Federation Crime and Resistance
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As one of the oldest civilizations, spanning across thousands of star systems, it didn't take long for the Skrellian territories to be inundated with criminals and illicit organisations looking to break the law for their own benefit. Despite official Federation claims to the contrary, smuggling rings, extortion rackets, underground science labs, and organized crime can be found operating behind the scenes across all of Federation space - a fact that is especially true in the Traverse, where the Federation's influence can be irregular. These criminal syndicates vary wildly in size, organisation, motives, and goals. While there is not much that unites these groups, their criminal status and lack of security frequently lead to alliances being brokered between like-minded groups. These alliances are temporary, though, and are notorious for being fragile and prone to dissolution once agendas no longer align.
Consultant agencies are secretive groups of Skrell dedicated to assisting with the long-term success of a client and their agenda - as long as they are paid, at least. These agencies began to appear during the War of the Tides, a two-millennia-long cold war on Qerrbalak that was famous for being fought through clandestine operations, wars by proxy, spies, and backroom dealings. The war influenced enterprising Skrell to use these same methods to provide their clients - typically artists, celebrities, and politicians - with less-than-legal assistance to improve their image and fulfil their agenda. This could range from psychoanalysis of an opponent, bribery, blackmail, or even psionic subversion. While at the time considered legal enterprises, evidence of their illegal methods was discovered after the disappearance of Glorsh-Omega, resulting in their complete ban by the Nralakk Federation. Unofficially, however, the Federation has routinely turned a blind eye to the activities of consultant agencies unless they were a direct threat to the Federation, or were too brazen to ignore. These agencies are sometimes even utilised by the Federation itself for smear campaigns against politicians that go against the status quo, or to extort an individual into falling back in line if they attempted to speak out against the Government.
These agencies today enjoy a position where while technically illegal, they are utilised by officials and others in power to the point that they can operate with near impunity. They are considered an open secret within the Federation; while everyone knows what the Consultant Agencies are and have a vague idea of what they do, who they provide their services to and the actual position the Federation takes on them is up for debate.
Qerr'Malic's Consortium of Consultant Agencies
The Consortium of Consultant Agencies was the entity entrusted with the management of Qerr'Malic and its mining industry during the rule of the Commonwealth of the Three on Qerrbalak. The consortium consisted of agencies that focused on corporate interests, particularly those that were embedded in the mining and manufacturing industries. Their hold over Qerr'malic slowly waned, however, and as the mining industry on the moon became defunct, so did the Consortium, resulting in Qerr'malic's transition to a political structure more in-line with Qerrbalak and other Skrellian colonies.
One of the "known" groups, this consultant agency focuses on celebrities within the Nralakk Federation, both cultural and scientific. While its actual name is Starry-Eyed Protostars, it is actually known by its acronym "SEP", which can be seen prominently displayed underneath a red nebula for its logo. Most Skrell who even take notice will only know of its logo and the group's association with celebrities, and newly-minted idols may hear rumours of a group that can help them reach the upper bounds of idol status when the Federation seems passive about their career. In reality, SEP works on behalf of the Federation government, being given responsibility for the management of idols that have just entered the scene but show promise. Idols that are considered unsuitable for direct interaction by the Federation are instead given to the agency to manage. The Federation's reasoning varies, from simply not believing them to be worth proper investment yet, to the idol having an unsteady footing that might result in their untimely fall from idol status.
Regardless of their reasons, the Federation uses SEP to prepare those they are unsure about, freeing up resources that the Government can put to better use with more established idols. The agency assists with managing social media accounts, organising events, and providing frequent in-depth analyses of how the idol is performing. Once the Federation believes they are ready, they will take over from SEP and continue moulding the idol to their standards, more willing to invest their time and resources into a project that has been set up for them.
The agency is also utilised for idol eliminations, where they're tasked with discretely destroying an idol's image when natural loss of fame or Federation intervention isn't possible, and making their fall from idol status seem like a natural turn of events.
Research into certain fields within Federation space is either outright banned or strictly regulated by Federation authorities. The more notable examples are AI research and the research of autonomous machines as a whole, with the former being outright banned due to Glorsh-Omega, and the latter heavily monitored due to its closeness to AI research itself. Like anything that's prohibited, it did not take long for individuals or even teams of scientists to establish their own labs, conducting research outside the legal bounds of Federation law.
The Federation invests a lot of its resources into finding and dismantling these research labs throughout its territory, with the highest punishments being given out to those who are caught attempting to build their own Artificial Intelligence. Leniency is normally given for lesser offences, though, particularly for those whose research could be utilised by the Federation in countering potential threats. Although not public knowledge, these Skrell are basically given an exemption to conduct their research in a controlled environment. These cases are rare, however, and the advances made are utilised only as a tool to defend against these threats, rather than actually being used by the Federation itself. A good example of this approach would be the Federation's response to research done in fields such as weaponised diseases or chemicals, where the research teams are given the choice of imprisonment or working on projects that help protect the Federation from these types of attacks.
The Federation goes to great lengths to educate its populace on unsanctioned research and its dangers, with records of what each dismantled lab was working on being freely available and only lightly censored. Details regarding lab-related accidents or deaths are well reported as well, as a means to deter others from attempting the same work.
One of the more commonly pursued forms of unsanctioned research, genetic engineering is a field that is highly regulated by the Nralakk Federation due to the X'Lu'oa, the disorder present in most modern Skrell that has made the majority of the species infertile by the tyrant Glorsh-Omega. Because of the perceived dangers of genetic experimentation further exacerbating the disorder, any and all research into the field requires the Federation's strict oversight.
Either out of existential terror or through prideful desperation to become the one to discover a cure, Skrell scientists have been known to set up their own research facilities in search of a way to reverse the effects of the disorder. The pursuit of this cure results in many scientists adopting a "by any means necessary" philosophy regarding their work. Their methods tend to be rushed and the side effects not thoroughly researched before attempting trials. So far there has been no instance of unsanctioned research into this field leading to meaningful advances, and the Federation hands out punishments on par with those given for AI research to those caught performing genetic experiments on Skrell.
The narcotics industry within the Nralakk Federation is a subtle enterprise. The production and distribution of these narcotics usually result in harsh punishments due to their illegality, however, demand still continues to exist and thus production of these narcotics remains. Whilst there are production sites within Skrellian space, most stick to the fringes of the Traverse and in some cases even the human frontier, a tactic that has ensured that these criminal groups stay operational even with the Federation's crackdown on narcotics within its borders.
Uoo’qui Xuqi (Recollection Pills)
The base plant for Uoo’qui can be found within the swamps of Aweiji; a large nettle-like vine that produces bulbous flowers which can be refined into a powder and ingested. Typically taking the form of a pill, but can also be baked into food or mixed into drinks, the drug allows a Skrell to vividly relive past memories. The drug makes use of the Skrell’s developed Zona Bovinae to recreate memories, with all five senses having a part to play in the recreation. Users are known to prepare their immediate surroundings with music, aromas, or using old clothes or other memorabilia to help guide themselves to the memory they wish to relive. Scientists researching the drug hypothesise that Uoo’qui Xuqi makes the user relive their strongest memories, with most users experiencing memories of events that happened as recently as a few years ago if they do not make the appropriate preparations. It has also been noted by researchers that the drug has the user enter a comatose-like state as they do not appear in the Srom. The duration of the drug varies by user and dosage, but on average can last roughly six hours.
When the drug was first released, it caused a massive halt of operations across the Federation as Skrell were desperate to live out their memories from before Glorsh-Omega. The Federation government was quick to make the production and sale of the drug illegal, and although demand has died down since its initial release, the drug is still popular for the older generations of Skrell. Side effects include short-term memory loss, premature tear stains, head-tail shortening, and extended use can cause a brain-fog effect; usage of the drug over long periods of time has been noted to cause permanent memory issues for the user. Uoo’qui pills have a negligible effect on non-Skrell, with humans who tried the drug entering the coma-like state but otherwise being unable to recall anything when they awoke.
Co’qnixq Wuxi (Co’qnixq Nootropics)
Co’qnix Wuxi has existed since the pre-Glorsh era, initially developed as a cognitive enhancer for Skrell developing dementia. When taken, the users consciousness is heightened, alongside a mild to moderate boost to their energy. Many users report a feeling of ‘mental flexibility’ and an ability to ‘exert extreme focus’ while high on the drug. The effects of the nootropics are mostly cognitive but for Skrell it also provides a boost to their psionic ability, making the use of it less strenuous on the mind. One dose of these nootropics can last roughly four to eight hours.
Co’qnix Wuxi eventually found its way onto the civilian market, and quickly became popular with scientists, doctors, and students, allowing them to focus during their mentally exhausting work. There are few side-effects noted from long-term usage, but the Federation has made the use of the drug in an academic setting illegal and grounds for expulsion. Side effects include quickened speech, impatience, a heightened heart rate, and anxiety. Once the drug wears off, users will experience strong fatigue, with many also feeling thirsty or hungry. For non-Skrell users, the effects are similar but without the changes to psionics. In most cases, the lethargy experienced once the drug wears off can potentially make the user enter a coma that lasts for multiple days.
Originating on Qerr'Malic, Xu’Xi Gas is a mild hallucinogenic that can be compared to drugs such as Wulumunusha. A product of the gas vents located in the deep trenches of the moon, Xu’Xi Gas use is a popular pastime for both locals and tourists, with most users experiencing a pleasant high along with colourful hallucinations. While its natural form is considered legal by the Federation, its refined variant, as well as synthetic analogues, are not. The refined version is highly addictive, while the synthetic analogue is noted to have a harsher hangover and a risk of death due to the varying production standards the criminal groups centred around its production have.
Xu’Xi Gas’ effects are the same for non-Skrell as they are for Skrell, which has increased its popularity with some individuals due to the exotic nature of the drug. The synthetic variant of the drug is typically what can be found outside of the Nralakk Federation, with the real refined version being rare and too expensive for most users to afford.
The Skrell term for pirates, smugglers and other naval-based criminal elements active within the Nralakk Federation. Marauders, with the exception of the Ti’Rakqi, tend to operate within a few star systems and have a handful of ships under their banner. Just like other criminal groups, however, Marauders are known to create temporary alliances to better their chances if they find themselves with similar goals.
The Federation has not participated in a “true” war, with current veterans of the Qukala having little actual combat experience against an equal foe. With that said, the Qukala as an entity has centuries of experience with anti-piracy operations and asymmetrical warfare as a result of fighting these Marauder groups throughout the Traverse.
Ti'Rakqi, or "Free Smugglers", are the most long-lived, the largest, and the most notorious group of Marauders known throughout the Nralakk Federation. An exact date cannot be given, but it is believed this particular group of Marauders formed sometime after first contact with Humanity.
The Ti'Rakqi was formed through an alliance of Marauders that came to realise that a unified group, where multiple fleets answered to a central authority, would provide more stability and organisation compared to the constant breaking and reforming of alliances. To that end, the group is headed by the Star-Admiral, a Skrell who assumes complete operational control over the entire organisation and ensures that the fleets of the Ti'Rakqi ultimately operate for the benefit of the group. Whether it be raw materials stolen from a shipping vessel, scavenging for pre-Glorsh era technology, or illegally importing goods from Human space without the bureaucracy and taxes tied to it, the Ti’Rakqi have cemented themselves as the black market for the majority of Skrellian space.
While deemed subversive and “dangerous” by the Nralakk Federation, the Ti’Rakqi are a largely peaceful mercantile faction of pirates and smugglers, who focus on exploiting the lucrative gap in the isolated and state-planned economy of the Nralakk Federation. Even the fleets under the Ti'Rakqi that focus on piracy or combat do so with caution to prevent excessive damage or death; the Free Smugglers as a whole do not practise methods that could lead to direct confrontation with authorities, or that could bring harm to civilian targets. The group instead prefers rapid “hit and run” tactics that allow them to take their target by surprise, steal anything of value, and leave before a battle can begin in earnest. With this said, the Ti’Rakqi are far from being pacifists and do not restrict themselves in a fight if fleeing isn't an option.
The Ti’Rakqi prefers a doctrine that focuses on light, fast ships that are able to flee combat and still have a large cargo capacity. While most of their ships are refitted civilian vessels, they are equipped with at least basic electronic warfare equipment and weaponry, allowing them to still be considered a threat to unprotected merchants or unaware Qukala patrols. Small support craft are even known to spoof their signature while staying outside of visible range during raids, giving a psychological edge for the rest of the ships that deters immediate confrontation by authorities.
The reputation of the Ti’Raqki varies depending on who you ask; it can range from being seen as a group of subversive criminals, as is the case when asking someone in the inner systems what they think of the group, to useful, if irritating, facets of life by Skrell living in the Traverse - or alternatively, as bastions of freedom from an oppressive regime. While officially the Ti’Raqki is not tolerated by the administrators and directors of the Traverse, many recognise that the Ti’Raqki are simply a fact of life as a result of their entanglement with the local economy. The group is known to supply what a colony needs to uphold its obligations to the Federation in exchange for free passage or other services, and are even considered liberators by the more oppressed regions of the Traverse - a view propped up by the fact that these fringe systems tend to be ignored and left to their own devices by the Federation proper. Some planets, far from the eye of the Federation, are rumoured to even purely operate under Ti’Raqki authority. These planets keep their allegiances unknown, and are only referred to as “The Freed” when mentioned.
Those who are exiled or otherwise discharged from service by the Ti’Raqki are often supplied with false documents and transport to the fringes of the Traverse, allowing the former member to begin a new life outside of the Federation.
Ippitaq’wesi or "The Secret City" is considered the headquarters of the Ti'Rakqi. Located within an asteroid somewhere deep in the Traverse, its name is taken from the fact that its location is unknown by most - even within the Ti’Rakqi itself - and is kept hidden through the use of equipment that masks artificial signals generated by the inhabitants and machinery of the asteroid.
Ippitaq’wesi was established early on in the organisation's history as a storage depot for the Ti’Raqki’s initial primary source of income: the market for technology recovered from the Era of Synthetic Oppression. This market is slowly shrinking as time goes on as pre-Glorsh era technology is seized, considered “dangerous” and cordoned off by Federation authorities, or otherwise lost to the ravages of time. This has forced the Ti’Raqki to divest its interests across many other ventures to prop itself up, and has led to Ippitaq’wesi today becoming a more generalised hub for the Ti’Raqki economy.
The city itself has a large labour force, consisting of civilians from planets affiliated with the Ti’Raqki whose abilities were better utilised outside of smuggling or raiding. These civilians produce a wide range of goods that the Ti’Rakqi sell both within the Federation and abroad, although the volume and quality of these goods alone typically aren’t enough to cover the costs of maintaining such a massive organisation by itself. Those that aren't put to work producing goods may often find themselves working regular types of jobs; physicians, engineers, or even security details to ensure that those surviving on the asteroid can live in relative comfort. Life on the asteroid functions independently of the greater Orion Spur, with the only true worry for most being if their operations will cover the maintenance of their home for the month.
The Star-Admiral keeps a rather short list of those authorized to know its location - mostly captains of the fleets or single ships who have proven their loyalty. Additionally, those entrusted with its location are kept on a short leash, and those in the upper echelon of the Ti’Raqki have psionically-linked killswitches that trigger under specific circumstances. If these Captains were to write down or speak the location of the Secret City, defect, or otherwise betray the Ti’Rakqi, it would trigger the device.
Culture and Lifestyle
Day-to-day life in the Ti’Raqki varies heavily depending on spacecraft, career choice, and location, but there are several experiences that some may have in common. The ship quarters are known by many as “coffins” due to the small sleeping area allocated for low-ranking members, which resembles that of a casket. Recreational activities provided by the ship are limited to small holodecks, for the most part, leading to many crewmembers relying on personal electronic devices or simple psionic games to pass the time. These vessels are considered a “home-away-from-home” for many members of the Ti’Raqki, and the ship's interior will usually reflect that as sections are dedicated to makeshift amenities and facilities for the crew where space allows. The result is an amalgamation of professional Federation ship design and improvised facilities reminiscent of generation ships found post-Glorsh. Vessels seized by Federation authorities reveal that although not sophisticated, some of these ships do have facilities dedicated to food growing or proper cooking and cleaning, and the more affluent ships even have their own workshops for maintenance or even the home production of vessel-unique equipment, resulting in most ships being capable of long-term habitation and partial self-sufficiency where they originally were not.
Most fleets stick to a meritocratic approach when it comes to the organisation and operation of spacecraft, with the only true constant being that the crew are encouraged to perform their best at all times; those that do not, or show behaviour “unbecoming” of a member of the Ti’Rakqi, are usually made examples of, which can lead to detention or even exile in the worst cases. While the captain of a vessel has executive control of the ship, due to the ship being considered a second home for the crew many of the internal affairs of the ship are decided by a council of officers and leaders of interest groups within the rank-and-file. Promotion of the lower ranks, duty assignment, and low-level punishments are decided by the council, with the Captain usually only having the privilege of observing unless a decision can’t be made or if it’s deemed a Captain-level issue. For example, the Captain has the final say in the matter when it comes to external issues such as combat or negotiations, but role assignments and recruitment are done through interviews and tests administered by the ship council.
Despite what may appear to be ideal conditions discussed above, the model Ti’Rakqi ship has an underclass of the overworked and typically ill-treated rank known as the “Lu'fup”, or Void Private. The rank is given to fresh recruits and acts as a test itself for prospective crewmembers. A Lu’fup will be given cramped conditions, usually a barracks made from a decommissioned shuttlecraft in the ship hangar - or in the case of smaller vessels a cargo container in the hold. The meritocracy of a Ti’Raqki ship still applies to the Lu’fup, however, with those who can withstand their poor conditions being capable of advancing in rank and all the privileges that brings.
Rankings and Organisation
The organisation of the Ti’Raqki as a whole is more authoritarian in comparison to how its ships are organised, with a strict military-based hierarchy as opposed to the more democratic vessel hierarchy or what is used to govern the Nralakk Federation. The Ti’Raqki has an absolute head, titled the Star-Admiral, who serves for life unless ousted and replaced. To become the Star-Admiral, an heir-apparent must be selected by the previous Star-Admiral and accepted through a vote by the highest-ranking fleet commanders of the Ti’Raqki - usually a Star-Captain or a highly decorated Star-Lieutenant.
On the fleet level, the organisation, reputation, and goals of the Ti’Rakqi can vary; the fleets can range from loose confederations of smaller fleets, to dozens of spacecraft escorting and using the flagship as a mobile base of operations. One fleet could focus entirely on trading and smuggling, while another is more concerned with piracy or martial affairs. One fleet could be known for offering its services to other groups, and another could have a reputation for reneging on deals with non-Ti'Rakqi vessels. This variance results in interactions with the Ti’Rakqi differing wildly depending on who you come across.
When formed or upon joining the Ti'Rakqi, fleets are expected to draft a formal code of conduct that codifies the rules and regulations that the fleet should follow internally. Combined with the mandate provided by the Star-Admiral, this creates the "Qu'vridaq-Ti'Rakqi", loosely translated as "The Star Accords of the Free Smugglers". The accords are the closest to a form of law that a fleet will possess, and keeps the fleet from straying too far from its objectives or allowing unfair treatment of its crew. While the mandate covers what a fleet should or shouldn't be doing, as laid out by the Star-Admiral, the code of conduct is a unanimously agreed-upon set of laws specific to that fleet that keep the peace between crewmembers. Violating either part of the accords is grounds for demotion to Void-Private and in extreme cases expulsion from the fleet - or even exile from the Ti'Rakqi. It is expected that punishment is handled internally, but if egregious enough - such as a large swathe of a fleet deciding to mutiny - the Star-Admiral may give the order for all fleets affiliated with the Ti'Rakqi to hunt down the offenders.
The accords dictate laws, such as property rights and crew payment, while also providing what is essentially the fleet's standard operating procedure for their mandate. These laws are not set in stone, however, and the accords will regularly be amended as mandates change or other circumstances arise.
This is the lowest rank in the faction, comprised of newer recruits or those that have been demoted. The Void-Privates do not have many privileges provided to them, are often crammed into shuttlecraft instead of proper quarters, given the worst rations, and are only given limited access to showers or other facilities. Generally speaking, the Void-Privates of a Ti’Rakqi vessel are given menial jobs that do not require much pre-existing knowledge, with those that withstand the initial weeks usually picking a profession and being assigned to a higher-ranking member of the crew as an apprentice. The two exceptions to this are the role of gunnery operator, the role responsible for the operation of the ship’s offensive weapons, and the armourers, the role responsible for the maintenance and handling of personal weapons. Both of these roles are restricted to those who advance in rank to prevent a mutiny by disgruntled Void-Privates.
The role is seen as a “trial” rank that will quickly separate those who are worthy of becoming proper crew from the unworthy, with those being considered “unworthy” being dropped off at the nearest port to make room for more recruits. Interestingly, it seems that Skrell identified as Listeners move up faster than their Receiver contemporaries - although this preference doesn't prevent a Receiver from advancing in rank.
The Trial of the Private - To escape the lowest rank, a Skrell must declare their intent to move up the rankings, and then, if the group of Ensigns they work most closely with believes that they are competent, they will organize a trial for them. The trial changes drastically based on the Private's intended role in the fleet. An engineer would get a different trial than that of a navigator, but generally, each trial is constructed carefully in order to be fair. The ship council administers the trial and if successful, the Private is promoted and quickly moved out of their old quarters and into a much comfier dormitory.
The rank-and-file of any given Ti’Rakqi vessel, Star-Ensigns are one of the most populated ranks throughout the entirety of the Ti’Raqki, and receive a greater quality of living compared to that of a Void-Private. This usually comes in the form of a small bunk in the crew barracks as well as easier access to recreational activities that the fleet provides. When promoted, an Ensign will have unlimited access to facilities such as the kitchen, which is likely to be the first destination for those who were just promoted.
Star-Ensigns are more specialised in their role on the ship compared to Void-Privates, having specific duties that they’re expected to perform to the standards set by the ship’s Captain and their officers. The roles are organised into broad assignments, which can vary in scope depending on ship. The more senior crew tend to be specialised for a specific task for their role, and will often take up a position similar in authority to a middle manager:
"Engineer" - Responsible for the maintenance of the ship itself and its systems. More senior engineers will specialise in specific systems such as weapons, propulsion, or electronics, and will attempt to fine-tune these areas of the ship when able to better fit the capabilities of the ship and crew. A ship that consistently has a full cargo hold may have an engineer who focuses their efforts on modifying the ship's propulsion system for greater output to compensate.
"Surgeon" - As the Ti’Rakqi rarely have access to proper medical facilities outside of Ippitaq’wesi, the ship surgeons are responsible for ensuring at the very least a crewmember does not die, and are expected to know basic medical knowledge and how to treat common wounds and ailments. Senior surgeons tend to be those with an actual medical background, and will be fast-tracked from the lower ranks due to the demand for actual medical Doctors. Some Ti’Rakqi vessels are known to pay well-performing crewmembers to go abroad to study medicine if they show promise as a ship surgeon.
"Navigator" - Responsible for flying and navigating the ship. Senior navigators are in charge of using the ship's electronic warfare suite, as well as plotting routes through more dangerous regions of space such as military cordons or hostile territory.
"Gunnery Operator" - Responsible for the operation of the ship’s offensive weaponry, the gunnery operator is a role that’s only available once a crewmate has reached the rank of Star-Ensign. Senior gunnery operators will act as commanders during a battle, coordinating with the other weapon teams to increase the effectiveness of a salvo, as well as being in charge of defending the ship if boarded.
"Armourer" - The armourer is responsible for the storage and maintenance of personal weapons aboard the ship, and handing them out along with miscellaneous equipment when a raid or boarding action is being organised. Senior armourers will act as quartermasters alongside senior cooks for the ship, taking stock of what’s aboard and advising the officers and Captain of the ship on what’s needed the next time they make port. On vessels that have their own workshops, the armourers are also responsible for the production of in-house equipment or modifications to pre-existing equipment, such as weapons, armour, or specialised gear for a specific raiding target.
"Cook" - Although not particularly important to the day-to-day operation of the ship, cooks are in practice one of the more influential crewmembers of a Ti’Rakqi vessel. They are responsible for providing a varied and at least somewhat healthy diet for the rest of the crew, and a good cook is well-protected by their crewmates - both from external threats and from other crewmates that may have a grudge. Senior cooks work in conjunction with armourers as quartermasters for the ship, sharing the responsibility of stock-taking and ordering supplies.
The Test of the Ensign - The trial undertaken by the Star-Ensign is far different to that of the Void-Private. The Trial can only be invoked if the Ensign initiating it can succeed in three fights against their fellow Ensigns; with the fights either being physical, known as the "fight of the body", or psionic, known as the "fight of the mind". The loss of even one challenge immediately disqualifies them from promotion to Star-Lieutenant. Even the nature of the promotion has some social impact as well. If a Star-Ensign is constantly being challenged and consistently losing, they begin to lose reputation until they make a visible effort to shape up; should they fail, they’ll eventually be demoted or even exiled.
The highest role most members of the Ti’Raqki can hope to achieve, the Star-Lieutenants are the officers and leaders of a Ti’Raqki vessel. While not always, a Star-Lieutenant will usually have a senior role aboard the ship, and by being a Star-Lieutenant they take on the extra responsibility of being a head of staff for that area of the ship’s operation. The role requires a combination of age and experience, with the younger and less experienced Star-Lieutenants typically working under senior Star-Lieutenants until they reach that point. If not responsible for any specific department of the ship, a Qu’qrot will be given the responsibility of personally leading raids or boarding actions.
Senior Star-Lieutenants who have proven themselves may be given the privilege of commanding their own vessel within a Ti’Raqki fleet. These vessels are usually smaller support craft, with room for reassignment if they prove themselves or are promoted to Star-Captain.
The Trial of Authority - The Authority Trial can be invoked at any time by any Star-Lieutenant. The Trial is extremely simple, and that is to beat an existing Star-Captain in a single challenge of the mind or of the body. The challenger gets to choose between whether it will be physical or mental, and if the Star-Lieutenant wins, they become a Star-Captain. If they lose, however, they are demoted back to Void-Private. It is hard to get promoted again since initiating the trial is considered an implication of your belief that the Star-Captains’ way of commanding isn’t good enough, and a disregard for the respect of the rank. If the challenger succeeds, they are given command of their own ship, or if already commanding their own ship they will be given a new vessel deemed more appropriate for the rank.
The rank of Star-Captain is seen as the highest attainable rank within the Ti’Rakqi hierarchy due to the requirements for becoming Star-Admiral, and is a title that demands respect throughout the entire organisation.
Junior Captains will command just one ship, adjusting to their new role and responsibilities - both to the ship and to the Ti’Rakqi itself. As a Star-Captain gains more experience they may be appointed their own fleet to manage, and outside of a broad mandate provided by the Star-Admiral themselves the Captain will have free reign to operate as they see fit. Star-Captains are also provided with the location of Ippitaq’wesi upon promotion, along with the implanted killswitch that prevents them from betraying the Ti’Rakqi or the location of their home base before dying.
The Trial of The Abyss - The Abyss trial is the Ti’Rakqi’s codified method of deposing a Star-Admiral who has shown ineffective leadership or is otherwise seen as unworthy of the position by a Star-Captain. As with the Authority trial it can either be a trial of the body or a trial of the mind, but unlike previous challenges, this trial results in a permanent demotion and assignment to Ippitaq’wesi as punishment for doubting the leadership of the Admiral. To date, only five Abyss trials have been initiated, with the only successful Abyss trial being Xioshi’s against their predecessor.
Qu’Vru’qos (Star Admiral)
The rank of the leader of the Ti’Raqki. They have complete authority and expect unwavering loyalty to the organization. The Star-Admiral is appointed typically after the death of the previous Star-Admiral, but specific circumstances, such as invoking the Abyss Trial, can circumvent this tradition. The current presiding Star-Admiral is simply known as Xioshi.
The rank is a very hands-off position in comparison to the other ranks, with the responsibilities mostly relating to providing mandates to fleets and ensuring the continued success of the Ti’Raqki. With every new fleet that is established or that joins the Ti'Rakqi, its leader is given the privilege of meeting the current Star-Admiral face-to-face. This meeting is private, and not much is known outside of the Star Admiral congratulating them and giving them their mandate. The mandate depends on what the Ti’Rakqi requires, and is essentially a broad order for the fleet to operate with a certain goal in mind.
Xioshi, Current Qu’Vru’qos of the Ti’Raqki
A comparatively psionically powerful Listener and tactical genius by Skrellian standards, Xioshi managed to climb the ranks solely through the use of their psionic abilities, completing every trial through a test of the mind.
As an ambitious Star-Lieutenant, they achieved resounding success through several operations as a ship captain, and reportedly became a Star-Captain much faster than what was considered typical at the time. While initially their psionics carried them through the ranks, it wasn’t until they completed the operation that gave them their own fleet, the Kaz-qi’Thum, that Xioshi’s tactical prowess was unveiled.
Their reputation and abilities eventually culminated in their invocation of the Abyss trial, where they were able to best their predecessor and ultimately rose to the rank of Star-Admiral. The story of their rise to power, combined with their stellar reputation both before and during their thirty-year tenure as Star-Admiral has secured their reign over the Ti’Rakqi.
Kax-qi'Thum, or when loosely translated "Iron Cannons", is a fleet headed by two massive Planaq carriers, and is the main display of power projection for the Ti’Raqki operation. The twin ships both have a complement of Ayoni escort craft, which act as the fleet's backbone while being supplemented by the usual retrofitted civilian craft the Ti'Rakqi employ.
The Kax-qi’Thum formed after its military vessels were stolen from an asteroid used by the Federation as a graveyard for outdated military equipment. Taking advantage of freak solar activity that forced a general evacuation of the asteroid by the Qukala stationed there, Xioshi, a Star-Lieutenant at the time, funnelled their crew into two Planaq spacecraft and had their engineers perform the most basic work required to get them flight-worthy. Combined with a feint action by the rest of Xioshi’s fleet that distracted the local Qukala force, the two ships and their complement of Ayoni escorts were safely brought to a friendly port where proper maintenance could be conducted. This operation ultimately led to Xioshi pushing for their promotion to Star-Captain, and when promoted their fleet was given the military vessels as a reward. Although largely suppressed by Federation media, the Federation did respond with tighter security measures that have made it much harder for the Ti’Rakqi to even operate near the region.
The two ships are largely outdated compared to what the Qukala currently uses, and are not themselves considered a major threat by the Federation. That said, the Kax-qi’Thum is still considered a threat to any merchant or hostile Marauder unlucky enough to come across it. The fleet mostly acts as a deterrent to any small Qukala patrols or opposing Marauder fleets that threaten Ti’Raqki operations in an area, with the regular upgrades that Xioshi puts the two ships under keeping them competitive.
The Skrell aboard these twin sister ships have become to recognize one another as Qu'Draa, or even Qrra'Myaqq, as a result of the considerably long history involving both ships. The battles the two have survived, both from the Nralakk Federation and other Marauder groups, have left many scars on both their hulls and the surviving crew.
Diingi'Lumiik, or when translated "Harbingers of the Void", consists mostly of retrofitted civilian spacecraft, but with the addition of three additional Qaqii spacecraft that were captured after a skirmish with Qukala vessels within the Deadspace Spine. While the military ships within the fleet are not fully combat-capable due to the damage received during the skirmish, local officials are still wary when reports come in of the fleet operating in their area.
The Diingi'Lumiik is considered the most hawkish amongst the other fleets within the Ti'Raqki; while the Kax-qi’Thum acts as a deterrent, the Diingi’Lumiik is the actual fighting force of the Ti’Raqki. The fleet considers the Deadspace Spine to be its main area of operations, but its mandate requires it to protect Ti’Raqki assets and affiliated planets across the Traverse, forcing the fleet to currently be split into groups of varying sizes. Because of its mandate, the fleet is more welcoming of newcomers into the Ti’Raqki, seeing them as potential recruits to pad out its thinly-stretched numbers.
The Skrell aboard the trio of Qaqii vessels see one another as friendly rivals, always doing their best to outdo one another. Whilst this has worked out favourably many times in the past, the rivalry does mean that the three vessels are always in need of repairs after their latest attempt to one-up one of the other ships, further delaying the fleet in seeing these three vessels becoming fully functional. The rivalry has also promoted an intense personality amongst their crew, causing the three ships to be separated along with the rest of the fleet to prevent escalation and the potential destruction of one or all three of the vessels. Despite not being in the same region of space as each other, this does not stop the crews from frequently sending long-range communications to one another, bragging about recent victories and sharing war stories.
Loosely translated to “Scavengers”, the Tana’raq’iq is unique in that it is not a singular fleet, but a loose confederation of fleets that share a similar philosophy and preferred tactics to achieve their goals. These fleets usually engage in smuggling operations, minor piracy, and reportedly have ties to scrapper groups within the Tri-Qyu system. The loose confederation, while initially seen as a break in tradition by the rest of the Ti’Rakqi, is now seen as a blessing; the decentralised nature of the fleet has allowed it to have a wider area of operations when compared to other fleets, while still being organised enough to bring in more income for the Ti’Rakqi than any of the fleets could bring in alone.
The Skrell active in the Tana’raq’iq are considered the “wildcards” of the Ti’Rakqi. The broad activities of the fleet combined with the daredevil escapades of some of its individual fleets close to the inner systems, including unprovoked clashes with Qukala forces, have given the fleet a reputation of being unpredictable. When another fleet of the Ti’Rakqi interacts with the Tana’raq’iq, it is said that the crews should prepare for both a fight and a party.
The Tana’raq’iq do have two main areas where they operate despite their decentralised nature: to the northeast, near Xrim and towards the Co-operative Territories of Epsilon Ursea Minoris, and to the southeast, towards The Empire of Dominia and the Izweski Hegemony.
Those who base themselves closer to the southeastern borders of the Nralakk Federation are known to frequently cooperate with their Unathi peers. While they are willing to trade with most in the area as long as there is a benefit to it, these Marauders have found themselves cooperating closely with Kazu's Techraiders in particular.
The two groups trade regular goods when beneficial, but the relationship is mostly characterised by its cooperative aspects; the Tana’raq’iq are known to provide their own vessels for Techraider missions within Federation space, while the Techraiders provide manpower for Skrell smuggling operations outside of Federation space, along with importing essential goods for the Tana’raq’iq to smuggle into the Federation proper. The Techraiders, being mostly interested in advanced technology as part of their objective to rebuild Moghes, go to great lengths to nurture the relationship to ensure a reliable source of Skrell technology. The Tana’raq’iq are likewise invested in continuing this relationship as Techraider support provides them with easy access to markets outside of the Federation. This relationship seems to be unstrained by the Techraider’s kidnapping of Skrellian scientists; while unsavoury, these kidnappings do not technically go against the mandate that disallows them from harming civilians in any capacity - an order that while not justified by the Star Admiral, is generally considered to be a wise decision, as the nature of the fleet requires additional checks and balances to prevent rogue elements from acting against the interests of the Ti'Rakqi.
In comparison, the relationship between the Tana’raq’iq and the Unathi pirate group Hiskyn's Revanchists is described as cold at best; the Marauders of the Tana’raq’iq have near-unanimously agreed to not interact with the Revanchists in any way due to their ‘morally bankrupt’ methods of achieving their objectives, which include supporting synthetic groups when it comes to fighting Dominia. With this said, due to the decentralised nature of the Tana’raq’iq, some vessels have been known to cooperate with the Revanchists when their agendas align. Regardless, the Revanchists are known to target Tana’raq’iq vessels, believing these Skrell to be too weak to do what it takes to complete their objectives.
To the northeastern borders of the Nralakk Federation, the Tana’raq’iq mostly focuses on piracy, stealing from Federation merchant vessels and discretely selling the cargo on Epsilon Ursea Minoris. While CT-EUM and the Federation cooperate to prevent these events from occurring, the Tana’raq’iq in the region have plenty of “clean” ships that they provide with false documentation, allowing for seemingly legal trade within CT-EUM space and making their capture that much harder for the authorities.
Deeper within Federation territory, closer to Xrim, the Tana’raq’iq primarily focus on recruitment. Using the fact that the region is mostly left alone by the greater Federation, the affiliated vessels here will use the fleet's assets to recruit for themselves - and to a lesser extent the rest of the Ti’Rakqi. While rumours are rampant about Dionae joining the Ti'Rakqi, particularly Shrkh wishing to flee persecution on Xrim, there has so far been no evidence that proves the rumours to be true.
The Veq’Luuq, or the “Void Hunters”, is a fleet similar to the Tana’raq’iq in that it is in practice a loose confederation of large, independently acting vessels. These ships are solely commanded by experienced Star-Captains, and have a higher than average number of Void-Privates due to the fleet's reputation of being the best opportunity to get fast-tracked to Star-Ensign.
The captains of the Veq’Luuq have the primary goal of probing uncharted regions of space, while secondarily hunting dangerous xenofauna so that they can provide a stable source of income for the Ti’Rakqi. It is largely unknown to what end they are exploring uncharted space, but it is believed that the Star Admiral may have plans to expand Ti’Rakqi operations, or to prepare for the eventual expansion of the Nralakk Federation. Outside of this, the Veq’Luuq has the unique freedom of operating as they see fit because of the distances that normally separate them from the rest of the Ti'Rakqi. The Captains are allowed to pursue their mandate or their own personal goals how they please, where they please, so long as they still follow the Star Admiral’s original orders and uphold their obligations to the Ti'Rakqi.
It is expected of the Captains of the Veq’Luuq to return to port on a regular basis, giving intelligence as well as their tribute to the Ti’Rakqi in exchange for repairs, upgrades, equipment, and additional crew at a fraction of what it would normally cost as members of any other fleet. It is also expected that a third of their Ensigns who were promoted during their voyage be discharged and allowed to join more standard Ti’Rakqi fleets, to be replaced with fresh recruits.
The Ti’Raqki economy is diversified across many illegal ventures, but the main source of their income is the smuggling of goods across the Nralakk Federation. A large portion of their operations is dedicated to selling goods to the Traverse, allowing the Traverse to be less reliant on the inner sectors. While this relationship required a hefty sqiip sum, the recent economic collapse and the phoron shortage has forced the Ti’Rakqi to allow bartering with their long-term clients, while giving discounts to the more disadvantaged groups across the Traverse. Detractors within the group comment on the short-term ramifications of this, but Xioshi is adamant that the benefits this will bring will outweigh the initial costs in the long term.
The internal economy is barter-based, with goods and services being exchanged between fleets rather than the exchange of money. The Star-Admiral entrusts the fleets to handle these affairs, only getting involved if needed to settle a dispute between two fleets. This system is supplemented by Ippitaq’wesi’s own industrial sector, which can produce goods that are either rationed out to the fleets, or packaged and sold in the Traverse as a low-cost alternative to what is usually provided by the inner systems.
Most Marauder groups on the fringes of Federation space have managed to extend their presence outside of the Federation, although their influence in these areas has always been middling at best. The Ti'Rakqi had the most success in extending their reach into what is now the Human Wildlands, where they were able to better obtain human goods for smuggling back into the Federation. After the collapse of the Solarian Alliance though, they were forced to cease most of their operations. The chaos that followed the collapse at first benefited the Skrell operating there, but the anti-xeno attitudes of the Solarians, the securing of the borders by the Nralakk Federation, and the threat posed by the former fleets of the Solarian Navy forced the Marauders to retreat back into the Traverse. The Wildlands is seen by many today as an elusive target; a potential gold mine for anyone willing to take the risk, but just out of reach for most.
With the Wildlands being seen as too hostile for non-human pirates, many of the Marauder groups have elected to strengthen their presence within the Traverse rather than look outwards. The exception to this is the Ti'Rakqi, due to it being one of the few Marauder groups that are large enough to look at external trade without compromising their position within the Traverse. Trading is done discretely on the border as Skrell and Human pirates quickly exchange goods before retreating back into their respective territories, fearing that they might attract the attention of the authorities.
Aside from the Tana'raq'iq's dealings with Unathi pirates, the southeastern frontier is considered an untapped resource for the Ti'Rakqi to exploit. While not as lucrative as the former Solarian territories, the comparatively relaxed border security and lack of organised policing past the Federation border does allow Marauder activity to proliferate. Dominia's pact with its neighbouring pirate fleets has deterred those who would consider the Empire to be an opportunity, and as a result Marauder activity in the region tends to stop before reaching Dominian space.
Historically, "The Resistance" or "Lyukal" within Federation territory has always been defined by fringe groups concentrated in the rare few places where the Federation's control wasn't absolute. Kala, Nlom influence, censorship, and the Federation's encouragement of civilian informants make organised dissent in the modern era impossible at worst and a gruelling, major effort at best -- the latter on the fringes of the Traverse, where sluggish bureaucracy makes the Federations' panopticon ineffective towards craftier would-be dissidents.
The modern iterations of resistance movements, including the four largest cells, derive directly from Traverse independence movements of old and Glorsh-era dissidents who see the very same dangers of the despotic AI in the current government, and many of the same methods. First Contact has lent a massive opportunity to would-be opposition groups and insurrectionary cells to speak out and act against Nralakk from relative safety in alien space, with many operating openly and vying for the aid of like-minded aliens, or simply seeking an audience for denouncing the Federation. Due to their common goal, the various cells will typically work alongside one another.
There is documented evidence that the Lyukal provided material support to the Independent Traverser Movement, although the extent of this support is unknown. Near the end of the movement's activity, a Lyukal operation within Federation space was foiled thanks to a combined effort of ITM members and Ruupkala and Nlomkala officers. The operation involved providing arms and other supplies to militant members of the Independent Traverser Movement who were still active despite the overall movement losing traction as a result of successful negotiations with the Grand Council.
Leader: Ockq Oona
Mission Statement: Dedicated to change through the use of technology. The Raqa'Nuul pursue acts of cyber warfare on the Nralakk Federation, be it through disabling a wide net of Nlom Relays or through implementing dormant viruses that destroy the very programme that they are a symbiote of. They see themselves as activists and protectors of Skrell, and tend to rise up most powerfully when they perceive a threat to themselves or other sub-factions.
Allegedly established in the northernmost segment of the Traverse decades ago, Raqa'Nuul has become one of the most infamous splinter groups. Augmented Skrell, usually through both illegal and legal means, that use a variety of cybercrime methods to repel the growing influence of the Nralakk Federation. The Raqa'Nuul push their agenda through launching massive DDoS attacks on Nlom Relays, as well as by leaking viruses into essential equipment. They have since become a large thorn in the backside of the Federation, consistently making the work of the Ruupkala difficult.
Note: Whilst the act of being a member is not illegal, members of Raqa'Nuul will commonly find themselves preyed upon by the Nralakk Federation. Bureaucratic processes that usually take moments suddenly find themselves lost within the system - taking weeks, months or even years to get completed. The result of this eventually pushed for many to either leave the Nralakk Federation or simply go off-the-grid.
Leader: The Latent
Mission Statement: Oqolk-Kora are committed to liberating the Skrell through educating the masses. It is only through psionic wieldy, and suppression of the Nlom, that a Skrell can be who they truly are by expressing their individuality. Secrecy is the utmost of importance for the Oqolk-Kora, who usually use a variety of different cyphers to communicate with some forms even taking years to crack in order to prevent the Nralakk Federation from intercepting their messages. Its leader, known as "The Latent", proclaims that the Oqolk-Kora can only achieve its goals peacefully and Skrell masquerading as a member whilst committing violent acts are unsanctioned by the group.
By all accounts founded within the most southern segments of the Traverse, Oqolk-Kora is yet another renowned splinter group of the Resistance. Emphasizing psionic wieldy, Oqolk-Kora believes that the Skrell can peacefully emancipate themselves from the gripping clutches of the Nralakk Federation by shedding their reliance of government-sanctioned Nlom Relays. These techniques are commonly associated with Kir'gul, especially with the use of psionics to express individuality by suppressing Nlom - usually done by creating a psionic barrier around an individual Skrell to prevent external influences.
Note: Due to the illegality of Kir'gul, the Oqolk-Kore are branded as criminals by the Nralakk Federation. Despite being peaceful, those that are found by the Nralakk Federation will be sentenced to re-education, where they are usually converted into "perfect citizens". The Oqolk-Kora commonly practice in private, and communicate through the use of highly-encrypted ciphers in order to assure continuing their work.
Plurqh'Quq (Freedom Fighters)
Leader: Ju'qoli Yeeboq
Mission Statement: The Nralakk Federation's rival, the Plurq'Quq are Skrell that use any means at their disposal to upheave any influence that the Federation may have. They have no preferred method to deal with the Nralakk Federation, but usually launch small retaliations that have an overarching goal of a much larger insurrection force against the Federation. This is usually done through attacking Federation Fleets on the outskirts of the Traverse, essentially stealing the spacecraft and technology within to power their movement.
Originally, the Plurqh'Quq initiated their operations withing the easternmost segments of the Traverse - with the belief that the only way for the Skrell to be freed from the grasp of the Nralakk Federation is to fight back, using techniques very similar to those of the Kala; decapitating the opponent's ability to fight through tactical decisions. They have since relocated their base of operations within the contested regions surrounding the Solarian Alliance. In recent times, they have begun isolating transports convoys guarded by the Lukala on the boundaries of the Nralakk Federation - prompting an increase in Qukala, who have begun to intervene in the various border skirmishes in an attempt to keep the destabilized region from spilling over into the Nralakk Federation.
Note: Plurqh'Quq is deemed a terrorist group by the Nralakk Federation, and actively hunt those they suspect to be members. Those detained will eventually see themselves harshly sentenced, even disappearing and becoming lost in the cogs that keep the Nralakk Federation running. Due to this, members of Plurqh'Quq will usually plot their escapades within other segments of the Orion Spur.
Mission Statement: Qranqi devotes itself to secrecy, confidentiality and being evasive. Steadfast in decreasing the power the Nralakk Federation wields through moves that seem inconsequential and illogical at first - but later prove to have had profound effects. Not much else is known about Qranqi, except that they are guided by a seemingly all-knowing "Skrell".
Previously spread throughout the westernmost segments of the Traverse, Qranqi has since gone on to consider the region of space around Silversun their base of operations. The ever-popular tourist attraction for the Skrell has allowed many to cover their involvement in Qranqi through disguising their visit to the planet as a 'much-needed retreat'. One of the more elusive splinter groups, those belonging to the Qranqi can still often be found within the Federation - utilizing their supposed innocence to spread their agenda, gathering support from within shadows and planting seeds of rebellion within the Skrell. Rumours persist that the Nralakk Federation fears the power held by the Qranqi, due to their numbers perpetually growing but also their elusive nature.
Note: Qranqi are not recognised by the Nralakk Federation, with most of their actions being covered up and swept beneath the carpet. Its leader, Psi, is shrouded in controversy as it is believed to either be a powerful psionic entity capable of predicting far into the future or simply an artificial intelligence outfitted with advanced predictive algorithms.