Friday, May 30, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#122)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)
The Second Less Massive Index (Posts #111-#120)

1211. Viraanntesses. Goodness, that's a lot of repeated letters. They're crustaceans and have ten legs.

A Viraanntesse Jedi was one of several who sided with the Yam'rii/Huk during their invasion of the Kaleesh homeworld for some reason.

That seems like a pretty jerky decision (not only were the Yam'rii invaders, but the Kaleesh were rather poorly armed), and said Jedi would pay for it, because while General Grievous forgot a lot of things due to the injuries he sustained in that conflict, he never forgot the Jedi who had turned against his people, and later would kill him and take his lightsaber.

Rating: 2/5. They get a point for having about the correct number of limbs for crustaceans.

1212. Viska. Viska are pterosaur-like vampires.

Obviously not supernatural vampires; they just can't digest anything but blood. (They also never feed on offworlders, whose blood makes them ill, or each other, although they have spear-point probosces intended for blood-feeding that they may use in personal combat for stabbing enemies.) They keep large herds of grazing animals to draw blood from.

They actually walk on their wings' elbows and use their legs as arms, which looks incredibly awkward but kind of neat.

They use warfare to determine leadership, and will execute entire families for trying to use indirect methods such as assassination. (If one is trying to advance within one's own family through indirect methods, of course, it only will get oneself executed, of course; it's only when interfering with other families that whole families get executed.) They are often called "the great bloodsucking fiends of Rordak," with the implication that they're general vampires joining with the fact that they have little regard for the sanctity of life, which I assume is a nasty slur.

As their homeworld of Rordak apparently suffers significant geological instability, they traditionally avoided the ground as much as possible; they had already advanced to atomic technology by the time they came into contact with the Old Republic despite this, and when they gained access to the galactic technology base, they built themselves flying cities. Despite having been part of galactic society for a while, the Viska don't condone their own leaving Rordak, and apparently they send out bounty hunters to catch any Visk who leaves.

Apparently, the Empire used Rordak as a prison planet.

Rating: 4/5. They're pretty interesting.

1213. Vodrans. The Vodrans are one of three species who signed the Treaty of Vontor, which involved said races (the others being the Klatooinians and Nikto) permanently becoming slaves of the Hutts.

It may have been a mutual defense thing, as this was in the 25,000-years-before-the-movies time period of Xim the Despot, who was, as I've mentioned, a pretty spectacular jerk.

Then again, it's possible that Xim didn't do anything nasty to the Vodrans particularly...

Shool (apparently the prosecutor): "The citizenry also charges you Xim, Son of Xer, with the unjustified decimation of countless peoples and worlds, including Vodran, Jurzuu, and Ko Vari."

Xim: "Of Vodran I have no recollection."

"Yeah, devastated those guys, devastated those guys, good times... wait, Vodran? Nope, never heard of it." Xim, don't ever change.

Anyway, the Vodrans are actually the most loyal of all the Treaty of Vontor species, being the only one of the three races never to rebel against the Hutts. They apparently did have some sort of insurrection against the Empire, but never the Hutts. Only small numbers of Vodrans are independent-minded, and it's rare to see them be anything other than slaves and thugs for the Hutts. At least one independent-minded Vodran has also been described as having a mental illness... so there's a pretty big pile of unfortunate implications right there.

They're otherwise relatively generic egg-laying reptilian humanoids.

Interestingly, the dianogas, known to those who have watched the movies as the trash compactor monster that attacked Luke, are natives of the Vodran homeworld.

Rating: 3/5. They've got an interesting place in history and look neat, but their role as eternal Hutt slaves is, well, awful.

1214. Vollick. Vollick are ugly thuggish-looking guys from Rattatak, also the homeworld of the Rattataki. The Rattataki are super-warlike, and so are the Vollick, so they fight with each other a lot. Apparently some Vollick or another is often mistaken for a Rattataki, because even though they're different they don't look nearly different enough.

Rating: 1/5.

1215. Vors. The Vors of Vortex (heh) are rather pterosaur-like creatures who speak a language called Vortexlex (heh heh heh). They apparently can only fly because their planet is super-windy, and their super-pure environment means they're highly vulnerable to the atmospheres of more polluted planets. (...Meh.)

They had a centuries-old building called the Cathedral of Winds, which is part of a ceremony of some sort that they use to celebrate the passing of seasons. The Cathedral is actually a gigantic musical instrument that is played through a combination of the planet's intense natural winds and the Vors themselves using their bodies to block passages as if it were some kind of huge flute, which is a kind of neat idea. The Vors consider this music sufficiently sacred that they don't permit it to be recorded (meaning one can only hear it in person); in the Star Wars galaxy, it doesn't seem likely that this would be enforceable, although admittedly their first appearance was written in 1994, and authors wouldn't necessarily have considered the possibility of the modern telecommunications paradigm twenty years ago.

The Cathedral was destroyed as a result of sabotage intended as character assassination against Admiral Gial "It's a trap!" Ackbar, which caused a starfighter Ackbar was piloting to crash into the building. A new Cathedral would later be built using aspects, at least, of an armor so tough that it could withstand a weaker version of the Death Star's superlaser, so, um, yay science?

The Vors would suffer at great length and in high detail as a result of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion; the Vor temperament being rather hardy, stolid, and unemotional, they endured becoming refugees fairly well, frequently volunteering for, frankly, crap work that nobody else wanted to do, including jobs that were outright suicidal.

Comically, a Vor senator supported an individual seeking to become Chief of State of the New Republic who happened to be named Fyor Rodan.

I have mentioned they look like pterosaurs, right? Well, they arguably actually look more like more recent Rodan costumes.

Rating: 4/5. Eh, I dunno. They're pretty entertaining.

1216. Vordum. Humans apparently think they smell bad. Wow, that makes me feel like a jerk.

Rating: 1/5. It also makes me wish I could somehow know what they smell like, because there's a lot of smells I don't mind or even outright like that most people can't stand.

1217. Vorzydiaks. Vorzydiaks look pretty much like green-skinned humans.

Apparently, they start working one day a week at the age of ten, and take on additional work days with each increasing year of age, becoming full workers at seventeen. ...Counting on my figurative fingers, apparently the Vorzydiak week is at least eight days long?

At the age of seventy, Vorzydiaks are compelled to retire, apparently because they're now useless (...nice), and more or less immediately waste away from the lack of purpose (...nice).

A youth movement/group of gangs on the Vorzydiak homeworlds known as the "Freelies" (hah) would cause lots of trouble in the name of trying to enact societal change; they weren't actually all Vorzydiaks and were pretty terrible (sabotaging things and stealing droids and whatnot), and no word on whether they made any progress.

Rating: 1/5. Sometimes when something is amusingly bad, I give it a point, but this one can't escape a minimal rating.

1218. Voss. The Voss homeworld of Voss is also inhabited by the Gormak, who hate their guts. Now, the Gormak seem to hate basically everybody, but I kind of wonder if their hatred of the Voss is at least slightly justified, because the Voss are a teeny tiny group who are much more powerful than the Gormak and live on top of a hill like a bunch of fair-folk jerks.

On the other hand, the Voss protected the Gormak from being invaded at least twice using their superior technology and their Force sensitive mystics' powers, which allowed them to predict assaults and prepare for them well ahead of time. Implicitly, the Voss are somehow an offshoot of the Gormak, but as the Voss look like humans with crazy multicolored skin patterns and the Gormak are some kind of spiky-faced reptilomonsters, that strikes me as a bit unlikely.

Anyway, the Voss were powerful enough in the relevant era (about thirty-six hundred years before the films) that the galactic powers of the day, the Sith Empire and the Old Republic, felt the need to court them diplomatically once the Sith Empire's invasion of Voss was repelled by the Voss. This presumably made the Gormak super-mad.

Rating: 3/5. Okay, I really like the character designs, and there's a lot of amusement to be had from their relationship with the Gormak; on the other hand, they kind of come across as super-special elf people or something (what with being militarily powerful enough to be a threat to a huge interstellar organization), and it's a teense annoying.

1219. Vrakolian. Apparently, Vrakolians have extremely thick skin, thick enough that they can throw something they call spin-blades (which are basically buzzsaw frisbees discuses) at each other and consider this a "harmless" sport.


Anyway, since their spin-blades can be thrown in such a way that one can hit a target behind cover, other species would adapt them for use as weapons.

Rating: 3/5. That is one of the best alien sports I've ever heard of.

1220. Vratix, or Thyferrans. The Vratix are the inventors and primary producers of bacta, the miracle treatment that is basically the Star Wars cure-all.

This is rather central to the Vratix culture; while they never hesitated to share bacta with outsiders, the megacorporations that sprung up to exploit it basically took over their homeworld of Thyferra. The Vratix guerrilla organization called the Ashern ("black claw") would drive the cartels off late in the reign of the Old Republic by revealing that one of these organizations had sabotaged the supply to drive up prices, causing the Republic government to intervene.

That period, known as Alazhixazha (alazhi being a component of bacta) or the Thriving Period, was short-lived, though, because the Empire rose less than two decades later and reinstated two of the companies, including the one that had been revealed as a saboteur, eliminating the rest. It wouldn't be until years after the Emperor's death that the Vratix would regain control of Thyferra; in the meantime, among the efforts some Vratix made to ruin the megacorps was sabotaging a batch of bacta, which had a pretty severe effect-everyone who used it ended up with a severe allergy to bacta. Bacta being a bit of a crutch for galactic medical science, a bacta allergy is a very nasty thing to have, and people who have one have a much harder time medically. (Indeed, one of my favorite secondary Star Wars characters, Ton Phanan from the Wraith Squadron books, was notable as someone with a bacta allergy; he'd accumulated a large number of cyborg bits over the years, and [AHEM SPOILERS] the ensuing accumulative injuries he sustained were probably related to his eventual death [AHEM SPOILERS OVER].) After the Vratix managed to join the New Republic, they would take control of their homeworld, and Vratix concerns were able to freely compete with other companies in the bacta market.

While the Vratix are generally considered a peaceful lot, the Ashern were pretty awesome scary; they apparently sharpened their claws and painted their carapaces black. ...Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: The Vratix are basically praying mantis people.

A Vratix named Yopaxtul won first place in a multispecies 100-meter dash for hexaped lifeforms; presumably, this means they can be pretty danged fast.

Vratix are hermaphroditic. Being "insect people," they also proved vulnerable to Killik subversion, and halted bacta production at the Killiks' behest, causing the Galactic Federation (the New Republic's successor that I kind of forget isn't called the New Republic most of the time) some trouble.

Rating: 5/5. The Vratix are interesting as heck.

-Signing off.

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