The Hegemonic Empire of Terril Lords

I realize that I haven’t talked up many of the alien star nations populating the Aquarius Ascendant universe.

The Terril are a tall, bipedal species on a roughly humanoid body plan. They appear to be, like humans, evolved from an omnivorous primate from their homeworld. They are a social, gregarious tool-using species that independently developed warp-powered spaceflight about twenty years later than the human species. They first encountered humanity approximately one hundred years after the first human space flight. Terril are taller and more slender than humans, and their heads have a wide v-shaped bone crest toward the crown than humans are, but basically follow the human pattern. Women’s heads tend to branch into pseudohorns at the temples, but this is by no means universal. All genders have hair down their cheeks that humans would term sideburns, masculine genders tend to have beards.

As Robert A. Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, “Both races were tough, smart, and after the same real estate.”

The Terril have a warrior ethos – because of this, the “Total War” philosophy of warfare practiced by some human nations is repugnant to them. Terril commanders disdain targeting civilian spaceships. They consider pirates loathsome beyond measure; being caught as a pirate by a Terril commander is an instant death sentence which few pirates have escaped. It was only after a few aggressive human reprisals that the Terril stopped counting commerce raiding as part of organized warfare as piracy. Most Terril commanders still consider commerce raiding a repugnant tactic.

Their star nation has more than a few recruits from the outside. It is a hereditary aristocracy, but a hereditary aristocracy with a fairly low bar to entrance into the aristocratic class – if you can make a great contribution to the Terril society, ennoblement of your children is almost assured (their system does not permit same-generation ennoblement as a hedge against self-seeking behavior in would-nobles).

Sikon, the Terril homeworld, is a “garden world” approximately one thousand light years from Earth. Like Earth, Sikon bears the scars of industrialization – the Terril bar against same-generation ennoblement was put in place after the painful species-wide experience of nearly losing their homeworld.

Compared to the Alliance’s general use of the “dagger” configuration for FTL warships, which emphasizes speed and range but compromises weapons arrangement, the Empire generally uses a broader but shorter configuration, known informally as the “manta ray” configuration, which has greater maneuverability and simpler weapon arcs but is slower and shorter-legged.

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