The Garko (Garkian: Gahk) are a sentient species and dominant species of the planet Diana from the Veneris System in the Spore Galaxy. They are an omnivore species, but tend to eat more flesh than green.
The Garko are by nature very war-like and predating species; however, over the millennia their bloodthirst was adapted to their society. They nevertheless hold a warrior's honor and pride at a high esteem.
They are very cunning creatures, and despite their attitude towards war, they also have a highly moral code in life. For example, if their enemy is too weak or is disarmed, they will not attack him/her/it unless circumstances press.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Synapsida
- Order: Tetrapodidae
- Family: Garkidae
- Genus: Reptilibus
- Species: Reptilibus venandi
The Garko are carnivorous, bi-pedal reptiles. They are physiologically similar to the Lamors, and share family with them. Garkos are able to fly, jump long distances and run for some time unfatigated.
Garko see in color, as humans, though they can also sense heat and movement. They have binocular vision, making them apt and fearsome predators.
Their hands have opposed thumbs, enabling them to handle most figures and shapes in their hands.
The Garko appeared some 2 billion years after a large asteroid brought the first spores of life to Diana; although the Garko's recorded history goes back no further than their prehistory, the Garko keep searching for clues of their lineage before the age of tribal warfare.
According to the logs of explorers who visited Diana in its early days, the Garko where a predatorial species by nature; they could spit poison "up to half a mile from their prey". These statements are, however, highly subjective.
Assumedly 14 billion years into their evolution, the primitive Garko founded a fortress-village known as Gark'Ana, from which they set to conquer the whole continent. This task, although seemingly overwhelming at first, proved to be child's play for the warrior-like Garko.
The Garko kept improving their technology across the millenia. The earthly hunters now set sail for distant lands and continents - and then set off for the sky. Destructive weapons were created, which turned the art of war into a complex - and bloody - business.
The Taste of WarEdit
However, all this advancement came not without its drawbacks; the Garko were hurting bad for energy sources - solar and wind power were already harvested, but they were not enough. Until one day, explorers from Paradisc ("the Seaside Jewel") discovered a geiser of natural gas - and the Resource War broke out. Whole nations applied all their might and will into conquering these rare sources of energy before anyone else did.
Eventually, the city of Gark'Ana emerged victorious, defeating the weakened cities of Paradisc and Menang in the East. The aftermath of this global conflict was a great advance in weaponry - the very first forms of the Hornet gliders appeared near the end of the Resource War.
One Final ClashEdit
Not long after the end of the Resource War, the now-enrichened Gark'Ana bought a city in the western hemisphere, called Kamat. The city and peoples of Kamat had been for centuries allies (and servants, too) of the religious city of Lamza, by far the most powerful city in the west, ruled by a Shaman, the One Chosen by the Source.
At the loss of their ally, the city of Lamza launched several pirate raids on the seaside city of Gark'Ana - the so-called Lazma Strait (above pictured) became a hotseat of the conflict, where the mercenary fleets of Lazma and the air force of Gark'Ana met daily.
The conflict grew to new borders when the Lazma called upon the then-neutral nation of Urib, which lent Lazma hundreds of thousands of soldiers, artillery and most importantly, navy. The city of Gark'Ana equally readied for an all-out assault. The Iman War had begun.
For months, cities supporting either side of the conflict were under constant alert of air raids; new, ferocious tanks were engineered to destroy the enemy's energy sources - and, for an instant, it looked as if a new Energy Crisis would overwhem the planet of Diana. But the War went on.
Countless Garko fell in combat, and yet the war seemed to stretch endlessly. In an attempt to finish the war, the diplomats of Gark'Ana tried to convince the council of Lazma into signing an Act of Surrender, but the proud Lazmans would not give in. Left without other choice, Gark'Ana launched a massive, full-scale attack on Lazma. The ensuing battle would be known as the Battle of Lazma. It would be fought simultaneously on the ground, at sea and up in the air.
While the gargantuan clash around Lazma took place, the nation of Urib, in the far west, prepared to reinforce their Lazman allies with all sorts of weaponry. The news only took milliseconds to reach Gark'Ana, but the reaction created only made the situation tenser. The siege of Lazma was in a critical state - any support to Lazma would outbalance the battle.
It was then that one of the Garko's greatests atrocities was comitted: without due permission from the Council of the City, the General of the Grand Army launched all the ICBMs (InterContinental Ballistic Missiles) existing on the planet.
The nuclear attack took everyone by surprise, as not even the Grand Army of Gark'Ana had any knowledge of the launching.
The 'baptism of fire' that followed erased Urib and Lazma from the map, turning the western hemisphere into a radioactive wasteland. The Iman War had come to an end.
Several weeks later, the General responsible for the "most disgusting move made, as of this era" was hanged in public. A month after the attack, the remnants of the Urib and Lazma goverments met with the ambassadors of Gark'Ana, and the Treaty of Lazma was signed. It listed that Lazma, Urib and the new Wastelands surrendered to the peoples of Gark'Ana, but that "such evil tools as nuclear weaponry" would never be used again. Additionally, the goverment of Gark'Ana would invest 20 000 000 Sporebucks yearly into the restoring of the Western hemisphere. This debt was, however, eventually abandoned.
The Space AgeEdit
Years after uniting Diana, the Garko set out to explore the space around them.
Following the Battle and Fall of Lazma, the victors set to rebuild and recompose the war-scarred city. Not given to "garkicide", the people of Gark'Ana gave vast help to Lazma to help it recover. However, beneath the ruins of Lazma, a fallen spaceship was unearthed; by reverse-engineering the ship's hyperdrive, the brightest of Garko minds created their own version of the propulsion system: it was the birth of the Kurir Hyperdrive System.
Spaceships soon began exploring the nearby star systems, colonizing and discovering various civilizations, including the Pukacku, the Aetherhin Empire or the Tyndy. Some of these cultures, like the Tyndy, were benevolent and much less warlike than the Garko; others, like the Aetherhin, devoted and untrusting zealots of Spode.
In the year 50 GY, the Garkian Kerajhaan was established as the goverment of Diana and her colonies.
The Garko had long abandoned their bloodthirsty customs, instead turning to more cunning and ingenuous ways of conquering their enemies. However, the memory of the Lazma horrors had not left them one instant, and they knew the Aetherhin could be little different than the zealots of Lazma.
They had come to despise the followers of Spode, and thus the followers of any other religion. The Aetherhin, on their own, had come to hate pagans or infidels - rumors had it they persecuted sects like the Followers of the Eye, but that was of course never accepted by the Aetherhin as a truth, and left to rumors alone.
Tensions between the Garkian Kerajhaan and the Aetherhin were coming to a critical point in the year 80 GY (Galactic Year - starting when the Garko took to space) when a Garko cruiser opened fire on and decimated a missionaire fleet of the Aetherhin's. This act was taken by the latter as a declaration of war, but the Garko were reluctant to engage in open war; their realm was too flourishing, too currently fragile to risk the conflict the Aetherhin were willing to wage.
In the end, however, the rage and hatred for the Spode extremists overcame reason, and the Empire prepared to attack the Aetherhin system of Jugo. This fateful event would later be known as the opening of the First War of Spode.
During the few first battles of the war, the armies of the Garko were victorious due to their enemy's overconfidence; however, as the Aetherhin realized it'd take more than just will to win the war, they began experimenting on their troops with torturing, dark rituals known only to the High Priests of Spode. The resulting creatures resembled something come out of a nightmare: it was with them that the Aetherhin managed to turn the tide of the war, but realizing how potentially dangerous they were to their own Empire, they began to cast them out into deep space. The last of these warriors, known as the Khalaar, were forced into exile by the advancing forces of the Garko.
In order to deal with the situation more effectively, the Garko and their allies signed the First Imperial Constitution in 102 GY: effectively, the Kerahjhaan would transform into an autocratic goverment with a Krantor (Emperor) at the head and a Majlis (Senate) with 353 senators (the number is uneven, so as to eliminate stalemates). The constitution would not actually come into effect until 103 GY, where it was verified after the defeat of Acquascus.
Towards the final months of the war, several allies of the Garko like the Tyndy, the Pukacku and the Terandum became tributary members of the Garko Empire itself, offering military support to the already-decimated troops of the Garko. The tide of war quickly turned: Acquascus, the capitol and homeworld of the Aetherhin, was bombed for an entire week by the Empire. In the last instant, the Council of Spode, elite of the Aetherhin, fled the burning planet into deep space, vowing revenge. But the First War of Spode had indeed ended.
With the revising of the Imperial Constitution, general Kirk Kronad was crowned Emperor Kirk I.
Aftermath of the First WarEdit
The fall of Acquascus threw the Known Space into relative dissarray. For years after the demise of the Aetherhin slavery, piracy and general lawlessness engulfed the Garko Empire and its tributaries; this lawlessness was partially contended by the iron-fisted Garko military, which now began restoring the damage done during the War.
Merely 86 years after the defeat of Acquascus, a rogue imperial agent named Caddesi Narko began a revolt against Imperial power over the abovementioned planet. The revolt was short-lived, however, as the Emperor's army destroyed all trace of rebellion. Emperor Kirk died shortly afterwards of a blue-spice overdose, being successed in the throne by Torung I.
The 190s saw the Garkonnen Empire return to its normal state. However, the piracy and enslavery that was widely practiced from the beginning of the II Century GY (100-200 GY) left an unhealing mark on the society of the time.
The Expansion of the EmpireEdit
The early second century of the Garko's space odyssey saw the meeting of civilizations across the stars: within the II Century's first decades the Garkonnen Empire had established itself as the major body in the region. By this time the Empire's extension counted over 90 star-systems, and over 20 tributary empires.
The Empire owed its rapid expansion greatly to the legendary figure of Dogan Dargonas: born in 93 GY, Dargonas proved his worth during several 'pacifist' campaigns (that is, settling conflicts between tributary empires). With the Empire's peace established, during his mid-thirties Dargonas turned towards the uncharted regions outside the Empire's borders.
During the following years Dargonas would trod the far-reaches of the Empire, acquiring from previously-unknown civilizations knowledge and strategic bonds for the Garkonnen Empire. Through unknown means, Dargonas ventured deep into the galaxy and arrived on the shore of the Galactic Core, there to find hints of the dread Grox Empire. Realizing the enormous threat the Grox presented for the Garkonnen Empire - and any other life-forms at that -, Dargonas quickly set to the reforming of the Garko military to confront the fearsome Grox. This event became known as the Dargonian Reformation: using his acquired knowledge over spaceflight, engineering and strategy, Dargonas reformed the entire Garkonnen Army and Navy, from the colossal cruisers to the smallest starfighters, from the administration of the army to the soldiers' equipment. As Commander in Chief and mythed explorer and hero, Dogan Dargonas received unanimous support from the Army throughout his career: however, he was met with criticism from among the Imperial followers of Spode, who claimed he only sought power for himself. This left him without credit in many spheres of society and later added to his fall from grace in the eyes of Emperor D'harhan I several years afterwards. Dogan Dargonas paid no heed to his image in the political spectrum, and regardless of the Majlis' opinion on his spirituality, he continued his spacefaring enterprises.
Spread Thin, like ButterEdit
After several decades of expansions, the Empire entered a phase of almost-constant unrest due to piracy, petty conflicts amongst tributary empires (many of which were put down violently) and general lack of connectivity between colonies. The far girth of the Empire also strained it economically, as resources took more time to flow through the colonised systems: thus many of the Empire's trade-routes and monopolies became practically stagnant, and the Kerahjhaan's finances became mired in system-purchases not wholly paid, and therefore requiring constant injections of credit.
While Dianian philosophy revolves around war, it does not necessary involve the acceptance of senseless violence. As written by Garg Antwan, the oldest known Garko philosopher,
War is the fabric of our history
But senseless violence is a stain
Antwan's Dogum Kordami [Code of Honor] states the rules and guidelines every honorable Garko are to follow "in peace as much as in wartime". The concept of honor, though medieval and aged, is still a constant in Garko minds. Even characters of questionable reputation, such as Hir Narko, are known to stick to the Dogum.
Garko believe that the weak are to be nursed to strength, but that those who are weak and fight stronger sires have little honor - all the less if their struggle is unsuccessful.
During the Space Eras, several empires tributary to the Garkian Krantor ('emperor') accepted and even lived-off slavery: on these the Garko rarely frowned upon, although a slave-rebellion was quickly condemned by goverment and people alike.
“We do not indulge in casual violence. 'We do not engage in a War Against All. We fight in defense of our own security, and otherwise choose our targets with care.” - 7th Stone of Force
The Garko are a warring species by nature. Their warriors are trained from birth to survive in both duels and the most hellbound of battlefields; for the Garko, war and confrontation are necessary for growth, but more on a personal level.
They are able and strong fighters unarmed, and are even more dangerous with weapons. They employ cunning and obscure ruses to defeat their opponents when outmatched; before being a civilisation, the Garko hunted in packs of five individuals, an instinct their civilised descendants inherited and put to use in their military hierarchy.
To their space-faring days, the Garko have conserved a profound sense of warriorhood. In this sense they favor bladed weapons above anything laser- or particle-weaponry might have to offer; indeed they fight with lances and swords and daggers, as hunters and warriors of their older days, before the age of stars. These blades are often imbued with electricity or poison to make more lethal, and their deeds in battle give them names appropiately: a selective few of these blades claim so much blood from their foes that they enter the annals of history as weapons of renown. The Garko, as abovesaid, hold energy ranged weaponry in disdain, preferring to see the blood of a foe up close than dispatching him from afar; this roots in the belief that a blade not only claims a foe's blood but sets its living energy (its roh) free. Lasers, on the other hand, do not cut but through the flesh but burn it and thus leave the roh to decay with its fleshly shell. A warrior must hold unspeakable hatred for his foe to dispatch him with a ray-weapon: not even in the most unthinkable despair will a Garko use a 'blaster' to survive and live in shame.
In spite of their disdain for ray-weaponry, when confronted with the demands of space-warfare early in their expansion, the Garko allowed themselves the use of more technological armament in their space-faring campaigns. Therefore from this time they came to accept the use of missiles and bombs (always material and physical weaponry), though still refused to employ particle- or laser-beams in space. Furthermore, the use of missiles and other explosive projectiles to attack -- whether harmless or hostile -- pedestrian or infantry groups who are in no way supported by artillery is viewed as dishonoring and shameful.
Despite their war-like attitude, the Garko stick to a strict code of honor and, on ocassions, refer to diplomacy to solve dilemmas: indeed they are able diplomats, a skill especially useful during the first years of their space Empire. Their Code of Honor itself speaks gravely of the warrior's honor and how it must be conserved.
- Itu Pahlawan Peraturan (The Warrior Code), Vol. XI: The Honor of the Warrior comes from well-deserved victories. He who tricketh his way to victory, whether off fancy or need, breaketh the Code. He who breakth the Code, breakth his Honor, and thus becometh unworthy of it. But he who keepeth his Code, keepeth his Honor.
The Garko gastronomy is very varied; the most common grub is Manduca (in Gark: manduk), an extract from the plant with the same name. This extract is used amptly in several dishes in different ways, such as in Manduca stews, Manduca soup or Manduca-stuffed rolls (largely used for consumption in space, due to their integrity).
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