27 April 2018

What We Will Fight Over: Alien Technology?

Throughout human history, there have been stories told of holy relics, blessed weapons, and out-of-place objects that are examples of technology beyond our understanding and abilities. Some of these pieces of superior technology were used to break city walls with sound waves, lay waste to cities, or feed the hungry. Even in verified historical accords, we have examples of superior foreign technology that has been the sources of conflicts to control them. Could this be applied to extraterrestrial technology, like crashed UFOs, abandoned off-world bases, and extraterrestrial xeno-archeological sites off world? Will we Terrans fight over alien technology? Are we already fighting over alien technology? In this latest installment of What We Will Fight Over serial, we will be examining alien technology as the source of future wars.

What Alien Technology Represents and Why is it Worth Bleeding Over

To us modern people living in a modern age of seemingly endless technological advancement and revolution, it is easy to forget the length of time it took to achieve this level of progress. After all, the promise of nuclear fusion power has been in development, in one stage or another, for nearly 100 years and we are still not quite there yet. The almighty computer that rules our world took over forty years to become a dominant force in society. Modern firearms have been a work-in-progress for nearly five hundred and the laser-blasters of science fiction are still not a reality. What if there was a shortcut to achieving technological sci-fi dreams? What if we found a piece of advanced technology allowing us to have unlimited energy, humanoid robots, faster-than-light travel, teleportation, laser blaster, anti-gravity, or the everlasting gobstopper?  That is what alien (or future) technology represents: a giant leap forward and that could be worth blood. Imagine if one nation or company could singularly control FTL technology or fusion power, or teleportation? Could they pull a Doctor Evil and demand to rule the world? Again, that is worth the price in blood and treasure to control possible technology that could make you masters of the Earth.
Of course, alien technology represents other things as well. It would be the physical proof that we are not alone in the universe and that could be worth killing and dying over, especially governments and religious organizations that do not want the truth getting out. Lastly, any alien technology could represent the ability to contact the original owners of the technology and attempt to forge some sort of relationship or trade deal to acquire more advanced technology…after all, the aliens do like strawberry ice cream.

Will We Really Fight Over Alien Tech?
In short, it all depends on some factors. There are several hard realities we have to examine in order to discuss if corporations, organizations, governments, or even species will engage in open warfare over advanced alien technology. First being if there is indeed intelligence alien life (which I have debated if there is intelligent life here!), and that alien life does have advanced technology. Second being if that supposed intelligent ET race can reach our star system with some form of a space vehicle, with or without sci-fi FTL propulsion. Third, that this advanced alien tech is accessible to us humans. In the science fiction and conspiracy realm of thinking, is this a reality and that aliens possess nearly magical technology that will accelerate Terran understanding by hundreds of years, allowing us access to the stars. Taking in accounting all of the three conditions above, the realities of over alien technology are getting slim…unless there is a Stargate buried under the Sphinx. There is some evidence that there is life in our star system that is buried under the sands of Mars, or under the ice on Europa, or in the thick atmosphere of Titan; but if there is life on these planets or moons, it is not building tripods to conquer us. If we are to believe the video and pictures coming out of the rovers on Mars, the Red Planet was once home to a real civilization that was likely on the technological level of ancient Greece or the Mayans…but would that constitute a war over these ruins?
It could. If there is indeed ruins on Mars of a Bronze Age civilization that died when the atmosphere blew off, its exploring, cataloging, and understanding could alter institutions here on Earth. There may be those that might want to control that flow of that knowledge. What if there was intra-solar system alien tech that was more advanced, say on a robotic alien mine operation on the Moon or an alien outpost on the Martian moon of Phobos? Something like this could spark a war between not only nation-states but private ventures much like what we saw with the LV-226 Weyland Corporation expedition.  There could be a race of space programs to capture the off-world technology between nations and corporations even if there is no immediate benefit besides being able to capitalize on the ownership of the sites and artifacts. After all, how many would you be willing to pay to see real alien artifacts in an exhibit?

Why Alien Technology Could be Important and Deadly

In the realm of science fiction, alien technology often equals technology so advanced it approaches to magic. When we look at the possibility of an alien ruin, crashed UFO, or trade deal for strawberry ice cream, bring technology that is centuries beyond our current understanding; we can see the nature of the conflict. If one nation-state achieved access to very advanced technology, they could simply outclass any friend or foe to the point of tipping the balance of power on planet Earth. Of course, the technology could be used for the betterment of all mankind and allow us access to the stars, unlimited free power, and food replicators.
Then there is the other side of the coin, the alien technology could be a Pandora’s Box, leading to all kinds of new terrors and destruction. As we saw in one of the few good Star Trek Voyager episodes “Friendship One”, the new advanced technology could bring untold misery and horror to those that are not custom to such power. There are many tales of power that beyond the control of normal humans, and some have reasoned that misuse ancient alien technology was responsible for the destruction of some ancient civilization, real and mythological.
The Pandora Box that alien technology could be I think was best summed up by one of the most iconic works in all of fiction: the One Ring of Power forged by Sauron from the Lord of the Rings universe. The power of the Ring was mighty, but the price it asked in exchange for that power was also mighty, and its misuse offer nothing but pain, sadness, and madness as we saw with Gollum and the Nazgul.
Real-World Examples of Conflicts over “Alien” Tech?
There are some examples from history of one group possessing superior technology and there were conflicts over control that technology. One of the most obvious was the gun. Primitive firearms carried by European explorers, adventurers, and slavers were an object of terror and wonder to the peoples of the New World and Africa. It was not long before these native cultures were doing whatever they could to possess superior weaponry from the strangers…including selling their enemies into terrible bondage. The guns-for-slave trade of Africa nearly destroyed the fabric of African society at the time and Europeans used the interior tribal conflicts to their advantage. After all, the sides with the guns were often the victors in a local conflict that could have been waging for generations.
This idea of obtaining powerful weapons was not limited to firearms but preserved advanced scientific knowledge and expertise. During the closing days of the 2nd World War, the Soviets and the Allies were hunting down leading Nazi scientists and technology to secure these advances for their side, such as American’s Operation PAPERCLIP. During the Cold War, there were many attempts by the US and USSR to capture intelligence or pieces of the technology on sensitive systems.
In the 1970’s, the KGB was monitoring the NASA Space Shuttle program due to a belief that the orbiter could be used for military purposes in orbital space, and they were not completely wrong. The are many STS missions that were centered on military space hardware and there were plans for the shuttles to be armed with lasers as a component of SDI. To counter this gap in space capability, the USSR space program began their own shuttle development. To their surprise, much of the Space Shuttle program, the equipment, and capability was not classified. This allowed the Soviets to develop the Burn shuttle in record time as well as improve on the American model. Space technology espionage was not limited to the USSR.
In the 1960’s, the CIA was able to take apart and photograph a Soviet Luna space probe while it was a PR tour. This clandestine operation was conducted during the transport phase and over the course of a single night. Under the cover of darkness, the Lunik probe was opened up, photographed, and put back together before the probe was picked up for transport. The riskiest operation to capture Soviet hardware came in a tale similar to the Hunt for Red October: the effort to capture the sunken nuclear ballistic USSR submarine K-129. In 1974, the Nixon approved operation to recover the K-129 submarine was launched using the Hughes Glomar Explorer and CIA SAD personnel. While theories range on how much was recovered by the digging vessel, this very expensive operation was one of the boldest known CIA operations during the Cold War and an example of how far some governments will go to recovery hard intelligence on their enemy.

Would Aliens Fight Over Our Advanced Technology?
If the statistics are correct, the amount of alien out there could be vast and diverse with all levels of technological understanding. In a 1977 quote, Arthur C. Clarke summed up this best: "If one considers the millions of years of pre-history, and the rapid technological advancement occurring now if you apply that to a hypothetical alien race, one can figure the probabilities of how advanced the explorers will find them. The conclusion is we will find apes or angels, but not men."
When our explorers met lesser evolved alien species, we could have a situation much as Cpt. Picard once observed to Wesley in the episode “Contagion”: “we would appear magical to stone-age people” and this how future human space explorers could appear to some aliens. There are those that believe this is the basis for ancient astronaut encounters. This could mean that our advanced technology could be magically and a source of conflict among the lesser developed alien races. What would a local alien warlord do or give to gain access to advanced alien weaponry? Any greedy party could break the Prime Directive and sell phased plasma rifles in the 40-watt range to these aliens for Unobtainium and spark a planetary civil war. This is the reason why Star Trek and Doctor Who have laws against the sharing of advanced technology with underdeveloped species to avoid harm.

From the Fox Mulder Corner: Are We Already Fighting over Alien Technology?
Since the Roswell Crash of 1947, there has been a narrative in conspiracy circles: that the US government recovered alien technology and bodies in the New Mexican desert. When the wreckage was moved to the secure Nevada test range, there are some to point to the mysterious defense company, EG&G, were the ones that broke down the Roswell UFO and reverse engineered the craft. Since then, the US government and defense contractors have armed with access to superior alien technology that has given them an edge in developing black projects, like the B2 bomber and the F117.
After the 1947 Crash, a race similar to the hunt for securing Nazi scientists after the war erupted between the US and the USSR for recovered alien technology. There are stories of US UFO crash recovery team operating in other counties and either bullying or paying off other governments for the wreckage as was a case in Mexico. In the US, the Men in Black handle the bullying portion. This is not just limited to the United States; the Soviet Union got their own version of Roswell in winter of 1969 in the forest near Sverdlovsk Oblast. Some rumors online of leaked footage say that $10,000 US dollars were paid for the tapes that are clearly faked. While the footage maybe faked, like so many Roswell footage, the incident itself, like Roswell, may not be. Then there are those that believe that the real reason for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was not due to long-held US regime change dream, or the long-held desire to "Americanize" the Middle East or the Weapons of Mass Destruction hoax; but due to Baathist Iraq government possessing a "Stargate" dating back to Sumerian times and it was hidden in the Green Zone of Baghdad. Yes, there are those that say that an ancient astronaut interdimensional gate system was left behind by the Anunnaki and discovered in 1920. The war was over securing this Stargate and any other alien technology archeological sites in Iraq. If this was not bizarre enough, there are those that believe we are engaged in off-world warfare with alien species on the moon and Mars and that this is an international effort to kick the aliens out and secure their technology.

Sci-Fi and Conflicts over Alien Tech
The connection between science fiction and conflicts over alien technology go back to the very founding of the genre with the unauthorized follow-up to War of the Worlds: Edison’s Conquest of Mars. But, if we take the term “alien technology” more liberally, we can see it has endured since the beginnings of religion and mythological stores. There are many tales that have our heroes or villains coming into the possession of “magical” weapons or tools handed down by gods or strange women lying in ponds. This is even a bedrock concept in some world religions with tablets being handed down by the gods to a chosen emissary that form the foundations of a religion.
At times, gods given holy weaponry to their chosen people, such is the case with the Israelites with their “mobile vanguard”, the Ark of the Covenant or the Vimanas from the sacred Hindu text. Or it could be a technology to save a life, as the case with the Manna foodstuffs from the Old Testimony.  With this firm foundation in common folklore, it was an easy transition into the genre of science fiction with gods being replaced with aliens or at other time, advanced humans with superior technology. Conflicts over alien technology are one of the oldest reasons of fictional future wars used by sci-fi creators and they litter all media types of sci-fi with some iconic works dealing with a war over alien tech such as the Forerunner Rings in HALO or the superior human technology of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation organization.
Despite being recycled as a major plot device element since the late 19th century, it shows no signs of slowing down as we saw with the recent Mass Effect Andromeda, Stargate Atlantis, and the Fallout games. Why is superior alien technology so frequently used as the genesis of future wars? I think because of it totally logical that humans would fight over some alien superweapon or faster-than-light engine that could allow one side or another side to gain an advance over the other. After all, UFO conspiracy lore is packed with stories of recovered alien technology since the Roswell Crash in 1947 and that has influenced a number of creators since.


Examples in Sci-Fi

Special Agent Peter Keyes’ OWLF Unit from Predator 2
In the 1990 follow-up to the amazing 1987 Predator, we see a team of Yautja hunting in heatwave Los Angeles in 1997, and they are being watched by a shadowy black operations unit of the US government. Under the command of Special Agent Petr Keyes, this OGA unit known as OWLF is tasked with monitoring and capturing some of the Yautja hunters operating in LA. The primary reason was for capturing was to gain access to their superior technology for study. I always interested in this part of the story and wished it had been developed more in a Dark Horse comic.

The Traveller from the Destiny Universe
The city-sized alien sphere shaped entity is an enigma to the majority of people and groups within the Destiny universe. According to the lore, the Traveler is on the run from The Darkness and when it finds humanity, it finds an ally. At the heart of the Traveler is its ability to bring life and light; a terraforming device. However, as the Traveler bring the Light, the Darkness brings the opposite. Terra is not the first world that the Traveler has touched, the Fallen were once touched by the Traveler, but corrupted on a species level by the Darkness, and the Fallen are bitter about the rejection of the Traveler when it ran.
Unlike what happened with the Fallen, the Traveler stayed and defended humanity with its Light when the Darkness showed up and ended the Golden Age. From the beginning of the Traveler’s existence to the events of Destiny 2, there has been a battle over its technology and abilities by a number of groups and races. Then after the fall of the Golden Age, the Traveler and the Guardians have been a source of conflict by the alien races occupying the Sol system.There are some that believe that humanity crippled the Traveler, preventing it from running, and forced it to stay.

The Forerunner Installations and Technology from the HALO Universe
When the Flood threatened to consume the galaxy thousands of years ago, the Forerunners made the hard call and construct vast megastructures that formed the basis of a superweapon effective up to 25,000 LYs that was not meant to kill the Flood, but its food. After the firing of the Forerunner installations or “halo rings”, the galaxy was reseeded from the protected archives of the installations. Their original purpose was lost over the course of 100,000 years and pieces of the Forerunner technology found their way into establishing the central religion of the Covenant along with their technology.
Given the relevance bestowed on the Forerunners, any technology from their gods caused the Covenant to fly into full jihad mode. It deeply vexed the leadership of the Forerunner how humanity seemed chosen by their gods to control and access the holy rings. With the power of the installations being spelled out by Guilty Spark and Cortana, humanity knew that if the aliens did access the firing mechanism, that most of the life in the Milky Way would be eliminated, which the Covenant aliens wanted due to their religious teaching.
They believed that the firing of Halo would bring a holy judgment and sweep the righteous into paradise. Control over the Halo Rings and other Forerunner outposts became a fixture of the war and even after, as we saw with the artificial planet of Requiem in HALO 4, SPARTAN OPS, and HALO 5. After the Covenant/Human War, the UNSC took a page from the shattered Covenant and incorporated Forerunner technology into the reconstruction of the UNSC, as seen with the Infinity. The advanced technology of the Forerunners continues to be a source of conflict for the Milky Way as the series moves forward.

The Temple of the Five from "the Eye of Jupiter" and "Rapture" from BSG
In the fourth season of the amazing reimagined BSG, we start to unravel the mystery of the “Final Five” with the discovery of the Temple of the Five and the Eye of Jupiter. According to myth, the Eye points the way to Earth and when carbon dated, the Temple is about 4,000 years old. While confusing due to unclear writing, the temple on the Algae Planet was originally founded by the 13th Tribe on their way to the Cylon Earth, some 4,000 years ago. It was there that the 13th tribe prayed to god and received a sign for the direction of their new home. This became known as the “Temple of Hope”.
Then when the Five Final were escaping the nuclear holocaust on Earth and racing back at realistic speed to warn the 12 Colonies to love their toasters…they stopped at the Temple of Hope on the Algae Planet. It was there that the Temple was modified by the Final Five to maybe delivery the vision seen by a Number 3. Given that the Eye of Jupiter was supposed to direct the way to Earth, it became an a source of conflict between the Cylons and the Galactica, with Adama targeting the temple with the remains of his nuclear arsenal.
While the four basestars and the Galactica play a game of nuclear chicken, Cylons and Fleet personnel engage in combat on the planet. The issue of the temple was resolved not by diplomacy, but by the sun of the Algae Planet going supernova and destroying the planet and the temple. While I am a huge fan of the RDM BSG, watching these three episodes outside of the entire series shows the holes and thinnest of some of the central mythological. The idea of a temple constructed by the retreating 13th Tribe of Kobol is very cool, but the poor writing and lack of grandeur destroy the mystery of the Eye of Jupiter and the Temple of the Five. Wish these episodes had been better.

The Superior Technology of the Frist Foundation from the Foundation Universe
One of the centerpieces of the iconic Foundation novels is the preservation of knowledge and technology by the First Foundation on Terminus so that the times of barbarism are lessened. At the right time, the First Foundation would have used its superior technology to conquer the shattered galaxy and establish a new Galactic Empire via Seldon Plan. With the galactic situation crumbling as the Galactic Empire fell and new kingdoms were established, Terminus became a target. One of the factors allowing for the conflict over the First Foundation was its ability to still produce nuclear weapons and its advanced technological research. By the time of Earth and the Foundation, just a starship being marked with Foundation flag would be enough to prevent an attack.

The Alien Terraform Reactor on Mars from Total Recall
In the year 2084, there is the Federal Colonies on Mars that are an important source of money for one of the major political blocs on Earth via tourism and a new type of fuel: tubinium. It was also home to an ancient alien civilization that had the ability to build a terraforming reactor half-a-million years ago. The governor over the Federal Colony of Mars, Cohaagan, was attempting to cover-up the alien terraform generator due to a worry over it destroying the tubinium ore and allowing him not to use the price of air to control the colony.
In the end, Quaid activates the generator and frees Mars…or not, depending on what you believe about the memory implants. While information on the alien in the 1990 film is very light, the novelization did flesh out that an ET antlike species constructed the reactor to save their dying world…but they died before using it. Others have suggested that the terraform reactor was built by a spacefaring alien species that hoped to make Mars a colony of theirs via terraforming. For some reason, they never activated the reactor.

Cyberdyne’s Pieces of the T-800 from Terminator 2
At the end of the first groundbreaking Terminator, the T-800 sent back in time to kill Sarah Conner is pancaked under an industrial press at a small company called Cyberdyne. It is there that this company gains advanced technology from the future and alters not only the company’s fortunes, but alters the future. The two surviving pieces of the T-800, the arm, and piece of the CPU were enough to all Dr. Miles Dyson at Cyberdyne Systems to pioneer the initial steps of SKYNET’s development. When the 2nd T-800 arrived to protect teenage John Conner, Sarah Conner uses the information in its CPU to locate and track down Dr. Dyson and the pieces of the T-800. This results in a battle of control for the pieces of the future technology and John Conner’s life.

The Fight for the Liberator from Blake's 7 Universe
In the much beloved and awesome 1970’s British sci-fi series Blake’s 7, the rebel group under Roj Blake utilized the alien sentinel warship christened “the Liberator”. Discovered by a Federal penal transport vessel, London, the Liberator was engaged in a space battle and this attracted the London to board the alien craft. Too chicken to board themselves, the Federation crew forced several of the intimates, Blake, Avon, and Jenna to see if the coast was clear. That was the moment, and they took the alien warship for themselves to wage a one-ship war against the Federation.
The ship itself was controlled by the computer intelligence Zen and featured teleporters, powerful DE weapons, and an advanced FTL system. For much of the show, the Liberator’s builders and origins were unknown until it was revealed that ship came from The System, an advanced alien computer network, an enemy of the Federation. For much of the show, until the destruction of the Liberator, the Federation sought out to take the Liberator and reverse engineer its advanced technology to strengthen the terror and reach of the Federation.

The LosTech of the BattleTech Universe

When the BattleTech mecha combat game was originally released, the setting was one of war between various human entities and groups that possessed combat mecha. Planets and resources were battled over in the distant future. However, the game literature hinted at a great history, one before the Succession Wars: the Star League. When the Star League fell, humanity was in possession of great technology and great understanding. Now, in the 31st century, the understanding of how these advanced technologies worked is broken down to the point that mechanics of the mecha prayer as well as repair. This lost understanding became known as “LosTech”.  Any element of lost technology was a source of conflict in the inner sphere and even battles where men and mechs fought to control these nuggets of high lost tech. Even the items that were recovered in working order could not be fully understood and could take on religious meaning, like the hyperpulse generator communication systems of the ComStar.
Another LosTect item that was nearly scared and there was an understanding in the inner sphere that Jumpships were not to be attacked. As the high tech items that were from the time of the Star League become rarer, colonies starved due to lack of shipping and the technology was hoarded. In 3028, the Gray Death PMC group discovered a Star League memory core on the planet of Helm. This cache of lost technology was in danger by ComStar and to prevent this, the PMC leader decided to hand out liberally the data on the Helm memory core. This increased the technical understanding of the inner sphere but also allowed for the mecha to be replaced causing more mechs to be fielded for combat. This came in handy when the Clan Invasion began in 3049.  Some have related the discovery of the Helm memory core with the invention cotton gin.

The Xenomorphs from the ALIENS Universe
Since the beginning of the mythos of the Xenophobes, there have been those that want to control and harness the biological abilities of this aggressive alien species. This purpose was more than hinted with the original ALIEN film in 1979 when Ridley Scott said that the Space Jockey starship was a “battlewagon” or “bomber” that was designed to use the eggs as some sort of biological transport/delivery system. Before the events of the sequel in 2179, Weyland-Yutani attempted to gain control over the alien craft for their Bio-Weapons division and even during the Colonial Marine investigation of LV-426, the company was working an angle to prevent competitors from seizing samples of hostile species. Even after the explosion of the atmosphere processor, an independent team hired by the company recovered some samples. This theme was carried over into the Dark Horse comics and the rest of the ALIENS films. In the original Dark Horse comic trilogy, a megacorporation was known as BioNational, a rival of Weyland-Yutani, was able to intercept a US military expedition to the Xeno homeworld and attempt to carry back more live samples. Unknown to the USCM expedition or the company private military contractors, the Earth has fallen to the aliens via a breakout from the BioNational labs.
The dark desire to control this aggressive alien species had caused the complete downfall of Earth and its infestation. Even after the recovery of Earth from these creatures, there was something of the aliens that humans wanted enough to spill blood: the Royal Jelly of the Queen. Due to the effects of Royal Jelly on human biology and military applications, The USCM wanted the Grant Corporation's new wonder drug, “Xeno-Zip”, to enhance their soldiers. The only issue was that Grant’s Neo-Pharm company did not have the raw material for the military’s order of Xeno-Zip. Grant had to go to the source…the Xeno homeworld as seen in the ALIENS: Genocide Dark Horse Comic. Again, human factions battled over the raw Royal Jelly on this mission and it continued to be a trafficked material that caused piracy and risky missions to the Xeno homeworld as seen in the excellent Dark Horse comic ALIENS: Hive.

The Remnant Tech from Mass Effect Andromeda
In the much maligned 2016 BioWare Mass Effect Andromeda video game, one of the central points of conflict in the Heleus Cluster is over the mysterious Remnant technology. When the Andromeda Initiative arrived, the battle of the Remnant technology grows more intense and violent. The Remnant was an advanced synthetic alien race that possessed the technology to alter planetary environment via terraforming. The Remnant was themselves developed by the biological Jardaan along with the Angara. Throughout the game, the forces of the Andromeda Initiative, the Kett, and the Angara battle for control of key Remnant sites throughout the Heleus Cluster.

From the ST:TNG episode "The Chase (6x20)"
During the final seasons of TNG, the episodes were often frontloaded with buildup and a conclusion in the final few minutes. Many of the episodes needed to be two-parters. One of the more ambitious was “The Chase” that involved Captain Picard and his old mentor Galen. Galen had come onboard the USS Enterprise-D to enlist Picard’s help in tracking down a great galaxy-spanning mystery. When Picard refused him, Galen leaves rejected. He would die shortly after due to an encounter with a Yridian vessel. It is revealed that Galen was locating samples of DNA from across the quadrant that contained a very ancient computer program via interlocking patterns.
Quickly, the Enterprise realizes that a number of other parties are interested in Galen’s research and the ancient computer program. Some believe that the information is detailed on an ancient superweapon, or an unlimited energy source, or a recipe for biscuits. The various parties race around the quadrant collecting samples to unlock the ancient knowledge. Combat ensues and sabotage. In the end, it is revealed that most of the humanoid species of the galaxy are related via one common ancestor that evolved billions of years ago and seeded the developing ecosystems of several worlds. These seeded worlds lead to the civilizations on Earth, Qo’nos, and Cardassia Prime, Bajor, Vulcan to name a few.

The City of the Ancients from Stargate Atlantis
Some five to ten million years prior to the events of the Stargate: Atlantis television show, the human-like very advanced alien race, known generally as the Ancients, abandoned the Milky Way to the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy (3 million LYs away) due to an Ori plague. The crossing between galaxies was made in the Altantis city-ship that landed on an Earth-like world. From their starting point on the planet of Lantea, the Ancients spread out.
During the war with the Wraith, the Ancients were pushed back to Lantea and the city. It was from here that the Ancients not ascended into gods evacuated back to the homeworld in the Milky Way: Earth. To prevent the city and its superior technology from following into the hands of the Wrath, the city was submerged deep in the oceans of Lantea. For 10,000 years, the city was on low-power and unoccupied until the Atlantis Expedition rose the city and made contact with the Wrath. For much of the show, the Atlantis Expedition and their allies did battle with the Wrath to prevent the city from falling into the hands of the space vampires. With the Stargate in the city, the Wrath could invade the Milky Way…and rob it of life.

The alien Obelisks from STARCOM: The US Space Force
In the fall of 1987, a military science fiction cartoon was aired for just 13 episodes: STARCOM: the US Space Force. Designed to market the new military sci-fi toyline by Coleco, this DiC cartoon series would run on Saturdays in 1987 and it was a series I followed back during its original airing. The source of the conflict in the show is centered around alien Obelisks found on various inter-solar system locations like Mars. These possess great untapped power and one young scientist that studied the Obelisk was angry about the slow progress of STARCOM to unlock the secrets of the alien technology.
It was in an underground secret research lab on Mercury that this young scientist took a piece of the Martian Obelisk to study until an explosion rocked the complex, killing many. The young scientist, implanted with alien knowledge, dug his way out and took on a new name and mission. He became an Emperor Dark of the Shadow Empire. His goal was to control the other Obelisk cluster and unlock the alien knowledge and to achieve that, STARCOM needed to be out of the way. Throughout the limited series, the United States Space Force engaged the Shadow Empire for control of the solar system as Emperor Dark hunted down the last of the Obelisks.

The Thirdspace Alien Artifact from  TNT TV Movie “Babylon 5: Thirdspace (1998)”
Set during the 4th season of Babylon 5 in 2261, the independent B5 station locates a massive previous unknown alien artifact from the chaos of hyperspace. This T-shaped massive object the subject of the second of the four TNT TV movies, Thirdspace, and one of the best of the four. Inviting themselves to the party, the Terran exoarcheological company IPX asks Captain Sheridan for access to the device. It is during this that the object is revealed to be over a million years old and having an effect on the station.
The origin of the object is Vorlon and it is an advanced form of Jumpgate designed for the Vorlons to find their gods…instead, it opened a portal to “thirdspace” and allowing an advanced alien race, known as the “Harbingers” access to our reality. Possessing technology on the same, if not greater level, to the Vorlons, these Harbingers were a direct, direr threat to the Milky Way. When the device is turned on, the Harbingers come pouring through. A coalition of races battles back the aliens while Sheridan takes a portable nuclear device into the interior of the device and uses it to seal the portal. This piece of ancient, advanced alien technology was the subject of several struggles and battles.

The Iconican Gateway From the ST:TNG episode "The Contagion (2x11)"
In one of my favorite episodes of TNG, Captain Picard is contacted by another Galaxy class vessel, the Yamato. They are to meet in the neutral zone to solve issues with the Yamato and to discuss the discovery of the Iconian homeworld. Over 200,000, the Iconians controlled a vast interstellar empire that was controlled by a series of portal gateways that allowed the Iconians to teleport anywhere instantly. This could allow the Iconians to instantly move an army onto a world in several locations would out their enemy being aware of the invasion before it was too late. They were called “demons of air and darkness” by their enemies due to this fearsome ability.
When the Iconians were defeated by their enemies, their homeworld was orbital bombed and the gateway networked was disconnected. There were two active gateways found during the 24th century and given the deadly effectiveness of the gateway technology, an invasion of the Federation would be much easier than conventional methods. The first gateway was destroyed by Starfleet to prevent the Romulans from getting their hands on it. The second discovered gateway was taken over by some masterless rebel Jem’Hadar that had raid DS9 for supplies. A joint Starfleet/Dominion strikeforce raided and destroyed the gateway. When the Iconian gateway was discovered in the Gamma Quadrant by the Dominion, it was further than most Federation archeologist had assumed the scope and power of the ancient Iconian Empire had been.

The UFO Recovery Teams from the X-Files Universe
Capture crashed UFO vehicles is a source of technology that far beyond our current engineering understanding and it is understandable that governments would be willing to undertake dangerous missions to seize the alien technology. In the X-Files universe, this black operations job goes to the “blue berets”, the US military’s UFO recovery teams. The blue berets were originally established to recovery US spy plane that crashed in the Soviet Union. Several times in the series, the blue berets have deployed to recovery UFO technology and even EBE samples and prevent anyone else from gaining access to the material. It is believed that there is a real-world black op UFO recovery unit

The Artificials and the Monolith from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R Universe
In 2007, GSC  Game World released the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, an FPS that had these Stalkers entering the radiation zone that surrounds the Chernobyl accident site to hunt down these unique artifacts that produced from the unique and twisted reality of the Zone and are a byproduct of the anomalies. These artifacts allow for different abilities for the buyers and are an important part of the local economy. These artifacts are the reason that these Stalkers enter the Zone. Along with the artificial is the Monolith, which has become the center of a religious cult in the Zone. This wish-grating hunk of glowing rock is rumored to be extraterresital in origin and a source of conflict as much as the standard artifacts. Thanks to FWS fan Ferrugem Machado for the suggestion to add S.T.A.L.K.E.R!

The Syndicate's Project from The X-Files Universe
One of the key story elements of the glory days of the X-Files is the conspiracy around the shadowy government agencies and the aliens that all culminates in "purity control" that is a fight over alien technology and a coming invasion. The Syndicate, former members of the State Department, was formed in 1973 after the surrender of the US government to the alien colonists. Since then, the Syndicate has been working with the alien colonists to create an alien-human hybrid to serve as slave workers on the subjected Earth. It was also a resistance movement to gain access to alien biological information and technology in order to create a vaccine for the alien Purity or Black Oil that was the essence of the aliens and allowed them to conquer other worlds and races via taking control of the host. The method of transmission for the Black Oil Purity virus to infect the world and bring about colonization was via bees as seen in the X-Files 1997 movie. Attempting to prevent the Earth from being a colony was the rubber-masked like faceless alien rebels.

The Protoculture Matrix from the ROBOTECH Saga
In 1999, during the Global Civil War, a massive alien starship crash-landed on a tiny uninhabited island in South Pacific, known as Macross Island. This event untied the warring factions of Earth under a new United Earth government and preparations were made to possible repel the owners of the space battle fortress known as “the visitor”.  What was unknown to the Terrans was what made the SDF-1 special enough to have the Robotech Masters deploy a recovery fleet that scoured the heavens for over 10 years searching for Zor’s vessel. Tucked somewhere deep inside the battle fortress was the critical Protoculture Matrix of the Tirolian Empire that was governed over by “the Masters”.
The acquiring of the Flower of Life from the Invid Queen Mother altered Tirolian society and allowed them to invent the science of Robotechnology and altered the galaxy as we know it. The militarism of the Tirolian Empire via the Protoculture greatly concerned Zor and took the matrix and his personal spacecraft, the SDF-1, to seed new plants with the Flower of Life. The Invid, normal at war with the Masters, located the SDF-1 during a seeding operation, and died at the hands of the Invid, despite Breetai’s valiant efforts. During the battle, Zor sent the SDF-1 on autopilot to Earth, to hide the matrix from the Invid and Masters.
In 2009, the Earth government had heavily invested in the new science of Robotechnology, and it paid off when the Zentraedi fleet during Breetai showed up to take possession of the battle force. However, the cost was too much to bear for the Zentraedi when exposure to the micronian culture rippled through Breetai’s fleet and caused the entire Zentraedi Armada to be summoned to deal with the rebellious Zentraedi and the battle fortress. In that apocalyptic battle, both the bulk of the Zentraedi and the Terrans were killed. With the Protoculture Matrix gone, the supply would be limited and the Masters decided to take matters in their hands and deploy the remains of their military due to nearly all of their Zentraedi warrior-slaves being killed in the assault on Earth.
This last-ditch expedition drained Tirol of nearly all of its defensive ability and the bulk of its population, which allowed the Invid to have their revenge for the rape of their culture and world. The remains of the SDF-1 battle fortress containing the protoculture matrix were also the genesis of the 2nd and 3rd Robotech Wars when the Flower of Life was set loose on the barren Earth, summoning the Invid. Even after the repelling of the Invid by the resistance and the REF was only a brief pause until the beginning of the 4th as seen in the Shadow Chronicles. Either directly or indirectly, the SDF-1 and its protoculture matrix have been responsible for no less than FOUR interstellar conflicts.

The Tox Uthat from ST:TNG epsiode "Captain's Holiday (3x19)" 
The label of alien technology can extend to the future as well and the quantum phase inhibitor known as the “Tox Uthat” is a piece of the 27th century. Created by Kal Dano, the Tox Uthat could haul the nuclear fusion within in a star, and this made it capable of being weaponized. To prevent the device from falling into the hands of two Vorgon criminals, Dano traveled to the 24th century to hide the device. In the "present"of the TNG storyline, the legend of the Tox Uthat was pursued by a maverick Federation citizen archeologist Dr. Estragon and his lovely assistant Vash. After the professor’s death, Vash attempted to hunt down the piece of the future for less than noble reasons. Another party involved in the hunt for the Tox Uthat was a Ferengi named Sovak, who provide funding for the professor’s expeditions. When Captain Picard arrived on Risa for a holiday, he and Vash joined forces and hunted down the Tox Uthat. After confronted by Sovak and the Vorgons, Picard destroys the Tox Uthat via the transporter, preventing anyone from gaining the power of this future technology.

The “Trojan Horse” Captured Chig Bomber from SAAB “Hostile Visit”
As the Earth forces pushed deeper into Chig territory and war was still difficult for the humans, the Chigs staged harder strikes at forward Earth units, like the Space Carrier Saratoga. In the 9th episode, a group of Chig bombers attacked the Saratoga and one of the bombers was knocked out allowing for it to be captured intact…something that had never happened in the Chig War. When Colonel McQueen asked for the Chig bomber to be brought onboard, he had a plan.
Until this moment in the war, the Earth forces did not know the base-of-operations for the Chig nor the location of their homeworld. The navigation computers onboard the bomber had the flight plan and a target to strike that brings hope back to the Earth. However, the bomber was from the planet Cerrus in the Kappa Reticuli (a real star system some 70 LYs away from Sol) and this was beyond the range of the ‘toga’s strike aerocraft and McQueen proposed using the bomber as a Trojan horse to put bombs on the Chig home turf. However, the Navy had asked AeroTech to come and break down the ship and unlock its secrets. When the strike mission was approved, AeroTech protested, wiped out some of the data, and packed up and left the carrier. The conflict over the alien technology was not between the original owners, the Chigs, and the Earth forces but two human groups: the Navy and the slimy AeroTech.

The Sol System Alien Ruins from the Heritage Trilogy by Ian Douglas
In the year 2040, the United States deploys 30 Marines to the planet Mars to protect American interests in the alien ruins against the UN mission there. The book centers around who has access to the site, which has the ability to release the information on the discovery of a verified an alien civilization. Throughout the series, there is a contest between the United Nations and the USA over the alien ruins scattered on Europa, Luna, and Mars and the story of the Builders from a half-a-million years ago. For thirty years, the US and her allies battle the UN for control over the course of three novels of the Heritage Trilogy.

The "Swords" of the Ka-Khan from Starchaser: The Legend of Orin
FWS has discussed many times the wide-reaching impact and effect of Star Wars on the world of science fiction, and 1985's American 3D animated film Starchaser: The Legend of Orin is a prime symbol of this effect and how others attempted to ripoff SW for their own gain along with the Arthurian legend as is the case with Starchaser. The story is set in the distant dark future, where humans are mining crystals for an evil robotic overlord Zygon posing as a god on the planet of Trinia.
In these mines, our hero finds a jeweled sword that is the subject of myth and legend.When the sword displays holo-message that Orin is to find the blade, defeat evil, and rescue the humans. The sword hilt does generate an invisible blade of great power, like a lightsaber, but not all of the time. It chooses when to work and by whom. The movie never reveals why this is the case, but it is likely that the weapon is spiritual and intelligent...unlike this move. After an interstellar road trip with a Han Solo-like smuggler named Dag, it is revealed that the hilt is a legendary weapon of the guardians of good in the galaxy: the Ka-Khan.
It is the evil robot Nexus that the Ka-Kh, but the sword disappears. It is revealed that Nexus is Zygon and Orin is the new Ka-Khan. Zygon wants the hilt to final harness the power of his old rivals. to find dominate the universe. During their final fight, it is revealed that Zygon cannot use the hilt and there was never a blade to the weapon and Orin is the weapon because he is a Ka-Khan able to use the Force...oh, wrong movie. BTW, I saw this in the theater back in 1985 with my brother and it was one of the only traditional 3D films I saw. For years, I could not remember the title of this lost "film" until the Nostalgia Critic and Sage reviewed the film in 2012. It is worth watching despite the craziness surrounding Channel Awesome at the moment.

The Conflict over Castle Greyskull and the Power Swords from the Masters of the Universe Reality
There can be no discussion about the legendary toylines of the 1980s without mentioning the transformative Masters of the Universe by Mattel along with its animated series. It set the bar for all 1980s toylines with tie-in cartoons. While wildly successful for a few years, MOTU quickly apexes and burned out that combated in the live-action 1987 movie. What I think people miss when discussing MOTU is just how cracktastic the world of He-Man and Skeletor is, especially in the Golden Books and the original box art. The MOTU is a grimdark world that combines sci-fi and fantasy elements into a toyline that tapped into the D&D crowd. I played with MOTU in 1983/1984 and watched the cartoon, and even at the time, I thought the world of He-Man was an odd one. The focal point of conflict one the fantasy world of Eternia is the ancient castle of Greyskull that was constructed during the Great Wars and named for the king at the time.
Not only was this a place of defense, but also a holy place for the Goddess, who is represented by Teela in the series. Due to the severity of the Great Wars, the technological level of Eternia as a whole was downgraded and the Castle served as a place for the old technology as well as secrets concerning the magic of Eternia. Castle Greyskull was at the center of the balance of good and evil. This source of magic was also the source of He-Man’s power and access to most secret vaults of the old castle could only be given if the Power Swords were united. Throughout the MOTU storylines, Skeletor was obsessed with acquiring the other half of the power sword to access the castle and rule Eternia. While the canonized information on the swords varies, these were separated to prevent either side from gaining access to the secret and breaking the balance between good and evil.

The 31st century Time Pod from the ST: ENT Episode “Future Tense (2x16)”
In one of my all-time favorite episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, the crew of the NX-01 comes across an oddly shaped small craft floating in interstellar space with a heavily damaged hull and pilot. The entire episode of “Future Tense” is constructed around the mystery of this bullet-shaped craft and its barely human pilot all while protecting it from the Tholians and the Suliban that attempt to take the vessel. It is learned that this space vehicle is a 31st-century low-profile time pod developed to allow future historians to observe events without altering the events.
The pilot himself was a product of a combination of DNA from various species. This combined with the file in the temporal agent Daniels’ device on the craft, left the crew of the Enterprise to conclude that this craft was a piece of the future. To prevent it from falling into the hands of the Tholians, a temporal homing beacon was activated and all of the pieces of the future disappeared.

The High Guard Andromeda Ascendant from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
The fate of the Systems Commonwealth was decided when the Nietzschean people rebelled at the opening battle of the civil war: Battle of Hephaistos in CY 9784. This also gives us the subject of this example: the Andromeda Ascendant of the Glorious Heritage class heavy cruiser. At the battle, Captain Dylan Hunt attempted to use the natural black hole to slingshot the warship out of the hotzone and into slipspace to warn the High Guard of the Nietzschean rebellion. Before the Than pilot could complete the maneuver, she was killed by Hunt’s Nietzschean XO, damning the Andromeda to fall into the event horizon.
For 300 years, the Andromeda was trapped in the black hole as the Systems Commonwealth fell and the world that Dylan Hunt knew was swept away. Being one of the few intact Systems Commonwealth warships to survive the civil war and the struggles of the Long Night, the Andromeda was a prize of lost technology and worth a great deal of money, especially the Nova Bombs. This attracts a mercenary salvage crew to take the risk and pull the ancient warship out of the grip of the collapsed star. After repelling and recruiting some of the salvage crew, the new crew of the Andromeda attempts to reform the Systems Commonwealth while other forces in the galaxies attempt seize the old warship for themselves. This becomes a theme to the entire show, the battle over the Andromeda and her lost technology.

The Elemental Stones from The Fifth Element
When it comes time to defeat the Great Evil every 5,000 years, the very building blocks of nature are weaponized via four stone blocks in the form of the four elements: water, wind, fire, and earth. Focusing these elemental forces is the fifth element: a symbol of love in the form of a woman named Leeloo. In the landmark 1997 film, these stones were moved from Earth in 1914 by the Mondoshawa along with the fifth element to protect from the coming war. They promised to return when it was time. By that time, in 2263, the world had changed and various factions like priest Cornelius, the Federated Terrorities, Zorg, and Mangalore mercenaries, were all fighting over control of the Elemental Stones and the very future of the universe.

Next Time on FWS...
After years of request, emails, and comments, FWS will finally be discussing the Phased Plasma Weapons of the Terminator universe in a Weapons of Sci-Fi blogpost. Due to the many conflicting sources and the question of what is canon FWS will be pulling for various sources and only really looking at the 1984 and 1991 films, the TV series, along with Christopher Shields' excellent website. This will be an extensive blog article with tons of material. Because of this, it could be mid-May before you could see it. However, it will be worth the wait.

9 comments:

  1. Great post as always. Also love the photo of the Ziggurat of Ur. I got a few photos of that place, along with one of me cheeseing it up in front of the steps.
    I did run into one of those dudes who believes that we went to Iraq for a stargate. I told him it was all true, but now we know that he knows. He gave me a strange look and quickly walked away.

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  2. Would aliens fight over our tech? Why not!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Ltb7sLhb0

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  3. Thanks for the comments. It is always entertaining to mess with those types of people and I was shocked to read the rumor of the Iraqi Stargate. It is so cool that you have been there...jealous. I did not include 40K after having it on the list for some time. I have no good reason...I may have to include it on second thought.

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  4. Got to have fun where you can. I try not to push it to far with the sad state of mental health. But some folks make it just a little to easy. :D

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  5. No one has said it, so I will, SCP Foundation!

    http://www.scp-wiki.net/

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  6. The Loc-Nar from Heavy Metal could be another example I guess, people are killing each other for for it in two stories of the anthology even though they have no idea what it really is.

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  7. Good examples overall ! Mass Effect Andromeda is mentioned as an example of the lost-tech meme, but the original Mass Effect trilogy itself could also be an example, with the Protean ruins on Mars being discovered and bringing substantial technological advancement to humanity ! And then there´s the Mass Effect relays themselves...which turns out to be an ancient and gigantic honey trap left to ensnare the civilizations of the Galaxy !

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