The Sentient Milieu (23,000 BCE to 20,000 BCE) was an association of starfaring races that existed near our region of space 25,000 years ago. It was formed over the course of several thousand years to "mutually enrich their respective cultures, to provide a safe creche for emerging sentient species and to afford themselves a degree of protection from external hostilities via military alliance," as the Melnorme put it. It spanned five hundred light years and a hundred member worlds. However, the exact location and extent of this region that the Milieu covered is unknown due to the scarcity of information on the Milieu and the uncertain relationship between light years and standard HyperSpace distance units.1 The only other hint at the extent of the Milieu is the earlier research of Tzzz-Tzer-Tzak, which, according to Commander Hayes, indicated that the Taalo was the "only species in [the Milieu] who actually lived in our region of space".
The seven major members of the Sentient Milieu were
- the Taalo, presumed to have been exterminated at the Dnyarri's command, possibly fleeing to Pretty Space*
- the Ur-Quan (still one race at that time), the last major race to join, split into Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah
Other Regions of Space
- the Drall , one of the four founding members, exterminated at the Dnyarri's command
- the Faz, joining about 24,000 years ago, slave-shielded by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za
- the Mael-Num, one of the four founding members, presently Melnorme
- the Yuli, exterminated at the Dnyarri's command
- the Yuptar, exterminated by the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah
There are certain discrepancies between sources concerning the number of races involved in the Milieu. The Melnorme refer to the "the remaining eleven races of the Milieu"2 whom the Dnyarri compelled to exterminate the Taalo, indicating that the Milieu possibly incorporated at least five additional, unnamed races, and refer to the usual list as the "seven most active Milieu members." The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za refer to the "six races of the Sentient Milieu" and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah plainly refer to "all six of the other races in the milieu," which agrees with the list of members races and history found in the Role Playing Resource Guide. Finally, the Slylandro name only six Milieu races, omitting the Yuptar from the list of members. There are no known references to specific additional Milieu members beyond the traditional seven. The end of the Sentient Milieu as an organization was brought about with the advent of the Dnyarri.
The Drall were one of the founding members of the Sentient Milieu. A few fragmentary records from the Milieu era contain images of the Drall, showing them to be humanoid but unusually tall and thin — up to 3 meters in height. The images show visible gills but also show them to be apparently capable of breathing through their mouths into a lung system. This implies that they may have evolved from a gilled creature that had relatively recently adapted to life on land by developing lungs from air bladders, similar to the Earth species of mudskippers or lungfish. Comments made by the Slylandro may indicate that the Drall, along with the Ur-Quan and the Yuli, made regular visits to Source during the time of the Milieu. In the days of the Dnyarri Slave Empire, the Dnyarri decided they and the Yuli were inferior species and not worth the trouble of maintaining, and therefore compelled the Ur-Quan and the Mael-Numto commit genocide by burning them off the surface of their worlds. Any detailed information about the Drall has therefore been irrevocably lost.
The Mael-Num were one of the four founding member races of the Sentient Milieu. What little is known about them is mainly taken from conversations with the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, who describe them as "one-eyed creatures." Along with the Ur-Quan they were mentally enslaved by the Dnyarri and assisted in the genocides against other members of the Sentient Milieu.1 After the Dnyarri slave revolt and the first doctrinal enforcements against the Faz and Yuptar, the Kohr-Ah came to the homeworld of the Mael-Num, the last free race the Ur-Quan were aware of, with the intent of destroying it. The Mael-Num asked the Kohr-Ah why they had come to destroy them, and so sincere was the question that the Kohr-Ah were given pause. In that hesitation, the Kzer-Za arrived with the intent to enslave the Mael-Num. The two Ur-Quan sub-races fought, and thus began the first Doctrinal War. During the long battle, the Mael-Num escaped in a large interstellar fleet to places unknown. It is reasonable to assume that, were either species of Ur-Quan to discover the Mael-Num again, they would make great efforts to correct their millennia-old oversight. Based on the fact that the Kohr-Ah refer to the Mael-Num as "one-eyed creatures", and the similarity of their names, it has been theorized that the Mael-Num are the ancestors of the Melnorme. A reliable source has confirmed this speculation.
The Taalo are a race of rocklike beings, which, although sharing a base of silicon with the Chenjesu, are very little reminiscent of them. Their former homeworld is the moon Delta Vulpeculae II-C. The only clue to what their physiology was like is given in a conversation with the neo-Dnyarri. "They were nothing more than thugs, especially the hideous Taalo. Those evil rocklike creatures were the worst of all! For fun, they would take one of our children... and then... roll over it!... again and again." From this, it may be assumed that the Taalo were capable of rolling in some manner. Whether or not this was their primary means of locomotion is unknown. However, given the credibility of the source, it may not be true at all. The Taalo were the first sentient race to encounter the Ur-Quan, and enlisted them into the Sentient Milieu. They were the only race that did not invoke the Ur-Quan's inherent territoriality, and the two species became close friends. They were innately immune to the Dnyarri psionic powers, so the Dnyarri forced the enslaved races of the Sentient Milieu to destroy them. The Taalo frantically attempted to build a device that would grant their former allies the same psychic defense but before they could announce complete success, they were attacked and destroyed. For a long time, the Taalo were thought to be extinct. However, a certain reliable source has led some to believe that the Taalo still live.1 They were the only race of the Sentient Milieu that is known to have lived in the region of the galaxy now occupied by the New Alliance of Free Stars. The Taalo may well still exist in some form; the Orz refer to them in the present tense and mention that they have *spread* to [http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/*Pretty_Space*
- Pretty Space*] to escape the Dnyarri, but that, now, the Orz *chase* them ("them" might refer to either the Taalo or the Dnyarri, most likely the former). Given that their region of space has recently been associated with Inter-Dimensional Fatigue phenomena, namely the research of the Androsynthand the presence of the Orz, it may be possible that the Taalo were also in possession of some sort of IDF technology.
The Yuli were members of the Sentient Milieu. No fragments from the Milieu era detailing any information about them other than their name has yet been found. Comments made by the Slylandro may indicate that the Yuli, along with the Ur-Quan and the Drall, made regular visits to Source while the Sentient Milieu was still intact. The only information available from the era of the Dnyarri Slave Empire is that the capricious Dnyarri slave masters, deciding that they and the Drall were inferior species and unworthy slaves, had them destroyed by the Ur-Quan and the Mael-Num.
The Yuptar were a member race of the Sentient Milieu. We have no records about their time in the Milieu, only that they were one of the few races to have survived through the slave empire of the Dnyarri. Unfortunately, soon after the Ur-Quan Slave revolt they became the first victims of the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah's Eternal Doctrine. With the destruction of their homeworld, any other knowledge about the Yuptar may have been lost forever.
The Faz were a member of the Sentient Milieu, joining several centuries before the Ur-Quan and were the first to fall to the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za Path of Now and Forever before the first Doctrinal War. The Faz, unlike most of the former Milieu species, might still be alive somewhere in the galaxy, as, after having survived the years of slavery in the Dnyarri Slave Empire and the Ur-Quan Slave Revolt, they were trapped under a slave shieldby the Kzer-Za.
The Ur-Quan are one of the oldest species known to the Alliance and are by far the greatest political and military power known to the galaxy for the past twenty millennia. Until their recent defeat by the New Alliance of Free Stars they were the dominant force in our galaxy, and countless sentient races' development have been halted by enslavement or genocide at their hands. The Ur-Quan as we know them today are divided into two subspecies, the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, which form separate cultural and political units and are thus treated in separate articles. This article is about the Ur-Quan species as a whole, including their development before the formal creation of the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah subraces. For details on the separate cultural paths taken by the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah, see the relevant articles. The Ur-Quan originally resembled externally a brown, 10-meter-long and 2-meter-thick variation of the predatory caterpillars native to Earth's Hawaiian Islands. They have long, multisegmented bodies with four arms protruding from the frontal segment; they also have clawed legs on the posterior section of their bodies, which they use for clinging to the ceiling, while the anterior legs are longer and can function as grippers and manipulators. The Ur-Quan's most anterior body segment, or its head, possesses a plethora of sensory organs, giving their face a wide variety of horrific expressions. Unlike many sentient species, the Ur-Quan were not social animals; they were, instead, solitary hunters, with all of their very limited repertoire of social instincts relegated to the field of sex and reproduction. Ur-Quan individuals were instinctively fiercely territorial against each other and against most other species, which they either hunted as food or chased off as potential predators or rivals.
The Ur-Quan evolved on a harsh, hostile world outside the region of space mapped by the Chenjesu, described by the Kohr-Ah as "a world where one species is the dominant killer, one's only threat is one's brother, one's sister, anyone of one's species", a world populated by a variety of species physically superior to the Ur-Quan, until the Ur-Quan developed tools to cope with them. They were solitary hunters who had to defeat their strong territorial nature, and the deep hatred between each other, to found a mighty technological culture. The Ur-Quan eventually learned to harness nuclear energy, and used this technology to create vehicles capable of traveling through interplanetary space. Having begun to explore their solar system, they were contacted by the Taalo, who had just discovered them and considered them as potential members of the Sentient Milieu. The Ur-Quan at first reacted with panic and fear, initiating combat against the Taalo vessels as possible attackers or conquerors; the Taalo, however, understanding the Ur-Quan's genetic predisposition to xenophobia, remained patient. Upon finally opening negotiations with the Taalo, the Ur-Quan were shocked to discover that confronting the Taalo face-to-face did not trigger their instincts of territoriality as did all other animal species, thanks to the Taalo's unique physiology that caused them to appear as no more than simple rocks. The shock of their newfound ability to communicate as equals with other sentients without being tormented with feelings of terror and hatred -- something the Ur-Quan still had to struggle with among themselves -- was enough to make the Ur-Quan amenable to the Taalo's proposal to join the Milieu. The Ur-Quan soon registered as Sentient Milieu members and, though their instincts still made them unable to interact peacefully with the other members of the Milieu, were eager to find a useful role within the Milieu cooperative. The Ur-Quan soon found that they made ideal Milieu scouts; individual Ur-Quan could not only tolerate but enjoyed the prospect of piloting tiny, single-occupant ships to uncharted regions of the galaxy to report their findings, and the many Ur-Quan scouts gathered huge amounts of data, exploring great chunks of uncharted space. Then as now, the primary mystery most sentient species sought to investigate was the disappearance of the Precursors. The Ur-Quan scouts were a new and invaluable asset in searching for Precursor artifacts. One Ur-Quan scout discovered a planet, later known as Glilandy, that showed readings particularly reminiscent of Precursor artifacts. Unfortunately, those readings turned out to be generated by the emanations of an incredibly powerful race of psychic sentients known as the Dnyarri. Unfortunately, Ur-Quan minds are particularly susceptible to psychic manipulation, and at the very moment the Ur-Quan scout landed on the planet, his mind was seized by the Dnyarri and examined. Learning of the immense wealth of resources and labor to be had in the Sentient Milieu, the Dnyarri forced the Ur-Quan to return to the Milieu capital planet with hundreds of Dnyarri as cargo, and within a month the Dnyarri had seized control of all Milieu races and spread themselves throughout the Milieu, using the industry of a hundred worlds for their own vulgar amusements. The Taalo were immune to Dnyarri control; thus, they had to resort to brute force for dealing with them. The Dnyarri compelled the other Milieu races to raze the Taalo homeworld. The Taalo did not fight back (though it is possible that they fled to [http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/*Pretty_Space*
- Pretty Space*]). To this day, the Ur-Quan still feel guilty for this barbarous act, even though they were under mental control and had no choice. The easily compelled Ur-Quan were the favoured slaves of the Dnyarri, and the agents of the extermination of several races deemed "worthless" due to their inefficiency and lack of speed, such as the Drall and the Yuli. As time went on, the Dnyarri decided to use the Ur-Quan's own science to genetically engineer the Ur-Quan into physically distinct subspecies or castes to perform certain tasks. One group of Ur-Quan were optimized for intellectual tasks, performing scientific and engineering research to improve the Slave Empire's infrastructure and conducting administration and management on the Dnyarri's behalf. The other Ur-Quan, meant to serve as manual laborers and soldiers, were optimized for strength and diligence in performing manual tasks. The brown exterior of the Ur-Quan originally disappeared in these genetic alterations, leaving the administrative Ur-Quan with a green skin, and the workers with a black skin.
The Slylandro are the only known race whose homeworld, which they call Source, is a Gas Giant. They cannot travel through space due to their physiology, though they have bought a self replicating Probe ("Catalog Item 2418-B: Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probe") from the Melnorme to explore space for them and report back to them. The Slylandro have had contact with the Precursors, the original Ur-Quan and the Sentient Milieu. They are essentially sentient bags of gas (and a limited quantity of solid and/or liquid) that float through their homeworld's atmosphere. Their vision is in a range that is different from most races and it is to their great dismay when they realize that their bodies — and reproductive organs (which look like "glowy bits") — are transparent to human vision. They evolved from simple, unimodular consumers which thrived in atmospheric convection currents. Originally mindless but social creatures, they developed language to better coordinate efforts to herd their food source into dense concentrations. Source has a great biodiversity for a gas giant — hundreds of species, some producers, others consumers, hunters or parasites — the Slylandro claim to be the only ones to have evolved intelligence. Because of their unique physiology, the Slylandro inhabit only a 500 kilometer thick layer in the the atmosphere of Source. Ascending above this layer, into what the Slylandro call "Void", causes them to become giddy and behave inappropriately. Descending below this layer into "the Depths" can be fatal as the increasing pressure can eventually rupture a Slylandro's gas bag. Young Slylandro, in a common feat of courage, will sink into the Depths just enough to damage but not rupture their gas bags, producing tissue scars on the gas bag which last for many rotations and are thought to make the Slylandro more attractive to potential mates. However, their isolation from the outside world makes their lives extremely monotonous; one of the only marginally interesting activities they can do is watching the clouds, the wind and the lightning. Indeed, as a result of this, the Slylandro have developed over eight hundred "symbolic references" solely for the purpose of describing clouds; most of the time when they are not eating, they are talking about what the clouds look like, for lack of a better subject. The lack of excitement is compounded by the long lifespans of the Slylandro — more than twenty thousand years, as Content to Hover, a Slylandro Speaker, claims to have been a nymph when the original Ur-Quan visited their homeworld. The Slylandro have an egalitarian society but this, as Content to Hover comments, "doesn't stop some people from being stupid fools or jerks." Inhabitants of Source deal with bothersome individuals by simply going somewhere else on their massive planet. Because of the limitations of their world the Slylandro have no native construction, technology or written records. Attempts to create objects from animal carcasses are futile, as the construction becomes too massive and dives into the Depths, its buoyancy being overcome by gravity. Unable to maintain written records, the Slylandro employ long songs called History Chants, whose patterns and rhythms help prevent the record from being corrupted. Also linked to their peculiar habitat and physiology is the Slylandro Timekeeping system, based solely upon the rotation period of their planet, Source. Their units of time are the Drahn, the Drahnasa, and rotations. Unable to leave their planet, the Slylandro have to rely on the infrequent visits of other races (which the Slylandro term "Travellers") to obtain information about the outside world. As such, they are always very friendly — if somewhat naive — when dealing with alien visitors and eager to learn as much as possible from any new Traveller. It was this curiosity that led them to purchase a Remote Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probefrom the Melnorme and to increase the priority of the Probe's Replication behavior, inadvertently creating an ever-growing menace to space travel.
The Slylandro purchased their first Probe from the Melnorme for exploration purposes, with the intent to use them for making peaceful contact with other races. The full name of the Probe is actually catalog item 2418-B: Remote Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probe. Since it had the ability to replicate itself, they modified its program code so that replication became its overriding first priority. The repercussions of this foolhardy action were grave. The probes not only attempted to break friendly ships into component pieces for use in replication, but also multiplied at a geometric rate, becoming a severe hazard to any HyperSpace traveler. Both the Thraddash and the Zoq-Fot-Pik have encountered the malfunctioning probes, and have deduced at least the general direction of the source of the probes. The Captain also had a brief but fatal run-in with a probe a few days before first reaching Sol. Captain I. Burton was killed in the attack, but strangely, the probe merely disabled the Tobermoon before departing. The Captain is able to put a stop to this hazard when he makes contact with the Slylandro. When they learn what has happened, they give The Captain a code that will cause probes to self-destruct in case he encounters one. This is necessary since, unlike the out-of-stock catalog item 2419, the probes do not have a recall transmitter. The probes however are programmed to return to their point of origin after ten replications. When apprised of the situation, the Slylandro will reprogram the probes that eventually return to roam our region of space broadcasting the self-destruct code on a HyperWave hailing frequency, which causes a swift decline in their numbers. Unlike any other ship, the Probe is always in motion, constantly scooping up the interstellar hydrogen as fuel for its internal reactors. Pressing the thruster immediately reverses the Probe's direction. The control scheme is tricky to learn, but the advantages of having such a nimble ship should not be overlooked. Another unique trait is that the Probe's "crew" is impervious to the Syreen Penetrator's secondary attack. This is even in contrast to the only other robotic race, the Mmrnmhrm, whose crew is affected by the Syreen Song. When attacking, the Probe discharges several bolts of lightning directed at its target. The lightning discharge was not designed to be used as a weapon. However, due to their skewed priorities, they attempt to break down the target into "consumable" particles, instead of attacking it with their defensive missile batteries (which are never used in-game). The lightning is very short-ranged, which makes for a difficult learning curve when coupled with the Probe's unorthodox controls. Unlike most vessels, the probe does not generate its own fuel. Instead, it uses its secondary armament to break down nearby asteroids into raw materials which it then feeds into its combat batteries. One asteroid contains enough raw materials to completely replenish a probe's energy reserves. Given the difficulty in mastering the controls, not a lot of players have spent the time researching good tactics for this ship. The primary fighting technique employed by pilots of this ship seems to be: close in, evade incoming fire, empty the combat batteries, then zip off to find an asteroid in order to replenish the batteries. Repeat. A common mistake people usually make when fighting the probe is to constantly evade the probe, even when it its battery power is empty. The Orz Nemesis can fire space marines, and the Spathi Eluder can eject B.U.T.T. projectiles, which will both cause the probe to back off from its current target. With its unconventional and erratic movements, the probe is able to dodge things such as the Cruiser's missiles and the Pkunk Fury"death blossom" easily.