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Kukulkani

Millennia ago the Kukulkani encountered humanity, and from the chosen few of those devoted to them they have crafted a warrior caste to serve them for eternity, thus were born the Kukulkani. Now the Kukulkani have returned to Samaria to cut a bloody path through all who stand before them, seeking out old grudges and launching a new crusade to wipe the planet clean of life. Powered by ancient entropic technologies and mystical rituals the Kukulkani grow more powerful with each life quelled by their hands. Woe to their enemies, for every sacrifice only adds fuel to the growing might of Kukulkan!

Models

History

Millennia ago, when human beings were scattered in tribes and primitive settlements, long before the United Worlds was even a fever dream of the most ambitious of Terran politicians… there were gods that walked among them. Gods, as the ancient lore claims, that came from the Heavens to rule and be worshiped. The myths and legends of such beings rose all over the young and barbaric planet; and low, the religions of many peoples were born.

This was especially true for the Cult of Kukulkan, Mayan warriors devoted to the Feathered Serpent from the Stars. Kukulkan, a massive reptilian warlord with glittering wings of multicolored metallic feathers, was just one of the “gods” that came to ancient Terra from the vastness of space - the Coatl.

The Coatl are a highly technological species of reptiles that traveled millions of light years from their distant home planet to find Terra and all of its easily cowed and primitive peoples. Making themselves out to be gods, the Coatl - Kukulkan in particular - turned an entire population into their willing warrior-zealots. Aptly naming the tribe the Kukulkani, these devoted primitives were trained and integrated into the Coatl cultural ideal and became part of the societal chain.

The role of the Kukulkani, simply put, was to serve the gods their primary source of divine power - lives. Through ceremonial rituals and grandiose sacrifices, the Kukulkani gave up life energies to the Coatl. Sacrificing the weak and wounded to further the strong; the tribe often went to war with neighboring peoples just to bring captives by the hundreds to the tops of the Coatl ziggurats to be offered up to the gods. Ritual blades cut thousands of still-beating hearts from the chests of sacrificed offerings, and the gods were always pleased to “dine” upon the energies released in this way.

These sacrifices were not solely to maintain the divine facade with the Kukulkani. In reality, the Coatl actually did need life energy to be given over to them. The Coatl, possessing of a higher technology than even many other interstellar species at the time, had long ago unlocked the secrets of bio-energic reactions to fuel their myriad devices. From their weaponry and personal augmentations, the energy released from the sudden expiration of life powered everything the Coatl created. The tecpatl sacrificial knives given to the Kukulkani by the Coatl funneled this energy directly into their vast and hungry power stores within their vessel-turned-temples. Managed and directed by Kukulkan himself, these people became the Coatl's primary instrument of refueling on ancient Terra.

Never expecting to stay forever on such a meager planet, the Coatl Overlords informed Kukulkan that the ships would soon need to leave Terra. The godlike reptile appeared in person to his people and told them to prepare for his exodus into the heavens - he would be leaving this world once and for all.

The Kukulkani churned into a frenzy of readying for their god's journey. The warrior people fell upon all the tribes, allied or not, within miles of the ziggurat ship-temples and brought tens of thousands of captives to their god for sacrifice. They knew Kukulkan would be “hungry” during his travels into heaven, so they prepared for him a true feast of lives. This pleased Kukulkan. So impressed was he that he petitioned the Overlords to allow him to choose one thousand and one devoted servants to bring to the stars when they leave.

Sometime in the 9th recorded Century of Terran history, the Coatl and the chosen Kukulkani - only the strongest and most loyal - boarded their ziggurat warships, powered the engines with the countless sacrificed lives from the rest of the Mayan people, and left Terra forever.

The Coatl flotilla roared across empty space for eons, stopping for decades at a time at other populated planets to “refuel.” It was upon these raid-based landings that the Coatl discovered the greatest benefit the Kukulkani presented to them - as an army of devoted warriors they could send out to claim lives instead of endangering themselves. The Kukulkani would board landing skiffs or climb into the teleportation-based “void roads” used primarily by the Coatl themselves, descending upon any biological targets without fear in order to bring them or their stolen life energies back to the fleet.

Over the centuries and generations that passed for the Kukulkani, the Coatl rewarded their servants with new technologies, augmentation and access to Coatl-genetic alterations that collectively made them even more fierce, capable and zealous. Although not Coatl themselves, the loyal tribe had grown into their most prized asset during any planetary mission. Formerly simple primitives from a backwater world called “earth”, the Kukulkani were the planetside claws and teeth of the Coatl - and they fed their masters' well.

It was on a hellish world in the far reaches that a simple oversight would change that planet's future irrevocably. The planet, a semi-toxic but mineral-rich rock off the main space lane, was the early home to an advanced species of creature called the Alteghran… the ancestors of the current age Dragyri. It was the throngs of their hulking servants - and the ripe life energy they possessed - that attracted the Coatl to the planet. Hungry for the planet's life forms, the Kukulkani grabbed their weapons, boarded the landing skiffs, leapt into the void road teleporters and descended upon the Alteghran like predators from the stars.

The raiding battles between the Kukulkani and the heavy Alteghran infantry were harsh, bloody, and not nearly as one-sided as the Coatl normally enjoyed. Seeing many of his precious warriors fall to the advanced technologies of the Alteghrans, Kukulkan gave the psychic command to the Supreme Commander of his war host and the raids were immediately called off. The Kukulkani scooped up their wounded where possible, but many of the deceased remained behind enemy lines and could not be relaimed. The Alteghran infantry forces felt empowered and victorious… a seed of self-righteous pride that would later take root in their early revolution.

However, the Kukulkani's momentary presence on Attr would have a much greater impact on a different set of people.

Centuries upon centuries later, long after the Coatl fleet was nothing but folklore amongst Dragyri slaves, the United Worlds came to Attr. The megacorporations brought their researchers and their colony teams, and made this horrible planet their testing grounds. One corporation in particular - Isuza Dynamics - did a lot of exploration of the rocky foothills and the tunnels intertwined beneath them. It was in one of those thunnels that a research scout found the nearly-fossilized remains of what looked like a man…a huge man.

The remains were biologically useless, but the Isuza scientists found something far greater in the equipment the ancient corpse was laden with. Surprisingly intact despite the passage of time, the discovered devices were whisked away to the labs and pored over for months. Eventually Isuza Dynamics unlocked the secrets of “biological energy transference.” In other words, they found the first steps of the Coatl's potent “life energy” principles.

In a race to find the best source of energy for the least amount of cost, Isuza used these basic organic energy ideas to create their fantastic and revolutionary entropic cell - a massive battery that ran on decaying organic matter. While the entropic cell was drastically more primitive than the Coatl bio-energy draining methodology, it was leagues ahead of any fossil fuel or unclean fusion use. It was through the advent and application of the entropic cell that Isuza Dynamics created the CORE artificial intelligence.

The CORE, self-replicating robots with a mission similar to the Coatl's own hunger for life-energy, awakened long after the United Worlds left Attr to its own demise. When the re-aaked CORE managed to start up its own massive power cells - the primary Entropic Drive - it sent a massive ripple of biological energies into the upper ionosphere…

…where the Coatl probes in the outer solar system picked up its “scent.”

Knowing the galactic coordinates of Attr distinctly, Kukulkan - being an ageless alien creature - cherished the thought of returning to the terrible planet where his loyal followers were dealt one of their greatest defeats. The Coatl Overlords, unwilling to reroute the entire fleet, granted Kukulkan one ziggurat warship to fill with his Kukulkani war host and gave him permission to raid the planet. The powerful Coatl technologies would follow the intoxicating life-energy scent back to that planet, destroy those who would dare to use the sacred sciences so frivolously, and finally get revenge upon the eternally damned Alteghrans.

The Kukulkani crusade upon the planet would find it a very different place than what their ancestors left behind so many generations ago. What was once a nearly dead and horrid place was now a ripe garden of life to be harvested. Led by the devoted Crusade Captain Quetzol, the Kukulkani could bring their living god an entire planet's worth of lives and allow him to return to the Coatl fleet draped in victory and glory.

So much had changed on this planet however; it would not be so easy.

Like shadows from their past tens of thousands of years ago, there were humans upon this rock. Some were unaltered and fettered in large cities that all but begged to be sacrificed. Others lived in outpost camps and enjoyed genetic or cybernetic enhancement that would make them a difficult but tantalizing crop to reap. Tribes of oddly awakened Terran offshoots, some evolved to have powers similar to those of the Coatl, battled other humans to feast upon their meat - an admirable but primitive attempt at ascension. It seemed that the forebears of the Kukulkani managed to find the stars on their own after the gods had left, a tribute to their own superiority over these less creatures.

The crusade found a bubbling black mire of life evolving, expanding and creating new beings from primordial ooze deep within its depths. While this brood of hiving organisms was unlike anything the Kukulkani had seen before, their scanners found traces of Terrran stuff within them. While certainly not human, they had ingenuity and tenacity - and copious amounts of life within each one to be siphoned off and used to further the crusade.

Much to Quetzol and his lord Kukulkan's chagrin, there really were no more Alteghrans upon the planet. It seemed that something centuries ago must have altered them, changed them into the strangely barbaric and woefully primitive Dragyri. Shadows of their former selves, the Dragyri would still sate the thirsts for lives but there would always be a hunger for vengeance upon the ancient Alteghrans… a hunger that would never likely get fed.

It was upon tracking the sweet smell of life-energy in the exhausts and waste products of the CORE's numerous and recently active robots that the Kukulkani discovered this planet's greatest heresy - unloving things using a base version of the holy bio-energy drives found in all Coatl things. After discovering the Alteghrans had become the Dragyri, Kukulkan almost gave the order to leave. Once they found the disgusting truth behind the energic emissions that brought them back to Attr, nothing would force them to leave until every robotic piece of the CORE's explanding hive was crushed to dust and everything based on the Coatls' technology was reclaimed or destroyed.

The Kukulkani have returned to the people of Attr… gods help them all.


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