Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

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Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by taerKitty on Sun 24 Nov 2013 - 23:08

The Final Freedom had a rather trope-filled setting: it's an underground dungeon where pre-teen girls are unwillingly subjected to invasive medical experimentation that grants them psionic powers.  They're kept in cells and cages with shock collars to impose compliance and prevent escape.


I'm not saying this is original.  


It's very similar to a setting TSM has used in his Gen13 fanfic Anna the Caterpillar.  This isn't limited to fanfic either.  I'm sure there are novels and comics that use something similar.  James Patterson's Maximum Ride franchise seems to stem from this.  (I've not read much of it, so I can't say for sure.)


However, I am in love with this setting, be it original or trope-laden.  So, here is my first draft of the background.  Note, I'm also stealing some concepts from my incomplete original-fiction, Foster's Gambit.  


===


The underlying conflict is a trans-dimensional invasion.  The other dimension wants to invade ours for our life-energy.  They've done this before to other dimensions; after a successful beachhead, the invaders send over massive critters that suck out the lifeforce out of the entire dimension (not just planet.)


The steps to the dimensional invasions are pretty slow, thankfully.  The invaders can't initially send themselves here.  They can send their consciousnesses, which float around disembodied until they can take over someone.  They do so if they can find someone who is about to suicide, someone who is willing to give up on life and therefore whose spirit has a weaker bond to their body than the invader does.


At that point, the invader takes over, and becomes a "Queen", no matter the human gender.  The Queen looks and acts human, at least at first.  The longer the person is possessed, the less human they will sound and act.  The Queen "gestates" for a bit and generates an "egg."  This is not a physical object, but instead is a pseudo-scientific plot device that causes mutations in human brains.  These mutations cause the human to be part of that Queen's hive-mind, and have psionic abilities.  The particular psionic ability granted is not predictable, nor the power level.  Humans so modifed are called "Drones", again without regard for human gender.


At that point, the Drones start to try to build Hellgates, physical pseudo-scientific portals between worlds.  From there, trans-dimension critters can transit over in their corporeal forms.   They have to build more advanced Hellgates, ones beyond the ability of Drone hands.  Those more advanced ones can transit over the king-sized killing machines, which shop-vac life around them, then return.


===


In their home dimesnion, there is a multi-sided war going on.  This war is powered by lifeforce, which is harvested from other dimensions.  When a side can build a high-level Hellgate and start siphoning off another dimension's life-energies, that side gets an edge.


One side (at least) has taken the strategy to cooperate (or perhaps co-opt) with humans.  They do possess suicidal people, but they don't gestate (or, if they do, they don't implant the eggs in any detectable way.)  Instead, they act as liasions and advisors, helping humans fight off the other spirits trying to possess suicides to create Queens to create Drones to create Hellgates to create bigger Hellgates etc.


They call themselves Angels and have convinced Earth forces to call the other invaders Demons.  At the Angels' request, Earth governments have decided not to inform the public and instead fight the invasion covertly.  Different governments (and agencies within a given government) wage this war differently.  This leads to some crossed paths and stomped toes.


===


Killing combat-oriented Drones is extremely difficult, risky, and at high cost to human life and peace-of-mind, which is in opposition to the desire for secrecy.  There is a lot of covering up, misinformation, and Men-in-Black style mind-blanking.


One of the things the Angels point out is that the brain mutation results in two new glands.  One is the mind control / hive mind.  The other, separate gland grants the mutant psionic abilities.  This second gland, when implanted in a human brain, will grant the human some psionic ability/abilities.  Again, the effect is not predictable.  A gland from a telekinetic Drone implanted into another person will not always grant the new mutant telekinesis.


One of the powers granted is the ability to erase memories.  These people are instantly shunted to the Men-in-Black division to blank out witness memories.  These are also used to erase memories of new recruits to better make them tractable for  Project use.


===


Costly experience has shown that the psionic's ability is related to emotions, both positive and negative.  


Older subjets are less able to make use of the implant because their minds subconsciously reject the unscientific aspects.   (The Drones are part of the Queen's hive-mind, so that is not an issue.)   Of course, there are exceptions.


The younger the subject, the stronger the emotional potential, because adults learn to fetter their emotional responses.  However, too young a subject, and they are not able to understand what they need to do.  The Icarus Project has settled on pre-pubescent teens because puberty causes surges in hormones, which diminish control.


In general girls are taught to control their emotions from a young age, while boys are allowed to be freer with "boys will be boys" excusing their lack of control.  This makes girls much more precise and finely grained in their control, which makes them more suitable.


===


These implants do drive the mutant to insanity at some point, which allows for the plot device of an Icarus subject being forced to terminate another Icarus subject.


Other potential plotlines


- Critter hunting


- Recruiting


- Escape


- Moral quandaries of blanking recruits and other "evils in the name of the greater good"


- General 'favours' for government officials and agencies.


===


I feel this setting gives me the opportunity to continue to explore the moral quandries of sacrificing children, to play on the innate sympathies the readers might have for young and tormented waifs, and, in general, most of the best parts of what makes GsG GsG for me.


It's obviously derivative, but I'll likely post it on FictionPress with a huge disclaimer that it is inspired by Aida, rather than try to cram it into the GsG fandom.


I will mention agencies with cyborg assassins at some point as a nod and homage to the source material.


===


Wow, that was a lot to read (and to type).  Any thoughts?  


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Re: Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by tremec6speed on Sun 24 Nov 2013 - 23:59

Sounds good, there's space for different directions to go story wise. So I guess the nations of the world will be meeting behind closed doors to see how best to tackle the invasion. Intriguing, hope to read the narrative!
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Re: Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by taerKitty on Mon 25 Nov 2013 - 0:20

Foster's Gambit actually is a bit of a lie. I need to rework it terribly, but the gist is that the Angel in that one did implant an Egg in Mr. Tad Foster to give him abilities.

So, you have some Queens (Angels) fighting the lifeforce thieves by creating Drones of their own.

There may be some chance to explore politics and skulduggery on the other side of the Veil (the dimension from which the invaders hail).

One idea was to have the Angels hail from the "Empire" side of the war on the other side - they have the most power, so they don't want the "Rebels" to get more power and potentially overthrow them. That means that the benevolent-seeming Angels helping us humans are actually on the side of oppression in their homeland.

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Re: Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 25 Nov 2013 - 17:05

See, I'd kind of like to see a character that's male and uses very fine magical control to achieve his ends while not wearing glasses, while being taller than 5 feet 9 inches, and being physically fit enough to run a couple of miles without falling over. 

So, I would say that instead of it just being girls, since you have a situation where literally anyone can theoretically be used, make a cast of main and supporting characters with a wide miscellany of ages and genders at varying degrees of proficiency. 

Also, what distinguishes psionics from magics? I legitimately don't know if there is a difference, but it might be useful to draw that line clearly in your work, to avoid issues with "why didn't they magic out of the problem?".

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Re: Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 25 Nov 2013 - 17:44

Il Direttore wrote:Also, what distinguishes psionics from magics?
Psionics involves the power of the human mind.

Magic involves whatever the author wants (unless you're Arthur C. Clarke, at which point it involves a very high Tech Level).

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Re: Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by taerKitty on Mon 25 Nov 2013 - 17:55

As I said earlier, exceptions exist for suitable candidates.  However, it's not magic, so this isn't PM3.  In a separate thread, I said:

I read the manga and jumped ship.  It traversed The Psionic Corollary to Clarke's Law: sufficiently powerful psionic ability is indistinguishable from magic.

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Re: Daughters of Icarus Brainstorming Thread

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 25 Nov 2013 - 19:01

Ah, fair enough, fair enough. I guess I missed that bit in the explanation, somehow.

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