The (Savaged) Ishantran
The third member of the Consortium triad is the species known as the Ishantra. Whether this is truly their name or simply one they have adopted is unknown. They are a race born of a genetic mixing of many races, long ago fleeing the perils of beyond the Zone (see History). Thus, physically, no two Ishandtran look alike. There is little similarity in appearance between one Ishantra and another, yet somehow they recognize each other as being of the same species. The only commonality is that they are all humanoid – two legs, two arms and a torso.
To this day, the Ishantra breed by cloning and gene-splicing. In fact, this species engages in
genetic manipulation on a whim, and the sizes and shapes of beings calling themselves Ishantra are infinite in variety.
Over ninety percent of Ishantra contain internal sexual characteristics of both males and females, essentially forming a third, bisexual gender. Those Ishantra who are only one sex or the other are regarded as inferior and treated with pity or scorn.
Most Ishantra breathe a mix of oxygen and nitrogen – though they also require a certain amount of carbon in their atmosphere as well (usually not a problem on most Consortium worlds). Describing them externally, however, is a problem. Most Ishantrans have generically humanoid characteristics mixed with avian or reptilian elements. The best way to determine an Ishantran’s appearance and abilities is to look at its environment – they are often customized to where they live.
Much of their history is a mystery, even to themselves. What has been gathered from Ishantra tales is that, at one time, they lived somewhere other than they do now. Rather than one species, the Ishantra were many, and how much contact there was between them during this period is unknown. At some point, their respective home worlds suffered a terrible cataclysm (Fleet now theorizes they were attacked by Armagons or particularly vicious bolter species). Regardless, the various species were forced to flee their homes, seeking salvation. Today, that frenzied flight has attained religious significance for the Ishantra and legends of centuries in space have helped shape their culture.
After braving countless dangers, the ships bearing these displaced species finally arrived on a harsh, forbidding world that nonetheless was capable of supporting life. Few members of each species had survived the journey, and it was obvious that all would perish as a result of inbreeding within a few generations. Thus they turned their technology inward, altering their genetic structure and finding commonalities that could be used as breeding factors. Many of the individual species became extinct, but the “one” that emerged- the Ishantra -survived and grew stronger.
Society and Customs
The Ishantra breed by cloning and gene-splicing as well as genetic manipulation. The sizes and shapes of beings calling themselves Ishantra are infinite in variety.
Though a spacefaring species, the Ishantra do not particularly like star travel. Like sailors who have been adrift at sea for far too long, they cling to their worlds, using up every last resource of a planet before moving on to another. One Ishantran once explained that the racial memory of the long flight was a part of every member of its species, and so they preferred to travel into space only when they knew with certainty where they were going. Each planet they settled upon was regarded as the last they might ever see, and so it was believed each one’s minerals and energy sources had to be thoroughly exhausted before a migration could be considered.
All of these factors have combined to make the Ishantra the smallest of the three species in the Consortium, as well as the one that holds the least amount of territory. However, their technology, particularly, is easily the best in the Consortium. Unlike the Glahn, the Ishantra have no reservations about using tech whenever possible. Give an Ishantra three different ways of doing something – one way no tech, one moderate tech, and one high tech – the Ishantran will figure out a way that has even more technological applications than the other three.
Their manufacturing facilities – staffed by workers genetically designed for their particular labors – are some of the most productive in known space. More and more, Human megacorps have been looking for ways to apply Ishantra principles to their own industries.
Ishantra government is largely dominated by their scientists. It is they who decide what mutations in the species are necessary, as well as they who decide when it is time to seek out another world to exploit. Lately, the Ishantra Core has been plagued by small groups of native fringers who oppose arbitrary genetic manipulation and believe that toying with such things will lead to a second visitation of the disaster which drove their ancestors from their home worlds many years ago.
Since the discovery of the shatterzone by the Consortium a few years ago, many Ishantra have begun to claim that their ancestors passed through the river of God millennia ago. This may be rooted in fact, as several lshantra legends mention symbols that could be interpreted
as the ‘zone.
Whatever the case, the Ishantra are disturbed by the shatterzone and seldom venture in its immediate vicinity. Those that have are considered mad renegades, who have become the most savage of shatrats.
Expansion: See The Ishantran Chyth
Ishantra-Glahn relations are strained, as noted above Nor are all Humans entirely comfortable with the Ishantra – their infinite variety of appearances makes some uneasy
and their willingness to mutate their progeny just to see what might happen offends some Human sensibilities.
See the Ishantran Chyth for characterisitcs of each subrace of Ishantran.
Special Power: Sense Other Ishantran (+1) – A form of telepathy, every Ishantran instively can sense another Ishantran when within speaking distance.
Hindrance – Outsider (-1): Ishantran have an alien outlook that tends to make them an outsider. They look at mutations and genetic engineering differently than almost any other character.