Friday, January 31, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#105)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)

1041. Stenax. The Stenax are huge ol' demonic-looking gargoyle people. Their considerable size and presumable physical strength makes me think of the Disney Gargoyles cartoon, although the resemblance basically ends at the fact that they're big, modestly demonic-looking winged people.

The Stenax have the power of natural flight, and traditionally built their cities in a way that only flying people could properly use them. In the time of Xim the Despot's empire, 25,000 years before the era of the films, they were among the races Xim enslaved. More recently (mere hundreds of years ago), a special idol of immense religious significance to the Stenax was buried in an earthquake. This idol's value to the Stenax was such that the whole of them refused to fly as long as it remained buried. In recent times, their homeworld Stenos would become a center for various forms of criminal activity, apparently because the Stenax preferred to ignore offworlders.

When a scoundrel uncovered their idol and sold it to the Imperial governor of Stenos, the Stenax immediately took to the skies, killing the governor and his guards. Not long after the Battle of Endor, the Stenax would wipe out the Imperial garrison on Stenos and then started massacring non-Stenax inhabitants of many other nearby planets. Eventually, the New Republic contained the Stenax and put a permanent blockade around Stenos. The Stenax Massacres would become known as one of the nastier events in recent history.

The Stenax are also known to have lifespans in the neighborhood of two hundred and fifty years. It is noted that "few winged species" possess such long lifespans, but that strikes me as pretty silly (off the top of my head I can think of the Duinuogwuin and Galidyn, species who qualify as winged whose lifespans make the Stenax look like mayflies).

Rating: 3/5. Part of the reason I'm rating them relatively low is because it's just too typical that a big, powerful, and intimidating species would cause such trouble.

1042. Stennes and Stennes Shifters. While these have two different entries and are counted as separate species, I'm inclined to stick them together because they're very closely intertwined, and because the Stennes article is only about a paragraph.

The Stennes and Stennes Shifters developed on the planet Stennaros. The Stennes Shifters are a genetic offshoot of the Stennes that all have Force powers, namely a telepathic ability to cause people to not notice them and the ability to feed on the lifeforces of those around them. While few Stennes Shifters used these talents to cause trouble, in the wider galaxy they swiftly picked up a reputation as predators, and thus all Stennes Shifters were soon hunted. Even the mainline Stennes would turn on them, making even Stennaros an unpleasant place for them to live.

Finally, about five thousand years before the movies, there was a large-scale conflict involving the Jedi Order and the Old Republic. Stennaros was devastated by warfare, and the mainline Stennes became violently xenophobic, while the Shifter population dwindled to a few million (keep in mind that there are millions of sapient species in the galaxy, and that number becomes a lot smaller) and largely faded into legend, letting the Shifters pretend to be mainline Stennes (from whom they are indistinguishable in appearance) and blend into society. Many Stennes Shifters now live on the margins of society and rather seem to be doing all right, all things considered.

Rating: 4/5. There's a lot of layered history here, and I like that.

1043. Stereb. The Stereb are large and look a lot like humans to me, although the writer who co-created them told the artist to draw them as "big hairless Wookiee guys," which I have to admit is a kind of great description.

They aren't very advanced, and built stone cities which are described in the following likewise amazing dialogue:

What--Oh, you mean the Stereb cities?
The stone things.
They belong to the Stereb. They're those tall guys. This is their planet.

That we all should have the opportunity to write such incredible dialogue.

Rating: 2/5. They get an extra point because they're those tall guys and this is their planet.

1044. Stictex. The Stictex sound like they're eight-legged winged insects of large size, except for an odd piece of description that indicates they have twelve "optic nerves" on stalks. I'm not quite sure what that's supposed to mean, although I must admit I think it sounds visually interesting.

Rating: 3/5, because their description sounds interesting.

1045. Stokhli. The Stokhli are known as the creators of the Stokhli stun stick, a weapon designed to subdue living beings without harming them.

It should be noted that a Stokhli stun stick apparently goes for 14,000 credits, which is relatively comparable to the price of a used landspeeder on Tatooine and the amount of money that Han Solo owed Jabba the Hutt. Also, a Stokhli stun stick is actually essentially a cross between a real world stun gun and one of Spider-Man's web shooters, which arguably puts it among the greatest personal weapons in all of fiction.

Rating: 2/5 for their association with an interesting weapon. Interestingly enough, the stun stick was originally developed for hunting.

1046. Strathen. The first contact the Strathen had with another species was with the Duros (see the Duinuogwuin link earlier).

Rating: 2/5. Mainly because it reinforces the idea that Duros are one of the species who have been spacefaring the longest.

1047. Stribers. The Stribers are among the rarest members of the Iskalonian School, a group I've mentioned a bunch of times and ought to work on making a special index for or something. Their rarity is such that it is thought that they will be extinct within a few generations of the Battle of Endor.

They are telepathic and naturally diplomatic. They also look a little bit like grey aliens.

Rating: 3/5. As I've noted most of the times I've mentioned them, I like the Iskalonian School as a concept-a multiracial society of peoples who all happen to be primarily aquatic.

1048. Stromma. The Stromma of Oristrom (which is a great nonstandard name link) were defeated at some point by the Quesoth, and would become their allies. Later, they would be conquered by an alien warlord, then liberated from that warlord by Grand Admiral Thrawn and his Empire of the Hand, an organization dedicated to keeping warlords and empires and things in the Unknown Regions from leaving the Unknown Regions. They would then ally with the Empire of the Hand, and then would withdraw from services in Thrawn's forces because they believed that he would be defeated when he went to battle with the warlord, who was on the Quesoth homeworld and had the Quesoth as his main allies.

That's an awful lot of political hopping around.

Rating: 3/5. I'm giving them a point extra because I just learned that Nuso Esva, the warlord mentioned above, was created by Timothy Zahn as Thrawn's Moriarty.

1049. Strutters. Strutters are cartoonish ostrich/roadrunner people from Endor, known for their vanity and generally thought by the Ewoks and other inhabitants of Endor to be frivolous and silly. Considering that they apparently carried modern-looking hand mirrors on the primitive world of Endor, I'd have to agree.

Rating: 2/5, if only because that's kind of funny.

1050. Suiraons. Suiraons resemble lizards and enjoy basking in the sun.

Sheesh, I'm sick of stereotypical reptilian characterization.

Rating: 1/5.

-Signing off.

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