THE NAMELESS (aka ‘Bugs’)
The Nameless are a bioengineered race that was designed for infiltrating galactic empires and systems such as the Lor Republic; they were modified so long ago, they barely remember their homeworld, though they do tell the story of how they turned on the race that created them (known only in legends as ‘the Harvesters’) to win their freedom. The Nameless successfully lived within the Republic for almost two hundred years, slowly plotting and accumulating wealth and power before they were discovered, but by that time, though their numbers were small, they held powerful positions throughout all layers of society, and a purge might be catastrophic. So an uneasy peace was negotiated, with all Nameless agents relinquishing their holdings and revealing themselves to the Republic. Though they will never be fully trusted, the Nameless have since proven themselves to be loyal and hardworking…at least as long as someone is watching.
A Nameless agent consists of two parts, a ‘pilot’ and a ‘shell’. The pilot is a dark chitinous creature like a centipede as thick and as long as a human arm, with a long venomous spike for a tail; they were originally a hive species come from a high-gravity planet and breathe methane, as well as requiring trace amounts of various toxic elements to survive. The pilot coils it up in the belly of a robotic humanoid shell that is physically indistinguishable from a Lor or other humanoid race (depending on the model), with a head full of cloned brain matter to help translate its alien thoughts into understandable speech and behavior; the shell also boosts the pilot's natural telepathic abilities. In addition to allowing the bugs to survive in a terrestrial atmosphere, the shells often contain hidden weapons or communication devices useful for their work. Among humanoids, a Nameless agent will eat regular food, which is allowed to decompose in a special internal chamber, providing the methane they need to survive; however the shell is also used to intake a bewildering variety of substances for trace elements, so it's not uncommon for a bug to be seen eating eggshells, old batteries or lint. This bizarre diet has been the source of much inter-species humor over the years.
It should also be noted that a pilot can abandon its shell for another by climbing up the throat and entering the mouth of another shell; few outside of the Nameless have seen this disturbing Cronenbergian phenomena, and it is not a sight soon forgotten. It is also therefore possible for a pilot to use another's shell, in essence hijacking it; since most elements of the created humanoid personality are housed in the shell's brain matter, it can theoretically be very hard to tell who's really who when addressing a shell.
Predatory creatures before the development of the shell technology, the Nameless still show much of their biological legacy; though they've developed a great deal of affection for the humanoids they've lived amongst for all these years, they still enjoy toying with them like a cat with a mouse, or pulling the wool over a rube's eyes. These tendencies have not gone unnoticed, and prejudice against the ‘bugs’ is very common among intelligent species.
THE FOUR NAMELESS SHELL TEMPLATES
The Astros (Blue-skinned) - Masters of astrogation, technology and mathematics, Astros are hard to get to know; some humanoids genuinely dislike these seemingly cold individuals, who display behavior similar to humans at the far end of the autism scale. Not all use their skills for piloting, however; many are researchers, technicians and designers without peer. Astros rarely interact with the general public.
The Diplos (Green-skinned) - Outgoing, friendly and universally attractive, just about everyone likes hanging out with Diplos; skilled in a wide variety of social sciences and experts at reading body language, these agents always seem to know the right thing to say. They can also change their hair, skin and eye colors to better fit in with other humanoid races. While they make excellent spokespersons and negotiators, many Diplos are wonderful doctors, therapists and writers.
The Infils (Pink-skinned) - Shapeshifters and true masters of telepathy, Infils are what most people think of when they hear the term 'Nameless'; manipulative spies with changeable bodies moving effortlessly through the human population. Though their skills would seem tailor made for security and espionage, many Infils can also be found in the visual and performing arts, though rarely openly.
The Tacs (Gold-skinned) - Huge and menacing, Tacs are the front-line warriors of the Nameless; built for strength and durability, most Tacs incorporate extensive internal weapon systems, and can frequently fly, shoot death rays from their hands and genuinely kick serious ass. However few of these giants are actually as fierce as they first appear, and their humble demeanor is a source of calm on the battlefield, though they also patiently toil in low-g factories and on hydroponic farms.