Need help with story ideas


Jun 7, 2001
I am currently coming up with story ideas based on the Alpha Centauri game. I need to get a more thorough understanding of each of the seven factions. Yang is a faction I do not really get. What does it stands for? What is the pros and cons of that faction's ideology? Is Yang psychotic? What would Yang's attitude regarding the native life forms be and how might that shape his approach to Xenofungus? Of the six other factions, which faction(s) might Yang potentially disagree with most strongly, and why?

Thanks advance for any ideas.
What is the Human Hive all about?
The Hive is a riff on several ideals, including authoritarianism, command economics (Communism), and eusocialism (where the needs and interests of the individual are set aside in favor of the needs and interests of the group).

Is Yang psychotic?
He is probably not psychotic in the clinical sense, in that he is not actually detached from reality (although he would argue most people have an inaccurate view of what is possible), but he is certainly sociopathic in that he lacks a detectable moral compass and is indifferent to the feelings of others.

In the official story material found on the Firaxis website and in the back of the SMAC user manual, Yang is an amoral genius who can manipulate psychological tests and talk people he has just met into committing suicide. If you have ever seen Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, Yang is basically a less boastful version of Khan Noonien Singh.

From his in-game quotations, we learn that Yang believes people are capable of greater feats of mental and physical accomplishment than they realize--but that this potential is often beyond their reach because they give into things like pain.

What does the Hive stand for?
The Hive basically stands for the idea that humans can accomplish great things... if they give up much of what it means to be human.

For Yang, people are like the ants in a colony: expendable tools to accomplish an agenda that is larger than themselves. The faction even lives underground because Yang is obsessed with security.

What are the pros and cons of Yang's ideology?
In theory, the pros of the faction's ideology are that it allows Yang to make choices that would cause tremendous unhappiness in other societies. Yang is unconcerned with whether his people are happy. If they protest, he will simply nerve staple (lobotomize) them, or even kill them.

The cons of Yang's ideology are that his society is presumably lacking in creativity, which is tied to happiness and independent thought.

What would Yang think of native life on Planet?
Native life is probably only interesting to Yang inasmuch as it is useful, or not. Maybe he sees mindworms as potential weapons, or fungual blooms as useful barriers that defend his territory from invasion. But at other times, he may view mindworms and fungus as threats that must be destroyed.

Who is Yang's natural nemesis?
There are seven factions, so drawing dyadic relationships is hard.

The Spartans and the Peacekeepers are the War and Peace factions, respectively.

The Gaians and the Morganites are locked in conflict over how to treat the Earth--as a thing to be protected or a thing to be exploited.

The Believers and the University disagree about the importance of facts as a basis for political decision-making.

I supposed the Hive would be opposed to the Peacekeepers, since the Peacekeepers are about democracy and culture and the Hive is all about doing exactly what Yang tells people to do. If you treat the Spartans as Libertarians more than mere warmongers, probably Santiago would hate Yang, too, since the Hive represents the total governmental control that Spartans could plausibly think is a threat to their ability to keep and bear arms. (Inevitably, that analysis is probably colored by the way we think about those issues today, but that's also bound to be true of Brian Reynolds when he wrote this material, so there you go.)
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