The Aliens

A group of modern day convicts are revived in the year 2043 to find they've been used as test subjects by the XCOM Project, in a failed attempt to thwart an alien invasion. A tabletop RPG campaign inspired by the X-COM/XCOM computer games. Savage Worlds (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

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The Aliens

Post by nemarsde » 05 May 2014, 15:45

The aliens that invaded the planet were incorporeal beings from beyond space and time. They referred to themselves "Elders", humans called them the Ethereals.

History of the invasion is not yet gospel; accounts and opinions vary, but everyone agrees that the Ethereals are on a self-appointed quest to improve sentient races of the Universe.

This desire makes them angels in some eyes, and demons in others. Indeed, although the Ethereals have proscribed most organised religions*, new religions have emerged that worship the Ethereals, such as the Cult of Sirius.

*Organised religion is detrimental to the advancement of the human race. Personal religion is approved of.

Serving the Ethereals, or working under their auspices, are other alien races, other Extraterrestrials. These are the races that carry out the Ethereals' orders. Some people call it an empire, some call it a confederation. Does anyone know for sure? Or is it purely a matter of opinion?

The Invasion
Opposing Opinions
Alien Races In Service of the Elders
Other Alien Races

Bestiary of Aliens (PDF)

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The Invasion

Post by nemarsde » 06 May 2014, 19:43

The Earth's governments knew of the threat as early as 2008. The XCOM Project was founded by the Council of 36 Nations in 2012. These were 36 nations1 that had been contacted by the Elders, that agreed to confer and later co-operate with each other for the sake of humankind.

Sources indicate there may have been a previous incursion by the aliens in 1962, but this has never been verified and maybe an urban myth.2

Most commentators mark the start of invasion as Operation Devil's Moon, the first recorded combat operation against the aliens in 2015, Cologne, Germany.

Some how an alien scout ship broke up during atmopsheric entry, debris impacting in the outskirts of the city. Several crew jettisoned to safety and deployed a biochemical area denial weapon to clear the site, while awaiting rescue.

With the alien threat still secret, a nuclear satellite was suspected3 and the area was cordoned off. The Germans sent in an FSK200 squad to reconnoitre the site, but when all contact was lost, XCOM was mobilised, codename "Operation Devil's Moon".

Many casualties were reported at the site, victims of the biochemical weapon, including the FSK200 soldiers. The weapon was neutralised, and the ensuing shootout resulted in three dead XCOM soldiers and all aliens eliminated.

The next 6 months were punctuated by low intensity conflict, as Earth's governments and the aliens continued to butt heads and negotiations broke down. The Council of Nations started to prepare for full disclosure, and a media campaign that would solidify the alien menace in people's minds.

The Elders revealed themselves first, at the 2016 Summer Olympics. With an alien overseer ship hanging eerily over Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian President delivered their message.
The human species has potential to thrive on Earth and amongst the stars. But its progress has been stifled, and the species now collapses inwards under the weight of its flaws.

We must all take responsibility for this. It is not the governments or institutions to blame, nor one civilisation or another. These are the works of humanity.

And the Elders are equally responsible, now that they have seen our plight they cannot ignore it.

The Elders wish to become our supreme leaders, guiding our species from above, but working to advance the human species at all levels.

All are invited to this shared future, none shall be excluded, but none shall be forced, against their will, to join them.
It proved divisive with the public.

UNESCO created the office of Special Envoy for Extraterrestrials to open dialogue with the Elders.

The aliens had also been wooing global corporations and private banks for years4, offering the technology of the future to business partners. A lucrative grey market in alien technology had emerged, unsanctioned by any Earth government.

This led to a group of self-styled captains of industry founding Exalt. Ostensibly a non-governmental think thank, Exalt's aim was to create a trade bloc with the aliens that would give them more exclusivity. They were soon inextricably linked to the aliens' cause.

There was also popular support for the Elders at the grassroots, amongst blue collar and white collar communities5. And for 80% of the world's population living in Third World conditions, they didn't care either way.

Earth's governments needed a platform. Xenophobia wasn't fashionable, and people were just as distrustful of politicians as they were of aliens.

They had to demonise the aliens. The Elders would censure organised religions. The Elders were genetically modifying the human race. Propaganda perverted and exaggerated the Elders' intentions.6

The aliens owns actions counted against them. Covert abductions had been going on for years; they needed human test subjects to achieve the promised advances in gene modification. This programme was accelerated and the first mass abductions occurred, targeting slums. The Elders were unrepentant, clinical, it was a job that had to be done, and they weren't afraid of making the hard decisions. Exalt gurus repeated their message, "The aliens aren't going away. And if they did, whose to say there aren't other aliens races with designs on the Earth? And they might not be so nice."

Some abductees were returned, enthused with the aliens' cause and showing how they'd benefitted from genetic engineering. But with Christian and Muslim faiths on side, the Council of Nations felt it now had a mandate from the people.7

There were now open hostilities. Aerial battles, jet fighters, flying saucers, battles in the streets, tanks, gunships, robot walkers, buildings demolished, and riots; every day a new protest.

Although the Elders were reluctant to engage in all-out war, the commanders of their forces were just as determined and ruthless as the humans. The truth about the worst attrocities may never be known.8

The conflict threatened to spiral out of control. The aliens had suffered severe losses to their fleet of ships, most irreplacable. XCOM were blindly re-tooling alien technology without understanding the side effects...

So the Elders decided to put a stop to it.

Generating a seismic disturbance from their mothership, they triggered the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano in 2017. North America was devasted, over 100,000 died in the USA alone. Worldwide, the slump in crop yields led to years of hardship and famine, which would have killed far more if not for alien intervention.

It was the aliens, working with the private sector that produced hardier, faster growing crops. Faster breeding, more robust cattle. They created the cures for diseases. They solved the energy crisis. After years of subterfuge, experiments, fighting and waste, the promise of the Elders finally started to be realised.

The Council of Nations was officially disavowed by the UN in 2023, as a shadowy cabal within the global intelligence community. The XCOM Project was abandoned. The functions of the UN, sans Security Council, were transfered to the new formed High Commission in 2025.

The invasion was over, the occupation began.

1. Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA, and Venezuela.
2. According to the Zudjari, a messianic leader called Origin had led a private army to conquer a new homeworld. They were defeated by "men in hats", descriptions tallying with 1960s USA. Zudjari measure of time would place it in 1962. There's no official record of this incursion, human, Zudjari or otherwise.
3. Afterwards, "crashed nuclear satellite" remained the official story.
4. Infiltration and mind control may have been involved. The Elders had the capability.
5. For the modern, cosmopolitan middle class, the aliens were like middle class heroes, finally talking sense and sorting things out.
6. Or did they? Many would argue that the aliens' true intentions and extent of their activities are not yet known.
7. The good feeling created by bringing together Christian and Muslims faiths on a global scale even convinced many non-religious people that the human race could go it alone.
8. Key figures amongst the Earth's governments were targeted for assassination. The aliens also used so-called "terror strikes" to induce panic in the population, undermine confidence in the authorities, and force XCOM to fight.

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Opposing Views

Post by nemarsde » 08 May 2014, 10:00

If the Earth is occupied, it's not exactly obvious.

In the aftermath of the invasion, the aliens didn't create a federal super state but ruled Earth indirectly, with each nation being a trusteeship, allowed autonomy provided the goverment continues to meet key criteria. Alien governance is through the High Commission, located in an international zone in the Chesapeake Bay region, on the US East Coast.

Other than that, there's not an alien on every street corner*, although there are still plenty of weirdos.

*Zudjari can be found on every street corner in Northeastern China, since it was selected as the site for the new Zudj homeland. (This was perceived as China's sacrifice, after the US suffered the Yellowstone eruption.)

Love or hate the aliens, there are opposings views.

There's no doubt the aliens have caused trouble and havoc in the past, and aren't beyond reproach now. Yet debates will often end up remarkably similar to "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

  1. The aliens provide unbiased, benevolent and effective oversight of Earth's governments. Unlike the UN, for example.
  2. They are accelerating the advancement of human civilisation. This is an incredible opportunity for humankind.
  3. Families are restricted to 3 children. Gender of the second child can be determined by the parents.
  4. Human embryos must be screened and genetically modified to remove defects.
  5. Cures for AIDS and cancer. Effective anti-aging treatments.
  6. Worldwide, core components and standards of education are assured. All children are taught International English.
  7. Young adults are assessed and assigned to mandatory civilian service at the age of 18. This is a 2-year intern/apprenticeship in the public or private sector, arranged by the assessor in consultation with the individual's guardians and school.
  8. Although war can't be eradicated, alien oversight means conflicts are limited, low intensity, and resolution is quicker.
  9. Military spending is reduced and humanity doesn't live in fear of self-annihilation.
  10. Governments worldwide actually have to obey international human rights law.
  11. More effective justice system with employing psionic techniques in investigating crime and rehabilitating criminals.
  12. Prioritisation of eco-friendly policies in all areas of society. Less waste, less pollution.
  13. Cleaner environment, including Earth's orbit (satellites replaced by high altitude dirigibles).
  14. Greener cars, aircraft and other transport that have actually buoyed the oil industry.
  15. Reusable space transport (and the first manned Lunar landing since 1972).
  16. Technology that's alloyed to human needs.
  17. Safer, faster, more robust Internet with active immune system.
  18. Stabilised economy with multiple global currencies based on single market system.
  19. No-one is forced to participate in the aliens' society. In many, more underdeveloped regions it's normal for communities not to participate. They follow an older, more traditional way of life.
  20. If we don't trust the aliens, what alternative do we have? There might be other alien races with designs on the Earth and they might not be so friendly.
  1. The aliens are benevolent dictators at best. They killed hundreds of thousands in the war, and would do so again if we opposed them.
  2. We're now just an appendix to the Ethereals' civisation. How is "advancement" working out for the other species under the Ethereals' custodianship?
  3. Population control policies impinge on basic human rights, with harmful side effects, such as forced abortion, illegal babies, and prevents parents from starting families with new partners.
  4. The human species is being genetically engineered to an alien specification.
  5. Still a 2-tier heathcare system, where money buys better treatments.
  6. Global education "standards" are eroding individual cultures and languages, are impractical, offensive and devalue teaching.
  7. Young adults are forced into mandatory civilian service at age 18, for 2 years, often on reduced wages, and in roles they have no interest in.
  8. Still wars and violent crime. The aliens are content for us to fight amongst ourselves.
  9. Should human civilisation feel safer now that only aliens have the ability to annihilate it?
  10. Governments have to obey international human rights law, but aliens determine the law.
  11. Psionics should be outlawed entirely. A person's thoughts are private and sacrosanct, and should be inviolable.
  12. Human society was already developing towards a greener future before the alien invasion. They can't claim credit for the advances.
  13. Earth's environment is being subtely changed by the alien occupation. New, alien species have been discovered in the wild, from the microscopic upwards.
  14. Still dependant on oil. There are no hovercars, no personal flying saucers. Transport and people's movement globally has been stunted.
  15. Many of the aliens so-called solutions are to problems that wouldn't exist if they'd grant humans access to other inhabitable worlds.
  16. It's proven that the aliens have far more advanced technology than they're sharing with humanity.
  17. Gateway to the Internet is closely monitored.
  18. Stabilised economy has led stagnation of social mobility, creating a new aristocracy, the Elite.
  19. Certainly, one can choose to drop out of the aliens' society. And live like a dog on the fringes, or a savage off in the wild. Not much of a choice.
  20. The aliens can't be trusted. If they are anything like humans, then they have an ulterior, probably sinister motive.

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Alien Races In Service of the Elders

Post by nemarsde » 10 May 2014, 21:07


Considering they effectively rule Earth, little is known about the Ethereals as a species.

Although they may appear to be god-like entities, the Elders strongly reject the notion that they're gods. Even so, they are incorporeal beings with no physical form, born in another dimension, and have psychic abilities far beyond those of their Sectoid minions, rumoured to include possession.

The Ethereals have engineered a four-armed, Sectoid-based physical form that they can inhabit. These were used during the peace negotiations, but haven't been seen since; the Elders now using Outsider shards to communicate with their dominion.

Nonetheless, it suggests Ethereals may be able to inhabit other physical forms, even humans. The Ethereals originate from the "space between spaces", but they take a remarkable interest in the physical realm and its life.

The only Ethereals known are the Elders, but it isn't known if there are other factions.

According to recent discoveries by the Resistance, the Ethereals have spent so long in the physical realm that they've lost the ability to return to their home dimension. Their Sectoid-based cloned forms are deteriorating rapidly and invading Earth was part of a masterplan to create a new psionic environment for the Elders to live in. Project Avatar. About 35 million years ago, a massive meteorite struck the Earth, creating Chesapeake Bay and the Hampton Roads. A microscopic organism on the craft survived, having a unique mass mind, a collective psionic intelligence. The Zudjari sensed its presence during their abortive invasion of Earth in the 1960s, and the Elders became aware of it.

Since Ethereals can only inhabit humans with psionic sensivitity, the Elders plan to infect the human race with a engineered version of these micronoids. Anyone infected could then be possessed by the Elders, giving them an entire species in which to exist. As a backup plan, the Elders would liquidate the human race on an industrial scale and recycle their genetic material into psionically sensitive forms. For the Elders, the end result would be much the same.

These crystal shards were once thought to be the Ethereals. However, they're actually all fragments of the Elders' home dimension, stored within physical matter. Each Outisder shard can generate solid light, creating a humanoid guardian around itself, granting it mobility and defenses. The Outsider shards purpose is transdimensional communications. They were encountered in the early stages of the war, and since, for many years, have been the tool by which the Elders communicate with the alien regime. Are the Outsider shards themselves alive? Possibly yes. But they are not sentient life.

Rarely encountered, and extremely deadly when they were, Cyberdiscs were mistaken for robotic drones throughout the war. It was only recently that the Elder revealed more details about this fascinating and marvellous species.

They look like a highly reflective metal disc, a flying saucer around 3 metres in diameter, glowing energy around the circumference. They have a natural internal, anti-gravitic ability that also powers their particle beam weapons.

Cyberdiscs were used to spearhead counterstrikes, often flanked by alien repair drones to increase their defensive capability. They were a one of the aliens most feared weapons. No-one could have believed they were an intelligent species.

In attack mode, the Cyberdisc transforms. Rotating, shifting, cooling rods extending from the sides, a prehensile tail with scythe-like blade attached, that can also be used to catapult grenades. Their particle beams are devastating, powerful enough to blast through both sides of an APC in an explosion of molten metal.

Some of their internals are visible in attack mode. They appear to be made of living, mercurial wires, with the disc being an immutable monocoque. In closed form, Cyberdiscs are better protected, roughly comparable to an armoured car, so still vulnerable to concentrated small arms fire.

According to the aliens, the Cyberdiscs are a dying race. Originally capable of transforming their internal systems to suit any purpose, they have since lost this ability. They fought a war, and were ravaged by a virus that wiped their memory and trapped them in their current configuration, designed purely for war. They remember little else and have struggled to piece fragments of their memories together, as many even forgot how to communicate. They are a mystery to themselves. Only after discovery by the Elders did they finally find peace, as the Elders spoke to them psionically and retaught their remnants a common language.

Unfortunately, Cyberdiscs are now good for only one thing. War. The Elders released the story of the Cyberdiscs to the public as a lesson, an allegory, of how far even an unfathomably advanced species can fall.

These giant, hunchbacked humanoids are the shock troops of the Elders. Physically, they're built like a hairless gorilla but stand over 2.5 metres tall, weighing 180 kilos or more. Their thick, leathery skin looks like hippo-hide, similarly coloured and incredibly tough. Each hand has four fingers, one semi-opposable, and are tipped with 7 cm long black claws. Mutons have evolved for fighting.

They are always cybernetically modified by the Elders. Mutons need a methane-sulphur mix to respire. On their homeworld, the air is largely methane and all plant life stores sulphur. All animal life on their planet must to eat plants to "breathe", thus there was never an imperative to eat meat and no natural predators evolved. Instead, species became hyperaggressive as they prospered and multiplied, the fighting curbing overpopulation. Violent death and killing is natural to the Mutons, and their species has many warrior subcultures.

Of the races that fought in the war, the Mutons are the most iconic. With binocular-like eyes and in-built respirators, they are a uniquely grotesque appearance. Linked into their environment suits, armed with assault weapons, the Mutons should've been disadvantaged by their sheer bulk and eagerness to fight, but their terrifying war cries and appearance would often rout the enemy as soon as they closed the distance.

Some Mutons suffer from uncontrollable, apoplectic rages. During the war, these "Berserkers" were encased head-to-toe in plate armour and sent crashing into enemy lines, allowing obstrusive Muton squads to manoeuvre into firing position.

Other Mutons underwent bionic reconstruction, having their head and chest installed into a hoverjet platform. Although lightly armed, it gave these "Floaters" mobility over the urban battlefield unrivalled by human troops.

Nowadays Mutons are rarely seen on Earth. To the Elders, the Mutons are an unfortunate, evolutionary dead-end, and represent more of a conservation effort. Mutons have been deployed in ISC Crack Teams, but the need has to be very dire to warrant the inevitable public relations backlash.
Thin Men

These tall, thin human-looking aliens are still found on Earth, in a variety of roles. Always smartly presented, often in business suits, there are several physical traits that betray their true nature. Although they disguise it when they walk, when they run it's very fast, with long, loping strides of unnatural elasticity. They often have mottled, bruised skin around the collar and cuffs, and reptilian eyes. Their breath is laden with chlorine, and the smell tends to linger around them.

During the war, they were used as infiltrators and saboteurs, and in a crowded city street or public building they could blend in adequately. Nowadays they represent officialdom, and although still discreet, don't pretend to be human. They don't discuss their alien origins though, which are classified top secret. According to unverified sources, they're a chameleon-like species that can, over time, alter their outer appearance to that of other species through a process of controlled mutation.

In recent times, it has been revealed that this species adopted a new form, that of a large "snakeman", with a cobra hood and humanoid arms. They have a whip-like tongue, capable of entangling and tripping, and can use their serpentine body to constrict a human victim. Used for targeted assassination, they have become known as Vipers.

Most people were familiar with Sectoids, even before the war. Small, child-like humanoids, with grey, shark-like skin, large bulbous heads and irridescent eyes and no other features. Aliens, ETs, greys, they are the mainstay of the Elders' forces, performing most roles. They aren't classified as a species by the Elders, since they genetically engineered the Sectoids from scratch. Each is implanted with a cybernetics package, allowing for remotely swappable skillsets.

Sectoids have green blood, caused by a high concentrations of the bile pigment, biliverdin (the same pigment found in bruises), which acts as a genetic stabiliser. They breathe through "gills" in their cheeks, and this is also how they feed, making them dependent on liquidised food and artificial feeders, like squeezy sports bottles. Neither do they have reproductive organs.

Sectoids are powerful psychics, though their abilities are described by the Ethereals as crude. During the war, some even demonstrated limited mind control. These days, any Sectoids encountered will be servile, dutifully carrying out whatever task they're assigned. They don't seem to think for themselves any more than ants do. Even though they're highly intelligent, they're motivated by commands. They can be potentially found working in any government or privately-run facility.

In recent times a new breed of Sectoid has been revealed by the Elders, a suspected hybrid of human and Zudjari, they are taller, stronger, with elevated psionic ability. They appear to fill a niche in the alien forces for a light infantry, supporting the heavier and tactically naive Mutons.

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Other Alien Races

Post by nemarsde » 10 May 2014, 21:10


This space-faring race of roving pirates and mercenaries is listed by the High Commission as one of the gravest threats to Earth, yet little information about them has been shared by the Elders. The official word is that they're paid off with Elerium shipments, which they struggle to mine for themselves.

Most historians agree that the key battle in the war was public relations, and that the turning point came when the aliens started to get their message across. Contrary to what Earth's governments were saying, the aliens weren't here to eat our babies. In fact, they were here to ensure a prosperous and healthy future for our children, and our children's children.

Nothing undermined that message more than the use of Chryssalids in so-called terror strikes. An adult Chryssalid is an extremely lightweight, highly mobile arthropod, about the size of a small horse but weighing less than 100 kilos.

Their segmented exoskeleton is jet black with bioluminescent nodules and four legs that taper into sabre-like tips. These pearlescent blades, made from layers of calcite crystal, are tensile and razor sharp, allowing them to move fast over hard terrain, and climb any surface they can dig into.

Chryssalids have two long, prehensile arms with ratcheted talons that they use for snaring prey or suspending themselves so they can ambush with their leg blades. The Chryssalid head has two whip antenna and two binocular-like crystalline eyes. No visible nose, mouth or ears.

A Chryssalid will grab its prey with its talons, then transfix it to the ground with one of its bladed legs. Biting the victim with its two enlarged fangs, the Chryssalid injects a paralysing venom, laced with eggs. Once hatched, the larva latch onto and hijack the host's nervous system. Even a recently killed host can be reanimated, turning the host into a "zombie". Shambling, mobbing together, undead, docile but violent if disturbed. The larva grow, but in a human host most die and only one survives beyond larval stage, eventually clawing its way out.

Chryssalid vision is poor, mainly sensing shifts in light, but they can sense motion and soundwaves with their antenna, and receptors in their carapace detect the electrical pulses from living creatures. Their carapace is comprised of chitin compsite, interwoven with conductive polymers, making them almost immune to electric shock.

In short, they're a nightmare creature, everything humans feared that aliens could be. And when unleashed in a terror strike, in population centres, caused massive panic. The authorities were faced with screaming, incoherent civilians, hordes of zombies, and voracious alien predators lurking in the shadows and on rooftops. Many people were lured into darkness by the magical glowing lights of the Chryssalids, only to emerge as a torn, blood-soaked zombie.

Fortunately, along with having only close range senses, the Chryssalids were from a lower gravity, highly oxygenated world and could not thrive in Earth's environment. And although they attacked in swarms, they had no appreciable intelligence that allowed them to adapt.

Employed by only a few of the Elders' generals, Chryssalid use was unsanctioned. The aliens developed pheromone-based IFF, to prevent Chryssalids attacking their own troops, but that was the extent of their control. Chryssalids had no tactical application. After the war, the Elders declared they had destroyed their own stocks of Chryssalids and quarantined the homeworld.

PR disaster for the aliens was often only averted by the response of the Earth governments. Fearing the Chryssalids would spread across the country, the French carpet-bombed Marseilles in response to a terror attack, killing far more civilians than the Chryssalids did.

The microscopic psionic organism, native to the physical universe, that crashed into the Earth on a meteorite 35.5 million years ago, so creating Chesapeake Bay. The Elders' research into the Micronoids is top secret and represents their main interest in Earth. The psychic emissions of the Micronoids may account for the latent psionic ability found in some humans. Micronoids generally pool together in an agregate, but by infecting larger, more complex sentient species, they're able to control them, giving the Micronoids unlimited capabilities. The Micronoids are an example of a gestalt intelligence.

The aptly named Reaper is a hyper-aggressive creature from the Muton home world. Something akin to a cross between an allosaurus and an Indian bison, they're kept by Mutons for blood sports and as attack animals. Standing over 2 metres tall but weighing around 2 metric tons, they are extremely cantankerous and stubborn, and can only be controlled by brute force. On Earth they have cybernetic respirator implants in their necks and are now used at security checkpoints for "presence", but they weren't counted amongst the alien forces during the war, simply due to the logistics involved in keeping them alive.

A bipedal animal, they attack by charging and sweeping with their rack of horns. Apart from the spear-like points, these horns have nobbly flanges that act like a serrated edge, given them remarkable cutting power. Although having an excellent sense of smell, they have very small eyes and poor eyesight.

Little is known about the natives of the harsh, subterranean world of Proteus, 1000 light years from Earth in the PSR 1257+12 System. Protected from the pulsar's radiation by a thick crust of ice, the climate beneath is moist, hot and high pressure, with extremely rugged, rocky terrain.

Skeletoids are vaguely humanoid, very bony in appearance, with four arm-like limbs in total. They have a tough, rubbery hide, in varying shades from white to yellow. They have two, bulbous eyes and an enlongated snout that ends with sharp, rat-like teeth, but most remarkable are the two ganglion on their backs. These contain a free-floating organs, tethered to the nervous system, that seem to provide telekinetic flight, a feat not exhibited by any known psionic creature. Visori scientists have concluded that the planet Proteus itself is formed around a transdimensional rift. The deeper into the planet they explore, the less "physical" the surroundings become.

Although some Skeletoids have escaped onto Earth and proven capable of surviving for day's, most are confined to Proteus by Visori forces. The planet is rich in Elerium, and vital for fuelling alien-devised technologies on Earth. To this end, Visori have instigated a policy of containment against the Skeletoids, to prevent risk to their mining operations. The Skeletoids are considered of roughly primate-level intelligence, but a growing rebellion amongst the Skeletoids on Proteus has led to some questioning this perception. Are the rumours of Skeletoids using stolen Visori weapons true?

Most of what's known about the Tasoth has leaked out from the High Commission and other insider sources. They are allegedly a sentient alien race, an aquatic species of carnivores from an ocean world, some how elevated to an interstellar power bloc. The Elders trade with them but keep them at arm's length from Earth, as they can't be trusted to act responsibly.

Of all the Extraterrestrials brought to Earth by the Elders, the Zudjari are the most human-like. Humanoid in appearance, hairless, with large, bulbous heads and greyish-green skin, they have a nostril under each of their two eyes, and ears on the side of their head. They speak an audible language, Zudj, and have mouth with teeth.

They didn't fight in the war and arrived on Earth as refugees, in the care of the Elders.

According to their oral history, around 500 years ago, the Zudj homeworld was devastated by a meteoroid and the Elders later rescued what survivors they could, taking them into their fleet where they've remained ever since.

After the aliens had pacified Earth, the Elders created a new homeland for the Zudjari in Northeastern China, the old Manchuria region, bordering Russia and North Korea.

Half a million Zudjari, living in relative harmony with their human neighbours. Zudjari have a unique biology, copper and vanadium-based blood meant they couldn't just settle on a patch of land and build farms. Although they could eat specially designed food pastes, the grey market soon discovered that the Zudjari could also thrive on human faeces, a much cheaper alternative. This led to a new industry developing in the region, fomerly referred to as "Manchurian food processing", whilst the Zudjari gained the pejorative "shit-eaters".

Although vulgar, there's no doubting that Zudj cuisine is repellent to humans. Regardless of how lucrative trade with the Zudjari is, there are inevitable tensions between them and the local humans. Over-crowding isn't an issue in an area nearly 800,000 square km, but isolated violence can occur in the cities. No-one wants the Zudjari next door having a BBQ on a warm summer's day.

Travel restrictions are imposed on Zudjari, due to their unique requirements. Outside of Manchuria, delegations can be found in most capitals, and there's a small community living in the Extraterrestrial Controlled Area of the Convergence.

Although they have no written records, Zudj stories tell of a time when a messianic leader revolted against the Elders, and led his army in an invasion of another planet. Succombing to despotism and insanity, this was defeated by the natives, "men in hats". The stories would place this event as some time in 1962, Earth time.