The Shivan Manifesto is a long, complex document created by Antares. It describes (in detail) a theory on the origins and motivations of the Shivans during the events of the FreeSpace saga. Though the theory has gained some support, it has many detractors, and is not considered canon, nor is it generally accepted by the FS community. See the full text here.
Summary of the Manifesto
The theory outlined in the Manifesto is based on the idea that the subspace travel performed by Terrans and Vasudans is harmful to subspace. It claims that the Shivans are energy beings from subspace, that use a kind of exoskeleton to maintain integrity in our own plane of existence, and their attacks against the two races are the Shivans aggressive defence of their home dimension whenever large levels of subspace activity occur in any given area of space.
The theory also explains the Shivans' motivation for destroying Capella as an act of fear, lest the GTVA deploy more Colossi in large numbers, as they were not able to understand how a civilization's technology could evolve so quickly. The 'comm nodes' may in fact be life support devices, linking the Shivans to subspace.
Support for the theory
The theory itself is based largely on conjecture from both the Ancients and Bosch monologues in FreeSpace 1, and FreeSpace 2, respectively, and a number of the ideas (such as the Shivans as energy beings) are not mentioned by any canon sources.
Criticisms of the theory
- Main article: Criticisms of the Shivan Manifesto
According to its detractors, the theory omits or ignores many significant pieces of information from the games, and overemphasizes the significance of others. It also makes several significant statements based almost entirely on guesswork, with no indication from either game to base these statements on.
Specifically, it makes major assumptions about the nature of the ETAK device, the Shivan Comm Nodes and the Shivans themselves without ingame evidence, and contradicts in game evidence on several points (for example, the belief that the Shivans would be frightened of the possibility of multiple GTVA Colossus-class vessels without any evidence that such vessels exist).
Also, the fact that the Shivans rely almost entirely on shields for their fighters, and the fact that shields don't work in subspace, casts serious doubt on this theory.