In this world, there are two opposing allegiances in a state of political and military tension with one another. One side discovers a way to create a device that allows soldiers to have meta-human levels of strength, speed, endurance, perception and the ability to warp reality to a certain extent and in sometimes unique way(in other words, to be like comic book superheroes), but among the cost to creating such a device, certain individuals with latent, but otherwise unreliable powers must be found, captured or killed, and have those powers harvested from them. It take around five or so of these individuals to create one of these device that gives a soldier these special abilities depending on the state of the individual while harvested.

The other alliance tries to operate in a more ethical manner, but if the opposing side uses these super-soldiers to be more aggressive with their military, how likely would even they be forced to become a dystopia that hunt these same individuals down to give their own military similar capabilites? Assume that both sides discovered this technology at around the same time and the technology level is around modern otherwise.


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  • $\begingroup$ You don't explain how the device works. Can one device make multiple metas? Or is it something that one wears to become meta? Can people voluntarily surrender their powers to create the device? How big is the device? Can it be stolen? $\endgroup$ – Brythan Aug 1 '16 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ One device can create one meta, which requires around 5 special individuals to create. It is cell-phone size, if not something that can be put on a cell-phone. People can voluntarily choose to be sacrificed. It can be stolen, but it would be useless to the thief unless the meta that owned the device was killed; however, the meta would be rendered normal if the device is a certain distance from them (100 feet maybe). If the device is destroyed, the meta becomes normal. $\endgroup$ – user23741 Aug 1 '16 at 3:22
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site @user23741. When someone has to ask for clarification, after commenting with an answer it is best to edit your question so that other users do not need to go search for that information in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Annonymus Aug 1 '16 at 8:40

The first thing that comes to mind is to turn the source of strength against the enemy coalition.

Run an intensive PSYOPS campaign against them asking mothers if it is OK for that Coalition to kill her children? Asking schoolchildren if it is OK for strangers to come in and kill their friends? Asking employers if they are fine with having their workers ripped away from their jobs to be killed? Making similar arguments to religious leaders, opposition politicians and other possible nexus of opposition to the ruling class. I'd even pitch a PSYOPS campaign against the enemy soldiers, asking them who their real enemy is, the army which acts and treats them according to the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) or their rulers who can swoop in and arbitrarily kill their own squad mates without warning ("Who'll be there to watch your back?"), and to the enemy super soldiers themselves, emphasizing the ghoulish nature of their creation to sow doubt and uncertainty into their ranks.

Emphasizing how abhorrent the practice of harvesting people actually is and people will generally turn away from it. In the real world, Planned Parenthood in the United States has been under intense fire and has seen a massive withdrawl of private support when videos were released of them doing partial birth abortions for the purpose of selling organs and tissue, which is as gruesome as it sounds and is the closest real world counterpart to what you are suggesting. Planned Parenthood and their enablers have been doing everything in their power to downplay and suppress the information and especially the videos, for reasons which should be quite apparent.

So "your" side can keep their hands clean, while stirring up opposition in the ranks of the enemy society and their armed forces, and letting them self destruct from within.

  • $\begingroup$ A negative one rating as of this comment, it was what I was expecting. Anyway, this sounds like a good response and something that has me considering another direction to take this story (Which involves having the blueprints and directions as to how to create this device leaked on the internet after their downfall). $\endgroup$ – user23741 Aug 1 '16 at 3:54

In addition to Thucydide's answer of an aggressive informational campaign, there are a few more steps this second country can use to turn their enemy's practices into their own benefit.

While they are broadcasting how abhorrent it is to hunt down and harvest unwilling people for these devices to undermine the other country's war effort, they can also offer sanctuary for any of these 'gifted' individuals who can cross the border, and also their families (who will fear for their future generations). There might be some spies, but probably very few would be willing and fewer would be successful, since they would be betraying themselves or their families to the harvesting if they succeeded - and the community would almost certainly be trying to self-police, since that kind of behavior would risk them all.

Additionally, the second country, who will have a much higher population of the inherently gifted, might be able to recruit and/or train some of these people with lesser gifts. The gifted will be more likely to come forward to defend themselves and the country that shelters them, from the harvesting country, than would come forward to be harvested. With a higher population, there will be more resources to activate latent gifts, or train unreliable ones, or discover technology that might amplify or stabilize gifts to a lesser degree, which also don't require human sacrifice. This might eventually end up with a situation where squads of gifted people work together to face off against soldiers with meta devices. As a bonus, such squads might be more flexible and adaptable than a soldier with a single device.

Next, with a strong stance against human sacrifice and for protecting the naturally gifted, it might be possible for this country to make some limited use of the meta-devices anyway. One example would be captured devices, which are known and published to be captured, being re-purposed (assuming the original soldier dies in the capturing). If done with respect to the ethical questions it raises, after consulting the population of naturally gifted, acknowledging those sacrificed to make it, and letting families of those sacrificed have some say - they can probably be used without undoing the good propaganda against their being made. Even if not, capturing them and storing or destroying them will weaken the enemy forces by quite a bit.

And, with the higher population and more protections given to the naturally gifted, there will probably be more willing to volunteer to be sacrificed if there's some meta-ability where even one or two meta-devices will make a huge difference (ie, let them grab or neutralize a lot of enemy meta-devices), and if those volunteering are very obviously willing, maybe drawn from the already terminally ill, and if there's a real perception that this kind of thing is accepted by the country reluctantly and only due to great need. It would be dangerous to the country's morality, though, and should only be done if it gives an overwhelming advantage for a very low cost.

These "gifted" will obviously prefer a country who treats them well and offers human rights and protection, over one that hunts them down and sacrifices them... and that will move such "resources" from one country to another under their own power. The more the second country treats them ethically, the more they'll be willing to give up for that country, and actively work against the first country.


The first question would be how effective these super-soldiers are. If one super-soldier is a match for 10,000 ordinary soldiers in combat, yeah, there'd be a lot of pressure for the other country to follow suit. If one super-soldier is a match for 1.2 ordinary soldiers, not so much.

Are there countermeasures available? How difficult is it to "build" one of these super-soldiers? Etc.

Is there any way to create anything comparable to the super-soldiers without killing people? Like can these people with the latent talents somehow learn to use their talents and become semi-super-soldiers themselves?

How difficult is it for the people with the latent powers to escape? Presumably the ethical country has every incentive to welcome such refugees. Even if they can't or won't "use" them themselves, encouraging and helping them escape would deprive the enemy of the resources they need to create super-soldiers.

For a fiction story, I'd think you could easily arrange the "facts" to make whatever outcome you want. If you want there to be incredible pressure on the ethical country, then make the super-soldiers extremely powerful and say that all attempts to counter them with anything other than your own super-soldiers have proved fruitless. If you want the ethical country to have an alternative, then make the super-soldiers less powerful, or say that the people with the latent powers can fight them, or whatever.

When the scenario is complete fiction, you don't have to struggle with how to get the desired outcome. Just make something up. Of course the trick may be to make something up that makes an interesting story.


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