“How appropriate you emulate insects, because that is what you are! Insignificant insects to be crushed before the might of The OvermiAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!ITBURNNNNNSSS!!!!”
“Feel our stings, ‘Overmind’, and reconsider how ‘insignificant’ insects really are!”
- 1 Clan Vespa
- 2 Statistics
- 2.1 Motif
- 2.2 Origins
- 2.3 Where First Encountered
- 2.4 Tribe Size
- 2.5 Tribe Organization
- 2.6 Tribal Composition
- 2.7 Highest Caste Class
- 2.8 Gender Division
- 2.9 Home Environment
- 2.10 Technology Level
- 2.11 Relations with Outsiders
- 2.12 Relations with Other ‘Shemarrians’
- 2.13 Purpose
- 2.14 Preferred Mode of Combat
- 2.15 Unique Attributes
- 2.16 Prosperity
- 2.17 Cyberization
- 2.18 Notable Personalities
- 2.19 Vesparii Technologies & Hornet Security Inc.
aka ‘HiveKeepers’,‘Vespii’, the ‘Vesparii’)
The Vesparii have their origins in an infectious RCC known as the Swarmys (aka the ‘BeeGirls’), an insidious DNA-meme that transformed humanoids (preferably females) into insectoids genetically programmed to further spread the infection and bind new victims in a group-mind to a handful of free-willed ‘Queens’. The Swarmy encountered the EShemar (Wayfinder Tribe) when the latter were exploring another universe-analogue of Earth (akin to Heroes Unlimited Earth) and setting up observation outposts.
One of the recent involuntary converts of the Swarmy was a brilliant cyberneticist by the name of Doctor Kusunoki Masako, who was of interest to both the Swarmy (who planned to use her expertise to cripple the local government computer networks and disrupt any government response to the Swarmy infiltration, then create new weapons for the Swarmy) and the EShemar (who, as bionic beings, were naturally interested in the local cutting edge). Doctor Kusunoki ‘s abduction and conversion by the Swarmy got the immediate attention of the Wayfinders, who discovered the presence of a more malign group of dimensional travelers. Together with a few other local heroes, the Wayfinders hunted down the Swarmy invaders and defeated them, slaying the commanding Swarm-Queen in the process, and freeing several hundred drones.
Though freed of her thralldom to the Swarmy, Doctor Kusunoki was still rather susceptible to suggestion, and she latched onto the EShemar as her new role models. She immediately began setting up her own ‘tribe’ or ‘hive’ with a distinctly Shemarrian bent. Her core group consisted largely of other former drone-thralls who also felt themselves lost without the addictive control of the Swarmy Queens. She also managed to absorb much of the knowledge of the former Swarmy Queen, including the technology used to transport the Swarmy to Doctor Kusunoki’s world.
Doctor Kusunoki has found a way to hybridize nanotechnology to allow for an interface between the Swarmy genetics and Shemarrian bionics, so that the original BeeGirl members of the tribe and later bionic converts can commune on a common closed-circuit mental network using a miniaturized form of subspace radio. Doctor Kusunoki also developed nanotechnological transformations, using Shemarrian bionic conversion chambers, that would convert new members into cyborg analogues of the Swarmy phenotype. However, Doctor Kusunoki does NOT aim to become a tyrant-Queen, and she allows (even encourages) her followers more self-initiative. She uses insect models in part because insects are so successful as animals, and because using them as motifs is an affront and goad to any other Swarmy hives; Doctor Kusunoki means to assert her freedom and superiority by crushing her former enslavers.
For a time, Doctor Kusunoki’s ‘swarm’ acted as a private organization (Vesparii Technologies & Hornet Security Inc.) and superhero(ine) group, fighting supervillains and alien invaders in protection of the Earth, but Doctor Kusunoki was using this to gain breathing room for her followers and acquire resources to ultimately take her show offworld. These companies are likely to remain on their Earth as fronts while the majority of the Vespas move offworld/outdimension.
Unlike her Swarmy ex-masters, Queen Kusunoki’s new society does NOT forcibly impress involuntary converts into their ranks, but appeals to volunteers. The exceptions are members of Swarmy hives cut from their Queens. These latter recruits are forcibly separated from the Swarmy groupmind and re-indoctrinated, if possible, to follow the Clan Vespa line.
Clan Vespa enjoys the patronage of the Wayfinders (who hope both to guide the new clan and curb its excesses), while its appearances at the Shemarrian Star Nation High Council Conclaves have already attracted attention from the Hawkmoons (because of the aerial nature of the Vespas) and the Horrorwoods (who are attracted by the nanotech and insect role-model aspects of the new fringe tribe).
|Where First Encountered||Other Verse|
|Highest Caste Class||Unknown|
|Home Environment||Temperate Earth-Like|
|Technology Level||Advanced Space Age|
|Relations With Outsiders||Indifferent|
|Relations With Other Shemarrians||Enthusiastic|
|Prefered Mode of Combat||Ranged|
A stylized green and silver hornet. More formal renditions of this feature prismatic crystal eyes on the hornet.
Wannabees; Doctor Kusunoki has become infatuated with the EShemar, and she has attracted followers to join her cyberhyper-internet family-groupmind insectoid warrior society.
Where First Encountered
Other universe, on a world similar to Heroes Unlimited Earth. They have since sent, via dimensional gateway, representatives to the Three Galaxies SSN Tribal Conclave and even small parties to explore and train with the SSN (Doctor Kusunoki hopes to move the majority of the Hivekeepers to join the mainstream SSN, using, if possible, the spacecraft her organization is working on).
Large; 20,000 members
Headswoman; traditional matriarchy or hive structure, with a ‘queen bee’ matriarch.
Wholly human recruits, about 15% of which are former Swarmy BeeGirls.
Highest Caste Class
The current Queen of the Hivekeepers is Kusunoki Masako. She has several lieutenants who act as corporate officers and tactical commanders of her security forces.
80% female, 20% male.
Temperate, Earth-like worlds
Advanced Space Age. Roughly equal to the Three Galaxies average, thanks to trade with the Wayfinders, Doctor Kusunoki’s absorption of knowledge the Swarmy absorbed from previous victims, and several alien vessels the tribe acquired. Their expertise is in nanotechnology.
Clan Vespa currently lacks much in the way of Warmounts, owing to the fact that they are still based on an Earth-analogue, and Doctor Kusunoki prefers to focus on nanotechnology and micro-robotics. They HAVE acquired a few Warmounts in trade from other Tribes, and have evinced an interest in insect-pattern Warmounts, but are waiting until they establish a larger presence in the SSN before bidding for and adopting Warmounts into their TOE.
Clan Vespa uses many SSN-pattern weapons, but also use a wide range of conventional firearms firing MD-capable ‘bee-rounds’, and energy weapons based on alien designs, but cosmetically modified to more of a Shemarrian aesthetic.
Relations with Outsiders
Indifferent; the HiveKeepers welcome outsider converts to their ranks, but in general wish to be left alone. They will defend themselves against any hostilities aimed at them.
Relations with Other ‘Shemarrians’
Enthusiastic; the HiveKeepers differ from their Swarmy origins in recognizing outsiders as neither prey nor competition, but as friends. The Hivekeeper network-memory recognizes the EShemar as friends and liberators. Queen Kusunoki, as a cyberneticist, idolizes the EShemar as perfect beings (sentient machines and super-cyborgs), and wishes to emulate them, but she also wants to join them.
Survival as a society, with a secondary objective of destroying and absorbing any Swarmy hives they encounter.
Preferred Mode of Combat
Ranged; using swarms of insect drones. The Hivekeepers frequently envenom their weapons with various toxins and malnano.
The basis of Clan Vespa’s unique technologies is its advanced nanotechnology. Doctor Kusunoki has applied this to a variety of different aspects, from medical treatment and physiological modification, to a variety of micro-robotics.
These are bullets modified with advanced microrobotics into ‘smart’ bullets. These rounds act as mini-guided missiles; bullets capable of being fired from standard firearms get a +1 to strike, while heavier rounds, such as those fired from Shemarrian rail guns, get a +2 to strike.
They may not be very tough, fast, or strong, but they’re small, agile, and very numerous, and can serve as the vectors for various toxins, drugs, nanites, and even computer viruses.
A swarm of micro-bots based on a type of fly for the purposes of light defense and espionage.
A swarm of micro-bots based on a type of beetle that can link together to create protective armour or weapons.
A swarm of micro-bots based on fireflies that have a number of plasma based powers including a plasma forcefield.
Doctor Kusunoki has also created a form of ‘artificial telepathy’ using nanotech implants and subspace radio that allows members of the Hivekeepers to communicate with each other securely. This ‘mind web’ isn’t as coercive as the Swarmy group-mind, but it is amazingly intimate.
A warmount/exo-suit resembling a giant cicada nymph. Blurs the lines between warmount and power armour.
Small faerie-folk like robots that can be Awakened.
Successful. Doctor Kusunoki made a killing in civilian application nanotechnology, enough to keep her organization in the black. The surplus is going into reconditioning several alien vessels into ‘hive carriers’ to take the Hivekeepers offworld to join up with the Shemarrian Star Nation.
Thorough; about 50% of the Hivekeepers qualify as full-conversion cyborgs (typically cyberhumanoids, though they boast a few obviously bionic and insect-themed cyborgs), 25% as partial cyborgs, while the remaining members have 2d4 implants (at the very least the web-net communications implant). Doctor Kusunoki has also developed a form of subcutaneous armor similar to the Rifts Earth Chinese Geofront’s ‘Demon Skin’ armor.
Full ‘wasped’ Clan Vespa cyborgs feature cyber-wings patterned after wasp wings, but also incorporate antigravity flight packs into their design.
Without a Swarmy Queen to create new BeeGirls, former BeeGirls will be dependent on full bionic conversion if critically injured or when their bodies reach the end of their own life spans.
One of the first Swarmys to be freed by the Wayfinders, who helped the other freed Swarmys to form Clan Vespa, pushing for their membership into the Shemarrian Star Nation.
Vesparii Technologies & Hornet Security Inc.
These two companies were established by Doctor Kusunoki as fronts for her nascent Clan, identifying potential recruits, building clan infrastructure, gathering resources, intelligence, and money to further Clan Vespa’s goals, and hunting down any remaining Swarmy threat.
Vesparii Technologies is the commercial side of operations, a robotics and nanotechnology firm that competes with such industry leaders as Integrated Cyber Systems (see Rifter #65, David F. Smith) and Fabricators Inc., especially in the field of microrobotics. VT’s global reach and contracts allows Doctor Kusunoki access to all over Earth, gathering what she needs and concealing the true extent and plans of her clan.
Hornet Security Inc. is a private security firm that specializes in parahuman security. While it most closely works with Vesparii Technologies as a contracted private firm, it’s well-known in the right circles that HSI is an appendage of Vesparii. HSI, however, has been known to take government contracts, especially in special circumstances where parahumans or extraterrestrials may be involved.
The majority of Vesparii Industries employees actually have nothing to do with either the Swarmy or the Shemarrians; they’re just regular people working for a successful company. The core leadership and inner security are, however, Clan Vespans.
Hornet Security Inc. is, almost entirely Vesparii, ex-Swarmy or cyborgs. While it’s no secret to outsiders that some of the elite of the company are cyborgs, it’s only rumored that HSI employs metahumans. HSI explains away some of the observed feats of its employees as the result of experimental hardware such as jetpacks or power armor.
Both various government and superhero groups suspect that there’s more to VT and HSI than they let on. However, the two firms have not done anything OVERTLY wrong, and both have some reputations for various good deeds (HSI in particular has helped a number of superhero groups and government agencies with ‘special circumstances’ problems), so the interest has not gone beyond regular monitoring. Several agencies involved with dealing with extraterrestrial threats and activities do wonder about what happened to several possible alien incursion sites that HSI was involved with investigating; the sites seem to have been rather well ‘cleaned up’ by the time the official authorities arrived on the scene.
When Clan Vespa finally migrates to the SSN, Vesparii Technologies and Hornet Security Inc. will likely remain behind, continuing to do business and acting as outposts of the clan (not everybody will want to leave Earth, and Queen-Matriarch Kusunoki still has some fondness for the place), though they’re likely to be rather diminished until Clan Vespa reestablishes itself and sets up steady trade and communication, or new management comes into place.