The Galactic Survey :
Earth hasn’t seen many aliens – and those few who turn up tend to be met with fear, suspicion, and doubt -at least since the Arrhenius invasion. While there have been several other unique visitors, each of the following species has had some notable interactions with the people of Earth, and have been positively identified while doing so. Of course, there are quite a few other races out there, so who knows what will turn up?
The Alar are a winged subspecies of humanity, who apparently departed earth via mystical means around 28,000 BC. They’re currently enslaved by the Darrkorans. Quasar, of the Protectors, is an escaped Alar slave of Sanndistans, who seized his chance to escape – and to warn the people of earth – during Sanndistan’s orbital survey. He’s far more powerful then the average Alar however.
Oddly enough, there seem to be several worlds populated by Homo Sapiens (If not necessarily by Sapiens Sapiens) in the galaxy. There seem to have been several colonizations/transplantations in the past few million years.
The Arrhenius are a hive-mind species, with a single sentient “queen”. Queens possess massive telekinetic talents – sufficient to transport an entire hive through space – and can spawn a wide variety of quasireptilian worker, infiltrator, and warrior castes. Their usual pattern seems to be to drift through space, move into orbit around a more-or-less “earthlike” planet, and plunder the resources of it’s biosphere to spawn. A colony in space resembles a large asteroid. They’re not popular with most other species. An Arrhenius swarm moved into orbit around earth in 1961, and launched a series of attacks – mostly on Brazil, the Philippines, and other tropical areas in 1963. The colony was driven off – or possibly left for reasons of it’s own – in 1966. While the lesser caste’s aren’t capable of reproducing, a variety of stray monstrosities still appear from time to time.
The Arith Vaya are a bioengineered species of “living space stations” – enormous (600-700 mile across) wheel-stations with lifespans of four to five million years. They drop seeds onto moons and asteroids (and hurl them into interstellar space), where they gather resources and fuels to hurl themselves into space. Once they’re in a stable orbit they populate themselves from their inherited genetic libraries. In general, they’re not very talkative. Outside of using the devices their creators designed into them the Arith Vaya aren’t very technological either.
The Darrkorans are tailed, reptilian, species possessing considerable strength, natural armor, and amphibious adaptions. They are militaristic, clan-oriented, and often settle disputes by combat of champions. While they favor “natural” talents and primitive weapons in combat, they have basic FTL capabilities and good weaponry if it’s needed. They tend to conquer and enslave weaker species, but aren’t especially exploitive about it later. They’ve been entangled in border skirmishes with the Mer’Hal for millenia, and occasionally throw up “sports” with massive – rather then the usual very limited – elemental powers.
The Darrkorans are fairly notorious on earth, at least since the arrival of Sanndistan, better known as Ionstorm, on his single-handed quest to defeat earth’s greatest champions one by one and thus pave the way for a Darrkoran takeover. His arrival-rampage brought together the Protectors.
The Elder Ones; This group appears to contain both races and individual entities of vast powers; they, at least supposedly, predate our universe, originating in older dimensions. Their presence in this dimension is inherently disrupting. They usually act through their corrupted servants and servant species. They’re generally at war with the Firstborn – a conflict which is reputed to have lasted since the beginning of time and has no end in sight.
The “Firstborn” supposedly arose within a few hundred million years of the big bang. They’re mostly creatures of legend; many spells, such as “Luathon’s Eleven Lights”, supposedly originated with them. They are supposed to be shapeshifters and highly magical; their true form is unknown. In most tales they appear as benign, if oddly fallible, creatures, and they often oppose the Elder Ones. Most depictions of them appear as formless flames or vaguely serpentine entities. They’re also sometimes known as “Seraphim”.
The Herthriken are a deadly predatory species with limited telepathic talents and the ability to absorb the minds and vital energies of their prey, gaining some of their skills and knowledge in the process While they’re not “true” shapeshifters, they can augment their chameleon-like skins with telepathic illusions to conceal themselves. They are not naturally technological, and do not have space travel capabilities as a species, but some have escaped from their swampy homes by stealing or stowing away on spacecraft. They prefer to prey on sentients; they provide the most psychic energy and the best selection of skills to boost their own. They are extremely dangerous, and are sometimes referred to as “Star Vampires”.
The Kragga are an avian species that controls an extensive empire near the galactic core. They are arrogant, predatory, and surprisingly short- lived for an advanced species – which apparently contributes to their general ruthlessness and disregard for other lifeforms. By human standards, their civilization is quite decadent. The Kragga possess modest telepathic abilities, can develop a variety of other psychic disciplines – and are quite skilled in the use of psi-amplifiers, often in the form of implants.
The Kragga “Federation” includes a number of species other then the Kragga. While generally peaceful externally, it has ruthless internal policies, and politics, including extensive slave-trading. It sponsors galactic exploration, but leaves actual exploitation to private companies. There are indications that the “Federation” uses specialized subversion teams to take over primitive worlds and then grants “leases” to exploit them. Whether or not this is true, the federation and it’s covert operations agencies shouldn’t be underestimated. It often exiles “misfits”, and citizens who happen to be inconvenient to primitive worlds.
The Lanarists are leonine centauroids, with a silicon-based metabolism. They’re also basically pacifistic adherents of the “Universal Church” – a creation of Lanar, an ancient religious leader and lawgiver. By most standards they’re actually quite nice – but they do attempt to convert you, incessantly. They’re also one of the few species which has paid an “official” visit to the earth. They do NOT possess FTL technology – but do have magical methods for transporting small groups, and are technologically competent otherwise.
-A great deal of the currently-available data on aliens is derived from the Lanarists; it may, or may not, be entirely accurate. It’s certainly been filtered through translation from an alien, if not entirely incompatible, viewpoint.
As a note, THE law of the universal church is “To take that which belongs to another without mutual consent is forbidden”. While there are various corollaries – forbidding murder, forcible conversion, etc, etc, etc – they’re all fairly straightforward derivations. Of course, the fact that this simply defines a workable and cooperative social contract (quite enough to explain why the tribes that embraced THE law prospered and spread), makes no impression on the Lanarists: to them, their success is due to the divine grace resulting from their adherence to the law of their prophet, not just due to it being practical advice.
Martians; Unfortunately, despite centuries of tales, the current life-forms of mars seem to be restricted to single-celled organisms. There may (or may not) be some multicellular organisms out there somewhere – but nobody’s found them yet, and anything more complex then lichen has about been ruled out at this point. Still, a few “psychics” claim to have seen strange specters, or to sense some ancient tragedy.
The Mer’hal are a near-human race, apparently derived from stock transplanted around a million years ago. They control a cluster of worlds near the borders of the Darrkoran empire, and have been resisting conquest by deploying carefully-chosen and massively-enhanced champions for millennia.
The Na’Cair are a semihumanoid insectile race with an extremely old, stable, and high-technology civilization. They apparently conduct a regular galactic survey, but usually avoid any extensive interference with local civilizations. There are traces of Na’Cair visitations on the moon, these are still the subjects of intense research.
The Otal are a winged serpentine species with modest natural armor, venom, and psionic powers. While they do possess manipulatory tendrils near their mouths they are ineffectual tool users and are generally non-technological unless assisted. They are sometimes employed by the Federation, and by the Na’Cair, as planetary scouts and may have been genetically engineered to suit that role at some point, since most of them possess low-level telepathy and psychically enhanced senses.
-Earth supports a small Otal colony hidden in the amazon jungle, the result of a lost scouting expedition about 30,000 years ago. Despite their long lifespans they’ve reverted to primitivism – a condition which genetic drift and difficulties in reproducing on earth have not helped. A large percentage of the offspring are nonsentient, and the colony has never been large. Those few which have come to the attention of outsiders have, in general, been dismissed as minor magical beasts.
The Racaf are a vaguely raccoon-like and highly territorial race of pack-hunters. While they are too uncooperative to develop advanced technology on their own, their planet is currently occupied by the Federation – hence small “bachelor” packs trained for security, scouting, and light military work are currently available. They’re currently being selectively bred by the Kragga – simply by permitting only the most satisfactory “recruits” to take their advanced equipment home with them.
Radenites resemble feathered octopi, and have moderate psionic abilities, generally related to life energy and heightened talents. They have a high and very weird technology, since they seem to regard each item as a personal work of art. They are superb physicians and makers of unique high- precision devices. Radenites either form limited hiveminds or share extraordinary amounts of data with each other very quickly; visitors are often disconcerted to find that Radenites whom they’ve never met seem well-acquainted with them. They seem to find questions on this subject extremely funny; and their responses are inconsistent. Their “culture” appears to be cheerfully anarchic – at least one Federation undercover takeover attempt failed to locate any usable authority-centers.
The Verrin are (supposedly) the second-oldest of all sentient races; they organized themselves from the electromagnetic flux resulting from the passing of cosmic strings thru nascent galaxies. “Modern” Verrin are much smaller – and typically live in / on the atmospheric electromagnetism of gas giants. They sometimes establish symbiotic relationships with material beings.
The Vershari are a vaguely “bearlike” species with a tribal culture, low technology and fairly advanced shamanistic magic. Unfortunately, they easily fall into deadly rivalries, employ blood-sacrifice to increase their magical talents, and fight duels – sacrificing, eating, or enslaving, the losers. Fortunately, they’re mostly (barring some Kragga slave-purchases) restricted to their homeworld, and after a few encounters with their dueling customs, few visitors are inclined to do anything to change that.