Andromedans is not their real name. In fact, it is not even certain if they have a name as we can understand it. If they do have one, then it is one humans (and most sentient species) cannot properly pronounce. As the name implies, Andromedans are native of the Andromeda Galaxy, where they originated from and thrive. In terms of general physiology, Andromedans are a very varied species, with distinct castes so different in appearance one would assume they are a completely different race that evolved on a different planet. A rough overview of them would generally describe them as a mixture of insectoid, crustacean and dinosaur characteristics. They frequently have mandibles and multiple eyes.
As a society, Andromedans are organized into Broods, which usually share some small common physical or psychological characteristic. Broods can be mobile and fleet-based or established on certain worlds. Some are more violent than others. There is no general pattern to them.
As previously mentioned, Andromedans are native of the Andromeda galaxy. It is unknown if they are a species that naturally evolved or was uplifted by something else. It is also possible their unique characteristics are the result of extreme self-imposed eugenics and genetic modifications. Since very little is known of what was and is happening in the Andromeda galaxy, much of the Andromedans history is a complete mystery.
The Andromedans who live in the Milky Way are either refugee or pioneers. They arrived roughly four thousands years ago and primarily dwell at the edges of the galaxy. Over time, they have clashed with several native species.
Andromedans are a physically varied lot, so much that their varied castes might look as completely different species to most onlookers. It is unknown how many unique castes exist. To further confound matters, there are castes unique to different broods. Because they are such a poorly understood species, Andromedans reproduction is a mystery As such it is unknown how these castes are decided. For simplicity's sake, Andromedans castes are initially broken down by the general shape of the body, most with the option of with or without wings:
Snake/worm-like with two/four/six forelimbs.
Hexapedal with two/four forelimbs/four-armed biped.
Furthermore, these body shapes are further divided by size and/or level of intelligence. Most of these castes are relatively unintelligent, merely drones specially bred for a certain type of task. Their intelligent is only complex enough to allow them to carry their tasks. These tasks range from simple manual labors to food processing to spaceship navigation.
The true rulers of the Andromedans are those who possess human and above-level intelligence. These Andromedans occupy functions such as overseers, generals, engineers, biologists, scientists and even (apparently) philosophers. It is unknown if the Queens are actually leaders, simple breeders or if they possess a very complex role within the Andromedans hierarchy. That is assuming they DO have queens, as rumoured.
Andromedans are capable of rapid evolution and adaptation, making them able to adapt to just about any environment. It is because of this ability that they have clashed far less with other sentients species than one might expect, as they often live in worlds inhospitable to other carbon-based lifeforms. While not (always) an angry swarm intent on assimilating other species, there have been times where Andromedans have attempted to acquire members of other species in order to assimilate their essence and genetic material in order to adapt and grow stronger. One has to wonder what would happen if they knew about earth's diverse superhuman population.
Much like their physiology and history, there is much to the Andromedan's psychology that is unknown to other species. It is generally understood that they are a callous, aggressive species with a very strong territorial instinct. It is also known that despite their hive mentality, they are capable of in-fighting within a brood. However, the most common form of Andromedan wars are inter-brood rivalries akin to a spatial ant war.
As a whole, those of their kind who possess free will (or at least enough self-awareness) are strongly motivated by interests, either their own or that of their brood as a whole. Survival of the fittest is an apt descriptor of it. In fact, to them, their complex political games are nothing more than a refined version of a predator's 'kill or be killed' mentality. Not that they ever really feel like explaining that to non-andromedans.
As a species, they are technologically advanced albeit mostly in the area of genetics, due to their expertise in molding their own physiology. Andromedans possess spaceships and FTL like any space-faring species, however in other areas some would argue they are lacking. The reason for this is simple; because of drones designed for specific purpose, Andromedans have little need for some of the more advanced technologies, making them appear somewhat lopsided. They have absolutely no concept of automation, for example; everything is done manually by specially bred drones. Weapons, while they exist, are not as common as with other species since most Andromedans who are designed even remotely to expect conflict have means to defend themselves. While Andromedans do use metal they harvest in their constructions, it is mixed with the chitin they produce.
FTL is achieved thanks to specially bred castes of drones with immense psionic potential, able to fold space. It is a sign of their lopsided technology and mentality that these drones have little to no intelligence despite their large psionic potential. These being are completely incapable of complex thought and reasoning, despite being massive psionic 'computer's able to calculate distortions in time and space. These ridiculously complex tasks are the only thing they are capable of thinking.
Motivations & Goals
Andromedans, while expansionist, seems often more motivated by their own inter-brood squabblings. This is generally considered a good thing since they would pose a far more serious and immediate threat to the galaxy if they felt like conquering it. Because of their constant political shifts (over reasons human brains could likely not even grasp or fathom), it is fairly easy for them to come into conflict with other races.
So-called 'Bug Wars' are the most common of these scenarios, where Andromedans descend upon entire systems as angry locusts. What few understand is that those raids actually serve a simple purpose. To them, Andromedans appears as mindless hungry space vermin. This is because they never negotiate with other species, and as such, few ever see their leaders making them appear as some ravenous, faceless hivemind. In reality, when Andromedans resort to this it means they require either massive amounts of resources to fuel their wars or are looking for something in particular to turn the tides. Either way, these are always messy and bloody events.
The other most likely scenario is that Andromedans have found a way to manipulate someone or something into doing their dirty work, usually by finding a way to send someone to fight a rival Brood and in the process weaken it.
Finally, it is also possible to encounter lone Andromedan ships who travel around the galaxy, looking for unique and exotic specimens to dissect and assimilate.
Notable Broods and Individuals
- Orion Brood: The primary brood found within the Orion Arm and thus the one closest to earth. Has remained relatively quiet for now.
- Za'ak Brood: The most primal of the broods in the Milky Way, Za'ak Brood thrives on the most dangerous and feral of worlds. These worlds have deadly ecosystems, making them nearly impossible to settle on short of simply destroying it. Yet the Andromedans of this brood have made them their homes and in doing so have taken on many animalistic traits. Their name come from their homeworld of Za'ak.
- The Fleshshaper: A rogue Andromedan 'genetic engineer' and 'evolutionist'. Has left his brood for unknown reasons and travel with an entourage of minions. Since he is cut from his brood, his Andromedans minions are in fact clones bound to his will, something that isn't very approved of for his kind, especially on a rogue element.
Andromedans were developped and designed to fit within the science-fiction trope of 'bug alien', like the Tyranids and the Zergs. However, I've also written them to be actually interesting as characters and not just a faceless alien menace.
There might be some more unusual/splinter broods/offshoots around the galaxy who may or may not have degenerated. Overall, I like to think they are just generic enough to allow some variation within them.