The long annals of Aquan history contain remarkably few periods of internal dissent. But there is one tragic event that the Aquans even to this day, call their ‘Great Shame’, if they discuss it at all – the Illosian Revolt.

The Illosians are a crustacean-type race born of genetic engineering. They were an attempt by Aquan scientists to create a species that could live wholly on land. The Illosians were intended to colonise worlds with little natural water, but valuable resources such as metal ores that were difficult for most Aquans to obtain – even the hardy Delphis and Shevaka needing to return to and dwell in water too often to make practical permanent land-dwellers.

But the experiment went tragically wrong. The Illosians quickly developed a very militaristic society among themselves, quite unlike anything else in the Sebrutan. Nearly a thousand years ago, the Illosians revolted against the rest of the Aquans. In a costly war that lasted a century, they were eventually driven from Aquan space.

Following their exile, the Illosians settled in what would become the Thorsen Systems, and methodically expanded their holdings until they dominated the whole region. When human colonists first moved into the Outer Reach, they gave the Illosians a wide berth after a number of fierce skirmishes. In this way, the Illosian Protectorates were preserved.

The Illosians’ hatred of the Aquans runs deep, and when emissaries from the Directorate approached them, looking for mercenary forces to assist their ‘acquisition’ raids upon the Sebrutan, the Illosians were happy to oblige. Membership of the Zenian League was a logical next step on the outbreak of the new war.

Illosian spacecraft, like most of their technology, are hardwearing and brutally effective, but they also incorporate some surprisingly sophisticated refinements. Their best-known development is the Arc Field; a broad energy band that functions as a deflection shield, but when necessary can be reshaped into a short-ranged, powerful cutting beam.

The Illosians mount prodigious numbers of torpedo tubes on their vessels. Although not the most sophisticated of weapons, their numbers are such that they can all but smother the strongest point-defence systems. Illosian fleets normally hammer enemy warships with massed torpedo strike, and then close rapidly under Arc Field protection.

Once in range, the fields are reshaped into beams to cripple key targets, before the Illosians initiate massed boarding actions. Illosians are formidable at close quarters, ferocious discipline rendering them stubborn, and their tough shells making them hard to kill.