Solezamael

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Hey folks! I've been writing a sci-fi short story for a little while, and with the release of Stellaris I thought I'd make a sort of alternate history for my lil space bugs from it.
This is my first attempt at an AAR, and I hope you enjoy!
I'll be using a few mods in this, mostly cosmetic with the exception of Prepare For Ground Assault! which should make planetary invasions a little more interesting.
I'll also be following a few rules to RP the Khddari:
1) Other spiritualists are the enemy, and must be converted from their heathen ways - no alliances or non-aggression pacts can be made with them.
2) Workers on mineral tiles regardless of race are Drones, and must be enslaved. (Although, I'm not sure if this is too gamey with how the current Slave faction works - should I use this or not?)
3) No using the Encourage Free Thought edict - time spent a-thinkin' is less time spent a-praisin'!
4) Mining and research stations can never be built around stars.
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The Khddari are an anthropoid species hailing from the planet Khdar. Physically, Khdarri are quite frail individuals, being around 4 to 5 foot tall with slender muscle mass, covered in a chitinous exoskeleton of varying colors. They are well adapted for the harshness of their desert home: their eyes are naturally photochromic, able to darken and lighten in response to the level of light, and their digitigrade legs ending in 2 long, wide toes at the front and a single one at the back to enable rapid movement on the sand.
Their society is rigidly hierarchal, with 5 castes (Drones, essentially slaves, Workers, Soldiers, Priests, who also fufill the role of scientists, and Nobles) being assigned through a combination of birth and ability - while these castes are for life, and no social mobility is available for a Khdar once they have been assigned, it is not unusual for a large degree of mobility between generations. For example, the child of a Drone who shows great academic talent or particular gifts for scripture may be brought into the priesthood, while the child of a Noble who is physically strong but academically inept could find themselves in the army, or even working in the mines as a drone.
The Khddari are also fervently religious, to the point that it permeates their culture entirely: their sole god is Vanolion, who manifests Himself as the life-giving sun. While Vanolion posses a number of titles too numerous to mention, he is most commonly referred to either by name, as the Great Sun or as the Lord of Light. Prayers are offered in great public masses every morning and night, drawing the entire population to their local places of worship. Worship of Vanolion has been the only religion on Khdar in its entire history - early Khddari tribes were athiestic and fractured, the closest thing to gods being the various Queens of each hive, who were revered but not worshipped. Around 700 years ago, a Khddari known only as The Great Prophet began to spread the faith throughout his hive, which rapidly converted and engaged in a vicious excercise of annexing their neighbours, either through missionary work or massacres. Within 40 years, the Vanolion hive had assumed total control of the planet, with the religion being fervently enforced ever since.

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Part 1: Sunrise

Dawn broke over the Temple of Vanolion on Khdar, light creeping slowly through the dusty air to wash upon the towering brass-colored walls. Blazing hazily in the morning sun, the massive temple glowed like a beacon to the people of the capital. The priests were already prostrated in the street outside, offering reverence to the sun god, a huge crowd of various castes ever growing behind them as the Khddari woke and came for morning prayers. From a balcony near the peak of the tower, the Arch-Priest and the Queen, Sixteenth Mother, watched over the flock.

"The morning is bright. Vanolion offers us his favor," the priest chittered, voice strained with age, although still flanged and bright-sounding like all of his species. "A good day for such a historic endeavor."

The queen nodded in agreement as prayers drifted up from below. "We could not have hoped for a better omen."

She raised a hand into a sunbeam, disturbing the dust around her fingers, then stared up into the blazing white star in the sky, eye darkening dramatically in the intense light. "I envy them, Brother."

"My queen?" the Arch-Priest replied, taking his eyes off the crowd.

"Those in the vessels up there. To be beside Him, to witness His majesty in person."

"We each must play our roles, and we each receive our blessings, my queen. I, too, feel somewhat cheated at not being with them, but we must put our feelings aside. What Vanolion gives to one of us is shared to the many." The priest chuckled dryly. "Especially true in your case, my queen."
He guestured behind them, back into the cavernous chamber of the tower behind them, where a vast holographic map of the star system hung in the air in the center of the room, rotating slowly, the great white sun fixed firmly at the center. "Come. The Ascension and the Providence are about to begin their mission. May Vanolion guide our hands."

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Stride forth without a heavy heart, for what cause have you to fear? The void is without form, the darkness without substance, the heretic without blessing. Nothing escapes His light, which embraces and engulfs all in its tender flames. The Chosen of the Sun shall walk upon the light; what force can stand before His judgement?
~Words of the Prophet before the Battle of the 8 Queens
 
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Solezamael

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Part 2: Exodus
The Ascension's engines roared to life - completely silent in the void of space, but rumbling throughout the ship itself. The captain, Rsska Khdan, nervously thought once again of the fact that the ship, although the pinnacle of Khddari technology, was still a prototype, little more than some scientific equiptment strapped to a fusion-powered engine. They were shaked out of their fright by a collective gasp from the rest of the crew as the ship lumbered around, turning away from the planet and towards the giantic white star. Rsska made a quick guesture of prayer, touching their hand to the crown of their head, before turning to the XO.
"Everything functioning so far?"
The XO was knelt in prayer themselves, but shook their head and nodded. "All sections reporting optimal conditions. The engineers did a fine job." Standing up and brushing the knees of their uniform, they continued, "The crew are ready. The Prophet watches over us." The rest of the bridge crew echoed the statement, and Rsska increased the thrust, pulling away from the planet.

The sister ship meanwhile, the Providence, was tasked with taking the Khddari's first few tentative steps outside of the solar system. Deep space sensors had produced a list of promising systems, the first of which was Gilprim. The tension aboard the Providence was even greater than on the Ascension. The Voidreached, the prototype wormhole station, loomed large in the viewscreen after being towed into position by a construction ship.
"This... has been tested, hasn't it?" Captain Rut'sskae asked tentatively, a forced optimism on his voice.
"Oh yes," the science officer replied. "Quite thoroughly in virtual tests. The success rate was extremely acceptable."
Rut'sskae grimanced, and hunkered down in his seat. "Prophet help us. Fire up the system when you're ready, then."

The ship hung still in space next to the massive station for a moment, the machinery spinning feverishly. A brief pinprick of light appeared in front of them, which exploded out into a spinning blue-green whorl. The Providence slowly edged its way towards the opening, and both suddenly disappeared.
In Gilprim, the scene played out again in reverse, the wormhole spitting out the small ship, its engines dead and unresponsive.
"Give me a report!" Rut'sskae yelled, the bridge bathed in orange emergency lighting for a few seconds before power returned.
"Just a brief power overload!" The science officer hovered anxiously over the readouts, a number of sections of the ship glowing an ominous red. "The engines had to discharge the excess power from the jump, nothing outside of expected parameters." As Rut'sskae breathed a sigh of relief, another red message popped up on the readout, accompanied by a shrill warning tone. "This... is unexpected, however."

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TheAnguishedOne

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I'm game for more fanatics spreading their faith throughout space. Hopefully First Contact is peaceful... or they're weaker than you.