((Major WIP: complete rework scheduled.))
The Niaxthusema, more commonly called Niax, are an extragalactic composite species comprised of many monstrous creatures. Their only goal seems to be to expand across the galaxy and consume all other life forms for their own advancement. They’re thus hostile to all nations and classified as a galaxy-wide threat. For the time being, their numbers are held to manageable levels by the efforts of the Seikko'o Sanhantai, among others, but there is no end to the fighting in sight, as they always manage to return in even greater numbers.
Some but not all subspecies are seynient. The behemoths, for example, are merely animals in terms of brain activity, following their instincts to do their duty and relying on the psychers to command them. Most combat species are seynient, while most of the ones deployed for resource extraction during the extraction stage of an invasion are not. Even the seynient ones are nearly impossible to reason with, as they have no sympathy for other races and still have a deep-seated instinct to consume.
The Niax travel around the galaxy in so-called hordes, large fleets of bioships. Any planet they come across with significant amounts of biomass becomes a target for their invasion. The invasion and consumption of planets by the Niax usually consists of three to four stages.
The first stage, the infiltration stage, is optional. It’s only used on well defended planets. During this stage, the main fleet remains a safe distance from the planet to prevent detection, while small bioships approach and drop down so-called crawlers in small stealth drop pods. The crawlers use their abilities (see Subspecies) to cause disorder among the planet’s defences, such as by eliminating important individuals, thus weakening the planet for the full invasion on stage two.
When the time is right, the conquering stage begins. The full horde reveals itself and large amounts of combat Niax descend upon the planet in drop pods and small bioships, to annihilate any opposition. When all opposition in an area is defeated, the larger bioships come down from orbit in order to consume all readily-available biomass, including the bodies of slain defenders, slain Niax and any other flora and fauna within sight. Because the Niax start consuming biomass well before the whole planet is conquered, they will often end up with more biomass than they started with even if the defenders manage to force them back, part of the reason they are so difficult to defeat.
Once the entire planet is conquered, the Niax will start infesting it with a variety of special organisms that serve to extract the less readily-available biomass. Some biosynthesize to extract water and carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into carbohydrates, while others filter algae, fungus and other small organisms from the water and soil. Marine predators are also deployed to hunt down as many water-dwelling creatures as possible for their biomass. While the conquering stage can take as little as a few weeks if the planet is poorly defended, this stage, called the extraction stage, can go on for a long time, during which the planet is referred to as a brood world.
Once a planet is so milked out that nothing of use can be collected from it anymore, the Niax will consume and reabsorb all organisms they sent down during the extraction stage and leave the planet behind barren and nearly lifeless. Note that only a part of the horde waits for this process to complete, while the other part already continues its crusade when the planet is still in the extraction stage.
Alternatively, if the planet is in a good strategic position, they will create a stable ecosystem of Niax organisms on the conquered planet and turn it into one of their home bases. Many of these permanent brood worlds exist within the quarantine zones (see History). They are heavily defended by huge acid and spike cannons that can fire into orbit, thus are very difficult to clear without excessive losses.
The Niax are a collection of many different creatures, which may have a variety of traits. They include, but are not limited to, the following notable subspecies.
At the heart of the species are the behemoths, which serve both as broodmothers and living ships. They are enormous, several miles in length, and have vaguely the shape of a flea, with a small head and huge bulbous body. Instead of legs, they have a multitude of large tentacles. Their body and head are very heavily armoured with a stony chitinous exoskeleton. They have many eyes along both their head and body. Their mouth consists of two chitinous plates that can open sideways, revealing a cluster of long tentacles inside. During the conquering stage of an invasion, these tentacles are used to pick up and consume biomass by dragging in into the mouth. Behemoths are dark green in colour, appearing black from a distance.
Much of their volume consists of huge empty cavities that smaller Niax can enter as if going into a transport ship. Behemoths do not need food, but are powered by what is best described as a cold fusion bioreactor. Its exact workings are a mystery, as it’s impossible, for obvious reasons, to study the organ up close in functional condition. These reactors fuel not only their basic functions, but also a genetic magic that creates an effect similar to an anti-gravitational field generator, allowing them to float despite their size and lack of wings or thrusters. Rather than simply floating above the ground, they can use it to enter and exit the atmosphere of a planet. Once in space, their genetic magic also allows for the manipulation of cosmawaves to achieve faster than light travel.
In combat, behemoths use their huge tentacles to attack other ships and may spew short-ranged bursts of acid. Despite that, they’re offensively underwhelming for their size, but shooting them down to prevent an invasion has proven to be incredibly difficult due to their powerful armour.
Besides transport, behemoths are also the Niax’s primary method of reproduction. Any biomass acquired during an invasion either ends up being consumed by a behemoth, or used in the creation of new behemoths. When more biomass is acquired than the current amount of behemoths can transport, one of the behemoths will create a behemoth larva, which will then consume biomass and grow at an alarming rate until it becomes a full-sized behemoth. Any biomass consumed by adult behemoths is used for the creation of smaller Niax through cellular reconfiguration.
Psychers are the most intelligent known subspecies. If the behemoths are the heart, the psychers are the brain of the Niax species. They are the masterminds behind every invasion, choosing the planets and thinking up special tactics when brute force isn’t enough. On the battlefield, they serve as commanders, directing the hordes of less-intelligent Niax telepathically, as well as mobile artillery, using their vast psychic abilities to cause destruction.
They are humanoid in shape, six foot tall with pale grey-green skin. Their head resembles an octopus, with their lamprey-like mouth surrounded by a cluster of tentacles. They’re slender and lean in build, and have four-fingered hands and three-toed feet, both with thin sharp claws. Short chitinous spikes dot certain parts of their body, mostly along their spine, along the outside of their arms and legs, and on their heads. Like all non-behemoth Niax, they have no sexual organs.
Their powers include the ability to communicate telepathically with others Niax within a fairly large radius, organizing them into a more effective fighting force. They can mind control living creatures, though it takes quite a lot of effort, often more than it’s worth in direct combat. Seynient creatures are harder to control, and their ability to resist can differ wildly between individuals. For more direct effects, they have telekinesis, which they use to create directed shockwaves to break up enemy lines, or to throw large objects over long distances.
Brutes vaguely resemble psychers, having the same squid-like head, but are much bigger and burlier. They’re 18 foot tall and have the posture and build of a gorilla, leaning forward onto their huge arms. Their chitin spikes are bigger and sharper, but their claws are blunted, as they prefer bashing over slashing. They’re far less intelligent than the psychers and lack psychic abilities, but make up for it with sheer physical strength. They serve as the shock troops of a Niax horde, used to shatter enemy lines and defences.
Brutes are very powerful even for their size, capable of flipping armoured vehicles and breaking through walls with little effort. They’re also surprisingly fast for something of their size, particularly when running on all fours. Although they don’t appear armoured, their skin, muscle and bones are all very tough and dense, making them immune to small calibre bullets and highly resistant to anything stronger. When they eat fresh biomass, they can reconfigure it into their own flesh on the fly, allowing them to heal at a greatly increased rate.
Abductors are flying creatures who wreak havoc upon the enemy’s land and air troops alike. They’re quite similar to Earth’s octopi but with a smaller head, being really just a bunch of tentacles with eyes. They also lack the octopus’ prominent suction cups. They are pale green in colour and their squid-like beak is hidden between their tentacles. Unlike a squid, they have two leathery bat-like wings sprouting from their “back”, which they can use to fly at surprising speeds. Their tentacle span is about 12 feet and their wing span 16 feet.
Abductors aren’t particularly durable, but their tentacles are very strong, capable of breaking a human’s bones and bending metal. They attack aircraft by latching onto them and either crushing them or tearing parts off until they malfunction and go down. When fighting ground troops, they tend to swoop down to grab them, lift them into the air and drop them from a lethal height, one by one. Occasionally, they may bombard their enemies with objects from above, especially bombs that they stole from the enemies in question.
Crawlers aren’t very well adapted to direct combat, but rather to stealth and assassination. They resemble a smaller version of the abductors, with a tentacle span of only two feet, and without wings. Their skin colour is naturally pale green, but they can change colour quickly and accurately to blend into their surroundings, even capable of mimicking complex patterns. Their tentacles are covered in tiny little hooks, too small to really harm anyone, that allow them to stick to surfaces.
Though they aren’t very intelligent per se, the crawlers are good at what they do: stealth. Once deployed on a planet, they will seek out densely inhabited areas, where they choose their first victim. They stalk their victim, until the opportunity to attack unnoticed presents itself. Crawlers can strangle people to death with their strong tentacles, but also have a more gruesome way of killing that they prefer to use. This involves firmly grabbing onto the head of the victim and using their beak to drill through their cranium. If successful, they inject a chemical into the brain that causes the victim to rapidly lose consciousness but keeps them technically alive for a little longer.
Once its victim is downed, the crawler chemically integrates with their brain to gain access to the information stored within. They rummage through the person’s memories and only absorb what they deem important. This serves to find out more about the planet’s inhabitants and, more importantly, defences. They continue hunting victims this way until they know who to target in order to weaken the planet’s defences (i.e. political and military leaders), at which point they will go after them.
Once the planet is deemed to be sufficiently weakened and disorganized, a small group of crawlers will come together and, using their combined brainpower, send out a psychic signal. This is picked up by nearby scouts, who report back to the fleet to begin the invasion. Killing or catching all crawlers can delay the invasion, but this is almost undoable.
As an extragalactic species, the origin of the Niax is completely unknown. Unlike the Chutorck or Earthlings, they did not come to Andreemea through a wormhole, but instead by traveling through the void between galaxies for many years. They are thought to have some sort of technology that allows faster-than-light travel in the void despite the lack of cosmawaves, but information regarding this is sparse and questionable.
They were first encountered near the beginning of the 22nd millennium, when a Niax fleet entered sector 51 from the void (coming from “below”, along the Z axis). This started a long-lasting violent conflict between them and the races of the IGCP, eventually leading to elimination of the Niax, albeit at a high cost. From there on, other fleets began emerging. They were few and far between, but the fleets were big and the Andreemeans weren’t always as successful at repelling them.
Over the course of the 22nd millennium and the start of the 23rd, a total of six more fleets arrived to attack the races of Andreemea. Two were completely destroyed, but the remaining four each took over a sizable chunk of space for themselves that would pose too big a risk to directly assault. Thus, these areas were proclaimed “quarantine zones”. All inhabitable planets bordering these zones were emptied of civilians and made into military bases in an attempt to stop the Niax from spreading until a method to destroy them was found. At present, these four quarantine zones still exist, situated in sectors 14, 18, 58 and 78.
While these efforts have stopped large-scale expansion for the time being, the galaxy is far from free of the Niax threat. The quarantine zones are huge, encompassing thousands of planets, thus it’s impossible to keep all Niax ships from exiting, leaving any worlds in the general vicinity at risk of an unexpected attack. Also, experts believe that the Niax encountered so far are merely a fraction of a far larger horde moving towards Andreemea. When they arrive, all life in the galaxy may be at risk of extinction.