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Characters / Grey Goo (2015)

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The Beta

     The Beta
The Guardians Of Legacy
Known among their own kind as the Morra, these aliens are towering, four-armed beings and the last survivors of a cataclysm known as "the Silence." Built from the scraps of their last starship, the Beta colony on Ecosystem Nine is born out of necessity. Once a thriving culture, everything they craft is a reflection of their ultimate purpose: to defend their society from the chaos that threatens to consume it. Upon gathering catalyst, Nine's valuable resource, the Beta rely on their skycranes to transport supplies and construct their outposts. While highly mobile, Beta forces must connect these outposts to power hubs in order to establish their forces. Like the Beta's structures, their combat units value mobility. Beta units are expertly piloted by individual soldiers, but they are only as powerful as the hand of their commander. A skilled leader can construct multiple outposts in resource-rich or easily defensible locations to gain an advantage on the battlefield.

The Beta as a whole displays the following tropes:

  • The Aesthetics of Technology: By necessity, the Beta's machinery is heavy and industrial in design, consisting of heavy, boxy shapes an utilitarian designs, which is a direct contrast to the smooth, clean shapes of human designs, the amorphous liquid of the Goo, and the eldritch, crystalline designs of the Shroud.
  • Base on Wheels: Their Hand of Ruk Epic unit functions as two factories with all attachments, a wall with six turret hardpoints, and a nuke-cannon with the longest range in the game. It still needs a repair pad to repair though.
  • Garrisonable Structures: The Beta's walls have covered turrets on top which can be manned by various units, including Predators, Commandos, Cloudbursts, and the dedicated Guardian, whose sole purpose is to be mounted on top of a turret. The Hand of Ruk also has six slots for garrisoning units, allowing it to have a versatile defensive loadout.
  • Mini-Mecha: All of their combat units outside of the Hand of Ruk, aircraft, and the Commandos are mecha, with the lighter units like the Stalker and Predator only being a couple of times taller than a Beta.
  • More Dakka: The Beta specialize in massed firepower, with a line of garrisoned walls and the Hand of Ruk provide huge amounts of concentrated fire to crush enemy troops.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: They have two pairs of arms. Two large ones growing from their shoulders, and smaller more human ones growing from their chest.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The Beta were once a species of explorers and travelers. Their war with the Silent Ones turned them into the desperate collection of survivors they are now.
  • The Remnant: They are the remnant of a once large stellar empire, rebuilding and preparing for the arrival of the Silent Ones.
  • Walking Tank: The more advanced Beta mecha are large walking tanks, several times taller than a Beta Commando. Unlike the Predator, however, these units tend to be a little more vulnerable and have very specialized roles.




"I'm not waiting for the Author to write my story."

While Saruk's father, Sagah, established the settlement on Ecosystem Nine to keep the Beta safe, Saruk seeks to return the Beta to the stars. He longs for the day that his people can reclaim their true calling as great explorers.

Having spent his lifetime hiding from the enemy that savaged his father's generation, Saruk is ready to attempt the unprecedented feat of manipulating the passageways, called keyholes, that have both protected and imprisoned his people on Nine.

Unsure of what may await his people in the stars, Saruk is determined that, whatever the cost, the Beta people remain the authors of their own fate.

Saruk provides examples of:

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's the only one who realizes that the humans are not the Silent Ones, and that maybe there's something else they need to fight. He is also quick and decisive as a commander, taking the initiative when there are no other orders and refusing to obey commands that he knows will likely end up surrendering the initiative to his opponents.


Bas Barca

"The most powerful force is an unexpected one."
Barca was the first child of the Beta born on Ecosystem Nine. He grew up in the hardest years when the colony of refugees was being established. Much of the current safety and comfort the Beta now enjoy is credited to the years of Barca's hard work.

Barca was protégé and friend to Sagah, and has served as a silent custodian to Saruk since Sagah's death. Many consider Barca to be the leader of the Beta, though officially no such title has ever been given to him. He often states the only throne he seeks is in the the shade of a taukur tree. He continues his service knowing the Beta have a long way to go before anyone can rest.

Barca provides examples of:

  • Mission Control: He mostly serves as the other end of the radio during the Beta missions.



"We are not lost among the stars, merely off course for a time."

As a child, Alín showed enormous aptitude for multi-tasking. Early in her development she was able to perform multiple, complex tasks requiring all four limbs at once. This earned her high praise from both her parents and her instructors. She took her natural talent and applied it to helping the Beta colony by becoming the chief supplier for the Beta army, where she organizes deployments and supply drops.

Alín was married to Saruk's elder brother, Kre. After the accident that took his life, she remained close to Saruk. They quickly became good friends, supporting each other through their loss.

Alín provides examples of:

  • Mission Control: She shares this status with Barca, often on the same mission.



"Do not confuse my focus for blindness. I will come for you next."

Naiko is one of the four sons of Bas Kóro (called the Four Trees). While large by Beta standards, Naiko is the smallest of his brothers. As a child they would call him "niko," which means "peanut" or "little one".

Unlike most Beta, Naiko is a habitual single-tasker. His brothers would often say that "Naiko requires all four hands to kill a fly." With a shrug he would reply "I always kill the fly." While Naiko may exaggerate his deeds, he never lies.

Naiko provides examples of:

  • The Big Guy: Even for the big Beta he's big—and compared to the rest of his family, he's tiny.


The Humans

The Architects of Destiny

After centuries of expanding into the far reaches of the Galaxy, Humanity discovers only darkness — and war. Convinced they are alone, Humans retreat back to Earth to preserve what is left of Humanity, and to end war permanently. In the process of decommissioning their instruments of war, mankind concludes that the most deadly instruments are they themselves. War is a product of human nature. They fully pull themselves above the decision-making loop, relegating the majority of action to their AI constructs until the signal arrives that reminds them of their past. With only an academic knowledge of warfare and access to the greatest technology in creation, the Human expedition on Nine must resurrect their old instruments of war and return themselves to the seat of command. Their own survival, and potentially the survival of all life in the Galaxy, depends on it.

The Human faction as a whole displays the following tropes:

  • Badass Bookworm: Compared to other factions, The Human forgot the experiences of waging a war. They still put up one heck of a fight.
  • Benevolent A.I.: MUM is friendly, congenial, and the closest ally to the human commander, along with Singleton. This is in stark contrast to the Goo.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The drones that the human faction use haven't seen usage in generations. It's telling of humanity's technological advancements that these drones are still orders of magnitude more advanced that anything used by the Beta.
  • Energy Weapon: To the point that Redgrave finds it comical that the Beta are fighting them with bullets.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Sleek curves, check. White frames, check. Laser beams, check! It's safe to say humanity has embraced this trope.
  • Higher-Tech Species: Uniquely for a sci-fi setting, humanity is actually the most scientifically advanced race so far introduced as a result of us finding no other life in the galaxy. We even created the Grey Goo to scout it out for us, and then decided that if we truly were alone, we should perfect existence instead of shooting each other. While this means our species has all but forgotten how to wage war properly, we also have access to the greatest technology in creation.
  • Humongous Mecha: The only thing piloted by an actual human is their greatest weapon; the Alpha Fighter, a humongous floating fighter with a Wave-Motion Gun and Macross Missile Massacre — and an EMP that is charged by taking damage.
  • Hover Tank: Treads are so 21st century it would seem; there's nothing in the human arsenal that doesn't float or fly.
  • The Turret Master: Humanity has access to four types of Sentinel turrets. Anti-heavy, Artillery, Anti-Air and detector. If a human defense is powered, it can take out many times its number.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Human players will soon learn to keep their Conduits short and well defended, lest their enemies blackout half their base by destroying the power link.

     Lucy Tak 

Mission Commander Lucy Tak

"The most powerful instrument of war is observation."

Always the puzzle solver, Lucy Tak nurtured a curiosity uncharacteristic of other Humans. Taught by her father to be fearless in the face of the unknown, Lucy seizes the opportunity to venture into the depths of space to trace the source of a mysterious signal containing an echo from Humanity's past.

When she discovers more than predicted, Lucy is forced to transform her scientific expedition into a military operation. Armed with only an academic knowledge of warfare, Lucy must resurrect the retired Human arsenal of war; for their own survival, and potentially the survival of all life in the Galaxy.

Lucy Tak provides examples of:

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: While it takes her a while, she does eventually manage to convince the Beta that they are not enemies.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Lucy Tak's appearance is very closely modelled on her voice actress, Jing Lusi.

     Valiant Singleton 

Valiant Singleton

"We fight so that others may live."

Singleton is one of the earliest graduates of the Valiant Program, a program dedicated to creating high-functioning machines capable of making quick judgment in uncertain situations. Blending disciplines from robotics and early childhood development, the Valiants were said to have been programmed with only one instruction: "That Others May Live". Life would teach them the rest.

Instantiated in the late 21st Century, Singleton served as a soldier for two centuries before being decommissioned for a third. Singleton continues to compile his one line of code.

  • Assimilation Backfire: His body gets absorbed by the Goo, along with his programming, and his consciousness slowly becomes the dominant force in the Goo collective intelligence.
  • Badass Creed: "So that others may live."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Singleton is probably the single most levelheaded, polite, chivalrous character in the entire game. He's also got the highest body count by far (centuries of warfare would do that to you), and the cinematics make it quite clear that if need be, he's more than capable of kicking major ass. He also becomes far more dangerous after his assimilation into the Goo, although he maintains his care for human lives and drives the Goo to attempt to minimize casualties when these can't be avoided.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Volunteers for a suicide mission to destroy the Goo once and for all. It doesn't quite work out and he ends up assimilated by a surviving Goo mass.
  • Hero Unit: In the Emergence DLC.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: We never actually get to see Singleton's infiltration of the Beta complex in "The Cauldron", although given the sheer amount of Goo units around and the fact that he's overwhelmed by the end of the level, combined with what we've seen before of his superhuman reflexes, combat skills and experience mean it must have been spectacular. We do end up seeing it in the "Emergence" DLC.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: While not stated outright that the robots follow Asimov's laws, in effect their behavior (and appearance) seem deliberately reminiscent of the humanoid helpers from the movie I, Robot. Their highest priority is the safety of others, human beings in particular, and their logic revolves around which course of action would allow them to save the most, even at the cost of their own existence.
  • Uncanny Valley: invoked Present, but not to the same degree as the other Valiants. Where's they only look human in the most abstract fashion (possessing a humanoid body and voice), Singleton looks almost like a postmodern's artists impression of something between a Greek statue and an armored knight. He even has a human "face" of sorts, although it doesn't move (being a holographic projection on top of a hard surface).



"The best response is a calculated one."

The Multi-user Mainframe is the totality of Humanity's combined artificial intelligence suite. MUM handles advanced calculations while taking in to account the vast records and knowledge base of the entire human experience. MUM is, most often, used as an advisor for millions of people spread across the galaxy.

MUM has no direct control over any specific hardware, though it can interface with just about every piece of robotics created. It is considered infallible by a large portion of humans, and so many major decisions are left up to the computer. However, it lacks the soft touch and humanity of the Valiants, causing some to mistrust the machine.

  • Mission Control: She acts as this for the humans, containing all the blueprints and schematics for their robots.


    John Redgrave 

Specialist John Redgrave

"Fortunate? What does fortune have to do with anything?"

While the son of a Lucasian Council member, John Redgrave struggled to find the promised peace in the utopian life on Earth. Failed by his society after a teleportation accident that took the life of his mother and left him permanently scarred, Redgrave embraced recklessness as a virtue. While this put him at odds with general Human society, he excelled in the high-risk culture of the Alpha Program, outperforming all other participants.

  • Ace Pilot: The best Alpha pilot around, and more than eager to take the field.

The Grey Goo

     The Grey Goo
The Agents of Chaos
Originally engineered in the late 21st Century as an exploration tool, the Goo was the key to unlocking Humanity's passage outside of the Solar System. Prior to humanity's invention of Faster Than Light travel, a gate was found on the edge of the Solar System, leading to the other side of the galaxy. The problem was that said gate was but a few millimeter wide, meaning that no ship could cross it. Humanity's solution was a Von Neumann probe, a probe made of nano machines, self-sufficient, self-replicating and able to access the inaccessible, it revealed the Galaxy's secrets and charted traversable paths stretching across the Milky Way, scouting ahead of the humans while they researched the wormhole to develop keyhole technology. As the undiscovered became discovered, and the unknown disappeared, the Goo had fulfilled its purpose and was decommissioned... or so it was thought. More than a century has since passed, and the Goo has returned from the last remaining darkness of the Galaxy. It has altered, evolved, and is set on a path of destruction leading back to its creator.

The Grey Goo faction as a whole provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Was a glorified research probe, is now a Horde of Alien Locusts. Subverted; turns out they aren't a Horde either so much as Well Intentioned Extremists who don't care if other beings get in the way of them stopping the Silent Ones, and once Singleton teaches them ethics, they become much friendlier.
  • The Assimilator: Anything they touch turn into more of themselves. This is shown by proteans healing themselves and mother-goos gaining resources.
  • Cast from Hit Points The Grey Goo faction doesn't have any base structures but has a core unit called Mother Goo, which can be split and morph into other units. Doing so takes a chunk away from their HP and must be regenerated by draining Catalyst around the map. Map control is a must for Goo players.
  • Eaten Alive: Anything getting too close to formless goo is significantly slowed and takes automatic damage from the nanobots disassembling the foreign object at the molecular level. The larger the formless goo, the faster this process.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Every single goo unit originally had benign intent. Drovers were scouts, Bastions meant to provide shelter for other units, Crescents meant to traverse difficult terrain and fling goo to places even it couldn't reach, Tempests were for atmospheric monitoring, Striders were bioscanners, Destructors were obstacle-removers, Radiants were communications relays and Dwellers extreme-environment survivors. It didn't take much to convert all these existing designs to warfare, and they're still just as effective at their new jobs.
  • Grey Goo: A massive swarm of self-replicating nanites, it's even gray colored.
  • Stone Wall: One of their units, Bastion, is this. It is so large that it blocks line of sight, come with large amount of health, is unarmed, and it can emits sonic pulses that forces nearby enemies to attack the Bastion instead of more squishy allies.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Justified in that, well... they're nanobots.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: Downplayed. The Goo's transformation from exploratory probe to protean army was the discovery of the Shroud, and from there deciding that such an Omnicidal Maniac was such a threat to not only humans but all life that any action necessary to stop them, even working against their creators if they happened upon the Goo, overrode Laws 2 and 3. They don't actually want to conquer or destroy humans or life in general however.

The Shroud

     The Shroud 
A malevolent race of alien locusts responsible for wiping out most of the Beta race and causing the Grey Goo to reassess the Three Laws-Compliant code that all humanity's robotics have to mean "I've got to stop this thing or everyone dies." Known to the Beta as "the Silent Ones" and to mankind as "the Shroud". They serve as a bigger bad in the main game as their existence is what propels the three factions to fight each other, and as the Big Bad faction of the expansion DLC Descent of the Shroud.

The Shroud provide example of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: They are completely genocidal with regards to other intelligent life.
  • Big Bad: In the Descent of the Shroud DLC.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: They aesthetically resemble a hybrid of the Zerg and the Scrin.
  • I Have Many Names: They do not call themselves anything but they have many names each and every one to run away from: "the Darkness", "the Silence", "the Silent Ones", "the Shroud".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Their genocidal nature is the reason the Goo has grown militaristic and the Beta were almost wiped out by it, indirectly causing the main game's conflicts. It steps out of the shadows and into the Big Bad role for the DLC expansion Descent of the Shroud

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


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