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Fwiffo, a Spathi Eluder Captain
The Spathi are a race of "meta-mollusks", self-described as possessing the "best qualities of both the clam and the Dravatz". They have a colorful exoskeleton (possibly adopted by the Spathi due to their desire for safety1), a single jiggling eye, jointed pinching claws, and a single abalone-like foot, specialized for high-speed locomotion.2 They are the only race whose homeworld does not look like the inside of a spaceship.
According to Fwiffo, the Spathi live in constant fear of an undetectable phantom called the Ultimate Evil, which they are convinced lives just beyond the reaches of their most powerful long-range sensors.
Spathi families are very large and the youngsters are called "encrustlings". The Safe Ones claim that the "prognosticators" will lose their tenure, causing the thousands of encrustlings of every one of them to go hungry, because they predicted the The Captain would arrive 30 years later than he actually did. Fwiffo claims to have been "the youngest child of a family of 18,487" and mentions that being called by name by "the female parent" was a special occasion for him. Fwiffo's independence was not a voluntary choice; his parents merely "pried [him] from the doorjamb, and rolled [him] into the street".
Their ruling class is known most often as the Safe Ones, also called the Spathi Ruling Council, the High Spathi Ruling Council, the High Ruling Council of Spathiwa, and the Spathi High Council.
The Spathi have a traditional daily prayer which reflects their general attitude towards life (which they name the "mortal helix"): "..Oh God... please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better!"
The Spathi seem to have a pre-death ceremony, the ritual of Wezzy-Wezzah. The completion of this short ritual ensures a place in their secure afterlife. A noted attribute of the Spathi's afterworld is the absence of immortal, devouring monsters. However, the ritual of Wezzy-Wezzah is invalid unless performed on the moon of Spathiwa, or so Fwiffo claims — it is a possibility that the whole ritual is made up in order to convince The Captain to take him home.
They mention having been bored until they bought the game.
The Spathi evolved on the lone planet in Epsilon Gruis I; their name for their star is Yuffo and the planet, Spathiwa. About 400 years before the events of Star Control II, when their civilization was still at a Bronze Age level, their home planet has been beleaguered by a race of ravenous creatures called the Evil Ones who enjoyed eating Spathi, accelerating the advancement of their culture greatly — in less than a century, they had reached the Space Age, and finally took refuge from the Evil Ones on the Moon.
When the Spathi first encountered the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, they wanted to warn them about the peril of the Evil Ones. However, the Ur-Quan broadcasted their usual message, throwing the Spathi Captain into an intense state of panic. In this state of panic, he uttered what happened to be The Words, causing the entire Ur-Quan fleet to stop in space and explain their reasons — though the Spathi didn't understand a word, being hidden under their shells the whole time. After six hours of combat, they surrendered to the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, who proceeded toward the Spathi temporary homeworld, Epsilon Gruis I-A. They blasted parts of the moon into radioactive dust, and then invited the Safe Ones aboard the command chamber of Lord 1's Dreadnought, where they were offered the same choice given to each race, as dictated by the Path of Now and Forever: be a Fallow Slave (and thus send back a white rod) or Battle Thrall (sending back a black rod). The Spathi actually chose to be fallow slaves, being rather fond of the idea of being forever protected by an impenetrable Slave Shield. However, the Ur-Quan's Umgah servant who was to notify the Ur-Quan of the Spathi's choice mischievously switched the color of the rod. The Spathi attempted to rectify this, but the Ur-Quan would hear none of it - they would be Battle Thralls forever.
According to them, the Spathi attempted to avoid combat as much as possible, only to receive three violent reprimands from the Ur-Quan, "each more strident than the last." When the Spathi learned that they were on the verge of being exterminated outright for their repeated disobedience, they set about their duties as battle thralls "with renewed vigor."
The Spathi pilot the very nimble Eluder-class ships.
The legendary Black Spathi Squadron uses a modified Eluder and undertakes daring missions.
Sources of information
Relevance to the plot
Any relations with the Spathi are optional. You can ally with them to gain access to their ships. When the Spathi slave-shielded themselves on Spathiwa, they leave behind the Umgah HyperWave Broadcaster on their moon, along with a note explaining what it is. The Spathi also share somewhat useful and vague information on various topics, such as the new Syreen homeworld and the natural QuasiSpace portal.
Notes and references
- <Xxyl> Here's an argument I've been having....Spathi have shells or no?
- <Fwiffo> I think Spathi's didn't naturally have shells, but based on their desire for safety, they might adopt them as a fashion.
- <Mephisto_> Fwiffo: Do Spathi have feet, and what do VUX look like from the waist down?
- <Fwiffo> Spathi have a foot (like an abalone), but it is specialized for high-speed locomotion, usually away from anything vaguely threatening.