The Stranger Faction

Aeons ago, a primeval cult of Acaeans known as the Grell sought to create a more efficient race of slave laborers than they could find among the naturally existing species of the Novus Æterno universe. These early Acaeans had hoped to unlock latent telekinetic abilities within their vassals that would allow them to move heavy objects with their minds, thus enabling them to build the massive monuments and titanic monoliths favored by the Grell at a faster pace, and in fewer numbers, than a traditional work force. After performing their genetic experiments on a number of different organisms to little or no avail, the Grell hit upon the idea of using the mighty Verunasi as their test subjects. Thanks to their powerful brains, densely muscled physiques, extremely resilient nervous systems, and complex metabolisms, the Verunasi seemed likely to survive unconscionable scientific procedures that would no doubt prove fatal to a lesser race. Unfortunately, these ancient Acaeans were correct. But the result of their tinkering was not what they expected.

Although the Grell were successful in unleashing powerful telekinetic abilities within their Verunasi subjects, the resulting Strangers, as they have come to be called, quickly evolved into beings that seemed to occupy not only the physical plane, but also, for all intents and purposes, the metaphysical as well. Some even began to shed the bonds of their material bodies altogether—not quite dead, but no longer completely alive in any traditional sense of the word—and assumed a ghostly state of pure energy. Those who retained their physical form found that exercising their telekinetic abilities caused their metabolism to accelerate to a nearly unmanageable rate, which required the constant consumption of the only fuel that seemed to satiate their ravenous, newfound hunger: the living flesh of another sapient being. 

There are many theories as to why this gruesome practice is necessary for the Strangers’ survival, and some have come to believe that perhaps the tissue of a being with high-functioning intelligence contains a kind of metaphysical imprint of its consciousness. It may be that these psychic patterns are tantamount to the elusive and enigmatic “life force” so often discussed by physicians and philosophers alike. There is evidence to suggest that the ancient Grell may have initially possessed the ability to synthesize and farm this psychic energy, making living victims unnecessary in the early days of the Strangers’ existence.

Though the Grell quickly abandoned the planet on which they had conducted their nefarious experiments, a force as powerful as the Strangers was not easily contained, and over time these ghoulish creatures began to spread throughout the universe. Some still maintain a physical form, feasting on the flesh, and draining the life force, from every sapient being they encounter like a kind of vampire. Others have consumed so much organic energy that they exist only in a wraith-like, incorporeal state that seems to have severed nearly all ties to the physical world.

Perhaps most horrifying of all are rumors that the victims of Strangers who have their flesh consumed are the lucky ones, because those who simply have their life force drained are left in a trance-like state of mindless aggression and endless hunger for living flesh themselves. Legends tell of entire worlds populated by legions of these lost souls, doomed to shamble aimlessly until the end of time, hoping that one day a crashed spacecraft will bring them a new supply of food.

Undying and eternally hungry, the Strangers are a constant reminder of the horrors that science gone astray is capable of unleashing upon the cosmos. As any human who has ever encountered a Stranger will tell you, even if you prevent it from feeding on you, it will feed your nightmares for the remainder of your days.