- Science Fiction Setting
- Character Sheets Need to Be Posted in the Character Sheet Thread
- Approved characters will be listed in the table of contents
- Humans sign up for a war with Jihadi insurgents in in the Pissditch Post-Soviet Islamic Republic of Kerblackistan and wind up on fighting Oh God, Fucking Aliens on Planet Mungo instead.
- Starts out with modern technology and moves into more alien tech as the RP progresses
- Characters are mercenaries that signed onto a newly-formed PMC called Centurion Strategic Services; the client is assumed to be a foreign entity.
- Client is actually an alien species that needs someone who can fight the wars for them.
- Moral decisions abound when the humans realize how much say they actually have in this conflict -- it won't be apparent at first, but they're important.
- Characters are in a single squad together.
- Advanced Standards.
Table of Contents:
- IC Thread
- Character Sheet Thread
- #Saga - IRC Chat - This is where you can realtime chat on IRC. The server is irc.foonetic.net if you want to find your way there on your own client.
- Information on character-run nations will go here.
- Approved Characters listed here.
- Squad Leader - CPT Lars Haraldsson (Zhaliora) - KIA
- Fireteam Leader A - SFC Luka Kilham (I Am Anarchy) - KIA
- Fireteam Leader A - LCPL Ryan Davis (RoadRash)
- Rifleman A - CPL Sara Black (Razon)
- Medical Corpsman A - CPL Soraya Karam (idlehands)
- Fireteam Leader B - SFC Brian Park (Gunther) - Transferred, R&D
- Automatic Rifleman B - CPL Gideon Khambalo (Vulture) - KIA
- Squad Leader - SGT Daniel Maimon (HeySeuss)
- Grenadier B - SSG Darren Allard (7dast) - KIA
- Automatic Rifleman B - SGT Vasco Parra (Goldmarble)
- Rifleman B - CPL Mongkut Ratree (Marrone
- Grenadier B - CPL Katherine "Kit" Caldwell (Merle)
In Character Info:The Grathik race find themselves embattled on many different sides over a dispute regarding natural resource mining in a sector of space with more than one claimant to ownership; when they tried to use force to back up their claim, the injured party called in their allies-- it was the excuse they needed to start a war.
The war hasn't gone well for the Grathik, who are gastropods of limited mobility in anything but murky water; their planet is primarily a marsh and swamp, terraformed that way through centuries of patient planetary engineering. At first, their physiological and psychological limitations didn't matter, their enemy, the Plashi and the L'thraa were also not terribly adept at fighting...for a time, the Grathik held the upper hand, despite the superior numbers and interstellar standing of their enemies, due to their superior scientific prowess, but now the tables have changed as the Plashi hire a fourth race, the Salvesh, who are well known insterstellar mercenaries, a race that has made a living as cannon fodder due to their breeding and strength.
They have tried many different options for fighting the war, but find that while they can manage space warfare in their own ships, they have difficulty fighting terrestrial engagements and boarding actions themselves; they tried robots, but found that the programming left something to be desired, particularly as the robots required a lot of supervision and the Grathik found themselves being outmaneuvered once more.
The Grathik, desperate for a solution, start to consider the various species that offer their services for sale, trying to figure out who would be the best defense against their enemies. That is when Jarlath Ilsalithi, the most brilliant of all the Grathik anthropologists, suggests a true roll of the dice, a backward race, but renowned for the viciousness of their infighting and paradoxical ability to work together, their aggressiveness and their rugged adaptability. He makes a convincing argument after showing footage to the Council of Intelligentsia, meritocratic ruling body of their species, of this species' wars with itself, detailing the rather rapid evolution of their warfare, demonstrating their most desirable attributes; adaptability and aggression.
Jarlath Ilsalithi's proposal was, at first, met with outrage and ethical concerns, but slowly gained traction as further studies bore him out. They were also for sale, relatively cheaply, compared to the interstellar would-be allies who wanted to swallow up the Grathik as a protectorate in their own empires.
But eventually, the need for a solution wins out and the Grathik decide to roll the dice on this obscure species; Humanity.
And so they make slow, determined contact on Earth, finding the right sort of people to front an organization, to hire their mercenaries...Out of Character Info:The characters don't know what they're buying into here. They do not know, nor do the governments or most anyone else on Earth, that there has been contact with a sentient extraterrestrial species. The guys that do know are the top guys in the company, and they aren't talking.
Centurion is offering exorbitant amounts of money for the top talent; guys are taking early retirement, declining to re-enlist or are leaving their old companies in order to join Centurion; while Centurion is willing to train newcomers with the right physical talent, they are selective. Records are examined and people are psychologically screened. They turn down people in the weeding out process, a basic training modeled on some of the toughest types in the world, and then further turn down people who can't cut it through what amounts to the United States Army Ranger School. Those that don't make it are paid for their time and sent on their way, those that do make it are signed on with a permanent and very binding contract; they're in, for at least a decade.
The tech level starts out modern, with modern equipment and weaponry, and the characters are routed through French Guyana or a similar place (it has both a training ground and space launch facilities) and then are taken into space. Under the pretext of starting a course of anti-malarial drugs, they are given hibernation drugs for their deployment and wake up to find themselves in space and preparing to fight the enemy...an alien species, not each other this time.
The Grathik arm their mercenaries well, at first adapting existing human equipment with their technology to make them competitive while developing new weapons specific to the capabilities of humanity. The humans are reassured that they stand to make a lot of money in this endeavor, that they will be compensated with enough money to make them extremely rich back home, enough to make them players rather than pawns on their planet.
It's a sweet deal, right?
There is a twist. There always is.Squad TO&E:The following squad positions are available, assuming an eight man squad, probably operating out of an infantry fighting vehicle like the Combat Vehicle 90. It is entirely possible that the IFV is remote controllable and autopiloted by a sophisticated AI -- the Grathik are very adept programmers, and this may be a holdover of their attempts to create a robotic army to do the fighting for them.
I will update this roster as necessary to reflect that the positions are closed.
Squad Leader - CPT Lars Haraldsson (Zhaliora)
Fireteam Leader A - SFC Luka Kilham (I Am Anarchy)
Automatic Rifleman A - LCPL Ryan Davis (RoadRash)
Rifleman A - CPL Sara Black (Razon)
Medical Corpsman A - CPL Soraya Karam (idlehands)
Fireteam Leader B - SFC Brian Park (Gunther)
Automatic Rifleman B - CPL Gideon Khambalo (Vulture)
Rifleman B - SGT Daniel Maimon (HeySeuss)
Grenadier B - SSG Darren Allard (7dast)
Squad Leader - SGT Daniel Maimon (HeySeuss)
Fireteam Leader A - LCPL Ryan Davis (RoadRash)
Automatic Rifleman A - Redshirt/Open
Rifleman A - CPL Sara Black (Razon)
Medical Corpsman A - CPL Soraya Karam (idlehands)
Fireteam Leader B - Redshirt/Open
Automatic Rifleman B - SGT Vasco Parra (Goldmarble)
Rifleman B - CPL Mongkut Ratree (Marrone)
Grenadier B - CPL Katherine "Kit" Caldwell (Merle)Equipment:The following are issued weaponry for human mercenaries working for the Grathik. They bought the licenses for the designs to produce them...and then set up the assembly lines themselves, which baffled the manufacturers back on Earth. The end result is that their version of the weapons are fully licensed and airtight legal, but retrofitted to the requirements of warfare on the tech level the humans will now be fighting on.
Why human weapons when they are this advanced race that can make their own? Simple, the humans are trained on these weapon systems, and until the Grathik can design weaponry that humans will find comfortable to use, they prefer to retrofit existing human weapons that they will be familiar with to compete with the stuff the enemy are using.
This equipment has since been rendered obsolete by new-issue Grathik equipment custom designed for their human mercenaries.
- Service Rifle: H&K416, with an M320 grenade launcher for fireteam/squad leadership. H&K417C for medics and grenadiers and other support troops.
- DMR: H&K417
- SAW: Mk 46, Mod 0
- Sidearm: Sig P226 or Sig Sauer GSR (a 1911 Clone)
- Grenade Launcher: M32 Grenade Launcher
- Shotgun: M1014 or Kel-tec KSG
In designing equipment for their human mercenaries, the Grathik were faced with certain fundamental choices on doctrine; the Salvesh are heavily built and very strong, and it was found that humans in actual combat against the Grathik did best in retaining advantages in mobility and overall flexibility against them. Given this decision, the Grathik, with human input, designed equipment intended to increase human firepower while retaining the advantages of mobility and rapid reaction, as well as providing them with a greater degree of information awareness on the battlefield. They were constantly told to make sure the equipment was 'grunt-proof' by experienced human operators and took pains to ensure that operation at the end-user level was as simple as possible, freeing up the human to react quickly and without having to fiddle with things. One of them read Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and was impressed by the idea of simplifying everything down to the point of already well-honed instinct and the training they already had -- it was argued that they weren't there to change how humanity functioned in a fight, but to augment those instincts.
A typical caseless round; from left to right – the solid propellant, the primer, the bullet, and a polymer cap that serves to keep the bullet centered in the propellant block
All Grathik arms use some form of caseless ammunition. The solid propellant is the sort employed in almost all powder fired weaponry in use by instellar forces. It is much more stable than the Nitrocellulose used in gunpowder on earth. Therefore, the threat of having a cook-off in an overheated barrel is mitigated. The use of caseless ammunition allows for the Grathik to design weapons for their human mercenaries with greatly increased ammunition capacities. The standard size of an earth 30-round magazine chambered in 5.56mm can carry 50 rounds. The standard size of an earth 20-round magazine chambered in 7.62mm can carry 35 rounds.
The bore size of Grathik weapons is different than common calibers found on earth. The Grathik have conducted research with the help of human weapons designers and have surmised that the following calibers are much more efficient. Rifle calibers are chambered in 6.8x35mm (.270 caliber) and 7.92x35mm (.338 caliber). The length of the round is shorter than earth standard due to the efficacy of the propellant systems, which in turn reduces the weight of the rounds as well. The standard grain on the 6.8mm chambering is 115 grains, whereas the 8mm uses a 160 grain round. The LR1 is designed to be converted between these two calibers, as they use the same case length. The 8mm round also has a 220 grain variant intended for use in DMR variants of the LR1.
The LS5 is chambered with 11.6mm ammunition. It is considered an anti-material rifle, intended for engagements at extreme small arms ranges against vehicles and equipment. The projectile is a 500 grain round that can engage targets out to 3000 meters (3Km) with the proper sights or optic implants. This rifle uses a 15-round magazine box.
The LA8 Light Machine Guns and LA12 Mobile Chain gun use the standard-issue 6.8mm round. The Grathik chose the lighter round for the high volume machine guns to reduce barrel rise. This should be a similar feel to many Earth-crafted Light Machine Guns (LMGs). The standard issue ball/tracer round weighs 115 grains.
The LK7 PDW is chambered in a 6.8x25mm round designed for high energy and armor penetration for secondary weapons.
The LG9 and LG15 use a 45mm Grenade projectile, slightly larger than the standard 40mm round found on earth. The 45mm grenade can engage targets out to 600 meters and comes in six different type rounds. The G3 High Explosive (HE) round can attack area targets out to 600 meters. This round has a seven meter blast radius. The G4 White Phosphorus round employs smoke out to 300 meters. G5 Illumination round provides a Parachute flare to light the night sky out to 250 meters. G6 is a CS riot gas grenade that has been altered to affect Salvesh physiology. The CS gas used in this round is ineffectual against humans yet incapacitates the Salvesh by causing their throats/trachia to swell up, inducing choking. Their vision becomes blurred by excessive water. The gas is very irritating and causes a prikly feeling on their skin. G9 Buckshot is a close range weapon containing thirty 25 grain projectiles. This round has a range of 100 meters. G10 TBM uses surrounding gases to generate a thermobaric explosion much more intense than the standard G3 HE round. This round will produce a kill radius of 15 meters. The G16 round is a sensor round -- for the duration of sixty minutes or until given a kill signal, it broadcasts a variety of information back to the squad. The G22 round is an EMP round. These grenades all have hand-held equivalents.
The LB5, LB11 and LB19 shotguns use the standard-sized shotgun round which is the 12-gauge most humans have grown accustomed to, but modified for caseless operation. The Grathik discovered during their testing that this size round performs exactly as it is intended. There are both slugs and buckshot available for the shotgun rounds.
L1 Grathik (IAR): This is a gas operated semi-automatic assault rifle which can fire on three round burst or full automatic by engaging a selector lever. The infantry assault rifle chambers the 6.8mm or 7.92mm (8mm round and has an effective range out to 1000 or 1,200 meters. The weapon comes standard with a rail interface system handguard and rails on the top of the weapon, with the option to accessorize for optics and other accessories as the end user sees fit, though a typical arrangement involves some form of advanced optic and backup iron sights. The weapon is issued with two upper receiver modules, each in a different chambering, which allows a rapid conversion between calibers, akin to switching uppers on the M-4/M-16 series of rifles back on Earth. The rifle is fed by a box magazine containing 50 rounds of 6.8mm or 35 rounds of 8mm. The M1 weighs 5.5 Lbs. An LG9 underbarrel grenade launcher system is designed to be mounted under the rail system.
LA8 Mobile Assault Weapon (MAW): This is a gas operated Full Automatic 6.8mm Machine gun. The MAW is box fed with its standard issue 200 round box magazine. This weapon can be carried from a sling and held with standard pistol grip and bull pup foregrip. This weapon can be carried by an Auto Rifleman in an infantry squad. It can also be mounted on a pintle of a vehicle. The weapon has a cyclic rate of 1000 rounds per minutes (RPM) and a range of 1200 meters with the aid of optics. The MAW weighs 14.2 Lbs.
LA12 Mini Chain Gun:This is a multi-barrel full automatic 6.8mm chain gun. The LA12 is box fed with its standard issue 400 round box magazine. For infantry use, the weapon is typically issued with a lift-assist exoskeleton to help offset the weight and recoil of the weapon (see below). The operator cannot place this weapon in his shoulder pocket. It has no butt stock. The cyclic rate of this weapon is 2000 rounds per minute. The gunner must be careful about how long he depresses the trigger. The weapon does come with a tripod and can be mounted on a pintle for use on a vehicle. This weapon has a maximum effective range of 1500 meters while mounted on a tripod using optics. The LA12 weighs 22.5 Lbs.
LS4 Jäger: This is a gas operated with a sophisticated recoil control system that resembles muscle fibers beneath the outer shell of the stock – they clench and relax as necessary to absorb the recoil from the weapon in order to prevent any disruption of target acquisition. The rifle is chambered in 7.92mm. It is intended for use against HVTs for long range shots up to 2000 meters. The 220 grain sniper round is effective out to 2000 meters (2 Km). The box magazine contains 35 each 8mm rounds. This weapon weighs 10.8 Lbs loaded, due to its sophisticated recoil control system.
LS5 Special: This is a gas operated rifle chambered in 11.6mm. It is intended for use against vehicles and equipment, but has been authorized for use against High Value Targets (HVTs) and extreme small arms ranges. The rifle has a 15-round box magazine and can engage targets out to 3 Kilometers. This weapon weighs 14.2 Lbs.
LF17 Firestarter: This weapon is used in conjunction with a specialized high pressure fuel tank. The tank can be worn on the operator's load bearing assault vest and uses a supply hose to provide fuel to the weapon. The tank weighs two pounds and can provide fuel for up thirty minutes of continual use. The weapon ejects flame out to 50 meters. As the tank nears empty, the range of the weapon will reduce to 30 meters. The weapon weighs 4.5 Lbs.
LG15 Thumper: This is a hand held semi-automatic 45mm grenade launcher. It has a rotating magazine of 12 rounds and can employ all of types of rounds listed in the ammunition section above. The rotating magazine can be reloaded as quickly as a rifleman would reload is rifle's magazine. The Weapon empty weighs 7.8 Lbs. The fully loaded magazine can weigh an additional 5.2 Lbs depending on the types of rounds used.
LK7 Liberator: This is a semi-automatic and fully automatic 6.8mm SMG. This weapon has a cyclic rate of 1000 RPM. The weapon is fed by a box magazine inserted behind the pistol grip. The magazine can hold 50 rounds of ammunition. The operator may mount optics and engage targets out to 400 meters. This weapon weighs 5.3 Lbs.
LB5 Scorpion: This is a semi-automatic shotgun, air cooled and box fed magazine, chambered in 12-gauge. This weapon has a maximum effective range of 100 meters. The magazine is a 20-round spring loaded drum. This weapon weighs 5.1 Lbs empty and 7.1 Lbs loaded.
LB11 Pounder: This is a semi-automatic shotgun, air cooled and fed by the same tubular magazine found on some of the other small arms systems. This weapon has a maximum effective range of 100 meters. This weapon can hold sixteen 12-gauge slugs or buckshot rounds in two different feeds of eight rounds apiece. This weapon weighs 8.1 Lbs.
LB19 Adjudicator: This is a semi-automatic shotgun, air cooled and box fed magazine, chambered in 12-gauge. This weapon has a maximum effective range of 100 meters. This weapon can hold several different sized magazines of 12-gauge slugs or buckshot rounds. This weapon weighs 6.7 Lbs.
LT1 HAVOC Anti Armor System: The Havoc is a Tube Launched, Fire and Forget Radar Homing (RH), optically sighted Anti Armor Missile System. The guidance system is backed up by an Infrared target identification system as well. This duplicity of effort in the guidance allows the missile to be used for targeting specific armored threats. Multiple missiles can be used to engage multiple threats without confusing a warhead into attacking the wrong target. The assembled launch tube is 95 cm in length and weighs 8.33 Lbs. A loaded tube weighs 20 lbs.
The missile is 80 cm in length and weighs 5.3 Kg (11.66 lbs). The system employs a 5-in (127-mm) diameter warhead, and analog computer. The Long Range Anti Tank (LRAT) variant has a telescoping stand-off detonation probe. At launch, the two-section probe springs forward to provide the optimum distance between the armor and the exploding high-explosive armor-piercing (HEAP) warhead.
The missile is fitted with a high-intensity thermal beacon, which provides a long-wave infrared tracking source and a xenon beacon for short-wave tracking. This dual-tracking system provides increased resistance to electro-optical and infrared countermeasures. The missile also utilizes a High Frequency radar system that locks onto a targeted signature for increased guidance measures.
To fire the missile the gunner aligns the crosshairs in the sight unit on the target and presses the trigger. The missile is propelled by the launch motor and burns for 0.05 sec. Once clear of the launch tube, the four wings, indexed at 45 deg, spring open forward, while the tail controls flip open rearward. The flight motor then fires through two lateral nozzles at mid-body. This motor accelerates the missile for 1.5 sec before burning out. The missile then coasts to the target at a top speed of 1280 ft/sec (390 m/sec). The gunner can then reload with the help of an assistant gunner and is free to select an additional target.
LT6 Punisher: This is a hand held disposable AT weapon which employs a magnetically-launched 75mm warhead and can be used against lightly armored fortifications and vehicles. The primary advantage of this weapon is that it can be used in enclosed environments without fear of backblast. The Punisher has a maximum range of 400 meters, but is most effective at distances of less than 200 meters. The warhead is magnetically charged and will seek metallic substances prior to detonation, which will occur upon contact. This weapon weighs 1.8 Lbs and cannot be reloaded -- the battery empties its entire charge upon launch.
GSR2 (Modified 1911A1) The Grathik were surprised to find that the overall preference of their human mercenaries for the Sig Sauer GSR far exceeded use of the intended sidearm, the Sig Sauer P226. Told bluntly by users at the top that it was a classic and to keep it essentially 'as is' the Grathik complied with retaining the ergonomics and only modifying the system to accommodate caseless ammunition, pointing out the need to be able to fire the weapons in vacuum environments.
Human Combat Uniform (HCU) This is a Grathik designed vacuum suit, designed to replace previous human uniform equipment, that includes adaptive camouflage options and reactive armor into a one-piece outfit. At first, the Grathik thought to add a Pouch-Attachment Ladder (PAL) as found on the MOLLE systems, but this was advised against by human experts, citing the need to potentially get load bearing equipment off a human casualty quickly and to otherwise exchange equipment in an efficient matter. As a result, the HCU is supplemented by a Modular Loadout (MOLO) system (see below). The HCU contains reactive armor that is composed of a polymer fabric that helps to resist the impact of a round and a gel-element that hardens upon impact. The system allows for maximum movement and is surprisingly light -- the Grathik wanted to make the suit light enough and comfortable enough to be worn at all times. The camouflage mechanism is not a "Predator" type system, but allows for the user, upon staying still in an environment, to take a quick photograph of the terrain they are up against and use that to quickly render an effective camouflage for the environment. In potential friendly fire systems, a commander can also order that all friendly units go to a specific color for easier identification of friend or foe. The HCU includes an independent survival oxygen supply of eight hours, a medical monitoring system and can broadcast a rescue beacon in an emergency. It includes a variety of injection ports that can be used to administer medication and treatment without taking the wearer out of the suit, such as in vacuum or other atmospherically compromised environments. The HCU is networkable with the Smart Contact Lens (SCL) system (See below.) While the HCU has a body waste evacuation system, it also has an old fashioned zipper fly.
Modular Loadout (MOLO) system - The Grathik didn't get the "MOLO/YOLO" reference, but this is a typical modern human load bearing vest designed to network with the HCU and mimic the camouflaging properties. It also provides an extra layer of reactive armor for the end user. It includes Paddle-Attachment Ladder (PAL) points for various types of equipment that human soldiers carry.
Smart Contact Uplink Lens System (SCULS) A contact lens that uplinks to the various other equipment that the human user is employing to help create information awareness. Most notably, the SCULS is able to uplink with the LO24 Smartgun Link System (SLS) to create a target reticule in the user's field of vision that is parallax free and allows for point-and-shoot use. The limitations of the system are that it does not magnify vision (to prevent human troops from losing their peripheral vision, which the Grathik considered a tactical advantage) but it does integrate with magnification optics issued with their weapons. The reticule can be disabled in preference of more traditional optics if the user wishes. Users have compared it to a 'FPS game target crosshair' in use. The system can also integrate range information and windage and other calculations in order to attempt to compensate for these conditions, though the compensation is only as good as the information -- with good deployed sensor data, such as satellites or other sensor types, the system can be amazingly effective. The SCULS also allows users to interface with handheld computer systems using a simple pinky finger ring that creates a holographic keyboard and pointer system for the user. Several games have been designed using this interface and Grathik-supplied tablet computers to keep humans entertained.
Personal Lift Assist (PAL) Exoskeleton - Essentially an exoskeleton that integrates with the HCU to allow heavy weapons operators to keep up with the rest of their unit, as well as to stabilize heavier weapons, such as LA12 and the LS5 with gyro-arm mount options (known as 'the Vasquez'). The primary purpose of this system is mobility and stability in firing, though it is also hypothesized that it may have a close-combat use against the Salvesh as well. The power level of the system is adjustable to be able to lift extreme amounts, well beyond the strength of even human weight lifters, but at the expense of fine control. The system can also be 'locked up' to use as a stable firing platform. The system is also used by mechanics, engineers and other groups requiring extra muscle power.
Grathik - One-eyed gastropods with multiple appendages, akin to tentacles. They produce an offensive odor (survival mechanism) and slime (again). They reproduce by laying eggs, hermaphrodites - one lays the egg, the other fertilizes it. They specialize in virtual intelligence, materials science and physics. They are governed by a meritocratic council of their foremost academics, though somehow, shockingly, they still make mistakes, even if they are prone to pretending they don't. Despite the state of war they are in, they are known for being hesitant to make aggressive moves, unless it is in the name of scientific innovation. Perhaps because they are atheistic and believe in the primacy of science and rationality, they routinely offend religious sensibilities, particularly with the rather unsentimental nature of their scientific research and published findings. They have a reputation for being the 'mad scientists' of the galaxy, which is a boon and a curse. They're like every pretentious but virginal college grad student you ever met.
Salvesh - A race of three-eyed bipeds with large tusks, four arms and an acute sense of smell. Their soldiers ritually burn their own flesh as a demonstration of their bravery, leaving them horribly scarred. They are fast breeding and regenerate from wounds quickly. They are not technologically creative themselves, but learn when taught. They have a phobia of flowering plants, because on their homeworld, those tend to be deadly. Tactically, they organize their armies by packs descended from previous packs, with alphas and betas and so forth, with a strong emphasis on competition between commands because they are fundamentally feudal and out to benefit their own units. Both genders fight and serve in pack units, and the pack is a group marriage. As a result, they do not always cooperate well in the field, even though they can fight fiercely. In the past, packs have been hired by rivals and pitted against each other, though right now the Plashi have the Salvesh employed by them exclusively in a move to force the Gravik to cry uncle and accept merger. The Salvesh evolved on a highly mountainous planet, the males are 30% larger than the females (who are roughly human sized) and have a large crest on their heads. Females often are the organizers and thinkers of Salvesh society, though they also fight, though often as scouts and engineers and specialists. Their heads are very thick-boned, their backs are hunched and they have difficulty going prone, but their sense of smell is excellent.
Plashi - Hierarchical crab-like race. Their justice system is hierarchical, meaning that those with higher a social status are allowed to commit certain crimes while those with low social status are not. Only the ruling elite are allowed to commit murder. Their internal structure is very delicate - so any wound can be fatal. They change genders as they age. They have an evolved sense of aesthetics, and everything they create, from buildings to spaceships, is elaborately decorated. As they age, they develop shells, which they also decorate (this is perhaps where the artistic inclinations began.) From birth to age sixty, Plashi children live in the shells of their mothers. They are a slow breeding race, but very long lived. They are a technology inventing and producing race, specializing in cybernetics and aeronautics and are some of the most aggressive traders in the galaxy. The war started when they tried to turn the Grathik into a thrall race through a process that resembles a corporate merger. The Grathik didn't like the benefits package.
L'thraa - The thin, green-feathered race. Herbivores. They are natural tool-users. The species has 'subspecies' that specialize in different tasks. They wear ceremonial headdresses. Their parliamentary political proceedings are conducted in song and votes are won based on not only the number of beings singing, but how well they perform. Voting for parliamentarians is conducted in the form of an entertainment show a la American idol. They punish political prisoners by removing their vocal chords. They are excellent geneticists -- part of their deal with the Salvesh was to engineer their warriors to heal faster. They consider music to be the highest of all art forms. They are a technology inventing and producing race. They specialize in genetics and terraforming.
Pilavians - A race of small four-eyed bi-pedal rodent (like ferrets) scavengers. They emit a musk that some races (including humans) find very pleasant. They are highly intelligent and extremely resourceful, but also fast breeding. They live on hot planets. Their average height is 1 meter, and their average lifespan is only 40 years. They are the primary and longest running servants of the Grathik, and they are the guys doing all the shit work for the humans. They find death hilarious, perhaps as a coping mechanism. Their children are very cute and they have way too many of them.
Xhol'H - A created race of sentient machines, they gave up 'eliminate all organics' and adapted to galactic civilization by taking up the niche as the galaxy's foremost purveyors of neutral news media commentary and annoying pop-up ads. They make an obscene amount of money off all aspects of media entertainment, ranging from journalism to a truly stunning array of xenophilic pornography. Though a variety of models exist, the typical Xhol'H specimen encountered is a floating ball of garrulous annoyance that asks too many questions through a holographic interface that resembles the race that they are interrogating. They do have combat models in storage, however, that are staggeringly scary and heavily armed, leftovers from that angry time when they hated their creators and wished to exterminate organic life (known to other races as 'puberty.') The Grathik tried to model their AI's on the basis of captured Xhol'H programming, but were dissuaded from further dissection and reverse engineering of Xhol'H by these aforementioned combat models. The Xhol'H entertain themselves with private broadcasts of organics acting stupidly, which reinforces their notion of mechanical superiority, though they point out that it's healthier than exterminating all organic life. (They realized that sentient existence without laughter was boring.)
Chukalivikian - A race of arboreal race of asexual reptiles who secrete an oily mucus that keeps their skin from drying out and worship a supernova. They have six dexterous limbs, which are perfectly adapted to swinging through the branches of trees. They still spend most of their lives in the trees, but they also construct artificial forest-like habitats in their cities to mimic their original environment. They are ambush hunters. They have four eyes and powerful beaks. Their philosophy and culture is based around the idea of balance, and their courts of justice are respected by species throughout the galaxy. They hibernate every four years for another four. They inherited technology from a prior race that held them as thralls.
Nirassian - A race of photosynthetic alien birds with bulging eyes. They form family groups of four or more adults. They are the shipbuilders for the Plashi and are not allowed to form unions.