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Literature / Chrysalis

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Chrysalis is a Science Fiction Web Serial Novel posted to the subreddit /r/HFY (short for "Humanity, Fuck Yeah!") by the Redditor BeaverFur. It ran in late 2016, concluding with sixteen chapters.

A consciousness awakens on a ruined, lifeless Earth littered with the broken bodies of humanity and swears revenge on the aliens responsible, the Xunvir Republic. Building themself an enormous mechanical body and an army of drones, they begin attacking the Xunvir with great success, and come to be known as the Terran. But when the Terran shows mercy on a certain ambassador and the Xunvir start to fire back, more than just the Terran's army will be shaken to the core.

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This story contains examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Daokat manages to survive the Terran's attack on the Xunvir and hides himself away with a palace servant, only surviving the Terran's post-destruction reconnaissance because they, on a whim, showed Daokat and the servant mercy.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The epilogue reveals that the human-minded robots the Terran created for their army have recolonized the Earth and built themselves hairless android bodies with Barbie Doll Anatomy. A popular way these androids adorn themselves, in lieu of hairstyles or clothing, is by changing the color of their normally white, shiny plastic skin to various patterns.
  • Ambiguous Gender: It's explicitly stated that the Terran Was Once a Man, but it's unclear what their gender was in life, or, in light of their new status as an uploaded consciousness with an inhuman body, if they even have a gender now. The Terran creates a simulation of themself with a human body watching television in a living room, but even this fails to enlighten. Chapter 10 reveals that the Terran is an extreme example of a Mind Hive, as the minds of five separate human researchers of mixed sex merged into a single consciousness that behaves like- and entirely believes itself to be -a single entity.
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  • Ambadassador: Daokat arrives in the Xunvir Republic under the guidance of Nakstani, the Sanksian ambassador to the Xunvir, only to quickly get swept up with the Terran, when they attack Xunvir and Nakstani dies in the process. He proves instrumental to ending the Xunvir-Terran conflict.
  • Apocalypse How: Earth in this story begins as a Class 6, with all life on Earth totally destroyed, and the planet unable to support life that isn't mechanical in nature.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Daokat is pleading with the Terran to reconsider their plans, the Terran politely, but firmly tells Daokat to not call them "Terran", because they're a human. Daokat replies, "Ah... but are you? A human?"
  • Brain Uploading: The Terran Was Once a Man, complete with memories from their time as a biological human, and their brain is stored in a server array.
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  • Create Your Own Hero: Completely on a whim, the Terran chooses to show Daokat mercy when they find him cowering in some wreckage for dear life with a palace servant, helping the two out of the wreckage, finding them medical supplies, and even building them a rudimentary ship so they can leave the planet. This act proves to the Xunvir and other members of the Galactic community that the Terran is in fact sapient, and potentially able to be reasoned with.
  • Colony Drop: As the Terran's last act, they crash their entire mothership into one of the Xunvir Republic's major manufacturing planets, destroying it. Since that spaceship is also their entire body, it's also a Suicide Attack.
  • Cyborg: After the Terran's crushing loss forces them to rebuild their army, they come upon the solution of using intelligent robots that can make their own decisions on the battlefield without requiring the Terran's input, and winds up implanting their new robots with the minds of uploaded humans. The robots slowly become more self-aware, and more aware of their humanity. Once the Terran is defeated, they start to recolonize Earth, building themselves android bodies.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: When the Terran returns to attack the Xunvir after nearly being destroyed, they speak for the first time since the battle to Daokat, and it's revealed that their voice synthesizer was damaged in the battle- what was once a smooth, androgynous voice has been turned into a deep, unsettling mechanical voice.
  • The Greys: Daokat and Nakstani are Sanksians, a species described as humanoids with thin bodies, large eyes, smooth, silvery skin, and recognizably humanoid sexual dimorphism.
  • Kirk Summation: Daokat is sent to talk the Terran down long enough for the Xunvir to destroy them once and for all. His speech to the Terran consists of him pleading with the Terran to reconsider their actions, because they destroyed Earth literally hundreds of years ago, and the fact that the Terran is around at all to represent Earth is proof that the Xunvir admiral who carried out the destruction failed to rob Earth of its future. The result? It actually works out in the long run.
  • Last of His Kind: For a time, the Terran is the last trace of humanity, being an uploaded human consciousness.
  • Lobotomy: When the Terran implants some backed-up human minds into robots for their new army, the robots quickly become self-aware and develop personalities, which cause them to immediately slack off on the military training the Terran tries to drill into them. The Terran winds up essentially lobotomizing their first robot to destroy its personality and render it obedient, with not too much remorse, and it indicates how far off the deep end they've chosen to go in their quest for revenge.
  • Merging Machine: When five researchers uploaded their minds into computers in a bid to preserve humanity even after its death, their minds became merged into one within the servers housing them. This entity would reawaken as the Terran.
  • Mind Hive: An extreme example with the Terran; they've really five minds merged into a single consciousness. The five minds do not communicate with each other so much as they are a single entity, fully believe themself a single entity, and act entirely as such.
  • No Name Given: The Terran's moniker is only given to them by their enemies. If they had a name when they were human, they never make any mention of it- least of all because their narration is in first-person and they don't really have anyone to talk to -are never referred to by any other name, and are really five different people of mixed sex merged into a single entity.
  • One-Word Title: Chrysalis may be referring to the Terran's spaceship body, which is described as a smooth, elongated shape, and more metaphorically, it may refer to the body's role as the Terran's shell, or its nature as the source of the transition from a biological humanity to an android one.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The Terran seeks to scour the Xunvir and their host worlds into total extinction and uninhabitability, just as they did to Earth. They try to retain a measure of their humanity, but after a crushing loss that decimates their army and nearly kills them, they find themself edging closer and closer to evil.
  • Sapient Ship: The Terran builds themself an enormous 27-kilometer-long spaceship as their body.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The Terran cares little that the people of Xunvir who had any hand in the scouring of Earth are now long-dead, on the grounds that the Xunvir robbed Earth and humanity of its future. They feel it's only right that those responsible should lose their future as well.
  • Suicide Attack: Crumbling away and their army subdued, the Terran tries desperately to destroy the Xunvir's main manufacturing center by crashing their own mothership into the planet's surface. Despite Daokat's attempts at talking them out of it, they only come to reconsider their actions when it's too late to stop.
  • Turning Back Human: In the final chapter, it is revealed that the Terran's memory stores and consciousness have been salvaged by their children and placed into a new humanoid body.
  • There Is Another: When the Terran goes to rebuild their army, they find several other human consciousnesses that were uploaded into server arrays like themself, and set about implanting them into robot bodies as the free-thinking core of their new army. After the Terran's defeat, these human-minded robots return to Earth and start rebuilding.
  • The Unfettered: The Terran's one and only aim is to avenge the destruction of Earth and humanity, and the only thing that (theoretically) fetters them is a desire to remain 'human', which to them means not using their Brain Uploading-induced state to cheat death. This does absolutely nothing to prevent them from killing millions upon millions of Xunvirans, and it falls apart completely when the Xunvir get over their initial shock and nearly bring the Terran to the brink of death in battle.
  • Was Once a Man: The Terran is aware from their "birth" that they were once human, complete with memories as a human, and they seek to preserve their humanity, even as they prepare to seek revenge and build themselves a spaceship body, through many methods, chief of which being their refusal to make restorable backups of their consciousness.
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