The Enlightened

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

The Enlightened

Written by Spartan Franco | Tags:

Xelocian Imperium
There are a number of wholly starfaring races which abound in the galaxy, calling no one planet their home. However, none of these can match the power or expertise of the Xelocians, the greatest and the most famous of these star-sailing civilisations.

As a race, the Xelocians are humanoid, but appear to have descended from some form of avian stock. They are very tall, but spindly and fragile in appearance compared to a human. However, what they lack in physical strength they make up for in agility and speed.

Xelocians can look quite startling to humans, especially when encountered for the first time. Their heads are bird-like, but with three large eyes positioned in trilateral symmetry – one on either side of the head and one directly above the apex of the beak.

Their beaks themselves can vary in size and shape between the members of different castes. Some have dark, compact parrot-like bills, while others, especially among the higher merchant and noble castes, have much longer and more brightly coloured beaks, like those of Terran toucans.

Xelocian Karn Class Frigate

Xelocian Karn Class Frigate

Their skins are covered in a layer of fine feathers, which can vary greatly in colours and patterns. There seems to be some connection between the colouration and nature of these feathers and the caste to which a Xelocian belongs. The bulk of ordinary Xelocians have feathers coloured with variations of black, white, grey and dark metallic greens and blues.

However, members of the ruling Xelocian noble and merchant houses sport far more exotic colouration, analogous to that of the parrots, peacocks and birds of paradise of Terra. Such individuals may also sport impressive displays of what can only be described as plumage, mainly on the head and about the neck.

High caste Xelocians are very proud of these attributes and will expend a great amount of effort in cultivating the most elaborate displays they can. Some go as far as weaving coloured fibre-optic tendrils into their crests and ruffs, creating spectacular illuminated effects.

Despite their appearance, most Xelocians are quite inoffensive creatures under normal circumstances. They are gregarious, both among themselves and with other races. Their natural curiosity leads them to enjoy interacting with others in many spheres, from trading to political and philosophical debates.

The Xelocians once had a homeworld, Xelos, which was located deep within the wilder areas of space now claimed by the Terran Satellite Charter. However, Xelocian records state that they were forced to abandon the world over two thousand years ago following a series of natural disasters that left it totally uninhabitable.

However, by the time this occurred, most of the Xelocian race had already taken to the stars, driven by their insatiable curiosity. Xelocian philosophy is based around the acquisition and cataloguing of knowledge – everything and anything, from stellar phenomena to alien civilisations. The entire race effectively sees itself as being on an eternal quest for enlightenment.

The heart of Xelocian civilisation is the Imperium Armada. This is truly one of the wonders of space. It consists of several hundred truly colossal vessels, gargantuan travelling arcologies several times the size of even the greatest leviathans built by other races.

Each is unique, almost analogous to a small planet. They contain their own distinct ecosystems, complete with artificial weather, and are home to several hundred thousand Xelocians. In fact, it is best to think of each of these leviathans as being home to distinct Xelocian ‘nations’, each with their own traditions, customs and social mores.

The Imperium Armada is truly a travelling civilisation, an empire that sails between the stars on an endless voyage. The largest and oldest vessel in this great agglomeration of starcraft is the Quaren Quinassin’Til.

This translates into Terran Basic roughly as Citadel of Perpetual Enlightenment. It is effectively the ‘capital’ of the Xelocian Imperium, and the home of the Xelocian Emperor. In scale, it is truly staggering, housing a population thought by Terran xenologists to number some two to three million individuals.

The imperial title is currently held by Vos Quan’Selid XXXVIII, Flockmaster of the Vos clan. The Vos have been the Xelocian imperial family for the last four hundred years, and still show no signs of flagging. They are renown even among the canny and cagey Xelocians as accomplished political operators and consummate diplomats.

Unlike the Oroshan and many other spacefaring races, the Xelocian Imperium is almost entirely self-sufficient in many commodities. Much of their trade is in agricultural products, of which their worldships produce a considerable surplus. They barter this for supplies of water and metal ores, the only materials the Imperium cannot produce wholly by its own labours.

Other than being legitimate traders, the Xelocians are also extraordinarily proficient as wreckers, salvagers and frequently, smugglers. They are capable of completely stripping an asteroid base, abandoned colony or battle site of valuables within a mere number of hours.

Alliance of Kurak

Alliance of Kurak

This proclivity has earned the Xelocians the less than flattering nickname of ‘vultures’ among the marauder enclaves and certain major factions, especially The Directorate. However, one large concern, Hawker Aerospace, decided to tap into the potential of this Xelocian expertise, and became allies and trading partners of the Imperium long before the outbreak of the war or the formation of the Kurak Alliance.

 

The Xelocians’ love of cataloguing and chronicling the knowledge of the universe as they travel has lead to large areas aboard the worldships of the Imperium Armada being dedicated to records, written and computer archives and huge museums containing countless objects, artworks and artefacts discovered by Xelocian explorers.

Some of these are relatively recent, while others belong to races and civilisations long since lost to the galaxy, whose only remains are now preserved within the Xelocian archives.

Rival Xelocian nations, even rival factions within the same nation, can become very competitive when searching out new knowledge. Every participant wants to have their name attached in perpetuity to the latest discovery. Such matters can make or break the reputations and fortunes of even great merchant houses within the Imperium.

The Xelocian Imperium possess a powerful military spacefleet whose maintenance and upkeep is vital for maintaining the defence of the Imperium Armada. Unlike the Oroshan, who live aboard their warships, Xelocian fighting vessels are purposely designed to function as battle machines. Each nation within the Imperium maintains a portion of the battlefleet, which in times of strife come under the command of the Xelocian Grand Admiralty.

Xelocian capital ships are almost inevitably built around a huge central molecular disintegrator weapon, whose schematics are thought to have been acquired by the Imperium from the remains of one of the many long-dead civilisations it has investigated.

This intimidating weapon, capable of drilling huge holes straight through the mightiest enemy ships, is backed up by a formidable array of secondary weapons and torpedo tubes.

Their weapons batteries are a combination of high energy beam lasers and smaller versions of the disintegrator weaponry that fire in complex geometric patterns. These are designed to trap an enemy ship in the midst of a deadly cage of energy beams, which then shift in prearranged patterns, scissoring the hapless target vessel into chunks in the process.

Xelocian battle tactics also benefit from their vast accumulated knowledge of the galaxy and its resident races. Each Xelocian Admiral and War-Captain is advised by a team of Battle-Chroniclers on the best course of action to take against a given foe. The Battle-Chroniclers’ other role is to garner still more information to add to the archives of the Imperium. For the Xelocians, a battle is a learning experience in every sense of the word.

The advent of the Dindrenzi War could not have come at a worse time for the Xelocians. The Imperium Armada, traversing Fathoms Reach, found itself caught in the path of the Dindrenzi assault.

Although the Xelocians had already obtained and mastered the employment of Fold Space Drives from their long-time associates, Hawker, the gigantic worldships of the Armada are far too large to benefit from the technology.

It therefore falls to the Xelocian Grand Admiralty to use its battlefleets to protect the Imperium as it traverses this dangerous region of space – a process that could take decades to complete.

Knowing that they needed allies, Vos Quan’Shalid made contact with the Terrans through his long-time associates in Hawker Aerospace, and the Imperium became early signatories to the Alliance of Kurak.

The Xelocian Emperor has instituted a policy of enthusiastic co-operation with the Terrans and their other Alliance partners. This will help protect the Imperium from attack by the Dindrenzi and their allies, as well as offering other advantages.

First, some of the Imperium’s more persistent threats, most notably the Veydreth, are also Kurak Alliance signatories, which should reduce the incidence of attacks from such erstwhile foes now that they all have a common enemy. Secondly, participation in the war promises the opportunity for the Xelocians to garner much new knowledge and valuable salvage.

And so the Xelocians sail to battle for the Kurak Alliance, in both trepidation and hope.