The Verse

The Ship 

Exactly, like the lizard that changes colors to adapt to its environment. Only with 'ae', like the constellation once seen in the Origin Galaxy. 

That's only her unofficial, undocumented name, though. Exactly seven people know it, and they all live aboard her (or were sworn to secrecy on the life of their dead fianc√©. Wait a sec...). Her official Federation name is Princess Diana, but she also goes by Vindaloo, Jolly Folly, Mistral and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (I'm sure that last one is some sort of private joke of the captain's). All depending on which skin, or hull, she's wearing at any given time.

She has five appearances, all in all, and can slip into any of them at the press of a button, Transformers* style. Okay, not slip so much as writhe in constipated agony, but once her telltale gun-turret pincers (originally and officially she's a Scorpion class vessel) are converted into belly or roof turrets, the cargo bay has been widened / flattened / slimmed / separated, and the bridge is moved from front to back or top to bottom, it's totally worth it. She looks like a completely different ship. Not like any class ever registered with the Federation, of course, but rather like an indefinable cross between an Esuvian stag-beetle, a broken-backed porcupine and a Picasso*-painting. Which is exactly how we want her - indefinable and unrecognizable.

Her disguises have saved our bacon numerous times and are a reflection of each and every one of us. Maybe that's why we all love her so much. I feel that adoration and devotion permeate her when I listen. No matter our differences, we'll always have that love for her in common. 

She is our home. 

The 'Verse  

When we humans settled in this galaxy, we found several worlds that would sustain human life and terraformed many more. So many, in fact, that there weren't enough people to inhabit them. We concentrated most of our forces in the Core, a cluster of fairly close planets in one end of the galaxy. Those who didn't want to live there settled on outer planets and established their own, independent governments. The Federation's reach slowly expanded to take over many of these independent worlds, especially those that have resources the Core needs.

Rim worlds are those at the edge of the galaxy that hold no interest for the Federation. At best, they govern themselves, at worst anarchy reigns and might makes right. Needless to say, this is where the scum of the galaxy gathers and mingles. You need either loyal friends or deep pockets to survive here, on the edges of society and humanity. An affinity for and ability to use any kind of weapon also comes in mighty handy.

On two worlds close to the Core, we came across two other intelligent species: the shape-shifting mimiks and the murderous wraiths. They hadn't yet mastered interstellar flight, and the Federation was quick to try and integrate them with human society. 

The mimiks posed no problem; as shapeshifters who hunt by adopting their prey's appearance, it is in their nature to adapt and adjust, even when conquered by an alien race. They are governed by the Federation and follow human languages and customs. Most remain on their homeworld, Allura. Those who leave it are obligated to have a chip inserted in their skull that imbues their skin with a permanent violet hue, making sure humans can never be duped by their excellent shape-changing abilities.

The wraiths were another matter. These sly, strong creatures quickly developed a craving for human flesh and ate all ambassadors the Federation sent in a quest for a peaceful alliance. As a result, contact with Hades - as the planet was soon called - was aborted. But the wraiths studied the human technology that had fallen into their hands and were able to replicate our spaceworthy vessels within a decade, launching them at the galaxy like a swarm of flesh-eating locusts. The Federation responded with a nuclear attack on Hades that killed the entire planet, and then preceded to hunt down every wraith that got away. Unsurprisingly, they fought back, prompting an interspecies war that reduced several more planets to rubble, known today as the Killing Fields. Only the advantage of numbers let humans finally prevail and eliminate this vicious enemy. Officially, wraiths are now an extinct species. Unofficially...

*All credit for the Earth-references goes to Raj, our in-house Earth nerd.

The Plagued

We have always existed, though for a long time we hid what we were from humans. Legends and myths about us abounded, but were never taken at face value. In those days we were referred to as magical or supernatural beings, and in the 21st century, we were all the rave, featuring as main characters in books, music and film. We became almost omnipresent, especially the bloodsuckers (which is ironic because they are the most dangerous and unpredictable of us all). There was talk among the supernatural community about this being the best time to out ourselves to the human world. The time seemed right to announce our existence without provoking some sort of supernatural-targeted genocide - but we were beaten to it by The Plague. 

They called it the Dark or Dire Death, because 'Black' just wouldn't cut it. It killed off eighty percent of humanity, including such supernaturals whose magic didn't include healing. But humans definitely got the brunt of it and when The Plague finally died out with its last infected victim, the odds had evened out. There were almost as many magical beings in the world as humans. 

So we outed ourselves. A couple of PR-experts among us spun a story about how, without our magic, Earth would be a dead planet by now, and humanity wouldn't have a chance of survival. Except that strategy backfired. In the aftermath of The Plague, fear ruled. Instead of seeing the benefits, humans saw only the potential threat. A rumor started that we were humans who had been mutated by The Plague, and quickly grew out of proportion - ergo, we became The Plagued.

Nobody remembers which side struck the first blow, but a hundred years later, humans were losing the war ravaging the whole world. Hostility had progressed so far that there was no chance of peace until one side was annihilated or enslaved. So humans decided to save what was left of their race and leave.
In secret, they built five giant space ships. The screening tests for admittance were harsh; you had to prove you were entirely human not only with blood tests and geneaological charts, but also by passing polygraphs that proved your ingrained hatred of all things 'plagued' - the term that had become synonymous with 'magical'. 

When those five space ships set sail and left Earth, every single passenger - half the human population - had passed these tests and was classed as entirely human. Nobody knows how those left behind - plagued as well as humans - reacted when those five space ships set sail and vanished. None of the 'pioneers' knows what happened on or to Earth. What they do know is that they left the Plagued far behind.

Except, somehow, here I am, a full-blood werewolf. I was born this way, not bitten, but that is all I know. Whether the screening tests failed to detect magic in one of my ancestors, or whether magic simply exists even in humans is a mystery. As far as I know, I'm the only Plagued in this galaxy. And, from the few documents I was able to find about my kind, I am not your average werewolf, either.