A Gigant on the megastructure Phedra, with some average-sized nearbaseline humans
Gigantes- A sub-clade of physically augmentedNephilim designed to be able to engage in "riskier" and more demanding activities. Gigantes are often significantly taller and more massive than purely biological Nephilim.
The original Nephilim clade began as an offshoot of the smaller (but still quite bulky) Goliath clade, and the primary goal of the clade was to see exactly how tall a biological being with a humanoid shaped body could be. With heavy tweaking and tinkering with the bones and muscles, and theendocrine, nervous and digestive systems, they eventually were able to top out at a range between 6 and 9 meters under Earth standard gravity (low-gravity tweak variants could exceed this figure by as much as 10 meters.)
Having been able to achieve these great heights came with some significant changes to how most humanoid species live and operate, due to the fact that with beings that tall, simply living day to day can carry substantial physical risks. Most notably, they could no longer engage in activities that involved a great deal of movement or speed, due to the fact that the risk of falling down can be potentially disastrous. While the vast majority of Nephilim were able to make peace with this biological reality, and adjusted their lifestyles and living habits accordingly, as they began to spread out and expand their interstellar range, many members began to become dissatisfied with this way of living, and yearned to be able to engage in the same kinds of activities that the "tiny" clades were able to do. These members broke with their clades' tradition and values and began to experiment with cyborging and bioborging to see how they could maintain their height, while also engaging in more "extreme" activities.
Several of the modifications made by the Nephilim included reinforcing their bones and skeleton with diamondoid especially nanotubes in order to better protect the bones from breakage under extreme stress. These mods were not able to be given through normal childbirth, so they became a common post-natal treatment for children. In addition, they took advantage of the "shock gel" mods that were used by clades like the Athenaeids so that they could be better protected against falls. In the most extreme cases, many Nephilim took to adding Ultimate Muscles or permanent dry-tech exosuits to increase their physical capabilities and to protect themselves against life-threatening falls and injury. Some of the resulting Gigantes can be classified into further sub-clades on the basis of the type and degree of augmentation used.
The new clades adopted the name Gigantes from ancient Greek myth. In those myths the Gigantes were a race of giants, and the children of Gaia, who rose up against the Olympian Gods with the giant Enceladus being mortally wounded in the battle. The Gigantes were mostly found in the ancient province of Phedra, and this name was used for one of the first megastructures adapted to suit this outsized clade.
Further Height Increases
Although many Nephilim who made the transitions chose to remain in the baseline height range, an additional bonus to using mods such as Diamondoid Bones and Ultimate Muscles was that an additional height increase was possible due to the much enhanced strength and durability of the materials involved. Many Gigantes tower over baseline Nephilim, with some members topping out at around 30 meters in height in Earth-like gravities. Further growth than this is technically possible, but on 1G worlds beings higher than about 30 meters would simply weigh too much, and adverse effects start happening, such as sinking into the soil and shaking the ground when they walk.
Another problem is the large amount of waste heat produced by very large Gigantes - they can require many megawatts of power to simply move at walking pace, and to raise their limbs from the vertical. Some of the largest Gigantes have radiator fins on their backs, like a lizard's crest or a pair of wings that cannot support flight.
As the Gigantes spread into new environments, many of the have taken on further modifications, some of which only vaguely resemble the original Gigante body plan. Offshoot subclades include the Expanded Gigantes which include large inflated cells or voids within their structure, lowering their body density significantly. These giants have an integrated framework of Diamondoid and artificial muscle to maintain rigidity and physical strength. Expanded Gigantes often resemble vast inflated mannequins and often have difficulty standing upright in high winds.
Aquagigantes are a Gigante offshoot designed to live in an oceanic environment. They rely on the buoyancy of the water for support and as a coolant, which means they can be considerably larger than land Gigantes. They may be found wading in shallow seas and lakes, or swimming with (much smaller) Gaian Whales and Megapteras, or even walking along the sea-floor completely submerged.
Low-gravity and microgravity Gigantes have been known to exceed 1km in total height, but they do tend to suffer from waste heat problems; some grow large radiation surfaces, others slow down their activities to a minimum. Vacuum-adapted Gigantes often occupy the same territories and follow the same activities as the unrelated Jotunn clade, which developed directly from vaccuum-adapted humans.
A small but significant number of Gigantes have ascended to S:1 level, and some have retained their humanoid appearance; this is easier for a Gigante S:1 than for most humanoid transapients, because of the larger body size. However many ascended Gigantes quickly change their bodyplan into something far stranger.
In most cases the Gigante sub-clades ended up looking much different than that of the standard Nephilim baseline. Trying to maintain the great height of their ancestors while simultaneously allowing themselves to take on additional physical tasks resulted in sophonts that look and act quite different to the originals. Regardless, these beings recognize and appreciate their Nephilim heritage, and feel that using these mods to alter themselves is a way to expand the expression of the Nephilim condition.
Many baseline Nephilim traditionalists oppose these trends, however, and they feel that these offshoots should not be considered to be closely affiliated with the original clade by the wider community, and some even recommend that they be disregarded altogether. For this reason a large number of Gigante communities have migrated far afield, away from their original homelands.
Gigantes are often found in association with other giant clades, such as Jotunn, Mega-Mecha, Vechidai, large dinosaurs and certain provolved giant sophonts. They often perform useful construction and maintenance tasks, often as a hobby rather than a full-time career.