Biometal (originally termed bio-metal and previously known as gelstone, though now more commonly known by its newer name) is the basis upon which the Battlezone universe is based. Its unique chemical properties, malleability and versatility render it a kind of super-material capable of being used in a variety of roles, particularly warfare.
The origins of biometal are unknown. Jon Beardsly, the man who initially discovered the material, had assumed it was of natural occurrence but was proved wrong once the NSDF discovered a Cthonian relic on Mars. This, coupled with the discovery of the Lemnos biometal production facility, led to the assumption that the Cthonians had created biometal; this in turn was cast into doubt by the discovery of the Dark Planet and the presence of biometal in the Core System, where evidence of Cthonian presence was restricted to graffiti.
The physical properties of biometal are highly unusual; it has demonstrated the ability to maintain a state of matter in extreme opposition to its surroundings, acting as a solid in even the scalding temperatures of Rend despite being able to maintain a liquid state in the icy environment of Bane and high pressure of Venus. Its density - which can only be approximated - is greater than most naturally-occurring metals at around 9,600kg/m³, despite which it can be made to defy gravity when engineered correctly.
When a biometal body is damaged enough it suffers a catastrophic structural failure, collapsing into pieces that offer no visible indication of what they once were. This scrap biometal, also occasionally referred to as "loose", can be collected by Scavengers for re-use. Study of these pieces can, however, provide information on previous forms the material has held; it is through such examination that Arkin Industries was able to appropriate mechanisms of Cthonian design to produce the first human biometal constructions.
Over time, scrap that is allowed to remain in the environment will break down further, decaying to a liquid that seeps into the aquifer and begins to collect. Temperatures and pressures increase as a result of the material collecting, which produces gases that escape to the surface in a geyser. Once the pressures become too great the liquid biometal can use the channel that results to flow up to the surface, producing a seep referred to as a Biometal Pool, the tip of a vein that presents an effectively unlimited resource mine. Scavengers can deploy on these mines, transforming into Extractors in the process, in order to harvest the biometal contained within. Despite emitting a thin stream of steam, biometal pools appear to remain perpetually liquid in even the most extreme of conditions without displaying any further effect on their surroundings.
Biometal exhibits a material memory that allows it to reshape itself into its previous form upon application of the correct stimuli, though this characteristic is not used in construction by the NSDF, CCA or CRA. It is likely that this behaviour is used in construction by the ISDF and Scion Collective, and drives the morphing process used by Scion craft.
Equal Damage DistributionEdit
- Main article: Equal Damage Distribution
One of the most unique behaviours of biometal is its ability to effectively self-heal, spreading the effects any damage done to the material across its entire structure. This increases the longevity and reliability of biometal constructs as no one part will ever fail alone, but means that this damage will eventually cause catastrophic damage to the object's composition and cause it to collapse. Some more advanced biometal craft are able to take even further advantage of this behaviour to outright repair this structural damage rather than simply distributing it around the construction.
- Main article: Strain III
Some samples of biometal - particularly those of Strain III - have displayed parasitic tendencies, with the Fury craft being constructed from it being described in survivors' accounts as "eating" their pilots. This may be indicative of some innate hunger in the material, or the manner in which these craft gain the energy requires to heal themselves.
Many of the properties displayed by biometal, including its ability to self-heal and its inherent memory, suggest that it may be a form of inorganic life. Metallic biochemical systems at their most extreme could contain a huge variety of components toxic to organic life, such as arsenic structures or ammonia, hydrogen fluoride or hydrocarbons as a solvent. If this were the case then the incompatible biochemical systems could go some way to explaining the poisoning experienced by the Scions.
The characteristics of biometal shown in the anastomotic behaviours of geysers and pools, the self-healing capacity of EDD shielding, and the parasitic behaviours exhibited by Strain III are commonly seen in fungal organisms.
Strain III biometal was created from the merging of other forms of biometal with the DNA of fallen Ancient Greek warriors by the Hadean Crown in order to create the Furies. The presence of this additional biological component grants biometal a life of its own, producing a feral viciousness akin to that of a rabid animal. Strain III was also produced by the CCA during the latter parts of the Biometal War, presumably having obtained the necessary DNA from either American prisoners of war or Russian volunteers.
Little is known about Strain V other than that Lemnos was the sole production facility for the material and that it was used in the creation of vehicles and weapons for the Hercules Brigade and Olympian Armada, possibly as early as 3245 NR. While the properties of Strain V and its relation to Strain III can only be guessed at, its use by the Olympians can be assumed to predate the creation of Strain III despite its name suggesting the contrary.
- ↑ Notes on the physical properties of biometal
- ↑ Ken Miller - Scrap, Geysers, and Biometal Pools are all related. Some Scrap was capable of replicating itself (slowly, over time) and would "take root" in a suitable environment. As it grew underground, It would first form a Geyser and much later form an open Biometal Pool. It would happen very slowly (decades, even) [...] so Biometal would actually be a very slow-moving "grey goo" scenario.
- ↑ Battlezone Manual, pg. 8
- ↑ Battlezone Manual, pg. 41