Sequence Biology

The biology of Sequence organisms is rather hard to study, in no small part because the Sequence itself isn’t a coherent species or even lifeform, but a complex amalgamation of several thousand species that has outlived most of its creators, willing or not. Sequence lifeforms belong to “transbiological life”, an umbrella term that covers organisms that, while still biological in nature (i.e bearing obvious characteristics of living organisms and abiding by the constraints of biological metabolism), are mostly indistinguishable from the technology used by the civilisations they have created. The closest humankind has to transbiological lifeforms are vegetal AIs.

As such it is rather hard to determine where a Sequencer ends and where their technology begins — and in a way I am not sure the question itself makes a lot of sense. That being said, Algorab often distinguishes between the two using a criteria of self-modification: if a Sequence organism can rearrange itself and change its purpose on its own, it is an individual, otherwise it is servile technology. Here again the distinction is flimsy, but has the merit of being clear-cut.

Sequence lifeforms are entirely decentralized. They appear as streams of black-grey cells which can link up with each other, exchange information, harden in response to physical trauma and act as tendrils or tentacles to interact with their environment. The cells can specialize into main cells which form the backbone of the individual, and auxiliary cells which form non-vital elements of a Sequencer. Main and auxiliary cells can seamlessly switch between functions within their category, but cannot switch to the other category, at least in observed individuals. Sequencers do not have organs to speak of; their cells can gather into nodes and groups within their bodies but these are not definitive and can change depending on the situation at hand. Due to their ability to produce cells and regenerate entire organs, Sequencers are technically immortal and extremely resistant to damage, though there is a threshold under which an individual cannot come back to full functionality (empirically this threshold seems to be around 10-15% of remaining cells). Sequencers can subsist on carbon-based nutrients and H2O. They have exceedingly well-developed nerve systems, and can feel (or see) in ultraviolet, infrared and possibly radio waves. Their outer surface shows a staggering diversity in colours, geometric shapes and textures that don’t seem to serve any purpose beyond aesthetics.

At first, we assumed that Sequence lifeforms all possessed the same genetic material, but recent autopsies have shown that it is not the case. In fact, while Sequencers all share a common underlying structure, there are at least a dozen different genetic sources in the specimens we encountered in the Serene Sea. Furthermore, these genetic sources came from very different species, some of which had a familiar two-stranded DNA structure while others possessed way more exotic genetics, often based on RNA or silicon DNA. The most likely explanation is that Sequencers as we know them come, in fact, from the various species conquered and absorbed by the empire. It is likely that, at the end of the Sequence of History, newly conquered species were physically altered to become Sequencers in their own right, with their genetic material preserved and repurposed to produce mainstream Sequence cells. Sadly, with the Sequence being in a terminal state, it is impossible for us to observe the assimilation process directly as all remaining Sequencers are fully amalgamated lifeforms. Was the process immediate or spread over several millennia? Was it peaceful? How much of the original species’ identity was kept? Most of these questions are likely to remain unanswered.

**Operational Note 70: Sequence soldiers**

Sequence field combatants are known as shamblers. They are fast, resilient individuals with short to medium-range weaponry embedded in their outer cell layer. Shamblers can infiltrate almost any building given enough time and are impervious to most conventional ammunition. They can also survive small nuclear explosions; untrained personnel is advised to disengage and seek emergency evacuation when encountering a shambler. In the absence of dedicated biochemical weaponry (see Tears of the Forest entry), the most efficient way of tackling a shambler is through the application of sustained, low-caliber fire which is more likely to disrupt its regeneration ability than sporadic high-caliber fire. Expendable railguns such as the ones mounted on Lilac drones are specifically designed for this task.

Sequence combatants that belong to a higher class than shamblers are to be avoided at all costs.

NASA/Caltech, Galaxy of Horrors posters.

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