The Vinn. A shared "race" of 14 parasitically-infected species.
Parasite: Vinnshasha (Commonly, "Vinn").
Hosts: Telfaar, Nicto, Trahn, Gourrjin, Veek, Aiffir, Morra, Gendon, Sesstil, Amakk, Gaom, and three additional homeworlds unknown to Imperial Intelligence.
Varies across accumulated species.
Color & Markings
Variations among The Vinn are as divergent as the hosts. The only shared attribute is the tatooed eyepatch over their left eye(s), signifying a searching devotion to the "Missing Gods," who have been lost to the blackness of space.
Reproduction & Development
As a people, The Vinn trace their origin to their "Missing Gods"from the planet Vinnshasha.
As best as Imperial Intelligence can piece together, an advanced, native species to Vinnshasha created The Vinn parasite eons ago, as a misguided "cure" for a cancerous malady. But the bio-engineering went horribly awry: Once implanted, the parasite quickly mutated, and embedded itself in the central nervous system of its host; completely rewiring and restructuring their brain. The result was (and is) a new and wholly unique individual upon infection. Logic, morals, self-awareness, and goals are all reset to a new "Vinn" norm. The process is akin to the birth of a new life, and in fact The Vinn call it such.
Employing various means of transmission, the parasite spread across Vinnshasha in weeks. Even nearby sentient systems began to fall victim to the parasite, as commercial ships brought it planet-to-planet. Months into the infection, in perhaps a last-ditch attempt to stop the spread, Vinnshasha was repeatedly nuked from orbit, making the planet virtually unlivable. Imperial Intelligence has never been able to determine if the nukes were fired by a third-party race, or by the original residents of Vinnshasha themselves. In fact, the very existence of these original Vinnshashans have become the stuff of legend, and they are worshipped now by The Vinn as their "Missing Gods".
As individuals, The Vinn have no racial memories on infection -- as the parasite itself is not sentient. But infected individuals do develop very clear racial attributes. Additionally, the parasite provides an incredible transfer of genetic material across host species. In essence, the parasite is constantly absorbing, testing and implementing the most unique genetic traits across species. As a result, most of The Vinn share amazing genetic gifts like bioelectrogenesis, venomous necrotoxins, chromatophore cells in their skin/hides, sharp vision due to minimal diffraction of incoming light, and shark-like elctroreception.
Varies across accumulated species.
"Vinnshaseen" in the language of The Vinn. "Vinn" to most other species.
The Vinn have no castes or built-in heirarchies, as one might expect in a multi-species alignment. In fact, The Vinn pride themselves on being a complete meritocracy: Anyone can move up in rank based on ability, intelligence and accomplishment. The Vinn's theology celebrates their manifest need to spread the parasite across the galaxy, and their need to search for the Missing Gods. In fact, they see the former as a key to the latter.
Minimally tested. Presumed November/Oscar range.
Interaction with Humans
The first human contact with The Vinn came in 2331, when the Imperial scout ship Candela suffered a catastrophic ring malfunction, and went adrift in uncharted space. While waiting for the battle cruiser Redentor to come tow the ship, Candela was boarded by The Vinn. All the crew aboard were infected, and abandoned the ship to take up with The Vinn. Rescue attempts in the following months led to the repeated infections of other crews, and a formal declaration of war by the Empire. Painful Imperial losses continued for two years, until the Earth-based weapons manufacturer Indústriaglobo developed an incredibly effective short-range weapon against The Vinn's biology. Called the "Neutron Daisy Cutter", the weapon required all human crews to shelter in a Faraday-Cage-like containment deck before firing the arrays. The ten minute blast would then lash out with peculiar effect on the cell walls of The Vinn parasite, killing it immediately.
In most cases, the surviving host organism would die in the following few days: The loss of the parasite being too great a blow to their nervous systems. However, a number of species were able to survive their "separation," and recovered a semblance of speech. From these survivors, Imperial Intelligence was able to piece together the origins of The Vinn, and its slow spread across the Sagittarius-Carina arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Daisy Cutter weapon ended the Human-Vinn war in 2335, but with no formal armistice or peace treaty. Imperial military planners commonly assume that the war continues in the mind of The Vinn, and that they are biding their time until a suitable counter-measure can be developed.