Friday, July 18, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#128)

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

1271. Yevetha. The Yevetha are one of several different species which would later serve as a blueprint of sorts for the Yuuzhan Vong (and I'll finally get to talk about them later in this very post). That's their main claim to fame, to be honest, but let's look at them on their own merits.

Yevetha look like gaunt, almost skeletal near-humans of some sort, but they have some seriously weird physiognomy. First off, their brains are in their rib cages and they have long (like, Wolverine-sized) dewclaws that pop out of the insides of their wrists. Second, female Yevetha apparently lay huge weird eggs called birth casks. Birth casks need external nourishment, and receive it in the form of Yevethan blood. Normally, the mother would provide it, but it doesn't need to be the mother; low-ranking Yevethan males may seek honor by offering to provide their blood to the children of a high-ranking male-which usually involves the low-ranking individual being killed.

This crazy aspect of their society-that people can be killed to nourish children and it's seen as "natural"-contributes to the most defining cultural trait of the Yevetha, that being their (excuse the pun) bloody-mindedness. They don't see anyone who doesn't have Yevethan blood as being really people, and even if they did, it probably wouldn't make a difference, as this quote from one of their leaders shows:

Your wars are decided by the death of a tenth of a population, a third of an army. Then the defeated surrender their honor and the victors surrender their advantage. This is called being civilized. The Yevetha are not civilized, General. It would be a mistake to deal with us as though we were.

Yes, among other things the Yevetha reject the idea that they're a civilized people. They also had never been aware that there were stars other than their own because their homeworld was in a place where individual stars in the sky were impossible to make out, and so the idea that there might be someone else "out there" was foreign to them-they actually explored other planets without hyperdrive for a while, finding only unintelligent life-before first contact, which appears to have been with the Galactic Empire, natch.

Anyway, all that is bad enough, but then there's the fact that they're naturals with technology. Their tech base wasn't especially sophisticated when the Empire rolled in and made their homeworld into a shipyard, using the Yevetha for slave labor.

Yes, the Empire gave them access to their own tech base. You can guess what happened at some point after the Empire began collapsing. In fact, thanks to Imperial complacency, the Yevetha actually captured the entire fleet that the Empire had in the area. They would then spend about a decade and a half consolidating their forces and advancing their technology, eventually beginning a campaign known as the Yevethan Purge, which resulted in the extinctions of several sapient species, including the Corasgh (...I had to type it again, dang it). The Yevetha lost their Imperial capital ships when some Imperials that they'd kept as slaves on their crews rebelled (oh, the irony), and their timely departure was basically the only reason that the New Republic was able to to stop the Yevethan fleet. (Rather comically, the spherical capital ships that the Yevetha built for themselves were known to New Republic forces by the call sign "Fat Men.")

The Yevetha would later be rendered virtually extinct (with a population in the tens of thousands at most) themselves by the very race that they were a prototype to, the Yuuzhan Vong, in a bit of special irony. Even more ironically, the Yevetha had been building up an even larger fleet than they'd had before at the time, and presumably the Yuuzhan Vong had to spend quite a bit of resources taking them out, so that may well have made a critical difference in the Yuuzhan Vong war itself.

Rating: 4/5. Aspects of the Yevetha are actually very interesting, even if they're bloody-minded savages to a degree that's pretty unsettling.

1272. Yimi. The Yimi are indigenes of the planet Kathol that were created by the DarkStryder. They have large, complex brains that serve only one purpose, that being to have skills flash-imprinted into them. As a result, Yimi can't learn new skills; it's speculated that the DarkStryder created them in the image of the Kathol themselves as a sick joke.

Incidentally, if that's true, then the picture of the unfortunate Yimi slaves from the page is the best guess we have at what the Kathol look like. It's a little predictable that they look like tiny big-brained flying saucer aliens.

Rating: 3/5. ...I've mentioned way too many times that I love the Kathol Rift, right?

1273. Yinchorri. Yinchorri are described as turtle-like. Surprisingly, they have cultural characteristics, such as a society built around "might makes right," that one would expect in lizard people. On the other hand, they don't actually have shells and their heads don't look very turtle-like (they look rather more like poor renderings of dinosaur heads), and so they're arguably not turtle people at all, just kind of chubby lizard/dinosaur people.

It is known that at least some female Yinchorri have "prominent breasts," which Wookieepedia, classy as ever, feels the need to bring up. Despite this, Yinchorri are also known to lay eggs.

The Yinchorri are also known to be among the species immune to Jedi mind tricks.

At some point, the Yinchorri rebelled against the Galactic Empire, who promptly bombed them back to the stone age. They received aid from the New Republic later, but the Yinchorri refused to ally with another galactic government at the time. Their homeworld would come under the control of Darth Krayt's Empire at some point, and whether they were as a whole allied with his forces is ambiguous, but at least one stormtrooper in his forces was a Yinchorri.

The Yinchorri invented a flight pack with dragonfly-like wings, which makes for a rather amusing contrast with the rather portly Yinchorri.

Rating: 3/5.

1274. Yonnas. In an early draft of what would become A New Hope, Yonnas were something that danced, apparently expensively.

Rating: 1/5.

1275. Yourellians, or Ureallians. The old Jedi general Han Solo was a Yourellian.

Yes, another part of an early draft.

Amusingly (to me, at least), Yourellians are hulking and slimy and apparently hunted Wookiees, making the old Han Solo pretty antithetical in some respects to the one we got.

Rating: 3/5. This is probably my single favorite piece of weird old world-building from the early drafts.

1276. Yrashu. The Yrashu are primitive green-furred primates who are also all Force-sensitive.

Their page picture, incidentally, doesn't seem to mesh with this idea, being a sort of bulgy, vaguely furless dog-thing that looks like it was drawn by Rob Liefield on acid.

Anyway, they apparently have a naturally gentle disposition except for a tribe called the Low Ones, who are dark siders who presumably are largely made up of the outcasts of the other tribes.

Of considerable significance to their culture is a ceremonial training in survival skills that include learning how to make a certain kind of tree root into a club; this is apparently a dangerous journey of sorts, at least some of the time.

The Yrashu opposed the Galactic Empire because they could sense its dark side nature.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, I dunno.

1277. Yresilini. All that's really known of the Yresilini is that a Chiss once successfully recruited a group of them into an army that was very loyal to her.

Rating: 1/5. Well, I like their name, anyway.

1278. Yunu. They're basically primitive ape/bigfoot people.

They apparently allied with a group of Jedi refugees led by the amazing K'Kruhk.

Rating: 2/5. It's kind of funny to see references to K'Kruhk anywhere, to be frank, just because he lived over such a long period of time.

1279. Yuuzhan Vong. The Yuuzhan Vong are among the most infamous aliens of the entirety of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and with good reason: They've got the concentrated bastardry of a whole bunch of other species in there.

To wit, the Yuuzhan Vong take elements from the Charon (death cult, organic technology), the Ssi-ruuk (mysterious outsiders from an unknown location with horrific technology, their tendency to enslave their victims), and the Yevetha (their particular brand of warlikeness, contempt for other species, their general brutality, being humanoid and ugly, their military strength, aspects of the arms race between sides, their name having a Y and a V). That's a lot of general nastiness in one package; add terrifyingly over the top sadomasochism to that and you have the Yuuzhan Vong.

They also notably borrow from the ysalamiri (Force invisibility) and cortosis (in the form of having lightsaber-resistant solid materials usable in personal weaponry and armor), which just goes to show how much creative bankruptcy can coexist with creative fertility all at once. (Momentary aside: I don't like the Yuuzhan Vong themselves very much, but their technology almost invariable fascinates me. It's just so quirky and different from even the typical weird organic tech one often sees. They also have a heck of a lot of cultural details.)

The Yuuzhan Vong have a raging hatred for "traditional" technology and especially droids, arising from the fact that the Abominor and Silentium wrecked some Yuuzhan Vong worlds whilst fighting a war with each other. Supposedly, they actually drove the Abominor and Silentium from said galaxy, but I have my doubts; the Silentium particularly were pretty danged dangerous to a degree that makes the Yuuzhan Vong look like wimps. (My own opinion is that the Silentium must have whipped the Abominor and then left of their own volition.)

Being from a different galaxy (at least sort of), the Yuuzhan Vong had their own ways of making war and their own technology, and this complicated efforts to fight them. They also were a pretty big group overall, and their whole people were involved in the effort to some degree; they built huge worldships that made the intergalactic journeys.

I note that they're "sort of" from another galaxy. It's a bit ambiguous, because their original homeworld had an "offspring," Zonama Sekot, which lived in the Star Wars galaxy. Whether Sekot had moved or what is ambiguous, at least from what I've read. The Yuuzhan Vong are known to have exterminated most of the native species of their own galaxy.

They may or may not be related genetically to humans.

There's a ton more, but I'm out of time and it'd take ages.

Rating: 4/5. I don't like the Yuuzhan Vong "event." I do, on the other hand, find a ton of the material surrounding them interesting. Their religion, for instance, has an interesting creation story.

1280. Yuvernians. Yuvernians are massive two-headed giraffe-snakes.

Rating: 3/5. That's an amazing description.

-Signing off.

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