Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #16

151. Charon. Oh, boy, the Charon!

...Um, this is a bit of a complex deal. Let's see how quickly I can explain it.

The Charon are a race of spider-inspired sort-of humanoid beings. (If you recall me noting how I hate the vagueness of the term "humanoid," critters like the Charon are why. They have eight limbs and an abdominal segment, but are still shaped enough like human beings that you could almost call them humanoid. Even a frikkin' velociraptor is "humanoid" by many measures, and SF author Stanley Schmidt [if I recall correctly] once described them as humanoid in a book about creating aliens. End ranty aside.) They exist primarily in otherspace, some kind of weird dimension that is most often accessed due to hyperdrive accidents.

Now here's the doozy: They have a death-obsessed religion and use organically derived technology, just like the Yuuzhan Vong, those overblown long-term event villains, who also come from outside the Star Wars galaxy. There's a key difference in that the Yuuzhan Vong worship death as a part of life, while the Charon worship death as the absence of life, but it's pretty obvious that whoever invented the Yuuzhan Vong was pretty much just cribbing notes from the Otherspace sourcebooks.

Wow, that didn't take that long at all.

They're better than the Yuuzhan Vong for a completely unrelated reason: They apparently use their natural webbing to entrap enemies. This will never fail to be hilarious.

Rating: 4/5. I don't like the Yuuzhan Vong, but for additional reasons I'll explain momentarily, I like the Charon. They may have lost a point by association, though.

152. Charr Ontee. Charr Ontee? Charrontee? Charron... Charon?

Yes, actually. The Charr Ontee are a genetically engineered species created as farmers by a group called the Kathol, after which the Kathol Rift, the center of the Star Wars galaxy's most blatant Lovecraft references, is named. The Kathol Rift was apparently created in a travel accident (maybe-it might also have been created by the Celestials, #142 in this list) and the accident propelled a population of Charr Ontee into otherspace, where they became the Charon. (Which is why I call the Charon a "race": As the event that propelled them into otherspace was merely thousands of years ago, it's likely they're still technically the same species.)

The Charr Ontee of recent times were survivors of the Rift Disaster that created the Rift, and were in place to protect and serve the DarkStryder, an entity created by the Kathol to preserve them for resurrection at some point. However, the DarkStryder and the Charr Ontee stopped getting along, and they essentially broke into a war with each other. The Charr Ontee are also noted as among the most adept users of a type of Force power that could apparently only work within the confines of the Kathol Rift.

Rating: 5/5. The Charr Ontee are pretty awesome. Spider farmers who went to war with a Lovecraftian computer thing that was guarding the essences of their creator race? Yeah, sure, I'll take two.

153. Chazrach. The Chazrach were a slave race used as mind-controlled expendable footsoldiers by the Yuuzhan Vong. Hey, I thought those guys had some kind of honor thing going on, didn't they...?

Rating: 3/5. Purely because they're really cool-looking reptile dudes.

154. Chestrashi. It took me a moment to parse that name, and then I realized you could interpret it as "chest-rash-i." That's hilarious.

The Chestrashi were only mentioned in a role-playing sourcebook that was about technology and weapons, which noted that they had an interest in biological warfare even though the piece of technology associated with them in the book was called a "void spear," which does not sound like biological warfare equipment at all.

Rating: 1/5. Blah.

155. Chev. The Chev are nearly indistinguishable from humans, and there is debate as to whether or not they are "near-humans" or descended from native primate life. They spent most of recorded history as the slaves of the Chevin, who are next on the list. They apparently had two hearts, and sources disagree as to whether they could live for three hundred years or a mere seventy-some.

Rating: 1/5. They're not really even aliens except for the two-hearts thing, which I'm not sure makes any difference.

156. Chevin. Holy cheese, what's up with all the closely linked ones today?

The Chevin are "pachydermoid" beings, that is to say, they're claimed to be elephant-like. They're actually huge faces with arms and legs, though. Their strength and durability (able to kill humans with their foreheads), surprising speed (supposedly they're only a bit slower than longer-legged forms like humans), and the fact that their mouths are low enough that they can eat things on the ground while watching the horizon (seriously, you need to look at the pictures to understand what a Chevin looks like) let them conquer the Chev and keep them as slaves. Even in the modern era (that is, the era of the films) they commonly keep Chev as slaves. Because of this, a lot of Chevin are on the shady side of the law.

And one of them was possibly Jabba the Hutt's only real friend. Seriously.

(A bit of backstory: Ephant Mon, the Chevin in question, was once Jabba the Hutt's partner when the Hutt was still building his power base. The two were betrayed by others and abandoned on a cold world, Ephant Mon badly injured. Jabba wrapped his huge, fatty body around Ephant Mon, which kept him warm enough that he lived through the night. Ephant Mon didn't entirely believe that Jabba was still his friend during the Return of the Jedi time period, which actually upset Jabba a little.)

Rating: 5/5. The Chevin are kind of awesome, too.

157. Chiggnash. Usually, I hate ultra-short entries. This entry is ultra-short, but it's got enough details that I can proclaim I love the Chiggnash. Why? They are described as "scorpion-like" beings who "could use the control mind Force power" to "breed a large number of warrior drones" and also may form extortion rings.

Rating: 4/5. I laughed so hard. They sound like fun. The article also has a "behind the scenes" note that says they aren't explicitly sapient, "but the fact that they could form an extortion ring heavily implies that they were." NORLY?

158. Chikarri. The Chikarri are "sapient rodents," which means that they're short. Their world is described as having many lakes and plateaus. Does it have any other geographical features?

They are also described as being technology fiends who like to take things apart to understand how they work and possibly improve upon them.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, nothing notable, nothing awful. Move along.

159. Children of the Green Planet. George Lucas once promised Stephen Spielberg, after the latter put Star Wars merchandise in E.T. the Extraterrestrial, that he would put E.T.-based aliens in the next Star Wars movie (which turned out to be The Phantom Menace). And so here they are.

Rating: 3/5. The article hilariously speculates (with plenty of reasonably well-founded evidence) that even in E.T.'s own movie, his species was from the Star Wars galaxy. That earns it a few points for making me chuckle.

160. Chironian. Chironians are "centauriforms," i.e. they're shaped like centaurs, who also have antler-like horns. The only Chironian to appear in a story is Lusa, one of Luke Skywalkers Jedi trainees, who was more pacifistic than many of Luke's Jedi and was killed by a Yuuzhan Vong creature called a voxyn (which was specifically bred to hunt down Jedi and help kill them).

Rating: 3/5, because I like the character but we know nothing about the species at large. Alas, poor Lusa, we barely knew thee. Her death made me kind of sad by virtue of her being involved in one of the interspecies romances that more people would have found kind of weird; the other party, the human Raynar Thul, honestly had a fate that made hers look pretty tame by comparison. (And no, the relationship wasn't a sexual thing, Raynar was just incredibly smitten with Lusa. There was nothing creepy about it; in fact, Lusa was possibly not even entirely aware of it.)

-Signing off.

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