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The crystalline Chenjesu (left).
Status: merged with Mmrnmhrm to form Chmmr
Homeworld: Procyon II
Coordinates: 074.2 : 226.8
Member of: Alliance of Free Stars
Ship: Broodhome

The Chenjesu were a race of silicon-based, crystalline beings native to the Sapphire World of Procyon II. Possessing vast intellects and advanced technology, they were the de facto leaders of the Alliance of Free Stars. Following their surrender to the Hierarchy, they welcomed the Mmrnmhrm to their homeworld to merge into the single Chmmr species.

Physiology and culture

Unlike most other sentients, the crystalline Chenjesu are photo/chemovores existing on electric energy and have neither natural predators nor need for prey. Another distinguishing feature is the electromagnetic energy fields that they naturally produce, which create the characteristic Chenjesu crackling noise from minor corona discharges. However, when experiencing strong emotions, Chenjesu have been known to cause visible and audible electrical breakdowns in air, which often interfere with nearby electronics.1 Along with these innate electric fields, the Chenjesu can produce sustained, controlled electrical discharges.2 They also have highly sensitive, natural HyperWave receptors and transmitters, which gave them the first inkling of the Ur-Quan invasion. While silicon-based, they are not at all like the Taalo — Chenjesu are crystalline rather than rock-like.

Due to their unique niche in their native ecosystem, they are naturally non-hostile, preferring instead to engage their vast intellects in philosophical discussions and other pursuits of knowledge. Their culture's greatest achievement, a philosophical text, is The Book of Bzzbezzu Kzaaz. Avid explorers, their star charts of HyperSpace are the standard for Alliance races.

Their technology is electrical and crystalline in nature, similar to their own physiology. Images of the Chenjesu captains during the Ur-Quan Slave War (which the Chenjesu name "the Great Crucible of Sentience") imply that they interface with their equipment through creating controlled electrical discharges. Their starship, the Broodhome, possessed more raw power (and raw material) than any other Alliance ship, even if, in general, it was not the most effective in combat. Some of their technology bears similarities to late Precursor technology (namely the Utwig Bomb).

Their rare physiology, advanced sentience and peculiar evolutionary path leads some to speculate that they are the product of an ancient, peaceful culture. An alternate explanation is that they are mostly software, interacting with their environment through some kind of field manipulation mechanism.3

History and relations with other races

The Chenjesu are one of the oldest of the space-faring races, and so have had interactions with a number of the other alien races in this region of the galaxy. A little less than a thousand years prior to the War, the Chenjesu established amicable relations with the nearby and recently arrived Mmrnmhrm. Part of this relationship was a defensive military alliance that later deflected an initial attack by the Ur-Quan circa 2111. This alliance formed the basis of what became the Alliance of Free Stars.

The Chenjesu have also been knowledgeable about, if not in contact with other, more primitive races. For example, they were aware of the Umgah and the technologically-primitive Ilwrath, and had occasional friendly encounters with the Spathi (while on missions of exploring the coreward regions) prior to these races being subjugated by the Ur-Quan. They also apparently had come into contact with the Zoq-Fot-Pik and the Pkunk, though further relations appear to have been halted by the events of the War. The Yehat and Shofixti joined the Alliance sometime before 2115, but the extent of their contact with the Chenjesu leading up to this is unknown. Most notably, the Chenjesu were the first race to officially contact Humanity.

The Process

After the Sa-Matra was deployed against them by the Ur-Quan, they and the Mmrnmhrm requested to be shielded together on the Chenjesu homeworld. The Ur-Quan permitted this, and once on the planet, the two races began a synthetic hybridization of their species, which they called "The Process". However, the Process was interrupted prematurely by The Captain using the Sun Device, instead resulting in the hybrid race, the Chmmr. It is not known whether any Chenjesu or Mmrnmhrm still remain, especially considering that, as the Chmmr state, "The Process is incomplete".

The reasons for this are fairly clear for the Mmrnmhrm, as that race had lost the ability to reproduce on its own. The motivations of the Chenjesu are still unclear. The Chenjesu likely decided to undergo this transformation because they felt that their culture had become so advanced that it had stagnated entirely, and they hoped that the modification of their species into a trans-Chenjesu synthesis would reinvigorate their society.4 Their motivation also was an attempt to defeat the Ur-Quan. Were it not interrupted by The Captain (or the Kohr-Ah on their Death March), The Process would have created a race with technology powerful enough to single-handedly defeat the Ur-Quan and their Sa-Matra battleship. Even so, the Chmmr are still considered one of the most powerful races in this region of space.

Known individuals

Notes and references

1Star Control Manual, pg. 4
2Based on the animated image of a Chenjesu captain during melee
3From the 1998 IRC chat with Toys for Bob (Fwiffo is both Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III here):
<_Stilgar> <zenir> Q: how did the chmmr/taalo evolve.. especially to sentients?
<Fwiffo> Adaptation and evolution require the ability to change in response to the environment. The Taalo and Chenjesu must either be the product of a previous culture, or they must be mostly software with some kind of field maniulation [sic] ability.
4Role Playing Resource Guide, pg. 23

Alliance of Free Stars - member races
Old Alliance: Chenjesu - Mmrnmhrm - Yehat - Shofixti - Human - Arilou - Syreen
New Alliance: Chmmr - Humans - Supox - Syreen - Utwig
Optional: Orz - Shofixti - Spathi - Thraddash - Zoq-Fot-Pik

Ur-Quan Hierarchy - Known slave races
Pre-2135 Added post-2135
Battle Thralls: Thraddash - Umgah - Ilwrath - Spathi - Androsynth - VUX - Mycon Yehat
Fallow Slaves: Faz Chenjesu - Mmrnmhrm - Human - Syreen