Phoenix
Phoenix: BSE
Phoenix at a Glance
The Game
Sign Up
Nexus Tour
FAQ
Flagship#130 Review
Contact
Resources
History
Wallpapers
IRC and player sites
SubSpace Static Archive
214
Previous Years
Intergalactic News
Issue 28
Issue 27
Issue 26
Issue 25
Issue 24
Issue 23
Issue 22
Older Issues
 
Hive Society

Hive Society

To describe a single society and call this the template to all would be highly inaccurate. There are probably dozens of distinct hive cultures within the Peripheries. Here therefore is described the most common. This is one which has a single laying queen tended to by workers forming a macro-life form called a colony.

Hive within the colony come in all sizes known as castes, ranging from a few kilograms to a hundred or more. The nature of the caste is determined during its egg and larval stage. At these stages its egg is rubbed in ‘substance’ and it is fed ‘substance’ after hatching. Generally speaking, within a crèche area there will be a range of castes being raised together for the first few months. After this they will be separated into caste training areas for the next few years until they reach maturity.

Their swift maturation is however countered by their short life-span, rarely more than a couple of decades and often less than a decade in the case of castes assigned to hazardous tasks.


Substance
‘Substance’ is the generic term for a wide range of pheromones and complex volatile organic molecules produced naturally by various castes of the hive colony. The blending of these compounds produces such variations to be considered an entire language unique to each hive colony.

Collective Consciousness
There is a lot of myth surrounding collective consciousness. It is presumed that not being pre-occupied by finding a mate, raising children, attaining self-aggrandisement should mean that hive societies are incredibly efficient. This however is far from the truth.

Individual hive are raised to do certain tasks and will do them, though for only a few hours a day or when the task is presented. This means that for a lot of the time, a hive member is otherwise unemployed. If a crèche chamber for example is without eggs and larvae to tend, those assigned to the area will simply do nothing until being directed to another crèche by caste member responsible for assigning job locations.
In many respects a hive society can be similar to others in that the individuals outside of a ‘work environment’ have their own interests, though for hive, these interests tend to be quite narrow. It is a full spectrum effect with the highly self-aware mediators at one end of the spectrum through the warrior caste at the other. A group of crèche workers (somewhere in the middle of the spectrum) for example may also socialise together, seeking the same entertainment. This may be following the same set media operas set in crèches or eating at the same locations and gossiping. They will have routines such as who is responsible for which chores within their group. The main difference is that while they are all within the collective due to the pheromones, they have little interest beyond this narrow area. A crèche minder for example will not be interested in astronomy, electrical engineering or for that matter gardening. Warriors and regurgitators (larvae feeders) at the other end of spectrum may simply spend their down time sleeping and eating, both of which they do in prodigious amounts.

Queens
The queens for most hive species have very low self-awareness, content to be pampered and produce eggs. They have all their needs taken care of. They are often fed so much ‘substance’ that they do not even resist their own murders.

There are exceptions with some queens showing astute intellects. When this happens, the hive can show surprising capability to advance as a species. These events have historically been associated with hive invasions or off-world spawning events.

It is thought that the first of these queens may well have started the first hive affiliations, specifically producing hive that were immune to ‘substance’ as a means of developing self-awareness within the species.

The Brains of the Colony
There are within the society mediators. These are hive that deal with the running of the colony. They carry around the ‘substance’ feeding small amounts to the other hive but also passing on general requirements such as increase crèche facilities, expanding food production or even closing down areas. These have to be much more self-aware, rationalising situations and discussing the issues with other mediators. Generally speaking when important matters arise, chambers become filled with these, buzzing their opinions and garnering support from other mediators. Eventually decisions are carried by the majority vote, though under some situations where there are no obvious solutions, the entire colony can stagnate for days.

Hive Eggs
While other species have civilians that can be transported from one world to another in order to colonise it, the hive cannot do this. Removing individuals from the collective, removes them from it permanently. They cannot function as a society.

As a typical colony will only reach its population of 50-70,000 individuals over the course of a couple of decades, colonisation of a world will often be achieved through artificial means, i.e. hive eggs will be given to an existing hive colony. This is because eggs can be stored and will remain in stasis for months; even years until they are triggered into hatching through the use of ‘substance’. As this is only produced by an active colony they cannot be hatched within a base. The eggs are turned over to the civilian hive colony for hatching and maturation.

Outside Interaction
These mediators are the ones that are generally sent out to deal with other species and interact with starbase merchandising, though they will often be accompanied by other castes bases on the nature of the interaction, for example a few mediators will be accompanied by purser castes when it comes to dealing with purchases of food trade items or by warriors when discussing possible conflict. They are also the ones that have the highest tolerance to ‘substance’ (smallest receptors) and for this reason a drop in ‘substance’ production by the queen is first noticed by them, causing them to start the process of re-queening. It also means that these are the caste most likely to leave a colony of their own volition in order to seek employment by a starbase.

Visits to a hive are possible by both other hive and in fact other species. Generally speaking, there will be a designated visitors region with castes matured to deal with ‘aliens’. Going ‘off-road’ is however possible. In these cases, the visitors are continuously surrounded by mediators (and specialist sub-castes), when venturing through all areas not sanctioned for free access.

As soldiers are not present throughout a hive colony, once past the various check points moving around is relatively safe, though the constant stream of mediators moving between the various zones could result in being reported.

Colony Appearance
Hive are rarely ones for art, though it is not unknown, especially around the visitors zone and in the areas dominated by mediators and their sub-castes. They produce music and media though few non-hive would appreciate either. Scratchy noises and infrasound are popular as are shows about daily life of a fungus farmer. These can often be seen and heard throughout the many chambers.

Communal living is the norm with corridors connecting semi-submerged chambers formed plastics, metals, stone, and glass or even in some frontier colonies, packed earth. Under extreme circumstances, the walls may even be made from dead hive, their bodies literally glued together with hardened mucoidal secretions. Lighting is often only present where it is necessary. Sleeping chambers rarely have any form of illumination with hive simply clambering over each other until they find a place to sleep. The same can generally be said for food halls where tactility and smell often serve far more effectively than sight.

The industrial, media, visitor and commerce zones however are illuminated at all times and are generally continuously active. Hive do not take holidays or have a working week but by the same token, it is common to see hive clustered around doing apparently nothing. They will turn up to do a job, find it is not needed and simply hang around until a mediator sends them elsewhere.

Colony Size
A fit and healthy queen can lay around a hundred eggs per week. Presuming that most eggs will mature and hive generally live for just over 15 years, a typical colony will achieve the size of 80k individuals. More often though a colony will stop at around 50k as during this period new queens will be spawned and they will leave with a portion of the adult population in order to create new colonies. In this way a planet will eventually be populated.

In a few cases where the technology of a hive civilisation has advanced, the queen will be subjected to augmentation which increases her ability to lay eggs. This can vastly increase the potential colony size and in the case of Fake (a small hollow moon that was eventually destroyed), a single colony measured in their hundreds of millions, maybe even billions.

The swift maturation and demise of a hive (along with their general inability to reproduce) means that a colony will react to environmental change quite quickly. Resource constraints for example will read to the closing of crèche facilities. Few new crèche workers will be matured and the ones in the closed units will be reassigned. Within a few years the colony will be down to optimum numbers which can be maintained.

Crime
Within a hive colony crime certain occurs, though not in the usual sense.Even though it is the queen that lays eggs, other hive will also lay eggs, passing them off as the queen's. There can be cabals of layers associated with crèche chambers (a common theme in media operas). Mediators may attempt to overthrow a queen in favour of a new one, or instigate the creation of a new colony when one is not needed. Murders, criminal negligence, illegal hoarding are also common. The presence of non-collective gangs within the colony can also play a significant role in criminal activity especially where a colony is very large, measuring in the millions. Theft by nearby colonies is also fairly common.

Conflict
When multiple colonies start to impinge on each other due to restrictions in space, one of two things can occur. Where one colony has a strong queen, the warden caste will liberally spread ‘substance’ along its border and even into the territory of opposing colonies in an attempt to confuse and change the loyalty of hive. This only works against hive currently within a hive collective. Administering ‘substance’ to a hive removed from the collective has no effect as the receptors quickly atrophy when no longer stimulated by regular exposure to ‘substance’.

As the weaker colony quickly loses hive members the mediators may either attempt to re-queen the colony or more often, remove the queen and speed up the integration process. There is rarely conflict in these cases. Generally speaking mediators from both colonies have met and determined the outcome. In these cases, it is often the role of the weaker colony to mature drones as the last act of the old queen, thereby ensuring their legacy is passed on.



Where the two colonies have strong queens and are roughly equally matched a conflict will ensue. This is the only time in which the queens leave their brooding chambers. They will actually sever themselves from the sac and confront each other. The release of pheromones however often leads to conflict between the rest of the hive and with the advance of technology, leads to fairly indiscriminate bloodshed. Such conflicts are however exceptionally rare.

World Government
Mediator sub-castes matured specifically for dealing with other colonies and global affairs may form a government if there is sufficient need for one. They will determine global policy between the hive colonies and produce a list of laws applicable to off-worlders. This said, where there is activity within the confines of a single hive colony or beyond the boundaries of all the hive colonies on a world, it is invariably the case that nobody will care unless there is a direct threat or impact. This is because few hive venture far from the colony. Farmers account for the vast majority of hive that spend more than a single day beyond the bounds of a colony. The reason is hive continually pass ‘substance’ between its members. Some castes are capable of storing the substance for a few weeks (such as scouts) but generally most castes need a near continuous supply.





 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..
………that?……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Acropolis Now ***

The IMP and GTT have brought peace and stability to Acropolis.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Goodbye Falconians ***

The galaxy bid farewell to the Falconian Republic as the Human Empire subsumed them into their expanding territories. This marks the second death of an alien civilisation at the hands of the IMP / GTT in recent years. Like the extinguishing of the nearby Ulians, no voices of opposition could be heard from other quarters. This marks a long-period of appeasement by the Detinus Republic and Dewiek Elder Nation.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DOMination * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic