Black Sun | The Undead
Earlier I spoke of Essence and psionics, and how the concept of life is tied to the concept of one's Essence. Those that we call the Undead, challenge much of what we viewed as living. The Undead, as we encounter them, are not living entities. They are cohesive, highly stable elemental constructs. While they are Golems, in a manner, they are also psychic bodies. Still, they do not live. Their essence is tied to that of the Great Undying, and much of our understanding of the elements becomes blurred when considering how they function.
The Great Undying is the closest thing we can consider a living entity, and only because it draws the Essence of all life to it. When Essence is lost in our world, its echoes are drawn into a communal vortex generated by the Great Undying or, as the Undead call it, Guola. Guola is an entity beyond the ability of our science to describe. It is not sentient, incapable of individuality, yet it acts as the host for the life force that is drawn to it. The life force takes shape through psionic projections – Undead constructs – which act as individuals, but possess no ties to the Essence other than being formed by it. Still, the Undead constructs may be perceived as entities. The more stable their communion, the closer they sare to having a personality. The larger the construct, the greater its potential and communal ability since they function as a collective. Their communion greatly increases when adjacent to one another.
Undead constructs are hybrid elements. They form cohesive, physical forms by extent of their communal strength, which draws and bonds elements from the Great Undying to them. Once bonded, this psychic image cannot be altered, though it can be regenerated at a frightening speed. Complete destruction of these constructs requires one to sufficiently dismantle the psionic image, the bonded elements, or disrupt them enough to break control over its components. Interfering with the bonding through elemental weaponry, such as Proteus, is possible, but kinetic weapons that enter and damage the bodies are also effective as their presence will shatter the coherency of the so-called energy-metal. However, as the Undead constructs have no subsystems, and their formations change from entity to entity, there is no easy manner to predict exactly how much force is necessary to destroy them.
The easiest way to view Undead constructs is that they are extensions of Guola formed by the memories and Essences it has devoured. Those Essences, souls if you so desire, become twisted by their connection to Guola. Guola casts their emotions and memories outwards, which then commune with the Great Undying's limitless elemental potential, creating tiny droplets of its body that form into the Undead armadas. Curious then is the tactics observed by those Adashim describes as true demons – entities born entirely of elemental origins. One can only conclude that, like Mal`Ash, these entities have no Essence and are indeed sentient, yet nonetheless bound to Guola.
The Prince does not hand out the definition of demon lightly. Elemental constructs such as the Undead and Mal`Ash are defined as such by their lack of quantifiable living properties. Yet, as entities that possess at least some degree of twisted willpower, they have to be alive in some form. Hence, Undead.
Undead technology is entirely built around the concept and manipulation of psionic images. Stability is maintained entirely through their psionic potential. Each vessel is, in essence, the will of a single spirit made manifest. The scale and potential of an Undead combatant is determined by the strength of their thoughts. Their thoughts are at the best of times tactically brilliant, but strategically insane. Undead have absolutely no regard for personal safety. The loss of ten thousand superlarge constructs is entirely meaningless to them, as they do not understand the concept of resources. They thrive on the emotional outbursts of the living, and seek to be as close as possible to those near death, often needlessly close compared to their potential engagement ranges.
Undead ships are commonly adorned in a variety of spines, horns, and pillars. These are not ornamental. The sharpening and curving of their psychic images allow them to collect and manipulate elemental communion and focus their energy into specific points, making for easier weaponization. This can be seen visually, especially with Deimos – the collection of fiery crimson particles on the tips of spikes shortly before laying waste to whatever has drawn their attention.
Deimos is the favored element of the Undead. Not only does its kinetic bleeding have no effect on them, it is easy for them to fabricate at fearsome levels of purity. They also utilize an element Adashim called Ku`Emeth, simply nicknamed Dread, a high-end Dark Matter element whose radiation half-life is extremely short lived, but reacts violently with other Dark Matter tree elements. Undead communion is believed to also be expressed at an elemental level, and that they are capable of emulating Proteus if they desire. True demons would have little restrictions on their ability to emulate so long as they possessed adequate memories of how to.
As Undead ships have no propulsion, they achieve locomotion by communing with the other elements in the world around them, including cosmic radiation and subspace. They effectively swim through space as through a fish would in an ocean. This allows them incredible maneuverability and speed, enough to easily avoid nearly all of the Anahn's fastest kinetic weapons if they so desire. Undead hell-bent on avoiding projectiles as opposed to facing their opponents head-on can run circles around entire fleets. We had to develop unique and adaptive fire control to try to limit the real estate available for Undead combatants to maneuver in.
There is one final characteristic of the Undead to speak of. When their psionic image destabilizes, their energy-metal undergoes a peculiar state conversion and loses many of its properties. It will darken and become matte as its atomic structure decomposes, and gain mass while becoming communally resistant. This act is not one that occurs slowly. It is an instantaneous and violent transition that releases a vast amount of energy as it is expelled from the construct, propelling shards of the resulting material at extremely high speeds. The shards will continue to destabilize in motion and eventually decay into a fine, sand-like residue that remains dangerous to vulnerable infrastructure. The only saving grace of this final death weapon is that the shards and sand both tend to vaporize from residual Deimos radiation very quickly once their state changes.
For the purposes of classifying Undead and Xy`Kranasha, whose vessels can have variable attributes including size and psychic abilities, but still usually possess consistently identifiable forms, Anahn engineers refer to their own manufacturing codex and classify them by averages of scale. These scales may be treated as a rough reference to their capabilities but, as the Undead especially demonstrate, the larger the ships the far more varied their abilities become. Even so, without a full understanding of the science behind their physics, it remains the most reliable means to grade their constructs. Further complicating the picture is that we have been able to segregate Undead into their own generations, similar in concept to our own.
Undead can be divided into roughly four generations, with the factor determining their separation being their origin.
First-generation Undead are the weakest of spirits, their vessels are only moderately superior to those of the Zeterrekai Templar, and only because their Deimos radiation is nearly impossible to resist. They are completely mindless, described by Adashim as little more than noise. Still, a host without equal in the mortal world should it be fully stirred.
Note – First-Gen Undead were not represented in the Retribution production.
Second-generation Undead are the recently deceased, such as the Myrookk after Gandresh destroyed their galaxy. Their deaths are so horrific and emotional that they are easily consumed by Guola's influence and soon reincarnated. Myrookk ships in particular exhibit "dirty" elemental traits and aren't nearly as powerful as true Undead constructs. Even so, they are utterly terrifying opponents, outclassing Third-Generation Anahn vessels triple their size without effort.
Third-generation Undead were cloaked in mystery. These devastating foes engaged the Anahn during their expedition to the Tiran wastelands, possessing technology and power undreamed of. Adashim records that they are Undead that predate Anahn civilization and therefore have no existing influences from us. More than likely, their major influences come from the mock life Kyru created with Mal`Ash's instruments and, indeed, Kyru themselves.
Fourth-generation Undead are hypothetical creations of the Fear, including the Pride, Ruin and Sorrowsong, along with their creators, and true demons of Guola's fabrication, such as the hypothetical Awakened Crusaders. Even the simplest fourth-generation Undead are capable of overpowering entire fleets with very little observable effort on their behalf.