Their proper racial name is Grekka, but they are more commonly referred to as Gamma Goblins. They earned their name by virtue of the fact that they look like short, green, ugly humans, much like goblins of human folklore. Specifically, they average around three to four feet in height, have pug like faces, their arms are disproportionately long in comparison to the rest of their bodies and their flesh is a shade of green similar to that of someone who just ate bad fish.
They would be just another footnote in the ever-growing list of space-faring races, except for a few choice facts. Firstly, they are quite stupid. While this would be a mark against them, it actually makes it rather surprising that they made it into space at all. Secondly is their single redeeming quality: an almost supernatural ability to copy objects.
This ability is rooted far back in their culture, nobody knows how far because they dont seem to have a written language. Their one, solitary god, more specifically his priests, preach the seven holy dictums, the third of which is that, if something is found to function, it should be replicated. This has been interpreted to mean that it should be copied, never changed in any regard. For time out of mind, following this teaching, they have built mud huts in exactly the same design, layed out in exactly the same pattern, resulting in identical towns. This has gone on long enough that this trait has become inbred, and it is phenomenally hard for a Grekka to come up with an idea of their own.
They would have remained, quite happily, on their homeworld until their sun went dark, but for sheer chance. A colony ship, the Gulliver, suffered a large interior fire, so bad that it had to land. Mangling itself as it collided into the planet, a percentage of its passengers survived.
It was these beaten examples of humanity that the Grekka first encountered. Knowing only that they came from the mountain that fell from the sky and crushed a settlement, they were convinced from the very beginning that Humans meant them ill. This was not helped when a test firing of the damaged engines accidentally incinerated a few dozen more Grekka. Fairly quickly, it came to blows. Though the humans had guns, the Grekka had numbers, and eventually eradicated the humans from the small planet.
It was then that they began investigating the strange metal mountain that the humans had arrived in. It had been torn asunder by its landing, but was still functional in many ways.
Over a few generations, various things were discovered about it: pressing various lights in a certain pattern made dishes miles away light up with fire. Pressing other lights caused a voice to speak from the ceiling in the strange tongue of the Humans. Over many generations, the Grekka slowly began to understand what some of the systems did.
Eventually, there arose one among them who had the rare, original idea. If the humans came to their world in this mountain, perhaps the Grekka could visit others with it?
They faced many challenges, of course, but slowly a vessel was scrapped together. Using only what they were able to salvage, they soon had a functioning ship, as best they could understand. A tiny fraction of the size of the original colony ship, it wasnt at all aerodynamic, had many exposed and dangerous systems, and was virtually a death trap. Needless to say, the first attempt was an amazing disaster. Though the ship miraculously reached low orbit, it wasnt airtight. Killing the thrusters in panic, the ship fell back to the surface.
The crippled survivors related the problem, and a few more generations passed before the idea came up to seal the ship. Eventually, another wreck of a ship was scrapped together. Despite the fact that none aboard really had any idea of how any of the systems functioned, copying the wiring for the related systems from the colony ship exactly seemed to keep it working just fine.
Unknown to the Grekka, their home planet was in a system that saw a lot of traffic as a trade route. Upon the sight of a unique craft rising from an unexplored planet, the interstellar community did their best to welcome the Grekka.
Now the Grekka dictum of successful things being replicated applies to all walks of life and culture for them. The last time they had encountered another species, they had killed it and in doing so gained the ability to enter space. This behaviour was replicated. Never having the firepower to destroy a ship, their tactic consisted of crashing into it at as high speeds as they could, then killing all aboard. This worked far better than one would have guessed. Eventually, they were able to return to their homeworld in a Frankenstein of a ship that was the result of their suicidal boarding tactics.
Today, the Grekka, predominantly known as Gamma Goblins, exist as a race of marauders. They crash into ships, board them, and proceed to try to integrate the damaged bulk into their existing vessel. The major challenge that they face is their inability to be original, even to the point of wiring systems. If they find a missile system that they wish to use, and the power to it is routed through a gun bank, they will need to copy the gun bank, the power source itself, and any other systems that may be hooked up to that particular power source.
Also due to the fact that they cannot be original, they have a very hard time making repairs, so hard in fact that they would rather rebuild the system from scratch. The end result is that their ships inevitably become hulking leviathans, riddled with redundant systems and slowly rotting from the middle out. Dangerous areas are simply abandoned, and many boarding parties have been lost to the hazardous depths of these labyrinthine vessels.
Unfamiliar with the common tongue and having a hereditary dislike of living creatures smarter then themselves, the Grekka are generally going to be on the wrong side of whatever the local authority is. There is almost universally a bounty on the beings, though the specific amount varies by system.
Their culture, since entering space, has changed in only a few ways. They are tribal, as they always have been, with each tribe keeping a separate ship. There are markings that are unique to each tribe, they vary between tattoos, piercing, actual lacerations and many combinations thereof. The tribes are still ruled over by priests, though their god has changed to reflect their new culture. It is a militant figure, preaching revenge over beings that dare to mock the Grekka by being physically or mentally superior.
In short, the Gamma Goblins have an unnatural ability to copy an object they have an existing, working sample of. If its not working when they find it, they'll never be able to get it working.
The tribes dont necessarily get along, and they certainly dont function together. They occasionally interbreed however, to stop horrible inbreeding from occurring.
They are usually hostile unless given a good reason not to be, like the unconditional surrender of all your goods, including your ship.
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? Responses (9)
This is a pre release comment - to be deleted or ignored when released.
Okay a couple of things..
A description section: I know they are like goblin.. yet there are different visualizations of goblins out there.
What are they like socially? Is there one big boss of each pod or for the entire crew? Is their a hive mind? Who directs what they copy or what projects do they do?
Are driven to copy things? Is there a psych issue here? why do they do this?
What are they like when they are not building things?
What was their little culture like pre-star tech contact? How mechanically inclined were they before? I would think they would be adequite mechnicians/ technicians just given their aptitudes. This would give them some technical abilities seperate from their photographic memory. (And this is all it is, 3d photographic memory).
And how did they get the raw materials to make to make the parts to put a ship together? Sure they could of picked up some parts from the wreck, but how did they get enough to make a copy. And that is the problem, they would of had to make a copy of that ship.. so unless it landed undamaged.. they would have no parts to make said ship since they can only copy. (or maybe the crew had a tpk and they took off from there?
This is a pre release comment - to be deleted when released
Updated: Some much-needed revisions. I completely reworked the entire post, keeping in mind some helpful comments from Moon.
Space pirates with a good reason for what they do. 5/5
A vast improvement over the original.
We now have a social structure and a better explanation as to why the critters exist, do what they do, and how they function in the real world.
The species is still a little hard to take as anything more than a joke. I see where you are going with it, but it has no versimilitude for me.
They would become a navagation hazard, enough of one which would cause beings to avoid the system. If it was unavoidable, a "relocation" or displacement policy would solve much of the issue.
Once their crashing tactic was discovered, simply keeping your disance or a good set of asteroid shields negates part of it. (Thought they might take out an occasional small craft or stupid captain's ship.)
A couple of automated drones with beam banks should be able to contain these beings in their own planet, unless the galactic culture was overly naive or legally bound.
Sure they might escape the system before this was in place, but that would put a minimal number into space.
Nicely done. Someone might use it.
Oh. Can you put an extra line return between paragraphs to facilitate ease of reading.
Bwahaha, they are an entertaining bunch of miscreants. There is really a certain stretch of imagination, but once passed, they can be used for somewhat comedic, but real danger. They should be able of coming up with new ideas, or at least creative repairs... it could just cause them to go crazy or something to that effect. :)
For less-then-serious space opera, these folks would fit in fine. For some reason I think they would fit in the Paranoia universe as something else other then the standard Commie Mutant Traitors.
I like them!
I like these illiterate, brainless copycats! In a way, they remind of the Warhammer 40,000 Orkz: never coming up with anything truly original (their coolest original invention, if memory serves, was a gun designed to shoot smaller Greenskins through a rift in the Warp, or space-time continuum however you see it, thus teleporting them into the very BODIES of enemies- surprisingly entertaining!), stealing from other races to augment their own fleet, and destroying everything in their path to prove that "We'z da stompy-est, Smashy-est Orkz of dem all!" Just imagine the chaos that one man could cause if he introduced a NEW IDEA (Dramatic music plays, horses neigh frantically, lightning strikes) to these poor sods. Just imagine this: a group of Grekka "engineers" are desperately trying to fix one of their ships in order to save their vessel after a disastrous battle against a "soft" target freighter that turned out to be... not so soft. The crew from the other ship comes aboard, storms the vessel, and sends their own mechanics to the damaged areas. Upon arriving, they immediately tell the Grekka mechanics how to fix the systems. The thing is, the Grekkans don't want to do that, as it would deviate from the original design. The problem on the human side is that the Grekkan ship is about to blow like a roman candle, and the human vessel, which was seriously damaged as well, won't be able to limp out of the explosive radius of the dying vessel in time to avoid catastrophic damage. How could the humans convince the Grekkans to accept their advice? Perhaps they could present some fake schematics of the system in question to convince the Grekkans that the version that THEY picked up was, in fact, modified itself. Would that possibly work?
It very well might. There are a few things that could happen, ranging from them accepting the ruse, them flat out refusing to change it (or not be able to grasp that they would change it) or, perhaps most entertainingly, a faction war that results in them actually breaking the ship apart into two crippled, limping half-ships. The faulty side then exploding in a magnificent display of zero-atmosphere fireworks.
Space goblins who ram their enemies. Once they ram the right ship and get guns, do they use the guns on their next attack? And how big could their ships actually get, if it wasn't blown up? Bigger than an asteroid? A moon? A planet? Big enough to suck other ships into orbit?