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Got a faction that's making super warriors.

The gene-smiths of my story managed to biologically engineer a far better human body. That's easy. This includes a far more developed digestive system, immune system...etc. The ability to eat foods that is deadly to humans. Basically their body can breakdown anything. While using minimal "energy" and extracting as much of the thing as possible. Because I know the obvious answer is: make a better human body. Done.

Why all this? Because the super warriors demands are extreme. They are supposed to be personal force of this powerful person and they need to be far superior to anything we can imagine. But I need help with details in this particular thing. After all a little speculative science or science fiction is needed in a science fiction story. Can't hand-wave everything.

Now my scientists want to take this a step further. They want the following:

  • Secondary digestive system.
  • Smaller in size to our normal one.
  • Completely independent of the normal one. Only sharing the "entrance"
  • Does not share the same space our normal one does, it's in a different place/organ.
  • Only sharing the mouth and normal food track. At a certain point however food is directed to the new system.
  • New food source. Manufactured of course. Like protien bars but insanely better.
  • It is preferable if the food source is exotic. Like some crystals or rocks or something that we can't eat now.
  • Once the new food source is swallowed it goes directly to the new system.
  • The super food must able to power the body and provide the needed stuff for the super soldier.
  • Super food should be broken down almost instantly and used to power the body.
  • New food must be stable and easy to store.
  • Easy to store is not invincible. It should be able to survive cold and hot temperatures, different air pressures...etc. But nothing making it magic.
  • It can't attract vermin or bugs. You can use any outer material since our new system can break it down.
  • It should be small in size, maybe a bit smaller than an egg. So it can be easily swallowed. We don't want to create a new entrance for it. Just increase the amount if needed.
  • Taste does not matter.
  • super warriors are larger. They are about 5 meters. While many of their organs are enlarged to account for that, some are not. The better efficiency means you still have some space inside.

Clearly I'm no biologist and my biology is limited. But I believe everything is theoretically possible. Like some science fiction and speculative science can be applied, but no outright magic.

What is the nature of the super food and secondary digestive system? You have the freedom to engineer them as it fits.

Our limits

  • Whatever we know now is biologically possible. Science fiction, theoretical stuff..etc.
  • No magic
  • Make whatever changes or addition to the body as it is necessary. Just within the limits.
  • Cost efficiency is not an issue. If it takes a million work hours to make one of those warriors it's work it for the faction.
  • Any other consideration in the story for this is irrelevant. Like social ones.
  • We don't want to remove the normal digestive system. It must be there and we need to add a new one.
  • I'm aware that creating a new super food will create logistical challenges. Just let me worry about that.
  • It might seem like absurd but we know that some creatures regenerate a limb, others have strong acids to dissolve wood or can eat venom, others can reach incredible speeds, some have heat vision...etc. World of biology is crazy. And we are using science fiction. Not limiting it to what we can do now.
  • I kept the two points as one question since I feel it's closer to one thing. Because it's a super specialized power extraction system-super food. We are creating both. Not one in a void.
  • Obviously a no with a reason or a frame challenge is welcome. Just within the confines of the question. Not like: Why not have them have magic? Or: I don't want you to imagine that in your story.
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  • $\begingroup$ Don't suppose you can clarify what your question is? The only explicitly marked questions are rhetorical questions. You have an over engineered solution reads like you want to have a super food brain stormed rather then just declaring soldier kibble provides what is needed What do you need help with? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @GaultDrakkor, sorry. Is it clearer now? $\endgroup$
    – Seallussus
    Commented Apr 10 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ super food is very limited thing, proteins and carbs have 4.5kcals, fats 9kcals and these are the only 3 things human cells can get energy from.....your bacteria can eat up fiber but it also has only 2.5kcals so...a super caloric food is limited by your bite force, if you can bite a piece of bread that is as dense as steel... that's a lot of kcals. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ In real chemistry, ordinary fat (which the ordinary digestive system is perfectly fine with) has an energy density of about 38 MJ/kg, which is quite comparable with the 43 MJ/kg of jet fuel. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Apr 10 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ Question: Why would you want to introduce a vulnerability to your super soldiers? Just by disrupting the supply lines you could degrade your infantries effectiveness considerably. Certainly enough to discourage the investment of the effort needed to produce and sustain soldiers with this requirement. If you want to introduce a faciet like this to your creations , a more logical tract, IMHO, would be to just enable them consume a broader range of organics to extract nutrients from. This way, no matter the environment the battle takes place the soldier has the energy to perform. $\endgroup$
    – Gillgamesh
    Commented Apr 11 at 12:45

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Bioengineered supersoldiers are a bad idea. The only thing really super about them is how super-hard it is to do better than evolution in making a viable organism that serves your needs better than the naturally evolved organism.

However, that aside, since this is a [science-fiction] question, not a [science-based] question, we can come up with some criteria for a super-food.

  1. High energy. The higher the energy, the less of it the super warrior has to carry around. Sure, they may be strong, but carrying bales of low-energy hay around isn't going to cut it.

  2. Non-nuclear. Sure, uranium/plutonium stores a lot of energy, but the radiation is going to be nasty. I don't care how small you think that you can make your reactors.

  3. Non-toxic. You might be able to make your super-soldiers resistant to whatever toxins are in the food, but if you don't have to, all the better.

  4. Easily obtained. Sure, you might be able to synthesise something complicated (and some compounding may be necessary), but if you can farm its source, all the better.

So... what might we choose? Olive oil contains 39.25 - 39.82 MJ/kg and 33 - 33.48 MJ/l. That's about the highest energy density per kilogram and per litre of any biofuel. Sure, there are higher-density fuels, such as diesel fuel, but they're potentially or actually toxic, and not all that much more compact than olive oil.

Now, if we have a super-soldier, I'll assume that they have been engineered to be able to synthesise as many of the necessary nutrients as possible. Vitamins can be synthesised (since other organisms synthesise them), essential (for humans) amino acids histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine can be synthesised for the same reason... that just leaves minerals, and it is relatively easy to add bioavailable compounds of these minerals to the super-soldier's super food to replace those that are lost through natural causes.

So... these super-soldiers might drink mineral-rich olive oil, which would be shunted to the secondary digestive system. The secondary digestive system would be designed to store this oil and break it down for energy to synthesise glucose and other necessary substances. It would contain all the essential minerals.

Just supply oxygen.

However, olive oil doesn't sound all that sexy. What if we used Octogen, AKA the high explosive HMX? While HMX can be bioremediated - meaning that it can be metabolised - its energy density is actually much lower than olive oil, 5.7 MJ/kg and 10.8 MJ/l. We don't start getting higher energy densities until we get into exotic stuff like metallic hydrogen (anyone want a super-soldier who explodes when they die?) or nuclear isomers, and we don't really know if it's even possible to extract energy from those useably.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm curious why you say super solders aren't viable? Humans have experienced different selective environments, leading to population differences in traits like high altitude adaptation and improved breath holding ability. Humans vary tremendously in immune response, some of which has been shaped by natural selection on different populations. I think the cost-benefit of super soldiers might be bad - cyborgs and androids might have mu h more bang for the buck. You could engineer a person to survive low oxygen, or a bot that needs 0 $\endgroup$
    – N Brouwer
    Commented Apr 11 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ @NBrouwer Super soldiers are not necessarily non-viable, they're just a waste of money for a military. You get far better robots for the same money once your tech level is high enough. By all means, turn yourself into a super-soldier if it will increase your survivability, but it's probably not worth it for a government to soup up their human soldiers.. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Apr 11 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ agreed (I was editing my comment as you replied) many things to gene edit in soldiers would probably be fairly mundane ( eg resistance to cavities so no need for army dentists), assuming soldiers are still used at all. And the hardest thing to engineer would be the brain. $\endgroup$
    – N Brouwer
    Commented Apr 11 at 16:00

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