Sat Aug 23, 2008
My first try:
Introduction: This species doesn't like conflict. After they had devastated their own planet and had nearly wiped themselves out, they sworn to never let it happen again. It took a lot of dedication to change their own natures, to root out every trait which could lead to strife. They had to sacrifice much... and genocide the entire nations to achieve it. Their social structure is more rigid and cruel than most other species could even imagine, but now Muursh know only peace and order. And they are ready to bring it to the others, if it's neccessary.
Homeworld: Muur I. A large planet, once vibrating with life. After a bloody civil war it has been heavily devastated and turned into a partially irradiated desert.
A reason for leaving the home planet: Trying to find more supporting worlds than their own.
Physical description: Muursh are large, quadruped herbivores with small heads and muscular bodies. They are about 2.5 meters tall and almost as wide. Their limbs end with hooves and are unsuited for manual labor. Their mouths, however, are encircled by tentacle-like, muscular strips, which are precise enough to make and use tools.
They certainly are adjusted to hostile environment. Under brown, 1.5 inch-thick hide there is some fat and powerful muscles, suitable to move their heavy bodies. One kick with a hoof is enough to damage steel blast doors. The tail is almost as muscular as the legs. On its end there is an exposed bone ball which can be used as a mace. Even an unarmed Muursh is very dangerous.
Their senses are less impressive. Vision isn't great even when the specimen is in the prime of life. It gets even worse with age. Fortunately for them, their touch, smell and hearing are better.
Muursh lay eggs and even the act of fertilization doesn't require presence of a female. In the past, she just used to leave it in the nest marked with her pheromones and let the first male coming to fertilize them as he saw fit. It's not so simple now, as breeding is strictly controlled and not everybody is allowed to do it.
Social structure: A complicated hierarchy. Everybody has a place within it, and tasks to perform. And there are rules which are to be obeyed without question. The higher the position and responsibility, they are more strict and numerous. As privacy is an unknown concept, there is no way even a Planner (member of the highest governing body) could break a rule and get away with that. However it is unlikely he would even try to.
Every young is raised by the community and carefully monitored. Any sign of asocial tendencies results in its execution. Its skills are evaluated constantly and its future occupation determined according to them. Wishes of the individual are not taken into consideration because it doesn't have any. Its only desire is to serve its society, as it has been taught.
Obedience and loyalty are the only way of life for this species. There is no crime as known on most planets. Disobedience is viewed by Muursh as madness. Specimen who does commit a lesser felony (as, for example, carelessness) is a subject of harsh reeducation. Recidivism or serious crime results not only in termination of the criminal, but also its offspring - as their genes are likely to be tainted. The one and only exception from this rule is when the offspring exposes its guilty parent.
As it has been said, they do not recognize such thing as "minding their own business". Everyone is responsible for maintaining the peace and order. It's not necessarily a bad thing for the others. If one of your planets in their vincinity is struck by a hunger, for example, the help will be there in no time. The problems begin when you go to war and Muursh are nearby. They won't mediate, they will just demand to cease the fight immediately - then they will decide who is guilty and deserves punishment. Failure to comply is viewed as an admission of guilt.
Muursh also don't do anything by halves. They lack finesse, prefering definite and brutal solutions. Their ships are big, heavily armored and armed to the teeth. Weapons produced by them are large and destructive, mirroring their preferred way of dealing with enemies of peace. For them genocide is not an atrocity if it is the only way to ensure that their enemy can no longer hurt anybody. If they find a species too unreasonable to deal with, they won't hesitate to wipe it out from the galaxy (if they feel they are able to do this). Usually, however, less drastic measures are taken. They will always accept surrender, but it doesn't mean escaping the righteous punishment. Usually they will at least demand dismantling a large number of troops and ships.
History: Muur is a large world with very high gravity. In the past it was lush and vibrant with plant life. Large herds of herbivores roamed freely its steppes, as the creatures which preyed on them. Most of the creatures from this time were heavy, strong and could defend themselves. Ancestors of the Muursh were not an exception - in fact, they were not even in top ten of most dangerous species in the planet.
However, they were the only one which started to develop intelligence. It was a very slow process, much slower than usually. If they have been left alone, they propably would live in the Stone Age even today. But it was surely enough to attract the Orions, who have always needed some good servants. Mental and cultural evolution of Muursh have been accelerated greatly. As it had been planned, it proceeded fast enough to make them suitable in no time... and make them dependant from their masters.
The disappearance of Orions was a huge shock to their slaves. They were left without any leaders and with technology they only partially knew how to operate. Various groups and political movements emerged, trying to come into power. The result was a huge, bloody war. Muursh had no experience with infighting, but they maked it up with zeal. They didn't even hesitate to use Orion chemical and nuclear weapon stocks.
Aftermath was catastrophic. Most of the planet were rendered almost unhabitable. About 90% of its inhabitants population were dead. Remains of their masters technology were used to ensure survival of the Muursh. It was not enough, however. The scarcity of food threatened with explosion of another war which would result in complete extinction of the survivors.
Fortunately, someone remembered the Orions' enhancement program. Only a bit of its methods could have been reconstructed and used by the Muursh, but it sufficed to make foundations of a new society. It required very harsh treatment, as it was based on natural selection. It was considerated acceptable, though.
Elimination of war and crime from their society were easier than overcoming high gravity of their planet. Muursh learned secrets of space flight not long ago. It was a huge relief for them, as it allowed them to find a new home. But they were not ready for the amount of strife and conflict they encountered...
- Superior ground fight.
- Extremely loyal. Riots are almost nonexistant.
- Masters of rocketry. Leaving their home planet required considerable amounts of fuel and they learned how to use it more efficient. Range of their ships is higher. Also their missiles can fly much larger distances.
- Powerful weapons (10% bonus to damage)
- Slow production, as they don't tolerate low quality in their constructions.
- Slow growth. Raising a young takes considerable amount of time and there is always risk it will have to be terminated.
- Hostile homeworld (barren).
- Almost nonexistant espionage, as it requires doing things abhorrent to an average Muursh.