- "The race known as the Schrai are one of the most dangerous I’ve ever come across. There’s no reasoning with them and they never give up pursuit. For a Jedi, it’s kill or be killed."
- — Kalja Sairu Leidias
In the language of the Schrai, the name they have given their species roughly translates to “The Deadly” in Basic. This is a more than apt description of these tireless and ravenous killers. Although the Schrai are not a natural race, having originally been created by Sith alchemists for the singular purpose of killing Jedi, over the thousands of years since their initial creation they have evolved past their origins and created their own castes and societal structure.
By modern standards, the Schrai could be considered a technologically primitive race, lacking even the most basic tools common to developing races. They live in a singular hive which consists of sprawling tunnels created deep underground. Aside from some basic architectural design to help regulate the temperature of their home, the hive is completely devoid of any amenities.
Their bodies are considerably more advanced than most other organisms and are extremely durable and adaptable to all kinds of conditions, making them a force to be reckoned with in spite of their lack of technology. Only deep cold seems to have any kind of negative effect on them, making them sluggish. They've been known to be able to enter two states of cryptobiosis when presented with adverse conditions which essentially puts their bodies in a state of suspended animation until conditions improve; anhydrobiosis, which allows them to survive without food, and cryobiosis, which allows them to survive extremely low temperatures, even being completely frozen.
Although it was once thought that the Schrai had been either wiped out or sealed away forever, these tenacious insectoids have managed to outlive their ancient masters and survive into the present day.
Although there are some physical differences between the different castes, a few similarities can be attributed to all Schrai.
Specialized Force SenseEdit
Every Schrai can sense the Force but not manipulate it. Instead, they use it to differentiate between Lightsiders and Darksiders. This is a very important distinction to a Schrai as it triggers deeply implanted commands that are written into their very genetic structure. Few things can counteract these deeply rooted instincts.
Any Lightsider that is sensed by the Schrai will be automatically hunted down and killed. This impulse can be tempered somewhat by a Schrai queen, who has a greater self-awareness than those in the other castes, but otherwise the Schrai will not rest until the Lightsider they sense is no more.
Darksiders, on the other hand, are able to give Schrai orders that they must follow without question unless it counteracts an order given to them by a Darksider that they designate as their master. Should the need arise, these orders can even override their inherent craving to kill Lightsiders.
The Darksider that they consider their master has the absolute authority to command the hive as the Forcer sees fit. This commitment from the hive lasts for as long as the Darksider lives. When that Darksider dies, whoever wishes to assume control of the hive must prove themselves to be the most powerful Darksider within the hive’s influence.
So-called “neutral” or “gray” Jedi don’t provoke any kind of ingrained response from the hive. The same is true for all non Force-users and droids. This is not to say that the Schrai will ignore them, quite the opposite, it simply means their response won’t be conditioned.
Often times they use the Force to find their prey instead of the other senses they’ve been gifted with.
The Schrai operate with a hive mind. The range of their internal telepathy is quite extensive. Schrai can stay in contact with the central hive at distances that encompass large planets. Despite the fact that the hive follows the commands of their queen, Schrai drones aren’t dependant on her to make decisions.
Instead the hive mind is more of a collective of their thoughts and ideas which all Schrai contribute to and use. With the exception of orders from a queen or a Darksider, majority rules within the hive mind. It also helps the Schrai to better organize their efforts in several endeavors; the most frequently used being the construction of the hive and coordination during combat.
If a group of Schrai are separated from the main hive mind, they will form one of their own which is essentially a microcosm of the larger hive mind. Although it is a rarity, Schrai drones that are completely on their own without anyone to command them go berserk until they are either killed or find their way back to the hive.
The hive mind also gives the Schrai some side benefits. They’re able to quickly decipher and understand other languages. It also makes the Schrai as a race effectively immune to mind control or Jedi Mind Tricks.
Since assuming control of the hive, the Darksider Sivter has discovered another use for the hive mind. As their master, Sivter is allowed to access the hive mind through the Force. Doing so allows him to see through the eyes of every drone within range of the hive mind, giving him an incredible range upon which to view everything that surrounds him. The hive mind is closed to any Darksider other than the Schrai’s designated master.
However, Sivter has also been able to expand this ability through the use of his own rather formidable mental powers. Not only can he see through the drones, he can also take control of them directly, allowing him to be in multiple places at once. The only downside is that Sivter can’t use his powers in the Force while controlling a drone since the drone’s body lacks such a connection.
Sivter has shown the ability to not only to control a drone while still remaining cognizant within his own body, but to do so while controlling multiple drones as well. It is believed that Sivter is able to do this because of his own specialization with mental powers, but that any possible future master of the Schrai would have to have these abilities as well in order to control them directly.
The Schrai are true omnivores, able to devour just about any solid matter for sustenance. This also helps to contribute to the toughness of their exoskeletons as any usable metal or ore they ingest is converted by their complex biology into the organic metal plates that cover their bodies. This ability was so refined by the Sith alchemists that the Schrai even use the trace amount of metals found in the bodies of living organisms.
Although it varies depending on the caste, even the weakest Schrai has an exoskeleton that provides excellent protection against damage. This protection is particularly effective against energy-based weapons. Even lightsabers have a tough time cutting through their armor. The only real weakspot in a Schrai’s defenses are the joints that allow it to move, but this too can vary depending on the different castes.
The original Sith creations only had one design, but once the Schrai were forced to survive on their own, they gradually evolved into several castes over a process of thousands of years in order to better survive and create a workable society.
There are currently seven different castes in Schrai society, but the possibility exists that more could be created should the hive find a niche that needs to be filled.
All Schrai are born as worker drones, however, they have the ability to change their caste through a metamorphosis and become a more advanced caste. Usually it takes a command from the queen or the hive mind to trigger this change in a drone, but a drone can also earn the right to advance its caste by being successful in battle.
Height: 2 Meters
Unlike the queens of many other insect species, the Schrai queen does not lay eggs. Instead she guides the hive’s progress and sees to its survival. Among the Schrai, she is unique in that she can make decisions that the entire hive has to follow. She is a part of the hive mind but at the same time is also able to keep her mind closed to it.
Although fragile looking, the queen’s exoskeleton is at least as tough as the average worker drone. Her wings also allow her to fly, although this ability is rarely used as she is generally sequestered underground in the most secure part of the hive. Instead their intended purpose is to allow the queen a way to flee should the hive ever be defeated.
The queen can also contact non-Schrai telepathically, an ability closed to the drones who can only speak to other Schrai in this way. If a queen is killed, a worker drone may be selected to morph into a new one. This is the only way queens are born.
Queens are also the only Schrai that may morph back into worker drones if the need arises.
Height: 3 Meters
The elite drone is a heavily armored brute that can withstand an incredible amount of punishment. Their sole purpose is to protect the queen and are never seen away from her unless it’s to fend off attackers so the queen can get away. They sacrificed the speed and agility of the other drones for pure defensive power since both attributes are unnecessary in the underground tunnels of the hive where they most often dwell.
Lightsabers as well as most handheld blasters and grenades are completely ineffective against an elite drone. Anti-tank weaponry and above is usually needed to pierce their heavy armor.
Aside from the queen, the elite drone is the only other Schrai that is able to suppress the urge to hunt down Lightsiders as it would otherwise interfere with their protection duties.
Height: 2.5 Meters
The alpha drone is the most dangerous variety of drone in the hive, but thankfully also one of the least common. They combine the speed of the hunter drone with the power and zeal of a berserker drone.
Originally developed in the crucible of underground magma activity, the alpha drone is able to withstand extremely high temperatures. They’re also able to expel noxious chemical smoke from the two pointed protrusions on their back, usually to disorient their target in battle.
An alpha drone has very few vulnerable joints, having grown a series of overlapping plates to protect them. Their armored exoskeletons are extremely tough, only the elite drones have a tougher shell.
Alpha drones do not have eyes, having evolved past them to rely almost exclusively on the Force to find their targets. They also use echolocation for the more mundane tasks of daily navigation.
In order for a drone to become an alpha, they must first ingest volcanic materials.
Height: 1.5 Meters
The hunter drone was developed to track potential prey that may find a way to escape from the other drones. They are built for maximum speed and agility in order to quickly run down their targets. In addition, they are gifted with multiple senses to aid them in their hunt.
Along with the ability to sense prey through the Force, their eyes are able to see from infrared all the way into the ultraviolet spectrum. The protrusion jutting out from the middle of their shoulders acts as a highly specialized scent collector. Lastly, the hunter drone’s feet are sensitive to vibrations in the ground, allowing it to pick up nearby movement.
All of these specialized tracking abilities do come at a price, namely in combat. Their claws are more suited to climbing than attack and their mouths are so small that they’re good only for acquiring sustenance. Their exoskeleton is only marginally tougher than a warrior drone’s.
Height: 2.2 Meters
The berserker drone has only one purpose for the hive: kill and raze. It may seem to have little distinction among a race that was literally bred for war, but for berserker drones all they’re concerned with is offense. They never retreat from battle and will keep on attacking until the battle is won or they’re killed.
Their armored exoskeleton is bested only by the alpha and elite drones, but none can compare to their utter savagery in battle. They’re so specialized that neither of their appendages are suited for feeding themselves and so berserkers must be tended to by worker drones. The serrated blade on their left arm is sharp enough to cut through durasteel while the pincer on their right is powerful enough to crush solid rock. Their oversized mouths are meant more for attack than ingestion.
Berserker drones are bulkier and considerably heavier than the standard warrior drone, forcing them to give up the other’s ability to fly. Vestigial armored plates mark where the wings would have existed but are otherwise useless.
Berserkers are actually the Schrai’s first attempt at diversification and so look a lot less refined than later castes. They do possess a limited ability to regenerate that all other castes lack to better serve their purpose as frontline warriors. This regeneration is very rough and often times doesn’t grow things back exactly right, giving many berserkers a twisted appearance.
Height: 2 Meters
The warrior drone is the closest in appearance to the original living Sith weapons the Schrai evolved from. It is easily the most versatile of the hive’s castes, able to fight on the ground or in the air. In addition to being nearly as numerous as the worker drones, the warrior drones have a favorable mix of speed, power, and defense, making them the most easily recognizable representatives of the Schrai.
They have four eyes, two for the daylight hours and two for seeing in the dark. Their primary arms each end in three fingered claws that are perfect for rending flesh. Their much smaller secondary arms carry a natural venom that is injected at the tips.
What appear to be plates of processed metal affixed to their body are actually their exoskeletons being reinforced by the metal they ingest. All Schrai are capable of this, but the process is much more organic looking in other castes. The reason for this difference is unclear, but likely has something to do with the genetics of the warrior caste being so closely linked to the original, artificially made Sith weapons.
A single warrior drone is very dangerous, but in the swarms they travel in they’re nearly unstoppable.
Height: 1.5 Meters
The lowly worker drones, while not as dangerous as the other castes, can be just as formidable. They still retain much of their core genetics from the warrior drones, enabling them to be effective in battle if pressed. Traces of this can be seen in the vestigial wing plates they bear, which indicate where they would ordinarily grow wings. Since they spend most of their life underground, the ability to fly became pointless.
While they lack the natural weapons and tougher armor of the other castes, the worker drones do have one thing to aid them in battle. Affixed to their left arm is an edged plate of armor that they normally use as a spade to break apart rock and help them dig, in combat it can used as an effective shield or as a melee weapon.
The drones have multiple tasks within the hive and, unlike normal insect species, are the ones who lay the eggs in the hive. They’re able to asexually produce them, ensuring that if a single drone survives then the Schrai will be able to rebuild.