Sathar Summit II

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by Tom Verreault

The Sathar Summit is a multi-disciplinary meeting of the best experts on the sathar from Spacefleet, Star Law, the Flight, and top universities. The first was held at the University of Zebulon but the second was hosted at the University of Port Loren. The purpose of the summits is to prepare a report reflecting the most current information on the sathar for all operatives tasked with apprehension of the sathar and their agents. Occasionally there are opposing theories without consensus among the experts and both theories will be included in the reports.

It should be noted that the reports of the Sathar Summit are classified and not for public dissemination. Possession of these reports without proper clearance is a crime and could result in detainment by Star Law under the provisions of the Frontier Patriot Act.

New Discoveries in the Organization of Sathar Society

The keystone of sathar society is domination. One sathar clan dominates another and all sathar clans dominate other sapient species. Domination of another sapient species comes in two forms: enslavement or genocide. It’s been speculated by previous Sathar Summits that the dividing line between genocide and enslavement is how far advanced the sapient species’ space capabilities are and whether this species can be a threat to them militarily. However, the reason one race is wiped out and another is enslaved might be simpler and rooted in the fabric of sathar society.

With the liberation of Liberty system and the realization that the sathar are organized in clans with a flexible hierarchy have come new insights and theories of sathar society. The intergalactic sathar civilization is organized in an unknown number of clans. A sathar clan is organized into cadres made up of an upper caste sathar and numerous middle and lower caste sathar. The ruling cadre controls the other cadre’s in its clan.

A Caste System

Upper Caste Sathar - by Tom Verreault

From autopsies of captured specimens we now believe that the sathar have essentially three castes in their society.  The lower caste show distinct evidence of chemical and surgical manipulation. Testimony of mhemne witnesses suggests that lower caste sathar undergo a “processing” while still juveniles that involves a cocktail of bio-chemical injections, surgery, and harsh treatment. Indications are that the conditioning involves unquestioned subservience to authority. Their role in society is that of grunt labor. In war they are used as cannon fodder. They are rarely provided more than a single weapon and thrown into combat. They are considered expendable and treated in the worst possible way.

The middle caste is the educated technical workforce in sathar society. There is similar evidence that the middle caste sathar receives a similar but less severe processing compared to that of the lower caste.  Middle caste sathar perform all the technical and most low to mid-level leadership roles. Whole naval and army units are a filled with middle caste sathar. They are better equipped and more capable than the lower caste sathar. They are also treated as expendable but given greater freedom of choice. The conditioning is focused on obedience to their cadre leader.

Observed occurrences of an upper caste sathar being killed show that the middle class members of their cadre become fanatically suicidal once the upper class sathar has died. It’s been described as, “like they have no reason to live.” This is probably true in that without an upper caste cadre leader they have no real standing in sathar society. Lower caste sathar may react in the same way but an estimated 50% of the time they lose the ability to perform organized tasks and most suicide or attack opponents that approach within a few meters.

Upper caste sathar are the pinnacle of power in a sathar clan. They form the leadership class. Each individual upper caste sathar heads a cadre of middle and lower caste sathar. The upper caste sathar bears a natural pattern of spots and markings. These spots and markings are tattooed on every sathar in the leader’s cadre to mark them as belonging to this particular upper caste sathar. As part of their processing all middle and lower caste sathar have been drugged to prevent the emergence of spots and markings in their juvenile stage.

Cadres

An upper caste sathar commands the total obedience of his cadre. Partly due to the numerous specimens recovered after the liberation of the Liberty system and the testimony of the mhemne we can now say that the sathar practice a form of corporal punishment involving partial lobotomy and demotion to the ranks of lower caste. The speculation is that failure or rebellion is treated in this brutal fashion. What is certain is that the sathar rule with an iron tentacle.

Middle Caste Sathar - by Tom Verreault

A ruling cadre tightly controls the clan through fear of lobotomization.  Control of the clan is always precarious as any other cadre leader is always looking for the opportunity to topple the ruling cadre. Political infighting and jockeying for position is the rule of the day in a sathar clan.  The ruling cadre controls the actual numbers of upper class sathar by only allowing a miniscule number of sathar to not receive middle and lower caste processing. New upper caste sathar are beholden to the ruling cadre – demonstrating loyalty and obedience till the day they are allowed to form their own cadre. The cadre-less sathar play the role of princeling in the byzantine politics of the clan. They are often used as spies and “political officers” within the military command structure as a ruling cadre can never fully trust the cadres it has entrusted with its war machine.  Ironically, the most loyal of these cadre-less princeling sathar are allowed to form a cadre and enter the arena of political infighting seeking to become the next ruling cadre.

From Cadres to Clans

The relationship among the cadres of a sathar clan is mirrored among sathar clans. One clan dominates and the others seek to supplant. It is now believed that the divided command structures within sathar armadas have contributed to their defeat in both the First and Second Sathar Wars. Different clans are quick to back stab each other and cadres within a clan look to allow a higher positioned cadre to fail while it succeeds.  The evidence suggests that the sathar begin fighting each other even before the conquest of another space faring species is completed.

Relation to Other Species

The sathar relationship to conquered species is one of domination. From the sathar invasions of the UPF and the Rim we know that the sathar armada arrives packed with ground troops. A typical armada is made up of 2-4 task groups from multiple clans. An individual task group can land anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 or more ground troops. This is insufficient to actually conquer and control a plant with a sizable population, hence the sathar tactic of nuking all but one major population center. The sathar occupation goals seem to be the study and assimilation of technology, obtaining new genetic samples for their bio-engineering industry, and the enslavement of a client species. The sathar occupation of Pale during SW1 witnessed this process with Point True becoming a concentration camp. The decision of a ruling clan to enslave or wipe out a conquered species may boil down to whether there are enough troops under its control to enslave that species or not. In the brutal sathar math of political infighting it may be more desirable to wipe out a potential slave species than to allow another clan to benefit from controlling them. 

Lower Caste Sathar - by Tom Verreault

It also goes without saying that a rival clan may smuggle a nuclear device into a planetary concentration camp to deny the dominant clan the opportunity of enslaving a new species.  Sathar actually fighting sathar has never been observed directly, but it is now considered highly likely that war amongst the clans is possible and may explain the long periods between the sathar invasions of the UPF and the Rim as well as the sporadic sathar incursions.  Thus periods lasting decades between major sathar invasions may be due to infighting where the sathar are trying to resolve which clan will be the new dominant. The sporadic sathar incursions may represent one clan testing its strength or looking to gain an advantage in the interclan politics.

One theory now suggests that the decimation of the sathar clan designated clan Y changed the balance of power amongst sathar clans and may have precipitated the final consolidation of power that allowed one clan to organize the campaign of conquest we call the Second Sathar War. If this is true the implications could be dire if Spacefleet ever locates and destroy the home system of another sathar clan.

Referee Information: Profiles of the Sathar Castes

Lower Caste Sathar

Usually equipped with only a single weapon (laser rifle is the most common) and if they are lucky 1 spare clip. They are not expected to last long in combat. Their skill set is usually limited to fighting skills. Swarm tactics are common and they rarely show sophisticated tactical thinking. It is usual for a lower caste squad to be under the control of a middle caste sathar but it could be possible for an above average lower caste sathar to lead a squad as an analogue to a corporal. A typical squad of lower caste sathar is 6-8 with a middle caste leader. In war, a swarm squad could be as many as 20 with a middle caste leader and about half will have weapons.

Middle Caste Sathar

These sathar are better equipped with both a gun and a melee weapon as well as a defensive suit (skein suit is common). They also fill the ranks of support weapons operators like mortar and other heavy weapons crews. Their skill set includes both fighting and technical skills. They are capable of sophisticated tactics and don’t throw their lives away uselessly in combat unless under a suicide imperative. They can be found leading lower caste sathar or grouped into a squad of all middle caste sathar. Starship crews are predominantly crewed with middle caste sathar. They are fanatically loyal to their cadre leader and will suicide if he dies. This also means they will aggressively defend him as well.

Upper Caste Sathar

These sathar are the most dangerous to encounter. They always have middle caste body guards present and they carry the best equipment. Expect them to have multiple weapons, plenty of ammunition, a defense suit and a defense screen.  Hypnotism performed by upper caste sathar carries a -15 penalty to the LOG check to resist. They will use squads of lower and middle caste sathar as cannon fodder to wear down opponents and only seek direct confrontation when they feel they have the advantage. They are arrogant and power hungry and view themselves as above everything else in the universe.

Sathar Ability Modifier Table

Sathar Caste

STR/STA

DEX/RS

LOG/INT

LDR/PER

Lower

+5

0

-5

0

Middle

0

-5

0

+5

Upper

0

-5

-5

+10

 

Sathar Caste Identification

Note: The Alpha Dawn book simply states that, “A pattern of dots, speckles, and stripes decorates the back of the head. These patterns are natural on some Sathar, but are tattoos on others.” In addition some artwork, namely the autopsy picture in Alpha Dawn, portrays these marking on the rest of the body. What follows in a possible interpretation of the Alpha Dawn information but is by no means authoritative.

The following charts were produced by experts at the Second Sathar Summit for decimation among the military forces of the United Planetary Federation and Star Law. They are based on new theories of the structure of sathar society developed by experts at the Second Sathar Summit and it is cautioned that the information contained within is still considered theoretical.

The latest theories of sathar society propose the presence of three castes. Upper caste sathar act as princelings and political officers within sathar society until they are allowed to form a cadre. These sathar have natural markings on their bodies that are as unique as finger prints. When a cadre is formed middle and lower caste sathar are processed to not allow their natural markings emerge. Instead they are tattooed with exact copies of their cadre leader’s markings.  The amount of their bodies covered in tattoos indicates whether these sathar are middle or lower caste and their relative ranking within the castes.

Lower caste sathar will be tattooed on their head and possibly one segment of their body if they are used to lead other lower caste sathar. Middle caste sathar seem to start with their head and two segments tattooed and have more segments tattooed to represent higher positions in their society. The natural state of the upper caste sathar is their whole body bearing their natural markings.