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In a civilization I'm making, there are two separate groups of people - namely one with the ability to use technology (tech that runs on a chemical in the user's blood) and those without (a small percentage of the population with a blood disorder lacking this chemical). As such this percentage is unable to do things like driving cars, using devices and most importantly firing weaponry.

A side effect of not having this chemical in their blood makes this population have heightened senses (still working on exactly why). They are also slightly bigger and stronger due to the fact that they will need to do everything manually like farming or back-breaking work as a living.

I would like my main character to belong to this group and still end up in the military.

The question here is, would an army with guns, tanks and Walkers (big exoskeletons) have any need for a platoon/company of humans which are unable to use modern technology?


P.S.

Any opinions on the science behind the inability to use tech would be taken also.

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    $\begingroup$ I was kind of thinking more of an Offensive Melee group for use in actual combat as opposed to office workers or field engineers who don't deal directly with the enemy. Also, since they are unable to use the most common tech (in that world), they are not able to be anyone who relies on complex equipment(ie. Engineers, Signal, Transportation, Medical) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 24 '17 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ Why would you have soldiers in combat who could not use a radio for support nor MEDEVAC? Why would those soldiers remain loyal to such a system? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Nov 24 '17 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ They could be paired with signalers or Users (as Tim B coined) who can fill what they cannot do. As for loyalty, i see them more as Mercenaries who work more for the money as finding work is often difficult for them due to their disability (in a way) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 24 '17 at 3:30
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    $\begingroup$ I can't imagine vehicles relying on a single user's energy. we measure engines in horsepower after all. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 24 '17 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ You may want to consider giving them access to the equivalent of non-electronic tech, if they cant run (at least one) a radio, gun, or dozer on a battlefield they are more liability than anything else. The best you could use them for is manual labor setting up and even then the inability to use power tools will quickly become counterproductive. They need another soldier just to function in which case just use that soldier instead and save on equipment and pay. That or you have to go super degrading pack mule route and just have them lug equipment for other people to use. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 24 '17 at 3:50
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Guns, Tanks, Walkers et al are ranged weapons. These are really good for modern tactics that involve being as far away from the enemy as possible when engaging in combat. Thing is, even a modern assault rifle only gets you so far in close quarters combat. When the fighting gets up close and personal, large heavy equipment, especially if you have to stop and aim it or generally operate it, will always be beaten by an agile operator with a knife.

(At this point I'm going to have to give the two classes of people names to explain further; without trying to cast aspersions, let's call them Users and Workers respectively)

Users are going to be adept at using the tech, but in this world there seems little sense in diverging their specialisations with close quarters combat training, especially when there's an alternative. You train the workers in hand to hand combat. Then, you use them in 2 ways;

1) Unit Defence your workers are there to protect your users who operate the heavy guns, tanks et al from the enemy. You keep any threats away from the people and the gear in the field. You can use them as spotters for mines, personnel defence, etc.

2) Infiltration This may sound odd, but because they're trained in close quarters combat, you put a platoon of them in a walker or dropship of some kind and deploy them right in the centre of the enemy formations. They come out fighting and wipe out gunners, tank drivers et al quickly with enhanced hand to hand tactics, as well as plant charges and the like if possible. The aim of this is to disrupt the strategy of the enemy by taking out their offensive capabilities.

Another thought to consider; the chemical you mention interacts with tech to manipulate EM fields in some manner; theoretically, that means it's traceable. If it's in the bloodstream, Users could never be scouts as they'd be too easy for the enemy to trace. Workers on the other hand could get into advance positions and out to report on troop activities only having to worry about camouflage and the like; an enemy that relies too heavily on detection grids for the blood chemical could easily lose the advantage to some well trained worker scouts.

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    $\begingroup$ Hmmm...i really like the detection grid idea for the blood chemical. Never thought of that. Love this answer! thanks mate. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 24 '17 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ still have a big problem if they cannot use communication equipment, a scout that has to hoof it back to communicate is not better than a detectable person with binoculars and a radio. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 24 '17 at 3:44
  • $\begingroup$ That's a good point, but radio transmissions can be triangulated as well. Perhaps the spotters (Users with binoculars and radios) can read some form of battle sign-language from the worker scouts? $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Nov 24 '17 at 4:02
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    $\begingroup$ There's more than one way to communicate over distance, and have been used well before modern technology: semaphore, for one. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Nov 24 '17 at 20:58
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"...any need for a platoon/company of Humans which are unable to use modern technology?" Absolutely! Though I'm not sure how this will aid your story. Remember that the vast majority of a military force is not combat-focused. You have cooks, mechanics, logistics people, supply, medical, finance, intelligence, and so on. Only about one percent of a modern military actually does the shooting and killing.

Now, I imagine you want your character to be in on the action, which makes being a cook not sound that exciting. But if they aren't going to be 'strong' (able to effect change, be powerful, use weapons) they could be smart.

Though in such a world, I would expect their scientists would be able to find a way to extract and capture that which powers all these things. Perhaps it isn't easy, or efficient, but you'd have a way to bottle it into small 'charges,' allowing a non-gifted character to fire a few shots from a sidearm or something along these lines.

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    $\begingroup$ What? Ifyou watch Steven Segal movies, you know "never tick off the cook". (polite version) $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Nov 24 '17 at 8:56
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Some thoughts, independent but not necessarily mutually exclusive...

We know that there is a technology that runs off of, well, "blood magic". But does conventional technology exist as well? The Unblooded -- for lack of a term -- could do their own research and develop a parallel technology up to whatever level works for the story. Maybe crossbows, maybe guns. Could even be you work these discoveries into the story.

A different angle. Perhaps some researcher (from either group) discovers an antidote or suppressant for the blood chemicals. This is your world's equivalent of mustard gas. Drop the gas into the battlefield, then a special squad of Unblooded can swarm in with their low-tech weps and reap a bitter harvest of the panicked enemy whose magic stopped working. Eventually word will get out and enemy armies will have the same technology, and you'll have some very confused battlefields as the presence of gas and wind strength give shifting advantage to Blooded or Unblooded.

Third way. As others have mentioned, your hero could be an infiltrator or special-ops kind of guy. He could specialize in assassinations, poisoning water supplies, or all kinds of mischief.

Update: Forgot to address how this blood magic works. If it's just plain "magic", then we're done. That's all you have to say. But let's get just a little sciencey here.

Could be their blood has lots of alcohols in it, which can burn to power devices (this also explains why the guys without a high blood alcohol level are more observant ;D ). Could be the blood has a special protein which binds with radioactive elements, again to power devices. Unblooded have not this protein.

In either case, a very interesting effect comes in to play. You said that technology runs off of this chemical. That means that it gets ... expended. It's a finite resource. So, how long can you power an exoskeleton before you start feeling all faint and anemic? If it's a short time, this gives another opening for the Unblooded on the battlefield. They have way more endurance than the Blooded. Normal Blooded battles must be short, as both sides will run out of blood chemical. Imagine if you kept a small, angry reserve of Unblooded waiting for the main fighters to grind down before they pounce...

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  • $\begingroup$ oh nice i love these ideas, more and more great ideas thanks! $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 26 '17 at 5:31
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Heavy equipment can only take you so far. Coincidental with Iraq war, there was a move to stop bayonet training for US forces because it was expensive and unlikely to ever be useful. Needless to say, when there was a steady two hours of bayonet work for platoons moving into Baghdad proper from the newly established base at the former international airport, the movement silently disappeared.

US forces have the highest tech around, having superior firepower, air cover, tanks, and other vehicles. Neverthless, they had to get boots on the ground using 18th century techniques to take the city. We saw the same in Fallujah, and Mosul. The same theme played out in Vietnam.

Ultimately, it requires boot on the ground to take a position. Airpower and ranged weapon support can augment ground troops, but cannot replace them.

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  • $\begingroup$ yeah but these guys would not be able to use guns or communication equipment making them a pretty big liability on the battlefield. there is a big difference between equipped with bayonets and equipped with only spears. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 24 '17 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ It's hard to disable a firearm in the way OP described without violating the laws of physics. Any rapid burning chemical can expand and push a projectile through a tube. However, modern artillery , emplaced guns, and tanks could all have lockouts in place since they are dependent on high tech targeting and sensor systems. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Nov 24 '17 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ Not being able to fire the gun might be too much of a limitation. I guess making everything very highly technologically advanced would make the non-users using legacy weaponry (what we have now) as opposed to the new breed of weaponry which harnesses some of it's functions from said chemical in the blood $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 24 '17 at 4:09
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Since anyone able to use this tech has to have the chemical in their blood, it makes sense that an enemy might develop a way to monitor for it (similar to how infrared goggles monitor for heat signs).

Since your misfits lack the chemical, they will be invisible to this method of tracking.

Not being able to use high tech doesn't prevent them from using knives, crossbows, blowpipes, etc.

They might make excellent assassins or guerilla operatives.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hey man, Thanks for the input! Someone also mentioned this idea and i think it's real neat :) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 24 '17 at 9:38
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After occupying a zone you need to pacify it. Like the United Nations peacekeeping forces. This means monitoring the civil people returning to their homes, making new laws, helping in the planning of the rebuilding and well, just being there as a symbol of an ended war. Your special forces could use "horses" for transporting themselves, it would be still a good idea in isolated places, mountainous terrain, etc. Also, mounted police forces are more intimidating than people on foot but less than people on an exo-skeleton, and they could use simple hand-to-hand weapons like batons to keep people in line without using excessive force.

A side effect of not having this chemical in their blood makes this population have heightened senses (still working on exactly why)

People with the chemical could be seeing in a too broad spectrum of light or hearing too many frequencies for hours after being connected to techonology. Your non technological people would be able to focus and they would seem to have heightened senses.

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  • $\begingroup$ A view on them i have never looked at..peacekeeping corp nice $\endgroup$ – Matthew Ng Nov 26 '17 at 5:31
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Covert ops is where your Un-Blooded types are going to shine. You mentioned that these guys are usually The scut-workers of the society since they cannot interact with tech. Well, even in really advanced societies, someone needs to mop up.

Think about your janitors where you work. Can you remember their faces? How about the guys you hired to install your roof, or siding. Do you remember them? Chances are the answers to these questions is "No". That's what makes these guys ideal covert operatives. They could move about society all but unseen by wearing janitors coveralls or workman's outfits. Or rather, they would be seen, but not really noticed until the damage is already done.

Send them in with primitive weaponry, or just plain tools. A screwdriver can kill just as easily as a pistol at close range. A hammer is an excellent bludgeon. They arrive to service an HVAC unit in a well guarded building. Guards won't bother them about screwdrivers and other workman's tools. They may frown upon knives, but what they are probably looking for is guns. An HVAC tech is probably going to be expected to go everywhere. Quietly take out guards, hit the supposedly well protected target and leave. That's just an example. Or, they could go in to "renovate" a building, setting in various traps that would only trigger in the presence of whatever it is in the blood that's special.

A Janitor is also capable of moving around un-noticed. Even Secure facilities have to deal with dust. How hard would it be to maybe set some contact poison traps. Or to use improvised objects to bludgeon a target who is working late.

Never underestimate the weapons of our ancestors. Sure, a rock tied to a stick won't vaporize a target from space, but it was certainly good enough to kill a caveman's rival, and when you get down too it, dead is dead.

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It's hard to understand how your tech-deprived situation would work. Firearms, even the most modern ones, work on basic mechanical and chemical principles, so it's difficult to understand how something would not allow them to work that wasn't explicitly some kind of magic, and the same goes for many vehicles. Cars worked perfectly fine for quite a long time without any electronics in them, and if you go with a diesel engine you don't even need the electricity for spark plugs.

If whatever affected this group made it impossible to use things like levers and springs and basic chemical reactions like combustion because they didn't happen in their presence, odds are the genes that caused the blood disorder would have been driven extinct long before the culture reached the stage of combat exoskeletons, or at least made it so rare that they don't make a significant presence.

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