The Bythrani were an iron-age technology race discovered by the Byntai 1,500 years ago, and promptly enslaved. No one knows what they originally called themselves, for the Byntai renamed them “Bythrani”, or “not-people” after overrunning their world. Used for manual labour and cannon-fodder foot-soldiers, the Bythrani- savages to begin with before the Byntai showed up- became a brutal horde sweeping through the stars at the behest of their masters, spreading the Byntai Empire.
Then, a thousand years ago, the Byntai encountered- and promptly angered- the Capellans. The results were immediate and brutal, as the Capellans wiped out the Byntai en-masse. Only their technology to shift entire worlds into parallel universes saved a dozen of the Byntai worlds, abandoning their slave races and scattered forces. The Bythrani promptly overthrew and slaughtered the Byntai occupying their world, and used the captured technology to slowly begin expanding out, claiming territory for themselves.
In the millennium since, the Bythrani have proven to be capable at scavenging and cobbling-together the technology of other races, but lack the innovation to develop their own. They are- at an intellectual and creative level- still an iron-age race of savages. Though they understand how to use and crudely maintain technology they capture, it is beyond their abilities to reverse-engineer any of it to inspire the development of their own. Thus, these marauders have become a scourge to those races they encounter.
Bythrani delight in brutality- raping, torturing, savaging, and killing those they encounter, even other Bytrhani from opposing packs. While some have compared them to 24th century Vikings, anyone with knowledge of history immediately disputes that assertion. Vikings- be they Scandinavian, Danes, or Norse- were extremely advanced technologically for their day, and it was their innovations in naval technology that allowed them to be so successful. Likewise, while Vikings would brutalize and enslave those they encountered more often than not, they were fuzzy fun-loving pacifistic gentlemanly Boy Scouts compared to the nicest Bythrani.
The Bythrani have no true navy, initially using captured Byntai vessels (far inferior to current Byntai technology), and adding captured alien vessels to their fleets over the centuries. These ships tend to fall apart over the years due to the Bythrani’s inability to engineer spare parts, so they replace broken components with similar ones stripped from vessels too badly damaged to salvage. Oddly enough, the Bythrani have managed to kludge together disparate alien technologies to make a component from one race work in conjunction with components from another. The end result are flying junk-piles of haphazardly thrown-together engines, weapons, hull parts, and other components, all covered in the Bythrani’s idea of “art”- spikes, prongs, serrated protrusions, blood spatter, corpses of victims, and the Bythrani equivalent of graffiti scrawled along parts of the hull.
The marauder shown is typical of such a kludge, with components from no less than eight different races hammered together into a single vessel. While not a threat to military or mercenary vessels, they can give a privateer or heavily-armed Freetrader a run for their money, and can easily overcome civilian vessels. The main hull of the vessel is an old Khurian Kajoud freighter, with bow components from a Sarza merchantman and an extendable boarding prow from an old North American Union assault frigate, probably salvaged from a Capellan-War-era battlefield. The engines are from a Borga vessel, apparently a Urdi transport.
The weapons are equally varied. From port to starboard there are a Kereshi disruptor cannon to knock out a ship’s electronics, four Capellan-War-era NAU light PPC turrets, one with a destroyed barrel, a related NAU medium PPC turret, a heavy AP lancer spinal mount, most likely salvaged off of the wreckage of a mercenary vessel, and a Khurian PPC turret on the bow above the boarding prow, an insanely cobbled-together central weapons array consisting of a Khurian medium PPC and a Juunta particle beam cannon on the port side. Starboard, there are three Terran-made medium PPCs, the dual-PPC cannon arm from an Arbalest battlewalker, a dual-Gauss cannon, and a magnetic grappler designed to snatch small craft and escape pods and reel them back in. The only stern weapon is a Skree pulsed plasma cannon.
The armour is bits and pieces of armour plating patched together using molecular bonding agents and attached to the hull. Shields are likewise salvaged from various vessels and races and the generators are often exposed, though they do provide adequate protection. The jump engines are reliable enough, though a slower, older model allowing for a top speed of 50 C/hr.
The Bythrani crew compliment is heavy on boarders, light on actual crew. Four bridge crew and three “engineers” man the ship, while a compliment of thirty boarders are crammed into the forward hold, made even crankier by the cramped confines. As soon as a target vessel is disabled, the boarding lock attaches to an airlock or burns through the hull to an inner corridor, unleashing the boarding party who then vent their frustration and native sadistic savagery upon all they encounter.
The Terran Alliance of Nations has not acted to do more than contain the Bythrani, though some member nations- most notably the Australio-Pacifica Coalition, Republic of Israel, Tarsus Corridor Alliance, and the Ahrugan Tribal Confederation- have taken the fight to them, eradicating them where they find them. Bythrani territory is close enough to the Orion Empire that it is a safe assumption that they will eventually raid the former Terran nation, invoking the brutal, crushing wrath of Emperor Contandino, and unleashing a genocidal campaign against them. As no one within the TAN has the stomach for such brutality (though an exception for the Ahruga could be argued, considering they have done such obliteration campaigns in the past against truly nasty predatory aliens), they are content to merely hem the Bythrani into their own territory and let the Orions deal with them.
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