Ferajx

Fehr-ah-jiks

Written by Timepool

They walked among the stars, and now? They are no more than megalithic beasts, slaves to hunger unending.
— Saronere
  The Ferajx once ruled as the first, and last, intergalactic empire in recorded history. Now, they have been transformed— living as great wheels of purple flame that wander the stars in hunt of the dust they need to survive.  

An End to Hunger

The Ferajx ruled nearly 100 different galaxies at the height of their power. This was not done for expansion's sake, nor power, nor faith. No, the Ferajx's conquest was for a simpler, more practical reason— that of sustenance. In order to survive, the Ferajx needed to absorb Dust into their bodies. This was very much akin to eating for them, as it served the same purpose. However, in time their prey evolved to avoid them. Dust would no longer enter their bodies of their own accord, and would begin to leave their home planet en masse— finding better homes among other species.

A Legend

To most in the Heliox galaxy, the Ferajx are beings of great mystery.   Few know of their origins, but almost all have had their lives impacted by what they left behind.   Several everyday technologies were reverse engineered from scraps and ancient artifacts, and numerous ruins have been scrapped for parts to be used elsewhere.   Various myths and legends have been told across the galaxy about the origins behind the ruins, and in some cases this has even led to religions that remain to this day.
The Ferajx would not perish, however, and so that they may survive, all other life within their home system was violently stripped of their dust, often dying as a result. Before long, the Ferajx stood alone, the sole tenants of their home system. What dust remained fled to a nearby system, and began to spread outwards amongst the stars. Left to starve, the dying Ferajx would war amongst themselves, fighting over what dust remained in each other's bodies— until they developed the first coil drives.  
Heliox Generics_3-2.png
by Garrett Lewis
Following this, they would begin expanding their empire from system to system, in search of new sources of sustenance. Species after species would fall beneath them, no more than vessels used to produce their meals. Eventually, they would devise a better method— dust farming. Great, towering electrical generators, tapped directly into the heated cores of the planets they were constructed upon, were used to attract the miniscule creatures— which could then be easily caught and absorbed.   The prosperity this brought would last for around a century, before overpopulation began to become of great concern. As their technology had improved, their lives lengthened. Cybernetics had become commonplace, and required more energy from their bodies to remain functional. There simply wasn't enough dust to keep everyone fed. Millions starved. They began to strip dust from other living beings once more, and after a period of 43 years, they would invent coil drives powerful enough to travel between galaxies. And so, their expansion continued, in search of their prey. Their civilization would fluctuate between periods of prosperity and starvation for centuries, conquering new galaxies with even the faintest amounts of dust present.  
Must we endure starvation, time and time again? How can we simply sit idly by and relish this prosperity when we all know it will not last? Tonight, we feast, knowing that tomorrow, our children will starve. Would the dust not feel sweeter if we knew our progeny would enjoy the same luxuries?
— A critical Ferajx
 
Heliox Generics_2-2.png
by Garrett Lewis
In time, a feverish idea would take hold of the Ferajx. What if we could produce dust of our own? Would the deaths finally cease? Could it even be possible? Their scientists would desperately attempt to re-create dust with a wide variety of methods, but only one would be successful. An artificial womb, of sorts, implanted into one's body. It would take energy from the body, condense it, and weave it into mock dust.   The womb itself could be powered externally, and many would implant various generators and batteries into their bodies for this purpose. Once the mock dust was "born" it would naturally exit through a screen at the top, and be absorbed by the Ferajx's body. It as a great success, and before long, every Ferajx possessed one of these artificial wombs. Only a decade later would they realize the deadly fault in the machines, the wombs were not properly contained, and would gradually reform their hosts into mock-dust— taking pieces from their internal organs in the process.   Soon after this revelation, an emergency firmware update was pushed to Ferajx across the empire— and this would seal their fate. Either due to negligence, a freak accident, or pure foolishness— the update would only solve the problem for a single year. After this, the wombs would kick into overdrive— consuming the energy within their hosts' bodies, and then that of the surrounding area if they ran out of external power, violently restructuring them into beings of pure energy. Great wheels of purple flame. Their minds torn asunder, left with nothing but base instincts— and an unending hunger for dust.
 

Pursuers

The remaining Ferajx still hunt dust, however, fewer and fewer of them are able to survive, and their numbers have dwindled greatly over the untold aeons since their transformation.   The giants seen today are the result of many Ferajx merging together over time, into faster, deadlier flames.   Flames that scorch the surfaces of every planet they touch, destroying mountains, towns, and cities,— leaving burnt, uninhabitable husks in their wake.   They hunt in packs, primarily, though some wander alone throughout the universe, terrorizing those they come across.
 

A Lost Legacy

While the Ferajx may be transformed, and dwindling in number, remnants of their long-past empire remain today. As Heliox was once occupied by the unfortunate souls, Ferajx ruins and forgotten technology lie beneath the surface of many planets. In some places, satellites, ships, and wreckage still float in silence— prime targets for scrappers, militaries, and researchers alike. In fact, this is how the first modern coil drives were created within Heliox— and it is believed that Ferajx ruins in the home system of humanity likely led to their arrival at the same technology, as well. Some have even repaired ancient, corroded dust farm generators, and now use them to power their cities.  
My mouth was left agape at the sight, ancient, forgotten ruins— completely unscathed. Just what awaited me inside?   Lost technologies? Abandoned artworks? I had to know, and set aide my work to explore the great edifice.   Within I found nothing but the scrappers' scraps, and eerie silence.   Alongside my own disappointed muttering.
— A disappointed porter
 

Architecture

Ferajx architecture consists of many circular shapes; metallic, dark grey rings grace every facade, hall, and chamber— hanging from the ceilings in a variety of orientations. Most edifices are made from an aluminum-steel alloy, covered with a thin sheet of brass, and finally decorated with depressed bands of a wooden purple veneer. What wood was used for these is unknown, and is likely native to the Ferajx's home planet.   Windows seem to be entirely absent from their structures, it is believed that they possessed technology that allowed them to see through solid objects— evidenced by fasteners along many structures' inner walls in locations where one might expect to find a window. The forms of structures tend to be thinner at the base, steadily curving into wider tops, crowned by a series of floating white rings. In most ruins, however, these rings lie still atop their roofs.  

Ship design

Ferajx ships, satellites, and orbital edifices are notably different from their terrestrial counterparts. First, they are typically made of a silver-carbon-fibre and steel. Their structures are more rigid, built from rectangles that attach to one another via curved bands— sometimes scarce in number, and other times liberally applied. Bronze and red colorations adorn the outsides of these, as well.

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