasting sophont memes in the normal course of cognition;
  • And so forth.

While recognizing that in many cases appropriate answers to these questions is determined contextually (the computation of required life-support capacity obviously is dependent on bioshell-population, for example), the meaning of population in the generalized sense requires the resolution of these questions, many of which are hotly debated philosophical, theological, and/or political topics in many of the Worlds’ polities.

As such, we have chosen to use population figures, in all cases superseding those locally provided, established by the Imperial Grand Survey, whose methodology has the virtue of being consistent, transparent, and well-documented (see publication IGS-1134/P rev. 112).

– from the preface to the Associated Worlds Factbook, Conclave Press