Gil’Tai, The

An ancient race that has seen more than its fair share of adversity

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constellation-sagittarius
The constellation of Sagittarius as seen from the northern hemisphere

Orbiting a red giant in the constellation of Sagittarius in the Carina–Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, the lush planet of Ta’ran (English: The Cradle) is the birthplace of the Gil’Tai (English: The Sky-Watchers), an orange-skinned race that descended from feline mammals nearly three-quarters of a million years ago. The Gil’Tai were originally a warlike species whose violent tendencies nearly obliterated their planet approximately 450,000 years ago in what their historical records call Ari Vara (English: The Five-Minute War).

The conflict reduced the surface of the planet to radioactive rubble and killed almost 96% of the population outright. The few remaining survivors relocated to underground shelters but the race was doomed to extinction due to the intense background radiation. The alien known as the Comet Rider happened upon the handful of surviving Gil’Tai two-hundred and fifty years after the war. Moved by their plight, the Comet Rider not only purged the planetary ecosystem of the lethal radiation but also repaired the genetic damage done to the Gil’Tai. It is unknown whether this remedial measure or the radioactivity is responsible for mutating them until they gained the ability to store, metabolize and project ultraviolet radiation.

taran-capital
The remains of K’Nak, once the capital city of the southern hemisphere, have been left untouched as a reminder of the folly that nearly destroyed their civilization

Renouncing their savage past, the Gil’Tai dedicated themselves to life. Within 2,500 years, they had forged a civilization where the native populace lived in harmony with each other and with nature. They quickly gained renown throughout the quadrant for their unsurpassed skill in the life sciences and the arts, which unfortunately attracted the attention of the Malvan Empire. As the Gil’Tai had long forsworn committing resources to weapons of war, their planetary defence grid was quickly overwhelmed by the vastly superior Malvan forces and Ta’ran was declared a Protectorate of the Empire.

As was common at the time, the Malvans depleted the resources of Ta’ran and its population became one of thousands of servitor races that were under the thumb of the Empire. About 350,000 years ago, however, the Malvans lost interest in conquest and the glorious empire spanning nearly half of the Milky Way slowly shrunk, leaving the countless systems they had annexed to fend for themselves. Although the Gil’Tai living on the homeworld rejoiced at their emancipation almost 10,000 years ago, the large number of Gil’Tai born within the sphere of Malvan influence are considered little more than menial servants or unwilling participants in the bloody gladiatorial games.

Today, although they have formed commercial, scientific and cultural ties with several civilizations within the sector, the Gil’Tai eschew contact with other space-faring civilizations and rarely travel beyond their own solar system. The automated planetary defenses of Ta’ran are considered to be the most advanced in the quadrant. Aliens are only allowed to visit the homeworld after an exhaustive medical screening and the number of off-worlders is strictly limited to no more than 100 sentients at any one time.

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