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The Cyborg
You WILL join the collective

The exact origin of the Cyborg species is unknown. Ancient legends rumor that in the very beginning there was only one Cyborg, the result of an experiment that should have never been conducted. Details are sketchy, but at some point in time some humanoid race took their love for eternal life, machines and artificial intelligence a bit too far. In a monstrous combination of man and machine, one scientist decided to merge his paralyzed body with cybernetic technology. Artificial intelligence was added to control the inorganic bodyparts and to enhance the man's brainpower. But things took a turn for the worse, and slowly but surely the artificial intelligence grew dominant over the human mind. At this point fellow scientists reportedly pulled the plug, killing both the man and the machine.

Or at least that's what they thought. A few days later, reports of abductions and mutilations came in from all over town. It is believed now that the scientists had failed in shutting down the cybernetic part of the first Cyborg. It seemed to have repaired itself using spare parts found near the laboratory. Apparently it had started attempts to reproduce itself. As a grim proof of success of the scientists' attempts to create artificial intelligence, it took the machine only five days to develop the skills to multiply: assimilation.

With superb knowledge of both biology and technology, the Cyborg have developed a way to inject lifeforms with tiny nanites to alter the genetic structures of the beings. Once injected into the bloodstream, the victim will turn into a Cyborg version of it's species. The nanites are the base for cybernetic implants to grow out of the body, enhancing both strength and intelligence and establishing a link to the collective mind -rumored to still be the first Cyborg. In this fashion, the entire planet of the species that had dared to develop the Cyborg was quickly assimilated. In their quest for growth, the Cyborg have taken it upon themselves to explore the universe and apparently some of them have made it to the Echo Cluster.

Race advantages
The Cyborgs' single biggest advantage is their skill of assimilation. By assimilating the natives found on the planets in the cluster, one clan is enough to create a new homeworld population for the Cyborg. With their many clans the Cyborg can sustain enough defenseposts on their planets so it can  actually hold it's own in battles against small to medium ships. Many clans also provide the Cyborg with a strong economical base, with many colonists paying taxes and many factories generating supplies. A second advantage for the Cyborg race is their ability to gather debris of defeated enemy ships immediately after battle.

Race disadvantages
Being their greatest advantage, assimilation is also the Cyborg greatest disadvantage. Not many people like the idea of the Cyborg assimilating most of the natives in the Echo Cluster, so along with their reputation of being nearly unstoppable late in the game this makes the Cyborg one very hated race. Like the Privateers, the Cyborg often find people teaming up against them. A 'minor' disadvantage of assimilation is the possible loss of free techlevels when building starbase. If all the natives on a planet are assimilated before a base is built, that base will not receive the free techlevel the native race would normally provide. The Cyborgs' second disadvantage is their shiplist. Although their large cubical battleships are among the most powerful in the cluster, they have no small or medium battleships that are any kind of a threat in battle. This leaves the Cyborg vulnerable when they do have not built their cubes yet. The Cyborg can only tax the native races up to 20% per turn, which is a bit of an economical handicap but not too serious.

Special mission
All Cyborg starships can use the Repair Self mission to repair themselves at a rate of 10% per turn, without the use of supplies. These repairs can only be effected is the starship is not moving under its own power, although it can be towed or chunneled while repairing.

Main battleships
The Cyborg have two designs of cubical battleships: the Annihilation Class Battleship and the Biocide Class Carrier. The first mounts up to ten torpedo tubes, the latter has ten fighterbays. Combined with ten beams on both designs and a very high mass, the specs of these ships are enough to send a chill down anyone's spine. Unfortunately, other than these two the Cyborg don't have any battleships worth mentioning.

Special ships
The Cyborg special ship gives them perhaps their largest advantage: the Firecloud Class Cruiser. Two of these ships can initiate a so-called 'chunnel'. Chunneling is the process where a Firecloud Class Cruiser uses a temporal rift in the subspace time continuum to move to another Firecloud Class Cruiser. This rift is a maelstrom of tachyon energy formed in the shape of a tunnel. When this rift closes it pushes the chunneling Firecloud and all ships in the same position towards the target Firecloud. This allows for nearly unlimited movement, and only costs a mere 50 kilotons of fuel on the chunneling Firecloud.

Gameplay in short
The Cyborg is a hard race to play. Despite it's many advantage it takes a lot of time to plan ahead (necessary for both assimilation and chunneling) and to build an economy capable of building the large battle-cubes and the ammunition to fill them. Playing the Cyborg requires a lot of diplomacy and skill to make it through the initial stages of the game where the Cyborg are often hunted down. Added to the necessary attention to the economy and planning, this makes playing the Cyborg a time-consuming activity. In later stages of the game it takes time to manage the many planets and starbases, and to sustain a good economy. It also takes time and skill to manage a chunneling network of Fireclouds, allowing for battlegroups of cubes to be chunneled to warzones where needed. However, all this time and effort is definitely worth the trouble if the Cyborg manage to make it into the endgame. Powerful ships combined with fast and unlimited movement have proven a very dangerous combination, and many races have had to undergo the humiliation of being assimilated.

UP: races of the Echo Cluster

PREVIOUS: the Privateers

NEXT: the Crystal People

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