A Brutal Universe

"Doctor, there's been an amazing find!"

"What is it, Mex?"

"The National Space Administration has finally regained contact with our coreward explorer group. They encountered a group of light-blue starships that withdrew when they saw us!"

"Truly? You aren't lying?"

"No, doctor! I got a call from the Administration's chairman. The ships broadcasted some strange signal, a signal that we can't decipher. They've offered a cash reward to anyone who can upgrade our explorer fleet. You're one of our greatest engineering minds. Can't you come up with something?"

It was the year 2090.

The glorious Vux civilization could finally walk amongst the stars in earnest. The first colony outside of the small group of stars in the Lyuten Constellation had been established ten years earlier, in Beta Indi, and Vux starships had mapped out the Cerenkov constellation. Strangely enough, starships that approached the Sextanis constellation disappeared, but so far only about six ships had been sent and the Vux people basked in the glory of these new discoveries. The mood was too joyous to worry about a handful of ships.

Upon hearing that the Vux coreward explorers had finally encountered another alien race, Doctor (D. Eng) Lex Rex scrambled in his test chamber. He'd been developing a secret communication device, one that could reach between nearby planets. If it was placed on starships, perhaps it could allow Vux vessels to communicate with other starships.

Yet all reports indicated that these mysterious light-blue ships used different communication devices, signals that were incompatible with the Vux's own. There were many theroies about translation algorithms and some such, and even some ideas that maybe these aliens were so alien that if the Vux tried to contact them neither side could understand each other.

Surely that couldn't be the case!

Still, this cause was too noble. If the Vux could finally talk to other carbons across the stars, how wonderful would that be!

Gamma Mira 1, High Orbit

Three Vux ships encountered two of the mysterious light-blue alien vessels.

Using Doctor Rex's communication device, they were shocked to receive a decipherable audio/video transmission from the alien ship.

Their viewscreen changed, and revealed a face, and a curious body structure.

"We are the Androsynth."

The Vux crew could barely hold their excitement.

"We are the Vux!"

"We understand. We wish to continue mining this star system. Are you here to contest this system?"

The Vux crew turned to one another. Command had hoped to incorporate this system as part of the Vux's hold on the Mira constellation.

"We regret to inform you that, yes, we consider this system to be our territory. We ask that you withdraw."

"Very well." The curious Androsynth representative moved his head at an angle, in a way that, for a Vux, would snap his neck. The Vux crewmen stared curiously at the baffling creature who continued to speak.

"We will leave, on the condition that the Vux will not pursue. Perhaps we can continue contact in the future. This universe can be quite the unpleasant place..."

As the Androsynth ships withdrew, the Vux vessels remained in formation.

When it was certain that the Androsynth were too far away to receive further transmissions, the three ships chattered amongst each other excitedly.

"They do not seem hostile!"

"... But did you see what they look like? That body shape-"

"Now that you mention it, it does look like..."

The Vux crews shivered among each other, for the Androsynth resembled Vux refuse.

Beta Lyuten 1, Vux Homeworld, Vux Space Command

"This is exciting news!"

"Aye, but even though this new race is not hostile, the Androsynth did not seem particularly eager to have extensive talks with us. They said something about 'future contact,' as if they were expecting something. Trade? Mutual exchange of information? They left with a warning, a warning about an unpleasant universe."

"That's certainly a friendly gesture." The Chairman's face tentacles drooped. "Not only do they seem nonplussed about encountering other races, they claim that something terrible might be out there, maybe a mutual threat? Would that be their only reason to talk to us?"

"It seems so, sir."

"The people won't be too eager to divert taxpayer money to us if all they get are aliens who only want a practical relationship with us! We want to find friends, trading partners, new avenues for adventure and prosperity, not pragmatic alliances against some other threat!"

"You are the Chairman, sir. You can dictate policy-"

"And I will! Send ships towards Sextanis. If we can't find any coreward friends, perhaps we'll find some rimward."

Epsilon Sextanis II

Four Vux ships approached the latest star system in their survey.

The last time Vux vessels were sent in this direction, they were lost.

But as this new group approached the planet, four blue ships scrambled and made a beeline for them.

The Vux starships hailed these newcomers.

"We are the Vux!"

But they received the following transmission.

"Alien ships, this is yer final warning. Ye've approached these star systems one too many times. We are the Yehat, and this is our territory. Leave now, or we will fire again."

The Vux starships attempted to communicate with one another, but after a few minutes of deliberation the Yehat opened fire.

Yellow bolts struck the Vux flagship, and the vessel retaliated with a brilliant beam of its own. However, the leading Yehat ship glowed white, and, miraculously, the beam disappeared within that glow.

"All ships, withdraw! They have some kind of shield. We can't break through th-"

The four Yehat ships concentrated their fire on the lead Vux ship, and as it broke apart the three remaining ships fled.

Beta Lyuten I

"So it has come to this."

"Indeed, sir. These new aliens fired upon our explorer group. We lost two ships, one was annihilated as it fled no less."

"These Yehat, is there any reason for us to-"

"Sir! We've received a distress call from our colony on Alpha Sextanis! They have come under attack from at least fifteen Yehat vessels! If we don't act now, hundreds of Vux may die!"

"Then it's time to drive these bastards out of our stars. If they want a war, they've got one."

For twenty years Vux and Yehat fought over the Sextanis constellation.

In a way, a no-fly-zone was established in the void between Beta and Gamma Sextanis. The former was occupied by the Vux, the latter by the Yehat.

The Vux had encountered two alien species. One race hounded them with questions and would frequently argue with the Vux over mining rights in the Mira system. The other race was expansionist and hostile and would shoot Vux ships on sight. This dream of exploration, this dream of discovering new worlds and new civilizations was a nightmare.

Doctor Rex, the scientist who first developed Vux communicators, was an old Vux by now. On national television, he expressed his deepest regret for developing a communications technology that only revealed a brutal universe.

And yet, every Vux vessel kept that communications technology. Perhaps, perhaps! There were friendlier races out there. Races that wouldn't treat the Vux like practical tools or as target practice.

And one day, a group of Vux ships came across a curious silver vessel.

When communications began, however...

"Damn, that's one ugly sucker!"

From that day on, state television dictated that alien species were either hideous or hostile, and that for the Vux species to survive they had to protect their own. Non-sapient life might look ugly, but at least it couldn't consciously try to kill or mock the Vux. Yet, thus far their contact with Sapient life was anything but cordial.

And after a few years of trying to come to terms with all they had seen, the Ur Quan came...

And Vux life, and curiosity, was never the same...

AN: Zex was a total rebel, man! He could care less what those old fogeys on Vux PBS would say, aliens were exhilarating and they made his tentacles shake with excitement. At least other Vux captains had a more sensible view based on how other races treated them.

If one goes over the events of Star Control 1 and 2, the Vux show curiosity about the Androsynth. If they were truly bigoted and prideful why would they care about the Androsynth? The Yehat called the Vux bigoted and unworthy prey, but that's from the Yehat point of view. We don't get to hear from the Vux.

Also, the Vux developed that translation technology in the first place. If they were truly prideful and bigoted by default, why would they even bother? Alien lifeforms would obviously be inferior to the Vux, right? Why care about what they had to say?

I refuse to subscribe to such nonsense. No one is born racist.

Keep in mind that the player's species (humanity) not only looks physically hideous to the Vux, but also was responsible for more hostility towards the Vux (if only orally and not through actual violence yet). If you go over the backstory there seem to be few races who were initially friendly to the Vux. Who knows? If it was the Chenjesu and not Humanity who first approached the Vux, could they have reacted differently?