|USS Darmok Mission Brief|
USS Darmok Briefings and Logs
The duty logs, weekly status reports and sim logs of the USS Darmok.
|Captain Zachary Taylor, SD|
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Latest Intelligence on
the Kyrathian Swarm
UPDATED DATA FILE, SD 201810.01
The Kyrathian Swarm's home planet is deep in the Gamma Quadrant beyond the Dominion, and beyond the Aslan Heirate. The inhabitants do not call themselves Kyrathians or Swarm and have no name for their planet other than “homeworld”.
They were discovered in the Gamma Quadrant by Starfleet Allies, the Aslans, who had First Contact SD 200111.06. That first vessel was destroyed by the Kyrathians.
The name “Kyrathians”, accepted by the Federation and their Aslan Allies in the Gamma Quadrant for the species, is based on the name of the Commander of the ill-fated ship that first encountered them, Aslan Colonel Kyrax.
Limited contact was made with the homeworld by Captain Hardin Davik 16 years ago but all communications were lost less than 2 years later. See the Mission Logs of the USS Maverick, SD 200205.11.
Their home planet is small but dense, being only slightly larger than Mercury but having perhaps 0.75 gees of gravity.
The planet has one huge landmass, reminiscent of Earth's Pangea, and the rest is ocean (about 2/3 of the surface).
When last observed by Starfleet, the landmass was mostly barren desert with one large sentient plant termed “the Wild Growth”. The deserts were populated by wild tribes of Kyrathian insectoids.
However, Starfleet operations had begun developing water reclamation facilities and weather control satellites. The last reports stated that much of the desert had been reclaimed for crops and regular rainfall had rejuvenated much of the landmass.
The Kyrathian Swarm is of an arthropodal nature, that is, they are insectoid, being invertebrate animals with a hard exoskeleton made of a chitinous material. Their bodies are segmented into a Head, Thorax, and Abdomen, and they generally have four "legs" and two "arms" (though some stand on their lower two appendages and thus appear to have four "arms"). Some have wings, and a few of those are able to fly in standard atmospheres.
The chitinous exoskeleton of the larger creatures can completely absorb stun settings on phasers with no effect. Kill settings will burn holes in the armor after a few seconds, depending on the size of the creature. Type 3 disruptors will disintegrate the armor after a few seconds, and eventually disintegrate the creature after several seconds of continuous fire.
The Swarm has developed a symbiotic relationship with a certain unique plant. The plant itself seems to be sentient and the insectoid Kyrathians nurture and tend the plant. The fibers of the plant operate much like fiber-optic cables, and nodes along the vines and tendrils function like processing units or data storage.
Anything touched by a single fiber of the plant is in connection with everything else touched by the plant, providing nearly instantaneous communication across the network of the plant.
In addition to the plant network, the insectoids themselves have a telepathic link with one another that spans at least several hundred kilometers. The actual range of this link has not yet been determined.
Between the insectoids' telepathic link and the plant's fibrous network, it can be safely assumed that anything one Kyrathian perceives, all related Kyrathians will be aware of within seconds.
There has been no way discovered as yet to break the Kyrathians' telepathic bond short of death or unconsciousness of the individual Kyrathian. Their antennae appear to be somehow connected to this telepathy, but a Kyrathian with a broken antenna is still able to communicate and will be sought out by others who will protect it and return it to the hive, where its damaged antenna will eventually regenerate.
The plant's network can be severed by disconnecting tendrils from the main mass, but there are usually dozens of redundant connections as the tendrils and fibers snake out from one node to another.
The Swarm is divided into a heirarchy of sub-species that appear to have been bred to perform specific functions within the colony. These sub-species are the Nobles (the breeding and "ruling" class), the Soldiers (the larger, warring class), the Gatherers (the ravaging class that collects materials and food for the colony), the Builders (the class that constructs and maintains their colony ships see following details), and the Tenders (the class that exclusively maintains the vegetoid appendages to their ships see following details). Each of these Classes has a different physiology. While the details are still sketchy at best, a general description follows.
The planet-based Kyrathians mirror this same hierarchy in their tribal colonies.
These are large, six-legged centaur-arthropods, similar to termites or ants, with four legs in the Abdomen used for walking and two in the Thorax used as arms. They are about 2.5 meters long (8 feet) and stand about 1.5 meters high (5 feet). They have large antennae which protrude from the tops of their heads about 0.25 meters (1 foot) and have multi-faceted compound eyes. Their mandibles are very small. They have two very large, diaphenous wings about 1 meter long (3 feet), but they appear to be mostly used for attracting mates as they could not support the weight of the creature in flight. Nobles are rarely encountered outside of a Colony ship or a planet-based Colony.
These are very large, eight-legged centaur-arthropods, similar to the Nobles in appearance, only larger and with two sets of arms in the Thorax. They are fully 3 meters in length (10 feet) and 2 meters tall (6 feet). Their antennae are about the same size as the Nobles, being about 0.25 meters (1 foot). They also have the multi-faceted compound eyes, but their mandibles are much larger and can crush hard bone. They also have two diaphenous wings, smaller than the Nobles, only about 0.25 meters long (1 foot), and appear to be simply vestigial. It is also known that Soldier-class Kyrathians can withstand the vacuum of space with no ill effects. They will equip themselves with an air supply which they carry on their body, usually slung beneath their Abdomen. Soldiers are the most frequently encountered specimen.
These range in size from tiny to enormous, but their appearance is the same: that of a beetle-like creature with four "legs" and four "arms". The Thorax and Abdomen of this class are almost indistinguishable from the upper side, but from the underside the four "arms" extend from a short Thorax while the other four "legs" extend from the Abdomen. They have two short antennae about 0.15 meters long (6 inches) on their heads and another, longer antennae on the tail which is about 0.5 meters long (18 inches). They have many multi-faceted compound eyes, the exact number of which is unknown. They have very large mandibles capable of crushing rock or even metal, and are equipped with storage pouches on their undersides where they can store large amounts of material. They have very large wings protected inside their exoskeleton which can provide flight to the smaller versions. Gatherers have been reported to range in size from 0.1 meters long (4 inches) to 4 meters long (13 feet)! It is the Gatherers that will swarm a planet or ship and strip it of all useable material and transport it back to the colony ship. Like the Solder-class, Gatherers can withstand the vacuum of space with no ill effects. They will equip themselves with an air supply which they carry on their body in one of the many storage pouches. Gatherers are the second most frequently encountered specimen, often swarming with Soldiers, or following shortly after the first wave.
These also range in size from small to large with a generalized appearance. These resemble Terran spiders more than anything else, with eight equally spaced appendages which it uses interchangeably as either "arms" or "legs". All eight legs extend from the central Thorax. Builders can secrete a substance from glands in their Abdomen which is used to mold their colony hives or ships and any other vessels the Swarm may require. This substance becomes as hard as concrete but remains very light-weight. Builders can eat and digest this material back into their system. Using their mandibles and "arms" they can shape this material into any form the Swarm may require. Builders have two long antennae, extending 0.5 meters (18 inches) from their heads, and many multi-faceted compound eyes. Their mandibles are small, but strong enough to chip stone and bend metal. They have no wings, but their "legs" can grip almost any surface enabling them to walk on walls or ceilings with equal ease. The bodies of Builders tend to be small and compact while the legs extend twice as long as the body itself. Builders range in size from 0.25 meters (6 inches) to 2 meters (6 feet), not including the legs. Builders are seldom encountered outside of their Colony ships unless on a planet that is being colonized.
These again range in size from tiny to medium sized. This class resembles Terran moths, with four "legs" and two "arms" and very large wings used for flight. They have very short antennae, rarely longer than 0.25 meters (6 inches) on even the larger sized creatures. They appear to have no eyes. They have tiny mandibles but are equipped with a long proboscis which they use to extract nutrients from their vegetoid harvest and to inject nutrients into it. The Tenders maintain the sentient plant that has evolved into a symbiotic relationship with the Swarm. Tenders also tend the young Kyrathians in their pupal and larval states. They range in size from 0.1 meters (4 inches) to 1 meter (3 feet) in length, not including their wings. Tenders are never encountered outside a Colony.
When not on their homeworld, the typical Kyrathian Swarm Colony Ship is relatively small, often equipped with solar sails or photo-sensitive panels, but found to be capable of Warp 3 (possibly as much as Warp 5). It is not known what sort of warp-generating power source they utilize.
Ordinarily a single autonomous Colony is encountered, though occasionally there may be 2 or 3 working together.
While the ships appear autonomous, this is deceiving since all Kyrathians, of any sub-species, are telepathically linked across hundreds of kilometers. Anything one perceives, all perceive, anything one knows, all know, though there appears to be a few seconds delay in transmitting this information.
Most Kyrathian vessels have a configuration resembling one of the Noble caste of their species, with extended solar sails resembling wings, sensor receptors on the bow resembling multi-faceted eyes, etc.
The ships are primarily constructed from materials harvested by raiding as augmented by the secretions of the Builders. Much of what the Federation might call “technology” or “electronics” is provided through the sentient Plant and its fiber-optic-like tendrils and dense nodes. This plant-based technology resembles both clinging ivy and carnivorous Venus flytrap-like qualities. The Plant is mobile in that it can move its appendages to grasp objects. Over who-knows-how-many generations the Swarm and the sentient plant have developed a symbiotic relationship with one another.
Tenders tend the Plant and the young within the Colony, feeding the plant whatever biological materials they come across, and harvesting the fruit and leaves of the Plant itself as food for mature Kyrathians, or its nectar to feed the young. They protect the Plant from harm, provide it with nutrients, and clean it of any parasites and decaying matter.
When encountering other life-forms, the Gatherers will attempt to take live specimens back to the Colony. These captives are then provided to the Plant, which will inject spores into the living captives. The spores will grow into a new Plant, feeding off of the host's body. When the new Plant finally sends out its shoots and tendrils, they interconnect with the parent plant and convey all the knowledge once contained in its host. There is no known way to remove the spores from a host as they infect the entire bloodstream or other tissues of the host at the cellular level.
In previous encounters with the Kyrathian Swarm, before the assimilation of Lt. Dos and the dialog between Captain Hardin and free Kyrathians, there was never any communication between Kyrathians and others. All encounters consisted of an all-out attack by the Swarm. Recent activity follows this same pattern, attack without communication.
Previous attacks began with a launch of dozens or even hundreds of plant pods that siphoned energy from a ship's shields, followed by dozens of individual Soldiers attacking the hull and ripping it open to gain access to the interior.
Recent attacks are similar in that plant pods are sent to attack shields, but these pods are apparently either piloted remotely or programmed to seek nearby power sources. They can change trajectory and choose their targets rather than being simply projectiles.
Also, the Soldiers now use small ships rather than individuals floating alone through space. This may give them additional protection or weaponry or tools to tear open hulls. Thus far, no ship that has had Soldiers land on the hull has survived to report exactly what transpires.
The Kyrathian Swarm has been known to converge on planets with multiple ships and do a similar tactic. Plant pods rain down on the surface, infesting any organic life and consuming it. Soldiers rip apart any infrastructure or useful minerals and Gatherers will collect and process the materials.
This process usually produces an inhospitable or uninhabitable wasteland in a matter of days that may take decades to recover, if ever. If enough ships converge on a planet in this fashion they can cause irreversible damage to the biosphere and cause mass extinction.
Captain Hardin Davik of the Maverick established a dialog with the planet-bound Kyrathians on their homeworld SD 200205.11. These Kyrathians seemed reasonable with primitive technology and tribal structure. Reports from the Federation monitoring team after the return of the spacefaring Kyrathians to their homeworld showed progress towards establishment of a tribal organization extending to the Colony Ships as well, until contact was lost. How the Kyrathians have developed in the interim is unknown.
Originally, the Kyrathian Insectoids and the Kyrathian Plant lived on a single planet, small but dense, being slightly larger than Mercury but having 0.75 gees of gravity. The planet has a single large landmass surrounded by an enormous ocean covering 2/3 of the surface.
A few millennia ago, the Kyrathian Insectoids were not telepathically linked as they are today. In fact, they were barely sentient, being similar to Neanderthals of Earth's last Ice Age. However, the world-spanning Plant had achieved its own sentience millennia before the insectoids had.
But, up to a few centuries ago, the Plant, though sentient and intelligent, was inactive. It acted as we normally expect plants to act. It was content to simply soak up light energy and nutrients from the soil and the frequent rain, and be tended (and pruned) by the Insectoids. Being a vine-like creeper, the Plant virtually dominated the surface area of the single continent, with only small clearings where the Insectoids had built their colonies, or where the ground was too rocky or otherwise inhospitable for its growth.
But then there came an alien ship to the Kyrathian planet. It isn't recorded from where they came, and they apparently did not remain long, comparitively speaking. But they brought advanced technology to the Kyrathian homeworld in an effort to colonize the planet. They vastly underestimated the Insectoids' strength and single-mindedness of the colony-preservation instinct. And they made the mistake of disregarding the Plant as merely vegetation.
There was warfare for decades. The end result of the aliens' technology, the high-energy weaponry, and the waste products of the aliens' manufacturing plants, was that the planet became polluted and the ozone that protected it from the sun's harmful radiation was burned away.
Eventually the aliens were destroyed and their technology taken by the Insectoids and the Plant. But the damage was done. The planet's delicate ecosystem had begun to falter.
The oceans and rivers began to dry up and the Plant became desperate. It felt it had no other choice of survival but to use the aliens' technology to escape its tiny planet and take to the stars.
Several more decades passed while the Plant manipulated the Insectoids into constructing spacefaring ships, transporting seedlings aboard them. It used the time to genetically engineer a bond in the Insectoids that the Plant could use to communicate amongst them. It also genetically engineered them to be dependent on the Plant for their food source.
Their planet deteriorated such that it became mostly desert, hot and baking beneath a wicked sun. The Insectoids that were left behind evolved into powerful desert-dwellers, very aggressive and warlike, highly territorial, and defending their watering grounds with vicious efficiency.
What remained of the original Plant was scattered, fragmented into a handful of large forest-like growths in the tropical zone. Unfortunately, the lack of water and increased solar radiation eventually drove the planet-spanning Plant insane, its intelligence deteriorating into dementia. The Kyrathian insectoids remaining on the planet began calling it the Wild Growth, avoiding it as much as possible and eventually severing their dependence on it.
Not so their spacefaring brethren. The Plants on those Colony Ships thrived, as did the Insectoids. Their Colony Ships sailed off on the solar winds, separate and independent, but each carrying the memories of the original world-bound and world-spanning growth, with the Insectoids linked telepathically sharing their experiences and communicating resource-rich locations to be plundered.
They began to slowly spread from their home star system and began encroaching on their neighbors.
The Aslans first encountered the Swarm on Stardate 200111.06. Within a year, there had been four Aslan encounters, with two Aslan ships lost with all hands and two escaping with severe damage. Several other lesser allies or protectorates of the Aslan Heirate had encounters with the Swarm with similar results. At least two known planets were left completely uninhabitable. Fortunately, those planets were uninhabited by intelligent life-forms.
Eventually, Captain Hardin Davik made contact with the Kyrathian insectoids left on their homeworld (see "The Kyrathian Dialogue" below) and set up facilities to repair the ecosystem with water reclamation facilities and weather control systems.
One of Captain Hardin's crew, Lt. Ms Dos, in an ill-fated attempt to bond with the Wild Growth, hoping to make contact and negotiate a peace treaty, threw herself into it and was absorbed. This did manage to reduce the Wild Growth's madness, to some degree.
Eventually, on Captain Hardin's suggestion, the planet-based Kyrathians used their telepathic link to summon their spacefaring brethren home.
Captain Adam Android was temporarily given command of the USS Agamemnon to investigate rumors of a resurgence in the Kyrathian Swarm.
The Agamemnon was attacked by Kyrathians but managed to flee, and though there has been a "Data Loss" of the official records (as yet unexplained), developments elsewhere in the galaxy (closer to home), required the Agamemnon be recalled from the distant parts of the Gamma Quadrant and the Kyrathians and other distant reaches of the Gamma Quadrant were simply forgotten.
Seventeen years have passed, and now Aslan ships are seeing Kyrathian Colony ships much further from their Homeworld. Recently, the Kyrathians attacked the home planet of the Netinin, nearly causing the extinction of the species and seriously damaging the ecosystem of the planet. The Aslans have finally decided to plea to the Federation to investigate and offer assistance. Starfleet Command has decided to send the USS Darmok, an Advanced Reconnaissance Scout to probe beyond the Aslan Heirate into Kyrathian space.