X-Com: UFO defense said in the UFOpaedia that Elerium was a rare element with a nucleus of 115 protons, the source of alien power that worked at 99% efficiency and also that it was the so-called "Island of stability" that elemental scientists have been trying to find- all the other super-heavy elements are unstable and don't last very long at all.
Element 115, however, has not yet been discovered. We've discovered elements of a higher atomic number, but we haven't found 115 itself.
I'm no expert on atomic theory, but it's fairly certain that Xcom's treatment of elerium was pretty anachronistic. Not only did Elerium NOT occur ANYWHERE on earth, it was surprisingly available in ABUNDANCE on Mars of all places. Kinda weird. This was very important in game terms because even if you had killed the alien bases and were doing pretty good, you couldn't ignore UFO's because you had to 'harvest' them for Elirium to power your stolen alien technology to fight back.
So, I offer a few alternatives, the usual recourse of science fiction writers:
1. Keep the name "Elerium" it's cool. But, instead of making it an element, make it a hard-to-synthesize, energy-rich compound found specifically on mars for reasons unknown that can be harvested as a source of power(well, the aliens can harvest it...). (Parallel: Oil, Coal, Diamonds- the latter just as an example of difficult to sythesize).
2. Be strategically vague on areas we don't know a lot about.
3. To quote the computer Joshua from 'War Games,' : "The only way to win is not to play." In other words, take Elerium outside of the realm of science. Magic? Maybe, but don't call it that. You could just say it involves otherworldly nature/influence (spiritual overtones maybe?)
...problem with this is that it denies the traditional approach to being true to XCOM.
4. Or, we could embrace the anachronism, and since Element 115 has not been found yet, one could remain true to the letter of the original XCOM and not have a GLARING scientific contradiction. I.e., science doesn't BLATANTLY disagree... there are no examples of Element 115 that they can then say, "This doesn't have any of Elerium's properties". An example would be The movie Alien 3, where the inmates on the prison planet all suffered from the "XYY" genetic defect of having an extra Y chromosome, and were thus "the most violent, aggressive criminal offenders" (this is a common pseudoscientific belief that has no basis in fact).
Edited by Breunor, 24 February 2004 - 09:12 AM.