Sorry to dig up an old message, and possibly an old battle, but I just wanted to throw some of my ideas out there. After that you can do what you want to with them, including completely disregard them.
Unwashed_Pleb wrote:By only having a single consciousness running everything, losses are kept to a minimum since their growth cycle is slow, and it eliminates communication problems between other beings in the ship. For them, it works.
While it's reasonable to have a small crew, how does growing a crystal equate into a single pilot? Are you seriously saying that the ship itself is the pilot? That they grew a massive pilot crystal? That's horrific.
I don't find the idea of an intelligent/self-aware ship to be all that crazy. Looking at the Swarm Queen, it appears to be a giant insect; but MOREOVER looks like something with a brain that could feel pain and control all of it's limbs, etc. At least it did to me.
Another example of a self-aware ship is from the dreaded AI rebellion. One central, self-aware computer seems to be capable of controlling the entire ship.
I think it would be interesting if they were capable, through messing with the initial crystal during formation, of growing a specialized, giant crystal. They could, by changing the environment on just one part of that crystal affect the way it grows. For example: Submerging the bottom point of a crystal in a certain solution may cause it to grow width-wise,causing it to round, and form spike-like protrusions. By dipping two of those protrusions individually into a solution that causes them to elongate you might have a bases for a Hammerhead Command section. The ship at this point, and possibly the whole way through, would still be 1 crystal/ 1 intelligence.
In summary, by messing with their young they can cause them to grow to be giants and induce them to develop specialized growths(like a laser beam turret).
Unwashed_Pleb wrote:Don't sweat it covenant, but when you think about it, growth of the ships makes just as much sense as building one when it comes to this race.
No, it really doesn't. How does this crystal growth happen? How do these crystals fly through space? What do they use as fuel? How are their computers run? What cycles the atmosphere? What stores the ammunition for their mass drivers, missiles, and antimatter cannons?
Obviously, if all they fired were big laser beams, I could see having giant crystals everywhere. But they have ballistics, missiles, bioweapons, siege drivers, energy cannons, cloaking devices, and so on and so forth. Lots of technology. It becomes hard to justify all of this being done via magical crystals.
So while you may WANT crystalships, and I can totally understand the desire to make some pretty cool lookin' crystal formations for these ships, there's no way to justify the ship being grown.
Let's take this one question at a time.
Covenant wrote:How does this crystal growth happen?
This is pretty much covered by what I said above.
Covenant wrote:How do these crystals fly through space? What do they use as fuel?
I believe we have all agreed that crystals can generate/emit energy. Perhaps a specialized "growth" of crystal on their hindquarters emits a highly energetic particle, and as it is expelled from the crystal it exerts an opposite force that pushes the crystal onward.
Alternatively (looking at the swarm drones) there could be a cavity in the crystal in which they store some sort of flammable gas or liquid mined from their planet. The crystal emits a spark which ignites the fuel and voila... you have a rocket propelled crystal.
Covenant wrote:How are their computers run?
This question is rather moot if the ship is indeed a single intelligence. Perhaps due to a lack of computers they suffer reduced accuracy?
Covenant wrote:What cycles the atmosphere?
If I understand this correctly then that isn't needed. Unless we decide these crystals breathe or have needs other than an input of electricity/minerals they should fair fine in the vacuum of space.
Covenant wrote:What stores the ammunition for their mass drivers, missiles, and antimatter cannons?
I personally like the idea for this one. With a suitable supply of minerals/energy to absorb the crystal can continue to grow. This can lead to many things, such as slow regeneration(self-repair) and the generation of weapons. No I am not suggestion the spontaneous synthesis of antimatter missiles. There could be a cavity in the engine section of the ship(or where ever) in which a ration of minerals is stored. (Similar to food being stored on a human ship... we need to eat too.) The energy can be drawn from their engine reactor, or even from the sun(s).
How do you make this cavity that I keep suggesting? I am sure that you could make the conditions on one side of the crystal hostile so that the crystal will not grow outward on that side, but will still grow up, down, away from, and eventually around causing a cavity.
How are the weapons generated? I will run through a few of them individually.
Mass Driver related ballistics: In the cavity of a gun barrel the crystal can grow a single, thin protrusion that can be broken off from the mother-crystal (the ship) creating a crystal seedling. This crystal could grow inside the barrel until it reaches a size that can be fired out of the mass driver. Recharge time = the time it takes the crystal to grow.
emitters/lasers are energy weapons that could be emitted directly by the crystal.
fission/antimatter/fusion cannons are also energy, but if they cannot be emitted directly from the crystal then the ammo could be siphoned from the fission/fusion/antimatter engine.
Missiles: I actually can't picture the ship creating missiles within itself.
But there is little stopping the crystals from making the missiles before-hand on the world the ship was launched from. Where do they store the missiles? Why don't you ask the humans where they store their seemingly endless supply of missiles. Probably in a cavity.
The missiles could have a cavity filled with a flammable fuel that is lit from a spark from the crystal.
Summary: If it can't be emitted by a crystal, store it in a cavity.
Unwashed_Pleb wrote:if your concerned about the durability of crystals, perhaps you should think about the incredibly stable crystalline compounds that metal makes up.
Yeah, but a steel plate is called a steel plate, not a steel crystal. It also doesn't 'grow', it's forged. In a factory.
Or substances like diamond or silicon. Carbon nano-tubes are technically crystalline in formation. Metals and nonmetals can form crystals people
As a building component, a big slab of diamond is really substandard. As a hull component... well, the armor is defined along the armor tree. It doesn't make too much sense to make the ship's armor look like crystals. We should add armor plates to it at the very least--that or make it so that the Crystal species no longer has access to the Industrial technologies that give armor advances.
Don't even ask me what a Neutronium crystal would look like.
Every race has it's own language tree and drive tech. It doesn't seem that far off to create a separate armor tree used only by the crystalline race.
The crystal race, of course, could not use the normal armor tech if we did this.
Or we could just give it normal armor and color/shape it cool. Tarka/Lirr hulls don't have the same shape, color, or even texture. Also as far as I can tell Upgrading your armor doesn't change the appearance of the ship's hull anyway. If it makes you feel better we could say we grew the crystal AROUND the armor. So technically the armor would still be there in it's normal appearance, but what we would see is the uber-cool crystalline structure that surrounds it.
Summary: Seperate armor tree OR crystal ship-surrounded by armor-surrounded by crystal.
Well, thank you for letting me voice my ideas. Take them/consider them as you will.
p.s. No offense Covenant, you had great questions. Thank you for fueling my ideas.