|“||Spend all the men you want; we'll make an empire out of the bones.”|
|— The Wraiths • Message carved into the corpse of Shipmaster Talbolt.|
The Arraakeen Wraiths. Or, as some may call them;
The Nightmares of the Nightmares.
Clad in flesh and bone, merged with cold, hard steel, the Wraiths are fierce, secretive, and loyal warriors, acting as highly independent pirates. Prowling around their adopted homeworld of Arraak, though the festering and corrupt Empire may call it Imperial Territory, the entire sector is owned and run by the pirates, as it's been for over a century.
Though they seem to lack the sheer numbers and resources of the dominant Nightmare Empire, the Wraiths are, regardless, an intimidating and deadly force to be reckoned with, capable of making entire fleets completely vanish.
Initially composed of the crew of the Imperial Starship Vengeance, under the command of Captain Talbolt, the Arraakeen Wraiths were established in isolation from all outside influences. Following a revolt against the Captain (and in general, the Empire), the crew had thrown the Viral Tank into deep space, relatively uncharted, leaving debris and scrap behind - as if the ship had been destroyed in a self-destruct sequence.
Little is known outside of the higher levels of the Wraiths as to what exactly occurred during their time beyond the line. However, what is known is that (Nightmare) Averii, and his partner, Entra, took charge, and that the crew began to modify and warp their vessel to a lethal and sinister end - as well as their uniforms.
The crew is thought to have begun rounding up anyone left with loyalist ties, and giving them an ultimatum; Pledge their loyalty, or be subject to death - and fates worse than it, in the case of the late Captain Talbolt. Whatever exactly happened to him is still a mystery to Imperial Intelligence, though the rumors say that Averii himself handled his torture, making him an example to the crew.
Eventually, after months isolated in deep space, the crew made their return.
It's not known why they specifically chose Arraak as their home, though between rumored ore deposits and the spice, it's remote location, and the sheer foreboding hostility of the planet itself, there are various candidates as to why Arraak was chosen as the home of the Wraiths.
What's known for sure, however, is that the survey outpost there never stood a chance. For the Empire, the facility just went silent. One minute, it was active, data coming in, communications going in and out occasionally. The next, complete and utter silence. No transmissions of any kind.
The Empire sent a small unit of scout ships, about a dozen in total, meant to investigate and reestablish contact.
A single half-destroyed ship returned, it's crew slaughtered, dead or dying, with whatever computer, PAK, or datapad onboard corrupted or wiped completely. Within, it carried a message, carved into the cold, dead corpse of Talbolt.
"Send all the men you want; we'll make an empire out of the bones."
An ominous threat that kickstarted the Wraiths' haunting of the Empire.
As it stands, the Empire has tried various times to clean the Wraiths from the galaxy. Fleets were formed, battlegroups sent out, ships sent to scour entire systems; but each time, they were fruitless. Most of the time, they found nothing; sometimes, a wreck would be found (packed with explosives and active attack-bots).
Other times, the fleet would simply vanish.
Rumors say the Wraiths swarm them with dozens, even hundreds of ships that seemingly crawl out of the dark void. They speak of red eyes, and worn steel plate, merged with muscle and sinew, flesh and bone; of relentless, monstrous warriors, refusing to accept death, capable of impossible feats, with an insatiable bloodlust. They speak of the monstrous flagship of the Wraiths, the Revenant; once the proud Imperial Vessel known as the Vengeance; of the Lord of the Arrakeen Wraiths, Averii; just as brutal and ruthless in combat as he was as a loyalist, leading in person.
Over the past century, the Wraiths have proven themselves to be an exceptionally slippery and cautious group. Capable of striking one minute, and leaving the next, when they don't want to be found, they will not be found. Carefully picking and choosing their fights, the wraiths, when they do strike, are relentless and dangerous, even without the sheer numbers and manpower that the Empire enjoys.
Page still under construction! All sections subject to change!
While the details of the inner workings of the Wraiths are still shrouded in mystery, Imperial Intelligence has learned at least a few things by now; after all, it's been over a century.
Among the ground-level things that are known is that they still use Irken currency, or that they speak in basic (English). They're also known to be somehow centralized around Arraak Prime, with rumors of it being a sort of Capital, as well as being host to the largest Black Markets in the sector, despite it's blatantly hostile climate.
Formed predominantly by Irken rebels, the Wraiths, as a result, inherited various things from the Empire - from weapons and vehicles, to clothing and language, there is no mistake about it. Even the social classes of the Empire have carried over, in a way.
However, there are distinct differences everywhere. After all, the Wraiths were born from rebellion.
While details are still a bit of a mystery, it has become obvious over the years of various distinctions that the Wraiths are proud to embrace and call their own - for one reason or another.
There are six central tenets to the Arraakeen Wraiths, expressed in a code;
The Wraith's Testament | Values of the Arraakeen Wraiths
Loyalty to our Sovereignty, | Loyalty and Independence
Honor to our Family, | Respect and Kinship
Patience without Mercy; | Waiting to strike, striking Ruthlessly
The past will not survive. | Leaving the past behind; Starting anew
Together, we will thrive; | Glory, Victory, and Profit; Cooperation
Together, we will die. | There is no turning back
Of the values expressed in the code, among the top three are Kinship (or Family), Loyalty, and Independence; the three values which formed the foundation used to build the Wraiths in the first place.
To violate any of these values is among the highest offenses to any Wraith.
Between the grim imagery of their equipment and technology, and the unflinching dedication to Loyalty and 'Family', various rumors have cropped up. As one goes, on the rare occasion that a Wraith falls, their armor is added to a sort of universal tomb, honoring the fallen, acting as a sort of shrine honoring death, and the tenets of the Wraiths.
Other rumors whisper of similar tombs, spread across Wraith territory, filled with tributes and treasure; more grim stories speak about how instead, the dead are honored through their flesh and bone being used to forge new armor.
Fine details on more cultural aspects are generally unavailable, unfortunately.
Notably, it is almost certain that the Wraiths do, in fact, tolerate (and even encourage) interpersonal relationships among their ranks; or, more simply, they allow themselves to seek out mates among the crew. Theories as to why they do this range from growing their numbers, to assisting in the development of crew bonds, and even being simply for offending the Empire even more than they already have.
From what is known of the Wraiths, they generally function on a Feudalistic Meritocracy; or, in layman's terms, they're broken up into castes, similarly to the Empire, with power and authority being granted to those with the skill and ability.
Their Hierarchy is composed of 7 primary castes;
The Unwilling; the Serfs; the Merchants; the Wraithshadows; The Wraiths, themselves; their Shipmasters, and Lords. Or, more simply; Prisoners, Servants, Businesspeople, Trainees, Crew, Captains, and the Lords.
At the bottom of the castes are prisoners, or the Unwilling as they are referred to. Generally, almost all the recruits for the Wraiths start here; prisoners captured in violent raids, among the few who survive. They can come from all walks of life, from many races; their ranks are composed of Irkens, Vortians, and whatever else may lurk in the darkness.
From what is known, the Unwilling are offered a choice between four paths;
The first is to take the 'easy way out'; something presumed to be suicide, or a (relatively) quick execution.
The second is the 'light at the end of the tunnel'; something that, from what could be gathered from survivors, is essentially freedom... At the price of extreme, mind-breaking torture.
The third, essentially slavery with the promise of freedom; Serfdom.
The fourth and final option is to abandon one's past, and to become a Wraith.
Essentially Slaves or Servants, Arraakeen Serfs are the Wraith's equivalent of Irken Service Drones.
Considering the Nightmare Drones are generally lobotomized slaves, working until their body breaks, it's a step up.
Offered food, housing, and clothing, Serfs, although rather low on the hierarchy, are generally composed of the 'softer' of the Wraiths, lacking anything beyond basic skill or drive. They are given basic jobs such as foodprep, or cleaning, and lack the plating and ferocity that comes with their superiors.
Notably, those that end up serving on official Wraith ships are subject to tests of loyalty.
Given that they serve their time, Serfs are given a warning, and three choices once more.
Plain, straight-up freedom, where they are released and given the opportunity to start completely anew;
Freedom, where they are returned to their people and former life;
Or, the chance to become something more.
Generally, the third choice amounts to either apprenticeship in a trade, the trials of Wraithhood, or both, depending on the ambition of each Serf.
Not officially parts of the Arraakeen Wraiths, the Merchants are essentially any business owner or service provider associated with the Wraiths. Based in regions controlled or protected by the Wraiths, Merchants both provide for the Wraiths, as well as benefit from them in various ways.
Among the benefits of affiliation with the Wraiths that exist are protection, the ability to do whatever they wish, as well as a steady supply of fresh workers in the form of Serfs.
Due to the freedom offered under the Wraiths, prospects for business tend to be rather good, and what would be highly illegal under the Empire (or moreso than usual, anyway) would be perfectly fine, most of the time.
The Potentials and Trainees of the Arraakeen Wraiths, an Arrakeen Wraithshadow is either an Unwilling, former Serf, or, rarely, the odd volunteer, willing to forget their past lives and seek out the power, freedom, and purpose offered in the often violent life of an Arraakeen Wraith.
Little is known about the specifics of a Wraithshadow, but it is known they undergo various trials to ensure both Loyalty, as well as Capability, with the ultimate Physical test being the task of surviving a full local day on the brutal, unforgiving surface of Arraak Prime.
Imperial Intelligence has stumbled across the dead and dying who had failed the test on more than one occasion.
Notably, they are clad in more traditional plate armor, making them rather distinct next to their fully trained brethren.
The Arraakeen Wraith; a ferocious warrior-crewman. Clad in the traditional mix of organic and mechanical armor, it is believed that this caste encompasses all fully fledged members of the Wraiths, with no true class-based distinction between a soldier and an engineer, or a pilot and a technician, for example.
Evidence points to the Wraiths rewarding achievement and skill with respect, authority, and power; a contrast to the height-based rewards and blatant corruption of the Empire itself. However, it seems that ranks still adhere to the same general format as the Empire, with normal warriors kept in check by the equivalent of something like a Sergeant, kept in check and directed by an Officer, and so on.
Offering protection and their unique skill to their Shipmasters, they presumably gain things such as a home, purpose, and payment for their services.
The Owners and Captains of their respective vessels, Shipmasters tend to be the most respected and skilled among the Arraakeen Wraiths, from what is known. Operating independently, most of the time, Shipmasters are also known to form the Council of Shipmasters among themselves, headed by the current Lord (and Lady) of the Wraiths.
Shipmasters are also believed to command and operate in distinct and unique ways, with some looser than others, and others more bloodthirsty than most.
The de facto leaders of the Wraiths, the title of Lord of the Wraiths (or Wraithlord) has only ever been held by two.
Lord Averii, and Lady Entra; the original pair, and the current pair.
Little is actually known about the position, other than that those in it wield the most power out of all the Wraiths.
Primarily, the Wraiths finance and fuel themselves using both the spoils of their various raids, as well as the businesses they protect, grow, or outright run in the criminal underworld, being host to various black markets.
Using the excess hardware and valuables gained from their battles, the Wraiths are believed to first divide up the spoils among the crew, then distribute the remainder to the Merchants in exchange for things such as money, ore, fuel, or other valuable supplies and services. Though there is an inherent risk when going into battle, the caution displayed typically minimizes it, and it is almost unheard of to learn of an engagement the Wraiths lost.
Besides, the reward is typically always worth it; from food and water, to money and fuel, to armor, weapons, and so much more, the Wraiths are believed to be extremely reliant on battle to maintain their supply chain.
However, they are rumored to also run various mining operations, manufacturing plants, and even shipyards, hidden beyond the reach of the Empire, or right under their very noses, bringing into question the true dependency of the Wraiths upon their infamous raid tactics. Even then, they run the black market.
Notably, the chief currency is Irken Monies; however, to an extent, there is a sort of bartering system in place.
Due in part to being predominantly Irken, as well as mostly raiding the (Nightmare) Empire, the basic and most common technology used by the Arraakeen Wraiths tends to be the same, if roughed, cut up, tweaked, or overall modified. For example, the flagship of the Wraiths, the Revenant, is at it's core an Irken Viral Tank. However, it's undergone extreme modification, bearing only some resemblance to it's original form.
Other examples of Wraith-unique modded technology also includes some uncommon ships, such as one known only as the Bumbler, a sort of transport or utility ship resembling a bloated and fattened up pair of Spittle Runners welded together, side to side, or the Incisors, they themselves interceptors, crafted out of heavily modified Spittle Runners.
However, not all Wraith Technology is Irken in nature - nor is it even what some would call 'technology' anyway.
For example, most Wraiths - and their vessels - are clad in not just metal plate, but also layers of flesh and bone, muscle and sinew; layers that seem alive, with the ability to not just shrug off gunfire, but also to regenerate in mere moments when damaged, keeping it's wearers alive and fighting. The boneplate's muscles also seem to enhance the strength and ability of the wearer, and theories exist of it's ability to function, even when the wearer - or host's body, should, by all rights, be crippled, dying, or dead.
The origins of this technology, as well as the science and details behind it's function, are shrouded in mystery - no small thanks to the fact that no samples of it have been successfully acquired, either.
Many rumors surround the biotechnology utilized to create and sustain the 'living' armor, from the reuse and reanimation of fallen opponents being the secret to it, to it's applications in other fields, such as medicine.
Nothing is truly solid, however.
Notably, the weapons of the Wraiths are generally similar; Irken-sourced, but modified and amped up, personalized and customized to the user's tastes, be it anything from a small knife to a handgun, a rifle to a missile launcher, or even the gun batteries of a Capital Ship.
- Gash Router - Utility, Combat; Manned/Unmanned
- Scythe - Transport, Recon; Manned
- Gnat - Utility; Unmanned
- Scarab - Combat; Unknown - Plasma-Armed Battle Tank (Modded)
- Bumbler - Transport, Utility; Manned - Spittle Runner (Modded)
- Incisor - Interceptor; Manned/Unmanned - Spittle Runner (Modded)
- Venom-Router- Strikeship; Manned - Chrysalis Class (Modded)
- Leech - Special; Powerdrain, boarding; Unmanned
- Shuvver - Strikeship; Unmanned (Commonly)
- Molar - Salvage, Repair; Unknown
- Neuron - Command, Transport; Unknown - Ring Cutter (Modded)
- Contagion - Carrier, Transport, Command; Manned - Viral Tank (Modded)
- Fleshrender - Combat, Command; Manned - Ripper (Modded)
- System of Giedi Secundus - Arraak Prime, Kharaa (Nightmare) - Capital.
- Home to the namesake of the Wraiths, Giedi Secundus has been scoured before by the Empire - but rarely do they discover their enemy and come back intact.
- Planet Narcissus II (Nightmare) - Unknown.
- A world whose location is relatively unknown to the Empire, believed to be the home of projects headed by the more scientifically interested among the Wraiths.
- Systems within proximity of Giedi Secundus.
- Averii (Nightmare) - Lord of the Wraiths; De Facto leader.
- Entra (Nightmare) - Lady of the Wraiths; The brains.
- Lek (Nightmare)
- Mit (Nightmare)
Actions of Note