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Author Topic: Clan Plagues  (Read 667 times)

Jellico

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Clan Plagues
« on: 29 January 2019, 19:56:40 »
When Europeans arrived in the Americas and Australasia they unintentionally introduced a heap of diseases that the locals had no immunity to. 90% casualty rates and societal collapse followed.

During Operation Revival you get two isolated populations meeting each other. Given the nature of the Home Worlds, the Clans technological advantages, and the Star League having already provided fixes for most IS diseases I think we have to say that the Clans have the advantage here.

Now I am happy to admit that in a war game no one is going to write "and then terms killed them all", but ignoring that how would germ side of first contact play out?

haesslich

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #1 on: 29 January 2019, 20:35:47 »
I hope the Bulldog troops had a lot of medics with them, given how lethal some of the homeworld plagues were. The brain fever Nicky had was why the Clans exist, after all, and it killed his mom.

The Clans had the medical advantage plus whatever tinkering the Scientists did to make Clan warriors a hair faster and tougher - they probably upped immune system capability a bit too.

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #2 on: 29 January 2019, 20:54:27 »
Surely encountering novel diseases is something that's been burned into the human experience some 700 years after becoming a truly starfaring race. Quite literally it's in the DNA by the 31st century.

It's said somewhere (the FASA-era SL SB IIRC) that the modern denizens of the Inner Sphere may not have all of the Star League's advanced medicines, but they do still benefit from being descendants of genetically engineered colonists that underwent genetic therapies to enhance their health (prolonged life spans, resistance to diseases, etc).  Even if medical technology is lost, the DNA doesn't forget.

So sure diseases can still pose local problems when the plot dictates it... but between centuries of experience with colonizing hostile environments and the ease of quarantining outbreaks I don't think a repeat of that aspect of Earth's history is plausible.

The possible exception would be IS or Clan populations coming into contact with a "lost" colony out in the deep periphery that never benefited from the golden age of the Star League. An entire world of formerly cut-off people being wiped out is feasible, but it's never going to be worse than those locals that noone knew about anyway going extinct.
« Last Edit: 29 January 2019, 20:57:11 by Tai Dai Cultist »

jimdigris

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #3 on: 29 January 2019, 21:29:02 »
There was no widespread genetic engineering of colonists from Terra to other worlds, so that would not be a significant factor. Many Inner Sphere populations may have enhanced immune systems because their ancestors survived the first-contact germs that killed other colonists and passed their super-immune genes to subsequent generations. In fact, there was a Battlecorps story where a Smoke Jaguar occupation failed on one world because they lacked immunity to the native germs that the local peoples were immune to.
I don't think that what happened to indigenous America and Australian populations would happen with the return of the Clans. On real life Earth, American and Australian populations had been completely separated from Eurasians for tens of thousands of years. A great many germs could arise in such a time period. The Clans were only gone for 2.5 centuries.

Natasha Kerensky

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #4 on: 31 January 2019, 15:33:47 »
When Europeans arrived in the Americas and Australasia they unintentionally introduced a heap of diseases that the locals had no immunity to. 90% casualty rates and societal collapse followed.

During Operation Revival you get two isolated populations meeting each other.

The difference here is that Clan populations have only been away from Spheroid populations for a couple hundred years, while the populations of Europe, the Americas, and Australia diverged tens of thousands of years ago.

Anything is possible.  But it seems unlikely that the microbes carried by Clanners to the Pentagon Worlds and Kerensky Cluster would have evolved into something highly contagious and deadly to Spheroids after so short a time.

(That said, it would be a nifty explanation for why Wolf's Dragoons was so successful.  It wasn't the Clan training, the old SLDF designs, or Jaime's tactical genius.  It was the Pentagon Pox!)

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Given the nature of the Home Worlds

In-universe, this seems more likely.  There's some Kerensky Cluster Fever native to those worlds that all Clanners got exposed to early in the settlement of those worlds but devastates Spheroid populations as they recontact and trade microbes.

Out-of-universe, the likelihood that extraterrestrial microbes would be compatible with Earth life probably approaches nil (unless both biologies come from the same panspermia).  As Carl Sagan used to say, you will be more closely related to the tree in your front yard than any extraterrestrial lifeform.

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the Clans technological advantages, and the Star League having already provided fixes for most IS diseases I think we have to say that the Clans have the advantage here.

The Society could certainly field some impressive viral genetic engineering...
« Last Edit: 31 January 2019, 15:54:36 by Natasha Kerensky »
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Colt Ward

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #5 on: 31 January 2019, 18:48:06 »
Out-of-universe, the likelihood that extraterrestrial microbes would be compatible with Earth life probably approaches nil (unless both biologies come from the same panspermia).  As Carl Sagan used to say, you will be more closely related to the tree in your front yard than any extraterrestrial lifeform.

Sure . . . he may have said that but IF it bonds the same way or overrides the bond of a Terran sourced cell, then it can cause problems.  IIRC Left/Right handed proteins & sugars being the building blocks of biology could have analogs on other planets- and its not that it has to actually have an effect (like turn you green).  It is just that it blocks your body from natural functions- like carbon monoxide poisoning  stops your blood from accessing the oxygen you need.  Form follows function, so on a Earth like world there will be some form of life that gains its energy from solar sources.  There will probably be something that harvests its energy from the solar 'eaters' and there will be decay to provide sources of nutrients.  Humans can safely eat chocolate yet its poison to dogs and we are on the same planet . . . we would likely encounter the same situation where something that is harmless to its native environment is dangerous to something from another biosphere.

Going to another world will not change how the periodic table of elements will function, its likely some of the most basic biology will be no different.
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Mendrugo

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #6 on: 31 January 2019, 18:57:16 »
The Smoke Jaguars on Kabah were decimated by a local disease during their occupation of that world, per a BattleCorps story, so it is possible.
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Jellico

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #7 on: 31 January 2019, 19:12:59 »
And that is why I am less concerned about the 250 years.

It has been long established that some Battletech worlds can carry nasty bugs that can effect humans. Likewise the Homeworlds have more than their fair share of nasty diseases.

Thanks to the Star League the Clans pretty much know all the IS diseases and where to find them. The ones they don't they have game best medical tech to combat them.

OTOH only the Clans know about Homeworlds diseases. They have had 250 years to develop immunity or otherwise counter them. There is a good many Clanners are carriers but not effected.

And that is where the rubber meets the road. What happens when these carriers make contact with the IS. The IS as a whole aren't idiots. The various governments can deal with biological outbreaks. But tech levels vary widely across the Sphere. Heck it doesn't even have to be fatal. Syphilis went through the Europeans until a resistance was developed.

But you can see how something like that could happen in the Sphere.

SteveRestless

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #8 on: 05 February 2019, 14:25:00 »
I forget the name, but I distinctly recall reading a story that detailed a Jaguar world in the invasion where they died to disease rather than military prowess.  Believe it was in the Battlecorps compilation book focused on the invasion era. 
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Mendrugo

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #9 on: 05 February 2019, 14:30:55 »
I forget the name, but I distinctly recall reading a story that detailed a Jaguar world in the invasion where they died to disease rather than military prowess.  Believe it was in the Battlecorps compilation book focused on the invasion era.

"Superior," by Steve Mohan.  Set on Kabah. 
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Clan Plagues
« Reply #10 on: 06 February 2019, 12:15:28 »
Presumably the Scientist Caste has extensive records of most Homeworld diseases (the Conspiracy was making bioweapons, after all).  They probably have plenty of vaccines and treatments for anything that might have been accidentally brought to the Inner Sphere.

Remember, the plagues brought by Europeans to the Americas and Australia occurred before the Germ Theory of Disease was thought up and a good percentage of the population still thought that disease were the result of divine wrath.

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