(I'm copy pasting the opening from my other question here )

I'm currently working on a science fiction comic about humans marooned on an alien world for generations. My question is related to what effects this would have on peoples ability to engage in warfare.

This world is slightly larger and more metallic than earth with greater gravity a higher percentage of oxygen (I was thinking similar levels to the Carboniferous period here on earth 35-40%) and 3-4 earth atmospheres of pressure at sea level and a more comfortable level higher up where most humans live in domed habitats and can move around outside for limited periods with some protection. Days are exceptionally long lasting up to 3 months generating strong winds and storms, and the thick almost universal fog and cloud cover makes visibility spotty at the best of times.

The humans themselves are also highly resistant to damage with nano-machines swarming through their blood closing wounds combating infection repairing damage (even brain damage to an extent) and aiding in some functions such as oxygen transport and blood filtration. Calcium in the bones is replaced with a harder crystaline element (I haven't quite done the research on that yet but was leaning to something made from carbon like organic diamond graphene or nanotubes) the skin also has a thin mesh similar to spider silk between each layer which continuously grows sloughs off with the skin cells making individuals highly resistant to damage. A second single chamber heart sits just above the liver and many autonomous nervous functions are distributed in redundant clusters down the spinal column. Muscles are reinforced and axons are far more insulated or in some places replaced entirely with more conductive materials giving individuals superhuman close combat capabilities.

These modifications are universal, being either hardwired into everyone's genes or produced by the nanomachines which are inherited from the mother before birth.

I'm really flexible on all those numbers and concepts if they don't work/have a strong enough effect or aren't actually possible.

So, Finally to the questions, what kind of effect would this have on combat, are firearms or projectiles of any kind still viable? If so what extra challenges would they have to overcome? Would it be possible for close quarters combat to take the center stage in warfare under these conditions?

If everyone lives in enclosed domes where a breach or some damaged equipment holds the potential to kill a whole population how would fighting be viewed and how could the law be enforced if everyone is bulletproof and capable of casually kicking over a bus?

On a more philosophical slant, how might the common man respond to basically being Wolverine?

And finally are piracy tyrannical government military conquest or even petty violent crime even remotely possible under these circumstances?

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    $\begingroup$ As long as one person can be overpowered, say by being ganged up on, petty violent crime is pretty much a given. A drug lord's vengeance might take years to exact, since keeping the victim alive is pretty much a given. $\endgroup$
    – pojo-guy
    Jul 24, 2018 at 7:47
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    $\begingroup$ weapons will evolve to the times, guns today are PG compered too what they are capable of. the only reason we haven't used them is the fact that people are easy and cheap to kill. if they become immune to basic firearms then we will use other ones that WILL get the job done. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @No Talent Punk also if you want to talk to one person use the @ then their name like what i did $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Creed Arcon Cheers. I had been thinking about hand held rail-guns and such, since people are on average stronger and uranium-diamond batteries are pretty common, I guess you could also get the job done with a heavy machine gun like a 50 cal and stuff but I thought there was a structural limit on the power of handguns and rifles. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 8:12
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    $\begingroup$ Where there are humans they will find ways to kill each other. It's what we do and we're really good at it. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


Key word: Nanomachines.

If they can repair, that means they are capable of moving atoms and molecules from one place to another. There's a fine line between that action being constructive or destructive. Anything that disrupts normal constructive behavior, or outright malicious nanomachines would probably be the most effective and cheapest weapons.

Although, if it's that easy, I'm not sure how much crime there would actually be. The troublemakers would be eliminated rather quickly, and over time, you'd end up with a homogeneous society.

I think you could probably make a case in those conditions for trials based on submission, rather than death. Fights would be primarily determined on skill and endurance, rather than brute force. You might read up on the Icelandic wrestling-like sport, glima, for some ideas.

If the outside environment is the reason for all of this individual enhancement, it stands to reason that a dome breach wouldn't be that big of a deal; just an inconvenience. The equivalent of getting a leak in your roof. You're waterproof, but it's annoying. So have all the fun you want with projectile weapons.

Sounds like since the resources for new habitats are so limited, you'd either end up with some non-lethal, non-destructive punitive action, or you'd have something similar to colony collapse syndrome within the dome in short order.

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    $\begingroup$ The modifications are intended to be just standard quality of life stuff that everyone has from birth, the problem with the breaches is the lack of resources and skills due to being marooned means repairs are prohibitively expensive or impossible and very few people have the means to move to another dome. Edit: the sport you are talking about is called glima $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 17:09
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    $\begingroup$ Amusingly enough, nanomachine warfare exists today. It's the reason we have immune systems -- to stop microscopic buggers from ruining our day. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Jul 24, 2018 at 18:57

It all comes down to energy. Your nanobots need power from somewhere. At that scale the only real solution is for them to extract chemical energy from you somehow, be it through substances dissolved in your blood or processing specific cells. Any solution will have a limited 'fuel source'.

Taking damage in combat will consume their energy repairing the damage. Preventing blood loss will be their greatest priority, but it won't be entirely unavoidable. They still can't replace biomass that is lost in combat, and do not work instantaneously.

With that in mind, your priority should be to deplete your enemy's energy reserves before your own are depleted. Inflict bleeding wounds faster than they can be healed and you will win. Even just continually inflicting minor wounds will drain the nanobots 'fuel source'.

Depending on what the fuel source is, one of two things will happen: Either the nanomachines will exhaust your opponent by consuming them from the inside, or they will detect critical levels of "fuel" and hibernate, effectively turning off their healing factor.

Lopping off limbs in close quarters would potentially do more damage than a clean bullet wound, and sounds tempting. Ultimately it will still be much safer and easier to pepper your enemies with bullets from afar until their systems are overloaded and shut down.

Handguns and rifles would lose some effectiveness, but would still do considerable damage. It might bridge the gap enough for melee weapons to be effective in close quarters though, but be sure to have your combatants have a pretty intense recovery period after taking even moderate fire.


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