Post feature RSS Czalkir Race

A description of one of the new races in the Galactic Council Mod.

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Summary

Sentinels of a long-dead dwarf galaxy that long ago became ensnared in orbit around the primary galactic core, the Czalkir are regarded as a race of hermits by most interstellar civilizations. They bide their time among the turbulent black holes of the Sharezer expanse-- an area that has been incorrectly referred to as a "black hole cluster" by innumerable uninformed sources-- and only emerge en-masse once every 900 years to gather, research, and expand. Though all are peoples welcome, few have ever ventured into Sharezer, as rumors and misconceptions have sprang-up unchecked for centuries. Since no Czalkir has ever been seen without full-body armor, it has been speculated that they are essentially leprous, or otherwise unrelatable to normal humanoids. And since their military services have never been called on by the Council, many have come to believe that their supposed prowess in war is all empty hearsay. But in terms of raw technological power, the fact remains that they are second only to the Bentusi, and unlike their Unbound counterparts, they are not hesitant in the least to use the weapons at their disposal...

History

Near the beginning of the First Time (as the Bentusi call it) the Czalkir people had achieved world-wide unification, and had post-industrial level technology at their disposal. They began to study and even explore space, though their space program was little more advanced than our own when they made a shocking discovery about their native solar system. Deep space telescopes pointed in many directions had observed a phenomena throughout their sector-- onyx disks punctuating the violet nebulous expanse-- Black Holes. This shocked and deeply worried the Czalkir. They were utterly surrounded by the cosmic storms. The focus of their efforts as a race shifted monumentally in the direction of assessing the threat that these black holes posed. It was soon discovered that they were very much at risk. Changes in the stars over the years, which had long been attributed (incorrectly) to their system's rapid galactic orbit, were found to be one of many indicators of the fate that awaited their planet; their entire system was being slowly tugged into a massive black hole in the neighboring system. Their worst fears had been realized. They had generations to act, but they had no intention of taking their time.

Within two weeks, they had sifted through every feasible option that could possibly be arrived at, and were left with only one logical course of action-- evacuation. Before three weeks could pass, construction of a massive colony ship had begun. Their space program, which only months ago had been little more than a scientific indulgence, was now the axis of their economy, and the only hope for their race. Technology developed rapidly, as was necessary. By the time that the habitation zones (the only part that they were remotely prepared to construct at the beginning of the project) were well under construction, they had most of the technology that would be required for the ship to do what it was designed to do-- travel through space for the conceivable future, until they could clear their native black hole cluster and reach a suitable world. Controlled reactions between positrons and electrons-- believed impossible to achieve less than a year prior-- would power the ship. The Czalkir breathed a collective sigh of relief with each technological and engineering breakthrough; hope was slowly being restored.
Fifty years of exhaustive research, painstaking and perilous construction, minor setbacks supplemented by major breakthroughs, finally produced for the Czalkir their colony mothership. They had sacrificed much. Many engineers had died terrible deaths in the void, especially early on before technology had progressed, and many without children to carry on the family line, as stringent population control had been a necessary step in assuring that all could be accommodated by the colony ship. But at last it was finished, and the evacuation began and ended as quickly and unceremoniously everything else had leading up to it. They simply ditched their doomed planet and didn't look back.
Then the real agony began. Generations came and went on the spartan lifeboat that carried their people painstakingly slowly though the void. Only their strict mental discipline kept them from succumbing to a claustrophobic madness. Eventually, it was decided that the creation of a space navy could provide a constructive outlet for their suppressed energies. It was unlikely, they reasoned, that they were the only space-faring culture, and other races in a similar situation to theirs might not have any objections to acts of piracy. The practical risk of falling victim to such an encounter was remote, but provided enough of an excuse to justify the project. Once again, the Czalkir entered into a period of engineering and scientific expansion. They quickly designed mining craft that could extract raw materials from spacial bodies as they passed by them. A refined processing method was implemented within their mothership which could break matter down into component sub-atomic particles, and rearrange the particles into different elements and compounds, therefore making all harvested materials useful. Powerful weapons were devised based on their positron-reactor technology. After just a few more generations, they had a large quantity of combat-capable ships, and it was no longer quite so stuffy onboard the mothership. They were sure that they could handle any raiders they might one day encounter, but they were not prepared for who they would eventually meet...
On what would have been a perfectly monotonous day of linear motion, fleet-wide sensors were wild with alarms. All confirmed a singular, massive power-spike directly in front of them. Weapons were readied; it seemed they may shortly get a chance to put their warships to the test. But no ship, indeed no object of origin of any kind, could be found to explain the energy spike. Then, all at once a great, luminescent yellow quadrangle opened before them. It began to move, and as it did, it revealed an enormous craft with specular tan hull plating. A deep fear and awe came over all witnesses of what had just taken place-- a gargantuan ship of unknown origin had simply appeared from nowhere within seconds. But what happened next absolved their fear, and multiplied the awe. The ship swiveled on its axis, and revealed within its inward-facing hull a thousand-thousand bright yellow windows. It was such a spectacular sight that it took several seconds for them to reawaken to the possible threat of the situation. But by then, their comm system was receiving transmission. The voice of a thousand voices echoed in the halls of their ship: "We are the Bentusi".
By all accounts, this was a truly miraculous encounter. For a mere frigate-sized-hull worth of raw matter, these 'Bentusi', a powerful race of ancient merchants, had given them the secret to a technology they had never imagined in their wildest dreams-- a quantum wavefront generator, capable of opening windows of subspace through which unimaginable distances could be traversed in an instant. They had called the technology Hyperspace. Yet more miraculously, no sooner then the Bentusi had left, they had returned. They had expressed sympathy for the Czalkir's predicament, and vowed as an errand of mercy to find a world suitable for them to live on. And found one they had.
The Czalkir were overjoyed; not only was space theirs to explore at their leisure now, but they had a home again. But as it would all seem to good to be true, so it turned out...
They had passed through the window. All ships were undamaged and present. Before them was a pristine, uninhabited world that they could call their own. Behind them, a half-existence of troubled and ceaseless wandering. Preparations were made for landfall, and again, none looked back. Not at first.
The joy of their new hope began to subside rapidly, as all of them, least to greatest, weakest to strongest, were slowly being overcome by unexplained illness. Not one person on one ship did not experience the same symptoms on precisely the same timetable. Something was horribly wrong, and they knew they had to act fast to discover what it was.
When word came from the medical scientists, it was as receiving a pronouncement of death. Worse, even. It was their finding that the Czalkir race had existed within the black hole cluster (the one the Bentusi had called Sharezer) for so long that their physiology had had to adapt to the gamma radiation and other exotic particles that the black holes emitted. And now, perhaps irreversibly, they were dependent on it. Their only alternative to death would be to return to exile in the Sharezer cluster. And with all the sorrow they had, return they did.
They had many meetings with the Bentusi in the years to come. So many so quickly, in fact, that they were puzzled as to why the Bentusi seemed never to leave them alone. As they eventually discovered, the black holes had severed them even farther from the rest of the universe. Their massive gravity fields caused time-dilation, and evidently the rest of the galaxy was going about their business at a much faster pace. The Bentusi remained quite sympathetic to the Czalkir, and were very impressed with their self-discipline. They decided that such a people as theirs would make for an excellent entry into the emerging Galactic Council, which was, at present, mostly composed of young, arrogant, power-hungry races who could use the seasoned viewpoints of a more sobered culture. So they helped them to develop technology that would allow them to leave the Sharezer cluster, but neither the Czalkir nor even the Bentusi could find a permanent solution. Suits were designed that could emit and contain gamma rays and several other exotic particles, but not all. Eventually, after about a year in normal space, the deficiencies in the particles that they could not emit would cause serious health concerns, but this still allowed the Czalkir to send representatives to the Galactic Council, of which they are to this day a part.
The rest of the Czalkir race, still disillusioned with life in the cluster, has found limited ways of coping. Once every five years, massive expeditions to normal space are conducted (for us, more in the vicinity of 900 years) in which great deals of research and harvesting are accomplished, and many who are not assigned to the expedition come along in order to have some shoreleave. They continue to live in this way, and though life is still quite dissatisfactory, their continued scientific growth gives them hope that one day they will be able to leave the Sharezer Cluster for good.
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