(Note: I still need a name for this, which could simply be the name of the alien animal species that dominates others)
-species from one of the colonies has evolved to a high intelligence "nature-wise" (i.e. they don't have a developed language, but have new natural abilities) -when humans colonized their world, they fought them at first, but then realizing they were no match, fell back and started to observe instead (even becoming domesticated to some degree) -some brought to Earth and other colonies for study -war happens, X'Lanthos virus injected into Earth atmosphere -virus infects this species (as well as many other animal species), and gets incorporated into their DNA -can now produce a "venom" which incorporates some of the virus -species can gain some control over other animals by injecting them with this virus -maybe will be able to gain control of humans as well, but I'll have to be careful with this idea as I don't want it getting too crazy and out of hand -form packs and families, dominating other animals with their natural abilities -are even be smart enough to "farm" other animals (maybe even humans too) -this race might actually become more scary if they have a high enough intelligence, but only use it to expand territory and hunt prey
Why do they fight against humans / other animals?
-evolved to the point where they will actually kill (and die) to acquire/defend territory
Added ideas from this specific post (which I loved):
Ok here goes. this is going to be long and very technical (well sort of) First off I am a biochemist and cellular biologist with some background in general evolutionary biology and I am so pleased to see Matt tackling such an intriguing idea. This is my first post on the miniwargaming forums though I have been skulking around the site for a long time.
The problem that seems most prevalent in this discussion is what the mechanism of control/orchestration of the subjugated animals is. It does not seem appropriate that they should use human methods of domination to their full extent as the domination of animals by man often ends in reliance of those creatures on man's care.
Pheromones, while a good idea, has been done before and from a signal transduction standpoint (fancy name for cellular communication) is highly unlikely to work with a multitude of other organisms.
I think the best mechanism is this virus that Matt has introduced in his mythology. A virus is of course little more than a strand of DNA (or RNA) packaged in a "clever" protein coat. Viruses are remarkable for their ability to be incorporated as "junk" DNA in organisms given enough time. This is an epigenetic change, and can become hereditary. (Please bear with me!! I have a point). There actually does in fact exist a wasp that some generations ago incorporated a virus into it's own genome, and instead of becoming "junk" DNA, it became fully functional. The wasp produces viral particles that cause larva of another insect to become a hospitable growing environment for it's own larva.
There is a bacteria that infects plants and basically alters the plants DNA in such way (this is really oversimplifying it) in order to form a tumor like structure that is hospitable for the bacteria. The genes necessary for this alteration mechanism are in use today to genetically modify food crops.
Anywho! Why not allow the virus (which was harmless to the majority of animal life, as it was tailored to kill humans) to incorporate itself by chance into some semi-sapient alien which finds that by "infecting" (by some means) other creatures it can gain some control over them. Altering their physiology just enough to allow basic communication or perhaps then implement some sort of pheromone mumbo jumbo.
This would also inherently limit the creatures that the animal race could subjugate, due to the fact that the virus can only incorporate itself into certain species effectively. The virus also makes it possible for the phenomenon of horizontal gene transfer, where little bits of DNA from one animal are able to transfer by accident (via viral particles) to another organism and be picked up by that organisms cells. While this is very rare, in a sci-fi universe one could suppose the X'lanthos virus happened (due to it's haste of construction) to have a high propensity for breaking off bits of DNA and therefore horizontal gene transfer.
I really like the idea of these creatures farming humans (something I think Matt mentioned and I may recall somebody saying in this forum). Since the virus was developed as a human pathogen, perhaps the virus could also vastly effect human physiology making them docile and subject as a food source. This would motivate the "Creatures" to attempt infecting humans or other less militantly useful animals for the purpose of consumption.
This virus gives a grand avenue to accomplish many goals needed for this faction to be both threatening and purposeful to recap:
1. The altered/incorporated virus provides a mechanism for subjugation that is natural and not a result of intelligent intention only accidental initiation. 2. The altered/incorporated virus allows for changes in fauna and flora as diverse as gene transfer, a limited but useful tool to get those super predators we all love. 3. The altered/incorporated virus provides a purpose of the animal faction to attack human populations. Territory and basic tool use/stealing could bring them into conflict with the scavengers or the X'lanthos. Though there is no reason the X'lanthos should be immune either.
Well that is all I have, take it or leave it. Later