The grays are a race of aliens. They were known on old Earth as far back as the 20th century in the lore of UFO abductions. The grays stand approximately 130-150 centimeters tall. Their eyes are disproportionately large, and some xenobiologists believe that they dwell on a planet that is far from its star. The grays’ heads are also large in proportion to their bodies. They prefer curves and wide angles in architecture and engineering when possible, and it is thought that many flying saucer reports are of gray ships.
The gray is otherwise human-like: two small ears, a nose, a mouth, two arms, two legs. Their hands are fine-boned and long and have three fingers and a thumb. They are completely hairless, and some believe that their metabolism is very fast. Some reports, at any rate, mention frequent eating or drinking.
The grays are masters of technology and some report that they also have mastered extrasensory powers such as telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, and more exotic disciplines. They have been known by other races, most notably the svrak and the khrol. In all cases, they have appeared to spy on a race at first, then later abduct and experiment upon its members. Many have suspected that the grays have sinister plans. Their sudden surprise attacks on the Solarian Confederation in the years between 3050 and 3053 seem to support this view. Since then the war has spread and engulfed the Interstellar Union as well as Yungdun, Khrol, and Oloi space.
The khrols are strange silicon-based life forms. They appear to be a conglomeration of crystals that move. Khrols can grow multiple arms, legs, sensory nodes, and other features, and even change color over time. It is impossible to give a uniform description of the race. However, the average khrol is usually 1.2 meters to 1.7 meters in height. Larger khrols are reported, but they are rare.
Most khrols grow two lower extremities and two upper extremities to better blend in with the majority of known races, but khrols that live in svrak territory often grow multiple legs and arms. Likewise, the khrol can have multiple sensory nodes, and khrols see no need to limit these to merely the puny number normally employed by other races. Khrol can see farther into the ultraviolet and infrared than humans, and their hearing runs much lower and higher in frequency. Khrols have almost no sense of smell or taste, but their sense of touch is very developed. However, khrols do not feel except with special sensory nodes in their fingers or at specific points on their bodies.
The khrol reproduce by budding a new khrol. This is a matter of individual choice, and there appears to be no real consistancy about when where or why a khrol decides to bud.
The khrol have one last peculiarity: they have a racial memory. If two khrols meet, they may touch sensory nodes and exchange some or all their individual experiences. Khrols naturally only come into contact with a limited number of khrols in its lifetime that wish to exchange knowledge, but life-sharing as it is called is common among what is, for the sake of ease of nomenclature, called kinship groups by xenoanthropologists.
Khrols eat rocks, preferring those rich in silica. They have a long lifespan and it is estimated that they average roughly 1200 years. Khrol are masters of architecture, building, and computers. Their computers are legendary among the races of known space, and they are very logical in their dealings. They dislike unsolved problems and find “theoretical” discussions often troubling unless the theory fully explains all aspects of the topic under discussion. The khrol were introduced to humankind by the yungduns, and they were first contacted in 2963. The khrol find humans maddening and fascinating.
The oloi are an imperialistic expansionist power that is composed of individualistic warriors. An adult olonae (the singular form of oloi) stands 2 meters tall. However, their stooped posture makes them appear shorter. They are ape-like and appear to be the only other mammalian race thus far encountered besides grays and humans. The oloi are bipedal and extremely hairy. They are immensely strong for their size, and are fond of brawls. They have a dense bone structure and their long arms give them an advantage in any hand to hand fighting. They have better senses of smell and hearing than humans, and their night vision is better.
The oloi are a warrior culture and view weakness as contemptible. They live approximately 80 years if they do not die in battle or a peace time brawl. Their appearance, though bestial and frightening, is less alien than almost any other race. The oloi are vegetarians and regard meat eaters with disgust. They have warred against the Solarian Federation in the past, and they lurk on the edge of Interstellar Union’s space waiting for the right opportunity to burst into action.
The svrak (singular and plural) are an alien race. They evolved from a beetle-like insectile creature. The svrak’s manipulative appendages developed from sensory antennae and still possess this function as well. This makes svrak ultafine distinguishers of touch, taste, and smell, and capable of extremely small manipulations. They are 1.3-1.9 meters in length and usually stand about 1 meter off the ground. They are hexipedal having six legs. They have compound eye spots and can see farther into the infrared spectrum than humans. They have membranes that vibrate and provide the equivalent of hearing, but their hearing is much less developed than humans. However, their senses of smell, taste, and touch are extremely delicate, and svrak can distinguish far more than any human in these sense areas.
The svrak have a communal society which, though very regulated, is not the hive mind of most premodern imaginings of bug-like aliens. The svrak sport large mandibles and this combined with their other insectile features make them frightening to some humans. However, the svrak are a peace loving race. They eat their own dead and mostly subsist on honey globules produced by their feeder caste. The castes from top to bottom are: royalty, bureaucrat, ambassador, warrior, worker, feeder. Humans most often interact with svrak warrior or ambassador caste members. Svrak find other more individualized races confusing to deal with and upsetting. They feel closest to the khrols and often combine with them on electronic processes. The svrak microcircuitry is renouned throughout known space. The svrak avoid entanglements with warlike races, but will fight to defend their home worlds.
The yungduns are a race of aliens. They most resemble the deinonycus of Earth’s fossil record. They are bipedal saurians who use their tails to balance their movements as they walk. Yungduns range from 1.6 to 2 meters in height. Their tail can be an additional meter to 2 meters in length. Their skin is a mottled gray brown with green highlights. The yungdun has wide set eyes that allow it to see a wider angle than humans. They have a superior sense of smell, often extending their tongues to taste the air similar to snakes. Their sense of hearing is somewhat duller than a human’s. They have three fingers and a thumb on their hands. Proportionally, they are somewhat weaker than a human of similar height and mass, but since they average taller and bulkier than most humans, the average yungdun is slightly stronger than the average human. They are sluggish in cold conditions, but they are warm blooded creatures.
Some xenobiologists believe that the differing skin patterns on a yungdun reveals its regional or tribal affiliations, but the yungduns have never confirmed or dismissed this suspicion. However, it is known that yungduns’ boney head crests do appear to denote some form of rank or caste within their society. Yungduns with small crests are always defferential to yungduns with larger crests. The yungduns prefer ramps to stairs and while their claws have shrunken to vestigial nails, they are still sharper and stronger than human finger or toenails. Yungduns dislike fabrics or surfaces that catch their claws.
The yungduns are a slow and methodical race. They prefer to weigh decisions carefully and dislike surprises. They are skillful bargainers and merchants and are great traders. Yungduns are very individualistic and believe in healthy competition. It is rumored that yungdun hatchlings are forced to compete until the strongest have eaten the weakest, but this rumor has never been confirmed. The yungduns have trading posts in almost every part of known space. They love shiny objects, and are especially fond of metalwork. Yungduns, though not warlike as a rule, are not opposed to warfare, and their vessels are armed and armored. They detest pirates and smugglers as well as sales taxes.
The yungduns were the first extraterrestrial race encountered by humans, during the Pax Solaris, and proved to be the link to other races such as the svrak and the khrol. Yungduns were first encountered in 2946 and were soon setting up trading negotiations with both the Solarian Planetary Federation and the Interstellar Union. The yungduns seem to favor the IU but this is probably due to the IU’s lower taxes.