Technology: Centauri Meditation

“The Isle of the Deep is really not a single creature but a colony of thousands of individual tubules, an aquatic vector of the Mind Worm which terrorizes Planet’s continents. Over its lifetime certain tubules secrete a tough, gluelike substance which hardens to form the characteristic shell that floats the colony and creates the appearance of a rogue island.”

— Lady Deirdre Skye, “A Comparative Biology of Planet”

Centauri Meditation is a fifth-tier exploration technology that relies on Centauri Empathy and Ecological Engineering. As the quote suggests, it allows the creation of the water-based mind worms known as Isles of the Deep using minerals in an analogous way to how Centauri Empathy allowed the creation of land-based mind worm boils. It also allows the creation of the Centauri Preserve base facility and the Xenoempathy Dome secret project. And, finally, it upgrades the old Doctor specialist to the new Empath, which provides two energy along with the two psych that Doctors provided. This has the effect of not making psych-focused specialists pure overhead, since they now provide almost as much energy as a Technician while providing the same social stability benefits.

It’s worth taking some time out now to really contemplate Lady Deirdre’s description of an Isle of the Deep. It’s a pretty terrifying thing. Basically, a bunch of mind worms get together and manage to create what’s sort of like a floating coral reef island. But it doesn’t just bob around on the oceans. It moves with a purpose. In the game, they move as fast as a hoverfoil and carry land units (commonly, more mind worms) that enable it to wreak havoc on both land and sea.  The number of land units an Isle of the Deep can carry is a function of its size (lifecycle/experience level).  In the wild, they are commonly found with three mind worm boils aboard.

Plus, on the ocean, the attacker doesn’t get the 3:2 advantage like they do on land. Sea-based psi combat is even. That makes traveling the oceans a pretty dangerous venture. At any moment a massive island-boil of mind worms could sweep out of the fungus, drive all the crew of a ship insane, and then swarm over, capsize, and sink the vessel. The only real advantage human-built craft have on the open ocean is that naval guns count as artillery at range. Psi-based defenders tend to do very poorly against artillery attack as they count as unarmored in the conventional sense.

Now, given all that, why is the manufacture of Isles of the Deep unlocked by Centauri Meditation? Judging by the name and the other benefits it provides, Centauri Meditation must represent the next level of psionic aptitude above Centauri Empathy. So Isles of the Deep must be a lot more complicated to control than a typical mind worm boil. You must need a more powerful, better trained mind to guide it. And given that, it becomes clear why the player is seeing the pattern that psionic technologies are generally labeled exploration technologies. Understanding and learning to coexist with the alien life on the planet in a non-antagonistic fashion turns out to require psi ability. So much so that it serves as the primary driver for the development of the field.

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