The Precursors (also referred to as the Shaggy Ones by the Slylandro) were an ancient, highly advanced species and the earliest known race to extensively explore the known universe. Unfortunately, the actual name of the race has been lost in antiquity. The Precursors moved quickly to become masters of the galaxy, leaving evidence of their presence virtually everywhere. The height of Precursor culture seems to have been approximately 250,000 Earth years ago.1 Despite their widespread presence, it appears that the Precursors vanished from the galactic scene quite suddenly, leaving no indication as to why. From the recovered Precursor artifacts, it has been determined that as a species they were a race of "shaggy giants," likely 5-8 meters tall and twice as wide, and seemingly not bipedal. Commander Hayes suggests that they may have looked similar to brontosaurs or elephants, and the Star Control II manual states, referring to The Flagship, that "Levers were almost impossible to move, three people were required to actuate a single switch, and the chairs, beds and other furnishings were better suited for a wooly mammoth than a human."2
The only species that has been confirmed to have first-hand contact is the Slylandro. However, due to the lack of writing implements, much of their knowledge of the Precursors has been lost over the passing time. The Slylandro do mention that prior to the mysterious exodus, the Precursors were frantically searching for something and were obviously worried over the situation. Their last transmission seemed to indicate that the Precursors had found the answer they were searching for, and that the arrangement of Rainbow Worlds would give a hint as to where they went — the Galactic Core.
The Spathi, however, believe that the Precursors are not really gone, but that "they simply came to their senses one day and used their superior technology to invent some kind of perfect invisibility shield and remain alive and happy to this day". Obviously, the Spathi hope to rediscover this secret someday and disappear into similar obscurity.
While the species itself appears to be long gone, evidence of their existence still remains. Various artifacts of Precursor origin have been discovered on any number of worlds. The largest artifacts known to date are the Sa-Matra battle platform discovered by the Ur-Quan, the Precursor factory discovered underneath the surface of Vela I (Unzervalt), and the 10 Rainbow Worlds found throughout this region of space.
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