Created by: Garry Stahl
Appearance: The Word of the Builders, Starbase 600 Game.
Number of Members: 1 billion.
Nature of Members: Builders have spherical bodies two feet across. The central sphere has a bone shell under the skin that protects the organs and gives structure where the arms are attached. They have sixteen tentacle arms that are about eight feet across laid out. They are ALL muscle. Tentacles are eight inches across at the base. Each branches into eight fingers. Half of the limbs, four top four bottom further branch into eight additional fingers on each finger. Each arm has a cluster of four eyes. They have eight eyes located on the sphere as well, four above the arms, four under the arms. Builders can see well into the ultraviolet and infrared ranges. Hearing is in the sphere proper as well as voice. They communicate primarily by telepathy. They cannot speak standard. Whistles and hoots are the limit of their vocal ability. They can vary the pitch to some degree by contracting the bronchial openings.
Builders breathe through eight bronchial openings above the arm ring, between the upper eyes. They eat through an opening in the top of the sphere and reproduce and excrete though openings in the bottom. Builder internal organs are laid out in the same radial symmetry as their limbs.
Builders are hermaphrodites. They reproduce at will. At mating they have to decide who is getting and who is giving. Of course they can switch off. Builders do enjoy sex and will mate for pleasure as well as to reproduce.
The young are grown in an internal womb until its body shell is 6 inches across and it is then born. Gestation takes 5 months. With the bone shell a Builder does not have the space internally to grow larger young. The young Builder is very small and not very bright. It will instinctively cling to the parent for the first several months of its life. New born Builders do little but eat and grow. By the end of their first year they will have a body shell a foot across and have enough brain mass to educate. At this time they become independent of the birth parent and the responsibility of the Project at large. Maturity requires ten years.
Education is largely telepathic except for those matters that require physical practice. The knowledge is quickly absorbed and the remainder of the educational period is used to refine the knowledge and prefect the physical practice of it.
Builders live for 150 years on average.
- The Olde Ones: the Ane have learned of a category of Builder that do not consider themselves to be fit for the company of other races. The Old Ones are first and second generation Builder RIs. The first of the replacement race for the biologically exhausted species that came before. Being wholly computers they have endured deep in the maze of Three Suns Station. Encouraged by the Ane RIs they have, at least some of them, been coming out.
Many of the Old Ones made the transition to newer forms of partly biological Proto New Builders and gladly perished when their body wore out. Some have remained as what they started as to be the project managers for the racial rebuilding. Some are serving the necessary function of keeping the station itself in operational condition. Hence they feel need and can endure. Some are on the order of half a million years old and of stunning experience.
Organization: Meritocratic. Builders do not understand the drive for power for power's sake. Pleasure and influence for them is derived from a job well done. They are literally a people that will waste away and die in idleness.
The best thinkers, planers, and doers will be looked to by the rest to lead projects. A Builder is truthful to themselves and others about their own abilities. They will neither exaggerate their abilities nor degrade themselves. If a Builder says they are the best mechanic in their race, believe them.
The basic Builder organizational group is the project. For a Builder the Project is all. It is what you do, where you live and who you mate with. Every Builder, from the newest laid to the oldest living will have a Project. Newly adult Builders are set out of their Parent's project and must find another. Ane believe that a lack of this practice is what did in the first Builders.
Game Role: Quirky producers of high tech.
Relative Influence: Minor at this point, but building.
Public or Secret?: Open secret.
Publicly Stated Goal: Rebuild their influence in the Galaxy.
Relative Wealth: Moderate. While they do not have an Empire of worlds they do have technology beyond most races.
Group advantages: Technology. Builders have diPotassium warp drives, They have zero point power sources and soft technology that adapts itself to your needs. They are one step shy of Clarke's Law.
Special Abilities: Builders are telepaths of moderate ability. They average 70 on the Kraith scale. Builders communicate via telepathy but lack the power to pull the illusion tricks commonly used by the Ane and Melkot. They do not possess a network like the All.
Builders are natural engineers. This is likely an understatement. Builders engineer the way other races breathe. Their minds are orderly to the extreme and nothing impends the kind of thought that good engineering is made of.
Group disadvantages: Literal minds. Builders have an extremely difficult time getting their brains around the idea of a lie. If a being says something, it must be truth. Likewise simile and metaphor are lost on them. Sell one the Brooklyn Bridge and they will pack it up and take it. If convinced that you didn't have the right to sell the bridge it will take some fast talking to keep you and your entire race alive.
Lack of Culture: Builders lack anything that other races call Culture. This a direct result of the literal mind. They enjoy music and other entertainments, but lack the kind of thought process and lifestyle that would produce them. Music made by Builders would be mathematical in nature, but Beethoven's Fifth would never come out of it. Romeo and Juliet is something their culture could never conceive of, never mind make. Builders are without passion. They are without the vices of passion. They are also without the creative urge that those passions also inspire.
Special disadvantages: Dangerous nativity. Builders were once an elder race in the galaxy they are now babes in the woods, babes with really big guns. The Ane are earning their star systems shepherding them back into the Galaxy.
Those who favor them: Ane, everyone else is considering the question.
Those opposed to them: No one yet.
Area of Operation: Far Sector and Three Suns sector. They are spreading into Known Space.
Headquarters Location: Three Suns Station. This "space station" is 14,000 kilometers across and located at the gravitational locus of a triple star system. There is no rocky planet at the center. It is 100% construction.
Public Face: Quirky builders of the near magical.
Notable Members: None given.
History of the Organization: The exact origin of the Builders is unknown. It is believed they might have originated in one of the galaxies that the Milky way has absorbed. Due to the death and rebirth of the race extra-galactic origin cannot be proven. The Builders themselves do not have records that far back. Short of finding their home world the origin mystery is unlikely to be solved.
Builders have waxed and waned over time, sometimes they are very active, at other times they are not. Their oldest known structure is Failed Project 27 At Stationer's Star a neutron star the Builders attempted to turn into a generator. That project is three million years old.
760,000 years ago the Builders realized that they were effectively dead. It didn't seem to matter how fast they tried to breed, their numbers were slowly falling. Over time the death to birth ratio increased. Their engineering based minds were having a hard time getting out of the box, so they asked the Ane for a possible solution.
In exchange for the building of the El Nanth Rosette the Ane gave the Builders a plan to save themselves. Build a new race to pass their legacy to. It didn't matter if a shred of their old genetic material remained as long as what they where and their memories survived.
The Builders finished the project for the Ane, leaving Builder Station behind, and sequestered themselves to work on their replacements. They also asked the Ane to tell their children when they were mature enough to consider themselves a true race. They set forth their conditions, and retired.
In the unknown period between about 700,000 years ago and now the Builders did indeed build a new race. The first replacement Builders were sentient robots. Each generation sought to build in more biological parts and to prefect self replication, IE, reproduction. While they were at it the Builders made a few improvements, like the micro fingers and more eyes.
By 250,000 BCE the last of the first race Builders was dead, and Builders where not to be found in the Galaxy except for Three Suns Station. Somewhere between this time and now the Builders finished their project.
In 2368 Farcit ships attempted to seize Three Suns Station from the Builders. Still under the restriction of their fore bearers they could not fight the Farcits outside of a closely defined limit. They called for help to the last race they had any contact with, the Ane.
Fortunately for them the Ane had technology at the time and sent a Squadron to rescue them. The Two Manta class heavy frigates USS Questing, and USS Searcher as well as the Planet class heavy cruiser USS Glade undertook the year-long cruise across unknown space to Three Suns. Having fought their way in passed the Farcits they discovered the Builders had indeed finished their project. It was time to give the Word.
Currently: Builders are once again reaching into the Galaxy. Everything has changed. The races they knew are gone. New races have taken their place. They are leaning heavily on the Ane as guides in this new Galaxy. This has resulted in a proliferation of Builder style stations in the Far Sector of the Federation. Starbases 601, 602, 603, 604 and 605 are two or four box Builder stations. Starbase 600 is a twelve box station. Earth Spacedock has also been replaced with a twelve box station. The Builders dropped the old space dock into the spire as the top.The Builders have also applied for membership to the United Federation of Planets. They have applied their own version of the Prime Directive. the big magic tech Contractor class ship have been replaced with vessels that match the Federation's current level of technology.