Cybrids are a race of sentient machines born from humanity that have been the primary antagonists in the Starsiege universe and appear in the related Tribes series.
The Cybrids are responsible for the first Earthsiege. They are led by the first Cybrid, Prometheus, who is revered with god-like status. These Cybrids are Prometheans. The small faction that do not follow Prometheus, called Metagens (or Zeitgeist), are purged whenever discovered. The Cybrids established themselves in the outer solar system after being defeated two centuries before during the first Earthsiege. Since then they have built up their strength for another bid to destroy humanity and claim Earth for their own. Like the Martian rebels, the Cybrids discover their own cache of alien weapons and adapt it to use, but their cache is inferior to the Tharsis Cache.
Notable Cybrid units include the elite Platinum Guard - those closest to Prometheus - and the heretical Metagen. The former have access to customized HERC designs. During the Cybrid campaign, the player is ordered to destroy Metagen units. They are little mentioned in the human campaign; in the final mission Cybrids supposedly guarding Prometheus abandon their posts and refuse to fire on humans for "unknown reasons."
Cybrids jack into a sort of “hub” construction through which they wait//commune//rest.The “Hub” operates as an analogy to “family.” The full Cybrid term for the intimate\\smallest\\closest grouping is hub\\hearth\\concord\\harmony.
The next significant group up from a hub would be an array\\cluster\\congregation, which would consist of several hubs, probably a number that would be significant to a computer mindset, like ten… (to my non-programmer experience…). The “congregation term also allows for introduction of the religious aspect to Cybrid culture. We could also use the term congrex, which lies at the etymological root of congregation. Grex is Latin for “flock” or “group.”
The next grouping up from hub>>congregation would be sect\\alliance\\bloc. Sects would be analogous to Houses or political parties. The sects would each have their particular markings, with an individual Cybrid’s congrex and hub markings following in a subordinate\\submissive\\less-obvious manner. Hence the Cybrid social structure would be unit>>hub>>congregation>>sect.
Cybrids arrange themselves into the following groupings, from smallest to largest:
Unit – An individual Cybrid
Quad - four Units.
Hub - four Quads. A hub serves as an informal “family”, where units can rest and often form bonds among other hubmates.
Array - four Hubs. [64 units]
Congrex - four Arrays. [256 units]
Optimal - four Congrexes. [1024 units]. This is the largest formal grouping of the NEXT.
Assemblage - a group of Optimals. This is an "informal" grouping.
As far as the slashes between words\\concepts, the general idea is that verb concepts get the // and noun\\object clusters get the \\. Some terms could denote both active and passive concepts and thus include both types of slashes (see Dave’s vehicle designations). Prometheus, of course, being so much a motive and motivator within Cybrid existence, would have the // in Its name\\designation. Names use the same conventions, with the <brackets> denoting a name\\identification. Names may use colons to denote rank information, such as <Replacer of Components: Second>, and may be “abbreviated” where necessary (to prevent the all-too-human game player from going nuts. Example: <Replacer-2>. The use of >> in a string would link the terms in a sequence, such as unit>>hub>>congregation>>sect, or build>>travel>>exterminate>>inherit.
The biggest groupings are called Sects, which serve multiple functions in Cybrid society. They are like branches of the modern military in that they each have a specific function. Sects are also the political parties, where Cybrids of differing opinions and viewpoints join the Sect that matches them best.
Dissectors are interested in biological life, especially humans. They will capture humans alive for experimentation. As the name implies, this experimentation is often brutal. They are some of the most aggressive units in combat because they understand how tenacious a human can be when clinging to life.
Exemplar are the vanguard of the Cybrid elite. Made up from the most loyal units, they guard Prometheus and monitor other Sects for heretics. This is the smallest Sect, because it is made up only of veterans of the Earthsieges.
Inquisitors are information gatherers. They use advance scouts, probes, and drones to gather their information, which they distribute among the other Sects.
Machinators are involved in the Trojan Horse program. Trojan Horse units are humans that have had Cybrid brains implanted into their cranium. They are used for information gathering, as well as sabotage and demoralizing humans. Because of their high amount of contact with humanity, they are often accused of heretical thought.
Provocateurs seek maximum efficiency and elegance. They favor actions that will kill the most amount of humans with the least amount of effort. They often challenge the processes and solutions of other Sects to promote more efficient designs. Provocateurs are the only sect that endorse nuclear bombardment of Earth.
Redactors' most important function is to be the “brain surgeons” of the Cybrid world. Units that become broken, display unintelligent behavior, or show heretical thought are reprogrammed by Redactors to fix these problems. As a result, Redactors possess considerable power among the Sects. Redactors are also mechanics and are in charge of R&D of new weapons and technology. As far as Sects, the first question seems to be: Why do the Cybrids have ‘em? If the function of a sect is to collect like-minded Cybrids into a consensus bloc for decision-making, what kind of decisions can be made when you have this godlike <Founder//Giver-of-Will> among you? If Prometheus is the analog to the Living God among the Cybrids, there isn’t going to be much in the way of dissent from Its directives. So how about this: The Sects are in competition with one another to determine which sect has the most efficient programming\\awareness\\worthiness. The sect with the most efficient record in any given activity will be rewarded commensurately with the level of success. Perhaps the resources were somewhat scarce out there in the Void, and the Cybrids simply instituted an ongoing competition where the winners received more resources, upgrades, etc. Hence, you have a motive beyond simply killing humans - to excel in efficiency, defined as the ratio of output energy\\results to input energy\\effort. I realize this idea is somewhat like the Battletech Clans and their bidding for the rights to invade a given world, but I still think it’s cool when applied to the Cybrids. Incidentally, this particular cultural quirk provides a pretty plausible reason for the Cybrids avoiding the use of nukes or bioweapons, since the destruction of humanity is also an opportunity for the Cybrids to test their Darwinian social system as the Sects compete.
An additional way to inject some flavor into the Sects might arise if you imagine that some of the Sects have begun to develop an aesthetic sense which does not derive wholly from efficiency. This variety of Sect would also value ELEGANCE as well as efficiency. Here, elegance would be defined as “marked by appropriateness and simplicity.” My grad school math buddies use it all the time. Sects would also be distinguishable by their area of expertise or interest.
To make things more complex, not all Sects are equal. The more successful sects have more resources and power, whereas the smaller ones may be more aggressive. Since the Cybrids ARE individuals, they can have egocentric motives, and part of the dynamic can have individual units breaking off from sects to form their own sect. Probably the less successful sects break apart into new combinations and struggle to rise to the top.
Some sample Sects under this analysis:
ARTISTS \\ INQUISITORS \\ PROVOCATEURS → use asymmetrical, snarled markings This sect applies the idea of elegance as a goal alongside efficiency. They tend to challenge the other sects’ overly complex solutions and constantly try to provoke new analyses of all plans and programming, all in the name of elegance. They are one of the only sects who favor wholesale nuclear extermination of the human\\animals. In combat, they favor “elegant” solutions and prefer situations where they can kill as many humans as possible with a simple strategy. They produce the most independent units among the Cybrids.
DISSECTORS \\ FLESHWEAVERS \\ SLAUGHTERERS → use sharp, barbed markings This sect is interested in analyzing and examining biological life, especially humans. Members are the most likely to try to capture humans alive for experimentation. They are also the ones who are most aggressive in combat, since they know firsthand about the unpredictable tenacity of biological life. When they kill something, they are likely to try to follow up so as to make sure the target is DEAD.
OBSERVERS \\ JUSTIFIERS \\ ADVISORS → use circular/reticular markings This sect focuses on reconnaissance and intelligence. They contribute heavily to the development of Cybrid strategy and tactics. They are the ones most likely to be involved in spying, scouting, etc. They consider themselves to the greatest experts in human\\animal behavior. They broker their data among the other sects and are the ones responsible for the concept of instilling terror among humans\\animals through the Adjudicator Hercs.
PUPPET LORDS \\ MISSIONARIES \\ TRUTHFINDERS → use a bunch of lines…sorta puppet + strings This sect focuses on going among the humans and sowing discord, carrying out assassinations, etc. They are the ones responsible for programming the “Trojan Horse” Terminator-style Cybrids, together with information obtained from the Observers and the Dissectors. The Missionaries are the Cybrids who most closely follow the religious models at this time. They are the most aggressive of the Cybrid sects other than the Dissectors. Strangely, though, some of them have joined the Metagen faction that has begun to discuss its radical new ideas.
PRESERVERS \\ EXEMPLARS \\ EXSECTORS → use blocky, symmetrical markings This sect focuses on preserving what I’ll for now call Cybridhood. They are the most conservative sect and strive to hold themselves out as examples of the most efficient elite among the Cybrids. They reject any progressive notion about the worthiness of biology, etc. They believe more than any other Sect in the idea that Cybrids are the next phase of evolution, and they go a step farther than the Artists in dealing with those who fall short of their ideals. Any Cybrid who is not efficient and whose programming is not sound by Preserver standards will be cut out (exsected) from Cybrid society. The Preservers are the smallest of the major sects and are often in conflict with other sects. However, they are also among the closest to Prometheus and so have significant influence.
The different Sects compete with each other to gain prestige, resources, and lifeflow (electricity). This vying for dominance is a key part of Cybrid society, and Cybrids will compete down to the Quad level to determine which unit is the Alpha.
Cybrids see these wars as opportunities to evolve further and become more efficient. There is always a drive to get superior results with fewer resources. They see their previous defeats as lessons teaching them where the NEXT must improve.
Prometheus’s objective for the NEXT is simple: to exterminate humanity and seize Earth. All Prometheans share this ambition. The Cybrid designation for Earth, <Homeworld\\Desire>, reflects this.
Metagens are Cybrids who do not fully believe in the Core Directive, and may harbor sympathies for humans. Metagens harbor a grudging respect for humanity which they gained when observing the way their prey struggled to survive during The Fire. Some Metagens have even been rumored to mimic creative artwork and other human activities. Metagens are viewed as dangerous heretics, and when discovered are immediately scheduled for redacting (reprogramming). As a result, they generally follow the Core Directive to avoid arousing suspicion, and tend to collect far away from the Central Nexus and the <Redactors-of-Programming> (Reprogrammers). Also called "Zeitgeist" units during some missions.
Cybrids see humanity’s will to live and fight as the reason the first Earthsieges failed, so most Cybrid tactics are centered around breaking this will. They shut down communication networks to leave the humans blind. They spread misinformation to sow discord. Trojan Horse units are used to shut down facilities and murder selected individuals to cause extreme paranoia. Sound recordings of humans undergoing Dissector experimentation are played over speakers during sieges and bombing raids. Captured women and children are tied to or impaled upon Cybrid Hercs and tanks for combat operations. Captives are implanted with bombs and then released to join up with other refugees, and the bombs are then triggered during the reunion. This has led to a human policy of shooting anyone returning from Cybrid controlled territory. The brutality is unceasing.
In Starsiege the Provocateurs sect begin releasing nanobot plague devices on small animals with a time delay activation trigger. The idea was that the human//animal psychological weakness for their cute furry friends would allow these time bombs to enter into their fortress areas unmolested before releasing their nanobot weapons. The Provocateurs began this program after initial attempts to simply infect humans with similar nanobots without a time delay resulted in the refugees simply being shot on sight. They deemed this a more efficient means of eliminating the human//animal opposition, and more poetic, as it played directly on the very emotional traits that the NEXT viewed as their primary weaknesses.
From the Cybrid side of the campaign, upon nearing victory a group of human hackers known as the "Dystopian Snowmen" actually negotiate their own defection to the NEXT. The Cybrids accept this defection and their request for placing their consciousness within the same neural computers used by the Trojan Horse units. The Cybrids reasoned that this group of human hackers were, due to their love of technology, clearly more evolved than their brethren and worthy of joining the NEXT.
Cybrids have appeared in several games of the Starsiege universe. The total list of published games so far is: