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“Nothing great left in our people, no. We wander, we raid, we steal, we scavenge, we hang on. We endure the long dark as much as we can, and we survive. That is a kind of strength, yes? It is nothing to be ashamed of.”
- - Qurik Skel, Plague-Smiter
The Saviki are a nomadic race of six-limbed bipeds notable for their cunning, resilience, and tendency toward piracy. They originated on the planet Elekzil, lost millennia ago to an unknown threat that wiped out much of their old civilization. Most now live on board ships in the Saviki Metafleet, a generalized term for the five surviving Combines, scavenging and raiding for the resources they need, though a number of more progressive Saviki are beginning to focus on establishing less violent relationships with the rest of the Gigaquadrant. The Perdition Arena and recent dealings between the Void Combine and the New Cyrannian Republic the most prominent examples of this.
Saviki physiology is mostly avio-reptiliian, though their triple jaws, four eyes, and dorsal quills distinguish them from the majority of other species that are classified as such. Their bodies are remarkably resilient to a range of extreme environments without augmentation, and their dependence on Mana has negated the need for them to have a breathable atmosphere.
Proto-Saviki and Early History EditThe early Saviki evolved from hexapodal reptilian omnivores that lived in nomadic groups, following wandering herds of prey animals and the migratory spores of edible fungi native to Elekzil. Those that learned to breed various species of eusocial animals and farm them for meat led to the inevitable spawning of permanent settlements across Elekzil. Knowledge of how to cultivate the migratory fungi, of which several species could be found across Elekzil, came in the Saviki equivalent to the Bronze Age, and many isolated Tribes learned how to process it into cheese-like kelki, among other things.
Shining Days and Blizzard Edit
- Main Article: Pre-Blizzard Saviki Civilization
The creation of powerful terraforming technology and the synthesizing of Mana for Saviki consumption ushered in the Shining Days in 1 SD. During this period, the Saviki colonized nearly every other planet in their solar system, covering them with cities and bioengineered flora and fauna. In addition, an unknown technology or entity remembered only as "Catylus" is also known to have been directly responsible for the beginning of the Shining Days.
Most modern Saviki ships were designed toward the end of this era, and the Architect and Regulators are believed to have been created around this time as well. Hyperspace research is known to have occurred throughout the Shining Days, but no significant progress was made until the last few years.
The Blizzard itself was caused by the arrival of an unknown entity or alien hyperpower into the Saviki homesystem, where it scarred every planet and drained many Saviki of all energy in their bodies, killing them instantly. Those not immediately harmed, thousands of Saviki starships, mostly consisting of Saviki ship crews and passengers, fled through hyperspace to an unknown region in the Endless Space between galaxies, forgetting the location of their homeworld to simply flee from the horrors of their civilization's demise.
Fracture Wars Edit
Lost in unfamiliar space, the survivors of the Blizzard rapidly turned to infighting over resources, beginning the Lightless Days. What remained of the Autumn and Wave Combines merged with Winter, which targeted the populous but scattered Blood Combine. Storm attacked Sand, rapidly taking over many of their ships thanks to their lower overall population. The decentralized Saviki of Void fought for anyone willing to pay them. Dusk and Jade aligned themselves with Blood and aided in their concentrated counterattack on Winter. Cloud, the largest Combine at the time, attempted to concentrate it forces in one region of space, forming a sort of protective bastion, but quickly ended up a target of Blood and Gale. The Architect, meanwhile, seemed to favor no side, simply producing Mana as compatible elements were offered to it. Despite this, many Chrills believed they could earn its favor through their brutality, intensifying the conflict.
The situation rapidly devolved into total war by 78 LD. Jade attempted to covertly take over the Blood Combine by assassinating their Chrill, but failed and became the victims of a gruesome genocide. Sand allied with Cloud against the two major alliances that were forming, and managed to wipe out most of Gale, the only Combine that had steered clear of alliances. However, the Blood-Dusk bloc decimated Sand, while the young Storm-Winter alliance began encircling Cloud. Believing the other two large Combines to be distracted by Cloud, Blood and Dusk mounted a massive and rapid attack on them, but were met with a surprisingly prepared defensive line that shattered the majority of Dusk forces.
With Dusk severely weakened and Blood outmatched, Storm and Winter descended on the Cloud Combine. The resulting battle lasted several years, and Blood soon returned to engage the two war-weary fronts. Void suddenly rallied behind a new Chrill and entered on Blood's side, further prolonging the conflict. The battle came to an abrupt halt in 332 LD, when all Cloud activity ceased. Boarding crews found that the entire Combine had committed mass suicide, unwilling to endure the constant war. The Chrill of Storm, Akins Tetrik, called for a cease-fire and meeting of the five remaining Chrills to discuss peace. By the year's end, they had agreed on the relatively unbinding but peaceful system now referred to as the Metafleet.
Arrival in the Gigaquadrant Edit
715 LD marked the first recorded contact between the Saviki and the First Gigaquadrant, in the outer Milky Way Galaxy. Multiple spacefaring empires were plagued by their pirating, and a military coalition formed to combat the Saviki eventually forced them out of the galaxy. However, they continued to wander throughout the Gigaquadrant over the course of the next few millenia, present day included.
In 3220 LD, the Blood Combine entered the Mirus Galaxy, coming into contact with the Spood Interstellar Federation and sparking a prolonged series of skirmishes and battles known as the Pheras Conflicts. The Storm and Winter Combines are also known to have participated, albeit much less than Blood. The conflict became much more intense in 3232, LD when Blood Chrill Orsik Corvosa tripled the size of Blood forces operating in the Federation's part of Mirus. As more Mirusian empires joined the Federation's side, the three Combines began pulling out, with most having left by 3249 LD.
Psychology and CultureEdit
Saviki are, by nature, quick-witted and opportunistic, and ancient Saviki are known to have made questionable choices in regards to sustaining themselves. While these specific practices are no longer present in Saviki society, they still have an inherent tendency to take what potential benefits they can when they can, as there is little assurance for most Saviki that they will survive the next raid.
Combines, formerly known as Tribes, play a central role in Saviki society. The overwhelming majority of living Saviki owe allegiance to a particular combine, with only a few hundred known to live outside them.
†: Extinct Combines
Shining Days Renaissance Edit
Saviki culture has varied considerably across the eons, with the two most recent periods of their history being incredibly distinct from one another.
During the Shining Days, the Saviki experienced a cultural renaissance, resulting in an explosion of variety, quality, and quantity in many artistic fields, in part thanks to rapid social and technological advancements. Aesthetic consumerism also dominated during this period, and it's almost addictive nature was often pointed out by artists in various fields.
Music during the Shining Days was extremely diverse, with synthetically altered wind instruments being particularly popular. Much of it still survives in the storage drives of starships, and is said by the Saviki to give them a sense of homesickness.
Arts aside, Shining Days society placed heavy emphasis on scientific advancement, particularly in artificial intelligence and bioengineering. The junction of these two fields led to the creation and refinement of the Regulators and their ability to synthesize Mana.
Metafleet Pirate Culture Edit
Saviki culture following the Blizzard is much more "aggressive," in a sense, due to the militant and survivalist nature of the Combines. Modern Saviki follow a policing of shooting or stabbing and asking questions later, at least for the majority of scenarios, due to a common belief that the alternative to killing is waiting to be killed. Each crew, fleet, and Combine depends on its members' ability to gather resources quickly and reliably through piracy and scavenging. As a result, few Saviki will take the time to either create or appreciate art, though those of higher standing will often listen to music from the Shining Days. Lesser ranks, mostly scullions, will sometimes attempt to use scavenged chemicals as mind-altering substances, a practice which is tolerated by some marshals and detested by others, though no Chrills have specifically outlawed it.
Higher-ranking Saviki will sometimes engage in pleasure eating, a pastime that has survived the Blizzard in spite of the need to eat being eliminated by Mana. Some will simply use straws to drink spheres of carbonated Mana in handheld microgravity generators (a method for drinking most beverages that became popular during the Shining Days), while others will use capital ships' culinary fabricators to recreate traditional Saviki foods such as kelki, a fungus-derived soft food similar to human cheese that is noted to have a sour taste and has a noticeably bright yellow coloration.
Biology and Appearance Edit
Saviki are somewhere between reptilian, avian, and mammalian in outer biology and appearance, but anatomically they are vastly different.
Anatomy EditSaviki are endoskeletal, with surprisingly flexible bones and weaker skulls than most races. Their large number of limbs requires both a thoracic heart and an abdominal heart, which pump digested Mana to bodily cells and pump the vaporous waste they produce back to a trio of vestigial lungs, which exhale it. While the Saviki as a race have spent much of their history surviving via respiration, Mana's ability to satisfy all their biological needs has mostly negated the need for lungs, causing them to evolve smaller ones over the past several centuries.
Saviki are eurytherms, able to function optimally in a wide variety of temperatures. In addition, they exist in an interesting state between cold-blooded and warm-blooded; they are able to maintain a higher body temperature when Mana is readily available, but will be at the mercy of environmental temperatures if they are without it for extended periods. Like cold-blooded species, they are capable of true hibernation, making their cryo-stasis technology relatively simple compared to that of warm-blooded sentients.
Saviki bodies are extremely adaptive to the amount of Mana they consume, being able to grow or shrink in size, regardless of age, depending on how much they regularly ingest. In addition, Saviki bodies that receive rations of Mana below a certain point will cannibalize the two smallest arms to conserve energy.
Mana is a dark gold, transparent liquid with a viscosity similar to that of water. It is known to have a sweet taste, and contains all elements, compounds, and nutrients that are vital to the Saviki body. The taste, however, is believed to be an additive to make it more enjoyable to ingest, which is filtered out during the digestion process. The extracted contents are then passed into the Saviki bloodstream and circulated throughout the body, with cells producing a steam-like vapor after processing the Mana. This vapor will leak out of wounds and can give Saviki corpses an illusory burning appearance.
Saviki are typically around 2-3 meters tall, though this can vary depending on Mana consumption. Most have four arms and four eyes, and their hands and feet have three clawed digits each. Their skin is rough, and can vary in color from dark grey to olive green, with small scute-like scales on their shoulders, neck, and back. A Saviki's head, back, and arms are the site of feather-like quill growth, which most will keep trimmed to prevent discomfort while wearing armor, dying what is still visible in the colors of their Combine. Two flaps of their rough skin hang from either side of a Saviki's head, which is triple-jawed and has a mouth lined with tooth-like bristles.
Male and female Saviki are almost indistinguishable, especially when wearing armor, though the female's voice has a noticeably different pitch.
“We are a shattered people. But our strength may soon claim a new home for us.”
- - Orsik Corvosa, Chrill of the Blood Combine
“A bane to the civilized universe, nothing but pirates and lawless mercenaries.”
- - Premiere Lamon Shan, Spood Interstellar Federation
“Analysis: Saviki resilient physiology will be useful in derived Convergence Units, Categorization will be prioritized.”
- - Tvolai Convergence Oracular Mind
“Pirates. But worthy of respect, I suppose. As much as we despise their raids on us, they do not have much of a choice, it seems.”
- The Saviki are, in many respects, based on the Fallen from Bungie's Destiny franchise, albeit with a plethora of noticeable differences.