- Aug 23, 2013
A Portrait of Gish Sa'RR'-Sk'Ash, Grand Historian
Art Credit: Ethan Lewis, @ Ethanlewisart.com
"RR, Kos-Ja'Val T' KRR-E'te gui 'Kan-do!"~An Ancient Myrmex Acclimation. Note: The RR is a high pitched trill, the ' symbolizes a click.
It occurred to me one day that M'mak though among the most seemingly enigmatic worlds, is the most powerful and most celebrated planet in our Milky Way; and I fell to wondering how this could have happened. But when I considered the institutions of the Myrmex, I wondered no longer. Presently I have been honored by the The Valorous Hexarchy of The Noble Lineages of M'Mak with setting down a preface to the first Human translation of The History of The Wars written by Gish Sa'RR'-Sk'Ash, Grand Historian of The Hexarchy. Now Humans from Lindiwe to Terra may consume and seek to understand, what is to me, the most misunderstood species in our Galaxy. I was given the rare chance to visit M'mak in order to write this preface. There I observed their lives, collected their legends, and sought the truth to their spirits. Please do not skip this preface, dear reader, for it is a necessary context to the unique culture that unfolded itself in Galactic history.
Firstly let us speak of their biology. THough they call themselves "RR'Zak" in their own communication, I shall for the sake of clarity, refer to them by their human designation, 'Myrmex'. Myrmex, from the Greek meaning ant, is a relatively terro-centric taxonomic designation. It, however, is one that one with a layman's understanding of xenobiology would find to be very apt. For the Myrmex are at a glance, akin to the ants of Old Terra. Colonies, warriors, workers and Queens. Let us look much closer to see why.
The world on which they evolved is M'mak, literally "The Battlefield or The Hunting Grounds", is a Veld World. It is a dry rocky world with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere . This subtropical landscape is covered in scrub woodland and open savannahs. It has mild winters and long hot summers. It is part of a trinary system, L'cae "The Trinity", with few other rocky worlds and a robust asteroid cloud surrounding it. M'mak, though it would seem otherwise, is aflush with life. Life here has chosen the path of mass reproduction over the slow investment of singular births. Almost every species I have encountered here bears young in the thousands and millions on a regular basis. This is a trait of the Myrmex as well. The Myrmex do live in colonies, or megacolonies as "country analogs", overseen by Queens who give birth to the entire population of said colony. How then, one asks, does the world not see itself stripped of resources by overpopulation? Simple. It has been kept in check for millions of years by predation, and it is from this the Myrmex climbed to intelligence and success. Every decade or so, when the mass of animal life becomes too much to bear for the environment, an evolutionary trigger is set off in the world's predators. They swarm and eat the burgeoning populations of prey...and each other. It is this competition, and this massive increase in caloric intake that spurred intelligence and an arms race in the upper castes of the Myrmex.
The Myrmex are, generally speaking, characterized by their arthropoid physiology. 99% of the population is female, with a drone caste existing only to be breed and die. Sapience is only to be found in the upper castes, with workers being (as far as we know) only on the brink of intelligence. Bearing a head, thorax, and proportionally small abdomen, the Myrmex carry themselves on large digitigrade legs, ending in long vicious claws. Two forward, two rear, and two on the side. The thorax bears four arms, two diminutive ones near the waist, and two large ones that themselves end with three fingers made of vicious claws. The head is heavily geared towards predation and communication having numerous mandibles and grippers for the rending of flesh. All of this, most famously, is encased in an exoskeleton made of incredibly durable metal alloy. It has been shown that only a well placed shot between the plates can kill a Myrmex warrior, as directly striking it with slug or laser will see it be glanced or reflected away.
It is this biology that informs their history. To read their records to see a litany of warfare, cycles of it coinciding with competition during the hunting times and over land and resources. Queendoms dominated the world for most of their history. Each producing fine warriors with absolute loyalty and fed by a barely sentient worker class. They were once also a religious society, in those primitive times. They worshiped a pantheon of spirits and noble queenly ancestors. Queenly lineage is the marker of nobility and holiness. Before every war, a Queen's Oracle was consulted to determine whether it was auspicious to fight and where victory would be found. The priesthood and oracles became a new caste of their own. Yet as increasing complexity developed into the megacolonies of M'mak, the absolute authorities of the queens began to be questioned. Castes diversified to include scholars, teachers, merchants, healers etc. etc. All branched off from the warrior caste. The cycle of war and hunt continued, but the Queens would see themselves relegated to symbolic and ritual roles as the armies took control and devastated the world. This continued until our own 22nd Century, when the species was brought to the brink of total Annihilation. The world's animal population hadn't exploded on schedule in decades, due to the warfare and industrialization. Resources were being strained. There were threats of nuclear war. It was around our date of 2188, based on my calculations of the reigns of Queens J'Ral and J'kal, that "The Great Intervention" took place. After a series of secret conferences, Oracles of the Six Largest Queendoms refused to grant their oracles for the final coming war. Without it, the warriors could not march. It is from this they brought the Queens of those colonies to the table, and formed the Hexarchy. The first united planetwide government of M'mak. This coalition would subdue and destroy what little lesser queendoms remained within a few decades.
The Hexarchy is a truly mixed state that balances the ideas of democracy, monarchy, and oligarchy. Citizens participate democratically, are subject to Oligarchy at home, and Queenship on campaign. The Queens never again regained their formal political power. They instead act as the military and judicial elite. When leading the armies, they have absolute authority, and as judges oversee the constitutionality of the laws and crush criminality as the mothers they are. Legislative and political authority rest in the hand of "The Oracles of The Queens". No longer a religious office, as the state has secularized, it is the six Oracles who oversee the day-to-day running of the state. The whole mass of the upper castes, the citizens, elect a host of potential candidates. Of these, six are chosen at random to serve ten year terms, with one from among their number randomly chosen as head of state. The oracles draft legislation and pass them by simpe majority, and can convict the queens of breaches of the law. After a singular term of ten years, they may not attain office again. Entering Myrmex space requires the approval of the oracles. After their term has ended and the new oracles are chosen, the former must be brought before the new, and formally reviewed for their actions in the previous decade. Should the new council decide the former have proven themselves derelict of duty, they will be killed. This has only happened rarely.
The final note that I must touch upon on is the stratification of their society, and how rigidly they cling to it. They are built on the tripod of hierarchy, tradition, and conflict. Wars are still fought by the six queendoms, some ceremonial, others sectarian. The most important event for them is the "Wild Hunt", held whenever the world's biomass reaches its breaking point. Each queen leads her soldier caste into a mass march across the landscape. A horde of ravenous millions sweeps across the landscape, undulating and piling on one another, butchering and eating whatever they find. This does not end with the animals either. It is the only true act of barbarism I have ever seen from this noble species. For they descend upon the holdings of their workers, and consume them en masse. The Myrmex are a society of intelligent complex beings as much as any other in our Milky Way, but they like us, have their own faults. There's is a deep-rooted, an almost primal one, fear of their own worker caste. The workers outnumber their warrior counterparts seven-to-one in some cases. Bred to do the grueling labor of this society, workers live short and horrible lives. They are treated as more livestock than being, with little intelligence to engender the respect of the latter. Yet I myself must say I do see a glimmer of light in those sad, listless, compound eyes. It is this glimmer that drives the warriors to regularly cull them. The society is built on their back, and if intelligence were to ever truly arise, The Queens, Oracles and Warriors would find themselves grossly outnumbered by rightfully resentful mass of beings.
If this were ever to occur, may this history and preface enlighten the galaxy as to the events that preceded it.
This AAR will be written over the course of my final 3.3 playthrough. I will be reverting the patch once Overlord comes out, because I'm broke anyway. To explain the title, my playthrough will have The Antares Confederacy and the Cloister of the Spirits included. Earth will justr be represented with the UNE. It also includes five or so empires of my own creation, plus content from other mods and thus other universes. For example, the Asari Republics will also be spawned as well as a mod that replaces wormholes and gateways with Mass Relays. Several of my empires use Star Wars ships as well. Also, if it wasn't plainly obvious, this is indeed Space Sparta with Warrior Ants. As for the Hexarchy? Hexagons are the Bestagons. Thanks for reading!