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What makes a Silencer?
04-02-2006, 07:30 AM,
#1
What makes a Silencer?
Is it training?  Augmentation?  Genetic engineering/manipulation?  Any or all of the above?

Me, I think it's hard to believe the literally superhuman (see the notes about No Regret's timeline in the No Regret board) Silencers owe their success to any one method of enhancement; it's more likely that it's a combination of factors, from optimized biology to anabolic steroids to, hell, nanotechnological augmentation, if we wanna get sci-fi-y.  But, if anything, what is most responsible for their deadliness?

I was contemplating this one day at work when I was supposed to be doing something productive, and it came to me.  Above the physical conditioning and the equipment, what makes a Silencer is mindset.  They see the truth of things--not philosophically speaking, but in the real world.  That man is pointing a gun at them.  An alarm has gone off and WEC SOP dictates a response from security in thirty seconds.  There is no way out save through the enemy and they will not accept a surrender.  And so forth.

There are no rose-colored glasses for a Silencer.  Always seeing what is, they can immediately take steps to deal with it, not having to work around wishful thinking.  It's like being knurd*.

Trained as they are, their solutions are usually quite direct (often destroying a given obstacle), but they can be more subtle (such as digging around a likely nearby desk for a few seconds for a keycard buried under a stack of papers).

But that wasn't quite enough.  Then I remembered one of the ideas about the brilliant show Firefly that intrigued me: that both a protagonist and an antagonist on the show were so incredibly intuitive they could appear as if they were psychic.  (The protagonist, in fact, was, but in previous episodes she was just alluded to as having a mind that worked differently--able to pull off a complicated folk dance perfectly the first time after viewing it once, shoot three people with her eyes closed using math, correcting her older and quite intelligent brother's spelling when she was 3 years old, and so on.)  The antagonist in particular could, at a glance, tell that a man had quite a different past than what he claimed, that a young woman to be susceptible to threats of sexual violence, and that he had to use logic and debate to keep a young doctor from attacking him.

That ability also applied to other interesting characters from other media, but was never better espoused than by Jason Bourne, in the Bourne Identiy movie.

"I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars in the parking lot.  I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself in a fight.  I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray pickup truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking."

That, then, was it.  A Silencer has this intuitive grasp of the truth of a matter, whether implanted through gene therapy, born witih it (naturally or through genetic engineering), or trained to that way of thinking.  That mindset is then focused on the arts of war--martial arts, weapon use, environmental factors, tactical considerations, and so forth--but he still possesses it in all things, if he tries.  (I have this image of a Silencer incognito at a dance club appearing to get into the music but he's really just calculated a sequence of steps that will carry him through the crowd with the minimum resistance, based on the flow of bodies and the rhythm of the music.)

The perfect soldier is never out of his element, and the Silencer's mind, more than anything else, ensures that he isn't ever.

*I will not spoil the joke, but I encourage you to read Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.  In particular, Sourcery, which explains precisely what being knurd is.  In footnote form, not unlike this.  But funnier.
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04-02-2006, 08:32 PM,
#2
Re: What makes a Silencer?
I really think it's the genetic engineering. In one of the missions in No Remorse, you destroy Dr. Hoffman's laboratory, and it's filled with containers with people growing inside them... and when you confront Hoffman about this he says, "Ah... the prodigal son returns home...." A big indication.

After the mission, you receive a video transmission from Maxis. He says he's uncertain at the time.
"First let me say welcome to the Resistance, Captain."
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04-03-2006, 04:58 AM,
#3
Re: What makes a Silencer?
You'll notice I didn't actually rule that out.  I just said that of the actual results, it's the mind, more than the body.
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04-08-2006, 06:00 AM,
#4
Re: What makes a Silencer?
hmmm i would bet for GE. If i'm not mistake it was Hoffman who worked on a Silencer project. But of course the best Silencer is made by himself only Tongue
"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." - Hector Berlioz
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05-01-2006, 08:05 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-09-2006, 05:01 AM by Shadowen.)
#5
Re: What makes a Silencer?
Another quote on the subject.  Ironically enough, also featuring Matt Damon.

Will: "Beethoven, okay. He looked at a piano, and it just made sense to him. He could just play."
Skylar: "So what are you saying? You play the piano?"
Will: "No, not a lick. I mean, I look at a piano, I see a bunch of keys, three pedals, and a box of wood. But Beethoven, Mozart, they saw it, they could just play. I couldn't paint you a picture, I probably can't hit the ball out of Fenway, and I can't play the piano."
Skylar: "But you can do my organic chem paper in under an hour."
Will: "Right. Well, I mean when it came to stuff like that... I could always just play."

That's the way a Silencer would view a tactical situation or a weapon he's never used before.  It's something he's just good (great?) at.  He picks up, for example, a weapon, judges the mass, finds the center of gravity, discerns caliber and range, figures out the recoil, and it's like it was the first gun he ever used.
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06-09-2006, 05:17 AM,
#6
Re: What makes a Silencer?
I think the Silencer project is unfinished.

That is to say, the Silencers don't come out of their genetic augmentation fully-formed.

The idea came to when when I recalled what little I knew about "hox" genes.

The vast majority of genetics in a living organism are inactive.  It's redundant, or not used or replicated.  The genes that are inactive are called hox genes.  They contain genes from previous evolutionary stages, perhaps many millions of years old.  For example, birds might have dinosaur genetics in their inactive genes.

So maybe even the hox genes have been altered to augment the Silencer in some way or another, and part of their evolution is finding the ability to activate these inactive genes.  These might increase their reflexes, or increase their strength to truly superhuman levels, or even make their brain work on an entirely different level.
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06-09-2006, 01:49 PM,
#7
Re: What makes a Silencer?
Maybe that explains why the Silencer can disobey orders and join the Resistance?
"First let me say welcome to the Resistance, Captain."
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06-10-2006, 04:26 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-13-2006, 03:35 AM by Shadowen.)
#8
Re: What makes a Silencer?
Maybe partially.  A mutation or activation of old genes could give them the adaptibility to handle any environment or situation--including one which contradicts "absolute loyalty" brainwashing.

Me, I think the Silencers, or at least their leadership, know more and are more independent than anyone suspects.
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07-22-2006, 05:49 AM,
#9
Re: What makes a Silencer?
Silencers are not soldiers.

I've been turning it over in my mind and Silencers are definitely not soldiers.  Soldiers die for their cause.  Silencers kill for theirs.

Silencers are entirely too valuable (i.e. costly) to throw away.  Only if they are on the verge of defecting or have defecting must they be destroyed by their employers, and then with extreme prejudice--attempting to capture one would be a catastrophe.  (As the Captain proved, even attempting extreme prejudice can be catastrophic for the unprepared).

A Silencer is designed/built/trained/equipped to kill or destroy and get home alive.  Casualties are not really acceptable unless a cadet is about to become field-ready for each Silencer killed, and even then practical experience is still irretrievably lost.  They are irregulars, and though equipped with the best are trained to survive and succeed when cut off, surrounded, out of ammo, and outnumbered.

In addition, they are capable of improvising.  Give a normal set of soldiers goals and instructions and they'll try to accomplish it using the instructions, improvising, but only if necessary.  Just give them a set of goals, and they'll probably go about it the best way they can figure out and collapse like a card table.  Give a trio of Silencers goals and instructions and they'll accomplish it handily.  Give them goals, but no instructions, and they'll do it their own way.  And probably do it even better.  That is not the action of a soldier.

Silencers are not soldiers.  They are killers and destroyers.  Harbingers, if you want to get mythic.
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01-14-2007, 09:24 PM,
#10
Re: What makes a Silencer?
Another point:

In the No Remorse Topline newsletter, it mentiosn Dr. Hoffman was also working on biomechanical enhancements for military and security purposes--cyborg Silencers?
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