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History of the Star Control Universe
The history of STAR CONTROL begins on Earth in the 1930's, when a popular form of entertainment was the radio. It was harmless in the beginning, but when transmissions grew so strong that they reached distant stars, several alien species took notice of their first evidence of sentient life on a distant world. One of the species listening was the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. As early as 1940, the Kzer-Za began to formulate sinister schemes to attack Earth while benign, peaceful aliens lay plans to warn the Humans of the Kzer-Za threat.
The Scrutiny of Earth Intensifies
From strange worlds light years away, good and evil aliens watched with growing interest as Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first Human to orbit Earth in 1961. Less than a decade later, a tremor swept through the advanced life-forms beyond the solar system as American Astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin became the first Humans to tread Earth's moon.
Alien scrutiny intensified as armed conflicts on Earth continued unabated. The Small War of 2015 came close to obliterating civilization on Earth when nuclear combat broke out between several Middle Eastern countries. Less than a dozen warheads were exchanged, but even so, nearly a million people died. The terrible loss of life and the threat of planetwide Armageddon sobered global leaders. The leaders of the industrialized nations and the Third World met at United Nations headquarters in New York and agreed to cooperate in an immediate strengthening of U.N. authority. Within six months, the U.N. Security Council had assembled a large Peace-Keeping Army and assumed worldwide control over all weapons of mass destruction. "Mass-kill" devices were gathered from every country that possessed them. The weapons were dismantled and stored in huge subterranean bunkers that came to be known as "Peace Vaults". Simultaneously, the U.N. outlawed the sale of smaller arms. Ten years after the U.N. summit, in 2025, the Earth experienced its first year without war. To ensure the total destruction of the arms trade, the United Nations prohibited future weapons research, including the development of nuclear fusion and fission technologies that might be adapted for bomb-making purposes. Laser applications were closely monitored to prevent the design of laser weapons.
Despite these restrictions, science advanced across a wide spectrum of disciplines, especially in bio-technology. Brilliant Swiss scientist Hsien Ho combined the genome map with sophisticated genetic-engineering techniques and perfected the artificial parthenogenesis - cloning - of Humans at the Zurich BioTeknik in 2019. Though the clones were Human in appearance, Hsien Ho had modified their genes so they couldn't reproduce.
Meanwhile, a new religious order, Homo Deus, or "The Godly Men", was founded in the aftermath of the Small War and the emotional turmoil caused by the destruction of the Holy Lands. Its charismatic founder, former car salesman Jason MacBride, built his worldwide following on the thesis that the Millennium was near. He predicted March 11, 2046 as the date when Heaven and Earth would join and each devout person would be elevated to a divine status. The movement captured the imagination of millions of poor and disillusioned individuals worldwide. Within a few years, "Brother Jason" was one of the most powerful and influential people on the planet.
For most people on Earth, the following two decades were a time of peace and prosperity. This was not the case for Hsien Ho's clones. Seeing Ho's creations as a threat to his "Godly Men", Jason MacBride fought to have the clones declared sub-human. Calling them "Androsynths", or "fake men", he used the vast resources of his organization to strip them of their Human rights. Sadly, as the years passed, the Androsynths became little better than well-treated slaves.
Not unexpectedly, March 11, 2046 came and went without the arrival of Jason MacBride's promised Millennium. Citing a "lack of genuinely devout people", MacBride withdrew from public life and faded into obscurity, his power and fortunes rapidly declining.
By the middle of the 21st Century, Humans had begun to colonize their solar system. Planet-orbiting factories led to lunar bases and soon there were mining and research outposts scattered across the Asteroid Belt. Yet the expansion of mankind into deep space was limited by the relatively slow speed of their spacecraft. Research began in earnest to develop ships that could travel faster than the speed of light.
The Androsynth Rebellion
Stronger, smarter, and more adaptable than normal Humans, the Androsynths despised and deeply resented their slave status. By the late 2070's, there were tens of thousands of Androsynths distributed across the planet, many of them doing sophisticated scientific and technological research. In retrospect, the Clone Revolt of 2085 was inevitable. In the Spring of that year, the Androsynths staged a worldwide rebellion with the help of a sympathetic Human underground.
The uprising had been exquisitely planned. Within 24 hours, nearly every spaceflight facility on the planet had been captured. Andyosynths working at the captured facilities had secretly fueled and readied over a thousand spacecraft to carry their people off the planet. Two days after the rebellion began, the freed clones took over all orbital and lunar bases, leaving not a single Androsynth on Earth. "Star Control", the recently established wing of the United Nations' military forces, made several attempts to evict the clones, but each time their ships approached, they were burnt to ashes by colossal MASER weapons that Androsynth scientists had fashioned out of formerly benign energy broadcast units.
After two months of futile strikes on Androsynth strongholds with conventional weapons, the U.N. leadership decided to use the means of mass destruction stored in the Peace Vaults. Yet before the nuclear bombs and laser rays could be reassembled, Star Control scoutships watching the orbiting bases reported an amazing sight. Eight of the largest space stations were accelerating out of Earth orbit, heading toward the periphery of the solar system. The Androsynths had modified the huge space-stations for flight, including the recently finished StarLight Hilton.
Although Star Control chase-ships were never able to catch the space-stations, a ten-thruster ore freighter on its way home from an Asteroid Belt mining base was able to make a high-V interception of the rag-tag fleet. As the freighter pilot approached the fleeing space-stations, they began to glow with a bright energy field that spun around the ships with blazing speed. According to the pilot, a "great red hole" over 500 meters across appeared in front of the space-stations. As he watched in disbelief, the stations flew into the hole one by one and vanished in a starburst of white lights. When the last of the Androsynth strongholds had disappeared, the hole collapsed rapidly inward, imploding into nothingness. Almost 50 years would pass before Humans encountered the Androsynths again.
Aliens Contact Earth
In 2112, Earth's largest and most remote space installation, Ceres Base, was built on the 700 kilometer-wide asteroid of the same name. Three years later, it was the site of mankind's first official contact with an alien life-form - the crystalline Chenjesu. The alien vessel suddenly appeared out of nowhere, a scarlet flash of light announcing its presence as it took a position 3 kilometers above the asteroid. Almost immediately, the alien ship broadcasted this message:
"People from Earth: We are the Chenjesu. We mean you no harm. We come in peace with an urgent message. Heed these words: there is a horde of conquering warriors advancing toward your solar system from deep space. They are called the Ur-Quan. They know you are here. They will make slaves of you as they have made slaves of a thousand races across the galaxy. They will enslave both our species, Chenjesu and Human, unless we stop them now."
"We are not alone in our struggle. There are others who will fight with us against the Ur-Quan. Together - in an alliance with the remaining free stars - we may yet turn back the enemy, defeating the Ur-Quan and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls."
"We beseech you to join us, for we desperately need your help. But we do not have much time. What is your answer?"
For over a week, the answer was stunned silence.
The Alliance of Free Stars
The Chenjesu representatives were patient. Beings of vast intellect and perception, they understood the physiological shock that their sudden appearance had on the Humans, a people who had never before had contact with a sentient species other that their own. The aliens remained in the solar system for several months, conferring with political, military, and scientific leaders of Earth. Meanwhile, the Chenjesu's starship transported U.N. observers through HyperSpace to visit several worlds that had been attacked by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. The sad evidence of wholesale slaughter and devastation, and the accounts of dazed survivors, proved that the Chenjesu account was true. On August 1, 2116, Earth joined the Chenjesu and their other allies - The Mmrnmhrm, the Yehat, the Shofixti, and unofficially, the Syreen - to form the Alliance of Free Stars.
Following formal ratification of the pact by the United Nations, Star Control was placed under the direct authority of the Alliance Command Council.
The Chenjesu expected Earth to play a major role in the Alliance, as combatants and suppliers of war material. Though technologically primitive, Human civilization had thousands of factories and millions of skilled workers able to manufacture munitions and spacecraft. The tens of thousands of thermo-nuclear weapon components in the Peace Vaults were an additional bonus which surprised the Chenjesu.
On the day following Earth's induction into the Alliance, Arilou Lalee'lay representatives landed on Earth's moon. They transmitted a request to meet with Alliance representatives, so a delegation of Human and Chenjesu diplomats journeyed to the lunar surface. The Arilou explained that they too were threatened by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and had come to join the Alliance of Free Stars. Alliance headquarters was consulted, and soon afterward the Arilou were welcomed into the coalition. Although the Arilou were extremely secretive - unwilling to discuss even the locations of their homeworlds - they provided additional strength to the Alliance. This strength was to be tested almost immediately.
The Course of the War
There were many great battles between the Alliance of Free Stars and the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. Both the Alliance and the Hierarchy built hundreds of asteroid forts all across the spiral arm of the galaxy. Only a small fraction of these fortified positions, and the colonies and mining bases that surrounded them, survived the fighting.
As the war spread, new alien races were drawn into the conflict until finally there were 14 separate species at war. On the Alliance side were the Humans, the Chenjesu, the Yehat, the Mmrnmhrm, the Arilou Lalee'lay, the Syreen, and the Shofixti. Fighting with the Kzer-Za were the Mycon, the Spathi (against their will), the Androsynths, the VUX, the Ilwrath, and the Umgah.
By 2134 it was becoming clear to both sides that the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls were slowly but surely winning the war.
Captain Burton's Discovery
On March 16, 2134, Star Control Captain I. Burton, a highly respected 28-year old female Human, was leading a task force of heavy cruisers on a deep recon into what was believed to be a friendly sector near the Zeeman-Vela star cluster. She had just taken a navigational star fix when the ships from Earth were suddenly ambushed by an elite force of Androsynth Guardian combat vessels. The Androsynth ships had been modified for extended blazer mode, giving them increased speed and range. The task force was cut to shreds and only Burton's vessel, the Tobermoon, escaped destruction. Knowing that the Tobermoon could not outrun the Guardian ships, Captain Burton sped her craft toward the heart of Zeeman's Star, a nearby supergiant sun. She had a desperate plan, a last ditch ploy she prayed would confuse the pursuers' sensors. The bridge crew began to panic as heat in the cabin climbed to oven-like temperatures. Two enlisted men finally broke under the pressure and came for Burton, terror in their eyes and sweat pouring down their faces. Burton drew her sidearm and held the mutineers off. With the cabin temperature nearing 150 degrees Fahrenheit and the Tobermoon's outer hull beginning to liquefy, Burton jettisoned the ship's entire stock of nuclear missiles and detonated them. From the Androsynths' perspective, the Tobermoon had exploded when it flew too close to the superhot sun.
As the Androsynth task force sped out of the system, a severely damaged Tobermoon slowly emerged from its hiding place behind Zeeman's Star. Burton ordered a damage report. As she'd suspected, the craft had sustained severe damage. Worse, the ship's engineers informed her that they couldn't make repairs without a planetfall on a world with a breathable atmosphere. Like most supergiant stars, Zeeman did not have any Earth-like planets in orbit around it, so the Tobermoon limped through space for almost a week before Hyper-Radar reconnaissance located a hospitable planet orbiting the dwarf star Vela. It was the second planet in the system, and it had an oxygen rich atmosphere and deposits of metal ore which the Humans could refine and use to repair their ship.
After a successful landing, Burton ordered the engineers to begin repairs. She sent the rest of the crew off to explore their surroundings. It was by chance that a young ensign chose to enter an unremarkable cave in a nearby hillside. What he found inside was the most remarkable discovery of the century - a huge underground installation, the size of a small city, built in the distant past by a race known only as the Precursors. The cave was massive, over 2500 meters long and averaging 50 meters from floor to ceiling. The main tunnel had countless side passages and hidden niches, almost all crammed with futuristic equipment and hundreds of long-dormant robots. Halfway down the main gallery, a deep crevasse sliced across the tunnel floor, evidence of a tremendous prehistoric quake that had offset the adjoining walls by more than ten meters. Over the centuries, water trickling into the cave from the planet's surface had carried countless minute traces of calcium carbonate that had settled out as lime. As the limestone sediment built up, it covered much of the Precursors' wondrous machinery with a smooth coating called flowstone, five to ten meters thick in some places. Artifacts of this advanced alien species had been found in every quarter of known space, but this was the first time an entire Precursor base had been discovered. Captain Burton recognized that the wealth of advanced technology could bring the Alliance victory over the Ur-Quan - but only if scientists could be brought to Vela 2 to study the fantastic find.
Realizing that the surrounding region of space could fall under enemy control at any time, Burton wished the Tobermoon's communication equipment was powerful enough to send a message all the way back to Earth. It wasn't, though, so she accelerated the repairs to the Tobermoon then rocketed back to Earth at emergency warp speed to report her findings to her superiors at Star Control. Within a week, the Tobermoon was on the return leg to Vela 2, crammed full of hastily assembled scientific equipment and experts on both the Precursors' civilization and their advanced xenotechnology.
Expedition to Vela 2
The most respected but least liked Precursor expert in the expedition to Vela 2 was Professor Jules Farnsworth. Though recognized as a great mind, Farnsworth was widely disliked for his flamboyant egotism and rude impatience with peers. It wasn't long before both his fellow scientists on the mission and Captain Burton rued the decision to bring Farnsworth along, for the professor did little but complain during the voyage from Earth to Vela 2. Yet, as irksome as he was, Professor Farnsworth proved his worth almost immediately upon his arrival at the Precursor installation. Within hours, he had located the base's deactivated central control computer. While the professor worked feverishly on the ancient aliens' computer, Captain Burton received a fateful message from the Star Control High Command.
As feared, the Ur-Quan had smashed through the defensive lines drawn between the Mira and Indi constellations. Star Control reconnaissance ships had reported that a large Hierarchy task force was hurtling toward the Vela star system. Captain Burton was ordered to evacuate Vela 2 and return to Earth immediately. To prevent the Hierarchy from obtaining the ancient secrets of the Precursors, Burton was ordered to install nuclear devices throughout the Precursor installation and to activate them as soon as the Tobermoon was in orbit, destroying the entire complex.
The non-military members of the Vela 2 research team were stunned by the order. To destroy the most significant discovery of the century was unthinkable! Professor Farnsworth was especially distraught for he was in the middle of several critical research projects that promised to unlock ancient Precursor technical secrets. In an uncharacteristic display of courage, he offered to remain behind, promising to detonate the nuclear bombs if the Ur-Quan found the Precursor caves. The majority of the other scientists and engineers also asked to stay on Vela 2 and continue their research. Finally, Captain Burton was persuaded that saving the treasure trove of advanced Precursor technology was more important than obeying a direct order from the High Command. Still, she didn't trust Farnsworth to detonate the nuclear devices should the Ur-Quan land, so she decided that the only logical thing to do was to remain behind herself.
On August 11, 2134, command of the Tobermoon was turned over to First Officer Chi. Burton ordered him to leave the star system immediately, return to Earth at best speed, and brief the High Command on the expedition's desperate attempt to save the Precursor installation. Chi promised to return with a relief party and supplies as soon as the Ur-Quan attack was repulsed. After the Tobermoon had lifted off, the team quickly moved all their equipment deep into the cave system and obscured all signs of their presence from the planet's surface, so Vela 2 would appear uninhabited to any Ur-Quan ship that might scan the terrain. The weeks turned into months as Captain Burton and her team of 200 waited for the return of the Tobermoon.
After six months in the caves, food reserves grew critically short, so Captain Burton imposed strict rationing. Professor Farnsworth found a data bank in the computer describing Vela 2's flora and fauna. Burton felt her spirits soar as Farnsworth pointed out several plants and animals that could be harvested for food. The most likely sources of meat were the red-brown Libixx, animals that looked like winged rabbits, and the six-legged Ortogs, 2,000 pound beasts with pendulous udders that resembled a cross between a cow and a lizard. Both had cell structures, internal organs, and flesh remarkably similar to mammals on Earth. The Precursor data also indicated that several plant species - especially the giant blue-flowered Iccamullon - had the same proteins, sugars, and starches as crops Humans had been raising for centuries. Captain Burton assigned teams to hunt wild animals and harvest food plants, allowing them out of the caves only under cover of dark for the first year they were there. Then, gradually as the years passed, the marooned Humans grew confident that they were safe from discovery by the Ur-Quan. They began to see themselves as colonists and most moved out of the caves to settle on the surface. Still, with Captain Burton prodding them, the Humans remained cautious, building camouflaged houses and planting crops in purposefully chaotic patterns. Eventually they gave their planet a name: Unzervalt. It meant, simply, "our world".
Ten years slipped past, marked by the deaths of a dozen colonists from accidents or old age, and the birth of 42 children. Several of the scientists had become full-time farmers. Others fabricated old-fashioned bullet-firing rifles and disappeared into the Unzervalt wilderness, appearing months later clad in Ortog skins and bursting with tales of strange landscapes and even stranger life-forms.
After more than a decade of hard work, Professor Farnsworth announced with considerable fanfare that he had finally succeeded in unlocking the secret of the Precursor Control Computer. Without Captain Burton's permission - indeed without even knowing what would happen - Farnsworth commanded the computer to initiate its prime function. The resulting near-disaster almost got the professor put in the stockade.
Suddenly, the machinery within the cave roared to life. Huge electrical arcs shot between massive electrodes, incinerating a wooden storage shack. Robotic vehicles tore across the cavern floor right through several Human-made buildings. A 30 meter tall crane-like machine detached itself from one wall and swiftly rolled through the cave, nearly crushing a group of panicked scientists. It was a miracle that no one was killed in the ensuing chaos as Humans fled the caves in terror.
The next day, robotic vehicles emerged from the cave and cut down a nearby forest. They leveled the ground, covered the surface with some kind of metallic plastic, then returned to the cave.
Captain Burton led a squad of volunteers back into the caves on a cautious reconnaissance mission. Inside the main cavern, they found the robots assembling the spine of a huge starship. The robots seemed to be aware of the Humans' presence, turning to focus benign scanners on the volunteers several times, but they obviously did not consider the Humans a threat. Captain Burton decided that it was safe for the Humans to return to their work in the caves, so long as they kept out of the robots' way.
Days later, an abashed Farnsworth was finally coaxed back to the Precursor Control Computer to continue his research. Soon after, he discovered that the construction process would soon transition out of the caves, that the assembly of the starship would continue on the planet's surface. As far as he could tell, the construction was going to take a long time.
The "long time" that Farnsworth predicted turned out to be nearly a decade. The colonists grew accustomed to the framework of a great starship looming above their tiny village. Day after day, a hundred robots moved across the surface of the vessel, welding and fitting, assembling and fabricating.
Then one day, without warning, the construction robots stopped working, returned to their original positions in the cave, and shutdown completely, leaving the cave was as the research team had first found it - silent, motionless. The only evidence of recent activity there was the equipment that the Humans had moved, the flowstone that they had carved away, and a couple of small shacks that they had built here and there. A flustered and frantic Professor Farnsworth asked the Control Computer for an explanation and was given an immediate answer. There were not enough raw materials left to finish the vessel, nor were there suitable substitutes anywhere on the planet. A week of tests by Burton and her team found the ship complete enough to blast off from the surface of Vela 2, but it would have to cruise slowly through HyperSpace, lightly armed, and with only enough room for a skeleton crew.
It was obvious from the interior of the starship that the Precursors were giants, and seemingly not bipedal. Levers were almost impossible to move and three people were required to actuate a single switch. The chairs, beds, and other furnishings were better suited for a woolly mammoth than a Human.
An automated control system was needed, so despite vehement protests from Farnsworth, the Captain ordered the Precursors' computer installed in the vessel and reconfigured to run it. After 20 years marooned on Vela 2, the colonists were almost ready to return to Earth.
Pressed to begin programming the computer, Farnsworth broke down and admitted that he had never really understood the incredibly complicated system. For years, he had secretly employed the natural computer talents of a precocious young genius, the son of an officer from the Tobermoon and a Research Team engineer. Each night, after Farnsworth left the Control Computer console, the young boy had crept into the caves and tinkered with the computer. Within a few months, the child had established a rapport with the computer. When the Professor discovered the boy's activities, he used gifts and false promises to win the child's confidence, then talked the young genius into activating the entire complex.
Farnsworth's lie was revealed. This time, Captain Burton did throw him into the stockade.
Then, Burton called the young man into her office and proposed a plan. She would command the starship and he would serve as pilot, acting as the interface with the starship's Precursor computer.
With trepidation, I accepted. That's right - yours truly, Ambassador Zelnick (Shaun - Zelnick is the generally accepted name for 'The Captain'). I was the bright young man. Handsome, too.
The Return to Earth
After 3 months of intensive crew training, Captain Burton felt it was finally time to leave Unzervalt. I wasn't so sure, wasn't entirely comfortable with my new role as a starship officer. Burton listened as I expressed my doubts, then put an arm around my shoulders and reassured me. "You'll make a fine pilot", she said. "I'd trust a ship to you any time". Besides, all the plans were set. The two of us would lead the return to Earth, and once there send back a rescue ship for the colonists left behind. If necessary, Burton vowed, we would fight our way through the forces of the Ur-Quan Hierarchy.
I, above all, will remember that trip, for during the journey I went through a rite of passage. I left Unzervalt a boy and soon found myself forced to be a man - to lead bravely and boldly and wisely. As I think back I can recall the exhilaration of blasting off from the tiny planet where I was born - and the sheer terror later. Three days out, near the perimeter of the Oort Cloud, we found the Tobermoon - derelict and tumbling through space. The deep burns along her hull were mute evidence that she'd seen combat. Strangely, there were no bodies at all on board. And most of the important ship systems were intact. I remember how Burton wondered if Officer Chi and the other crew members had been taken prisoner, how her words conjured up a picture in my mind of the Humans being tortured - their ordeal provoking mirth in the cruel Ur-Quan. With a few days' work, the engineers brought the Tobermoon back to life. What came next changed my life forever. With Captain Burton the only one aboard qualified to pilot the Earthling Cruiser, I was put in command of the Precursor starship. I'll admit it. Standing on the bridge that I was to command, I felt proud, sure of myself. Hey, truth be told, at that moment I thought I was invincible.
My confidence didn't last long, though. With the Tobermoon leading the way, our ships pushed out into HyperSpace. Blazing white light surrounded our vessels and everything took on a crimson hue. Something up there wasn't right. I remember how my body felt like it was in a vise and how my head was spinning. I fought for control, forcing myself to focus on Captain Burton's voice as she radioed a command from the Tobermoon: "Set course for Earth".
A day later - I think it was a day, but now, looking back, I can't be sure - a sinister shadow began following us through HyperSpace. It moved fast, real fast. Within a couple of hours it was close enough to interact with our ships' hyperdrive fields, pulling us back into TrueSpace. At close range, the enemy ship looked like a pair of spinning red globes surrounded by a crackling energy field. Some kind of glowing rod or energy beam connected the red globes. By current knowledge, I would think the alien craft was a misprogrammed probe sent by the Slylandro to explore the galaxy - if it weren't for what happened next. The probe built up speed rapidly as it zeroed in on the Precursor starship. Burton saw the attack coming and signaled me to get out of the area immediately. A moment later I watched on my command console monitor as the Tobermoon flashed away on a trajectory to intercept the hostile probe. As my vessel pushed up into HyperSpace, I saw a crackling bolt of energy lance out from the alien vessel and strike the Tobermoon. The Tobermoon wobbled violently, then veered off on an erratic course in the general direction of Unzervalt. Apparently satisfied with disabling the Tobermoon, the strange probe made a 180 degree turn then sped toward deep space. (Since the behavior of that probe was not consistent with those I have known to be from the Slylandro, I can only guess at its origin. Perhaps someone had captured and reprogrammed a Slylandro probe, or, as a standard Melnorme catalog item, another race could have purchased and programmed a probe. If the latter is the case, the probe's owners are probably known only to themselves and their favorite Melnorme Trade Master.)
Once the starship had reached HyperSpace, I radioed the Tobermoon only to learn that Captain Burton had been killed by the probe's unexpected attack. I was shocked. As I recovered from my shock, I became uneasy and uncertain about the mission to Earth. Burton's death left me in full command - a command I was not ready for, but I had to be.
Five days after the alien attack, our ship arrived at a stellar vortex leading out of HyperSpace. The vortex spiraled down to the brilliant yellow star that is Earth's sun. After passing through the vortex, a navigational fix put us just beyond the orbit of the ninth planet. With all thrusters on, we could reach Earth in two days.
Earth: A Slave Planet
As we approached Earth, a ship suddenly rushed from Earth's orbit to meet us and broadcast a recorded message. The message said that the ship was a drone-vessel that spoke "with the voice and authority of the Ur-Quan" and that we had trespassed into Ur-Quan space. It then said that Earth, a slave-planet, could not be approached for any reason, nor would hostilities against their orbital platform be tolerated. It also said that since our ship did not transmit standard Hierarchy identification transmissions, we were deemed independent, which was not permissible. Finally, it said that we were to remain where we were while it went to inform the Ur-Quan of our presence and that disobedience would be punished.
Disobeying the order, we approached Earth and discovered a strange red glow around it. Unable to communicate with anyone on the surface, we headed for the orbital platform, where we established communication with Starbase Commander Hayes. After we delivered radioactive materials to fuel the starbase's energy cores, I briefed the Commander on our mission. I told him of our plans to form a new alliance to defeat the Ur-Quan. In return, he told me all he knew about a the old Alliance of Free Stars and the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. Hesitant to pledge the assistance of the starbase at first, he changed his mind when we were victorious over an Ilwrath Avenger that had come in response to a message from the Ur-Quan drone. There and then, with the Humans from Earth and Unzervalt, the New Alliance of Free Stars was formed. Several allies were found in the few short years that followed, but the Humans from the Earth Starbase would always be among the most helpful. They processed raw materials harvested from other worlds; they manufactured modules for our Precursor vessel, refueled the vessel, and manufactured many of the ships in our fleet. Many of them became eager crew-members, willing to travel across the stars in search of information and resources, and even to participate in battles when necessary.
Following is the status of the old Alliance races after they were defeated by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Earth was put under a slave-shield, after which the Arilou Lalee'lay immediately withdrew to their then-secret home. The Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm were trapped together beneath a slave-shield on the Chenjesu homeworld. The Shofixti had destroyed their own sun to impede the advance of the Ur-Quan, so they were believed to be extinct. The nomadic Syreen were trapped under a slave-shield on a planet the Kzer-Za had found for them. Finally, the Yehat chose the role of Battle Thrall and became a much-feared force of the Hierarchy, against the will of their general population.
The New Alliance of Free Stars, with the help of some non-member races, fought off the cruel Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah and the brutal Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Worlds under siege were freed, enemies became allies, and the weak, banding together, became strong. Even with our combined strength, though, the war was always a struggle. Only when we saw the destruction of the Ur-Quan's ultimate battle-platform, the Sa-Matra, did the Alliance breathe a sigh of relief. With the greatest symbol of Ur-Quan dominance shattered, both kinds of Ur-Quan, the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah, soon fell to the Alliance. Peace was made and treaties were signed between the Alliance and both factions of the Ur-Quan, although many Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah did not favor the arrangement. Before long, a Kzer-Za leader devised the Path of Ceaseless Vigilance, which asserts that the Ur-Quan must observe other races without harming them until a race poses a specific threat to the Ur-Quan. After identifying a threat, the Ur-Quan will present the threatening race with the choice to be imprisoned or annihilated then act on that choice. Since the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah were able to agree on this doctrine, they rejoined and began to act as a single race again. Curiously, all of the Kohr-Ah Marauders were taken out of service.
The reunited Ur-Quan did not colonize a homeworld in the old quadrant, instead preferring to continue their exploration of the galaxy on their Path of Ceaseless Vigilance. They did, however, assign many of their numbers to follow their Path on our united mission to the Kessari Quadrant...
The Alliance Of Free Stars
Some time ago, seven sentient races joined forces to form the Alliance of Free Stars and dedicated themselves to fighting off the threat of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. These seven races were the Arilou Lalee'lay, the Chenjesu, the Humans, the Mmrnmhrm, the Shofixti, the Syreen, and the Yehat. With the exception of the Arilou, the Shofixti, and the Yehat, each Alliance race was defeated by the Kzer-Za and their Battle Thralls and trapped under a slave-shield. The Shofixti sacrificed themselves and most of their own solar system to slow the march of the Kzer-Za, the Yehat became Battle Thralls without their fleets ever engaging the Hierarchy, and the Arilou withdrew to their then-secret home.
The New Alliance Of Free Stars
Several years ago, when I arrived at Earth, I discovered that my parents' homeworld had been conquered by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za (then known to us only as the Ur-Quan) and put under a slave-shield. After I met with Commander Hayes of the Earth Starbase, he broke the Oath of Fealty sworn to the Kzer-Za by the leaders of Earth and we hastily formed the New Alliance of Free Stars. At that time, we had only one member race, the Humans (from the Earth Starbase and Unzervalt). Soon, though, we found other races to join the New Alliance, and we continued to do so right through the end of the war. In total, there were thirteen races fighting on the side of the alliance (not all of whom were formal members) and a few others who were invaluable to our cause even though they did not join us in combat. The main members and friends of the Alliance were the Arilou Lalee'lay, the Chmmr, the Humans, the Pkunk, the Shofixti, the Spathi (before their self-erected slave-shield), the Supox, the Syreen, the Utwig, and the Zoq-Fot-Pik. Also of assistance were the Orz, the Thraddash (after a bit of convincing), and the Yehat (after they won their rebellion). Even the Melnorme were sympathetic to our cause, but their help always came with a price, and only in the form of information.
Arilou Lalee'lay: General Information
The Arilou (as individuals of that species are called) have visited Earth frequently, especially between the years 1950 and 2000, when they were responsible for flying-saucer sightings, cropfield circles, alien abductions, and similar prankish behavior. Humanoid in form, they are pale-skinned, about 1.5 meters tall, with large, childlike heads and dark, soulful eyes. While I have never heard an Arilou speak (they communicate through a direct telepathic link), they do have mouths, which are almost always stretched in a wide, innocent-looking smile.
The Arilou Lalee'lay maintain great secrecy about themselves and their motivations. In fact, their very existence was not certain until the year 2116 when they appeared without warning on Earth's moon and asked to be inducted into the original Alliance of Free Stars. Furthermore, it was only recently that we discovered a portal from HyperSpace to QuasiSpace and found their homeworld, Falayalaralfali, in a TrueSpace eddy at QuasiSpace coordinates 613.4:590.0. We have had more frequent communication with them since that time.
Arilou Lalee'lay: Space Vessel Technology
Despite it's disarming appearance, the Arilou Lalee'lay Skiff, when flown skillfully, can be one of the most effective spacecraft in this part of the galaxy. While it can sustain only a minimal amount of damage, its speed and inertia-less drive make it the most maneuverable of all ships, and its special ability to teleport can help it escape from fatal situations. The Arilou skiff's only weapon is an auto-targeting, swivel-mounted, short-range laser that pumps out damage quickly. The most effective use of this configuration can be seen when an Arilou captain uses his
ship's teleport function and his opponent's inertia to move in quickly along the rear or flank of the enemy ship, unload from a full store of energy, and then fly or teleport quickly away to recharge.
Arilou Lalee'lay: Other Technology
The Arilou Lalee'lay are one of the most technologically advanced cultures that I know of. They were the ones who installed the Portal Spawner to the Precursor vessel that I captained during the Slave Revolts so that the vessel could enter QuasiSpace from any point in HyperSpace. Since the Portal Spawner was made with a Warp Pod taken from the wreckage of a Kzer-Za Dreadnought, it is possible that the technologies of the two alien cultures were influenced by a common factor. I do not know of anyone other than myself and my crew who has visited the home of the Arilou Lalee'lay, so little else is known about their technology.
Chenjesu: General Information
The Chenjesu were one of the two founding member races of the first Alliance of Free Stars, along with the Mmrnmhrm. They are one of only two known silicon-based species to have achieved intelligence naturally (the other was the now-extinct Taalo). They are believed to have been the oldest, most technologically advanced race in the first Alliance. Since the Chenjesu evolved as photo/chemo-vores (deriving their nourishment from light and ambient minerals) with no natural predators, they were entirely non-aggressive, preferring calm philosophical discourse above all other activities.
All Chenjesu are believed to have been included in "The Process", a hybridization of their species with the Mmrnmhrm. The new hybrid race exists as the Chmmr on the original Chenjesu homeworld, Procyon 2.
Chenjesu: Space Vessel Technology
The Chenjesu Broodhome was one of the most effective of the old Alliance ships. Its large, bulky appearance and somewhat slow maneuvering beguiled its powerful armaments, surprising many an enemy captain. The Broodhome's primary weapon was a versatile photon crystal shard, a weapon used for both offense and defense. If an entire shard hit a target, it did a great deal of damage. If it missed its target, the Chenjesu could detonate it, sending several smaller, less damaging pieces into a circular pattern. Since the crystals did not harm the Broodhome, they could be exploded at point blank range. The Broodhome was also able to launch DOGIs (De-energizing Offensive Guided Interceptors), small drones that could steal energy from other ships or just pester them until they were ready to give up.
Chenjesu: Other Technology
It is hard to come by specific details about Chenjesu technologies as they were before "The Process". It is known that they had ultra-sensitive HyperWave receivers, since they were the first race in this part of the galaxy to detect strange broadcasts that started coming from the direction of the Cygnus star cluster in 2098 - the first signs of the Ur-Quan threat. It is also known that they had found a way to pass through slave-shields, since the Chenjesu who were left to operate the Ur-Quan space station at Procyon 2 returned to the surface of their slave-shielded world after automating the station.
Chmmr: General Information
Half living crystal, half machine, the Chmmr are a new hybrid of two Old Alliance races, the Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm. This synthesis has created the most powerful race in the known region of the galaxy. The reasons for this hybridization are largely unknown, but some researchers surmise that for the Chenjesu, it was a matter of evolution. Having long since established a stable technology and philosophy, the crystalline Chenjesu may have felt a need for "new blood" to promote radical change and growth. The Mmrnmhrm's reasons were probably much more pragmatic. Their creator, the Mother Ark, was failing, and without a new system for reproduction, the robotic Mmrnmhrm faced gradual but inevitable extinction.
The Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm decided to begin the hybrid synthesis, called "The Process", after the two races were defeated by the Kzer-Za's Hierarchy in 2134. They both chose to be imprisoned under a slave shield on the Chenjesu's homeworld, Procyon 2. Not knowing what the two races had planned, the Ur-Quan agreed to this arrangement. The Process continued until shortly after my crew discovered the Sun Device on Beta Brahe 1. Knowing that the speed of The Process depended on the amount of solar energy that reached Procyon 2, we sped back to that planet and activated the Sun Device. After a blinding light, the slave-shield was gone and the Chmmr emerged, explaining that The Process was supposed to take decades, but it was sufficiently (not entirely) completed in a matter of seconds because of the energy from the Sun Device. The Chmmr immediately rushed to the aid of the New Alliance. The Chmmr still reside on Procyon 2, the ancient home of the Chenjesu.
Chmmr: Space Vessel Technology
The Chmmr Avatar is the most powerful ship in the Alliance and may even be the most powerful ship in space. It's primary laser strikes an enemy vessel's hull with twice the destructive force of the feared VUX laser. Three ZapSats (sturdy satellites that automatically fire their own laser weapons at incoming ships and missiles) orbit the Avatar. The Avatar can also generate a focused beam of artificial gravity that pulls in an enemy vessel like a fish on a line. The effectiveness of that beam varies with the size and speed of the opposing ship.
Chmmr: Other Technology
The Chmmr are presumed to have all of the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm technologies that existed before "The Process". However, little is known of such technologies, except that the Chenjesu had discovered how to pass through slave-shields. The Chmmr have the ability to completely deactivate slave-shields, much to the joy of many worlds, including Earth.
Humans: General Information
Humans (my race) vary in eye, hair, and skin coloring from very light to very dark. Most adult humans are between 1.75 and 2 meters tall, but there are many who are much shorter or much taller. Humans, in general, seem to be governed by a mixture of instinct, emotion, and logic, with the latter influence frequently being overcome by the first two and varying greatly with personal beliefs. Humans can be thoroughly good, thoroughly evil, or anything between. I have noticed that on Earth, people seem to be obsessed with controlling each other. This is reflected in the existence of Earth's large, central government, the United Nations, and until recent times in the tendency for its individual nations to wage war on each other, seize lands, and otherwise spread their influence and increase their power. Luckily, the people of Unzervalt (the first of whom settled there after a scientific expedition from Earth) have thus far taken a more peaceful path of cooperation, but I am fearful that Earth's history may be repeated as the population of Unzervalt grows.
Humans currently inhabit two planets: Sol 3, which we call Earth, and my world, Vela 2, which we call Unzervalt.
Humans: Space Vessel Technology
Human space vessels have not reached the same levels of technological sophistication that other species' vessels have, primarily due to the fact that we have been a spacefaring race for a comparatively short time. The Human Cruiser (previously known as the "Earthling Cruiser") is a vessel designed primarily for long-range hit-and-run attacks. It's primary weapon is its huge stock of nuclear missiles, or "Nukes", taken from the Peace Vaults on Earth. These Nukes can be fired a fair distance and will track an enemy ship, but the tracking systems are not perfect, so the Nukes sometimes miss their targets. Cruisers are also equipped with point-defense lasers, but they can only be used while the ship is in close proximity to a target.
Humans: Other Technology
Humans used to believe that their technologies were highly advanced, until they were able to compare them to those of alien cultures, when they were found to be mostly primitive. Humans have a tendency to adopt foreign technology, though - to modify it and make it their own - so we are never left behind. One of the best examples of this comes from the second half of the twentieth century, when ambitious engineers in the small nation of Japan improved on the designs of countless products from many other nations, creating competetive products superior to the originals. The sales of these superior products combined with truly innovative products built the relatively weak Japanese economy into one of the strongest on Earth.
Thanks to the technological remnants left by the Precursors and to friendly alien races who have kindly shared their technologies, Human technologies are currently advancing faster than ever.
Mmrnmhrm: General Information
The Mmrnmhrm were one of the two founding member races of the first Alliance of Free Stars, the other being the Chenjesu. The origin of the Mmrnmhrm is quite mysterious. Less than a thousand years ago, the first Mmrnmhrm awakened, alone, on the surface of a dark, airless moon. Looking up, the conical, segmented robot saw the huge factory-starship - the Mother Ark - which had just finished manufacturing it. The Mother Ark had been made by a distant alien race to search the surface of the moon for raw materials, refine those crude ores into final parts, then assemble them. Within a few years, the star system teemed with millions of intelligent, self-aware robots who called themselves the Mmrnmhrm. When born/built, each of these non-hostile robots awakens with knowledge and purpose, though to date, they have not revealed the exact nature of their long-term mission. Within a century after the first Mmrnmhrm was built, they established peaceful relations with the nearby Chenjesu and colonized the adjacent stars in the Virginis constellation.
All Mmrnmhrm are believed to have been included in "The Process", when their race was combined with the Chenjesu to form a new hybrid race, the Chmmr. The original Mmrnmhrm worlds in the Virginis constellation were abandoned after the Mmrnmhrm were defeated by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and trapped under a slave-shield with the Chenjesu on Procyon 2.
Mmrnmhrm: Space Vessel Technology
The Mmrnmhrm X-Form was actually two ships in one, and it could transform from one form to the other whenever its energy reserves were full (the transformation process completely drained the X-Form's energy reserves). The Y-Wing form of the ship was fast, but not very maneuverable, while the X-Wing form was slow, but had good turning capability. In the Y-Wing form, the X-Form could fire long-range homing missiles that did only a small amount of damage. In the X-Wing form, though, it could fire a powerful double-lance, convergent laser. This versatility in combat made the X-Form a somewhat unpredictable opponent.
Orz: General Information
The Orz are newcomers to the nearby region of space, having somehow displaced the Androsynth in the Vulpeculae constellation within the last few years. Physiologically, the Orz seem to be straightforward gill breathers, gathering dissolved gases from a strong ethanol solution. In terms of mental processes, the Orz are... well... different. No known technological device can accurately translate their language. The little that has been divined from contact with them leads to a disturbing conclusion: they are not from this dimension. The Orz themselves told me that the Arilou Lalee'lay, who they do not like, are from "above" and that they are from "below". The Arilou confirmed that the Orz are from a dimension unknown to us and warned us not to trust them.
The Orz can be found throughout the Vulpeculae constellation. Their new homeworld is on Gamma Vulpeculae 1.
Orz: Space Vessel Technology
The Orz Nemesis is a menacing manta-shaped craft that was clearly built for combat. Atop the swift Nemesis is a rotating cannon that can quickly pump shells out over a medium range. Unlike vessels whose weapons are fixed forward, the Nemesis captain can swivel his gun fore, aft, port, starboard, or anywhere in-between. Possibly the ship's most dangerous feature is its ability to deploy Space Marines. Encased in vacuum-fitted exoskeletons, these relentless soldiers use their jet packs to chase down enemy ships and then burn entry holes into their hulls. Once inside an enemy ship, the Space Marines employ basic search-and-destroy tactics, wreaking havoc on the live targets within. When an enemy ship is destroyed, the Marines onboard will jet out of the exploding hulk and return to the Nemesis for more fuel and ammunition. It should be noted that Space Marines receive special training in the use of the Leyland Gravity Whip maneuver, and are especially adept at using a planet's gravity to speed them toward their targets.
Orz: Other Technology
We know almost nothing about Orz technology, or even if they are willing to share it with us, primarily because of our inaccurate translation of their language. It is also unclear if they entered our dimension through their own devices or those of the Androsynth. However, their references to "slippery places" and being able to "slide" through a Taalo "playground" lead me to believe that the Orz may indeed possess significant knowledge about inter-dimensional travel.
Pkunk: General Information
The Pkunk are a mystical off-shoot of the Yehat species. They left their violent brethren long ago to found a peaceful enclave in the Krueger and Giclas constellations. In fact, a Pkunk I once met told me "Pkunk' means Peace' in our language and we are devoted to this joyous concept." The Pkunk claim to be in contact with a "higher consciousness", a "more pure truth", a "realer reality". Quite often, Pkunk will offer profound statements regarding the relevance of obscure events in the distant past, or ominous portents of the near future. The relevance of the Pkunk's "wisdom" is highly variable and somewhat up to interpretation. Nonetheless, the Pkunk are a kind and helpful race whose friendship should not be spurned.
Although the Pkunk are inherently peaceful, they recently found themselves at war with the Ilwrath. The Ilwrath attacked them on the basis of commands from the dark Ilwrath deities, Dogar and Kazon. To help the Pkunk end this conflict, I used a HyperWave Caster, which we found on the Burvixese moon, to impersonate the Ilwrath gods. In doing so, I convinced them to seek more worthy prey, which they found in the Thraddash.
Most of the Pkunk have rejoined their ancient brethren on the Yehat homeworld, Gamma Serpentis 1, but some are believed to have remained on the Pkunk homeworld, Gamma Krueger 1, and on nearby worlds throughout the Krueger and Giclas constellations.
Pkunk: Space Vessel Technology
The Pkunk Fury, though small and holding few crew-members, sports some miraculous features. The Fury's only weapon is a rapid-fire, very short-range mini-gun that launches streams of dense, superheated metals forward and to the sides. This unusual weapon configuration allows the Fury to engage in certain non-traditional combat moves, such as running broadside. The popular Death Blossom attack is performed by flying adjacent to an enemy ship and then simultaneously rotating and firing to create a beautiful spiral of destructive force.
The Fury's energy is generated directly from the Pkunk captain's fierce mental emanations. Accompanying the regeneration are various insults and jibes spewed forth by the Pkunk captain toward his opponent. When a Pkunk ship is destroyed in combat it will frequently reappear - instantly, and with no visible signs of damage. The Pkunk claim that this resurrection is due to a trace of the blood of the gods, which flows through each Pkunk as the result of some divine indiscretion on their homeworld several thousand years ago. Other races believe that the "resurrected" vessels are in fact a mere projection generated by Pkunk vessels that are cloaked with some kind of invisibility field. To date, though, no one who subscribes to that theory has been able to explain why a "projection's" weapons are genuinely destructive.
Shofixti: General Information
The Shofixti resemble large marsupial carnivores; they are sort of like killer shrews who exhibit furious aggressive behavior contained within a strong, ethical framework. When the Yehat first found them in 2075, the Shofixti were living in fortified mud castles in a feudal society similar to medieval Japan on Earth. The Yehat had such admiration for these feisty little warriors that they immediately "adopted" them and took responsibility for their advancement. The Yehat swore that no "peace-loving" race would be allowed to dilute the Shofixti's noble warlike tendencies. During the War, the primary responsibility of the Shofixti starships was to act as advanced scouts, establishing mines, colonies, and fortifications throughout the stars. When the Kzer-Za entered the Delta Gorno star system, the Shofixti detonated a huge bomb in their sun, destroying much of the Kzer-Za armada as well as their own planet. The Shofixti were believed extinct until we encountered one patrolling his destroyed system. Soon after, we traded a beast to the VUX Admiral Zex for some Shofixti Females he had in stasis and brought them back to Delta Gorno to join the male we encountered there.
Once again, the Shofixti are plentiful, but with their old homeworld, Kyabetsu, destroyed, they live with the Yehat and the Pkunk on Gamma Serpentis 1. The Shofixti are believed to be surveying nearby star systems in search of a new homeworld of their own.
Shofixti: Space Vessel Technology
Shofixti Scout ships are small and very quick. Each Scout carries a small crew, and has a relatively weak forward-firing gun with a moderate range. Its most unusual feature is its "Glory Device", which detonates the Scout like a powerful bomb, causing great damage to any nearby ship. These Kamikaze attacks are not always necessary, though, since patient Shofixti captains can use their weak guns quite effectively when fighting slow or short-ranged enemy vessels.
Shofixti: Other Technology
Little is known about the Shofixti's own technology, but it is known that they detonated a Precursor planeteering bomb (much like the one we used against the Sa-Matra) in their sun as a sacrifice to help the first Alliance. About a third of the Kzer-Za armada was destroyed in that incident, as well as the Shofixti homeworld, Delta Gorno 1. Since the Shofixti were able to use the bomb, it can be assumed that they are competent in their knowledge of electronic and mechanical technology.
Supox: General Information
The Supox are a race of kind, sentient plant creatures who evolved from semi-mobile symbionts. They know how unlikely their evolutionary path appears, and one Supox even said to me "Many of our people regard this inconsistency as proof of our divine origin." The symbiotic origin of the Supox is reflected in their present relationship with the Utwig. The Supox look to the Utwig for guidance, and use the Utwig culture as a model for their own. In exchange, the Supox provide emotional support and sage advice, both of which the Utwig sorely need.
The Supox homeworld is Vlik (Beta Librae 1), where they now recover from their massive losses during the Slave Revolts. Interestingly, "Vlik" means "Perfectly Good and Nutritious Dirt" in the Supox language, and because this meaning is so similar to the meaning of "Earth", the Supox have been known to refer to Vlik as "Earth" when speaking to Humans.
Supox: Space Vessel Technology
The Supox Blade, with its ability to reverse direction, is quite an effective ship. In combat, any ship that can get another ship to chase it has an advantage. Since the Blade is well suited to this kind of strategy, Supox commanders have learned to use it well. First, a Blade approaches an enemy ship head-on, but as soon as it is in firing range, it reverses the direction of its thrust. When the enemy vessel pursues, the Blade fires on it. Another capability of the Supox ship is to move laterally, but this is only attempted by the most gifted of Supox commanders, as it often results in victory for their opponents. Those who can pull off this tricky tactic, however, find that it can be one of their most valuable combat maneuvers.
Syreen: General Information
The Syreen people evolved on a paradise world in the Arianni constellation where they built a great artistic civilization in harmony with their environment. No citizen of Syra suffered from want or ignorance. Then, in 2035, a cataclysm of tectonic upheavals tore lava-filled chasms across the planet's surface and irrevocably poisoned their atmosphere. The disaster killed almost all of their population - only those in the Syreen Space Patrol were untouched. The males, who were rare in the Patrol, were virtually eliminated. The Space Patrol collected the few survivors who could be found on the planet's surface and transformed their many orbital space platforms into huge starships. In the following decades before the war against the Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy, the Syreen became wandering space-gypsies. They navigated their fleet of Habitats through the starways, searching for a new planet of such surpassing beauty that it would forever wash away the pain of losing Syra, their Eden.
The Syreen became unofficial members of the first Alliance of Free Stars in 2120, after suffering repeated Kzer-Za attacks on their slow-moving Habitats. Adapting their remaining Patrol vessels for combat, the Syreen became a potent force in the fight against the Kzer-Za. The single greatest weakness of the Syreen star fleet was its severe shortage of trained crew-members. This weakness was alleviated when Syreen scientists developed a psyonic amplifier that could compel even the most hostile alien to serve a Syreen ship captain with perfect faithfulness. Crews onboard Syreen ships became a surreal pastiche of alien races, with Ilwrath, VUX, Spathi, and others working dutifully side by side with human volunteers under the command of beautiful Syreen officers.
When the Syreen finally gave in to the Kzer-Za, the Kzer-Za found a beautiful new world for them, Betelgeuse 1, which they named "Gaia". Many Syreen from the Gaia Starbase fought as part of my fleet during the Slave Revolts after we helped them exact their revenge on the Mycon (a Mycon Deep Child was responsible for the destruction of the Syreen's original homeworld, Syra). The Syreen now live happily on Gaia, free of the Kzer-Za's slave-shield. The males of the Syreen species have been increasing in numbers, but the Syreen leaders believe they are still too few to risk losing in off-world accidents or combat, so they are carefully guarded on the Syreen homeworld, where they do their duty to help rebuild their population.
Syreen: Space Vessel Technology
The Syreen Penetrator has the unique potential to leave a battle much stronger than when it entered. A common tactic for a Syreen ship is to get close to an opposing ship and use the Syreen Song. This causes the enemy crew to jump ship and drift through space toward the Penetrator. The Syreen can then pick them up and use them as their own crew. One very effective trick is when the captain of a Penetrator uses the Syreen Song and simultaneously fires the Penetrator's small missiles. This way, when an enemy ship has only one or two crew-members left, the Penetrator can destroy it before it has a chance to rescue any of its crew from space.
Thraddash: General Information
The Thraddash are an arrogant, stubborn, and thick-skinned species who have little or no respect for anything but force, which they admire greatly. There is an old Melnorme proverb about the Thraddash which goes something like this: "To make a Thraddash your friend, kill him - but then of course, he's dead, so what's the point?" Thraddash history includes the rise and fall of nineteen planetwide cultures. Tradition dictates that for a new culture to emerge and assume dominance, it must defeat the previous culture in battle. As a consequence, the Thraddash are constantly blasting themselves back into savagery - all in the name of progress. When the Kzer-Za entered the local region of space, the Thraddash were the first race they conquered. When presented with the standard slave option (to fight as Battle Thralls or to be fallow slaves trapped on their own homeworld), the Thraddash eagerly chose the role of Battle Thrall. However, due to their arrogance and relatively weak starships (a model previous to the one now in service), the Kzer-Za left them behind in the Draconis star system to "guard the rear".
The Thraddash remain in the Apodis and Draconis systems, although in reduced numbers, due to a bitter war with the Ilwrath.
Thraddash: Space Vessel Technology
It is said that the Thraddash Torch is a difficult ship to master, but it can be quite potent when flown well. It has a simple long-range weapon that does a small amount of damage. It can also eject ultra high-pressure bursts of plasma out the rear of the craft. These propel the ship forward at great speed, like a turbo boost. Many Thraddash commanders use this as their primary means of propulsion. By using this rear "torch", these commanders can stay far away from shorter-range ships and hit enemies with their long-range weapons. Some Thraddash commanders use their rear plasma torch as their primary weapon, allowing them to attack then speed away before their enemy can respond.
Utwig: General Information
The Utwig are a race of sophisticated humanoids who inhabit the Aquarii constellation. Their culture is ancient and elaborate, as evidenced by their complex "Mask Etiquette", which dictates which of the eighteen hundred standard "facial appliances" should be worn under which circumstances. Lately, a mysterious device called the "Ultron" has gained a prominent position in Utwig society, as they believe it guarantees them a highly positive future.
The Utwig are now happy on their homeworld, Fahz (Beta Aquarii 1), where they await the discovery of the specific nature of the Ultron's mysterious powers.
Utwig: Space Vessel Technology
I have heard that the Utwig Jugger, a fairly slow, tubby craft, has been called "only a moderately powerful ship", but that is a misjudgement. Under the control of a skilled Utwig commander, it can be lethal. In fact, the Utwig Juggers were instrumental in the struggle against the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah. A Jugger can cut through a Kzer-Za Dreadnought or a Kohr-Ah Marauder as well as or better than any other ship in the New Alliance of Free Stars, including the Chmmr Avatar, and usually does so without losing a single member of its crew. The Jugger's long-range wide-area guns operate on a non-standard power source that allows constant fire without cost to the ship's primary energy reserve. This leaves the primary energy reserve, also non-standard, for exclusive use by the ship's shields.
Since the Jugger's primary energy reserve is generated by a power source that does not provide constant power, an Utwig commander must take every opportunity to recharge it. This is done in a way that is unique, to say the least. When the Jugger takes an enemy shot while shielded, the shield system converts the energy from the shot - be it a laser, a projectile, or otherwise - into useable energy for the Jugger's primary reserve. Timing is key, though, because if a Jugger's primary energy reserve runs out completely, it cannot be regenerated until the ship is taken in for repair, leaving the Jugger without an operable shield system. To avoid this situation, an Utwig commander will often fly head-on toward an enemy ship, catching as many of the enemy ship's shots as possible with the Jugger's shields. This is not always effective, though, because some enemies will either try to trick an Utwig commander into shielding unnecessarily (by firing near a Jugger without hitting it) or they will not fire at all.
Utwig: Other Technology
While the particulars about native Utwig technology are not available, it is known that various devices of Precursor origin have come into their possession. The most well-known of these devices are the Ultron and the planeteering bomb they gave us, which the Chmmr modified for use against the Sa-Matra.
Yehat: General Information
The Yehat are avian creatures who live for the pursuit of honor for their clan, their Queen, and themselves through combat. Physically, a Yehat resembles a 3 meter hybrid between a pterosaur and a bumblebee. To survive on their world against larger and faster species, the Yehat evolved a complex, programmable neural control system; a thinking brain, which allowed them to adapt to new situations with lightning speed.
Like Humans, the Yehat entered space without the assistance of a more advanced race. This is an achievement for which they have great pride, since it not only testifies to their technological competence, but it has kept their culture totally intact. It is not surprising, then, that they grant Humans high honor and status for the same achievement.
Until recently, the same ruling family had led the Yehat for over 2,000 years. It was a reign that dated back before their Industrial Age, when all of the Yehat clans were brought together by a Queen who promised that they would never be defeated in battle. During the first war against the Kzer-Za, the most recent Yehat Queen lost favor with much of the Yehat population when she surrendered to the Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy, choosing to abandon the first Alliance and become a Battle Thrall. This desperate attempt to keep an ancestor's ancient promise was one of that Queen's last major decisions, though, since a Yehat rebellion dethroned her a few years ago. As soon as the rebels had won their fight, the Yehat became valuable members of the New Alliance - just in time for our attack on the Sa-Matra.
The Yehat still occupy their original homeworld, Gamma Serpentis 1, co-existing peacefully with their recently returned brethren, the Pkunk, and their "adopted" Shofixti. Interestingly, their new Queen is not a Yehat, but a Pkunk.
Yehat: Space Vessel Technology
The powerful and direct Yehat Terminator is the earliest of all the space vessels known to me. It is equipped with extremely powerful medium-range dual cannons, as well as a shield. When activated, the shield protects the Terminator from all known weapons. Seasoned Yehat captains know that they must avoid exhausting all of their energy with their guns, saving some for their shields. Energy regeneration on the Yehat ships is not sufficient to maintain constant shielding. Also, since Terminators are not particularly fast, they can often benefit from a Gravity Whip. This allows them to strafe an opponent as they sail past.
Zoq-Fot-Pik: General Information
The Zoq-Fot-Pik are a cooperative union of three species who evolved simultaneously on the same world. There was a fourth intelligent species, the Zebranky, who preyed cruelly on the other three, but in their equivalent of the stone age, the Zoqs, the Fots, and the Piks banded together and annihilated them. The three races found that they were much stronger and happier together, so they have maintained their union ever since.
A few short years ago, when the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah began their second Doctrinal Conflict in and around Zoq-Fot-Pik space, ferocious battles wreaked havoc on Zoq-Fot-Pik worlds. Despite great danger and widespread destruction, the Zoq-Fot-Pik were in a good position to report the progress of the inter-Ur-Quan war to the New Alliance.
The Zoq-Fot-Pik now live peacefully on Alpha Tucanae 1 and the surrounding worlds.
Zoq-Fot-Pik: Space Vessel Technology
The Zoq-Fot-Pik Stinger is a fragile ship whose main weapon is a spray of minute anti-matter particles. These particles can annihilate a tiny portion of an enemy ship's hull, releasing tremendous amounts of heat and light. The Stinger also has a point-blank-range attack. It can quickly extend a rigid, alloy tube (similar to an insect's proboscis) from the front of the ship. If the tube strikes an enemy ship, it bores a tiny hole through the hull and injects a high-pressure stream of hot plasma into the vessel.
The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls
The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za formed the Hierarchy of Battle Thralls to help them defeat free sentient races and to keep the fallow slave races in line. When a free race was defeated, they were given a choice: to be trapped forever on their own planet under an impenetrable force-shield (we now know that the shields can be destroyed with the proper equipment) or to take up arms with the Kzer-Za as part of their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls.
The Hierarchy has had many Battle Thralls, but most recently, it was composed of the Ilwrath, the Mycon, the Umgah, and the Vux. Former members include the mysteriously vanished Androsynth, the recently withdrawn Spathi, the now-allied Thraddash, and our recently re-allied friends, the Yehat.
Androsynth: General Information
Jason MacBride, a corrupt religious fanatic was fighting to have them declared sub-human. As the years passed, they became little better than well-treated slaves, despite their hard work and valuable contributions to many important fields around the world. Thus, the Clone Revolt of 2085 was inevitable. With the help of a sympathetic Human underground, the Androsynths staged a worldwide rebellion in the spring. As part of a well-planned operation, they all left Earth in over a thousand space vehicles and took over all of Earth's orbital and lunar bases. While holding off the Humans, the Androsynth modified eight of the largest space stations for space-flight, traveled to the edge of the solar system, then lifted into HyperSpace. There was no Human contact with the Androsynth for over 30 years, but it is now known that they settled on Eta Vulpeculae 2 soon after leaving Earth.fied eight of the largest space stations for space-flight, traveled to the edge of the solar system, then lifted into HyperSpace. There was no Human contact with the Androsynth for over 30 years, but it is now known that they settled on Eta Vulpeculae 2 soon after leaving Earth.
While much is known about the past of the Androsynth, very little is known about their present. Their world seems to have been ravaged in a large-scale ground war, but there are no bodily remains. Rumors abound about their fate, everything from the logical (they left using Inter-Dimensional Fatigue travel) to the outlandish (the Orz ate them). Only the Orz know what really became of the Androsynth, and they're not telling. In fact, the mere introduction of the subject can prompt a hostile response. Interestingly, the Androsynths' main computer records show that just before their disappearance, the Androsynth made many requests for information about ghosts, poltergeists, and other paranormal entities. The significance of such requests is uncertain.
Androsynth: Space Vessel Technology
The Androsynth Guardian is said to have been one of the more unusual ships in the galaxy. Its primary weapon was a molecular acid-bomb that followed an erratic homing pattern to an enemy vessel. Released in multiples, the chaotic tracking paths of these deadly bubbles are said to have baffled most defensive measures. The Guardian was also equipped with one of the strangest features of any ship I've ever heard of. Apparently, it could collapse into a solid ball while engaging a set of powerful thrusters. The vessel would then hurl itself at an enemy at a terrifying speed, causing enormous damage upon impact. If its energy reserves were full, an Androsynth vessel in this comet-like "Blazer" form could hold its shape for a substantial period of time. A Guardian low on energy returned to its normal shape more quickly.
Androsynth: Other Technology
Their own records show that the Androsynths' research efforts on Eta Vulpeculae 2 were focused on armament and reproduction (when originally cloned, their genes were modified so they could not reproduce). Their records also show that they had been experimenting with Dimensional Fatigue Phenomena, which may be a clue to what became of them.
Ilwrath: General Information
The Ilwrath are violent, religious insectoids who believe it is the will of their twin gods of evil, Dogar and Kazon, that they deceive and destroy other forms of life. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to spiders in both physiology and behavior, the Ilwrath are absolutely vicious in battle. I have not met up with an Ilwrath since I tricked their leaders into leaving their war with the Pkunk and they decided that the Thraddash would be more worthy prey. It is possible that any Ilwrath who survived their war with the Thraddash have headed back to the Ilwrath homeworld, Alpha Tauri 1. Unfortunately, I do not know the proper Ilwrath name for that world, but I do know that the Ilwrath call their sun "The Green Eye Of Dogar". It is also known to them by several slight variations of that name, such as "The Eye Of Dogar" and "The All-Seeing Eye".
Ilwrath: Space Vessel Technology
An Ilwrath Avenger is a deadly opponent, thanks to its high degree of maneuverability, its cloaking ability, and its always-aggressive captain. Its primary weapon is the deadly HellFire Blast, which is potent at close range, but worthless at long range. The Avenger is not as fast as the Alliance's fastest ships, but that is little comfort to a captain who has no way of knowing which course to set to escape one while it is cloaked.
Ilwrath: Other Technology
The Ilwrath possessed little technology or raw resources before being conquered by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. Therefore, they were of little consequence to their neighbors, the Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm. However, with the modern weapon and drive systems provided by the Kzer-Za, the Ilwrath have become truly dangerous. Their own technological development remains slow, probably because of their universal love for war and common disinterest in science.
Kzer-Za (Ur-Quan Kzer-Za): General Information
The green-bodied Ur-Quan Kzer-Za are a sub-species of the original brown-bodied Ur-Quan, who are commonly believed to be extinct. They were created many millennia ago by the Dnyarri to become the scientists, technicians, and administrators of the ancient Dnyarri empire. They adopted the name "Ur-Quan Kzer-Za" over 20,000 years ago after Kzer-Za, a green-bodied Ur-Quan scientist, discovered the key to winning their freedom from the Dnyarri. Once known to us only as the "Ur-Quan", the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za are now commonly called the "Kzer-Za" to distinguish them from their brethren, the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah. Physically, all Ur-Quan look a lot like huge caterpillars, with a segmented body-tube about ten meters long and two meters wide.
The Kzer-Za want to rule entire universe. Before their recent defeat, when they conquered a planet, the native sentient race was given a choice: to be trapped forever on their own planet under an impenetrable force-shield, commonly known as a slave-shield (we now know that the shields can be destroyed with the proper equipment), or to take up arms with the Kzer-Za as part of their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. This slave-taking and race-trapping is known as the "Path of Now and Forever". It is the Kzer-Za's way of ensuring that they never again become slaves, as they once were to the Dnyarri. It's hard for me to say if the Kzer-Za's "Path of Now and Forever" was any better or worse than the Kohr-Ah's "Eternal Doctrine", which dictated the total annihilation of all non-Ur-Quan sentient life. Not long ago, both the Kzer-Za and their Kohr-Ah brethren were defeated by the New Alliance of Free Stars. Their defeat came after the Sa-Matra (the Kzer-Za's Precursor battleship) was destroyed by a Precursor planeteering bomb that had been specially modified by the Chmmr. With the threat of the Sa-Matra eliminated, the Alliance was free to attack the main fleets of the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah in full force. Then, through tense negotiations and treaties, peace was made between the Alliance and the Kzer-Za despite resistance from parties on both sides. Soon after, the Kohr-Ah and the Kzer-Za agreed on a common doctrine, the Path of Ceaseless Vigilance, so they now act as one race. The reunited Ur-Quan did not colonize a homeworld in the old quadrant, instead preferring to continue their exploration of the galaxy on their Path of Ceaseless Vigilance. They did, however, assign many of their numbers to follow their Path on our united mission to the Kessari Quadrant.
Kzer-Za (Ur-Quan Kzer-Za): Space Vessel Technology
The Kzer-Za Dreadnought is one of the most fearsome battle ships I have ever encountered. It is heavily armored and can fire powerful long-range fusion bolt missiles and launch small one-crew-member fighters that are armed with short-range lasers (the fighters must return to the Dreadnought after each sortie or they expire). Each Dreadnought carries only one Ur-Quan (Kzer-Za or Kohr-Ah), because two in close proximity would not be able to control their primal urges to kill each other. Previously, the Kzer-Za Master commanded a crew assembled from the Hierarchy's slave races. Now, though, Dreadnought crews are composed of willing members and mindless robots.
The only flaw I have noticed in the Dreadnought is that it is not the fastest maneuvering ship, but its amazing armor and powerful fusion bolts missiles more than make up for this small weakness against most opponents. I have heard stories in which a single Dreadnought, sometimes called a "Planetary Siege Unit", has single-handedly enslaved a world, but I have not been able to verify such stories.
Since the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah reunited, the Kohr-Ah Marauders have been removed from service; both kinds of Ur-Quan now pilot Kzer-Za Dreadnoughts.
Kzer-Za (Ur-Quan Kzer-Za): Other Technology
From what little I have seen of Kzer-Za technology, I would say that it is highly advanced. Their ability to defeat so many races in battle and to erect force-shields around entire worlds attests to that fact.
Mycon: General Information
Encyclopedia StarCon reveals more: "The Mycon are asexual and reproduce by budding their own flesh into a separate offspring. They exchange genetic material by exhaling and inhaling DNA-rich spores. Mycon are most comfortable in a hellish environment of hot rock and poisonous vapors which would kill most other species in seconds. Culturally, the Mycon are baffling. They appear to be born adult, instantly able to assume responsibilities. In addition, all Mycon occasionally undergo temporary but dramatic personality transformation, as though they were possessed' by a different Mycon personality."assume responsibilities. In addition, all Mycon occasionally undergo temporary but dramatic personality transformation, as though they were possessed' by a different Mycon personality."
The Umgah, who know more about the Mycon than anyone else, once told me something very interesting: "You see, Mycon only other race we know of that have same kind of biotechnical skills as Umgah. But amazing thing that they do all with their bodies, don't need tools. They just THINK genetic modification, and it happen! We found that pretty hard to understand, so when nobody looking, we clonk one on head, bring it back here to homeworld and slice it up for detailed study. Those guys not product of ANY natural evolutionary process, they constructs!... some kind of multi-purpose biological tool. We not know who made them or for what purpose, but they WAY beyond anything we ever heard of. We not figure out much more before tissue samples all gross."
A Mycon once told me something just as interesting: "I am Dugee. I am the purity monitor. I choose what buds are permitted to mature and which must be eradicated. I died of general misfunction 57,283 years ago." As usual for a Mycon, not everything that Dugee said made sense. Perhaps when a Mycon dies, others inherit its memories.
The Mycon were recently ambushed by the Syreen in the Organon system, so I do not know how many of them are left. It is possible that the remnants of their forces have regrouped at their homeworld, Epsilon Scorpii 1.
Mycon: Space Vessel Technology
The slow Mycon Podships may not look like much, but they can be deadly opponents in battle; especially at close range, when their tracking Plasmoids are most effective. The Plasmoids are balls of coalesced energy that use highly-developed tracking systems to lock onto and home in on targets. Luckily for the Mycon' enemies, Plasmoids disperse after a short while, and like the Podships, they are easily outrun by even moderately fast ships. One of the most unusual aspects of the Mycon Podships is that the Mycon have everything they need on board to regenerate their crews.
Mycon: Other Technology
The Mycon are not known to have any mechanical technology whatsoever, but their skills in biotechnology are believed to rival those of the Umgah. According to the Umgah, the Mycon don't need tools for their biotechnology; they just think of a genetic modification and it happens.
Umgah: General Information
The Umgah are pink blobbish creatures with many eyes, several tentacles, and a mouth. Try as I might, I do not understand their sense of humor; when I removed the sentient Dnyarri from their world, they thanked me then attacked my fleet. To learn more about these peculiar aliens, we can look to the Encyclopedia StarCon: "The Umgah make use of biological forms in their technology and must often rely on biomechanical hybridization. They prefer warm, moist, subterranean dwellings, so they sheath the interiors of their ships with thick, wet skin. They also suffer from agoraphobia - the fear of open spaces. Before they were enslaved by the Ur-Quan, the Umgah culture was relatively peaceful, content to expand slowly through the Orionis constellation. The most serious conflicts caused by the Umgah are the result of their incessant practical jokes, such as clogging a fleet of Spathi Eluders' life support systems with fast-growing foul-smelling goo." Among the Umgahs' more notorious jokes are the ones they made with a HyperWave caster, from impersonating the Ilwrath gods (I've done that one myself) to announcing the arrival of the "Grand Master Planet Eater", which terrified the Spathi.
The Umgah continue to stage their bizarre practical jokes near their home on Beta Orionis 1.
Umgah: Space Vessel Technology
The Umgah Drone may look like a weak ship, and it is, for the most part, but this look of weakness can be used to gain a strategic upper-hand. Many who have encountered an Umgah Drone have seen the small, old, mining ship and considered it easy prey. This can be a fatal mistake, though, since each of the small ships is equipped with a powerful forward-projecting anti-matter cone, which can be maintained indefinitely without draining the ship's energy reserves. The Drones also have the ability to accelerate rapidly backwards, but this uses a tremendous amount of energy.
Umgah: Other Technology
The Umgah are skilled in mechanical technology, but their strongest suit is biotechnology. It was the Umgah who altered the brain of a Dnyarri to make it sentient, as its ancient ancestors were.
Vux: General Information
The Vux look very much like Earth squids might if they were humanoids and had only one eye. The Vux are very sensitive about their looks, though, and it is said that they spend a great deal of their time selecting clothing, jewelry, and useless finery to enhance their personal appearances.
Most Vux express a disgust toward humans, which they usually blame on an unfortunate incident in 2126 when Captain Rand of the Earthling Cruiser Miwok first made contact with the Vux. It seems that Captain Rand suggested that Vux was an acronym for "Very Ugly Xenoform" when he saw the Vux commander, thinking that the Vux's linguistic translation device had not yet been activated. In fact, it had been. When writing about the Vux, some Humans have written the name of this alien race in all capital letters to cite the acronym, but now, of course, we don't wish to offend the Vux, so we print the spelling of their name properly. Recently, I discovered that citing the incident with Captain Rand was never the true reason for the Vux's disgust toward Humans anyway. It was just an excuse designed to hide the fact that most Vux find it difficult to stomach the sight of Humans.
There was one Vux, Admiral Zex, who claimed to like Humans. However, Admiral Zex is believed to have died when a creature that was being added to his menagerie broke free and went on a rampage, destroying most of his installation. The rampage wasn't surprising, considering how many of my crew-members were lost and how much equipment was damaged in the effort to capture the beast on its homeworld in the Lyncis constellation. Since negotiations with Zex were interrupted, some members of my crew took a Planet Lander down to collect the Shofixti females that he was supposed to trade us.
The Vux can be found on and around Beta Luyten 1.
Vux: Space Vessel Technology
The Vux Intruder is fairly powerful, especially for being one of the smaller ships in this part of the galaxy. Armed with a single strong laser that can burn through several meters of duralloy, the Intruder is a good match for many larger ships. Intruders can also launch tracking torpedoes that are actually cocoons which crack open when they near their target and release "Limpets" - live creatures that clamp onto an enemy vessel's hull, slowing its maneuvers. Limpets cannot be removed from a target ship's hull until the battle is over.
Vux: Other Technology
While the Vux are clearly a technologically advanced culture, there are few specific details available regarding such technology. It is clear, however, that they have developed sophisticated life-form containment and stasis technologies, as is evidenced by Admiral Zex's menagerie.
The Sentient Milieu
The Sentient Milieu was an association of starfaring races that was dedicated to the mutual enrichment of its member cultures and to the assistance of emerging sentient species. It is generally agreed that the Milieu was founded around 30,000 years ago and formed over several thousand years.
About 25,000 years ago, the Sentient Milieu spanned 500 light years and had 100 member-worlds. Seven of the member-races were well-known throughout the Milieu: the Drall, the Faz, the Mael-Num, the Taalo, the Ur-Quan, the Yuli, and the Yuptar. To my knowledge, none of these races still roams this part of the galaxy, but two subspecies of the original Ur-Quan (the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah) terrorized this region a few years ago.
Precursor ruins and relics had been discovered on many worlds throughout the Milieu. It was the search for such things that led to the rapid dissipation of the Milieu. About 22,000 years ago, after anomalous energy readings led an Ur-Quan scout to believe that there might be a Precursor installation on an unexplored planet, he made planetfall. Before he could find the installation, though, he encountered the Dnyarri, who took control of his mind. The Dnyarri forced the scout to transport hundreds of them to the Sentient Milieu's capital planet. Within a month, the Dnyarri had spread across the entire Milieu, enslaving nearly every member race. As the Taalo, who were immune to the Dnyarri's psychic powers, rushed to complete a device that would provide similar immunity to the other Milieu races, the Dnyarri compelled those other races to destroy the Taalo. Without the Taalo device, the end of the Sentient Milieu was assured.
Drall: General Information
The Drall were one of the founding members of the Sentient Milieu. They were tall, skeletal humanoids, many of whom reached 3 meters in height. The few remaining images of the Drall show clear evidence of both lung and gill systems, which indicates that they may have evolved from aquatic or amphibious creatures.
Little else is known about the Drall except that when the Dnyarri assumed control over the Milieu, they found the Drall inferior to their other slave races and compelled the Ur-Quan and the Mael-Num to destroy them.
Faz: General Information
The Faz joined the Sentient Milieu several centuries before the Ur-Quan, about 2,000 years ago. Like the Ur-Quan and the other Milieu races, the Faz fell under the psychic compulsion of the Dnyarri and served their every perverted wish for over 2,000 years. The Faz survived their time as slaves and helped the Ur-Quan defeat the Dnyarri, but only the be forced into fealty again. The Faz were the first victims of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za's "Path of Now and Forever". When presented with what would become the standard slave option, the Faz chose to have their world, the first of thousands, trapped under an Ur-Quan slave-shield. The location of that world, as well as the present condition of the Faz race, is unknown. Mael-Num: General Informationheir world, the first of thousands, trapped under an Ur-Quan slave-shield. The location of that world, as well as the present condition of the Faz race, is unknown.
Mael-Num: General Information
The Mael-Num were one of the founding members of the Sentient Milieu who survived the millennia of Dnyarri enslavement along with the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, the Yuptar, and the Faz. When the Dnyarri were finally overthrown, and both factions of the Ur-Quan adopted different strategies for protecting their species from future enslavement, the Mael-Num found their homeworld to be the second object of the Kohr-Ah's attention, shortly after the "cleansing" of the Yuptar. Before the Kohr-Ah could begin the destruction of the Mael-Num, a Mael-Num representative spoke the only words that are known to have drawn an explanation out of either kind of Ur-Quan: "Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?" While the Kohr-Ah explained the reasons for their actions, the Kzer-Za appeared, and so began the first of the Ur-Quan's "Doctrinal Conflicts".
While the Kohr-Ah and Kzer-Za fought above the Mael-Num homeworld, the entire Mael-Num race is said to have left the planet in a huge fleet of interstellar vessels and vanished, but I have not been able to find many clues to indicate where they went. Since the Kohr-Ah told me that the Mael-Num each had a single eye and since "Mael-Num" sounds similar to "Melnorme", it has been suggested by Professor Bornsch at the Academy that there may be a connection between the two races, but that theory has yet to be confirmed or denied by the Melnorme.
As with all of the known members of the Sentient Milieu, the technology of the Mael-Num is presumed to be advanced. Their particular technological competence finds testament in the way they fled their home planet during the first Doctrinal Conflict between the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah.
Taalo: General Information
The Taalo were a slow, quiet, silicon-based species that is said to have borne little resemblance, if any, to the Chenjesu. According to an Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah I once met in space, the Taalo were the only race that the Ur-Quan ever called "friend". Theirs was also the only member race of the Sentient Milieu that was able to resist the psychic compulsion powers of the Dnyarri and maintain its freedom. This was a mixed blessing, though, since the Dnyarri response was to have the other Milieu races attack the Taalo planet at Delta Vulpeculae 2c, annihilating the Taalo. At the time the Taalo were defeated, they had nearly completed a device that would have conferred their psychic immunity on the other races of the Sentient Milieu. Strangely, while the Taalo are widely believed to be extinct, the Orz refer to them in the present tense, which suggests that some of the Taalo might still be alive. Then again, this might just be a misunderstanding due to faulty translation of the Orz's complicated language.
Except for what we learned from the psychic immunity device that some members of my crew discovered on Delta Vulpeculae 2b, we know very little about Taalo technology. I am led to believe that the device may have been the prototype because it was the only one of its kind found and also because of its imperfect performance against the psychic powers of the Dnyarri in the Sa-Matra campaign. It is also possible that the device's near failure was a result of its age or incorrect usage (after all, it was sitting on that planet for millennia and none of my crew found anything that looked like instructions for its proper use).
Ur-Quan (original Ur-Quan): General Information
It wasn't long ago that the name "Ur-Quan" only brought the green-bodied Ur-Quan Kzer-Za to mind. Soon after arriving at Earth, however, I learned of an even more brutal kind of Ur-Quan, the black-bodied Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah. As if that wasn't confusing enough, I have since learned of a third kind of Ur-Quan, or more accurately, the first kind. Like their sub-species, the original brown-bodied Ur-Quan resembled huge, predatory caterpillars like those found on Earth's Hawaiian islands. They are said to have been fiercely territorial with primal motivations. When first contacted 25,000 years ago by a member race of the Sentient Milieu, the Taalo, the Ur-Quan believed they were under attack and prepared to defend themselves. When the Taalo explained their peaceful intentions, however, the Ur-Quan rested their defenses. They soon became cooperative, productive members of the Sentient Milieu and remained as such until the Milieu was taken over by the Dnyarri. It is unclear if the original Ur-Quan still exist somewhere in the galaxy or if they were made extinct when the Dnyarri created the two Ur-Quan sub-species.
Ur-Quan (original Ur-Quan): Space Vessel Technology
It is known that the original Ur-Quan were a starfaring species when they joined the Sentient Milieu, but I have not been able to find any specific information about their vessels. While the exact range of the Ur-Quan's exploration before their first encounter with the Taalo is unknown, it is generally believed that it was limited to their neighboring star systems. It is not unreasonable to suggest that their space vessels were not capable of traveling longer distances at that time. After joining the Milieu, however, the Ur-Quan became the boldest of all the member races, readily traveling deep into unknown territory. Perhaps the expanded range of their travels could be attributed to the introduction of hyperdrive to Ur-Quan vessels.
Ur-Quan (original Ur-Quan): Other Technology
On their home planet, the original Ur-Quan are said to have developed tools and intelligence to ensure their survival among physically larger and stronger species. It is safe to assume that some Ur-Quan technologies were developed for defensive purposes, but specific details regarding these or any other Ur-Quan technologies are not available.
Yuli: General Information
The Yuli were members of the Sentient Milieu who were enslaved by the Dnyarri, found inferior, and ordered destroyed. I have not been able to find any other information whatsoever about the Yuli.
Yuptar: General Information
The Yuptar were among the few member races of the Sentient Milieu who survived the millennia of slavery under the Dnyarri. They had little time to enjoy their freedom, though, since they were the first victims of the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah's "Eternal Doctrine", which required the "cleansing" of all non-Ur-Quan sentient races. Little survived the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah's assault, so there is no further information available about the Yuptar.
Other Races (Not formal members of any known alliance.)
Not all sentient races are members of formal alliances. Many communicate with other races, but are unable or unwilling to make alliances. Some have been party to alliances at one time or another, but are not currently (or were not when they were last seen).
The non-allied races that I know of from times past are the Algolites, the Burvixese, the Dnyarri (before the Ur-Quan altered their brains), the Dramya, the Gg, the ever-mysterious Precursors, and the Zebranky. Note that the Dnyarri are included here despite the fact that they controlled a large empire, because the other races that composed that empire were slaves, not associates.
Presently, the Druuge, the Melnorme, the Slylandro, the recently withdrawn Spathi, and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah are not allied. It should be noted, though, that while the Melnorme, the Slylandro, and the Spathi are not officially members of the New Alliance, all three have been of great assistance in our struggle against both factions of the Ur-Quan. Even the Druuge have been helpful now and then, but they are so mistrusted (and rightfully so) that I doubt they will ever be permitted to join the New Alliance.
I also know of a few races who are said to presently roam this part of the galaxy, but whom I have never encountered. These include the Keel-Verezy and the *Nnngn*. The *Nnngn* are believed to reside only in places that the Arilou call "easy places", but the Arilou have not been very good about explaining where and what these "easy places" are.
Algolites: General Information
The Algolites are a race that I have heard mentioned only once, in a reference by a Melnorme Trade Master. The reference was to an unfortunate incident regarding a Spathi base on Algol IV: "They didn't like the climate there so they decided to make 'just a few minor climatic adjustments'. Their equipment went haywire, they panicked and fled, and the entire atmosphere was stripped off the planet, much to the native Algolites' sincere, though short-lived regret."
Burvixese: General Information
The Burvixese race evolved on the damp surface of Arcturus 1, progressing from swamp dwellers, much like Earth turtles, to a benevolent, highly technological society in just over fifteen million Earth years. The Burvixese had made contact with several neighboring alien cultures, including the Utwig, the Gg, and unfortunately, the Druuge, who were to be directly responsible for the Kohr-Ah finding and destroying the Burvixese. For many decades, the Burvixese exchanged information with these races, trading technological, historical, and philosophical facts and theories, until the fateful year 2142 when the Gg announced that they had come under the attack of an unknown alien race, who appeared to want nothing less than their total annihilation. We now know that this unknown alien race was the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah.
Encyclopedia StarCon recounts what happened next: "The Burvixese relayed the Gg's warning to the Druuge just before stopping all of their HyperWave transmissions. The Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, however, having finished with the Gg, had already detected the Druuge's powerful advertising beacons and were heading toward Druuge space. Realizing their peril, the Druuge immediately ceased all transmissions and sent a task force of their fastest ships to the moon of the Burvixese world where a huge HyperWave broadcaster was hastily assembled on the surface. When the Druuge activated the unit, they focused its powerful HyperWave signals directly toward the oncoming Kohr-Ah fleet. Having lost the HyperWave signals from Druuge space and detected those coming from the Burvixese moon, the Kohr-Ah changed course and destroyed the Burvixese in three days of orbital bombardment."
The Burvixese had the technology to build crude interplanetary vessels, but they preferred to remain comfortably on their own world and explore the galaxy through HyperWave communication. No specific details regarding Burvixese technology are available, because there was so little left intact on their world after the Kohr-Ah bombarded it.
Dnyarri: General Information
The Dnyarri, commonly known as the "Talking Pets", are fairly small creatures, about the size of a dog. They are squatty with small front legs and larger back legs, much like a toad. They are presently non-sentient, but long ago, they were quite intelligent and quite evil.
About 22,000 years ago, the Dnyarri conquered the Sentient Milieu and became the cruel slave-masters of many races, including the Ur-Quan. Using their powerful psychic abilities, the Dnyarri could compel any creature in the known universe to do their bidding except for the members of one race, the Taalo. The Taalo were developing a device that would protect the minds of the other races against the Dnyarri's psychic powers. Before the device was finished, however, the Dnyarri had the Taalo destroyed, prolonging their terrible reign for thousands of years. During this time, the Dnyarri ruled the ex-Milieu races with uniquely perverse cruelty, even causing three of the species (the Drall, the Yuli, and the Taalo) to be utterly destroyed. This period of time was a living nightmare for all of the slave races .
Like all slave masters, the Dnyarri were finally overthrown. In their case, it was over 20,000 years ago. The hatred of the freed slaves was so extreme that the Dnyarri were not eliminated. Instead, their genetic structures were modified so that their offspring would be born non-sentient - dumb animals, who the Ur-Quan (both kinds) took as pets. The immense telepathic powers remained in the Dnyarri, but without intelligence they could use these abilities only for inter-species translation at the command of their Ur-Quan masters. The Ur-Quan believed that this direct contact with other species was the most demeaning way that the Dnyarri could be punished, as they had come to consider all other species grossly inferior and even revolting. Over the following millennia, the Dnyarri became known as the "Talking Pets".
Amazingly, a sentient Dnyarri and a Taalo device were both involved in the destruction of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za's Precursor battle platform, the Sa-Matra. I used the Taalo device to protect the minds of myself and my crew while the Dnyarri, from aboard the same vessel, used its psychic abilities to draw the bulk of the Ur-Quan forces away from the Sa-Matra. I'm not sure if the Taalo device was imperfect or if it just wasn't meant to protect Humans, but I was almost compelled by the Dnyarri on several occasions.
Ironically, the Dnyarri's masters, the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, are the best known legacy of the defunct Dnyarri empire as it was the Dnyarri who genetically split the original Ur-Quan species into two races. With the exception of the single sentient Dnyarri mentioned above, all of the surviving members of the race are believed to be in the service of the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah. The original Dnyarri homeworld, Glilandy, is believed to have been all but destroyed when the Dnyarri empire was overthrown, but the location of that world is not known to the Alliance, so its present condition cannot be confirmed.
Dnyarri, the Talking Pets, have no technology to speak of, and they don't need any. Their few needs are met by their Ur-Quan masters. They are not known to have possessed any form of technology even when their entire race was sentient. They used their powerful psychic abilities to compel other races to do their will, and in doing so, made indirect use of the other races' technologies.
Dramya: General Information
The Dramya are a race that I have heard of only from the Melnorme, when Trade Master Greenish warned us, "Once the Dramya thought they could steal from us. You don't see too many Dramya around these days, do you?" Actually, I have never seen any Dramya, nor have I been able to extract any more information from the Melnorme.
Druuge: General Information
The Druuge are possibly the most disliked and mistrusted of all the races who aided the Alliance during the Slave Revolts. They are a callous, amoral, and perhaps even genuinely evil race who care for nothing but personal gain, which is usually achieved through devious mercantile exchange in the name of their Crimson Corporation. Physiologically, the Druuge are humanoid, but their strong body odor, the constant oozing from their mouths, noses, and ears, and their putrid breath set them apart. Far apart, usually, as most members of other races prefer to communicate with the Druuge through video transmissions rather than in person. Druuge history bears a strong resemblance to Human history, but since they evolved from solitary hunter-gatherers rather than tribes, the individualization of the Druuge is much greater than with most Humans. Sentiment, and more specifically the concepts of love, honor, and charity seem to be totally foreign to them. Druuge "families" are actually profit-making undertakings. Mutually acceptable males and females meet at "Repro Mixers", negotiate terms, sign the necessary forms, and engage in the requisite carnality. Any offspring are instantly made a part of this business arrangement and typically accept terms which give their parents a 12-18% lifetime royalty on their income. Since the parents' take is directly proportional to their offspring's occupation, families generally spend considerable funds on education and specific training to further the return on their investment.
Less than twenty years ago, the Druuge were informed by the now-extinct Burvixese race (whose sad death can be blamed directly on the Druuge) of a powerful alien nation called the Utwig. The Utwig possessed some kind of gigantic bomb, the description of which the Druuge recognized as a Precursor planeteering tool (the very device that the Utwig turned over to my crew near the end of the Slave Revolts), and the Druuge set out to make it their own. The Druuge traveled from their central trade world to meet the Utwig at Beta Aquarii. Their plan was to entice the Utwig with useless but genuine Precursor artifacts and take the bomb in exchange. The Utwig snapped up the artifacts, but instead of giving the Druuge the bomb, the Utwig traded a collection of "historical oddments and genuine artifacts", which to this day the Druuge are trying to unload on unwary buyers. The collection included Wimbli's Trident, the Glowing Rod, and the Rosy Sphere. As far as I know, the Rosy sphere is the only item from the group that has proven to be useful (by serving as a replacement part for the Utwig's broken Ultron).
The Druuge can be found on and around Zeta Persei 1, their central trade world, but personally, I recommend trading with the Melnorme instead. The Melnorme may drive a hard bargain, but they never ask you to trade your crew into slavery.
Druuge: Space Vessel Technology
The Druuge Mauler is a lot like a flying bazooka. It's not extremely fast or maneuverable, but its high-velocity long-range cannon is so powerful that its recoil actually sends the Mauler sailing backwards. Many a Druuge captain has counted on this recoil effect to propel his ship while he fires on a pursuing enemy. Due to the Mauler's particularly slow energy replenishment cycle, the Druuge have developed an instant matter-to-energy converter that transforms almost any available matter, usually a crew member, into a full reserve of usable energy. This is probably the main reason why Druuge ships rarely recruit willing crew-members.
Gg: General Information
The Gg were known only by the now-extinct Burvixese race who communicated with the Gg via long-range HyperWave broadcast. It was the Gg who warned the Burvixese of the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah's onslaught, and they who made the accurate conjecture that the Kohr-Ah used HyperWave transmissions to locate their prey. The physical characteristics of the Gg are quite a mystery because they apparently did not care to communicate through visual transmissions. The Gg homeworld, the location of which is unknown to me, is said to have been incinerated by the Kohr-Ah in 2142.
Keel-Verezy: General Information
The Melnorme once mentioned a race called the Keel-Verezy, who may actually be part of a larger race called the Verezy. I have not been able to contact any kind of Verezy or even find much information about them, but the Melnorme did tell me that the Keel-Verezy had expressed great interest in our explorations and struggles against the Ur-Quan during the Slave Revolts. Also, the Keel-Verezy are apparently hesitant to introduce themselves for fear of frightening us.
I have no specific information about Keel-Verezy technology, but it is possible that they have some kind of sophisticated cloaking technology, since the Melnorme said that we once nearly crashed into a Keel-Verezy ship that we never detected.
Kohr-Ah (Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah): General Information
The Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, commonly known as "the Kohr-Ah", have much in common with the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. In fact, they are descended from the same original species. Physically, the Kohr-Ah look almost identical to the Kzer-Za, except that their bodies are black instead of green. The Dnyarri genetically altered part of the original Ur-Quan race to create the Kohr-Ah, who became the laborers and soldiers of their ancient empire. When the Dnyarri were finally defeated, the Kohr-Ah adopted what they call the "Eternal Doctrine". That doctrine dictates that all non-Ur-Quan sentient races must be completely destroyed. This conflicts with the doctrine of the Kzer-Za, known as "The Path of Now and Forever". It is because of this conflict that the two Ur-Quan races have fought two bloody wars, known as the "Doctrinal Conflicts". The Kohr-Ah lost the first war to the Kzer-Za, but they were winning the second war until it was interrupted by the destruction of the Sa-Matra and the attack by the New Alliance of Free Stars.
After the destruction of the Sa-Matra, the Kohr-Ah soon fell to the Alliance. At long last, peace was made and treaties were signed between the Alliance and the Kohr-Ah, although many did not favor the arrangement. Soon after, the Kohr-Ah and the Kzer-Za agreed on a common doctrine, the Path of Ceaseless Vigilance, so they now act as one race. The reunited Ur-Quan did not colonize a homeworld in the old quadrant, instead preferring to continue their exploration of the galaxy on their Path of Ceaseless Vigilance. They did, however, assign many of their numbers to follow their Path on our united mission to the Kessari Quadrant.
Kohr-Ah (Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah): Space Vessel Technology
The Marauder, the Kohr-Ah's ship of choice in close combat, is the only alien ship I have encountered that seems to be as powerful as the Kzer-Za Dreadnought, possibly more so. The Marauder uses its variable-range blade-disc missiles for attacking and defending. It defends itself by launching several of the discs into hovering positions around itself, like a mine-field. The Marauder's other weapon is commonly known as the F.R.I.E.D., which is short for Fiery Ring of Inevitable and Eternal Destruction. As the name implies, the F.R.I.E.D. is a fiery ring that shoots out all around the Marauder. Like the blade-disc missiles, it can be used for both offense and defense.
When the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah reunited, the Kohr-Ah Marauders were all taken out of service.
Melnorme: General Information
The Melnorme are a race of interstellar traders who deal primarily in information. They also offer a few other useful items, including fuel, which I have purchased from them more than once. I have never been able to haggle with them over a price, probably because they know that many of their items are simply not available anywhere else. For example, they are the only race I have heard mention some races, such as the Dramya and the Keel-Verezy.
Physically, I think the Melnorme look like big pieces of popcorn, except that each of them has one eye and a mouth. Because they only have one eye, the Melnorme have no depth perception and seem to place a particularly high value on color. Perhaps this is why they seem to be so interested in Rainbow Worlds. Whatever their reasons, I've always been happy to reveal the locations of these unusual worlds as soon as I've discovered them, because each time I have done so, the Melnorme have been very generous in rewarding me with Credits. Little else is known about the Melnorme because they are only willing to divulge such information for vast sums of Credits.
I have encountered the Melnorme in every supergiant star system I have visited as well as in HyperSpace.
Melnorme: Space Vessel Technology
I have learned what little I know about the Melnorme Trader from observation since I have never had sufficient Credits to purchase more specific information. The Trader is clearly not meant to be an offensive vessel, but it is not defenseless. While it does not seem to be the fastest or most maneuverable ship among the stars, its single cannon is enough to make any would-be attackers think twice about attacking the Melnorme. The cannon seems to charge in front of the ship and vary in color depending on the length of the charge.
Melnorme: Other Technology
The Melnorme have a wide range of technology available for sale, but I have no idea what is their own since they are not willing to reveal their sources for any realistic number of Credits. Regardless of origin, the technology that they offer, from Planet Lander modifications to module plans for Precursor vessels, can be and has been very helpful.
*Nnngn*: General Information
The Arilou Lalee'lay once mentioned a race that they called the *Nnngn*, which they seek in something that they call "easy places". One of the Arilou said "We seek to trap *Nnngn*, but they dart and leap. YOU cannot trap *Nnngn*... do not even try. I do not think you can even touch them; you are not quite solid enough." When I asked what they did with the *Nnngn* after catching them, I was told "Why we let them go, of course! *Nnngn* do not like to be confined!"
Precursors: General Information
It is not uncommon in this region of the galaxy to find ruins and relics of the race we know as the Precursors. It seems strange, then, that we know so little about the Precursors, since so many of their artifacts and installations have been found; we don't even know the proper name for their species. What we do know of their physiology we have learned from my one-time space vessel and from the Slylandro. The Precursors were apparently shaggy giants of high intelligence and seemingly not bipedal. Most of the Precursor items that have been discovered seem to be technological in nature.
Some Spathi once told me of ten waste-disposal sites left behind by the Precursors; I believe that they were referring to what we know as the Rainbow Worlds. Soon after, the Slylandro told me that the Precursors had either discovered or manufactured the Rainbow Worlds, but they didn't know how or why. Further inquiries have revealed that the organization of these worlds might allude to what became of the Precursors (the ten Rainbow worlds that I found seem to form an arrow tip if a line were drawn from one to another). If one were to believe the rumors of these worlds' significance, then one might surmise that the Precursors headed off toward the galactic core. Nobody seems to know why they left, not even the Slylandro. The Slylandro did say that the Precursors had found an answer to some great secret mystery of theirs just before their departure about 235,000 years ago.
Precursors: Space Vessel Technology
I am familiar with only one kind of Precursor space vessel. I don't know its proper name, so I call it a multi-purpose starship. The only ship of this type known to have existed recently was built on the planet Unzervalt by an automated Precursor factory. It was this same starship that was fitted with the Chmmr-modified Precursor bomb and detonated next to the Ur-Quan battle platform, the Sa-Matra (which was also of Precursor design and manufacture). The gigantic ship was slightly built, indeed skeletal, to allow the installation of several different modules. Thus, it could be customized to meet almost any particular need. In fact, I had it configured at different times to be a large-capacity mineral transport, a fully-armed battleship, and just about everything in-between. I'm not sure where they obtained them, but the Melnorme sold me plans that allowed the Earth starbase to build invaluable modules for the ship. It is interesting to note that on my first encounter with the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, the Kzer-Za captain recognized my ship as a "Precursor service vehicle". The only other information available about Precursor space vessels comes from the Slylandro who remember a huge circular starship, but no other details about that ship.
Precursors: Other Technology
I firmly believe that the Precursors were the most technologically advanced race that this part of the galaxy has ever seen. I have personally come across many of their technological artifacts, but I have never been able to figure out what any of them do, with the exception of the factory computer from Unzervalt and the vessel that was built there. Even the function of the Utwig's "Ultron", a device of Precursor manufacture that my crew repaired for the Utwig, is a mystery to me (and, interestingly enough, to the Utwig).
Slylandro: General Information
The Slylandro are a friendly gas-bag species who have the unique distinction of being the only sentient race known to have evolved on a gas giant. They are also the only race I know of who actually had first-hand contact with the Precursors, whom they call the "Shaggy Ones" since they can't seem to remember their proper name. Since theirs is such an ancient culture, the Slylandro and their history chants have been an invaluable source of information about the Precursors and the Sentient Milieu. The Slylandro last saw the Precursors just before they disappeared about 235,000 years ago. Many races from the Sentient Milieu, including the original brownish Ur-Quan, paid visits to them on a regular basis until the Milieu was overtaken by the Dnyarri about 22,000 years ago.
The Slylandro continue to live within a 500 kilometer band of atmosphere on Beta Corvi 4, the gas giant that they call "Source". They are always willing to exchange friendly conversation and information with any who stop by and do the same.
Because of their insubstantial physiology, the Slylandro have been unable to develop any technology of their own. They did, however, accept the offer of a Melnorme Trade Master a few decades ago which allowed the Melnorme to study them in exchange for a self-replicating space exploration probe. Unfortunately, the Slylandro made a simple but deadly mistake in programming the probe which caused it and all of its replications to try to break down all alien vessels into their component materials for further replication. Luckily, when we informed the Slylandro of their probes' behavior, they were able to provide us with a transmission code that would cause any of their hostile probes to self-destruct. Soon afterward, they reprogrammed a returned probe to travel throughout this part of the galaxy transmitting the code to any other probes it encountered, so all of the probes are believed to have been destroyed.
Spathi: General Information
The Spathi are all abject cowards who have built quite a successful civilization around this basic characteristic. The Spathi physique is slight and soft, with the vital organs being covered by a hard shell. Spathi each have a single large human-like eye atop a thick, stiff stalk that protrudes from the main body, often at an odd angle. When alarmed (a frequent condition among Spathi), they ooze copious amounts of unpleasant fluid from their pores. Recent sources of fear for the Spathi include the Evil Ones (dangerous creatures that over ran Spathiwa, forcing the Spathi to evacuate the planet and resettle on their moon), the Grand Master Planet Eaters (terrible new enemies that were believed to be heading directly for Spathiwa, but turned out to be one of several Umgah jokes [like Jud the Ineffable Vug and Killmaster 18]), and the Ultimate Evil (the nature and intentions of which the Spathi have not been able to identify, but they claim that it lies just beyond the range of their most sensitive long-range detectors, which they say "gives conclusive evidence as to The Ultimate Evil's nefarious intent").
When the Spathi surrendered to the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za after less than six Earth hours of combat, they were presented with the standard slave option. The Spathi were overjoyed to learn that the Ur-Quan were willing to place an impenetrable shield around Spathiwa for absolutely no charge. Unfortunately for the Spathi, though, the slave who relayed their decision to its Kzer-Za master was an Umgah, who are known for their cruel jokes. The Umgah reported the wrong decision, after which the Kzer-Za master would not allow the Spathi to change their status from Battle Thrall to fallow slaves. Since they never wanted to be part of the Hierarchy in the first place, the Spathi didn't go out of their way to carry out the Kzer-Za's wishes until the Kzer-Za had warned them three times and told them that there would not be a fourth warning, simply annihilation. After that final warning from the Kzer-Za, the Spathi say that they attended their new role "with improved vigor".
Although it took some convincing to get them to join the New Alliance, the Spathi were valuable allies during the war until they erected a force-shield around their homeworld, thereby cutting off all contact with other alien races. I haven't met a Spathi in space for years, so perhaps they all returned to Spathiwa (Epsilon Gruis 1) before the force-shield was activated. I sometimes wonder if the Spathi miss the pure light of Yuffo, their sun, which they used to speak so fondly of.
Spathi: Space Vessel Technology
The Spathi Eluder seems to have been more of a defensive fighter than an offensive one. It was very maneuverable, probably so the Spathi could avoid enemy shots when they were drawn into battle, which they avoided whenever possible. When moving toward an opponent, the Spathi could fire small missiles forward. The Eluder's most powerful weapon, however, was the B.U.T.T. (Backwards Utilizing Tracking Torpedo), a powerful missile that could be fired directly backwards whenever it was chased. Further evidence of the Eluder's defensive nature is found in the ship's substantial armor and unusual appearance, which is intended to decoy enemy fire away from the crew sections.
Spathi: Other Technology
The Spathi studied the Kzer-Za slave-shield around Earth and were able to erect a similar one around their own homeworld. It's too bad that they didn't share their research with the rest of the New Alliance before activating their shield, because the Humans of Earth could have provided greater assistance during the war if the slave-shield around Earth had been dropped earlier.
Zebranky: General Information
The Zebranky evolved simultaneously on the same world with the Zoq, the Fot, and the Pik. Little is known about the Zebranky except that they were sentient creatures whose favorite foods were Zoqs, Fots, and Piks. To ensure their survival, the Zoq, the Fot, and the Pik joined together to annihilate the Zebranky several thousand years ago.
Only the scattered bones of the Zebranky remain on their one-time homeworld, Alpha Tucanae 1.
The Zebranky are not known to have had any significant technology, but it has been suggested that they may have used crude weapons to hunt Zoqs, Fots, and Piks.
Miscellaneous Items, Events, and Terms
There are many items, events, and terms that are significant to the history of Star Control, especially from recent years. All of these miscellaneous files can be accessed from here or from any other file where they are mentioned.
The Aqua Helix
The Aqua Helix is one of the items that we used to "repair" the Ultron. We found it on Zeta Draconis 1, a Thraddash world, when we sent a Planet Lander down to explore the surface. Since there were no Thraddash around at the time, we took the Helix and attached it to the Ultron. The Thraddash were not be pleased with this unauthorized use of their property, since they had had the Helix for millennia and it was the most highly revered object of their race, but we had no other way to repair the Ultron. Like the other items used to repair the Ultron, the Clear Spindle device and the Rosy Sphere, as well as the Ultron itself, it is possible that the Aqua Helix was designed and manufactured by the Precursors.
The Clear Spindle
The Clear Spindle is one of the items that we used to "repair" the Ultron. The Pkunk freely gave it to us as a gesture of friendship, so we wasted no time in attaching it to the Ultron. Like the other items used to repair the Ultron, the Aqua Helix and the Rosy Sphere, as well as the Ultron itself, it is possible that the Clear Spindle device was designed and manufactured by the Precursors.
The Crimson Corporation
The Crimson Corporation is the entity that employs all living Druuge. In the past, there were other businesses, but with the relaxation of anti-monopoly laws, the formation of a single, monolithic company was inevitable. Using leverage buyout tactics, the Crimson Corporation has purchased all of the land and even the atmosphere on all Druuge planets. Breathing, therefore, is considered a perk of working for the Corporation, and consequently, there is limited job turnover. Retirement benefits most often include continued breathing provisions, although at reduced levels.
The Doctrinal Conflicts
The Doctrinal Conflicts, also known as the Doctrinal Wars, were two inter-Ur-Quan wars, the first one over 20,000 years ago and the second one only a few years ago. After winning their freedom from the evil Dnyarri, each kind of Ur-Quan devised its own doctrine to ensure that the Ur-Quan would never again become slaves and suffer as they had for so many generations. The doctrine of the green-bodied Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, called the "Path of Now and Forever", dictated that all non-Ur-Quan sentient races must either be fallow slaves, forever trapped on their own worlds under impenetrable slave-shields, or that they must become part of a new Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, fighting for the Ur-Quan and helping them to defeat other races. That arrangement was not satisfactory for the black-bodied Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, who had devised the "Eternal Doctrine", which dictated the complete destruction of all non-Ur-Quan sentient races. Since neither kind of Ur-Quan could accept the other's doctrine, a great war broke out. The war, which we know as the first Doctrinal Conflict, lasted a long time, but the Kzer-Za won it using a Precursor battle platform, the Sa-Matra. After the war, the Kzer-Za wondered if the doctrine of the Kohr-Ah might be the better of the two, so they could not bring themselves to destroy their brethren. Instead, the Kohr-Ah were exiled, sent against the spin of the galaxy while the Kzer-Za went in the opposite direction. An agreement was made that when the two factions met again on the other side of the galaxy, they would continue their conflict. The winners of that second conflict would take the Precursor vessel and the losers would stand down.
The second Doctrinal Conflict took place a few short years ago when the Kzer-Za and the Kohr-Ah met in our local region of space. It is hard for some to imagine, but if the Kzer-Za had not been here to fight the Kohr-Ah, all of the local races would probably be extinct now. Alarmingly, the Kohr-Ah seemed to be winning their second Doctrinal Conflict until it was interrupted by the destruction of the Sa-Matra.
The Eternal Doctrine
The Eternal Doctrine, devised over 20,000 years ago by Kohr-Ah, a leader of the black-bodied Ur-Quan, dictates the complete destruction of all non-Ur-Quan sentient life. This brutal doctrine is the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah's way of ensuring that they never again become slaves, as they once were to the Dnyarri. The Eternal Doctrine conflicts with the Path of Now and Forever, devised by the green-bodied Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, which dictates that all other sentient races must either be permanent slaves to the Ur-Quan or be forever trapped on their own worlds under impenetrable force shields. The conflict between the two kinds of Ur-Quan led to a bloody war, known as the first Doctrinal Conflict. A second Doctrinal Conflict took place only a few short years ago.
Excruciators were devices created over 20,000 years ago by the Ur-Quan slaves in the old Dnyarri empire. Their creation came about after a green-bodied Ur-Quan scientist, Kzer-Za, discovered that when a slave underwent near-lethal pain, the Dnyarri temporarily disconnected their psychic links. Greenish, the Melnorme Trade Master, describes how Kzer-Za shared its findings: "It chose its moment carefully - it waited until it was near an open transmission unit. Then, in a short moment of mental freedom, the Ur-Quan injected itself with a dose of acidic poison, sending incredible waves of pain through its long body. In the few moments before its death, Kzer-Za was able to wrest control of the transmitter to send word of its discovery across the planet, and into space as well. Before the Dnyarri knew what was happening, Ur-Quan everywhere were hacking at their own bodies with chunks of glass, burning themselves horribly, doing anything that would give them the few seconds of freedom necessary to find the nearest Dnyarri and crush the bleating creature."
Greenish continues: "As they gained longer and longer periods of control, the Ur-Quan developed new tools and weapons to destroy their evil masters. The most gruesome of these devices was the Excruciator, a mechanism that was inserted directly into the brain, and generated a constant stream of agony. The Dnyarri could not bring themselves to make the necessary mental connection with these tortured Ur-Quan. They were slaughtered by the thousands. The Ur-Quan slave revolt was won." In honor of Kzer-Za's courage, Ur-Quan Kzer-Za was adopted as the name of the green-bodied Ur-Quan.
The Glowing Rod
The Glowing Rod was part of the collection of "historical oddments and genuine artifacts" that the Utwig traded to the Druuge in exchange for the Ultron. As far as anyone knows, the Glowing Rod, like Wimbli's Trident, has no practical use, and since the Druuge didn't want either of these things in the first place (they wanted the Precursor bomb that the Utwig held), they are to this day trying to unload them on unwary buyers.
HyperSpace is the term used to describe a sort of parallel dimension where physics aren't quite the same as in TrueSpace. For example, while traveling through HyperSpace, constant thrust is required, so the cost in fuel can be quite large. At the same time, distances are vastly reduced, so months and maybe even years can be saved when traveling long distances. When lifting into HyperSpace, a large red portal appears in front of a ship that activates its hyperdrive. The portal closes after the ship has moved in. A ship can leave HyperSpace and return to TrueSpace by flying into any of the inter-dimensional vortices that appear throughout HyperSpace, always near a star. Ships can also be pulled out of HyperSpace when they cross paths with other ships. Many kinds of ships are capable of traveling through HyperSpace, and at least one Earth company has a hyperdrive unit in development for private citizens. To my knowledge, though, the Arilou Lalee'lay ships are the only ones capable of creating QuasiSpace portals at will.
HyperWave is a super-high-frequency transmission protocol. Using HyperWave Broadcasters (commonly known as "Casters") and HyperWave Receivers, messages can be sent across vast distances in a relatively short matter of time. The Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah have been known to seek out the sources of HyperWave transmissions in order to locate and destroy sentient races.
The Path of Now and Forever
The Path of Now and Forever is an Ur-Quan Kzer-Za doctrine that dictates that all other sentient races must be either permanent slaves to the Ur-Quan, or be forever trapped on their own worlds under impenetrable force-shields.
The Path was devised over 20,000 years ago by the green-bodied Ur-Quan as a way to ensure that the Ur-Quan would never again be a race of slaves, as they had been to the Dnyarri. This plan was not sufficient for the black-bodied Ur-Quan, however, so they enacted the Eternal Doctrine, which dictated the complete destruction of all non-Ur-Quan sentient life.
The conflict between the two kinds of Ur-Quan led to a bloody war, now known as the first Doctrinal Conflict. A second Doctrinal Conflict took place only a few short years ago.
Planet Landers are small vehicles that can be dispatched by a large ship while it is in orbit around a planet. While on the surface of a planet, they can collect various raw materials and biological samples, then return to the large ship in orbit to unload their cargo.
The Precursor vessel that I captained during the Slave Revolts was equipped with one Planet Lander, but the Earth Starbase was able to manufacture more of them. As originally built, each Lander was probably meant to accommodate two Precursors, but several humans could fit comfortably inside. With the help of the Melnorme, our Landers were modified to better resist alien attacks, hot spots, lightning, and quakes, and to carry more cargo, travel twice as fast, and fire faster. Planet Landers were absolutely vital to our success in our struggle against the Ur-Quan during the Slave Revolts, until the Chmmr emerged and offered us vast, practically unlimited resources.
QuasiSpace is the term used to describe a particular parallel dimension that is known to relatively few races and traveled by even fewer. In fact, the Arilou Lalee'lay are the only race that we know of who travel through QuasiSpace on a regular basis, and it is in a TrueSpace eddy in QuasiSpace that they make their home. There is only one naturally occurring portal from HyperSpace to QuasiSpace, and it appears for only a few short days after the middle of each month at HyperSpace coordinates 043.8:637.3.
After we had discovered the Arilou Lalee'lay's hidden homeworld by traveling through the natural QuasiSpace portal, the Arilou modified a Warp Pod that we had scavenged from a wrecked Kzer-Za Dreadnought to make a QuasiSpace Portal Spawner for our Precursor vessel. With the Portal Spawner, we were able to instantly create a portal to QuasiSpace from any point in HyperSpace. After we entered those portals, thankfully, they closed behind us, preventing any pursuing ships from following us in. The convenience of traveling such vast distances in such short times made the few units of fuel that the Portal Spawner required to open portals well worth it during the Slave Revolts. Regardless of the point of entry, QuasiSpace can only be exited from certain points, but since traveling through QuasiSpace requires no fuel, and since distances in QuasiSpace are even further compressed than in HyperSpace, travel there can save both time and fuel.
Rainbow Worlds are strange planets whose radiant energies produce rainbow-like images on most scanners that display their energy readings graphically. They are all rich in minerals, and of great interest to the Melnorme. The Spathi once mentioned something about ten Precursor waste-processing stations, and the Thraddash once mentioned the "Precursor Dumps", which they had found descriptions of in some ancient text fragments they found in the Alpha Apodis system. I believe that the Spathi and the Thraddash were both referring to the Rainbow Worlds. The Slylandro provided even more information, saying that the Precursors, who they call the "Shaggy Ones", either discovered or manufactured these ten worlds, and that their arrangement somehow alludes to the ultimate fate of the Precursors. Always in the first orbital position, we have discovered a Rainbow World in each of the following star systems: Alpha Andromedae, Beta Leporis, Beta Pegasi, Epsilon Draconis, Epsilon Lipi, Gamma Aquarii, Gamma Kepler, Gamma Reticuli, Groombridge, and Zeta Sextantis.
The Rosy Sphere
The Rosy Sphere is one of the items that we used to "repair" the Ultron. We obtained it from the Druuge in exchange for the Egg Case of a Mycon Deep Child. We were almost unable to obtain the warm, throbbing sphere with its slowly pulsing light, since I was unwilling to trade members of my crew, but the Druuge finally decided to accept the Egg Case instead. I'm not sure what the Druuge wanted the Egg Case for, but the trade was certainly more favorable than their previous proposal. Like the other items used to repair the Ultron, the Aqua Helix and the Clear Spindle device, as well as the Ultron itself, it is possible that the Rosy Sphere was designed and manufactured by the Precursors.
According to the Chmmr, the name Sa-Matra' means great trophy' in the Ur-Quan language, which isn't surprising since the Sa-Matra was the Ur-Quan's ultimate battle platform, the very symbol of their dominance. As the most powerful vessel known to any race, the Sa-Matra was so valuable to the Ur-Quan that they guarded it with a significant portion of their fleets. While the exact potential of the Sa-Matra remains a mystery, it was certainly the largest and most powerful battle station that I have ever known of. It had powerful long-range weapons and a remarkable shield system. Even after its shield was deactivated, it took a huge Precursor planeteering bomb with special Chmmr modifications to destroy it. <> The Sa-Matra was originally built by the Precursors, but it was abandoned when they disappeared, leaving it to be discovered countless years later by the Dnyarri. It fell into the possession of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za when the ancient Dnyarri empire was defeated over 20,000 years ago, and soon after it was theirs, they used to defeat the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah in their first Doctrinal Conflict. According to the agreement made between the two kinds of Ur-Quan after that first Doctrinal Conflict, the Kohr-Ah would have rightfully won the Sa-Matra if they had defeated the Kzer-Za in their second Doctrinal Conflict.
The Slave Revolts
"The Slave Revolts" is a term commonly used to describe the second war against the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za. The Revolts began when the Humans of Earth and Unzervalt formed the New Alliance of Free Stars at the Earth Starbase and continued through the Ur-Quan's second Doctrinal Conflict, ending with the destruction of the Sa-Matra and the subsequent defeat of the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za (and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah).
"Talking Pets" are what the Dnyarri are commonly known as in their present state of non-sentience and servitude to the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah.
The Ultron is the Utwig's supreme mystic device, revered above all else in their culture. The Utwig empire has been a vibrant, exciting place to be during recent years because of the acquisition of this device from the Druuge. Regardless of the true powers (if any) of the Ultron, the Utwig feel that its presence guarantees their fulfillment.
A few years ago, during a ritual, the Ultron was dropped and broken, resulting in a planetwide suicidal depression. In an attempt to curb their grief, the Utwig handed the broken Ultron over to their good friends and allies, the Supox. After that, all they did was brood, spin regrets, and consider using their "super weapon", a Precursor planeteering bomb, to end their misery. Luckily, before the Utwig used that super weapon, the Melnorme told us where we could find suitable replacement parts for the Ultron. We obtained the Ultron from the Supox, gathered the necessary replacement parts (the Aqua Helix, the Clear Spindle device, and the Rosy Sphere), fitted all of the items together, and returned the "fixed" Ultron to the Utwig, which delighted them to no end. We're still not sure if the Ultron actually does anything, but it keeps the Utwig happy. It is interesting to note that the Ultron appears to be of Precursor manufacture.
Wimbli's Trident was part of the collection of "historical oddments and genuine artifacts" that the Utwig traded to the Druuge in exchange for the Ultron. As far as anyone knows, Wimbli's Trident, like the Glowing Rod, has no practical use, and since the Druuge didn't want either of these things in the first place (they wanted the Precursor bomb that the Utwig held), they are to this day trying to unload them on unwary buyers. In the case of Wimbli's Trident, the Druuge have been known to speak of incineration and inter-dimensional transportation as possible powers held within the artifact, but I suspect that they have simply created these ideas as a means to make a sale.