Author Topic: The Shofixti  (Read 8382 times)

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Offline Lukipela

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The Shofixti
« on: November 26, 2009, 11:39:06 am »
So, I was thinking about the Shofixti. They've been discussed a few time before in my time here, but the last time is long ago and I'd like to hear what some of the fresher people have to say. I'm just going to ramble on about what I think about the Shofixti, and hopefully you'll then chime in with your own ideas, comments, criticisms and whatnot.

First off, ho were the Shofixti organized? We know the were fairly primitive when the Yehat found them, living in mud huts and attacking with sticks. this leaves some room for interpretation though. the Yehat were a high tech race, "sticks" could mean anything from actual pieces of wood to spears and other objects containing metal. The Shofixti reproduce very quickly, which might indicate that heir native enviroment was fairly deadly. If it wasn't, their numbers would soon swell far too much.

So I'm envisioning some form of primitive, bronze age society, where you have small city states isolated from each other by large tracts of hostile land. Perhaps nearby cities would wage war at each other, giving the Shofixti the battle mentality they now have. At any rate, I'd see the communities as being quite small, small enough that it'd be natural to sacrifice yourself for the group.

Anyway, the Yehat uplifted the Shofixti, but we don't really know how quickly that happened. Hopefully they didn't just dump a heap of technology and wait for the dust settle. The Shofixti may well have modelled their system on that of their uplifters. And the clans would naturally be there, as they already could have lived in separate geographical areas. The leading clan would probably be the one the Yehat contacted first, always lying a step ahead of the others. Eventually, a nation was forged. perhaps this was helped by their quick maturity. if the Yehat spent just five years tutoring them, that's already a few new generations that are born into a system where this technology and these rules have "always" existed.

So, those are my thoughts. what do you think about the Shofixti?

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Offline Alen

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2009, 12:22:01 pm »
Well, perhaps the Shofixti were like the Native Americans. Living in tribes, and they often fought one another. Then perhaps the Yehat discovered them and found their races quite similar, since the Yehat clans fought one another constantly, and so did the Shofixti. Now for how they contacted them I have no idea. Perhaps they showed the Shofixti their technology and made themselves out to be gods and then took them under their wing (no pun intended).
And that's all I got to say about that.

Offline Nuclear

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2009, 12:42:26 pm »
What about preditory animals? Maby thats why the Shofixti reproduce so fast, think tribbles people!
Lever1: Hey, I want too push the button
Lever2: No! I want too!
Lever3: Stop whining you two!
Button: Hey Lever 3, can we switch jobs? I'm getting bored of pushing the button....
Lever3: Sweet!
Lever1/2: awww no fair!

Offline Eth

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 11:14:25 pm »
I inferr that the word "uplift" is a reference to David Brin's novels. The suggests to me that the Shofixti were animals on par with chanzees or dolphins, not just technologically-primitive people. The Yehat had to modify the Shofixti biologically in some fashion in order to make them in "people."

Offline Lukipela

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 12:30:44 pm »
Perhaps they showed the Shofixti their technology and made themselves out to be gods and then took them under their wing (no pun intended).

*snicker* intended or not that was a pretty good pun. It'd be interesting to know how the Yehat proceeded with contact. It can't have been easy. But the Yehat have a strong sense of honour as well, I wonder if they'd pretend to be gods. Even if they didn't though, the Shofixti could perceive them as gods...

What about preditory animals? Maby thats why the Shofixti reproduce so fast, think tribbles people!

Yeah, that's what I was thinking about when I said dangerous environment. A lot of beasts that would love nothing more than to gobble down on some Shofixti morsels. That'd bind their communities together even tighter and ferment an atmosphere where sacrificing yourself for others was worthwhile. Otherwise the whole clan group might be wiped out, including your offspring.

I inferr that the word "uplift" is a reference to David Brin's novels. The suggests to me that the Shofixti were animals on par with chanzees or dolphins, not just technologically-primitive people. The Yehat had to modify the Shofixti biologically in some fashion in order to make them in "people."

Well, the quotes do say that the Shofixti lived in huts and attacked the Yehat with sticks. I suppose they could still just have been high level animals, monkeys use tools as well.
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Offline fossaman

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 08:51:06 pm »
There's a distinct divide between cultural uplift and biological uplift. The process of acclimatizing a people to high technology without causing too much social upheaval would be cultural uplift, and wouldn't involve any tinkering with the phenotype. But it might still take multiple generations; think about how different the thinking involved with, say, using a computer is, versus pen and paper thinking. I know that my parents lack some basic mental tools to utilize the technology to its fullest. That sort of thing can be learned, but someone growing up with it will usually be better at it.
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Offline Lukipela

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2009, 09:55:26 am »
A cultural uplift might be eased by the fact that Shofixti might die quite young. A supercharged metabolism often means a quick death.

Another thing that racks my brain is the Shofixti mentality. I'm sort of envisioning them as polite and quiet Japanese, with all that honour weighing down on them and a strict class society. But on the other hand, the one Shofixti you meet in the game is very little like that. He is loud. He is boisterous. He is fun. It just seems like a conflict to me, the presence of a rigid code of honour and a loud and explicit sense of humour. But maybe it's a warrior class thing.
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Offline Nuclear

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2009, 10:28:43 am »
Well marsupials aren't the most calm creatures so maby it has to do with there evolution. Speaking of which this COULD be like the Chmmr in which they evolved to fast so they were different to what they could have turned out as. The Yehat sped the Shofixti's technological evolution so they may be a little "insane in the membrane" I guess.....
Lever1: Hey, I want too push the button
Lever2: No! I want too!
Lever3: Stop whining you two!
Button: Hey Lever 3, can we switch jobs? I'm getting bored of pushing the button....
Lever3: Sweet!
Lever1/2: awww no fair!

Offline Alen

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2009, 03:10:15 pm »
Perhaps they got the code of honor from being uplifted by the Yehat but they retained their loud sense of humor.

And for the pun, It was slightly intended.  ;)
And that's all I got to say about that.

Offline gihren

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2009, 10:15:08 pm »
I'm not sure I like the idea of the Yehat bioengineering some dumb dogs into intelligent, spacefaring Shofixti.  Why go through the trouble?  Why not bioengineer something new or smarter?  Besides, the Ultronomicon says the two species respected each others' way of life before the Shofixti were uplifted, and it was like feudal Japan (but with mud huts).

I'd prefer to think they were intelligent, but didn't have the lifespan or environment that permitted rapid gain in knowledge.  After all, Tanaka looks pretty old and thrashed in his scout, and that was 20 years after the war.  If he was an older man 20 years after the war, after his prime, then surely he has a short lifetime.  The Shofixti are also viable crew after a very short time, so clearly the Shofixti are also old and mature in just a few months.  Maybe his prime was at age 2 (or other single digits), and they simply live short lives.  If that is the case, if they only get to be 30 or 50 or so, then maybe learning higher education could be harder for them with their shorter lifetimes, and thus they were further behind.

Of course, there is also the possibility that they're actually a younger race than us, with their oldest ancestors only a hundred thousand or less years old (Humans, as of now, have direct ancestors traced back several million years ago).  They may, in fact, progress faster than us, but have simply started much later.  Their 'uplifting' may have been like what the Europeans did to/for the Native Americans, giving them an understanding of their culture, integrating them in (but with more cooperation due to respect/trust), and teaching them about modern technology.  There are only 50 years between the Yehat finding and uplifting the Shofixti and the conflict in SCI.  That's a short amount of time to go from swords to lasers, and they seem to have a decent understanding of space technology.

Offline Death 999

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2009, 09:39:59 am »
One big thing to note is that Shofixti are capable of flying spaceships competently as captains within three months of birth. And yet they are not known for hyperintelligence, and they have not had time to evolve such complex behaviors as instincts. I would put forth that Shofixti either store procedural memories in chemical form, which are transferred to the young either in utero or through the milk; or they have very limited telepathy (so limited only because they are otherwise not known for it).

This would have profound implications for cultural uplift, especially if it's the chemical form. Teach some shofixti mothers each a trade, some mathematics, philosophy, whatever - then isolate the differences between her milk and other females; and then mass produce as a dietary supplement. Instant technological society.

As for Tanaka, keep in mind that he's old. He's had time to grow his own distinct personality, which will have been warped by his situation, perhaps to the breaking point. One concern is that if this memory transfer isn't restricted to females, then his children will have  similar issues. Or perhaps it really is procedural memories only? But mental habits, brashness, and so forth are themselves procedures. This could be a thorny problem, perhaps one that was handled naturally by evolution long ago - certain kinds of mental patterns are excluded, especially traumatic ones.

Which would explain why they don't find blowing themselves up to be a problem. The traumatic part of mommy's reaction to her brother's self-sacrifice didn't make it through the filter, while the thankful part did.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2009, 09:45:20 am by Death 999 »
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Offline Lukipela

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2009, 10:15:42 am »
girhen, I have to say I feel in a similar fashion. Obviously we can't know what kind of "uplift" the Yehat performed, but bioengineering doesn't sit right with me. It doesn't sound very Yehat somehow.

Also, very good catch on Tanaka's age. I was thinking of how young the Shofixti must have been when they turned up at Starbase, but I didn't remember that Tanaka must be that old. So mature at three months and really old at twenty + x years... Twenty-five years maybe? That is an early maturity.

Death 999's observation is interesting as well. You're right, there must be some way for them to learn very quickly. Even if they are born fully aware and with their full intellect, it's hard to imagine them coming as far as piloting ships and serving aboard the Vindicator in just three months. Genetic memory seems a possibility, Tanaka was a Captain. some sort of low-level telepathy between mother and child isn't impossible either. Imagine being born fully aware, with memories already present and knowledge already put in.

If the bond was low level telepathy, I wonder if other telepathic races could interfere with it, bending the young Shofixti to their will...
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Offline Draxas

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2009, 10:22:00 am »
I always interpreted Shofixti society as roughly analagous to the age of the samurai in ancient Japan, only without quite the same level of technological advancement. As such, the honor system and heritage of battle is already intact, and many small cities warred against each other frequently. When the Yehat arrived, they were probably first perceived as outsiders (and thus threats to be ttacked on sight), and then later as simply mighty warriors with wonderous devices (after they had proven themselves in trial by combat, or something similar). The underpinnings of both societies were similar, and so the Shofixti adopted the cultural trappings of the Yehat as they learned to use advanced technology.

I suspect that the Shofiti's speedy rise from primitives to starfarers was mostly due to their very rapid rate of reproduction and maturation. As mentioned earlier, they also seem to have rather short lifespans. The combination of these attributes means that they would certainly have to be very quick studies at learning new things, or else their society would have made no progress at all.

As for attitudes toward others, I always saw Tanaka's behavior as indicitive of the species (as with basically every SC race, with the exception of ZEX). The brashness and boasting comes from the fact that he believes he is facing the Ur-Quan in battle, who the Shofixti no doubt saw as honorless. As such, they feel no compunction slinging insults and death threats over a comm channel, but you notice that Tanaka becomes quite humble and remorseful once he identifies you as an ally.

I don't like the idea of the race having special powers of learning (it seems too Myconesque, and besides: the Spathi don't seem to, and they went from bronze to atomics in a mere 100 years, the second fastest rate of advancement after the Shofixti, and they didn't have help from a friendly race), nor do I like the idea of the Yehat genetically altering the race to uplift them (they really don't seem the type to try to create life, but are much more likely to feel benevolent toward an already established race whose cultural development was quite similar to their own).

Offline oddSTAR

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2009, 11:47:38 am »
I always figured the Shofixti were some kinda highly evolved meta-marsupial lemming.  Anyway, with such rapid maturation and so many generations occurring in such a short period of time, I'd have to assume that they would be more prone to rapid evolutionary changes as well as the whole matter of feeling comfortable with new technology quickly (kinda like how my kids can figure out how to program the TV better than I can--almost like it's innate--despite my years of experience and superior technical knowledge)...  :D

Offline Lukipela

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Re: The Shofixti
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2009, 12:45:46 pm »
Draxas: I thought the same way about the Shofixti organisation, with the addition of a very hostile environment. I don't think a rapid learning ability would be Myconesque. After all, the Mycon don't learn, they just know. they're designed that way. It'd be a unique Shofixti ability to have vastly accelerated learning, be it through chemicals or telepathy.

Another option is that the Shofixti mind can work at different speeds. I.e, they're limited to the laws of physics when moving their bodies, but for example while asleep time passes much slower and they can learn more in a night than we could learn in a month. From where they learn it (genetic memory, telepathy, whatever) I don't know, but it's be a handy way of fighting the short life span.

The whole rapid evolutionary changes is an interesting idea, but wouldn't that mean a lot of different physical appearances and sub-races as well?
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