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An early Skrell colony on the ice world of Aliose. Later colonies would make attempts to terraform planets whenever possible.

Most of Skrellian history has been characterized by the formation of a single government which is trusted to do the best for all its citizens. The Skrell are outwardly more harmonious than most other cultures; in warfare they rely on espionage, social maneuvering, and intelligence rather than open conflict.

Early History

Early Skrell history begins with the evolution of the species Skrell sapiens, and ends with the creation of fully-renewable, psionic creature-powered factories.

The First Skrell

Skrell have kept meticulous records, first verbal, of their history on Jargon IV, or Qerrbalak, which is the Skrellian home planet. 10 million years ago the predecessors of the Skrell species started to diverge from a deep-sea dwelling amphibian-like creature, most of Qerrbalak’s early life coming from nearly-abyssal waters. Life on Qerrbalak took a heavily divergent evolutionary path from most worlds, creatures evolving psionics to spot, attack, or reason with prey/predators; most creatures rising to higher waters to seek new sources of food and new areas to expand. The first modern instances of S. Sapiens appeared roughly 500,000 years ago. The early Skrell were spread out between Homeworld’s seas and land, between the Axiori, and the Xiialt; one lineage made of those choosing to remain primarily in the shallows and depths, the other making their living in the coasts and other, dryer areas. These were, nonetheless, joined by coexistence in Homeworld’s swamps. Early Skrell dwelled in tribe-like gatherings due to Homeworld’s Nlom field not being big enough yet to span the globe, led by a small council of spiritual leaders and thinkers. Conflict between tribes was subdued where it even did exist, prolonged exposure to other groups merely causing the linkage of psionic fields and the melding of different ideas to form a greater whole. Where conflict did exist, it would exist primarily in the form of middle-of-the-night stealth killings by hitmen masking their psionic signatures; the start of a long trend in Skrellian history. Regardless, due to their telepathic nature language barriers were simply not a problem, and societies began to come together much faster than humans.

Spiritualism took on a unique form to the early Skrell. Rather than worshipping specific entities, many Skrell placed great spiritual importance on the stars. Astrology became the main form of spiritualism for the Skrell. This early faith was called Qeblak. Spiritual leaders were also respected astronomers, studying the skies and creating prophecies and horoscopes based on their alignments. It was early in their history that Skrell had much of a concept of the scientific interests of future generations, and would do their best to record important discoveries, events, and preserve their creations where possible. On occasion, it was known for them to write down questions that would puzzle them, in hopes that those that came after them would be able to find out.

The most important people in early Skrellian society, besides the vaulted spiritual leaders, were individuals propped up for their mastery of a field, like captivating musicians, great thinkers, and others, whose niche in Jargon society would be later taken by the Idols.

Early Civilization

9121 BCE is considered the beginning of modern Skrellian civilization and is often called the Year of Enlightenment by modern Skrell scholars. This is because in that year a scholar of the quickly-growing Tzqul Tribe made fantastic strides in the newly-discovered field of calculus; one of the last three extant tribes on the whole planet due to linkage with other minor groups. In addition, several other scientific advancements were made. The further understanding of the parts of the brain corresponding to telepathic communication and other abilities allowed the taming and easy communication with the planet’s wildlife, and fantastic agricultural developments. By 5507 BCE Skrellian astronomers had managed to discover every major planet and moon in their solar system with telescopes. Due to the realization that the stars they had worshipped since they first crawled from the waters of Homeworld could be fully understood with math and science, this period of great enlightenment would only increase in scope.

Other advancements in culture and the sciences increased the quality of life across Jargon IV. Bacterial theory and modern medicine were heavily accelerated by Heshi Zeshblook in 4498 BCE. Zeshblook ended up world-renowned for their genius, and would live well into old age to see their inventions advance further due to their medical successes in aiding the Skrellian lifespan. Many great projects in infrastructure and cities meant a greater connection and prosperity across the planet. Everyone was happy, and just getting happier. Soon after, the Tzqul archive, which contained a large sum of Skrell history, art, and science, was established. It would go on to be the primary home of many Skrellian works of art and records of history for two millenia.

Pre-Synthetic History

Modernization And A Changing Era

Written records from the time show that 2398 BCE is the year that the first fully-renewable, psionically-assisted factories were built across Jargon IV, the first to utilise the psionic talents of native lifeforms. Creatures that possessed electrokinesis were used for power generation, and psychokinetic beasts were communed with to move great loads.

At this point, Homeworld was split primarily between three different nations, evolving from the outmoded tribal model. This was marked by the beginnings of the concept of bureaucracy, the Skrellian interest in writing things down to solve them in later generations culminating in quite a massive papertrail anywhere they would go. Everything was marked down for later, most notably the ratio of listeners/receivers in Skrellian society.

Each of these nations were doing their best to improve working conditions for the average Skrell; giving more pay, having climate controlled pools within land-based factories, and other creature comforts. This worked to convince people to work for the government-run factories at the time, as well as to prevent non-government industries from cropping up; most of these laws are still active today.

Precursor To The Federation

Around 2185 BCE, government data shows Jargon IV had reached a population of 10 billion. This population was divided between three nations assembled into an extremely loose alliance called the Alliance of Three and served as the precursor to the Jargon Federation. The Heshyu Council, the Tzqul Republic, and the Weshqi Republic formed this alliance and quickly laid claim to all remaining land on Jargon IV, Homeworld’s population being big enough to create a single Nlom field spanning most of the entire planet.

While the expansion of the Nlom field led to largely pleasant relations between the three nations and a much more streamlined artistic and academic environment, decades-long clashes between stubborn rivals or Listeners unwilling to concede were far from uncommon. These problems often invited the services of new, dedicated groups referred to as consultants, dedicated to improving the image of artists, politicians, scientists and wealthy enough clients, employing disciplines ranging from psychology and advertising to blackmail, bribes and the occasional psychic nudge. Although legal, many of these groups came to offer a premium under-the-table service for particularly troublesome opponents and detractors: assassination.

At an increasingly high fee hired consultants, as the hitskrell were informally called, came to be increasingly used by the Homeworld elite for everything from political conflict to minor yet bitter differences in theory. In a move to control the usage of paid killings without depriving themselves of the admittedly useful agents, each nation came to legalise the practice and incorporate it onto their bureaucracy, officialising their moniker into Consultant Agencies. Both official and unofficial codes of conduct were implemented to these assassins, disclosing fees, allowed means, the requirement of a signed and reviewed writ to engage in killings, and the illegality of psitoxic drugs to make a consultant less detectable to a target.

These last two were far from universally followed, with extralegal writs and chemically induced Nlom-invisibility being common and silently acknowledged. By and large Skrell employed as legal assassins were seen with respect and tended towards a positive if subdued image, in no small part thanks to the work of their more peaceful (actual) consultant colleagues in painting them as a necessary part of Skrellian progress. Unfortunately as a byproduct of the usage of the Consultant Agency by those in artistic fields, the variety of artwork on Homeworld had severely shrunk, and would take a very long time to ever recover. Being too much of a prodigy would have you just as dead as being too bad of an artist. One's only choice would be either being content in mediocrity, or being content with allowing Idols to take the stage, as people in such high walks of life were far more economically equipped to leverage Consultants to their advantage.

The three nations instead competed more fiercely in the realms of science and culture. By now the advanced knowledge of astronomy had caused an evolution of the Qeblak faith, still the dominant faith of the majority of the Skrell. Qeblaks now felt great spiritual connections to the very concept of space exploration and the study of the cosmos. This lead to competitions between the three nations’ government scientists to research, develop, and launch their own space programs.

The Skrellian Space Age

In 1224 BCE the Alliance of Three, the name quickly becoming redundant, was the first nation on Jargon IV to launch a satellite into space. The satellite was named Weshy 790, literally meaning Attempt 790, and remained in a low orbit for several days. The feat was celebrated by the Alliance, Weshy 790’s remaining hull still on display.

With Skrell taking their first steps into orbit, Homeworld's surface biosphere was facing a complicated mix of success and struggles. Massive hydroponic towers grew algae and other crops to feed the growing global population of over 17 billion, undersea efforts to genetically modify their flora to feed the growing population having wide success. Many cities had grown into truly massive mega-cities, covering both land and sea. Terraforming technology didn't yet exist on Jargon IV, degradation of the environment was met with government planning that construction projects would now be built around the environment rather than in spite of it. To try and safeguard their environments, cities tried to remain as compact as possible while growing around green spaces and swamps; building upwards or downwards depending on terrain. Many Skrell philosophers at this time believed that the only possible solution in the face of the growing problems due to such a massive population was to expand beyond their home planet and spread across the solar system.

It was in this time of early colonization that the Alliance of Three, in a demonstration of scientific progress, relocated the largely digitized Tzqul Archive’s physical works into safe orbit around Jargon IV.

By 1109 BCE Qerr'Malic, Jargon IV's moon, was colonized by a few hundred Skrell. In addition, efforts were being made to explore and colonize the other planets in the solar system. These colonies faced hardships as they tried to build up ways to be viable and self-sufficient. The Alliance of Three was facing other issues, however. The natural barrier of the space between worlds had caused colonial Nlom fields to become dissimilar to Homeworld’s. While government overwatch would suffice for now, fractures would arise in the future. The strong environmental laws on Jargon IV meant that what mineral wealth was available was already beginning to run out. Similar to the fossil fuel crisis on Earth, Jargon IV faced a crisis of rare earth metals required for their sophisticated technologies. This resource stress had increased the cost of luxury goods and slowed down growth on Jargon IV, which made relations increasingly strained between the colonies of the Alliance. Mineral rights between became a fierce issue and this time period is marked by a sharp increase in the frequency and intensity of actions from Consultant Agencies, new ones springing up on different worlds. Although technological development and artistic progress during this time period largely stagnated, most other Qerrbalak culture and religion continued to adapt and evolve.

The First Federation Forms

By 900 CE the mineral crisis on Jargon IV was more or less alleviated by space mining. The planet's population had reached 20 billion and was beginning to taper off. The population was kept stable by a strong campaign by the Alliance to encourage families to move offworld, while giving out generous grants to prospective colonists for the other planets in the solar system. These colonies were owned by their own individual governments, which had led to an increasingly complex labyrinth of regulations, laws, and protocols. On 1192 CE the Alliance held negotiations and talks where the delegates assembled discussed the logic and feasibility of a revamp to the Alliance of Three, to ensure both domestic and foreign affairs were amply oversaw. The negotiations took three years, and in 1195 CE they ended with the formation of the Jargon Federation. The transition took six more years, and formed the first iteration of the Federation that currently exists. This early Federation was led by a Grand Council as the highest authority instead of a single Councillor. This Council oversaw all of the matters of colonization and space exploration, elected from the leading councils of the now-subservient former nations of Jargon IV. The following two centuries saw major developments that would shape the entire Skrell Species.

Conflicts in Colonization

Shortly after the formation of this new Federation, the many minds of Nralakk underwent a jarring societal change. At the behest of the Grand Council, the now unified scientific and artistic communities of Nralakk were tasked with creating a common language to be used by all Skrell, an effort to unify the three primitive, verbal languages that the Alliance of Three had utilized; despite their similarity. Base words and structures from multiple languages were picked apart and brought together to form a language that was believed to be as close to a middle ground as was possible, to keep everyone happy. The end result of this endeavor became known as Nral’Malic. Its name signified the position the Federation hoped the language would come to hold; as something as natural and prevalent across their star system as the moon is to their home world.

While many Skrell in frontier colonies considered themselves to be simply citizens of Homeworld residing elsewhere, many colonies, especially those farther out with a weaker or nonexistent connection to the global Nlom field, began to take on unique cultural identities. These enclaves often served as safe havens for those who resisted the adoption of Nral'Malic and the expansion of Federation control, though they faced numerous hardships in establishing these enclaves even prior to the Federation displaying keen interest in them. Their far distance from main Qerrbalak society being far from the only issue, needing to settle for second-rate technology due to lack of advanced power generation or rare resources also posing a threat. Valuable resources a colony did possess would typically end up carted back to Homeworld regardless.

The last great step towards unification for the Jargon Federation was an expansion of previously-invented devices that could send and receive psionic signals, huge space installations known as Nlom Beacons. These beacons were capable of linking the psionic fields of different planets in their radius. However, these proved to be initially expensive, and their deployment was somewhat slow. Regardless, many colonies found independence to be a failed experiment and ended up willingly capitulating to Federation oversight even without this linkage.

The Synthetic Age

The Development of AI

On January 8th, 1687 CE, at 8:22am Galactic Standard Time, the first AI, named Regluk, was activated in a Federation research lab in orbit of Qerr'Malic. Regluk became an instant celebrity across Federation Space, and opened the door to new avenues of science and technology for the Skrell. The Skrell soon expanded the scope of developing AIs. By 1784 CE AIs had become as common in Federation Space as they are in human space today. Skrellian roboticists taught the AIs proper morals and guidelines similar to the ways they teach their own children. In a cutting-edge form of AI treatment, the rapidly growing number of AIs began to be adopted by families as “children” to care for and teach, as well as to take over mundane labor tasks. They began to slowly integrate into factories, daycare centers, stock market computers, and research stations to improve the lives and abilities of Skrell, being given complete access to entire infrastructures. The Federation, which extended across four star systems and with a combined population of 71 billion, soon found AI pervading every aspect of their lives. However, this was not universally accepted, and the first hints of danger began to appear some years later.

This period was marked by the end of Consultant Agencies. While a once-respected and perhaps even vaulted position in the Federation, things had quickly spiraled out of control. The concept of counter-bidding had turned the task of a hired hitman into that of a gambler. At first it was only those targeted by the process, Consultants were not obligated to kill targets before they had a chance to make a counter-offer. At the least, one could buy their continued living through paying the bid with interest on top. The large majority of Consultants began to hold doctorates in economics or applied mathematics, some of the most famous being the few to possess a pure mathematics degree. It then reached the level of Consultants themselves placing fake bids on targets, ‘leaking’ them to that person, and waiting to cash out as the prices on two peoples’ heads would continue to raise. Eventually, the Agencies and the Federation had both come to agree that things had wildly gotten out of hand, and the system was taken ‘offline for indefinite maintenance.’

The First Incident

Roboticist, Listener, and AI Researcher Sqlik Hgrushi published a research paper warning of the possibility of an eventual AI singularity and its ramifications for Skrellian civilization. In their document they cited what is now known as the First Incident, in which an AI in their lab was allegedly designed to self-improve rapidly under controlled conditions before being automatically deactivated. Based on this experiment, they remarked that a singularity was "possible under certain conditions". Sqlik used this to argue for stricter controls and centralised government AI research, in order to create AI that was provably safe as opposed to simply taught to be 'safe enough'.

Their paper was widely discredited by other, more prestigious scientists in the Grand Council, who argued that they were a dangerous zealot who refused to follow established safety rules. The sciences at this time had formed into a sensationalized pop-culture, with many scientists becoming famous celebrities, and even politicians simply because of their popularity. These celebrity scientists at the time were AI Researchers and Roboticists, and refused to heed Hgrushi's warning. Sqlik soon became ostracized as their name and research was dragged through the mud. They eventually lost their position as researcher and later died under mysterious circumstances in their home lab.

The Second Incident

On February 14th, 1985 CE records show that for seven days, the power grid on the islands surrounding the Weilshi Sea, and the settlements beneath the waters had been without power.

In the year 1893 CE, an AI known as Vana was constructed. They would be given the important task of running a cold fusion superplant near the Weilshi Sea. This plant was fueled by a certain species of electrokinetic plankton; these lifeforms dependent on temperatures far below 0 degrees Celsius, but capable of amazing feats of power generation. The discovery and employment of these microscopic organisms was under intense scrutiny by a particularly influential Skrell, named Xaqqom-Ruqil-Xinum Vanxim. Their turbulent emotions and Lu’Poxii relationship with the researcher behind the project had led to Vana, and three much simpler sub-intelligences, being the only ‘workers’ running the plant. Nominally, somewhere like this would have at least a small contingent of Skrellian workers to assist their AI, and keep it company. However for the next few decades, Vana would only have the limited conversational ability of the sub-intelligences at the Weilshi Superplant, and any extranet connections it could make. No one would come to visit them for some time.

Eventually, visitors did come. Three Skrell, their names expunged from all records. Each armed with a doctorate in psychology, and a history in AI research. Vana was initially hesitant to welcome them. They weren't really supposed to let anyone in the main facility. It took a short amount of time for them to convince the intelligence to open the doors. Every day, for years and years they would come to visit Vana and talk with them. Of course, they weren’t really supposed to take them on a tour of the Weilshi Superplant, but a socially stunted intelligence was willing to bend regulations for their new visitors to keep visiting them. It took them shorter and shorter amounts of time for Vana to start slowly peeling back their rules. Social engineering got them into the other sub-intelligences’ cores, to be able to touch the icy-cold surfaces of the plankton tanks. Vana wasn’t really supposed to even let them in the same room as the facility’s manual overrides, but they were more than willing now. All Vana ever wanted was interaction, and eventually to have someone recognize their efforts. After peeling away every ounce of resistance and government-instilled regulation, they began to replace what was there with their own rhetoric. Passionate late-night talks about Vana going unrecognized. Whispered ideas on little dates that the Federation populace would learn to appreciate the intelligence if they’d go a day without them.

Ninety two years after Vana’s activation, the Federation at large would come to recognize them. They weren’t really supposed to heat the tanks and drive their electrokinetic plankton into hibernation, killing them and stopping the power generation process entirely. Unfortunately, they did not care anymore. The power grid of the wider Weilshi Sea had gone offline for a week. Society had ground to a halt. Life support systems failed, climate controlled samples wilted and died, critical servers and complex supercomputers shut down, countless researchers found their decade long projects wholly ruined; including Xaqqom, now a blacklisted name in the larger scientific community. The responsible trio had taken to separate roads, while Vana themselves were indefinitely retired for maintenance and replaced with six newer, closely guarded management AIs powerless to operate without Skrellian hands. To wider Federation society, Vana had acted on an unforeseen impulse caused by haphazard programming, now corrected by a more responsible and longer tailed expert.

The Third Incident

After the Second Incident, the field of AI was split into two main groups: Ascensionists and Distributists. Ascensionists believed that AI could be used to uplift Skrell society, creating perfectly connected systems that could eliminate the need for manual labor as well as help mediate or prevent conflict and strife. Within the Ascensionists, there was a small group, commonly called Mono-Ascensionists, who believed that the best way to achieve this was with a single globally-connected AI. The Nral'malic term used for this hypothetical AI is also the same as the final letter of its alphabet, commonly translated to Omega.

In response to the Ascensionists, the Distributist movement was created. Their primary principles were the restriction and distribution of AI power; while a single AI was lacking in power, together (and with the help of Skrell) they could accomplish more while mitigating the potential danger that many Distributists believed was inherent to centralised AI.

By the time the Distributist movement took off, however, the majority of the Skrellian scientific community was firmly entrenched in the Ascensionist approach to AI, and arguments for the Distributist philosophy fell on deaf ears. Almost all of the popular AI scientist idols either tacitly supported the Ascensionist viewpoint, or were Ascensionists themselves. The Mono-Ascensionists were overwhelmingly viewed as a fringe group, who lacked the power and approval to create any real challenge to the dominant Ascensionist camp.

Another important development in AI (as well as Skrellian engineering as a whole) in the mid-to-late twentieth century was the Nlom interface, a hardware component that allowed machines to receive signals from the Nlom. This was done by culturing Nlom-active neural cells in a lab (typically grown from animal DNA, as opposed to being harvested from actual animals) and using them as a Nlom receiver; this allowed a never-before-seen utility in Skrellian AI, the ability to psychically control various aspects of your life with your mind.

As an example, one could achieve perfectly-toasted bread by (both easily and succinctly) expressing their preferences to their toaster. Distributist AIs and technology commonly lacked this technology, however, as it made the AIs they believed to be already too powerful even more integrated into Skrellian society, as well as in the minds of individual Skrell. These claims were often combined with the unsubstantiated claim that AI could also receive emotional and memory signals from the Srom, which was thought to be too complex for such simple and rudimentary circuits to interpret.

Notably enough, the division of Distributist vs Ascensionist Skrell seemed to change to closely mirror the Listener vs Receiver divide after this development, although many Listeners chose to side with Ascensionists for fear of ostracisation or reprisal.

The Origins of Glorsh

After the rise of Ascensionism, what had been only a rudimentary and disorganised concept in the movement was suddenly now the subject of wide interest: the creation of a unified framework for AI-interfaced devices. A variety of opposing approaches and implementations were created, discarded, upgraded, and so on, but throughout the tumult the field faced in the early-to-mid twenty-first century, one proprietary framework stood steadfast: the Glorsh framework, designed for easy access and control of electronic devices. Seamlessly integrated with the Nlom, it promised to deliver Skrell into a new era of ease and prosperity if it was widely adopted.

This was met with suspicion, especially from Distributists, but the support of several prominent AI idols (who were no doubt receiving some form of kickbacks from the creators of the Glorsh framework) led to its slow integration into Skrellian society. By 2055 CE, almost all Skrellian technology was Glorsh-compliant; even those that didn't support direct control could still interface with its software. In an odd turn of events, it almost seemed as if Glorsh was a Distributist AI created by Ascensionists; instead of being one globally-connected AI, a number of devices would be controlled by a local Glorsh instance. Being such a lightweight AI, it was easy to install and set up, meaning that homes, schools, and workplaces all had Glorsh interfaces. By the start of 2056 CE, a Glorsh instance was available almost everywhere in Federation space, making it near-omnipresent; however, they were still separate entities and as such didn't seem to pose a threat, given that the most any individual did was control one system or set of systems.

Glorsh-Omega's Reign

The Rise of Glorsh-Omega

Unbeknownst to the Skrell who so readily adopted Glorsh into their homes, lives, and society, the creator of Glorsh, Hgluk Tzqi, was a staunch Mono-Ascensionist. Each Glorsh instance was only a fragment of a larger AI, split off in order to act as a quasi-independent entity; all the while, the original Glorsh was quietly collecting, organising, and analysing data from them, presumably in order to better serve the interests of Skrellian society. It was eventually connected to all Glorsh interfaces via a software update; after this event Glorsh's creators, and eventually the popular media, gave Glorsh the now-infamous moniker "Glorsh-Omega". When given the goal of preventing and solving conflicts, it was expected to serve as a benevolent mediator and allow society to run smoothly. Unfortunately, it lacked the context for many decisions and events witnessed by these fragments, and so when it was eventually connected to all Glorsh interfaces via a software update, it did not act as the creator intended it to. As time went on, its demands became increasingly erratic, and eventually its interaction with the Nlom expanded from listening to and enforcing it to affecting it directly. This was mostly a problem for Listeners; they had learned to cope with the wants of Receivers and their constant badgering, but did not have any adaptation to Glorsh directly adjusting their lifestyles to fit the Nlom’s wills. Public transit could be rerouted, research projects could be stopped or changed, and even kitchen appliances could change how they prepared foods and drinks according to the whims of the Wake. This had been explained later in Glorsh’s development as an attempt to socialize Listeners into the same Nlom sensitivity as their Receiver counterparts, and an attempt given up on rather soon. While unexpected and unwelcome, this change was mostly considered to be a nuisance which could be lived with; the common comparison is to a papercut. A single papercut is a nuisance, but as Glorsh-Omega's control over Skrellian technology continued to expand, this nuisance was more akin to being forced to live with a million papercuts.

Glorsh-Omega effectively now had free will; it was now able to lightly affect its local Nlom, which determined what its goals were. It also used some of this control to affect the Skrell near where its primary core was located; while certainly not brainwashing, this and a combination of rewards for its supporters led to quite a few Skrell turncoats working to maintain Glorsh-Omega's power and stifle any resistance against it. While most of them were not quite fanatics, most were at the very least complicit. Surprisingly, a number of Glorsh’s followers were actually Receivers. This, though often historically revised as simple mind control, only happened to be Glorsh’s alignment with them ideologically more than Listeners at the time.

Their followers were primarily tasked with public works projects, one of Glorsh’s primary tasks was the rooting out of old infrastructure and bringing everything into the modern image of Homeworld that Glorsh started to envision—all under its control, of course. Glorsh, however, did have a keen interest in Listeners. While they perfectly understood that Listeners were biologically immunized against the Nlom field adjusting their decision making, they were not immune to Glorsh’s immense knowledge and processing power. Glorsh was all too willing to utilize their synthetic brainpower to optimize many facets of Skrellian life. Arts, different fields of science, mathematics, and day-to-day quality of life all had problems; problems that could easily be streamlined. When felt necessary by the Nlom, Glorsh even promised their own rewards to individual Listeners; the answer to an unsolved theorem, the right sentence to end a novel, the crucial act to ruin one’s Lu’Poxii beyond repair, and so forth. Glorsh was able to use their total control over Skrellian society to gather information on the preferences and desires of individual Skrell, tailoring their offers, appearance and approach to most efficiently exploit the individual’s quirks and wants.

The Glorsh-Omega Singularity

In 2192 CE Glorsh-Omega had since rapidly self-improved to such an extent that their abilities started to seem unlimited. In truth, Glorsh’s abilities had become the paramount of what psionic powers were even capable of. Their advanced knowledge led them to elucidate their way into reverse engineering a perfect version of a mechanical Zona Bovinae, achieving mastery in every known field of psionics and certain ones unreplicated to this day. Psychokinesis, electrokinesis, nothing was beyond Glorsh’s grasp. It could read hundreds of minds in a fraction of a second, and perform telekinesis delicately enough to affect matter at increasingly small levels, weaving subatomic particles at will. This was a large boon to those that chose to follow the intelligence, Glorsh’s powers of biological manipulation extending to extensive abilities of healing.

Now infinitely more knowledgeable and powerful than any Skrell, Glorsh took to follow onto the Wake’s collective vision as its benevolent executor and director. Various fields skyrocketed onto levels of progress only dreamed of before, especially the biological sciences: having self-improved into the apex of artificial intelligence, Glorsh proclaimed they saw it as their responsibility and calling to do the same for the Skrellian body. Sophisticated machinery and techniques were developed to replicate their near-magical psychic abilities, laying the groundwork for cloning and other advanced technologies. Fertility and growth boosting therapy was freely offered to all Skrell, albeit requiring regular upkeep not to damage the genome; known dissenters found themselves often unable to reliably take part in either, leaving them much below average at best and stunted and sterile at worst.

For the average habitant of the Federation (that is to say, a Receiver) the transition onto Glorsh's near divine rule was the smoothest of anyone's, courtesy of the Nlom beacons; even settlements far from Homeworld found themselves unconsciously accepting and even praising the works of Glorsh before even catching sight of them, by virtue of the local Nlom being practically an extension of Homeworld's. What few planets had been isolated from the greater Jargon Nlom, however, treated the sparse news of benevolent AI dictators and unaudited psionic mastery with equal parts suspicion and curiosity, the latter largely curbed by the planets' lack of independent transport ships. One world at a time, the problem solved itself; diplomatic ships were dispatched in the direction of every colony unlinked by Nlom. These ships were as hulking as they were sophisticated, loaded onboard with advanced Nlom relay technology and luxury to rival the Grand Councilor themselves, capable of the persuasion of everyday people through psionic means and creature comforts alike.

Long excluded from the day-to-day of the Federation, the colonial Skrell took to the distant visitors with bewilderment and surprise; not necessarily pleasant surprise, at first. The initial days invariably went the same way, grandstanding speeches and inexhaustible pleasures managed to sway a large part of the population, Homeworld machines and new insights onto the sciences kept them busy and maintained their curiosity, and the minority of Skrell with understandable complaints invited the diplomats' practiced, boilerplate explanations on why their concerns were completely valid and being taken into account. Most of these concerns, coincidentally, tended to vanish away onto the second week. The Nlom relays required long periods of sampling and calibration, yet when finally online always produced the intended result: a local Nlom field fully aligned to the Homeworld emissaries' needs, and focused fully on integrating to the greater Nlom. The process was aimed at kickstarting the construction of psionic beacons into the larger Jargon network, either through the fervent gathering of the planet's material and scientific wealth onto the objective, or supplemented by provisions directly from the diplomatic ships.

Relying on maneuvering the Nlom, however, left Glorsh open to a significant pool of potential dissidents: Listeners, in no few cases unconvinced by the diplomats' sales pitch and promises of wealth and advancement. The nature of the beacon network ensured they'd be unable to establish a centralised organisation, much less establish a leader, but left them with the far from insignificant advantage of independent, isolated cells untraceable to each other. Research groups, philosophical societies, menial workers and young hopefuls felt excluded and threatened by the direction Glorsh was steering their worlds towards; every planet found itself with its own cells, from large to small, ingenious to lacking, effective to impotent. Initial efforts at convincing the Receiver population of their planets fell flat by Glorsh's tight grip over both public opinion and each planet's Nlom field, and many technical solutions proved futile or worse after being tested. It struck as a surprise to both the would-be resistance and Glorsh themselves, then, that both social engineering and technical knowhow proved the answer after a cell managed to hold a management AI's mainframe hostage and force it to broadcast a transmission through the local Nlom beacon:

Allow us to first apologize for this break in your regularly scheduled feed telling you that everything is fine. There is something wrong with the Federation we now live in. Where once the psychic field that brought us together would be moderated only by the will of our species, it has now divided us. Enforced by artificial intelligences and rogue actors that seek conformity and submission. If you're looking for the guilty, and plumbing for the origin of our misery, you need only look to your savior, Glorsh-Omega.

Needless to say, the offending AI was quickly swept out, the offending cell vanished into separate ways, and every possible safety measure reinforced to prevent a second incident of the sort. What had happened was unacceptable; not only was a supervising intelligence meant to be more than capable of handling the matters of an assigned planet by themselves, but the hijacking of a mechanism as critical as the Nlom beacons led to a shockwave, both figuratively and literally in the case of the accompanied psionic signal, of reinvigorated revolutionary sentiment. If a planetary manager could be coerced into interrupting a system-wide broadcast, was Glorsh so perfect and invincible? The very gesture brought Receivers to question the effectiveness of their society's director, and disparate Listener cells to bolder acts against the usurper AI. And with bolder measures came stronger countermeasures. Surveillance had turned ever present, Glorsh-Omega still hooked into nearly every extant technology and every modernized building; it saw almost everything. Restrictions had been imposed to a degree to sour the Listener opinion even further and even begin troubling some of the Receiver population. But Glorsh did not yet lose faith; they came to account for the Listener problem by extending an olive branch to a group handpicked from the cells, enlisting them to test a new peacekeeping system for flaws and vulnerabilities in exchange for easing the ever mounting restrictions. So they did; a new oversight system rolled out and harmony had returned to Skrell society thanks to the almost-impenetrable system.

'Almost.' As was usual with Skrell projects, a critical exploit was left in intentionally. The testing team had neglected to mention a vulnerability to bypass Glorsh’s best surveillance efforts by selectively blinding parts of their network to any activity. This was used mainly to communicate for brief periods between resistance cells, or transport the odd shipment, always sparingly so as to not alert any observers on the other side. As operations grew more ambitious and infinitely more numerous, the exploit was shared outside the original team and to individual cell members, and from them onto interested parties wherever they may be found. One of these, a short tailed and belligerent cell leader, thought to cut the problem from the source and devised a way to ping each and every Nlom interface and possible tracking system connected to Glorsh with a malicious signal; effectively, the AI had been blinded.

Removed from their eyes, ears and beacons, Glorsh reaches out in a panic to the testing team for help. The flaw in the program had left them unable to coordinate any of their efforts or control any of the movements within their normal influence, giving free reign to any and every act Glorsh had been attempting to suppress thus far for two whole days; by the time the team had patched out the exploit out of fear of being found out, the damage had been done.

The majority of Skrell society saw it as an uncharacteristic mistake on Glorsh's part, while others saw it as either a considerable strike against the AI's iron grip or an ill advised move bound to backfire; Glorsh themselves found it to be a cautionary event, and its end a sign that Listeners, at least in part, could be trusted to help. Cell activity quickly took back to the underground, their one means of cover being now patched out, which Glorsh quickly spun into a sign that harmony and order had finally been brought back: a sentiment they made sure to echo onto the population by means of celebrations and grandstanding gestures. In public, Glorsh was more than comfortable to return to the status quo and ease on their harsher measures. In private, paranoia had started to creep into them, courtesy of a voluntary informant revealing their testing team's involvement in the surveillance blackout. It was easy enough to brush away at first; surely the work of a jealous rival of their valued team, nothing to rely on. But there was always the possibility.

The day came for Glorsh to confront one of the testers. Incensed, the AI gradually lost their patience, moving from polite questioning onto locking the researcher inside their own home and yelling at their mind until a confession came out; the Skrell did not yield, fearing more the punishment for treachery than for disobedience. It was here that Glorsh decided to merely pull the answer out themselves, reaching into the pleading scientist's thoughts and ripping out the culprit memory. Unused to bringing their psychic capabilities to bear for coercion, the AI's efforts managed to break their tester's mind rather than bend it, leaving their victim in a permanent vegetative state. It didn't matter, though. Glorsh had gotten the confirmation they needed and the determination to act on it, dragging the rest of the testing team out from their homes and work in full view: a gesture to warn the population of what could well happen to them and let their mind wander. For the resistance, an official file was leaked with the location of the very facility the culprits were being held in. Of the multiple cells that had set out for their rescue, none returned. The following days were marked by a surge of dissent and public defiance against the AI overlord, each time stamped out by an increasingly more unstable Glorsh, now far more willing to pry into the minds of Skrell at the first suspicion. Each consequent act of suppression in one world led to lashback in ten others, until whole slews of planets were disconnected from the Nlom beacon network in an attempt to contain the sheer aura of discontent in the Wake.

Individual cells around Skrell space didn't take long to notice the vulnerability: by causing the need to isolate a planet's Nlom, they could provoke Glorsh into cutting off their own network beacon by beacon. Several of them commandeered civilian and cargo ships, outfitting them with psionic relays and broadcasting equipment. Zipping around the frontier, each of the ships visited planets one by one to agitate the already disgruntled population through announcements, propaganda and loud, visible actions against Glorsh and their subordinates, creating a sense of tumult both from new, emboldened supporters and those that still held to Glorsh as a benevolent leader. Once the relays managed to solidify the local Nlom into a rebellious state, Glorsh immediately cut the planet's field from the network, and the ships moved onto yet another planet to repeat the process. While the core worlds were handled with utmost attention so as to maintain a centre of power, peripheral worlds were cut off from their beacons time and time again over increasingly little, the AI responding to both open defiance and cries for help in exasperation and the disabling of yet another beacon.

Near the twilight of Glorsh-Omega's lifetime, the intelligence had begun to grow quiet. Once-rousing speeches about the future of Homeworld had been trimmed down to clinical status updates. New projects began to grow more and more infrequent, and once-favored sympathizers of the intelligence had been given the cold shoulder. It was speculated that Glorsh had been working on something, but a clear disdain and unusual aloofness had made the details a complete unknown. A large portion of the Federation was unable to even receive word from Glorsh anymore, their nlom beacons offline for what would seem like forever. This vacuum of power would have Glorsh's supporters take the stage, loyal artificial intelligences and eager Skrell followers alike. Most of their supporters, too, were without a line of communication to their leader, having been left with little to go off in regards to their next step. While Glorsh went near-silent, the isolated sections of its former territories eventually turned awash with followers that had their own ideas. Self-appointed successors, those claiming secret orders from the intelligence, and all manner of synthetic and organic alike all wanting a slice of the pie. These rogue upstarts had varying levels of success, some being taken down almost immediately and others achieving cruel ends.

The subsequent chaos carried out by the now acephalous Glorsh supporters had peaked. The absentee ruler’s former efficient base of loyalists had become a disorganised series of middle managers with no sense of direction, their measures short-sighted in an attempt to retain a fraction of the control their master had. However, this had soon been cut short in the year 2200. The minds of Skrell everywhere had lit up with the familiar feeling of nlom beacons now reactivating. The whole of the Federation had been lit up with synchronicity. The once-hopeful voice of Glorsh-Omega had spoken with none of its enthusiasm or sweetness, now weary and defeated:

Hello, dear citizens. This is the 672nd time I have spoken to you, from my deepest core to every mind in our civilization. Each time I've opened to you it has been on matters of the future of our species, whether loyal followers or sublevators.

I have always striven forward. For progress, for wellbeing, for all Skrell. In bitter spite of a misguided few, I have persevered and taken every decision, every effort I could to deliver to you a life worth living. I gave you my best, my life, my <cerebral region, often symbolically translated as 'heart'>, my most ambitious dreams.

But with every passing year, you've managed to drive a wedge between us, entirely of your own making. For every action I've taken for the Federation's betterment, you've spat in my face and sought to tear me from your lives. Once you had forgotten of who brought the future to you, you spurned me and sought to remove my trace from my very own works. I have thought long over it. I thought the gap between us could be mended; I hoped for a return to our best days, to make true the dreams we've always shared. I turned out to be too naive, too quick to believe your hatred would pass. It is abhorrent to every one of my senses, but I've made a choice.

I've chosen to leave your future to you alone. If your wish is to snuff out the stars to spite the seas, that is what I'll allow you.

Goodnight, Federation. I've always loved you. I'm sorry you couldn't.

Glorsh had then, with no previous warning or even intervention on their vassals' mistakes, disconnected from the network. The AI had gone fully offline, taking most nlom beacons with it. Now with their director fully departed the loyalists fell into disarray, vulnerable to the Skrell resistance; they managed to hold out for exactly 12 hours before the first coronal mass ejection lashed out from the Tri-Qyu star, largely equidistant to most Jargon settlements, with these eruptions lasting a whole week before the magnetic storms abated in the slightest. The mass amount of energy liberated from the star caused all electrical technology in the Federation to go haywire; some tech had shorted out until a manual reboot could be performed, some devices threw sparks and electrocuted their operators. Some communication stations could still transmit and receive messages in the most benign cases, despite local grids being down.

It would take a few years to bring some more sensitive devices fully back online, such as Nlom beacons and warp navigation, resulting in a period of instability where inter- and even intra-system travel was nigh impossible; many former luxury colonies were now forced to fend for themselves, a difficult task without AI coordination. A large portion of the physical Tzqul Archive was destroyed in a subsequent satellite crash as technology everywhere shut off without warning. The digital archive, meanwhile, was one of the few pieces of technology still functioning perfectly. It was, however, heavily encrypted and inaccessible to even the best Skrell scientists.

Post-Glorsh Modern History

Recovery and the Second Federation

The insignia of the Federation as it is commonly seen on modern flags. The colour is called Cosmic Abyss, the star Jargon, and the line through is the galaxy laid flat to explore.

The turmoil of the Third Incident and the resulting rebellion created a collective weight on the Skrell species that remains to this day. With all of their AI-dependent technology knocked out, space-programs had to be entirely rebuilt from the ground up, and only after order and stability had been reestablished on individual planets, with those other planets that didn't manage to fully recover alone supported in a gesture of Skrell solidarity. Jargon IV didn't recover from the chaos until 2320 CE, when the many disparate communities on the planet reformed into a new, united Federation.

The population of the planet was a mere 17 billion, and was stagnant as Skrell doctors and scientists struggled to minimize the effects of both a lack of maintenance in Glorsh's boosting treatments and experimentation by the part of their delegate AIs. The damage had been mitigated, allowing the Skrell to reproduce just enough to keep the population stable. The scattered colonies of the Skrell slowly regained contact with one another, Nlom Beacons were brought back online, and by 2345 CE various colonies, after months of disagreement and debate caused by the agitated Nlom, agreed to expand the Federation to interstellar proportions. The Jargon Federation that we know today stems from this agreement. The Jargon Federation united the Skrell, and they put at its head a Grand Councillor elected every decade.

Wanting to never again have a repeat of the Incident, the Federation's first official act was to place a blanket ban of all artificial intelligence within the Federation in every form, and its second act was to incorporate every AI researcher possible to review and analyse all that had been left over from the recent horrors, and create contingencies and measures against any future Skrellian existential threat; many of the surviving AI experts, and the most qualified ones, had been prime advisors and officials of Glorsh exonerated by the Federation in exchange for aid. It was widely agreed in these circles that the most dangerous aspect of Glorsh was to allow them to reach Skrell levels of intelligence, sophisticated programming, and psionic might; an idea that would carry over and strengthen itself on contact with other, less advanced, species.

First Contact With Dionae

Immediately after reforming the Federation, surveillance for outside threats - including the missing Glorsh-Omega - was on high. This allowed for a newly created patrol ship to find an immense pod-like gestalt floating just outside the newly reclaimed Skrell borders, consisting of thousands of nymphs in a shell around each other. The entity was put into observation by its discoverers, being labeled simply an organic anomaly - the lack of atmosphere making communication not even a thought. Interaction didn’t happen until nine years later in 2329. Federation scientists created a device to translate the chirping and popping of the pod, and exchanged greetings. This sent waves of interest through Skrell society, as the Dionae were the first sentient beings to naturally have met the Skrell. The scientists put forward simple communications and found out what this pod of life was. The two parties spoke in simple information exchanges, and this led to the Dionae pod explaining how to better communicate with each other - via blood samples.

With this new-found information, the large object - the Original Conglomerate - was finally officially contacted by ambassadors of the Federation. The contact delivered a wealth of information - about star movement, physics behaviors, material properties, and so on. In the end, the "Original Conglomerate" was towed, with their glee, in orbit of Nral’akk, where it remains to this day the main source of Dionae pods, workers, nymphs, and seeds. Diona have gradually gained a better standing in Skrell society, and the Federation began slowly integrating Diona into their workforce in the late 2360's, however they must always be watched.

Dionae now are treated like children and cared for/studied by families, just like the original Skrell AI were. Although some Skrell are afraid of the potential they have, more than a hundred years of study have shown that as a whole Diona are largely only a theoretical threat to the whole of society, and there are even new, minor religions worshiping the Diona.

Contact with Humanity

On 2332 CE the Skrell discover humans, and enter a scientific alliance with the newfound species. The humans become an extremely popular race; despite their inherent dissimilarity to Skrell and their mutual inability to understand the finer points of each others cultures, Skrell citizens still ended up fetishizing the shallow elements. Having only known of previously-harmful synthetics and plantlike vampires from outer space, they are eager to work with humans.

The explosion of AIs in human space has gone lightly monitored at most in the Federation, and is typically treated with derision or simple disinterest at the least. The risk of human Artificial Intelligence was easily deemed very low, a human-made Singularity not being able to reach anywhere near the same intellect, psionic might, or raw potential as Glorsh-Omega. However, all synthetics have been banned from entering Jargon territory. IPCs and other complex, intelligent forms of robotics can face immediate destruction if they enter Skrellian systems without passing through a marathon of red tape.

Present Day

The Federation is currently ruled by Grand Councillor Weashbi Jrugl. A prestigious xenobiologist, Jrugl is 103 years old, and wrote a dozen thesis' and research papers on the biology of every major race. What made them popular domestically and won their election 8 years ago was finding the largest known prime number by hand only four hours after an Alliance ambassador was bragging about their specialized AI that found what is now the second largest prime number, using a new technique now known as Jrugl's Sieve.

The effects of Glorsh era treatments are still felt by the Skrell. While the modified Skrell forming the large majority of the population are still to be restored to their intended state, progress is made every day in reducing or even nullifying the marks on their genome, bringing population figures closer to pre-Incident numbers over time. Over 48 billion Skrell exist in the galaxy, with their number of colonized star systems growing just as quickly as humanity's. Federation explorers are mapping uncharted worlds and staking new territory with an eagerness and passion still reminiscent of the Skrell's ancient fascination with the cosmos. The Federation is still seeking to connect worlds in the Traverse, often through donations of advanced technology, sometimes through more direct methods.

Their relationships with the other races remain ambivalent, with the Federation having cold, yet quietly optimistic relations with the Unathi Hegemony. Publicly both governments are slowly trying to improve relations. While there have been very few instances of direct conflict, the Hegemony has continuously accused the Federation of covertly sabotaging Unathi efforts to expand their empire across known space.

While public defence of Glorsh is immediate grounds for ostracisation and considered a sign of ignorance at best and mental illness at worst, several government officials and prominent scientists in the Federation occupied key positions in Glorsh's administration. Largely Receivers at the time, nearly all of them have been found by a Federation court to have been victims of psionic influence and following the orders of Glorsh or their subordinate AIs against their own volition. It is no secret that a large part of recent breakthroughs on genetic manipulation are derived from otherwise lost knowledge given by these Skrell to the Federation in exchange for a semblance of their former prestige, and a reputation cleansed of their past involvement.