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I have invented a large machine that allows me to create monsters out of blood. These monsters are called golems and are very powerful. My plan is to produce a large number of them to include in my army for world conquest. To accomplish this, I must acquire live humans to sacrifice to this machine.

The process requires a large amount of blood in order to create one golem. The human body is capable of losing up to 40% of blood before immediately dying from hemorrhaging, which works out to around 3 to 4 pints of blood. Thirteen humans at a time (the max amount) are placed inside this machine and hooked up to it through a series of tubes and wires. They are periodically drained to the maximum that their bodies can take, being kept alive by artificial processes. This provides up to 50 pints in total, after which they are given time to recover their blood supply until the next drain. This procedure happens until a victim expires and need to be replaced by new materials.

I want to create the largest amount of golems I can get while keeping each batch of victims alive for as long as possible to get the most mileage out of them. How can I make this happen?

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    $\begingroup$ Is there a particular reason why they need to be drained to death? Harvesting a smaller amount from a larger group is probably loads easier. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Oct 21 '18 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ Do it like the horseshoe crabs, take them as by catch, tap them and then throw them back to be caught again later. In your case have the first batch large enough to make a couple of golems to help you round up fresh meat everyday to keep the machine fed. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Oct 22 '18 at 4:23
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    $\begingroup$ I find it a bit ironic that golems would be made out of blood, considering the original work that introduced golems to the wide public (The Golem of Prague) was about one made to protect the Jewish from the blood libel (a widely spread false accusation that the Jewish used the blood of a Christian children for their religious practices). $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Oct 22 '18 at 5:49
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't this what blood donors do? $\endgroup$ – HelloGoodbye Oct 22 '18 at 6:40
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    $\begingroup$ The IRS says yes. $\endgroup$ – Martin James Oct 22 '18 at 11:31
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Open a blood bank and pay people for blood. People can give half a litre per donation and then go home.

It's much cheaper than trying to keep them alive using machines.

Build it in the poor areas and they will queue up waiting to give it to you.

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    $\begingroup$ Can he still go "Muhahaha!"? Because I think that is a big draw for an evil genius (is "genius" too strong here?" but evil laughter seems less appropriate if you are running a blood bank. Your business manager might ask you to close your office door. $\endgroup$ – Willk Oct 22 '18 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ If your evil lab is next door, people won't hear your laugh and you can run the plumbing through the wall. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Oct 22 '18 at 0:40
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    $\begingroup$ In the US it is legal to pay for blood donations used to create plasma. Just lie about it. $\endgroup$ – Cyn Oct 22 '18 at 2:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Battle this reminds me of the game 'Sins of a solar empire'. There part of the ordinary research tree is 'Force compulsory mutations on all inhabitants of planet X in order to improve their fit as workers.' $\endgroup$ – Vorac Oct 22 '18 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ The reason that paying for blood donations is not used more in legitimate settings is that it tends to attract the desperate, who are often sick and ready to lie about it. Does it affect your use case? Can a golem get AIDS, and how bad is it if it does? $\endgroup$ – Emilio M Bumachar Oct 22 '18 at 11:54
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No Near Death Draining Required - this is Business.

Ask the Blood Donation Clinic near you.

Thirteen humans at a time (the max amount) are placed inside this machine and hooked up to it through a series of tubes and wires. They are periodically drained to the maximum that their bodies can take, being kept alive by artificial processes.

Very bad idea. First off, it's just not necessary. You can use a hundred people or a thousand and there's no reason to get all the blood at the same time !

Blood is stored and used quite normally by hospitals and can be kept for period of longer than a month when cooled.

When donating blood typically the amount varies from place to place, but would typically not be much more than 500 mL (about a pint for you people still stuck with the backward Imperial system :-) ). No need to kill the donor.

This provides up to 50 pints in total

So 50 people required for your system.

Blood donors should have replaced the lost blood completely within two months and you can base your requirements on that level of safe production.

This also places some limits on what's practical in terms of nearly draining the life out of people. The more you take the longer (and harder) it is for the body to replace the lost blood. The more you take the more vulnerable the "donor" is to disease and medical complications.

In the US about 43,000 pints of donated blood are used every day (more always needed, BTW :-) ). That's a potential production rate (without much difficulty) of 860 new golems per day for you and not a single human had to be killed !

Now you can probably do better (see below) that this rate of production without any problems, but even with that rate you have an army of over 300,000 golems in just one year. The US army is about 2.5 million active enlisted and 3.5 million reserve.

And this thing can Pay For Itself !

My plan is to produce a large number of them to include in my army for world conquest.

There's not even a need to force people to do this. If you're producing golems you are producing workers. OK, eventually you're going to use them to take over the world, but this is one case where it doesn't pay to advertise !

What you do is start a business paying people for normal blood donations (maybe even supplying hospitals for free for PR purposes) and funding this by renting out golems for all those tasks it's illegal to use child labor or slaves for. These golems are expendable anyway, so hey, the odd death isn't a big problem for anyone.

People will happily donate blood as normal (if not more) when being paid for it and there's no need for chains or kidnappings or enslavement. No fuss, no suspicious government investigations.

Heck, the military would actually welcome golems for hire. You might even get the idiots in the military to train your golems for you this way !

The possibilities are endless.

You're aiming at about 6 million golems to defeat any army on Earth (do these things need weapons ?). Well if you get the entire world donating blood at normal levels, and extrapolating from US population levels, you could get something like 20,000 golems a day ! That's an army of 7.3 million in a year !

Heck, why take over the world with an army at all ? This has the potential for a real money earner.

Problems of Management ...

After you made the first year's batch of golems you have a private workforce of 7.3 million golems.

And just what do these things eat ? Do they need housing ? Do they require medical care ? Education ? Training ?

Renting them to the US military sounds attractive. Those suckers in the Pentagon will pay for all that stuff, train them, teach them to follow orders and pay you for this !

Man, don't ya love the military-industrial complex ! :-)

But if they don't (bribe here, donation there) then you need to use the golem army to work for a living until you've enough resources to launch your attack.

Of you could just issue shares and make even more money that way !

But if you insist on ruining a good money making scheme, then right up until it's too late to stop you, you are the smiling face of Golem and Blood Inc. (OK, the name needs work :-) ).

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    $\begingroup$ Umm, can't help but notice that after 7.3 million golems, the OP will have successfully conquered the world economical... The OP could just go on strike and get what he wants. $\endgroup$ – Aron Oct 22 '18 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ Though of a better name : Hemogolem Inc.. OK, OK, just hire real marketing people. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Oct 22 '18 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ This very much has the vibe of Dr Evil being briefed on how things have been since cryosleep. Do you have an eye patch and run Starbucks by any chance, Stephen? $\endgroup$ – William Grobman Oct 22 '18 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ @WilliamGrobman If I did have I'd need to have you "disappeared" now. Feel like a trip to the Saudi Consulate ? :-) $\endgroup$ – StephenG Oct 22 '18 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ I'm just here to say I loved your story ! $\endgroup$ – Pierre P. Oct 23 '18 at 11:52
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Actually, what you want to do here is not drain the blood out of a person, but replace it with something else until the person's natural systems start to reproduce what has been lost.

In other words, you need artificial blood.

Enter a rather interesting liquid - Fluorocarbon Emulsion.

This stuff has reared its head in the past when talking about fluid breathing systems for deep diving. It's a liquid that is capable of storing and releasing oxygen and therefore during a deep dive, would prevent pressure issues when trying to store air as a gas when under the enormous pressure of a deep sea dive.

The thing is, as early as 1999 it was being investigated for another purpose; artificial blood. IN this scenario, what you'd do is start draining out the blood, but replacing it as quickly with this emulsion. Under the pressures that oil pipes get to, the fluids don't tend to mix all that much which is why you can use a single pipe to transport super, unleaded, diesel, whatever. (There is a bit of mixing, but a certain volume of the mixed fluids either gets sold as one or the other, or discarded.)

In any event, you might be able to do the same thing in the human body, especially if you're draining from one area and filling from another (but I don't know enough about the fluid dynamics of the cardio system to state that categorically) but in any event, you'd get a LOT of blood out of someone and keep them alive.

The other piece of good news is that if you start putting in a lot of Ringer's Solution after that, the lack of hemoglobin should trigger a response in the marrow to start over producing red blood cells, and you can go again later down the track when your person has fully recovered from the ordeal.

Of course, what we don't know is what makes the blood useful for monster building. If it's only the capacity to store and release oxygen, perhaps you could use the oxygenated fluorocarbon emulsion directly? Easier to manufacture and harvest, with less risk to your subjects. Just saying.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for last point. Just skip the human part. The golems are artificial already. Why bother with the human resources? $\endgroup$ – Nelson Oct 22 '18 at 8:16
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    $\begingroup$ You can't replace all the blood with the artificial blood. It provides oxygen transport but none of the other functions of blood--for example, it won't clot. The intended use case is for a transfusion in the field to keep the guy alive long enough to get to the hospital. (The artificial blood has a much better storage profile and there's no issue of typing.) $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Oct 22 '18 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ "The intended use case is for a transfusion in the field to keep the guy alive long enough to get to the hospital. " Am I missing an edit? or is this a response to the wrong question @LorenPechtel $\endgroup$ – Ryan The Leach Oct 23 '18 at 10:41
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    $\begingroup$ @RyanTheLeach link attached. Perhaps not the most scholarly article on the process, but it does cover what actually happens. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Oct 23 '18 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Oh, yeah, that makes a ton more sense, I was thinking parallel instead of serial. $\endgroup$ – Ryan The Leach Oct 23 '18 at 11:50
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The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement. That’s why at least eight weeks are required between whole blood donations. (Source)

I'm assuming you need the red cells, not just the plasma. It doesn't matter if you take four pints now, then wait for 16-24 weeks, or one pint now and wait 4-6 weeks.

We could use a chemical like Darbepoetin Alfa, which (massively oversimplifying the situation and COMPLETELY IGNORING the side effects), reduces the 4-6 week period to 2-4. Medications like this are not technologically available to medieval societies, but let's assume the best.

So, 13 people, 1 pint each, pumped full of the magic blood-juice, that's 13 pints every 3 weeks on average, and you need 50. So, every 11.53 weeks (every 81 days) you get a golem.

If you drain them maximally...

If we take the maximum, you get one golem at the draining (4*13=52). But you must wait about 12 weeks (yup, 81 days) on average before you can drain them again. This would be a quick-and-dirty way to get a golem quickly, but you risk killing the people to do it (stress always has a risk, taking anything quickly is always stressful).

Conclusion

The best you can do without magic (or changing the nature of your machine) is one golem every 81 days. If you wait until the end of the 81 days, you get a golem and your blood source has a high chance of surviving. If you take the golem at the beginning of the 81 days, you seriously risk the lives of your donors.

Of course, you could always have a fleet of people on rotation to get the golems-per-hour you're looking for. It's just algebra to determine the number of donors.

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  • $\begingroup$ How would you recommend he get the "fleet of people on rotation"? I think your answer would benefit from that addition. Nice inclusion of Alfa, though! $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Oct 22 '18 at 1:30
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    $\begingroup$ @SoraTamashii, I actually thought about addressing that, but Incognito's question kinda doesn't ask for it and the explanation would distract from the important number: that 81 days. Addressing the number of people is open-eneded. Doublt the people, half the time. 10X the people, 1/10th the time. Since we know how to do this without threatening the lives of the people, the how-to-get-more-people part is storybuilding, not worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – JBH Oct 22 '18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Understandable. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Oct 23 '18 at 0:52
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Simply put?

  1. Drain them to the point where it's still safe.
  2. Keep them hooked to an IV that sends vitamin-enriched fluid to them (like when keeping a coma patient alive).
  3. Use magic or drugs to keep them unconscious. If doing so would have a negative impact on their quality, keep them chained to a wall so that they can't move the arm with the IV.
  4. Drain them again when their blood has regenerated.

That's the go-to if you're impatient. But if you have time on your hands and want them to give you their blood willingly... keep reading.

What you do is go to the orphanages around the area. Odds are we're in a civilization predating modern adoption records and laws, so just offer a couple gold coins and get a half dozen orphans from each, some male and some female. Train them to do work for you, but raise them like you would if you had kids. Then, when they've gotten to the point of being happy and healthy, once they've started trusting you, take their blood for the first time. They'll feel woozy and tired. Tell them they've done well and have the next couple of days off of working. Give them treats and rewards. Have a few of the workers start taking care of the ones who have the day off and catering to their needs. This will allow you to groom them well into adulthood to think this is normal and that it's worthwhile for them to participate because they get to have fun and relax instead of doing hard work. Make sure they love and trust you.

Once they are old enough, instruct them on how to mate so that you can breed more without having to buy them from orphanages anymore. In time, they'll create their own army of blood donors who love you, trust you, and will give their lives for you if you so much as asked them to. Once there are enough of them, train them to go on the machine of their own accord on a schedule. If any die, hold a beautiful funeral for them while you secretly use their body for meat as you start to turn a select few of them into Wendigo and while you also convert their bones into Skeletons to serve you in death as they did in life. Now, you have an expanding army of humans to serve as a blood bank, a troupe of wendigo with all the advantages that come with that, a troupe of skeletons who will obey the orders of their summoner, and all the golems you could possibly want. Not to mention a nursery full of new test subjects should something go wrong the first time.

Yes, I took this answer to a dark place. No, I don't have an issue with that. Quite simply, it's the most resource efficient as you can have them do so willingly while also producing food, clothes, and other things on their own. Some of these things which you can trade and sell for more coin to regain the money lost... Maybe you could even build a second then third machine so that you can keep making more and more golems, never having to stop until you have a military force that rivals that of each of the most powerful nations combined. You have to get in-character when answering these kinds of things. Would I personally do this? Not at all, but a character who was sufficiently evil enough to invent such a machine would have no problem being pragmatic about making use of the resources available to have them create more resources on their own of their own free will.

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    $\begingroup$ I am never torturing you in an underground chamber until you snap and lose your moral code. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Oct 22 '18 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, actually, my moral code wouldn't need you to make me lose it. Torture me in an underground chamber and the moment I'm free, you won't be. ;) $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Oct 23 '18 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ No joke, it's funny to me how many people like this obviously grimdark answer. I LOVE it! $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Oct 23 '18 at 19:11
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Selling your own blood or being a blood merchant was quite common in early post-independence China. It used to provide more money than typical labour in far lesser time, ignoring the health consequences of course. So all you need to do is find a country where the governments don't have too many regulations regarding the people donating excessive amounts of blood for money.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicle_of_a_Blood_Merchant

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How can a person be kept alive while being periodically drained of blood?

The way the question is framed by the context that you've given leads me to show this:

My answer is speculative and in no way meant as a criticism, as I'm not familiar with the nature of the world that you're creating. My answer comes from a scientific standpoint, because I do.

Stage 1

While this could be done by parasitising on the available population - keeping them like battery hens, whilst (as has appeared in other answers) force-feeding necessary nutrition and perhaps developing steroidal type drugs to increase the production of blood components in the individuals - such as Erythropoietin - A person can be kept alive indefinitley. All this is true, but not as part of an effective workforce - they'd need constant medical care, automated or not, using much equipment, resources, many person hours and engendering much resentment, heartache, disgust, social-outrage and potential unrest leading to.. who knows what? Which will need to be policed, and a huge PR. team to manage it, if it can be managed - without civil-war.

The "How can a person be kept alive" part of your question may become compromised, as a civil-war claims a lot of lives.

Depending on your world, this would appear to be an inefficient use of people and resources.

As I understand your objectives, the growth and maintenance of the size of the army is the key. Population numbers and available resources would limit production of your army, the more blood you take, the weaker the population becomes and the less food/arms they can produce - and the less energy they would have in total to put towards population growth (and therefore production of your army). Therefore the greater the chances your enemy will win and kill those you wish to keep alive.

Meanwhile your scientists and technicians are working on a more efficient solution:

Stage 2

Industrialisation.

This can ultimatley save a lot of lives. People are put to work in the business of making blood but not necessarily to the detriment of their health.

Great vats containing artificially created biologically compatible scaffolding seeded with the marrow of the strongest and healthiest of your people are being used to generate vast artificial bone-marrow reservoires, these are fed by tubes and pipes, constantly circulating oxygen, nutrients removing and filtering waste and generating a constant supply of precious blood.

This frees your population to grow and produce more resources to feed the vats and increase your civilisation's reserves and chances of survival. Specifically it benefits all individuals who would have otherwise been used to produce blood - being kept on the brink of exhaustion and death - they can now live productive lives towards your goals.

In times of extremis, if the war is going badly, you could cull the prison population/elderley/infirm/political opponents - depending how ethical the leadership is.

Of course voluntary (or compulsory) donations would still be welcome (demanded) as long as people don't become anaemic to the point that they can't work.

The but.

Who will get to mass production first, yourself or a competing faction/group?

If not yourself, then those individuals otherwise kept alive may die in the ensuing conflict.

Phase 1 would potentially be vulnerable to the introduction of pathogens that cause anaemia, by enemy spies into the general population. This could be detrimental to those individuals amd to total blood production under that regime.

Similarly both Phase 1 and 2 would be vulnerable to attack on the production facility itself, and any such attack would potentially have collateral damage. Swings and roundabouts, war is costly in lives.

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