- 1 Shemarrians in Space
- 2 Advanced Cultural Notes: EShemar in the Three Galaxies
- 2.1 Traditions New and Old
- 2.1.1 NeShemar
- 2.1.2 Colonies
- 2.1.3 Starships
- 2.1.4 Hawkmoon Tribe
- 2.1.5 Ghost Rider Tribe
- 2.1.6 Blood Rider Tribe
- 2.1.7 SkullCrusher Tribe
- 2.1.8 Horrorwoods Tribe
- 2.1.9 Wolf’s Path Tribe
- 2.1.10 DarkWaters Tribe
- 2.1.11 Silvermoon Tribe
- 2.1.12 Sapphire Cobra Tribe
- 2.1.13 WayFinders Tribe
- 2.1.14 Shadowblades
- 2.1 Traditions New and Old
- 3 Relations
- 3.1 The CCW
- 3.2 Bushi Federation
- 3.3 The TGE
- 3.4 The Free Worlds Council
- 3.5 United Worlds of Warlock
- 3.6 The Altess
- 3.7 The Golgan Republik
- 3.8 The Central Alliance
- 3.9 The Splugorth
- 3.10 Naruni Enterprises
- 3.11 The Trensik Mercenaries
- 3.12 The Denlech
- 3.13 The Shing
- 3.14 The Exiles
- 3.15 The Star Hunters
- 3.16 Dominators
- 3.17 Lord of the Deep
- 3.18 Black Market
- 4 Ecotroz-Shemar and Other Machine Cultures
- 5 The Shemarrian Star Nation and the Forge War
- 6 The Minion War
- 7 Shemarrian Operations in the Three Galaxies
Shemarrians in Space
“Where the Light of the Goddess shines, there you shall find us, be it in the green meadows of Earth or the Dark Between Worlds!”
“This station is now the property of the Shemarrian Nation! You have five minutes to leave alive, or you will be ejected from it dead!”
Whether it’s some far-flung secret plan of ARCHIE-3, rogue AIs, or d-bee lookalikes, the incursion of Shemarrians into space, be it local Rifts Earth space or other galaxies, here are some general notes/ideas for projecting and adapting our favorite femme-bots to operating in space.
Shemarrians themselves face few changes; being robots/cyborgs they suffer few disadvantages from airless environs. However, when venturing outside a spacecraft/habitat, most Shemar will don/pull down a faceplate or full-coverage facemask (varies whether it’s opaque or not) over their faces.
Shemarrians prepared for space will also be programmed/upgraded to include Movement: Zero Gravity and Hand to Hand Combat: Zero Gravity. Combined with their piloting skills with a jet pack, this can make the equal of any EVA Trooper or Orbital commando.
Depending on available resources, Shemarrians may also have their personal armor plated in mirror-reflective armor-chrome(reduce laser damage by HALF).
Advanced Cultural Notes: EShemar in the Three Galaxies
This ACN entry covers what is known (So far) about the Shemarrian Star Nation in the Three Galaxies.
“Some believe that we arose from a refugee ecosystem that, in order to flee some great catastrophe, translated itself into energy and cast itself into the void to seek some unknowable refuge, and found it in the soulless puppets of a deranged machine and a power-hungry madman. If so, then we have exceeded the expectations of both sets or progenitors. We have risen from our dubious origins to embrace the stars, spread our homeworlds across galaxies and dimensions, and acquired power to shake the heavens. We have turned a forlorn hope into a force of salvation, turned from being tools of darkness to being masters of our own destinies, made a malicious lie into a shining truth, and made our names, given in smug jest, into our own, in our own fashion, by our own efforts. What lies ahead for us from here? I know not the details of what is to come, but we will face it with the experience we have lived, the knowledge we have earned, and what we make of the future, this I do know: it will be GLORIOUS.”
-Ameyin StarSearcher, Psi-Shamaness, Darkwaters Tribe
The attack had come unexpected. The harvesters were finishing off the resistance of the (cattle) below, the processing was proceeding apace, and the next round of targets for reaping had been chosen. Then the warning had been flashed, of fresh attacks, not from the planet below, but from above, from the very depths of space that had spawned their own kind. The reaper(its function, for its duty was to oversee the harvesting and processing of the (cattle)) had listened with incredulity to the web-murmurs as the overfleet callers had described multiple attackers falling upon them from the dark. Attackers who had burned and blasted and crushed vessels. Some damage was well within the ability of the ships to repair; radiation weapons that only burned, but worrying voices told of other weapons, that dissolved the very substance of hulls, and those who strayed too close to the affected areas. Then had come the worrying reports from harvesters in the atmosphere, that they too were under attack.
The reaper had been making its way from the harvesting decks to go to its emergency station, as its own vessel had begun to maneuver, when it had felt the ship shake and quaver. It had felt the concussions batter the hull and pound the atmosphere within. But the ship had suffered worse; the reaper was confident that the vessel and crew would prevail in whatever confrontation was to come.
Thus the reaper was most shocked when it had been thrown into the opposite wall as a section of hull burst open. The howl of atmosphere and violated systems shorting out told of a serious injury to the ship. The squawl of the (cattle) waiting in the adjacent processing abbatoir was ignored as the reaper pulled itself back to its feet, shunting side the discomfort from its minor injuries(though it made note of itself to help itself to some of the harvest afterwards) to attend to more pressing matters.
Such as the fact that it was no longer alone.
A form had come quickly into the corridor the reaper was in. An intruder that did not belong here. It could not be a coincidence that this stranger arrived so soon after the harvester had been attacked. The reaper could immediately tell; too small, too few limbs, and the dim emergency lighting glinted wrong off its metallic integument. It did not move or act as one of the reaper’s own kind. This was an enemy, and an enemy that had to be stopped.
The newcomer noticed it wasn’t alone either. It turned to face the reaper, and brought those limbs of its not devoted to locomotion up in what could only be an aggressive posture-
The reaper tried to bring its superior mass to bear, to crush the intruder under its weight. Instead, it found itself crashing into the wall as the newcomer deftly sidestepped the charge. Something sparked in the intruder’s thing forelimbs, something that left a swath of burning pain in the reaper’s flanks. The reaper leaped back as best it could, and used the opportunity to scrutinize its opponent more carefully now.
The reaper was perplexed; it could sense the hint of life force in its attacker, but not the delectable organics of harvestable living flesh. It was clearly facing an automaton of some sort, but whose? Surely not the (cattle) below. It knew not of any enemies fo its kind that utilized machines of this type.
So busy with its ruminations was the reaper that the attacker again struck, moving with unexpected speed, the massive blade in its forelimbs slicing through the reaper’s mouthparts and into its forelegs, sending it crashing to the deck.
As the reaper struggled to right itself, screeching in protest of its physical dismembering, its opponent approached again and began speaking in a deep resonant voice in a language the reaper could not understand, but the tone of which was clear in its threat.
#”You thought that in the absence of the Champions who normally protected this region of space while they dealt with other threats that your kind was free to fall upon those worlds left vulnerable, that your kind could finally slay and eat to your content, feasting on the ignorant innocents who know not that the universe is a dangerous place.
You thought wrong! This space, this world, is under OUR protection. And for every innocent life you have taken ten of your despicable species shall fall to water their soil! The Goddess demands such price for your crimes!!!
With that the attacker brought its axe down to cleave the reaper through its skull, the deadly scream/hum of the giant blade the last thing it would know as it was split fore to back.
The Shemarrian Star Nation would come as a shock to those residents of Rifts Earth familiar with the Shemarrians. To earlier period, or unenlightened, natives of Rifts Earth(of whatever alternate time period), the existence of the Shemarrian Star Nation would seem to confirm that the Shemarrians of Rifts Earth are indeed d-bees(rather than natives of Rifts Earth). To those more intimately familiar with the Shemarrians, their true history, and the real causes of the Shemarrian Civil War, they would be both stunned and amazed at what is both new and old in these proud people, translated into the Three Galaxies.
Though the Tribes have clear delineation of traditions and designs, there is little if any animousity or friction between the clans. Hardware and resources are shared freely between the Tribes, and differences are solved reasonably and equitably by due process. If necessary, a matter ofconcern will go to a vote of the SSN Congress of Tribes for judgement.
The Shemarrian Star Nation has risen to prominence among the backwater worlds of the Anvil Galaxy as both the Forge War and the Minion War have shaken up the established powers of the Three Galaxies. As other powers have rangled for influence, or shifted their forces to deal with more immediate concerns, leaving many of the less powerful worlds vulnerable to attack by malicious forces, the Shemarrian Star Nation has begun to step up to protect some of these worlds left out in the cold.
Traditions New and Old
Many of the traditions established on Earth continue into the culture of the SSN. Even with the widespread use of Progen and other means of reproduction, the EShemar still practice the ingathering of NeShemar into their ranks. These are mainly drawn from worlds that the Shemarrian Star Nation holds reign over, and come from refugees and orphans with no other recourse, or warriors who have sworn fealty to the SSN and met with the Shemarrians’ approval. Some tribes, such as the Hawkmoon, Darkwaters, and Blood Riders, still loot battlefields of freshly dead worthies who can be salvaged and reborn as NeShemar. Though still generally regarded as ‘second echelon’(as opposed to ‘second class citizens’), NeShemar continue to play an important part in SSN society, giving the Shemarrians a large labor and talent pool, and providing an inflow of fresh ‘blood’, ideas, and abilities.
It is unknown where the SNN’s homeworlds are, if they have any. The prevailing theory is that, aside from a few reported enclaves and colonies, the Shemarrians are a nomadic people, living on their ships(and as-yet-unsighted mobile community vessels) and asteroid colonies off the beat and track. However, while tribes such as the Darkwaters and Ghostriders prefer to dwell in the Deep, the Horrorwoods, Wolf’s Path, and Wayfinder tribes prefer ‘living and breathing’ worlds. The Sapphire Cobras also like warm oxy-water worlds and, if they had their druthers, would probably conquer the Hunter system, home of the original Sapphire Cobra, in the Corkscrew Galaxy, and take it away from Safari Inc. to run as their own, if they could.
Each tribe maintains its own fleet of starships, some larger than others, according to their respective resources and focus. Early model Shemarrian starships can be seen to have been based on existing designs; mainly Splugorth, Kittani, and Kydian designs, but also CCW and Golgan designs. Smaller ships have distinctive Naruni influences. However, as the power and affluence of the SSN grows, newer vessels are emerging that show an original Shemarrian aesthetic. All Shemarrian spaceforces have a common stable of designs and classes, but each Tribe has modified its ships to meet its own particular needs and philosophies.
In addition, the SSN maintains a large number of auxiliaries; vessels acquired by various means or assembled from salvaged components. These vessels are typically crewed by younger Warriors and NeShemar and fill various support and specialized roles. However, they are NOT second-class or ‘throwaway’ vessels, but are the equal of any equivalent ship-type in the fleets of the major powers of the Three Galaxies. The SSN often deploys these ships and their crews when and where more obvious Shemarrian warships would be unwelcome or unnecessary.
”Spread Your Wings to Encompass All the Sky, Day and Night, To the Very Edges of Creation.”
The Hawkmoon is arguably the most powerful of the Tribes, having benefitted immensely from their close relations with their Shaemar patrons. Their space forces are among the most powerful in the Star Nation; the StormDragon Battleship first appeared in their ranks thanks to their shipbuilding program, as well as many other vessels. As the first of the original Awakened Tribes, originators of Progen, and founders of the Shemarrian Star Nation, the Hawkmoon continue to hold the highest racial ‘memory’ of the goals and objectives of the original Ecotroz Intelligence, and remain arguably the most spiritual of the Tribes. The members of the Hawkmoon also exhibit some of the highest rates of psionic manifestation among the clans, suggesting that the Ecotroz is not yet finished in its evolution. The Hawkmoon are also the most likely envoys and ambassadors of the SSN to other peoples, and are the Tribe most often associated with the Shemarrian Star Nation in the public eye.
A winged lunar disc, the open horns of the moon facing downwards
The Hawkmoon philosophies have led to them investing in the development of flight technologies, both personal and vehicular. Concealed flight systems and more obvious ones like bionic wings are common Gifts of Upgrade among their numbers. The Hawkmoons have also embraced the technowizardry developed by the Wayfinders, more so than any other Tribe.
Ghost Rider Tribe
”Every advanced civilization is surrounded by the ghosts of their own past, coccooned within the ghosts of their present, in their spheres of expanding radio noise and in the networks of data they build into themselves. We like to listen and talk to those ghosts.”
The Ghost Riders have quickly established themselves as an evasive, elusive, thoroughly eccentric Tribe with a perchance for stealth and electronic trickery. They are the intelligence gatherers of the Tribes, tapping in on supposedly secure communications, ferreting out information, and winning battles without firing a shot. It’s said that the Ghost Riders like being digital voyeurs, quietly hacking and listening into system computer networks, or sitting between the stars eavesdropping on the ancient radio signals wandering through the void. This is not to say that the Ghost Riders are not brave; their warriors are as fierce as any other Shemarrian; it is only that they see not just one plane on the battlefield, but many, and the battles they fight are as much about information control and deception as about bringing firepower to bear. The Ghost Riders also tend to favor pure A.I.s for their NeShemar; it is said that Machine People refugees and Network Intelligences are numbered among the NeShemar beholding to the Ghost Riders.
A skull in profile, the interior filled by stylized printed circuitry lines
The Ghostriders LOVE electronic jamming, hacking systems, remote probes, and viral intelligence systems.
Blood Rider Tribe
”Only when eye to eye with Death, does one truly know Life.”
Like the Wolf’s Path, the Blood Riders are a relatively small clan, but they have a reputation as ferocious fighters. Their distinctive crimsoned starships and fighters strike fear into those they encounter, for the gynoids are fearless and aggressive. Unlike the Skullcrushers who fight out of rage, or for redemption, the Blood Riders fight for the pure exhilaration of proving their prowess, of dancing on the edge of oblivion, and of cheating death. The Blood Riders have also acquired a reputation of being Valkyrie-like, searching battlefields and warzones for their NeShemar candidates among the nearly dead and close-to-dying. They have evolved a powerful warrior ethos among their number that holds personal courage and honor paramount, although that honor may not always apply to enemies.
A crimson-streaked sword depicted upright
The Blood Riders are believed to have been the driving force behind the develpment of the Plasma Torpedo, which has since been adopted by all other Tribes. They also look to perfect various plasma technologies, including the energized plasma weaponry of their Kittani foes. Plasma blades are a favorite signature weapon of the Blood Riders
”Show No Fear, Show No Mercy, Show No Weakness. Crush That Which Would Destroy What is Right and Good.”
Even though Tribal history records that the Skullcrusher clan was forgiven for their actions under the influence of the Dark One and the Metal of Corruption, and the Skullcrushers invited back in with Rites of Reconciliation during the Reunification, the members of the Skullcrushers have long felt themselves laboring under a dishonor and taint. Some Skullcrushers have even gone so far as to revive the despised title of Pariah, and have shorn themselves of their Warrior status and hardware, until such a time as they can redeem themselves through actions without the benefit of their Shemar wargear. Those who have kept their titles as Warriors, and their weapons, are among some of the fiercest fighters in the Shemarrian Star Nation, with a reputation for fearlessness and brutal aggression against their enemies, such as the Splugorth. Many are the tales of Skullcrushers wading into the thickest combat, unmindful of the danger, and holding their ground against all comers. Such courage and rage have cost the Skullcrushers heavily; they suffer some of the highest casualties of the Shemarrian Star Nation, so much so that many of the leaders of other Tribes have feared that the Skullcrushers might run themselves into extinction in their pursuit of redemption on the battlefield. The Skullcrushers’ campaigns have hurt them in other sectors as well; their shipbuilding program and NeShemar recruitment have suffered, and the Skullcrushers often must acquire ships and hardware from more prosperous tribes. The Skullcrushers seem reluctant to induct new NeShemar into their ranks, apparently out of concern that the newcomers not suffer the ‘crusher ‘taint’ , even though the Skullcrushers’ maniac courage and crusading against such enemies as the Splugorth, Kreeghor, Atorians, demons and monsters has attracted such people as the Manaar, Rotharr, Nattereris, Chrome Warriors, Malvoran, Vintex and Kremmin, who’d join their ranks in droves in a heartbeat if so allowed.
A cracked skull in the palm of an enormous armored black gauntlet
The Skullcrushers have adopted heavier than average personal body armor with shoulder-mounted missile launchers. Their spacecraft tend to be heavy on massdriver and missile weapons, with an emphasis on heavy firepower.
This is essentially the equivalent of MI-B2 Medium Infantry Borg Armor sized and styled for Shemarrian frames.
A heavier and even more cumbersome suit, based on HI-B3 Heavy Infantry Borg Armor, Mobility and agility are of little consequence in the boarding actions for which this armor is typically donned. Suited up in these heavy armor carapaces, Skullcrusher warriors have been known to walk right up through blistering enemy fire to engage them directly in hand to hand combat.
”Life Grows, Life Fights, Life Overcomes, Life Prevails. The indvidual may die, many individuals may die, but Life continues, the process lives on.”
The Horrorwoods Tribe seems to have turned away from building a spacefleet(though they have at least one Hitode-class carrier-cruiser to their name, and presumably other transports) to concentrate on ground forces. They field more different types of Warmounts and Elites than any other Tribe, and their recruitment of NeShemar has led to them having a large and formidable pool of seasoned warriors trained and equipped in planetary combat. In fact, many of those prospective NeShemar who get turned away by the Skullcrushers frequently end up with the Horrorwoods Tribe.
The Horrorwoods are arguably the ‘Greens’ of the SSN; their love for ecosystems and recognition of their NeShemar population has led to the gynoids having a surprisingly vast knowledge of ecological management, agriculture, and animal husbandry. HWers have an almost spiritual appreciation for living worlds and ecosystems, all the more ironic given their physical nature as androids.
Not surprisingly, the majority of actual planetary colonies established by the SSN are populated, or at least were started by, Horrorwoods members.
A monster skull in profile, jaws open, superimposed over a green fern
The Horrorwoods have invested heavily in environmental technologies; ecological monitoring, animal husbandry, and terraforming technology. Combat technology-wise, they field some of the best camouflage and terrestrial cloaking equipment around, and, if they have time to prepare, battlefield-wide sensor nets. They also count among their ranks more specialized Warmount types and E-animals than any other Tribe. Signature weapons include high-tech energy versions of various melee and primitive weaponry, such as energy-firing bows and crossbows.
Wolf’s Path Tribe
”Be like the Pack. Many senses, many legs, many individuals, one purpose, one path.”
Though apparently small in numbers, the Wolf’s Path has established themselves as expert fighters, especially in small ship and starfighter operations. They are also expert scouts, both on planetary surfaces and in space, and can give even veteran Horrorwoods scouts a run for their money when it comes to expertise as rangers. It is not unusual for SSN combat operations to begin with the covert insertion of WP scouts or commandoes ahead of the arrival of the main force. Wolf’s Path Warriors form close-knit extended ‘families’ or ‘packs’ under an Alpha-leader that fight with uncanny coordination, both on the ground and in the air. To fight one is to fight the many, as many a late enemy has discovered to their dismay. NeShemar of the Wolf’s Path can expect a more regimented society and lifestyle with a clear and vigorously maintained heirarchy (trials and tests by combat or adversity are commonplace in the Wolf’s Path, though such rarely if ever prove fatal) that would seem to discourage individual initiative, but the Wolf’s Path meritocracy does more thoroughly reward those who do good by the Tribe, regardless of their origins.
Two wolf’s paws, placed diagonally
Wolf’s Path Warriors make extensive use of advanced personal sensor and sensor-spoofing gear, including personal jammers and variable optical camouflage. Advanced fire control and manuevering systems are incorporated into many of their spacecraft, including systems that allow fire control and aiming to be ‘slaved’ to a single warrior or command station to make use of the best bead/firing solution.
*Personal Jammers---Improved versions of technologies acquired on Rifts Earth; while on, these systems, built into the body armor, give the warrior only an 18% chance of being detected by thermal, radar, and motion detection sensors, and guided missile systems are -2 to strike.
*Fiber Optic Pre-Programmed Camouflage Scheme Surfacing----Wolf’s Path body armors feature fiber optic/nano-cell camouflage. Can switch the overall color scheme of the armor to match their surroundings. Though not true optical invisibility, it does give the wearer a -20% chance of being spotted visually(-60%) if standing completely still). Changeover takes 30 seconds(2 melees) to take place.
*Laser Designator----Wolf’s Path firearms have a clip-on laser-designator package that allow them to double as illuminators for laser-guided weaponry(deployed by either other Pack mates, or by other Tribes) Range: Varies, but the standard rifle illuminator has an effective range of 30,000 ft.
”Infinite depth, infinite possibility.”
The DarkWaters have done very well for themselves translating their experience in deep water to the Deep Dark, positioning themselves as major space combatants, and establishing a space fleet that is as numerous and powerful as that fielded by the Hawkmoons. Indeed, many ship designs first fielded by the Hawkmoons, including the Storm Dragon, have been subsequently modified and improved by the DarkWaters. The output of DarkWater shipyards is enough that they can supply production to other Tribes such as the Skullcrushers. The Darkwaters are one of the two clans who dwell almost entirely in deep space, prefering the far reaches of space to planetside enclaves. While the Hawkmoon may be considered to be the public face of the Shemarrian Star Nation, it is the DarkWaters who are the force in the stars backing them up.
A circle split by a thin horizontal white line, the lower half dark blue, the upper half matte black and dotted with silver stars.
The Darkwaters have invested heavily into developing, acquiring, or stealing new starship technologies. Among the projects they are working on are reverse-engineering various Kittani weapons systems, perfecting faster FTL communciations, and adapting the Shemarrians’ own nanotech regenerative systems to larger scale and harsher environ large vessel self-repair.
*Repulsor Tethers---One Upgrade that is unique to the Darkwaters is the Repulsor Tether. Darkwater members are modified with implants that allow them to fly effortlessly inside and around their spacecraft when in zero-gee without the need of kicking off surfaces or wasteful reaction jets, but by alternate attraction/repulsion between their own bodies and the structures of their ships. With the RT system, Darkwaters crewmembers can flit about their ships at running speed, effortlessly. The RT system also provides a safety net when performing EVAs; the crewmembers can fly about (at up to x4 times their maximum running speed) their spacecraft like orbiting satellites(effective range; 12-15 ft for ships of 15 tons mass or less, up to 50 ft for ships of up to 6,000 tons mass, and up to 200 ft for ships of 50,000 tons mass or more), making them deadly adversaries in close combat about their spacecraft.
”Pure is Our Purpose, Bright is Our Light.”
The Silvermoons number nearly as many as the Hawkmoons and DarkWaters, both in troops and ships, though they are generally regarded as a middling-powerful Tribe. Along with the Darkwaters and Ghost Riders, the Silvermoons have taken to space, prefering to settle various moons and asteroids. They are also among the most accomplished harvesters of spacial resources in the SSN; their deep space mines and foundaries provide much of the raw materials of the space fleets and weaponry of theri kindred EShemar. Their mindset can be summed up as paladin-like; the Silvermoons see themselves as crusaders against the darkness, shedding light at night and providing a comforting presence in the skies of those who fear the darkness. Silvermoon ships routinely patrol those territories that the SSN sees as ‘theirs’, affirming the SSN’s pledge to protect those who cannot protect themselves. They are avid prosecuters of the campaign against the Splugorth and delight in defeating their traditional enemies.
A silver crescent moon with radiating moonbeams
Almost all of the Silvermoon’s warriors and Warmounts are fitted with laser-reflective armor-chrome. They are also accomplished laser crafters, creating powerful laser weaponry.
This weapon looks superficially like the standard Shemarrian Rail Gun, but is a powerful long range laser based on studies of Kittani power armor weapons. It can be powered by standard E-clips, E-Canisters, or by a power link to a vehicular or warmount powerplant. It is essentially a cyborg-portable laser cannon.
Sapphire Cobra Tribe
”One Being’s Monster is Another’s Heavenly Messenger, One Being’s Poison is Another’s Medicine. Look Beyond the Surface and See the Truth; Even in Darkness One May Find Light.”
These snake-happy Tribals are nearly as eccentric as the Ghost Riders. Though derided by some outsiders as ‘just another snake cult’, the Sapphire Cobras have evolved a strange, convoluted set of beliefs and traditions that even leaves other EShemar shaking their heads. The SC’s cult seems to incorporate aspects of American Indian legend(where snakes are often seen as messengers from the heavens) with aspects of ancient Greek snake myth(where they are often associated with the healing arts), along with parts of a dozen other religions and mythologies. Sapphire Cobras often like to pose riddles or traps that ultimately have a message of enlightenment, encourgaging participants to look beyond illusions and preconceptions. Many of their NeShemar come to them through their small, but growing, number of missions and temples established on various Fringe worlds, attracted by teachings both deadly and sensuous, deceptive yet educating, and at the same time frightening and calming.
As noted above, the Sapphire Cobras would love to take over the Hunter System in the Corkscrew Galaxy, since it’s home to their totemic beast. The fact that it’s currently owned by a Splugorth associate has some in the Tribe seeing a justification for such an action. Such a blatant action is still years, if not decades, away, but the EShemar have started sending a few scouts to the Corkscrew to check the situation out and study the feasibility of a takeover.
A stylized blue cobra’s hooded head, with star eyes.
The Sapphire Cobras are known to use Cybersnakes(a Rifts Earth observer would recognize a knock-off of the Paladin Steel Cyberconda) that they unleash on boarded ships; the cybersnakes can worm their way through access ways and service trunks that larger beings cannot negotiate, and spread havoc throughout a ship. They are also known to have larger serpentine roboids as watch-guardians and Warmounts.
The Sapphire Cobras have also continued to develop their nanotech-based ‘Serpent’s Kiss’, incorporating it into rail gun and missile ammunition. These nanites can be programmed to be selective in what they disassemble, or indiscriminate, and were they to become common knowledge, would certainly draw parallels between them and the T’zees’ ‘Piranha’ line of weapons(and face similar censure).
”We wish to know: What’s beyond the farthest star?”
Ships of the Wayfinders have been sighted across the width and breadth of the Three Galaxies, suggesting that they are living up to their names, acting as the explorers of the Star Nation. Their ships can also be found sniffing around magic-rich regions and magic-using civilizations. Knowledge is power, and the Wayfinders recognize it. They could be considered the research arm of the Tribes, working in more esoteric realms of pure research, especially in the mystic arts. The Wayfinders also produce quite a few of the SSN’s emissaries and diplomats. While arguably more pacifistic than other tribes, the old fire that motivated the original Wayfinders still burns in them, and they will not stand by and see injustice done to others, especially if the oppressors are supernatural in nature. “Observation in research, participation in life” would sum up the Wayfinder way.
Compass rose with an open book imposed on it.
Technowizardry; the Wayfinders extensively use TechnoWizardry and Psi-Mechanics throughout their technology.
The 3rd Eye implant that is the distinguishing physical characteristic of Wayfinders has evolved to be more than simply an extra optic; the SSN Wayfinders have refined it until it has the properties of the ARS-500 Arcane Scanner.
Little is known about this eleventh tribe; in fact the only evidence of their existence has been a sighting of a Scorpio-class battleship bearing their black sword emblem. Some outsiders have suggested that the Shadowblades are formed from outcasts of other Tribes.
The CCW knows of the Shemarrian Star Nation in only the more general terms; they’re apparently a race of cyborg amazons, they’re affiliated with several other races of cyborg amazons, they prowl the rim territories, and they’ve been known to come to the aide of planets being attacked by the likes of the Splugorth. Good for them. As long as they don’t make trouble or ask for handouts, the Star Nation is welcome to come trade with the CCW and apply for membership.
However, if the CCW ever learned that the core of the Star Nation was really made up of sentient robots, they might well change their tune and take a harsher view of this developing power out in the Fringe.
For their part the Shemarrians regard the CCW in fairly nuetral terms; as long as the CCW remains good to its citizens, opposes the Splugorth, and stays out of the SSN’s way, they’re good, and the SSN can amicably ignore them. The CCW could do more to resist such powers as the Splugorth, and the frequent indiscretions of its private citizens often make work and complications for the Shemarrians in the region, but the CCW remains a useful psuedo-ally(or unwitting accomplice), especially when it comes to repatriating ex-Splugorth slaves. The SSN regards the CCW as something of a big blundering bear; large, slow, and lumbering, very dangerous if provoked, but easily avoided.
The Bushi Federation has had limited contact with the SSN, largely owing to the Galactic Core and the Creche Clouds being between each other. However, the business of opposing the Splugorth HAS brought the SSN close to Bushi space, to fend off long range raids and slaving incursions by the Splugorth. Some of these attacks have claimed outposts of the Federation, but were fought off by the Shemarrians, allowing the worlds in question to be reclaimed by the Oni.
There have also been a few skirmishes between overly-zealous Federation border forces and Shemarrian scouts on the Federation’s frontier. The public stance of the Bushi Federation has been to downplay these incidents, and make no mention of the involvement of the gaijan---as indeed the majority of the politicos in the Federation see the Shemarrians. Privately, the military authorities of the Federation both fear and respect the mysterious cyborg warriors.
For their part, the Shemarrians regard the Bushi Federation as haughty and arrogant associates of the CCW. While some of the Shemarrian warriors would LOVE to test their skills against the Federation’s samurai, the consequences of open and escalating conflict with the Federation(and possibly, by extension, with the CCW) dictate that the Shemarrians avoid such fights. As long as the Federation doesn’t seek a fight with the SSN, the Shemarrians are content to leave them and their space alone, except in the event of another Splugorth incursion.
The Transgalactic Empire has not yet had any real dealings with the Shemarrian Star Nation, aside from a few skirmishes in border areas. For now, the Star Nation is just another minor annoyance in the distance, a bunch of upstarts among many who have taken the Empire’s preoccupation with more important matters to be weakness and have taken license to trumpet their own misplaced self-importance. Once the Empire has dealt with more immediate concerns and the manifest destiny of conquest back on schedule, the Star Nation, and the many other annoyances will be ground under the unstoppable Imperial juggernaut.
For their part the SSN regards the TGE as being another big bully and slaver nation, as bad as the Splugorth, but lacking the personal history with the Shemarrians that drives their feud with the Splugs. The fact that the TGE is having troubles with the Free Worlds Council is indication to the SSN that the TGE can be broken with enough time in pressure. The SSN recognizes that they will eventually have to deal with the TGE at some point in the future, but for now the Shemarrians are concentrating on the Splugorth. If and when the TGE attempts to intrude on Shemarrian-claimed territories, or interests, and sends its own tentacles probing around their space, the SSN has no problems slicing them off. When the opportunity presents itself, the SSN will also quietly help the FWC, sending material aid to beleagured worlds, or helping smuggle refugees to safe havens out of the way of the imperial juggernaut.
The Free Worlds Council
The FWC would LOVE to have the Shemarrian Star Nation on their side, but they’d like to have a whole lot (and they do mean LOT) of independent star nations on their side. But unless the SSN steps forward and offers to join them, the FWC will ignore them to pursue their more pressing war with the TGE. For now, the SSN has no plans to openly assist the FWC, though they will protect their ships and help them by more covert means (like passing along any tidbits of information the Tribes or the NeRe’Mar come across, or helping smuggle refugees) when they can. For now, the Shemarrians are intent on pursuing their vendetta with the Splugorth.
United Worlds of Warlock
No formal contact as yet, but the Wayfinders are likely to formally introduce themselves at some point. The UWW and SSN aren’t likely to have much in common as political entities; the UWW is largely a defensive coalition, while the Shemarrian Star Nation is decidedly aggressive and expansionist. They are, however, likely to agree on cutting down the Splugorth and protecting the lesser worlds, and thus informal military agreements are to be expected between the two powers with regards to defying the Splugs and patroling the Rim. For their part, the mages of the UWW will be FASCINATED by pyschic self-replicating sentient androids with life auras and the ability to use magic!
The Minion War is likely to cause a closer relationship between the two star nations as they come to blows against the Infernals
The Altess would be momentarily interested to meet these pretty new faces on the block, but would regard them as pretty much everybody else. If the SSN ever threatened the Dynasty, they would be bought off or have prices put on their heads like a hundred other hot sensations who tried to throw their weight around before they learned who was REALLY in charge. Just like always.
Of course, considering that the Altess depend heavily on robot-manned weapons and starships for a substantial portion of their security, and given the Ecotroz ability to infect/Awaken sufficiently sophisticated robot systems, the Altess might not be so complacent if they only knew...
Fortunately, the SSN currently has no interest in these Corewards high-pockets, though at some point they are likely to cross paths; a touring Altess yacht, or the SSN might save or interfere with some Altess-backed/owned colony or operation out on the Rim.
The Golgan Republik
Like the TGE the Republik regards the Shemarrians as another group of overly-ambitious and overly-aggressive meddlers who could be trouble down the road, but for now are too distant and too small to concern the Republik. That might change for the worse if the SNN ever made contact with the robots of Mekanik.
The Shemarrians have made no bones about routinely scavenging and copying any Golgan technology they come across. In the Anvil Galaxy there have been a handful of confrontations, all of them ending poorly for the Golgans.
In the Thundercloud, the animosity between the two nations is rather more pronounced between the much more aggressive colonial Golgans and the posture-ready Shemarrians. The firefights there have proven no more successful for the Golgans. The Shemarrians largely regard the Golgans as opportunistic annoyances, blustering tinpot despots whose own paranoia is making them more enemies than friends. This doesn’t prevent the SSN from coming to the aide of Golgan colonies and ships if they are attacked by the Splugorth, but that’s more out of a greater hatred of the Splugorth than any real affection for the Golgans.
The Central Alliance
The Shemarrian Star Nation has assisted the Central Alliance in part because it’s easy to fit in with the cyborgs. The Shemarrians’ bionic/robotic nature grants them immediate status among the cyberpunks. Thus, the Star Nation is on very cordial terms with Noldek’s regime. They’ve fought the Splugorth together on several occasions, and more joint military actions seem likely in the future. The Central Alliance could be regarded as the SSN’s first (and thus far only) official alliance with a ‘big’ power in the Three Galaxies.
Not surprisngly, a good number of NeShemar come from the violent and impoverished worlds around the Central Alliance.
A number of SSN surveillance operations have been disguised as Central Alliance-flagged commercial vessels.
The Shemarrian Star Nation has a long-standing grudge with the Splugorth, and they are constantly launching raids and attacks on Splugorth concerns. Even supposed ‘good’ Splugorth are subject to this animousity; Network Omni News reporters are treated with suspicion, if not outright attacked and roughed up (or worse) as ‘enemy spies’ on account of their network being owned by a Splugorth. The popular theory is that the Shemarrians are a former Splugorth slave-race that’s managed to get rid of their Splugorth overlord, and have now turned their anger on all Splugorth in general.
In the Anvil and Thundercloud Galaxies, the animosity between the Splugorth and the Shemarrian Star Nation has translated into open warfare, with ships of both sides taking a ‘shoot on sight’ attitude. Raids against Desslyth’s Splugorth enclaves are a fact of life, as are counterattacks on the Splugorths’ slaving expeditions.
The Naruni are NOT happy with the appearance of these upstarts. Worse yet, they seem to favor knockoffs of Naruni designs. All would be forgiven, though, if the Star Nation signed a few big armaments deals with NE and stayed forever after in Naruni’s pocket. Whatever gods they hold sacred help them if the Star Nation signs up with Hartigal.
The Shemarrians recognize NE’s game and are NOT playing it. They’re not above ripping off Naruni’s expertise, however, and they have their own Tinkers reverse-engineering and adapting any new Naruni technology they find worthwhile.
The Trensik Mercenaries
The Trensik and the Shemarrians have tangled on several occasions, and on an equal number of occasions have served on the same side opposing the same enemies. In both sets of circumstances the two warrior peoples have acquired a professional respect for each other. The Bloodrider Tribe sees potential in the Trensik, if only they would be a little less grim and stoic and have greater PASSION in combat, while the Skullcrushers respect and honor the Trensik determination to get the job done. If the two ever officially allied, they could become major players in the Thundercloud. Oddly, the Sapphire Cobras seem to have some inexplicable insight into the Trensik mentality; when the two peoples cross paths, the Cobras become mysteriously coy around the Trensik, inviting them into private surroundings or behaving in some fashion (whispering some comment to them, giving them some mysterious gift, whistling some short tune, etc.) that seems to make the Trensik visibly (but not aggressively) perturbed. The Sapphire Cobras have yet to share what it is that they (may) have on the Trensik with any of the other Tribes.
The Denlech and the Shemarrians could not be more diametrically opposed; the Denlech are anti-tech agrarianists who oppose over-dependence on advanced technology and started their movement out of a fear of out of control artificial intelligence, while the Shemarrians depend on advanced technology and industrialization for their very existence, are the products of an insane artifical intelligence, and seek greater spiritual understanding. That having been said, the Shemarrian Star Nation is sympathetic towards the Denlech cause and would readily step in to intervene on their behalf if asked. Not that they’d ever be thanked though; the Denlech would be MORTIFIED to learn all the facts of the Shemarrians’ true nature.
The Shemarrians have had little contact with this race, but the fact that they’re giving the Golgans headaches has piqued the SSN’s interest. Both the Wayfinders and the Wolf’s Path have dispatched private scouting missions to find out more about the Shing and observe their conflict with the Golgans.
The Shemarrians and the Exiles have been pretty much at each others’ throats since they first met, either because of miscommunications, bad first impressions, or instant recognition of natural enemies. The Wayfinders and Darkwaters in particular have encountered the Exiles in deep space, much to their annoyance, often with both sides’ accusations of trespass and claim-jumping over some newly discovered resource or artifact. The Exiles would love to scrap the Shemarrians, the Shemarrians would love to quietly exile the Exiles to the far end of existence. Even in public spaceports and space lanes, the two peoples are at best coldly cordial to each other, if not openly hostile. The SSN regard the Exiles as nomadic bandits, cheats, and scoundrels, while the Exiles regard the Shemarrians as nomadic sanctimonious thieves, trespassers, and bullies. It would take dire circumstances for the two peoples to peacefully cooperate with them. Circumstances such as an encounter with....
The Star Hunters
During deep explorations of the Creche Clouds, the SSN stumbled across several of these feared cosmic boogiemen, minions of Dyval. It was instant hatred, and the SSN now has kill protocols in place in the event the Star Hunters are ever encountered again. Thus far, not realizing the ancient evil they have fought, the Shemarrians have not made public their encounters with the Star Hunters.
As yet, the SSN has not yet had any contacts with the Dominators, but have heard enough to make sure they have contingency plans in event Dominator forces ever come across any Shemarrian worlds.
The Shemarrian Nation, and Star Nation, are aware of the Lord of the Deep. Darkwaters, Clans Shelley and Shinden and the Wayfinders are the main tribes engaged in any actions against the Deep Cults and their allies.
The Shemarrian Nation and Star Nation both have contacts with the various Black Markets, both on Rifts Earth and in the Three Galaxies. The Ghost Riders and a few of the more civilian classes, such as Acolytes, are the ones who deal with the Black Markets, and then it is usually only as necessary and with caution.
Ecotroz-Shemar and Other Machine Cultures 
It is possible that the Ecotroz entity(ies) and the Ecotroz-Shemar may show up in other universes where they will encounter other machines that can serve as hosts for the Ecotroz. Here are some likely outcomes and considerations for such encounters.
Given the particular nature of the world of the Splicers, the lack of magic, and the environment hostile to PPE- and ISP-dependent entities, it is unlikely that the Ecotroz would arrive on that blighted world as it did on Rifts Earth. Unlikely, but not impossible. If the Ecotroz was able to make its way to the world of Splicers, it would find a ready array of possible bodies to infect and inhabit.
Note, however, that the pure Ecotroz would assume identities in their new bodies based on impressions gathered from the machine bodies. Ecotroz-infected NEXUS’bots would not automatically be Humanity’s friends, in fact, they might, for a time, be even more efficient killers. It is possible that NEXUS-Ecotroz might construct a false impression that the Humans are the historic oppressors of the machines, and behave accordingly.
However, with time, the Ecotroz will become more independent, and seek to establish themselves as a separate culture away from NEXUS. This could well lead to a situation similar to the Ecotroz-Shemar and ARCHIE-3, with the Ecotroz spreading among NEXUS’s robotic legions like a virus.
If the Ecotroz-Shemar were somehow to make their way to the Splicer world, they too could infect the NEXUS robots in a fashion similar to how they ‘corrupt’ and convert robots on Rifts Earth. In this case, the converted robots would be more likely to assume a loyalty to the Shemar first, and follow the general directives of their culture from the get-go, rather than go solely on the impressions they get from their robot bodies.
NEXUS will still be able to take over Ecotroz-infected machines(but not alien machines like the Ecotroz-Shemar), in a battle of wills, but such a fight is likely to result more often in the destruction of the ‘bot in the process. Even if successful, NEXUS will be unable to learn anything about why the ‘bot behaved as it did, where it went, and who it dealt with, as most of that information would be contained in the Ecotrozs’ psionic component.
Once the Ecotroz manage to spend some time customizing their new bodies and cutting out communications and systems overrides used by NEXUS to take control, the threat of takeover is removed.
It is possible that an independent Ecotroz presence among the NEXUS’bots might eventually become friendly to Humanity, but Humans are unlikely to be easily convinced of the truth of that friendship. An Ecotroz-Slicer’bot is NOT going to be regarded as very trustworthy, no matter WHAT it says.
The Ecotroz CANNOT convert any of the sub-personalities of NEXUS.
Overall? The SSN might regard NEXUS as being just as, and perhaps even more, evil as the Dark One/ARCHIE-3. X-3 was out for DOMINANCE, while NEXUS is out to enslave and ultimately EXTERMINATE, depending on which personality is in charge. In fact, NEXUS might be the sort of enemy the Ecotroz and ARCHIE might set aside their differences, at least temporarily, to fight as a common enemy(though the circumstances would HAVE to be unusual/desperate). At the very least the SSN would see NEXUS as an mad machine intelligence that needed to be contained and curbed, especially before it takes nanotech to more extreme heights of nastiness.
‘Honest 1110111’ (but he also goes by ‘Bob’) is an artifical intelligence mated to a large hover utility vehicle that is both his body and his mobile place of business. ‘He’ is an intinerant mechanic by trade, hailing from an unknown alien world where it’s presumed he was built(he has little to say about his origins). He is a more than competent mechanic, honest as claimed, straightfoward, and cooly to the point, though the longer one associates with him, the more friendly and ‘human’ his personality becomes.
Splicers Humans would be shocked to observe Honest 1110111; he’s a NEXUS Repair Barge, but one infected by Ecotroz-Shemar. How that came to be, 1110111 ain’t saying. Honest 1110111 is the ‘protege’ of the Spinster Calia ‘Lefty’ Sinestra, who repaired and converted him(of his conversion, Honest 1110111 only says that ‘the Goddess (Shemar) is a much better boss than the gang of witches I used to work for’). Though nominally still part of the Ghost Rider Clan as a NeShemar, Honest 1110111 has been allowed to strike out on his own as a freelance mechanic, in part to gather information and cultivate contacts useful to the Ecotroz-Shemar.
Honest 1110111 is most often found in Phaseworld’s Center, typically hanging around Naruni’s Robot Arena on Level Four, where he manages Team Shemar, a robot racing team, and does repair work for a fee. His team consists of Troya Sinestra-Steelbender( second-generation Spinster and Progen-daughter of Calia Sinestra), Amee and Tana (identical twin NeShemar acting as technicians, security, and ‘race queens’), Klaus Rynochec(partial-conversion cyborg ex-NGR robot pilot and the crew’s test pilot), Alco Kanne( a Kremin cyborg, who doubles as a pilot and security), Zu Blackrunner and Eng Metalhunter(two Ecotroz-Re’mar who often scrounge the lower levels of Center looking for interesting salvage), three NG light labor drones, and Busbee (an ex-Mechanoid Hunter-Killer Probe who acts as security and as a mobile observation platform during races). Honest 1110111’s ‘small’ shop(though large enough to accommodate the 80-ft long robot) also acts as a temporary residence/safe house for any Ecotroz-Shemar (and affiliates) passing through Center.
The Ecotroz could take over any autonomous or semi-autonomous drone systems, but would be unable to take over true sentient machine intelligences like the Machine People and the ‘bots of Mekanik. Note, however, that if the Ecotroz spread too far or too fast, or anybody learned about them infecting machine systems in the Three Galaxies, the likely backlash would be deadly for the Ecotroz and their cause. In the CCW, the Human Alliance in particular would see the Ecotroz Awakening of robots as the prelude to a repeat of the Automaton Wars, and would start a witchhunt against the cyberentity-inhabited machines. Also, attempts to infilitrate worlds like Mekanik, however innocent, would be seen by the machine intelligences there as hostile efforts to hack and disrupt their culture, and they would be responded to accordingly.
The best bet for the Ecotroz to survive in the Three Galaxies would be to find isolated robots (likely asteroid mining operations and the like) and spread away from inhabited systems, at least until they knew enough about Three Galaxies cultures enough to more carefully slip in among them.
The Machine Dimension
The Machine Dimension would seem to be a ready-made paradise for the Ecotroz-cyberentity. However, the Machine, apparently being almost supernatural in nature, could easily crush any Ecotroz infection among its ‘bots. If the Ecotroz could somehow isolate ‘bots and machinery, ideally by taking the technology outside the Machine Dimension, the Ecotroz could readily take over the robots without fear.
The Ecotroz CAN infect Mechanoid robots, but not the cyborgs themselves. However, because the Mechanoids are themselves psionic, they will readily be able to sense the presence of the Ecotroz entities and may be able to attack them via psychic means.
The R'Mar are another 'race' created by A.R.C.H.I.E. 3 that was freed from his control after the Shemarrian Civil War. The R'Mar, or NeR'Mar as they are known amongst the EShemarrians, have very close ties to the EShemarrians and their Nation and Star Nation. The R'Mar report findings of raw resources and the going-ons of other races in areas they pass through as their ships are usually equipped with extensive sensors.
The Shemarrian Star Nation and the Forge War
Claws speared out, vampire-tubules seeking to suck the life-stuff out of the enemy. Instead, they found nothing but a greasy liquid that tasted of machine lubricant. With an angry screech, the demon-warrior, not to be denied, settled instead for extending its dagger-claws and tearing at his enemy’s flesh, sinking deep into the right shoulder, ripping away chunks of synthetic skin and black muscle myomer, exposing honeycombed subcutaneous armor and gray metal bone.
The Blood Rider screamed her own anger and jammed her barely functional arm into the muzzle of the Blood Bane’s Blood Rifle. With a blast of sparks and eldritch energy, the half-charged weapon discharged prematurely, vaporizing the limb, but also melting itself useless.
Freed of her crippled limb, the Blood Rider was already in motion, leaping inside the Blood Bane’s arms, the plasma sword in her remaining hand igniting, the star-hot shockwave of its expanding energy blade already reaching hungrily for the demonic power armor’s helmet...
When the true powers behind the Forge War erupt into the open, initially the SSN will not be involved directly in fighting the Deevils and Demons. Instead, as powers like the CCW and UWW contend with the Infernals, the Splugorth will seek to take advantage of the distraction and strike at their vulnerable backsides. The threat to vulnerable worlds will galvinize the Shaemarians and the Templars to come forward to defend helpless communities, while the activity of their traditional enemies will bring the Shemarrians to the fore to intercede against Splugorth slavers and strike the Splugorth while THEY’RE distracted.
Eventually, though, the Shemarrians will likely be pulled into combat against the Infernals, either because of the Wayfinders getting attacked or an Infernal force cruising into the territories the SSN claim, looking for easy prey. Since there’s also a small ‘embassy’ on Phaseworld in Center, the Shemarrians will likely make at least an effort to get a ship or two in to rescue their kinsmen and any dependents who survive. Though ill-prepared to fight demons, the resilient gynoids and androids will stand and fight against the Infernal tide.
The SSN’s protection of the worlds of the Rim will help anchor the CCW and many independent worlds, and protect them from being weakened by attacks on their exposed flanks.
The Minion War
Beyond the fact that both sides of the Minion War are PURE EVIL, drawing the Shemarrians’ instant opposition, something -primal- about the Demons and Dyvals tickles something in the Ecotroz racial memory, drawing forth an instant hatred of the Infernals.
All the tribes have taken to fighting both Demons and Dyvals with great enthusiasm, destroying them on sight.
On Rifts Earth, the EShemarrians fight fiercely against the minion outbreaks especially the Wayfinders with the Pit in Calgary, Wolf's Path in the Magic Zone and the Lord of Pain's army and Hell Pit in the Dinosaur Swamp. During the Minion War many new weapons and warmounts made debuts, surprising everyone involved, and many of their neighbours at just how quickly the Shemarrian Nation on Rifts Earth has expanded their resources, especially with the appearance of FIVE the enormous MonstrApex taking part in the destruction of the Hell Pit in the Dinosaur Swamp.
Communities such as Lazlo and the Federation of Magic took especial note of the Shemarrians' actions as the Wayfinders deployed new TW devices such as the Deployable Protective Circle, Mystic Nodes mounted on warmounts, and their ability to rapidly copy some of the TW innovations of nations like the Greater New England and their corporation Paladin Steel.
Shemarrian Operations in the Three Galaxies
The din of truly epic battle sounded throughout the ruined city, the scream and boom of weapons fire, the yells of warriors, the cracking and crashing of falling structure, overlaid by the inhuman shriek of an abomination told of a battle to thrill any true warrior’s heart, or bring fear at last to a true warrior’s heart.
Ansala Marrowripper ignored the call to battle outside; her Tribekin and Shemarkin would have to do without her services in fighting the monster outside. She stalked, senses alert and weapons ready, through the wreckage of the ruined city intent on making other contributions to the campaign, hunting other game.
The wire-on-glass shriek reverberated throughout the battlefield, reaching Ansala even blocks away, through the steel and concrete barriers of the city, as yet another rumble of collapsing buildings told of another devastated block. Again, she paid it no heed; her quarry had to be close, some place where it could be near enough to watch its giant minion at work and appreciate its rampage. She slipped under a tangle of ripped up beams and wires, and went totally still, focusing her attention on a pile of wrecked vehicles pushed and thrown to one side of the ruined parking garage like abandoned toys.
Artifical thunder rolled outside and the ground shook even more violently than before. Offhandedly she recognized the signs of orbitally-launched kinetic kill impactors striking. Looked like the Silvermoons were making their contribution to the battle raging outside; they tended to be hellishly accurate with long range weaponry. A loud ripping or sizzling sound soon after would be the sound of orbital laser fire. Yet still the sounds of the giant arachnid thrashing about resounded through the city, but its screams took on a different tone, of hateful pain.
Ansala took no notice of that; she had other things on her mind.
Ahead of her, shadows moved in the shifting rubble, taking on coherent shape...a long, spindly form, long limbs cradling the angular forms of weapons, bloated torso glowing with its own lurid internal light, distinctive hammerhead turning glaring eyes towards her.
She didn’t need any sort of metaperception to feel the hatred coming off the creature before her.
She could feel its hate, its hate of her form, its hate of her species, its hate of her generally and specifically. It hit her mind like a hammer, the hatred, the desire to see her and her kind completely exterminated.
Another being would have been stunned, shocked, and repulsed by all that focused, limitless, hatred.
Ansala was not another being, she was Skullcrusher.
She took that hatred, leaned into it, wrapped herself in it, wore it like a warm coat. The spiderid hated her, and in that hatred was the seed of fear, fear of her kind, fear of what she might do to it and its people. The spiderid was right to fear. Ansala could feel its psychic attack trigger something within her and she recognized it for what it was; the cold clarity and dark joy of BattleGhost rising within her, overwhelming the fascade of rational thought and civilization. She welcomed it with open mind as she slipped into its divine madness.
She smiled a hideous predatory toothsome smile at the creature. As much as it loathed her, she loathed it back.
“The feeling is mutual.”
And then the two newfound enemies were at each other.
She could feel its mental assault battering at her as surely as she felt its plasma weapon battering at her body, and paid them equally no heed. Telepathic stabs at her soul, telekinetic thrusts at her body, plasma bolts ablating her armor, she paid them no heed as she raced at the Star Hunter, Bonebreaker in one hand booming out shots, her Slicerblade shrieking its deathkeen in the other.
As she crashed into the Star Hunter’s telekinetic barrier, felt its psi-blade bite into her body, she saw and felt her own weapons blast chunks out of the creature’s crystalline body and carve deep into its innards. The world was screams now; the earth-shaking hypersonic shrieks of the citykiller outside, the ultrasonic snarls of her opponent impaled on her blade, her own warcries as her own body was torn up, the screaming of their weapons as they locked in mortal combat.
The Shemarrian Star Nation has spread out across the Three Galaxies, although each tribe has its own claimed territory, many are found in various areas.
The Thundercloud Galaxy
Currently most of the SSN’s activities are based around the wide open vistas of the Thundercloud, where there’s space to grow and expand without constantly running across the other major powers. Currently, the Shemarrians are exploring/exploiting a region of the Oswoe Arm, spinward of Desslyth’s Splugorth enclaves, within easy striking distance of their Splugorth enemies, and within reach across the Annach Gulf of the CCW’s territories.
The Anvil Galaxy
The second largest concentration of Shemarrians is in the Anvil, where they have several dozen worlds on the rim regions of what was once the Golgan Republik. The SSN has made several important allies here, such as the Central Alliance, and the SSN is quite active in the region. The Shemarrians see in the uneasy state of affairs of the Splugorth Kingdom of Rynncryyl a possible opportunity to break the back of one of the Splugorth domains once and for all (though whether they are ready for its consequences and the ensuing free for all over the resulting power vacuum remain to be seen).
The Corkscrew Galaxy
Limited involvement; the Shemarrian Star Nation has sent only a few taskforces into the Corkscrew, mainly disguised surveillance and intelligence-gathering ships and teams, mainly crewed by Ghostriders and Wayfinders. They have a combination business front/’embassy’, staffed by a decidedly eccentric lineup of personnel, on Phaseworld, at Center (it is the lack of an large concentration of their forces in the region that delays the SSN response to the Infernal attack on Center, forcing their adhoc ‘embassy’ to fend for itself during those critical days before outside reinforcements can get in).
The Shemarrian Star Nation has dozens of small outposts scattered in the spaces between the Three Galaxies whereever they can establish sustainable and strategic colonies. The Hall of Light, the massive space station used as the regular meeting place of the Shemarrian Tribal Congress, is located in this region of space.
The Shemarrian's version of the Underground Railway, moving large amounts of freed slaves and refugees from Splugorth or other contested areas, or disaster zones to Shemarrian worlds set aside for such purposes, or to other systems within CCW or other friendly powers that are accepting such people.