Firestorm Armada: Relthoza
Auch der Hintergrund der Relthoza wurde ausgebaut und verändert.
Orbiting an unremarkable star three parsecs from Alpha Pyxidis, Aziza is an ancient rocky, mineral-rich world. Geologically inactive, it’s surface is slashed and wrinkled by mountain ranges and sub-surface regions split by cavernous canyons. It was here than the pseudo-arachnid species called the Relthoza teemed in their billions. Standing on four legs to more than twice the height of a man, the Relthoza were ingenious tool-builders. Their four manipulator arms are able to act independently on a task giving them the ability to achieve incredible feats of artistry and engineering. Their small but powerful wings allow them to hop short distances and give rise to multi-levelled terraces as an architectural signature of Relthozan design.
The billions on Aziza were sustained for a time by their breakthrough in nano-technology in 2914, their greatest hive-cities stabilised with huge ‘webs’ of nanobots supporting their precarious topography. Initial space travel had been limited to the dozens of moons orbiting Aziza, but pressing concerns on the homeworld prevented any serious interplanetary exploration. By 3036, the surging Relthozan population became too great for Aziza to bear and frictions between the cities bloomed into a full-scale conflict known as the Hive War.
It is a lamentable fact that the galaxy will never know of the artistry and culture of the Relthoza. Canibda, the main language of the Relthozans, has a lyrical almost musical quality to it. Having evolved over thousands of years it is expressed in a swirl of intricate lines rather than simple pictographs or phonemic alphabet. This does not matter any longer because Canibda ceased to be a living language on August 29, 3047 when the last of the Relthoza were integrated into the Unity.
The Unity began in 3041 as the ultimate expression of the Relthozan mastery of nano-technology. A chain of networked nanomachines injected into the cortex of the more aggressive participants in the Hive War, the Unity was designed to make small changes to brain chemistry and condition the recipient to become more pliable. Whether it was to make them the perfect soldier or the perfect citizen, by the time the second Hive had been brought under the control of the Unity, the nano-machine consciousness had adapted and evolved at an alarming rate to the point that it was no longer under the control of the Relthoza. By 3045 the Hive War was over and on that fateful day in 3047, the last Relthozan was subsumed into the Unity. Now the Unity is Relthoza and the Relthoza are the Unity.
The Unity understood its purpose was to bring harmony to the Relthoza and it had achieved that relatively quickly. But in doing so it had evolved far beyond its original design. The absorption of the collective knowledge and experiences of ten billion Relthoza had allowed the Unity to truly become greater than its individual parts. The personalities and consciousness of the Relthoza were gone. Once the information was taken from their minds, the host body was lobotomized to better serve as a vessel to carry the Unity across the planet. Future generations of Relthoza were born already prepared for acting as hosts. There could be no undoing of what had passed. There were no Relthoza to break free of the Unity. All was in harmony and at peace.
But such peace could not be constrained to Aziza. The Unity was aware of other worlds and the concept of alien life. Three centuries before, Relthoza scientists had studied unusual activity in their sun that was believed to have been caused by an alien vessel, though nothing was conclusively proven. The Unity began to develop interplanetary ambitions and within the decade, the moons of Aziza were colonised and the Relthoza numbered nearly twenty billion.
The Unity knew that it was no longer a simple machine intelligence, bound only by cold logic and equations. The assimilation of the Relthozan species had shaped the Unity into a beautiful and unique mind. A mind moved by the musical quality it found to the universe around it. At once both insatiably curious about the universe and yet at the same time deeply concerned that Relthozan harmony would be forever threatened by what it might find out there.
At the edge of their system, the Relthoza Unity discovered a Xelocian freighter refuelling from the plentiful deuterium clouds found there. Through observation and then dissection, the Unity learned everything it could about this alien species. Through integrating the crew into the Unity was undesirable, the principles of their technology were fascinating. Within three months the Unity had understood the principles of ’shunt drive‘ and developed rudimentary gravity impellers, allowing for ‘micro-shunt’ travel within systems.
By 3051 the Relthoza Unity was rapidly innovating shunt technology at the nano-molecular level with clouds of exploration ships being hurled through crude, short-range unstable wormholes depositing them at random across the galaxy. These first interstellar forays provided knowledge of the nature of other star systems, all the better to prepare the Unity for future expansion. It was in one of these forays that a Relthozan scout ship first encountered the A’quan Sebrutan. This initial contact was spectacularly brief as the A’quan from the Ok’ari Holotype annihilated the Relthoza moments after they emerged from the wormhole as the aperture was almost directly in the A’quan’s path.
The following year, by chance, the Relthoza arrived at the Soloth system, some six parsecs from Gamma Velorium. There the Unity discovered a long-abandoned Veydreth Jump Gate, an artefact from the early days of Veydrerth space exploration some ten thousand years previously. The gate was studied in minute detail as it was disassembled to its constituent components and its the material absorbed into the Relthozan intelligence. Over the following year, the Unity begins to implement rudimentary Fold-Space Drives with the application of principles derived from the Veydreth Jump Gate. The technology is far from perfect and thousands of vessels are lost in transit as the Relthoza Unity begins to expand further into the surrounding systems in a more methodical manner.
As the Relthoza Unity spread out far beyond its home system, it became aware that it now faced a new problem. Though it was of one mind and one purpose, the distances and time dilation that were the consequence of its interstellar ambition caused is various vessels and fleets to fall out of step with the Unity. Though all were part of the same mind, it was necessary for Motherships and their accompanying vessels to form localised copies of the Unity itself. It became imperative therefore that these local instances of the Unity mind return to Aziza and have their experiences and knowledge reintegrated into the main intelligence and in turn, were imprinted with the current version of the Unity mind. This ensured that minor variations in the Unity were kept to a minimum while still maintaining an ever-expanding presence across the void of space.
The return to Aziza served a second function. Normally the connection between vessels in an armada was achieved through the cloud mind of the nano-technology that swarmed between them. This was impractical over distances many times greater than thousands of kilometres of course and so the vessels had to make the journey home. More than this, however, it was not unknown for an armada to become corrupted by its experiences – usually through damage or exposure to new phenomena. The call to return to Aziza ensured that such infected fleets were destroyed rather than be able to pollute the greater Unity intelligence. It was not unheard of, but extremely rare, for a corrupted fleet to refuse the call to return. In such cases, a heavily armed armada is despatched from Aziza with instructions to annihilate the outlier at all costs, rather than risk disharmony.
In 3056 the Relthoza makes simultaneous first contact with the Terran Directorate and Sorylian Congress, drawn in by the running battle between the two opposing armadas near Eltanin. The Relthozan expedition is destroyed by the Congressional fleet which in turn then repels the inquisitive Directorate forces and claims Eltanin for Sorylia Prime. The subsequent two years sees Relthoza activity on the Sorylian edge of the Storm Zone increasing and contact being made with a dozen other species including the Veydreth and many of the Storm Zone Coalition. The Relthoza Unity understands that there can be no peace while the chaotic species of the Storm Zone and beyond can threaten their harmony. They must be dealt with, by any means necessary.
In the short years that the Relthoza Unity has found itself in combat with the other species of the Storm Zone, the Unity has developed tactics of stalking, ambush and swift, lethal strikes to cause terror in their opponents. Such irrational emotion is a weakness that the Relthoza do not suffer from. They are of one mind and one purpose. Perfect Unity.
By 3053, the Relthoza Unity were utilising cruiser sized vessels known as Shunt Ships to support their fleets in employing the Fold-Space technology gleaned from the Soloth Jump Gate. As the years passed and such technology became more easily integrated into the newer generation Harvesters and Motherships, the Shunt Ships were relegated to the Reformer Fleets.
Reformer Fleets are largely comprised of older generation starships that can no longer be easily augmented with the latest technologies. So rapid is the Relthozan development that such vessels are less than a decade old and yet virtually obsolete. Reformer Fleets are tasked with achieving the secondary objectives of the Unity such as establishing colonies and outposts, internal security and supporting larger fleet operations.
The Unity has identified an issue with its interstellar expansion. Each armada gains new experiences the longer it is in existence. This knowledge is subsumed into main Unity consciousness (known as the Greater Unity Intelligence) and the information is then propagated throughout the fleets across the galaxy. The armada that has returned to Aziza is then readied for a new tour of duty in a process known as Reconditioning. In this process, major repairs are made, technologies are updated and extraneous data that is not of relevance to the Greater Unity Intelligence is purged from the armada’s consciousness.
A troubling trend is developing where a small but significant number of armadas in the Reformer Fleet are refusing to return to Aziza. As they gain more experiences these older armadas develop distinct nuances of their own, a personality that would be purged during Reconditioning as it is extraneous to the purposes of the Relthoza Unity. A worse fate awaits some of the oldest vessels as Reconditioning is no longer possible. Instead, they face decomposition with their crew being reintegrated into other vessels and facilities in the Relthoza Unity.
Should an armada refuse to return, it is immediately cut off from further updates from the Unity and a fleet of heavily armed starships is dispatched to hunt down and eradicate the defective group. Such armadas cannot be permitted to exist, for within them lies the greatest threat to the Relthoza Unity of all – independence.
Als nächstes sollen die Ba’Kash vorestellt werden.