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The Nuitan are perhaps the oldest race in the galaxy. Their histories date back to well before the emergence of man, and appear to predate the first millennium by human counting. Over 45o centuries have passed since the Nuitan began their records, but it seems that not even a tenth of that will now pass before the same records stop. For the Nuitan are a doomed race. Ever since the Cataclysm, they have been battling against the forces that they awoke, and it is a battle they are slowly but surely losing.
The Nuitan (adjective Nuitan) are the last remnants of a race that once rule the stars. They are typically taller and more athletic than men, and even the clumsiest have a natural fluidity which only the very best human dancers can match. All typically have slim physiques, with thin faces and slender limbs, and it is quite hard to differentiate between the sexes – “curvaceous” is not really a word that could be applied to a Nuitan female. They are also very long-lived, with most living to spans of tens of centuries, and much more prone to strong emotion than humans. Nuitan will not only be moved to anger, joy, sadness, or fear much faster, but also on a much deeper level. This is what brought about their downfall.
History of the Nuitan
More than 30 millennia ago, the Nuitan civilisation was at its zenith. It spanned the entire known galaxy, and ships had recently been dispatched to other galaxies to investigate and colonise them. People were happy, and had all that they wanted for; all seemed rosy. The Nuitan lived life to the full, enjoying everything that their mastery of the galaxy could give them. This was their undoing. In the drifting tides of the Ether, the excesses of the Nuitan were birthing a new and terrible god. For as the real world is created from matter, emotions give life in the Ether. The continued debauchery of the Nuitan began to take its toll on them, and some left, disgusted with what their civilisation had become. They became the Sundered Kin. Others, the merchants, plying the stars in great ships known as Argosies, saw with dismay the level to which their fellows had sunk. On the central worlds of the Nuitan empire, the most skilled of the seers had discovered the entity growing within the Ether. Believing that this entity could bring them even greater pleasures than the material world could offer, they put a choice to their people: wake the entity, which they named as a goddess, or stay with the mundanities of the mortal world? Almost to a man, the people accepted. Now, while debauched, the Nuitan retained some respect for each other, and thoe who did not wish to go were loaded into the Argosies and shipped off-world. The Argosy crews themselves tended to remain with their ships, years in space having cautioned them to voyaging too far into the unknown. The great rituals began. Lesser mortals were sacrificed to wake the sleeping goddess, and gradually she was roused from her slumbers. Or so the Nuitan believed. The actual effect of their labours was not to ruse their nascent goddess Cerrime, as they had named her, by to create a vast psychic pool in the centre of their empire. Their rituals held it in check and let it grow… When the rituals closed, all synchronised with Nuitan precision, this vast ball of energy broke forth. The worlds of the ritual were vaporised, and the sheer power involved completely obliterated everything for hundreds of light-years around the centre point. The Argosies mostly rode out the blast, suffering significant damage, but one or two were lost entirely. After the Cataclysm, the Nuitan Empire lay in ruins. The vast bulk of its people had lived in the systems cluster at the centre of the empire. They now were gone, not just dead but completely destroyed. The equipment and knowledge on these worlds was gone forever. Moreover, this destruction had left the remaining populated worlds without direction. With the exception of the worlds of the Sundered Kin (these became the Maiden worlds), the Nuitan worlds were not designed to be self-sufficient. Essentials would usually be produced on farming systems and then shipped to the population centres. With the Argosies, the freighters, now mostly damaged and busy repairing themselves, and the central control system no longer in existence, most of the Nuitan starved. Civil wars broke out among desperate city-dwellers, while the races the Nuitan had suppressed rose up and overwhelmed the sparsely-populated farming worlds. Within barely one hundred years, only the Sundered Kin and the Argosies with their crews were left of the mighty Nuitan.
The Nuitan today
After the Cataclysm, the Nuitan surviving recognised the rot and saw the ultimate folly of their forebears. The Nuitan are a race more attuned to the psychic and the Ether than any other, and so are much more vulnerable. Following the terrible events of the Cataclysm, they became even more sensitive, and this is both their greatest strength and weakness. This is because the intensities of joy, sorrow, and passion to which they are moved can easily push them over the edge, into madness or a process that literally tears apart their soul as the miniature equivalent of the Cataclysm goes on in their head. However, this psychic sensitivity gives the Nuitan abilities other races can only dream of. The Sundered Kin, having abandoned much of the technology of their civilisation for simpler lives, started anew as farmers and cultivators, believing that they could conquer themselves by hard work. They continue to live at a low technological state, but have become master cultivators and domesticators. The continuous hard work has changed the psyche of the Sundered Kin – they are less prone to extremes of emotion, and have become more sensitive to nature and the world around them. The psychic abilities of their spacefaring cousins are also something they’ve lost, although the vast majority believe that the contentment of their lives is a fair trade. The Argosy crews, or Voidwalkers as they became known, were too wedded to their ships to leave. The Argosies are almost self-contained worlds, and the crews at the time of the Cataclysm had usually been born on the ship and lived all their lives on it. It would have been too much of a shock, especially for the fragile Nuitan, to leave. Besides, the Argosies were then the only way of evacuating the various scattered settlements that had not gone entirely mad with the pursuit of pleasure. So the Voidwalkers learnt to live a life of strict denial and temperance. The Argosies continued to ply the stars, but now as homes rather than trade ships (although some visits are still made to the worlds of the Sundered Kin, usually to exchange weapons and equipment for seeds and improved crops. After the Cataclysm, the surviving Nuitan seers found that they could predict the future with a certain degree of accuracy, and they now use this knowledge to protect the remnants of their race from extinction. The Nuitan are slowly dying. The Sundered Kin remain strong on their worlds, but these worlds are currently relatively safe from enemy invasion, and the Voidwalkers keep a close watch on threats to their cousins. The Voidwalkers suffer constant attrition at the hands of the many denizens of the galaxy, especially the implacable Necrontyr, and the birth rate on the Argosies is not high enough to replenish losses. When the Argosies finally die, there will be no contact between the Maiden Worlds, and the unforgiving galaxy will gradually overwhelm the Sundered. The Nuitan seers know that their race is doomed; but all are committed to preserving it as long as possible. They also see themselves as the only ones able to protect the universe from itself, after their own bitter experiences. As such, all life for the Voidwalkers is tinged with sadness. Ultimately, nothing they do will survive, and this they all know, but they refuse to give up. Instead, they continue to live within the bounds of the strict honour code that becomes daily life for all crew of an Argosy, and accept their losses and defeats with stoicism and resolution.
The Nuitan military machine
The Voidwalkers fight the majority of engagements, and so their methods of waging war will be dealt with here. The Nuitan have always been good at specialising, and this shows in warfare. Those who elect to become warriors will specialise in a certain discipline to the exclusion of all others, be it long-range fire support, close quarter combat, tank hunting at close range, or infiltration and stealth. In addition, all Argosy crew are trained as levy infantry, to be mobilised in times of dire need. The natural physical attributes of the Nuitan makes their soldiers considerably better than the majority of levy infantry, and the self-denying nature of their lives makes them less affected by loss than other races – while the loss of a friend or fellow will cut much more deeply than in humans or Orks, it will be closeted away until after the battle and when the warrior is in private. As a result, Nuitan infantry tend to be good shots, reasonable in close quarters (their shock assault troops excel in this field), and more tenacious than other races. The need to conserve men does mean that Nuitan troops fall back more often than they would if left to their own devices, but an entrapped unit will almost invariably stand and die rather than break. Nuitan seers’ ability to see the future suits their army well, as the various specialist units can be carefully positioned to ensure maximum effect and damage. Nuitan technology lends itself to shorter-range weapons using magnetic fields to accelerate small slivers of metal from a solid-state magazine. This gives basic Nuitan weapons a very high rate of fire, although quite limited armour-piercing capabilities. They also produce excellent laser weapons, ranging from the terrible “Dragon’s Eye” heavy anti-tank laser to the tiny digit weapons that commanders and squad leaders often carry. Their vehicles are almost invariably anti-gravitic skimmers, trading thick armour for high speed, and relying on excellent targeting systems to allow them to destroy enemies before they can return fire. The Nuitan do not wear heavy armour, and what they have is only of limited use against direct fire. It protects very well against blasts and slow-velocity projectiles, being a suit of mesh tiles that stiffen upon impact, spreading the load out over a wide area. Specialist warriors may often wear heavier armour, depending on their specialisation. In all cases, the Nuitan rely on speed and superior firepower to carry the day, rather than attrition.