The Slozek are a Spectral subject race, and were used as light infantry. They are carnivores and have neither skill nor capability for agriculture or herding. Because of this, the Slozek are incapable of feeding themselves by any means short of hunting or war. Also, while their race has no sexes, they reproduce at an alarming rate. This tendency to over-populate, combined with a necessity for constant conquest, makes them a belligerent race, intent on enslaving others. They have an efficient military society and are intelligent and quick. Their intellect is limited, however, and is centered around war. The thoughts of a Slozek are unclouded by concepts of good, evil, morality, or conscience.
During the invasion, dozens of Slozek combat teams were landed by the Spectrals to capture or destroy key installations. These teams were concentrated in the southern hemisphere and captured the five south polar Power Generators. Before combat teams could be landed in the northern zones, however, the Spectral spacecraft was destroyed. Since then, the Slozek have been operating on their own.
Their first priority has been to establish subservient peoples to supply their food demands. Slozek are open to negotiation, and rumors have spread of Newlord and Imperial forces working with the Slozek in exchange for power from the southern generators. These Newlords and Imperial forces are actively seeking out anyone with a background in power generation or transmission to work the south polar generators. The Slozek killed many of the Larden technicians in their attack, and are seeking others to maintain those facilities.
As mentioned in above, the Slozek are humanoid carnivores. Although they must be considered intelligent creatures, they are certainly not thinkers in the classic sense. Asking a Slozek what it thinks of life in the universe or the latest sports scores will bring no response; they are not capable of dealing with such concepts.
They are adept at manipulating technologicat devices, however, and their eye-hand co-ordination is superb. Their thought and decision-making processes are extremely swift and are uncluttered with the higher functions that we associate with human intelligence. In a way, their intelligence is simply a higher order of instinct Where it differs from the abilities of animals and from human reflexes is that they are able to incorporate tools, equipment, and abstract concepts of threat action, and planning into their "instinct".
The Slozeks' odd mix of intellect and instinct extends primarily into the field of military matters. The impressive combat abilities of the Slozek, based in part on quickness and co-ordination and in part on cooperation and an excellent grasp of tactics, are enhanced by a complete lack of fear or anxiety. A Slozek is aware of risks and optimizes its actions to minimize danger and maximize gain, but these are utterly unemotional decisions.
The ability of the Slozek to cooperate in all matters, but with special efficiency on the field of battle, is tied in part to their unusual reproductive cycle.
Each Slozek has a full set of sexual organs, and is capable of bearing young alone. Young created in this way are clones of the parent, however, which is a weakness for the species. Additionally, Slozek only activate their ability to reproduce in response to an ancient mating ritual, which normally occurs at the end of a long hunt or a military campaign. This conscious control over reproduction allows a Slozek Clan to match the growth of its population to the expansion of its food supply, and makes it easy to replace casualties from hunting or war.
In the distant past, the Ritual was conducted by a Leader, a special type of Slozek. A Clan normally had three Leaders, each of which would control roughly one-third of the Clan (called a Sept) during hunts and battles, and the eldest of which would make the overall decisions. The Leaders were slightly more independent and intelligent than normal Slozek. and were the only ones who had an instinctive knowledge of the movements. dances, and other aspects of the Ritual which triggered Slozek reproduction. Because of this, the loss of all three Leaders meant the members of the Clan could no longer reproduce, and that the Clan would die out Since Slozek Leaders tended to lead from the front, this was not an uncommon occurence.
For the Ritual, three pairs of Slozek were selected. The Leaders were always included in these pairs, along with normal Slozek who had distinguished themselves in some way. These three pairs of Slozek would fertilize each other, creating Slozek which were mixtures of the genetic materials of both parents and not simply clones, and which were the only ones capable of growing into Leaders. In addition to the six potential Leaders which would be created by these three pairs, a number of other Slozek would have their internal reproduction capability triggered. The number triggered depended on the casualties sustained, or on the expansion of the food supply. Although these Slozek produced only clones, they provided a quick, extremely efficient way of expanding the numbers of the Clan.
After the mating ritual, the Clan settled into a single location and restricted its activities to routine hunting. The gestation period of a Slozek was about three months, and at birth the infant Slozek weighed only 4 or 5 pounds. It grew rapidly, however, and was largely self-sufficient and fully mobile at the age of 3 months. At this point, when the young were three months old, the Clan resumed its normal activities. By the age of 3 years, the Slozek was a fully grown Adult. As the young Leaders reached maturity, their ritual abilities and independence would fade away unless the Clan had less than three Leaders. If that was the case, the most powerful young Slozek Leader(s) would assume the vacancy (or vacancies). The other proto-Leaders would simply become new types of normal Slozek, and provided the race with its evolutionary advancement.
The advantages to this strange reproductive cycle are significant. The fact that any Slozek can reproduce means that a Clan which has suffered severe losses or which has expanded its food supplies, can quickly generate new members. Since these new members are exact duplicates of existing Clan members, there is no question of adapting to new behaviors, or of absorbing the new members into the Clan; they are simply clones of their parents, and are well-adapted to the Clan at birth. Additionally, the similarity of gene structure within a Clan means that the Leaders know what to expect from their followers. While too much sameness would not be a good thing, it is valuable to have troops that are reasonably uniform in their behavior.
The obvious weakness of the system is the requirement that a Leader initiate the Ritual which allows reproduction. This was presumably developed as a way of controlling population growth, so the Slozek would not overpopulate or destroy their food supplies, and also serves as a method of purging ineffective Clans from the species; when the Leaders are killed, the Clan dies and a more capable Clan will take over the area. On the other hand, the complete dependence of the normal Slozok on their Leaders for all reproduction means that even the strongest, healthiest Clans are tragically vulnerable to any mishap or threat which destroys their Leaders. Long ago, that is exactly what happened to the entire Slozek species.
The Spectrals came to the Slozek's homeworld, and studied them long enough to learn how to imitate the Ritual. As they mastered the Ritual, they killed the Leaders of the Slozek and replaced them with a new type of Spectral, the Missionary. The Missionary can duplicate the Ritual and trigger Slozek reproduction, and also knows how to command Slozek in combat. Within a few years, the entire Slozek race was under the control of the Spectrals and their Missionaries.
With complete control over Slozek reproduction. the Spectrals have been able to slowly. transform the Slozek into an ideal client race. Only those which lack all individuality and which respond perfectly to Missionary control have been allowed to reproduce, and now entire Clans are made up of the descendants of single Slozek. Cooperation among the Slozek is naturally at an all-time high, although the uniformity of reaction and behavior makes them a less lethal foe than the Slozek of old. They are certainly lethal enough for the purposes of the Spectral's, however, and their uniformity makes them much easier to control.
On Rhand, the Missionaries remained on board the Spectral ship when the Slozek combat teams dropped on the Power Generators. They were destroyed along with the Spectral ship, of course, and so the Slozek are currently without Leaders and are very vulnerable. With no Leaders whatsoever, and with no Missionaries continuing to issue commands, they are poorly organized and are unable to reproduce. Anyone who knows the Slozeks' secret has the opportunity to take control of them.
The Spectrals know the secret, and it is likely that they will teach Rio Pawns and to other huinan servants. There are people within Operation Seven Swords who also know the Ritual, however, and they too will try to reach the Slozek, to keep them free from Spectral control. There are also reports that there are even a few real Slozek Leaders on Rhand. Where they have come from is unknown, as is their purpose. If they are able to reach the Clans, they could change the course of the future for every Slozek on Rhand.
When the Spectral craft passed over the southern polar regions of Rhand, it released a total of 61 Gray Vehicles filled with Slozek. The first wave consisted of 21 Gray APC's. each carrying a Sept (squad) of 14 Slozek, which launched the initial assaults. The 21 Septs made up 7 complete Clans, two of which were Vanguard and 5 which were Assault Clans, described below. Of the six Septs which made up the Vanguard Clans one went to each of the five Power Generators and the sixth was held as a reserve.
The first wave was followed closely by 40 Gray Carriers, each with a full Pursuit Clan of 30 Slozek on board. The Carriers delivered their cargo to the surface, and then rejoined the Spectral craft on its next orbit. The Clans were assigned to the five Power Generators, to the Trident Law Enforcement facility, and to other key sites in the south polar region. In the fighting which followed, two of the Power Generators were disabled, but the Slozek were left with substantial control of the area, including the Magellan Mountains and Riktor, Viktor, and Vela Islands.
Although the Slozek have the military capability to expand beyond this area, their Missionaries have been killed and the orders given to the Slozek did not include instructions regarding what they should do once the Generators and other targets were secured.
They have been thrown back on ancient instincts and are attempting to set up secure areas of operations, but their inability ot think independently limits them. Captured Humans are handling many of the decision making tasks for the Slozek, under the threat of death if events do not proceed favorably. These Humans are consequently acting with caution and attempting to simply establish stable food supplies and to find replacement technicians and other specialized personnel. Thoughts of expansion and conquest have been shelved for the time being, and the Slozek are as concerned as Slozek can be about the absence of Missionaries.
Unit Composition and NumbersEdit
Each Slozek unit is a self-contained Clan and is divided into three Septs, which receive their orders from the three Missionaries assigned to the Clan. There are two different sizes of Clam one is deployed in a group of three Gray APCs. and one fits in a single Gray . Carrier. Those in APC's are either Assault or Vanguard Clans, and have a total of 42 Slozek in Septs of 14 Slozek each, with one Sept per APC. Those which travel in Gray Carriers are called Pursuit Clans, and have Septs of 10 Slozek for a total of 30 in the Clan.
As mentioned above, 5 Assault, 2 Vanguard, and 40 Pursuit Clans landed; this is a total of 1494 Slozek. Their casualties during their initial operations were light, and they have had no serious troubles since the Invasion, as there are few Humans near the Pole. So far, no organized group has attempted to evict the Slozek from their positions, due to possible damage to the Power Generators and justifiable respect for the Slozeks' abilities.
Slozek are generally equipped with a Combat Suit with Level 1 Armor Panels, a Lase Assault Rifle (LAR8). and the same type of support equipment (food, water, frame pack, and so forth) as carried by Humans. In each Sept there is one Slozek which carries a Lase Assault Rifle with a Grenade Launcher attached (LARGL8), and members of Assault Clans are equipped with Level 2 Armor Panels for their Combat Suits. Vanguard Clan members wear Level 3 Panels on their Combat Suits, and carry much of the special equipment listed below.
The following pieces of equipment have recently appeared in Slozek units. They are specifically designed for the Slozek, and are very different from the equipment available in Human military forces. Although they are manufactured by the Trank, they bear the marks of Dragoncrest design. The reason for this remains a mystery.
Slozek hearing goes well into the ultrasonic, and some of their natural speech occurs in ranges which are not audible to Humans. Because of this, they commonly use a combat language which is entirely ultrasonic and which allows them to move in apparent silence on the battlefield, while passing commands and information to each other. The Ultrasonic Speaker attaches to the neck of the user, and functions is an ultrasonic megaphone, allowing the transmission of orders over far larger areas.
This special piece of equipment is worn by five members of each Vanguard Sept. It is a normal fighting harness with a gas operated Grappling Hook Launcher attached to it. The Launcher is silent, has a range of 100 feet, and is aimed like a Slivergun (SMP8). Once the Grappling Hook hits its target and attaches itself, the automatic Ascender contained in the Harness is activated, and lifts the Sbzek. The Ascender allows the Slozek to be pulled up with its hands free and all Combat Actions available. The speed of the ascent is 1 Hex per Impulse, and the power for the Ascender comes from a normal Lase Power Pack, which has enough energy for three uses. The Launcher can also be used to withdraw from a battlefield. It is fired into a pickup net hanging from a Sloiek Gray APC as it makes a slow pass. The Hook simply contacts the net, and controls aboard the vehicle pull in the user.
This is a 3 pound bomb which disperses an aerosol spray of conductive filaments into the air, which are then sucked into the cooling vents and other air intakes of nearby equipment After 1 minute, a room Which is 3 hexes on a side is completely filled, and the filaments have been" absorbed into all exposed equipment At this point the device detonates, causing a massive current surge which arcs through the filament-filled air. The current is thereby channeled into the grounds and components of all exposed equipment, and destroys it. For salvage and repair purposes, the equipment has taken irreparable damage. This device is used as a convenient and very thorough sabotage device, and three are carried in each Vanguard Sept.
These are special attachments worn by all Vanguard Slozek. They lower motorized rollers from the sides of the wearer's boots, which allow silent movement on normal flooring and other smooth surfaces. The speed of the rollers is 1 Hex per Impulse. The rollers automatically retract in response to firm downward pressure.
This is a 15 pound backpack which has special boot and wrist attach-ments. The boots and wrist pads have suction cups which are controlled by the backpack power supply; the backpack creates a powerful vacuum, allowing the cups to adhere more powerfully than would be possible with manual application. This piece of equipment is worn by three in each Vanguard Sept, and allows the wearer to climb almost any vertical surface, for the use of 3 Combat Actions per Hex.
Silent Breech EquipmentEdit
This device uses a powerful water jet to cut through windows and walls, it will cut through 10 PF Inches per Impulse, and has power and cutting fluid enough for 100 Impulses in a single load. The unit is specifically designed to breech the high-security windows of Starguild installations and is silent. The only evidence it leaves behind is water vapor. Each weighs 20 pounds, and there are two per Sept