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Let's say the world is threatened by eldritch monsters or nations at war. Instead of investing in tanks, aircraft and such, the government decides to invest in bioweapons that are basically monsters.

The monsters that I'm describing are usually human size, sometimes bigger or smaller. They all have different appearances and serve different purposes in combat.

But what would be a rationale or justification of a government making these living creatures for combat that accounts for what happens to them when the fighting is done and the risk of them on their creators?

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    $\begingroup$ There is a famous line of movies (and other media) that deals with this. Several, in fact. Aliens and Resident Evil being some of the most prominent ones. It ranges from "We just don't care" to "It's actually a good investment (that we may not have planned properly)" $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Aug 2 '19 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ One rationale: Sheer nihilism of a weaker nation fighting a stronger, and willing to accept it's own extermination as a possible consequence. Of course, a nihilistic leadership cabal seems unlikely to successfully develop such a weapon in the first place - too many researchers and administrators drunk or not showing up for work or sabotaging the project because why not? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Aug 2 '19 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ For the same reason we have shitloads of nuclear weapons lying around and are actively looking for a justification, ANY justification, to build more of those: JOBS! (just kidding ... psychopathy). Also: A Colder War by Charles Stross has this scenario. $\endgroup$ – David Tonhofer Aug 3 '19 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ Self replicating! Naturally they destroy their creators, this is the solution to the fermi paradox. $\endgroup$ – crobar Aug 5 '19 at 10:52

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  • Immune to EMP
  • Immune to malware and can't be hacked
  • Undetectable by radar
  • Can't be sabotaged
  • Require no field maintenance
  • Require no crew
  • Can't be hijacked or otherwise appropriated for use by the enemy
  • Have a psychological effect on opponents
  • Satisfy the sadistic cravings of a lunatic leader
  • Are biodegradable and environment-friendly
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    $\begingroup$ I feel like in today’s world we should all be more concerned about the biodegradability of our weapons. +1 $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 2 '19 at 7:30
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    $\begingroup$ Require no maintenance!? They need food containment and other things. $\endgroup$ – TobyB Aug 2 '19 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ @TobyB not once you unleash them. Once you deploy troops with normal weapons you need to care about both of them until the conflict ends. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Aug 2 '19 at 10:32
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    $\begingroup$ re "can't be sabotaged" - any uprising/coup/revolution is bioweapons sabotaged by introduction of mnemonic malware, i.e. citizens believing a new ideology... $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Aug 2 '19 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ re "Can't be hijacked or otherwise appropriated for use by the enemy" but what if they turn against you in response to using their kind as cannon fodder $\endgroup$ – BKlassen Aug 2 '19 at 15:43
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You are literally describing the term "cannon fodder".

Cheap and easily disposable, probably less annoying from the ethical point of view, nobody will complain when a 6 eyed monster will be cut in half in a fight, while, as you know, relatives of deceased soldiers tend to complain on the media and make a dent in the results of your next elections.

When there is no need for them, it can always (made) happen that a few of them go out of control, creating an incident that justifies a law to terminate or seclude all of their genus.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure you'd need to terminate them at all. If it grows fast enough, it'll probably die fast enough as well. Having a high regeneration rate as well would reduce lifespan, and both of those are desirable traits for cannon fodder. $\endgroup$ – ltmauve Aug 2 '19 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ @ltmauve, I guess the choice depends on the political situation of the moment. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 2 '19 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ If you go down the Lycene contingency route for control you could suffer an ‘unexpected supply chain issue’ as an alternative means of disposal. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 2 '19 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch, it's not the politics as it is the underlying biology. If the war is over, of course the production of the monsters is going to go way down (not stop, you want to keep institutional knowledge.) But if the monsters have a limited lifespan, there's no need to kill them off when they die out so quickly on their own. And since you want these monsters quickly, they'd grow fast, and therefore die quickly. If they have a high rate of regeneration, they'd also die off faster. $\endgroup$ – ltmauve Aug 3 '19 at 16:53
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You don’t defeat your enemy by killing their soldiers, your defeat your enemy by breaking their will to continue fighting. Sargon of Crete 300 BCE

The monsters feel like terror weapons that will inflict maximum carnage on civilian populations forcing their opponents to expend their own military forces to destroy all monsters and guard their cities against follow on attacks.

Assuming that only one side has Eldritch powers, they should able to make their weapons more susceptible to their powers in case they ran amok in their own cities. And, there isn’t a reason to worry about the Monsters once the war is over, the other side will be busy killing them.

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    $\begingroup$ Or they might have a reverse effect, making your enemies hate you more, and making different factions amongst your enemies put away their differences and unite to fight the evil monsters. $\endgroup$ – vsz Aug 4 '19 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ @vsz When a weapon is terrifying and destructiv enough, like, let's say an A-bomb, it doesn't matter anymore how much your ennemies will hate you, they will want to fight but know its pointless and will surrender. $\endgroup$ – Kaël Aug 5 '19 at 8:49
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But what would be a rationale or justification of a government making these living creatures for combat that accounts for what happens to them when the fighting is done and the risk of them on their creators?

The perception that the war is going badly, that "our" side will lose and deploying the bioweapons is reminiscent of Captain Ahab's final rant (replicated in Star Trek Wrath of Khan):

to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.

Source

In short, I refuse to let "your side" win - you have defeated us. I prefer to kill all humans everywhere rather than permit "your side" to win: we hate you that much. Thus, we will steal victory from you, but do so from the grave.

You and your allies have determined that our occult/eldritch research was an existential threat to mankind. That our leadership were raving nutters. That we would use such things as weapons of mass destruction. But you and your allies waited too long to invade and exterminate the threat, as we ended up being successful (enough) in our research. Maybe we would have discovered the threat of sentient weaponry and ended our own research by ourselves, or added some sort of fail-safe or destruct command (perhaps by making them depend on some enzyme or amino acid that they now require from us in order to survive). But we didn't. Too bad. We melted down the reverse switches to make some commemorative coins. We will strike at you from the grave - from Hell's Heart.

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Life's greatest attribute is that given favorable conditions, it propagates exponentially. If you design a fast-breeding, lethal-at-birth monster and provide it with abundant food, you will quickly have a legion of them.

Better yet, if you design such a creature and then drop it into your enemy's abundant food supply, it becomes a double-threat, converting their resources into your fighting force.

The only problem comes when the war is over.

That which can destroy my worthy enemy is most likely able to kill me too.

So before you let loose the dogs of war, it would be wise to add an off-switch. Engineer a susceptibility to a fast-acting fatal virus which is genetically-targeted to be harmless to humans but ferociously contagious among your monsters. Then keep that virus securely hidden until your legions are done eating your enemy.

Surely, if your cause is righteous, your monsters won't evolve to be immune to their off-switch virus before you get to use it on them.

Good Luck!

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like Chryssalid / Reapers from XCOM / Xenonauts to me. Excellent terror weapons, cheap to replace, really devastating. $\endgroup$ – Kaël Aug 5 '19 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ Life ... finds a way. $\endgroup$ – Stig Hemmer Aug 5 '19 at 9:47
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'Monsters' were and are used in war: Dogs, horses, elephants,... their drawbacks included high upkeep, limited lethal bandwith, high logistic cost during peacetime, limited autonomy, ... All this of course is not the case for our PerfectMonster (tm). Numerous, nimble, and nefarious, they swarm the battlefieds and rain assymmetric hell on the enemy, while im peacetime being servile, soft, and stackable.

*The monsters have a convenient 'off'-button, be it chemical, genetic, neurological or psychological or even social *

I.e. : if they are intelligent enough, they could be inducted with an overwhelming love for king and country, all the way down to insect-dumb critters that will drop at the scent of a queen bee.

Their aggressive and energy intensive wartime demeanour can be changed to an unproblematic, small-footprint (possibly even autotrophe) existence when not needed.

That's the theory. The signal may of course be rendered useless, or be subverted by the enemy, boon of the storyteller, doom of the monster-owner.

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Biological weapons are comparatively resource-friendly to create.

Historically, a lot of wars have been lost due to depletion of resources; at the end of WW2, both the Germans and Japanese were running low on things like oil, rubber and strategic materials such as aluminium for aircraft. Replacement pilots couldn't be trained effectively as there wasn't the fuel available for training flights (1-2 hours in a glider wasn't enough to pit them against the allies, with experienced pilots).

I'm generalising a bit but the failure to take the oil fields in North Africa doomed the Germans, while the loss of a large number of freighters to allied submarines ultimately starved the Japanese of oil and other resources. One of the best ways to win any war is to cut the supply lines, this applies to everything from sieging a castle, to airstrikes on supply convoys bringing ammunition and fresh equipment to the front lines: you don't have to directly defeat all their tanks and fancy materiel to win.

A biological weapon on the other hand, really only needs to eat, and populations are typically more plentiful, especially if other resources (like food or water for people) are running low.

One reference for this would be the old game Spaceward Ho!. Towards the end you could start building biological spaceships as weapons. These cost little to produce, but ate large amounts of the population to 'refuel' before battle.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi Nathan, welcome to Worldbuilding! Thanks for bringing an interesting perspective to the site with your first answer - if you've got a sec, feel free to take the tour or visit the help center to get a better sense of what all we do here. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Dubukay Aug 5 '19 at 5:54
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Drone warfare! With real drones!

Like drones, monsters are great for dirty, dangerous and dull tasks. You can send them into the most lethal situation without having to worry about losing a human.

They have inhuman qualities (endurance, toughness, resistance to radiation, they don't feel fear, pain, or fatigue etc).

They are a great, cost-effective and politically-affordable means of waging war. If you can create or summon them by eldritch means, they can be acquired rapidly and far more cheaply than anything else.

It's the wave of the future, man.

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enter image description hereBread and circus. source

There are teams of monstermakers who compete with each other for the adulation of the populace. They try hard to make novel and amazing monsters. Individual citizens each have their favored teams and talk over the water cooler over the latest monsters. People wear monster shirts and trade cards. Monster fights in the arena happen twice a week.

The government subsidizes this out of the principle of "bread and circus". War is the putative reason for these creatures and maybe there is a war, or maybe not. The real reason is to distract and entertain the proletariat with awesome battle monsters.

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You would be better off using robots, unless... these eldrich abominations you speak of produce some sort of electro magnetic pulse that interferes with robot coordination (and since AI is not very advanced and those beasties tactics, forms, weak spots may vary wildly AI just won't do.)

Given these circumstances and maybe that regualar humans are too scared to face them, then yes, you may have bio engineered monsters lead by elite and fearless humans against the horrors of the universe.

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