What Was"The Two Decades War"?

Circa 2940, right after the Alliance's final epic struggle against the Chotan Empire, a new threat emerged: The Crysallis. What sparked the conflict may be chalked up to a lack of understanding of Crysallian politics. More to the point, the Crysallis were a threat mainly because they had no home to call their own, and no central seat of government. As a result, treaties formed with one regional commander were disregarded or not even passed along to others. Most of the time, you never knew which version of the Crysallis you were getting. To humans, this was no new thing as the Crysallis more and more resembled the old "Yankee Traders" who were little more than pirates and thugs whoring their services out to whomever would give them supplies, shelter and the means to keep their ragtag space fleet operational as it was their only true home. The Crysallis observed no Interstellar laws, regarded nobody's authority except that of their own commanders, and actually seemed baffled by the concept of a "homeworld" as their own world of origin was destroyed countless generations ago. A common epitath of the Crysallis is "Great Statues of Old!", which is ironic because nobody alive has ever seen the ancient statues since they were distroyed along with their planet of origin.

After a few years of this going on, the United States Alliance sent in the Navy to attempt to "regulate" Crysallis behavior. For political reasons, an arbitrary "border" was created to seperate "us" from "them" in a further attempt to curb their acts of mercenary and piracy. After numerous failures in the struggle to curtail their illicit activities, Congress declared war on "All Crysallis Everywhere, Regardless of Allegiance", and thus began one of the most costly conflicts in Alliance history. At this point it may be relevant to note that the Alliance was completely unaware that the Crysallis had no homeworld. They were completely unprepared for the guerrilla war tactics the Crysallis employed, and they defended their ships with such vehemence and violence that the Alliance lost several battles early in the war due to the ferociousness of the attacks. Of course, the Alliance's fatal mistake was that they did not know their enemy going in: had they known that the Crysallis' ships WERE their homes, they would have made Capital Ships their primary targets.

The War came to an Armistice when the Crysallis, nearing advantage and pressing the Alliance against the wall, suddenly declared peace. Nobody is sure why, but one thing is for certain: if the Crysallis were a ragtag bunch of space vagabonds before the war, they most certainly are not, now. The war actually caused the disperate factions of the Crysallis to unite under one banner for the first time in countless generations. Their confederation is now referred to by the entity "The Crysallian Collective" and their ships-of-the-line are graceful and elegant starcruisers that look like intricately grown crystals. The Alliance, although currently at armistice with the newly recognized government of the Crysallis, maintains a Threat Level 3 against the Crysallis on a scale of 5.

Who Are The Crysallis?

The enigmatic Crysallis are a graceful and simultaneously deadly race. While outwardly humanoid, they have some rather significant biological differences. Most notably the crystaline growths emerging from the joints of their bodies. This gives even a nude Crysallis the appearance of being adorned like an ancient Pharaoh of Egypt. Their skin is primarily earthen tones and because of their peculiar evolutionary path, are extremely resistent to heat. They are also highly resistant to brute force attacks and frequently use their own bodies as a weapon. The emotional state of a typical Crysallis is difficult to ascertain by human standards as they do not wear their emotions openly to outsiders. Instead, one can observe the emotions of the Crysallis by noting the color of the crest of crystals on their foreheads, which normally a serene and almost melancholy state of purple, turn a bright fuscha and even stray into the pink side of the spectrum if they are agitated or otherwise emotionally stressed. Excited emotions such as joy, passion and so on, also have this effect on them as it raises their mean body temperature, thus causing the "crystalline flush" that many Alliance diplomats have come to know so well when they catch the Crysallis in a fib.

It is interesting to note that during the "Two Decades War", a considerable number of Crysallis remained affable towards the Alliance and even helped the Alliance against the other clans. This resulted in a lot of unions between Crysallis and the various allies of the Alliance. A lot of Alliance citizens harbor ill feelings towards these hybrids following the logic that one should not trust a people willing to kill their own kind. Of course, to the rational mind, this ideology is absurd, considering humans have been slaughtering each other since the proverbial Dawn of Time.

Crysallis do mate for life as many humans do. However, their marital unions tend to be considerably more open than humans. This is a common trait they share with the highly mysterious Zendosians, and as a result, Crysallis/Zendosian pairings are almost inseperable.

What's the Deal With Mercadian Clothes? (or Lack Therof...)

The Mercadians (or "Mrr'Kkaedians" in their native tongue) are a felinoid race and as such have fur coats covering most of their bodies including their genetalia (which is not really exposed in the sense of humanoid reproductive parts) and as such have little to no need for any kind of clothing or body coverings except in the most inclement weather. This is not to say that the Mercadians have absolutely no sense of modesty, but that pertains to what they are doing at the moment in question. Simply nudity does not phase them at all. The only thing that phases a Mercadian while nude is being caught in the middle of a sexual act. To Mercadians, sex requires the lowering of all barriers and placing complete trust in their partner. This is due to their status as a predator. The old instincts are still there and Mercadian history is replete with examples of cats being assasinated while in the throes of passion. So many have asked me why I keep drawing them ["them" being the major characters] with various articles of clothing covering their "goodies" in certain instances. Well, the answer is simple: these articles of clothing are worn as a status symbol or badge of office. For example: Nitria's apron. It serves a functional purpose of helping to keep her clean. She is a healer and as a member of an intelligent species, she knows that the healer's job exposes her to a lot of germs and disease. So the traditional method of "licking herself clean" would be inappropriate. Also, Mercadians do not rely on a tongue bath to get truly clean. That is a throwback to their ancestral origins, and something of a "bad habbit" (much like Humans picking their noses). Mercadians are exceedingly clean people and unlike animal felines of Earth, treat bathing almost like a religious experience, frequently making it a community event. (and in a sense, it is, per the teachings of their forest diety Khestalla.) As any adornment is a sign of some kind of attainment, most Mercadian youths wear nothing at all except the arm and/or ankle bracer of their clan. (as seen in the early pages of Act I) Kraz wore body armor and a "loincloth" because that is the uniform of the Mercadian Militia. Many species throughout the galaxy were put off by the lack of physical inhibition the Mercadians showed, and Zendosian High Command decreed that all officials and military personnel working offworld were required to "cover up potentially embarassing genital areas." Most Mercadians would tilt their heads and flick their ears at such a notion (a sign of puzzlement), but they obeyed the letter of the mandate and Zendosian officials seemed to accept the Militia's choices, given the physical parameters of the Mercadian species.
Starship Moonhawk is hosted on ComicGenesis, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics.