Base of Operations
Advanced biotechonology, telepathic abilities
The Takisians are an alien species. They are much more scientifically advanced than Earth, and are the creators of the wild card virus. Takisians are notable for being genetically identical to humans. Their society is techno-feudal, and they're ruled by a score of aristocratic families, the Great Houses. The members of the Great Houses are psi lords, gifted with telepathic powers. The vast majority of the population, the workforce, have no such powers. The most famous Takisian on Earth is Dr. Tachyon, a prince of House Ilkazam who turned against his own people to help mankind deal with the virus he himself helped create. A few other Takisians have visited or even lived on Earth.
Not much is known about Takisian history. Very early in Takisian development, a few individuals developed telepathic abilities as a genetic mutation. These mutants started to breed only among themselves, and became the ruling elite, the Zal'hma at' Irg. This aristocracy dominated the majority of non-telepathic individuals, the common laborers known as the Tarhiji. The aristocratic families became the Great Houses, fighting among themselves in perpetual struggle. The Takisians are not actually native of planet Takis, they have made a journey through space to reach their present world. In any case, they have lived on Takis for at least 12,000 years, perhaps much more.
The breeding programs to produce ever more perfect aristocratic offspring shaped Takisian society and technology. They became devoted to the biological sciences, growing things instead of building them. Family and tradition became paramount, so Takisian society has been essentially conservative and static through the last thousand years. The Houses fought constantly among themselves, but those were mostly skirmishes instead of all-out war. Originally, Takisians were dependent on the Network, a rival alien civilization, for spacefaring technology. But roughly 8,000 years ago, an astronomer named H'ambizan discovered a race of sentient spacefaring herd creatures the size of whales called the 'Ish'kaukab. These creatures were bred into the sentient ships treasured by the Takisian nobles. They fought a war with the Network by then, and ever since the two civilizations have become sworn enemies.
The next important event in Takisian history was the development of the Enhancer experiment. About 200 years ago, House Ilkazam, one of the Great Houses, started to work on a artificial virus designed to enhance their own telepathic abilities, so that they could dominate all the other Houses. In the 1940s, Earth time, the virus was ready for large-scale testing. llkazam released the virus on Earth, causing much death and mutilation, but also creating some genuine superhumans among Earth's populace. The other Great Houses united in a brief alliance to devastate House Ilkazam in retaliation, afraid of the Enhancer program. The attack was repelled, but House Ilkazam lost contact with their experiment on Earth. Tisianne, prince of House Ilkazam, exiled himself on Earth to help the victims of the wild card virus.
In 1990, the sociopathic Blaise Andrieux, a human-Takisian hybrid grandson of Tisianne, travelled to Takis and became ruler of House Vayawand, one of the Great Houses. Tisianne returned to Takis pursuing Blaise. The insane Blaise caused world-wide war and instigated revolution on Takis. Manipulated by Blaise, the mind-blind no longer accepted their lot in life passively. Whole Houses were decimated. House Ilkazam, under the leadership of Tisianne and his cousin Zabb managed to defeat Blaise. Afterwards, Tisianne became the raiyis of House Ilkazam and united all the Houses in alliance, instituting radical social reforms, such as the gradual merging of the psi lord and mind-blind castes, and the liberation of Takisian noblewomen of their traditional isolation in the women's quarters.
Takis is ruled by eight Great Houses (and a score of lesser ones), each of which commands their own territory. There is no democracy on Takis, the psi lords of the Great Houses rule the mind-blind majority. Each House is headed by a hereditary ruler, the Raiyis. The most important concept in Takisian society is virtú, that roughly means the cultivation of personal excellence. Takisian nobles try to leave their mark, performing grandiose gestures in the pursuit of virtú. Success alone isn't necessarily a guarantee of virtú, it's preferred to fail spectacularly than to win in a mediocre manner. Personal glory complements family glory, as each individual's cultivation of virtú also adds to the legends of his House and lineage. Unlike humans, Takisians have no qualms about expressing emotion in a public and bombastic manner. Takisian males cry openly, for instance.
Takisian society practice eugenics, planned breeding to generate ever more perfect offspring. The psi lords only mate among themselves, to guarantee that their amazing psionic powers aren't shared with the unwashed majority. Children that are defective in any way are terminated, Takisians don't tolerate physical or mental disability. Since pregnant women are so essential to their breeding programs, noble women of childbearing years (i.e. any female older than 40) is confined to Rarrana, the women's quarter, supposedly for their own protection. Children of both genders younger than 13 also live there. Takisians have no sexual taboos. Physical pleasure isn't considered a sin among them, and things like adultery, homosexuality, and incest are completely accepted in Takisian society. Takisian nobles even take attractive members of the mind-blind class as sexual toys. Since there is so little sexual frustration in Takis, rape is almost unheard of. The only major sin Takisians recognize is uncontrolled breeding that can produce unplanned children.
Takisians are great admirers of beauty and skill. Both psi lords and mind-blind are bred for physical attractiveness. Their architecture and manufacture also reflect their extravagant, baroque sensibilities. Even though they have advanced technology such as lasers, force fields, and orbital elevators, their love of drama and showmanship have preserved many archaic institutions, such as the use of melee weapons, complex courtly dances, and riding animals. Takisians prefer to grow things than to build them. Consequently, their science is much more advanced in the biological areas. They are a very provincial people despite their technology, their only allies are their sentient spaceships. Takisians have no major ties to other galactic civilizations and also not many off-world colonies.
Life among the Great Houses is rife with intrigue, as each psi lord tries to ruthlessly advance himself and his line. The Houses also fight among themselves, each trying to assert domination over the others. Though Takisians are capable of kindness, concepts like altruism and humility are very alien to their mindset. In seemingly contradiction, Takisians are both very devious and very honorable. They endlessly plot and conspire, but when their word is given to another Takisian, they never break it. And since there is no elected offices in Takis, Takisians are ignorant of demagoguery and Earth-style propaganda. Takisian life can be extremely violent among the noble houses, and it has been suggested that Takisian civilization is just one step up from individualistic barbarism, despite the veneer of complex etiquette. But it's ironic that Takisians have no experience with mass violence and widespread war, Earth-style.
Takisians also have no belief in gods. Instead, they worship the Ideal, the perfection of the Takisian form in physical, mental, and social aspects. Consequently, Takisians revere their ancestors who have contributed with their blood and deeds to the current generation. Some hold superstitious beliefs that ancestor ghosts haunt the living.
Takisians are genetically identical to humans. No one knows why. One theory holds that Earth is actually a lost colony of Takis. Another that the similarities are a result of parallel evolution. Be that as it may, Takisians can breed with humans, and the wild card virus developed on Takis can affect both human and Takisian physiology. But due to their breeding programs, Takisians have some marked differences from humans. The most important is that the psi lord elite have telepathic abilities.
Psi Lords can read minds and transmit their own thoughts. They also can use their powers in a coercive way, mind controlling their victims. Takisians are also capable of a direct mind-to-mind attack, causing pain or forcing their victims to sleep. Finally, they also can make a person forget recent events. The effective range of these powers is a few miles for the communication functions, and immediate vicinity for the more offensive uses. Takisians also have powerful mind shields. They also have a special shielding technique known as the Deathlock, where all their being resist mental intrusion. The Deathlock can only be broken by completely destroying a Takisian mind.
Different Takisians have greater or lesser skill in those telepathic talents. Usually, the older and more experienced a Takisian is, the more formidable a telepath he or she is. There are also more uncommon powers and techniques, only possessed by a few psi lords. Those include precognition, empathy, mental healing, and soul eating - the capability of completely absorbing another person's memory and personality.
Another effect of their eugenics program is that Takisians enjoy expanded lifespans. Psi lords can live for centuries, some of them even reach two thousand years. Even the mind-blind are longer-lived than humans, sometimes living for 200 years.
Takisians look exactly like humans, except that they tend to be shorter and more slender. The psi lords in particular have a delicate, elfin appearance. Their skin and hair are fair; the darkest hair color one finds in Takisians is caramel, with varieties of blonde, red, and silver the more common colors. In Dr. Tachyon's time, Takisian nobles styled their hair in curly lovelocks, but the younger generations favor peach fuzz or long, straight hair. Since Takisians breed for beauty, even the more homely of them are attractive by Earth's standards. The mind-blind majority is also attractive, but tends to plumpness. Takisian fashion is extravagant, somewhat similar to 18th century courtly dress, but in more outrageous colors. The younger generations prefer tight spandex. Only common laborers wear black.
- Blaise Jeannot Andrieux - Dr. Tachyon's human-Takisian hybrid grandson.
- Dr. Tachyon - Wild Cards' leading Takisian protagonist.
- Durg at' Morakh - Genetically engineered warrior, formerly of the House Vayawand.
- Zabb - Tachyon's ambitious cousin.
Minor Takisian CharactersEdit
- Benaf'saj - Tachyon's great, great grandam (precise generation unknown). Benaf'saj commanded the mission to retrieve Tachyon in 1986 after Tachyon's father had been incapacitated and rendered unfit to rule. She was formidable at mentatics and greatly feared in House Ilkazam. Zabb had her assassinated shortly after the mission to Earth came away empty-handed.
- Hastet - a chef and member of the mindblind Tarhiji.
- L'Gura - Rayis of House Vayawand
- Malika - a female Morakh, bodyguard of L'Gura.
- Mona'ella - a Takisian princess, daughter of L'Gura.
- Rabdan - A Takisian Psi Lord subservient to Zabb. Rabdan was sent to Earth with Durg after a failed attempt to capture Tachyon. His mission was to cover up evidence of the Swarm Mother's presence, but once confronted and interrogated by Tachyon, he made the mistake of shielding himself with the deathlock and died for his error.
- Roxalanna - Tachyon's eldest sister and a breeding female assigned to Rarranna.
- Sedjur - Tachyon's old arms master. Sejur was killed when Hellcat came into contact with swarm buds near Earth.
- Shaklan - Tachon's father and former ruler of House Ilkazam. Shaklan was reputed to be a master telepath, able to remedy all manner of mental ailments. Shaklan suffered a grievous head injury in an attack by a coalition of other great houses which destroyed his mind.
- Taj - Tachyon's uncle. Taj maintained a regency when Shaklan's rule ended.
- Talli - Tachyon's great niece. Neutered, so as not contribute to House Ilkazam's breeding program, Talli was present on the mission to retrieve Tachyon. She was a loyal supporter of Tachyon, yet was among those killed when Baby attacked Hellcat.
- Yimkin - a Takisian nobleman allied to House Ilkazam
Selected Reading Edit
- Wild Cards Volume I:Wild Cards (The Takisian xenovirus is released on Earth in 1946. Guilt-ridden Prince Tisianne remains on Earth to treat the victims)
- Wild Cards Volume II: Aces High (Forty years later, a Takisian mission comes to Earth to retrieve Tisianne and examine the results of the virus)
- Wild Cards Volume X: Double Solitaire (Tisianne returns to Takis)