The Colony

The Riders


The Colony:

“The Colony” is the general term for a certain species of the Rahnian Empire. An ancient race of unknown origin, The Colony (there is no term for a singular member of the Colony) has been observed to have three basic forms. The first is of a small, colorless segmented worm: the second is a walking insect-likeform rather like a walking-stick; and the last is aflying form similiar to a dragonfly. It has sometimes been said (though never proven) that a member of the Colony can also utilize a multi-form, which (from scattered reports) appears as a cloud of minute insects. The Colony is greatly feared as its members have the ability to “ride” a larger host creature. This is usually accomplished when the Colony member (in wormform) locates and enters an oriface, into which it inserts itself. Once in place, it is able to produce nearly-microscopic fibers which, when woven into the appropriate nerve bundles, allow it to take total control of its “host.” This mechanism is most efficient when the nerve fiber in question is both large and close to the brain of the host: for this reason, ears are especially favored. This practice is so common that it is virtually unknown to find amember of the Colony outside of its host – typically,only the death of the host, or some other disasterous occurance, will be sufficient to dislodge the Colonymember and send it on a hunt for a new mount. Each member of the Colony is a member of a racial psychic network known as the Collective. This enables every member of the Colony to instantly communicate with any other member. This ability remains in place regardless of host. Only certain types of psychic shielding, or else truly vast distances, can serve to interrupt this connection. The connection to the Collective also makes it extremely difficult to kill any individual member of the Colony. Even if trapped in worm form, a Colonist regenerates at an astounding rate, and cornered individuals have been known to wield staggering levels of psychic power. It is theorized that the individual acts as a conduit for the full power of the Collective at such times… but this has never been proven, as there have so far been no survivors of these encounters. After extensive study, it has been determined that the Collective is not a hive mind, as was originally theorized. Each individual in the Colony is an actual individual. Personality is poorly developed, but it is present. In spite of this, the Colony does share anumber of characteristics with a hive mind. First,Colony members are divided into castes. It is theorized that those who can take dragonfly or walking-stick forms (or at least take these forms almost to the exclusion of all others) are actually members of a different caste than their more wormishly-inclined counterparts. It is also known that the Collective has a Queen. Any speculation regarding the Queen rapidly devolves into the wildest guesswork, for the Colony is fiercely protective of their monarch. No one has ever seen the Queen, nor knows much about her. Her function is unknown. It does not appear to be related to breeding, as the members of the Colony are capable of reproducing via asexual division. It is known,however, that in the teeming hordes of the Colony,there is only one Queen among countless of her followers. The Colony, classed as its own species, has produced three sub-classes, as below:

The Progeny

The Progeny were created when a cataclysmic eventoccured. An outside race – their original names long since lost to history – encountered a Queen, at a time of apocolypse. The sun of the solar system in which the Queen resided was about to go Nova, and the forerunners of the Progeny agreed to assist in the evacuation by becomeing temporary hosts. Unfortunately, the cosmic disaster occured earlier than anyone had anticipated. The subsequent death of the Queen, and resulting psychic backlash, killed the majority of the race that had attempted the rescue, leaving the few survivors as empty husks. In the manner of the Collective, a new Queen was appointed immediately. It is estimated that the transition of power took nearly three minutes, and in that time, approximately one-quarter of the Colony perished. This event is now known simply as the Cataclysm. Then, for the first time in the history of the Colony,a disagreement occured. A certain segment (or caste)within the Collective wished to ride their erstwhile rescuers, not in the traditional manner, but in order to heal the race – though the rescue attempt had failed, the breakaways considered the attempt noble. The remainder of the Colony, traumatized over the loss of the old Queen, did not agree with this plan,particularly as it would result in the eventual death of any Colonist who tried it. The transformation would be permanent, and the Colonist would never again be able to separate from its host. However, under the insistance of the caste – and of the Rahnian empire, who didn’t appreciate the genocide of one of its races – it was agreed that this plan would be set into motion. In return, the Rahnian empire would recognize both the Colony and the Progeny as member races. In practice, the Rahnian empire agreed not to destroy the Colony outright in return for repayment. Thus the deal was struck and the Progeny were born.

The Broken

Unfortunately the transfer – given the circumstances -didn’t go particularly well. The twin blows of the lost Queen and the transformation into a permanent Rider short-circuited more than one Colonist. Many survived, as the regenerative abilities of the Colonist were transferred to the Host, but were hopelessly mad. The mad ones escaped in droves as the Rahnian empire discovered that the Progeny were nearly as difficult to kill as their predecessors. To this day the Broken terrorize the spaceways. No cure has yet been found. The tales of their encounters are blood-curdling, but little is known about them. It has been discovered, however, that the Broken have formed a seperate Collective, making the third one encountered. The collectives of the Progeny and Colony are also seperate.

The Desolate

After untold centuries of dutiful service, the Progeny have again split. A faction of them have come to the conclusion that there was no hope that the host race will ever recover, that they have become a new race,and should be recognized as such. The Progeny disagree, believing that there is still hope for the original species. The division between them has led to war which threatens to boil over into the “Uncollected” races. It is now known that the Desolate (who are, unfortunately, indistinguishable from the Progeny save for their views) have formed their own seperate collective.

The Colony

The Sun Eaters Florimel