Codenamed "Kraken" by the Solar League Concordiat (SLC) and the World Unified Government Military Council, this crab-like breed of biorobot is employed by the Biological, Existential, Contra-Terrene Aggressor (BECTA) can be considered a BECTA equivalent of the various main battle tanks of the world's armies, and is primarily utilized as a mining machine, boring out underground tunnels with its powerful bioorganic laser, which can slag large quantities of rock into glass walled caverns in sufficient numbers, but is mostly used for blasting apart ore veins into manageable chunks. When it has been seen on the frontlines, it uses its cannon as a high power ranged weapon, especially in urban terrains where concrete and glass is used extensively, and in combats against armored vehicles, where multiple Kraken can destroy an armored vehicle with focused light energy. In cities it can most often be found in underground constructions such as subways or large structures, destroying concrete and steel structures and consuming the inhabitants for transport to the Mound to be recycled. The Kraken can reach a ground speed of about 25 miles per hour on flat terrain, slowing down to climb, has a maximum speed of about 40 mph over short distances, and can walk across the bottom of freshwater lakes and rivers, but it cannot swim, and its crush depth is generally well above that of the Abyssal Plain that divides the continents.
The iridescent carapace is its most distinguishing feature, produced by its crystalline structure, which itself is a composite of iridium and carbon lattice, and capable of resisting many tons of impact force without fracturing, likely a specific trait gengineered into the being to allow it to perform the deep tunnel bore mining role of the BECTA. Because of its extreme toughness, the carapace is usually only penetrable by anti-tank weapons, such as hypervelocity ammunition or chemical energy warheads carried by guided missiles. While gaps exist in the armor of the Kraken, which are able to exploited by infantry caliber weapons, it is very unlikely that any soldier would be able to get close enough to a Kraken in order to attack it in such a manner without being killed or seriously injured. Of note is that iridium has been found to be more common in extraterrestrial meteorites than in Earth's crust, which raises the question of whether the BECTA were engineered to survive in deep space off resources in situ, or perhaps that iridium may be utilized for its resistance to silicates, acids, oxygen, and high temperature solvents such as molten rock and iron which may be encountered miles below the crust of planets being mined. Finally, from direct observation by high altitude aircraft and foot infantry reconnaissance troops in Northern Gallia and the Alarian Mountains, it is known that the Kraken is capable of closing its shell around itself, forming an airtight seal, and that this is its principal means of traversing both deep water and magma flows (artificially or naturally induced, the former in the case of Operation Vaagg-En, where nuclear weapons were employed to produce a "magma moat", which ended in failure). The natural protection of the shell allows the Kraken somewhat unprecedented terrain mobility and an effective natural defense against chemical-biological weapons.
Its use of Vaska's complex as the oxygen carrier, an iridium based oxygenating compound once thought to be a potential candidate for hypothetical (now known to be horrifyingly real) contra-terrestrial life, suggests that it is also expected to survive in a wide range of oxygenated environments, such as deep underground or at atmospheric partial pressures (and above, as BECTA "blood" has been shown to be superior in performance of oxygen binding to haemoglobin in reconstructed environments of the Carboniferous period, approximately 65 mya). Because of these two otherwise coincidental events, it is now believed that the K-Pg extinction event was caused by a BECTA Mound or Packet impact event. It is unknown why a BECTA Mound would impact deep water, where the Controller/Battery would be crushed by many dozens of atmospheres of water pressure of upon Mound opening, instead of dry land where it would be able to take root.
Aside from the shell and its shine, the other obvious feature is the large ocular organ on top of the Kraken. This allows it to project high intensity light energy across a tactically significant distance, with the notable ability to adjust for range, composition of target material, atmospheric effects, and relative motion rapidly and intuitively. Based on combat data and casualty reports, it appears that the Kraken is able to project energy from the near-ultraviolet range down to long-wave infrared, and detect motion and movement in these wavelengths, as well as spectral analysis of known threat and material signatures, which is hypothesized to be how the Kraken is able to adjust the amount of energy for blasting and melting particular deep cavern ore rocks without outright destroying them. Thus the most effective means of defeating the Kraken's laser weapon is to deploy large quantities of multispectral smoke and metallic flakes, rapidly and densely, in order to blind the creatures across as many wavelengths as possible. It is known from autopsy and observation that the Kraken has a bio-organic form of laser rangefinder, although substantially more sophisticated and capable than any artificial system, as it is capable of using single digit packets of photons and appears to be highly resistant to spoofing by most counter-lasing methods. Additionally it seems that the creature can determine, to some extent, the refractive indices of materials it is targeting and has, since the 1980s, selectively attacked recursive optics such as telescopic sights, electro-optical systems, and direct view periscopes, with preference towards the latter. It is believed that the Kraken can determine which optics are being viewed directly by humans by comparing the refractive indices to some internally stored amount, or that it has perhaps learned, through observation, the approximate refractive index of the human vitreous humour. Regardless, this behaviour was not observed prior to at least a decade after the first landing of BECTA mounds on Earth, indicating it is a learned observation in the face of sustained resistance by SLC Command and World Unified Government militaries, and that this behavior may require a Fifth Phase Mound to be established (prior to 1984 no recorded Mound had reached the Fifth Phase).
The large proboscis, over twelve feet long, is prehensile and capable of grasping and pulling with significant muscular force. The tooth-like tip is capable of punching through plastics, thin metals, most glass, and most forms of infantry body armor. The Kraken can inject a venom which is capable of liquefying most proteins, which are then consumed for energy, transport, or cooling purposes. When combined with its surprisingly powerful limbs, the Kraken is capable of dismembering and consuming an adult human in as little as a minute with its powerful claws that can easily cut an infantryman in half, width wise. Consumption of liquids and resources, such as environmental carbon from plants, debris, or water lakes and rivers, or both from fleeing humans, is the primary means by which the Kraken renews its energy stores and transports materials to the Mound to be recycled and used in production of replacement biorobots, in energy production, or in assembly of Packets to be propelled to escape velocity using the Mound's electromagnetic projector/Spire.
The Kraken was first observed during the initial Contact War in 1974, between the World Bank, which later became the World Unified Government, the Lunar Military Command, an alliance of the two largest World Bank members and several industrial states outside the World Bank political infrastructure, and the BECTA. Initial contact with the BECTA was made near the Mare Orientale by a small exploration team from the Hsingnu Republic, which was immediately recycled by several biorobots. Soldiers and scientists stationed in the Lunar bases, either on the surface or underground, would later utilize indigenous Lunar weapons systems, originally intended to defend against each other, to combat the BECTA threat. These included nuclear weapons, recoilless rifles, and eventually, Lunar fighting vehicles mounting rocket launchers and large caliber nuclear projectors, rocket guns, and jetpacks were shipped en masse to the Moon by 1976, with a stalemate being reached and a slow rollback of the enemy ensued. World Bank troops fought on the Moon until the Mare Orientale Mound fired two immature Spores at Earth in 1978 during a Libration period, resulting in much of the World Bank and LMC forces being withdrawn and the surrender of the Moon to the BECTA. Subsequent deployment of space-based nuclear missiles and radars put an end to further threats of Spore landing, with one object (believed to be a Spore, as the impact point would have placed it well behind the IMF Canal Defense Line and in the second largest [mostly untapped] uranium field in the world) originating from Mars being destroyed in 1992 by sustained nuclear and particle beam bombardment, before exploding in the upper atmosphere in a megaton yield airburst.
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