....Imagine the Universe...

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Skin Deep

Prologue One 

…Imagine the Universe…

Imagine that the universe is not just a mass of swirling gases, blazing stars and giant spheres of rock.  Instead, look at each Galaxy as a massive living entity, with its own consciousness, its own perception of time and its own goals.

Each Galaxy has about one hundred billion stars contained within it, and of those stars, around a hundred thousand of them would have planets that could support life.   Only a few hundred of those worlds will have life forms that develop higher intellect.  These intelligent life forms are the Galaxies children.

Now each Galaxies ultimate goal is to see the life forms that inhabit it grow and become as strong and wise as they can be.  It wants to try to mould them into successful races and nurture them to full maturity; in the same way as any parent wants what is best for its children.  The Galaxy is also a harsh taskmaster and wants to pit its children against one another to determine their strengths and their weaknesses and find out which of its creations are best.

Each Galaxy measures time in galactic steps, and each step relates to the progress of its children.  The first few steps have been long and difficult, as the different races have learnt the necessary knowledge to take them to the stars, but soon, as they meet each other the galactic steps will start to fly past as these races learn new skills and abilities.

The Galaxy has connected all the star systems that can support life with a great network of faster than light passages, to help its children expand across the Galaxy, meet other races and increase their knowledge and techniques. 

The first step each race must take to start its journey is to find the means to travel amongst the stars.  They must discover the transitional passages that form the veins of the galaxy and begin to colonise other planets, meet other races and discover the secrets of the Galaxy.

As the different races meet each other, they will get to know each other’s wildly different cultures, traits and personalities.  Each race will have to use their unique skills and abilities to survive.  The goal for each race is the same, but to achieve it, a race can either fight for what they want, use diplomacy to negotiate for what they need, steal what they desire, make peace to gain knowledge and supplies through unity or any combination of these methods.

In the end the Galaxy wants to be able to choose its favourite offspring and give it pride of place above all it's other children. It wants to give it lordship and domain across the Galaxy. 

Draknai

Industrial Level – 2

Agricultural Level – 1

Scientific Level – 2

Tactical Status - Aggressive

The Draknai are an intelligent species of larval life, which came into existence in the Epsilon system, at the tip of the western spiral arm of the galaxy.  They are a race of hunters, scavengers and breeders. 

All Draknai grubs develop light bending skin as they grow, whilst mildly similar to that of reptilian scales, the maggot skin is a much more effective form of camouflage as it can turn almost completely transparent.  Their bodies are long and pliable, capable of stretching up to a length of two metres or compacting to just less than one metre.  While they have no discernable limbs to speak of, they do have two long tusk-like feelers, which protrude from either side of their blunt faces and a curved hooked tail.  The Draknai are essentially blind, as they do not possess any form of ocular vision, instead they ‘see’ by detecting scents and pheromones.  So acute is their sense of smell that it has been observed that they can detect and follow moving objects up to forty metres away.  While the Draknai do have primitive vocal chords, they also appear to be able to communicate via an insect like hive mind using a latent form of telepathy.

The Draknai home world is known as Drakwen, the planet has a very dense core and a gravitational pull that is approximately one and a half times greater than the Earth.  The planet’s weather patterns are extreme, storm clouds constantly fill the sky and electrical tempests are a regular occurrence.  It is believed that this erratically high-pressure atmosphere is the main cause for how the Draknai evolved into their current form.  Drakwen is one of two planets in the twin star system of Epsilon and the Draknai are not the only intelligent beings to inhabit the system.  The Draknai share Epsilon point with the Chemachies, but it was not until they learnt to travel in space that they became aware of their interstellar neighbours. 

            The Draknai culture was originally believed to be similar to some of Earths nomadic tribal societies.  Many confrontations and wars seemed to break out regularly amongst the tribes, although it was never entirely clear as to the reason why the conflict had begun.  It was assumed that because the Draknai seem to be such a naturally aggressive race, that they just seemed to enjoy fighting and fought each other purely for recreational purposes.  Life within the tribe is considered barbaric, there is a caste organisation based around strength and endurance and many Draknai are killed in their infancy.  Later, it was discovered that the Draknai did in fact have some form of hierarchy, the tribes all heeded the actions of the Conclave of the Unseen, which is a sequestered leadership that remains in hiding and communicates with the rest of the Draknai via some unknown method. 

            The Draknai appear very ritualistic, especially when it comes to reproduction.  When the oldest and strongest Draknai reach full maturity, their skin begins to shed and a new luminescent skin can be seen beneath.  This metamorphosis signals the start of their mating ceremony where the mature grubs change briefly into adults.  The male fertilises the female who immediately starts producing up to a hundred and fifty eggs.  The male then guards the pregnant female while the onlookers gather around them.  The watchers would then become frenzied by the scent of the adult pheromones and start to fight the adults.  The fighting continues until both adults have been killed and eaten by the rest of the tribe, leaving only their offspring alive.

             This peculiar cycle of life and death has led to the idea that the Draknai are quite an immature race, deeply emotional and easily enraged.  Yet it is said that a few adults have survived the sacrificial mating rite and gone on to create great conflicts within the Draknai historical timeline.  Is it possible that such a juvenile race could hope to ascend into space and carve out a portion of the galaxy for themselves, or will they have to learn to grow up first, in order to gain Dominion over the stars?

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