The Zrelgerians (Zuh-rel-gehr-ee-ans) are a Humanoid species native to the Verpletter Dwarf Galaxy. They are the primary species of the Zrelgerian Kraterocracy, a Major Faction within the Verpletter Galaxy.
Much of their culture and society is based around the accumulation of personal power and strength, all with the end goal of taking over as the Grand Emperor of the Kraterocracy. It is through this process, which they call 'The Game', that the strongest of their people is capable of leading the rest of them, until a stronger individual takes over from them, ans so on and so forth. Nearly everything in their society is based around the acquisition of power.
They are often feared for their ruthlessness in combat, and their merciless attitudes towards those they fight with. Interestingly, they do not seem to treat their conquered foes particularly poorly - Only if they are personally weak.
Their home solar system, Zrel, is unique, since there are four hospitable planets within the system, and there have been Zrelgerians on all of them for as long as anyone can remember. It is impossible to know exactly what caused this, but there have been studies that suggest that an ancient group of Zrelgerians were capable of somehow constructing space-worthy vessels out of primitive materials, and were able to settle the other worlds at a very early stage of development. Regardless of how this happened however, this has resulted in centuries of conflict
Appearance and Biology
The Zrelgerians are a humanoid alien species, possessing two arms and legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes, two eyes, and hair. They possess monochromatic skin, which ranges from pale white to charcoal black. This skin is particularly rough, which is designed to protect them on the rocky terrain of their various home-worlds. Zrelgerian bones are made of a substance that is akin to ivory - They are fairly heavy and difficult to break. As a result, Zrelgerians are an incredibly sturdy people, and their bones and skin are difficult to break.
Zrelgerians are larger than the average Human, reaching two metres tall on average. On average, they reach 180 pounds, making them a very heavy species compared to Humans. Regardless though, they do not seem to be particularly worse swimmers than Humans, though it does seem to cause them difficulties. They possess urticating hair, which they can utilize at any time they desire as a weapon.
There is a distinct sexual dimorphism within the species, and it possesses four separate sexes, all of which are required to create a child - Males, Females, Gymales, and Zymales. Each one of these sexes possesses a distinct visual difference from one another. The majority of their sexes are on the 'feminine' side of the spectrum. It could be said that the four sexes are almost akin to four separate sub-species due to the variance between them.
Male Zrelgerian's are the tallest, and have an easier time building muscles. Their sclera and pupils are red, and allow them to see in thermal vision if they so choose. They tend to have a hairline that juts upwards like a triangle at the center of the forehead. Their nails tend to be black in colour. They are noteworthy for having incredibly good reflexes.
Zymales are often seen with the ends of their hair being coloured differently to the primary colour of the hair. For example, a Zymale with black hair may have red tips. Their pupils are white, and they possess a thumb on both sides of their hands, giving them six digits per hand. They also have pointed ears. they are often considered the most 'feminine' of the sexes within Zrelgerian society, even moreso than the females. They tend to have lighter skin tones, though this is not the only skin colour they possess.
Gymales have bone ridges that crane around the forehead, which ends in line with the nose. A bald patch exists above this area, with several bone fragments on the exterior of the forehead. Gymales also possess the ability to unsheathe jagged bones from between their knuckles, akin to a cat, to use as defensive weapons. They tend to have a darker skin tone. They also have a different colour of blood to the other sexes - Orange.
Females tend to have sharper teeth than the other sexes, and will sometimes develop patterns on their bodies, such as lines heading down from the lower lip. They tend to have darker hair colours. Like males, they have very good reflexes, but are slower than males. They do however, possess tougher skin than males, making them harder to harm.
Zrelgerian's are noteworthy for being exceptionally adaptable, even moreso than Humans. While Humans are skilled at adapting the environment to suit their needs, Zrelgerian's are adept at both adapting to the needs of their environment, and making it suit them.
They possess a series of what are called Gymorphic cells within their bodies, which allow them to adapt to whatever environment they are a part of. these cells can morph into various shapes, and fill in roles in the body hat allow the Zrelgerians to survive in even the most brutal of conditions, including even the vacuum of space. The closest comparison in Humans would be Stem Cells, but ones that will automatically fill in whatever role is needed, and can morph depending on environmental change.
These changes typically require at least 168 hours to fully materialize within the Zrelgerian body, during which transition can be difficult or unpleasant. However, once adapted, they will be perfectly comfortable moving around whatever environment they find themselves in.
Like most species, the culture of the Zrelgerian people varies from system to system, and from planet to planet. However, there are plenty of universal customs that the Zrelgerians have with one another.
"It's a paradoxical system, this Game of theirs. everyone is trying to one-up one another, but they realize that if they don't work together, then they'll be crushed by the outside. Yet they still take the chances to look for advantages, and still fight one another inside their own territory - So they live both aware that they want to beat one another, work as one, while working against one another behind the lines they're protecting - How do they even function?"
The Game is the cornerstone of Zrelgerian society - It is a system of belief and of governance, in which they believe that only the strongest being alive withing the Zrelgerian Kraterocracy should lead the Kraterocracy into the future. the way they do this is an eternal power struggle - One must attain as much power as is possible in order to then challenge the Grand Emperor, and either fall by their hand, or kill them and take their place. This process must then repeat itself, over and over again.
Any and all ways to attain this power are acceptable within the Kraterocracy - Through attaining the support of others in the military, commanding an army, being politically skilled and manipulative, theft of wealth, or even seduction of those around them - Any method of attaining power is accepted within the Kraterocracy. This motivates many to seek out high commanding positions, and to take territory for the Kraterocracy. It is through this that the Kraterocracy keeps expanding against other Factions.
This also leads my to take up roles within unsuspecting jobs, such as construction work or trading - These positions, if utilized properly, can be just as ruthless as a military general. The forty-sixth Grand Emperor is said to have gained power as a communications relayer, who used the information that their job granted them to plot against other players. This aspect of the Game keeps Zrelgerian society functioning.
Threats to the Faction may cause the Emperor to declare a united front, which all armed forces must follow. Failure to do so results in expulsion from The Game - Meaning death on sight.
For many millennia, The Game has held back the Kraterocracy from expanding into the galaxy. The Commune Federation has done anthropological and biological research into the Zrelgerians, and have concluded that if they did not have The Game, they would be more or else entirely in control of the Verpletter galaxy. However, thanks to the Game, and outside forces, this has not happened.
Zrelgerian social structure is mostly solitary, with only limited family units being observed within Zrelgerian society. The Zrelgerians are not a particularly social species, and do not require contact with other members of their species in order to maintain a cohesive mental state. However, that being said, their society is cohesive and they are very capable of interacting with other members of their own species in a constructive way.
Their family structures tend to be polyamorous. This is because their four sexes are required for producing children, so the prospect of multiple partners is very normal within their society. These partners are often cosnidered multiple parts of the same player in The Game. Many Zrelgerians are not willing to share the glory of the Game, which is why these structures are rare.
Their are no children within these social structures, due to how their children are raised.
"What sort of society treats it's children the way yours does? I've seen warrior societies that never treated their kids like this."
"Would you prefer we bring them with us wherever we go? That they become a part of The Game from their first breath? That they become caught up in it's dangers before they get the chance to play? Would you prefer that we coddle them, leave them unprepared for the knives that hang above the spines of all Zrelgerians? You judge us by your standards, Gesshra. You know nothing about us. It's why we will crush you." - An exert taken from an interrogation between a Xavier Co-Operative Protectorate interrogator, and a captured Zrelgerian prisoner
The way that the Zrelgerians treat their children is one that to many outsiders, seems unusual and even cruel. In reality however, it is possibly the least brutal aspect of the Zrelgerian people.
Because the Zrelgerians have four sexes, all four are required to create a new child. In order to do this, many Zrelgerians are added to a rotating list, during which point they will visit something called a 'Farm' - Here they will engage in sexual acts with the sole purpose of breeding new Zrelgerians. After this is done, all parents leave the Farm, and will never have anything to do with the life of their child. They will not even know the identity of their child.
Instead, their children will be raised by hyper-intelligent computers, whom will look after that and raise them. during this time, they will be taught various skills, and fed propaganda about The Game, and given the ultimate end goal of it. This raises them to be aware of the world outside them, and prepare them for the Game.
To raise a child as a parent is considered a heinous act to the Zrelgerians - The child in question will be subjected to the dangers of the Game, and will have no tools to defend themselves. It is considered cruel to subject a child that is not ready for the Game to the Game. The few that do try to raise their children are usually killed outright out of disgust, and their child will be taken to a Farm.
The Zrelgerians are unique in that they have several home-worlds, all located within the same solar system, Zrel. How they came to have this situation is unclear, but regardless of how it occurred, they have built a civilization with these worlds at the center.
Zagrah - Zagrah is an intensely mountainous world, with mountain ranges that can reach even as high as the stratosphere, many of which now act as bases for star-ships. Huge populations of Zrelgerians live in interconnected cities made up of fortified concrete and stone up in the mountains. It is also the home seat of the Grand Emperor, and from here they rule the Kraterocracy with an iron fist and strength.
It is Zagrah that, during the interplanetary wars between the various Zrelgerian home-worlds, came out victorious, and would lead the rest of the worlds into galactic power. In spite of this victory, the conflicts never stopped, slowing down the Zrelgerian expansion into the stars by millennia. It is also on Zagrah that 'The Game' first originated. Zagrah is also considered to be one of the most dangerous worlds in the Kraterocracy, as nearly everyone who has made their way to the world is likely skilled in some way, and can represent a danger to the ambitions or even lives of those around them.
Kazakaz - Kazakaz is the largest world to house Zrelgerian life. the surface is constantly covered in immense storms, hurricanes, and lightning strikes. Much of their life is based in subterranean cities and complexes, built to protect the infrastructure of their civilization. The surface is used mostly a training grounds for new Zrelgerian initiates - A Zrelgerian is not considered a Zrelgerian on Kazakaz until they have survived their first 'Surfacing', a tradition in which the Zrelgerian youth must spend 72 hours on the surface. They were the last holdouts in the interplanetary wars.
Errukon - Errukon is a moon that orbits a gas giant known as Sakkzar. Errukon is another mountainous world, which has been heavily urbanized by the local population. It is also arguably the coldest of the home-worlds. snow and ice are commonplace hazards, as are Ice Irashi (Ice Serpents), whom attack coastline cities.
Errukon was the first world to fall during the interplanetary war between the home-worlds, but received fame for it's sheer brutality and commitment to fighting until the very end. This earned it respect throughout the other warring sides, which carries on to this day.
Baarsh - Baarsh is the closest planet to the local sun. It is known for it's immense castles built around lava and magma. The heat of this world is considered unbearable to species that are not adapted to hot environments, but the Zrelgerians thrive. Zrelgerian here are renowned for their tenacity, even amongst Zrelgerians.