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The following is what is commonly known on Earth about the Galactics. This information is not necessarily true or complete -- it is just what has been learned about the Galactics from what they have said, or from what the few Terrans to spend time with them have observed.
The existence of extraterrestrial life became a proven fact in 1997, when several different alien races waged an "Intervention War" over (literally and figuratively) Earth.
It turned out, however, that the advanced alien races occupying this part of the galaxy are all human.
Most commonly referred to as "Galactics" (because the Galactics refer to their collective civilization as "Galactic society," though each Galactic society is actually separate and distinct), many Earthlings also call them "space humans."
The Galactics are divided into nine different "races," each one a separate society with its own interstellar territory. However, all Galactics are genetically human. They could, theoretically, interbreed with Terrans (though this has not happened yet, as far as anyone knows), and amongst themselves (which apparently does happen, but very rarely).
The Galactics mostly live completely separated from one another; there are apparently no planets where Galactics of different races coexist. They do have a "Galactic Council," which seems to function as a sort of "United Nations," with a similar level of authority. (Galactic Council edicts are often more observed in the breach...)
Their civilization is over 20,000 years old, according to them. For that entire time, they have occupied this part of the galaxy. (The exact extent of human space is unknown -- they won't give Earthlings detailed maps, and conflicting word-of-mouth reports hint that the Galactics may only occupy part of this spiral arm, or their civilization might reach almost all the way to the Core.) But there are at least a few hundred planets occupied by "space humans," and possibly many thousands.
They have apparently known about Earth for centuries, and regularly come to collect those few individuals who "belong" among them.
The Galactics all possess psionic powers, and each Galactic race possesses a different one. They refer to a particular psionic ability as a "Function," and psionically-active humans are "Functionals." A tiny fraction of Galactics are born with minimal or zero psionic ability; they are called "Non-Functional," or more patronizingly, "mind-dead." This is also how the Galactics refer to the majority of Earth's population....
To the Galactics, their respective psionic abilities are as natural as walking or talking, and their societies make no provisions for their "handicapped" who do not possess a Function. Thus, Non-Functionals are typically relocated to one of several "mind-dead" worlds. The Galactics claim this is for the benefit of the mind-dead, and that these reservations are perfectly pleasant places to live, with access to all the technology every other Galactic world has available.
The Galactics believe that at some point in the distant past, Earth was used as a mind-dead reservation -- but they do not know which race is responsible. Somehow, this planet was cut off from the rest of Galactic civilization and forgotten.
Among mind-dead populations, occasionally someone is born "Functional," and this is also true of Earthlings. Thus, when the Galactics rediscovered Earth, they also discovered that a tiny percentage of Earthlings were psionically active. And for the past few centuries, they have been regularly collecting any Functional human they discovered during their regular scans of the planet. These psionically active Terrans have been given the choice of joining the society which their "Function" made them a rightful member of, or having their memories and their psionic abilities erased, and being returned to Earth.
Among the Galactics, Functions are mutually exclusive. No one possesses more than one, and they breed true. The telepathic Shabaali give birth to telepaths. The teleporting Sebth give birth to teleporters. In the exceedingly rare event that a Shabaali has a child with a Sebth, the child will be either a telepath or a teleporter, but never both, and that child's offspring will always inherit his or her Function. Thus, Galactics define the race to which a human belongs by his or her Function.
Then came the first metahumans, in 1995, demonstrating not only a blend of Functions, something the Galactics considered scientifically impossible, but with applications that are impossible to any Galactic, and at power levels that are almost unheard of.
According to the Galactics, every metahuman power is a manifestation of one or more psionic Functions. But how and why Terrans began manifesting such bizarre and powerful abilities is something that still mystifies them. Apparently it concerns them a great deal, as it shakes the foundations of everything they have assumed to be true about their (our) species.
Galactic medical technology, and their generations of selective breeding, is such that Galactic lifespans are measured in centuries; supposedly it is not unheard of for a Galactic to live to be over 700 years old. They appear to mature at about the same rate as Terrans, reaching puberty in their teens and adulthood in their 20s, but thereafter they age much slower than Earthlings do. Unlike Terran metahumans, Galactics are usually born with rudimentary psionic "Functionality," which develops at a young age until they are fully "Functional" by the time they can walk.
The Galactic Council has declared that Earth is to be left alone and in isolation, and no more "collections" are to take place. However, limited diplomatic contact is permitted. Earth is on the border between Shabaali and Sebth space, so those two races are the ones who have outposts in our solar system.
On Earth, there are now a number of small cults who worship the Galactics, and a much greater number of people who, while not believing the "space humans" to be divine beings, think they are waiting for us to become civilized enough to be worthy of joining their civilization. The few Terrans who have interacted with Galactics enough to learn about their society say that while the Galactics are very advanced and very civilized, it is not exactly a harmonious, utopian paradise out in space. In person, Galactics tend to be extremely patronizing towards Earthlings, regarding Earth humans as pitiful savages trapped in a pre-civilized culture. Very few Terrans ever get to meet them; they do not make public appearances or give interviews, limiting their contact mostly to U.N. officials.
Most of what is known on Earth about Galactic civilization comes from Azad Pezek, an Iranian journalist who was invited to take a three-year tour of human space, and visited dozens of Galactic worlds before returning to Earth to write a book called No Need For Earth.
Galactic technology is extremely advanced, though Terrans rarely get to see much of it. Most of their ships use hyperspace drives -- how fast they can travel is unknown, though Azad Pezek apparently was taken hundreds of light years during his three-year tour. The Sebth use "jumpships," amplifying the teleportation powers of the crew to allow them to teleport their ships dozens of light years at a time. The Lemaar reportedly use similar psi-amplifying technology to allow their crews to "warp" normal space/time around their ships, letting them exceed the lightspeed barrier without actually entering hyperspace.
They have advanced gravitic and force field technology, "regeneration fields," Artificial Intelligences that can fit in palm-sized devices, cloaking devices, and weapons capable of laying waste to a planet -- in short, nearly everything out of Earth science fiction. What they don't have is metahuman powers of the sort seen on Earth.
Each Galactic race also has advanced technology for amplifying their natural psionic powers. It is unknown just how powerful an unamplified Galactic's natural powers can be -- they do apparently vary between individuals, but few Galactics match the power of Earth's most powerful metahumans.
With 20,000 years of eugenics, and the firm belief that racial purity is the natural state of humanity, Galactics are remarkably uniform in appearance, within their respective races. Earth humans often have trouble distinguishing between two Shabaali or two Sebth. They are also uniformly beautiful. Galactics are said to consider most Earthlings to be quite ugly.
However, as on Earth, Galactic "races" are merely phenotypical variations (with the exception of their psionic Functions). Galactics can interbreed among themselves, though they rarely do. They are close-mouthed about suggestions of interbreeding with Earthlings, but a few DNA samples have been obtained from Galactics (usually without their knowledge or permission), and Earth scientists are convinced they are, genetically, as human as we are.
The Shabaali are telepaths. Their civilization is called the Shabaali Unity, and they profess to be peaceful and to abhor violence. In person, most Shabaali are extremely sensitive and easily distressed by cruel or malicious thoughts. They also have no respect for mental privacy, and are shocked and appalled by dishonesty. Despite their pacifistic tendencies, Shabaali ships are as heavily armed as any others, though they do prefer using telepathic projectors to force paralysis or confusion on their opponents, which they have already demonstrated the ability to do on a planet-wide scale. (Other Galactics apparently have some sort of psi-shield technology which prevents the Shabaali from being able to simply dominate them at will.)
The Shabaali Unity is one of the two largest and most powerful Galactic civilizations, and their main rivals are the Sebth, with whom they have recently fought a war. Supposedly, the two empires are at peace now. Earth is on the border between Shabaali and Sebth space.
Physically, the Shabaali appear "Oriental" at first glance, with Asiatic eyes, black hair, and high cheekbones. However, their faces tend to be more angular than Terrans of Asian ethnicity, and they are tall and robust. They have olive brown skin. Shabaali females tend to be quite buxom. Many Earthlings consider the Shabaali to be the most beautiful of the Galactic races, and they are usually the friendliest (though no less condescending than any of the others). Their language sounds melifluous and liquid, and the Shabaali say that while they can express any desired meaning verbally, most of their conversations have telepathic "speech" overlayed upon their spoken words, adding nuances of meaning and expression and feelings. Face-to-face, Shabaali never misunderstand each other, and have a hard time understanding how Terrans (and other Galactics) can manage to communicate so imprecisely.
The Sebth "Function" is teleportation. Instead of hyperspace drives, their ships use massive psionic amplifiers, so that Sebth crews can "jump" between star systems. Their ships are perfectly spherical.
The Sebth civilization is called the Sebth Combine, and appears to be a militaristic, caste society. The Shabaali and the Sebth are adversarial, though not currently at war. Shabaali call the Sebth a violent, warlike people -- the Sebth claim that they are not war-loving, and that the Shabaali are manipulative hypocrites.
Sebth have black, almost iridescent skin, but aside from skin color, do not resemble Earthlings of African ancestry very much. Their noses are sharp and angular, as are their jawlines. They have thin lips and rounded foreheads. Most Sebth of both genders shave their heads bald, except for a single braid or a fringe or various other hairstyles indicating their "caste."
Their language is heavy on consonant clusters, and possesses only a few vowel sounds.
Along with the Shabaali, the Sebth are the Galactics most often seen on Earth. More is known about these two races than any of the others.
The Tua are clairvoyants, or "psychics." They are allied with the Shabaali, and Shabaali-Tua unions are not unheard of, though still rare.
The Tua can see into the past and future as easily as the present, and they seem to be living in many time frames at once. Even the Shabaali consider them strange and difficult to relate to. The Tua answer questions that haven't been asked yet, or ignore questions, thinking they have already answered them -- but this sort of misunderstanding never seems to happen between two Tua.
The Tua have numerous worlds of their own that exist within the Shabaali Unity -- it is not clear whether they are part of the Unity, or an independent civilization coexisting peacefully with it.
Physically, Tua are short, broad-shouldered, and surprisingly muscular. Their hair is usually white or golden, though there are a few redheads. They have light brown skin that contrasts oddly with their fair hair.
The Atla are "biokinetics," capable of psychokinetically manipulating organic matter. Terrans sometimes call them "healers," but while the Atla can use their Function to heal, they can also use it to injure or kill. They are capable of controlling their own physiologies, to the extent that most Atla are virtually immortal. The most skilled Atla can manipulate living cells at the genetic level. It is believed some can shapechange themselves or others, but this has never been demonstrated to Earthlings. The Atla are allied with the Sebth, but almost never come to Earth. The Shabaali despise them, claiming the Atla are cruel and arrogant, and even sadistic in the way they treat other races.
Atla are tall, thin, and willowy, usually with long white or blond hair, and pale white skin.
The Asgur are electro- and photokinetics, with the power to psionically control the electromagnetic spectrum. Most Asgur can generate light and electricity at will, though only the most powerful can actually project lasers or lightning bolts. The Asgur have the most advanced computer and cybernetic technology of the Galactic races, as they can control it mentally and create psionic links to their machines.
Physically they are fair-skinned and have round Caucasian-looking faces. Most are redheads, though some have blond or light brown hair. Their society is a "Federation" of some sort, and they have a reputation with other Galactics for being uncouth and belligerent, and also for being pranksters.
The Lemaar are psychokinetics, who have practiced such extreme eugenic policies on themselves that among their own race, they are divided into telekinetics, pyrokinetics, and cryokinetics -- technically all part of the same Function, but few Lemaar can wield it in more than one specialty, except for the so-called "Royal Lemaar." They have a monarchical form of goverment, and some sort of caste system that appears much stricter and more oppressive than that of the Sebth.
Physically, Lemaar are tall, heavy, and big-boned. Their facial features are somewhat Negroid, with wide noses and thick lips, but their skin and hair color is light.
The Inquihi seem to be the "underclass" of Galactic society, dreaded and shunned for their abilities much as "Neutralizers" are among metahumans on Earth. The Inquihi are psychic vampires who can drain other Galactics of their psionic powers, as well as life energy. (It is unknown whether an Inquihi's Function could neutralize a Terran metahuman's powers.) The Inquihi do not have an empire of their own, but live as interstellar nomads; a few worlds have been settled by them, but they seem to exist among other Galactics the way gypsies once did on Earth. Many Inquihi apparently serve in what passes for a Galactic "peacekeeping" force, as other Galactics have an almost superstitious dread of the Inquihi and do not want to face them in battle.
Inquihi are small, almost elfin in stature, with reddish brown skin and sparse brown or black hair.
The Siprete are the most feared of Galactic races, even moreso than the Inquihi, because they have more status. Their Function is an "anti-Function" -- they can neutralize other psionic abilities, and can even permanently render a Galactic "mind-dead." It was also demonstrated during the Intervention War that they can neutralize the powers of (some) Earth metahumans as well. They have assumed the rule of enforcers on the Galactic Council, and intervene to end wars or territorial disputes between other Galactic races. The Sebth consider them meddling, self-righteous, and arrogant, while the Shabaali regard them as fanatical, bullying crusaders.
Physically, the Siprete are small, thin, and have very pale skin, with straight black hair and narrow, dark eyes.
Universally considered the strangest race by all the other Galactics, the Wineye'i are astral projectors. They are said to have entire "astral stations," possibly even worlds, projected into some other dimension. They dwell on only a few worlds, and rarely interact with any other Galactic civilizations. Most of the Galactics consider them to be harmless "mystics," and little is known about them, even by other space humans. None have ever been seen in Earth's solar system -- it's not known whether the Wineye'i are even aware that Earth exists. Second-hand reports indicate that they have light skin and fair hair, but the only other distinctive description Terrans have been given is that they have "large eyes."
There is indigenous life on other planets, but the entire time Azad Pezek traveled in human space, he never saw nor was told about any non-human sapients. Galactics usually refuse to answer questions about other species in the galaxy, but a few people claim that Galactics have sometimes let slip hints that sentient non-human races do exist, but perhaps not within human space. Whether these other races are spacefaring, and what relationships or contact they may have with the "space humans," is unknown.