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The Manraloth were an enormously advanced species that evolved approximately six hundred million years before the 24th century.

Contents

History

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The Cycle of Destruction

For a billion years the cycle of biological evolution in the galaxy would unfold thus: a single race would exist for thousands of years, exploring and settling the galaxy until they encountered another sentient race. Both races would be unable to cope with the concept of an alien sentience, and catastrophic wars would ensue. These wars usually ended with the destruction of both parties, as the weapons used could annihilate star clusters and wipe planets from existence in a heartbeat. Millions of years would pass until another sentient race evolved to begin the cycle anew.

The Manraloth were evolutions answer to this problem: a race of universal translators.

A Bridge Between Races

A Manraloth is born with the psionic/empathic ability to understand other beings, whether it be linguistic communication or otherwise. The ability also manifests itself in another way; they have an extremely potent power of suggestion. With these abilities they brought peace to the galaxy, ending the billion year old cycle of violence. This, coupled with the fact that there were a greater amount of habitable planets, allowing a greater number of sentient species the chance to develop into full maturity (without the threat of a more advanced race destroying or conquering them), led them to create the first known interstellar alliance.

The Manraloth built the first known interspecies coalition in the Milky Way, six hundred million years before the founding of the United Federation of Planets. Together with their allies, the Manraloth were the architects of an unparalleled golden age. Peace reigned, though there was still the occasional act of terrorism or crime of passion. A galaxy-wide communications network was constructed, subspace itself was rechannelled into a series of "highways" that connected the entire Milky Way with the Greater and Lesser Magellanic Clouds, invasions from extragalactic and extradimensional races were easily rebuffed and what is perhaps the greatest achievement of this epoch of history was built; the black hole archives. By allowing information to "fall" into a quantum singularity, the energy is encoded on the event horizon, meaning that the information is essentially immune to the effects of time. The civilisations of the time put everything that their respective society had learned into the archives.

Over time, the Manraloth's companion races would grow disenchanted with their existence and decide to evolve onto a higher plane of existence. Following this example, some of the Manraloth themselves began to sublime. Though it was only a tiny percentage of the overall galactic population, the Manraloth were a highly sociable race and deeply missed those who had ascended. In time, the Manraloth became the oldest race in the galaxy simply by default.

In the desire to communicate with those who had gone on to the higher planes, the Manraloth undertook the great task that was to spell the end of their civilisation.

Folly

A friendly contest of skill was begun between the various scientific teams on the myriad of planets spread across the great galactic coalition. The goal; to build a working interdimensional logopathic conduit that could be directly interfaced into the Manraloth brain. The Manraloth, the briidge between races, would build the bridge between dimensions.

Construction was completed by the various teams at almost the same time. It was decided that each device would be activated simultaneously in a great celebration across the galaxy. What was to follow was one of the defining moments of galactic history.

When the devices were activated, the power of the higher planes flooded into every brain connected to them. The planar energy searing into every Manraloth mind, every telepathic mind, was amplified in power. Spreading across the galaxy, the mental energy was no longer limited to telepathic races. Every mind which was complex enough or properly attuned enough to the energy responded to it and was forcibly transcended into an incorporeal state. A side-effect of this process was the irradiation of everything around the recipient brain. Those brains advanced enough to recieve the energy but not advanced enough to sublime were incinerated. Most of the planets populated by the Manraloth and their allies (indeed, most of the M-class planets in the galaxy) had their surfaces reduced to ashes due to the heat and radiation generated by the forced evolution or incineration of their inhabitants.

And so, approximately two hundred and fifty million years ago, a galaxy of over a quadrillion individuals was depopulated in a matter of minutes.

Survivors

A handful of individuals from the more advanced races managed to survive, the Manraloth among them.

These survivors were research teams stationed on planets with hostile environments. Due to the specialised shielding around their outposts, the teams were partially protected. However, the energy unleashed by the interdimensional bridge was present in all dimensions, and the decision was made to encase themselves in fields of zero entropy, effectively removing anything inside the field from the timespace continuum.

Return

The Manraloth returned to the galaxy in 2358 mainly due to the actions of Jean-Luc Picard.

On sabbatical from Starfleet following his court-martial for the Maxia Zeta incident, Picard began studying for his doctorate in archaeology at the University of Alpha Centauri. Spurred on by legends told to him by Guinan, Picard headed a university expedition, aboard the Cleopatra's Needle, in search of what had been termed by many ancient races as structures "outside of time" which were somehow connected with the Permian-Triassic extinction event, or the Great Dying, which occured on Earth two hundred and fifty million years ago.

Over eight months of searching and over eight hundred light years across the galaxy, Picard found what he was looking for. The team found a zero entropy field inside of an ancient research base on an frozen planetoid they dubbed "Proserpina". Bringing in a Starfleet science team for assistance, a young Kathryn Janeway among them, an attempt was made to beam the denizens of the field out. This proved catastrophic as it destabilised the field and ultimately destroyed the base. Fortunately, one being was saved.

Ariel

Under the ministrations aboard the Starfleet ship Mary Kingsley, but mostly due to her miraculous healing abilities, the mysterious female survivor woke up three days after the incident. She had no memory of who she was and Picard gave her the name "Ariel".

Physiology

The Manraloth as a species continued to evolve over the three hundred and fifty million years of their history.

They continued to hone their logopathic abilities to an even finer degree, manipulated their genome to give themselves a plethora of fantastic innate abilities, such as eidetic memory, infrared vision, prodigious learning power. Biologically, they were a remarkably robust and adaptive race, their internal organs having multiple redundancies. The species incorpororated biological nanotechnology into themselves, effectively making them immortal and perhaps even more miraculously giving them the power to effect significant change in their own cellular structure.

More of a genus than a species, the baseline Manraloth was reptilian in appearance. Due their cell manipulating power, an individual could control their own evolution. The Manraloth observed by the Federation exhibited tails, multilple limbs, enlarged ears and even partial fur but all had the shared trait of multi-hued "butterfly" scales and intricate fractal stripe markings along the spine.

Technology

(TNG novel: The Buried Age)

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