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 known 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. And of course, not every agent revealed their identity.
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 interspecies humor, not all of it polite.
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.
WHY ARE THEY CALLED THE NAMELESS?
In part, it's because as a race, they have a flair for the theatrical, but much of it comes from their being a telepathic hive species. The Nameless had no name for themselves and no spoken language prior to the genetic manipulation by the Harvesters, and little concept of individual identity; each 'pilot' is only identified by a memory, the earliest mental contact they had with another sentient being that is almost impossible to translate to non-telepaths.
When dealing with humanoids, it's just easier to just use the designation given to the individual shells; each model has one of a handful of names (Ditra, Zandar, etc) followed by an individual serial number from 001 to 999.
THE FOUR NAMELESS SHELL TEMPLATES
The Astrogators (Blue-skinned, 'Astros', 'Blues') - 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 Diplomats (Green-skinned, 'Diplos', 'Greens') - 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 Infiltrators (Pink-skinned, 'Infils', 'Pinks') - 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 Lor 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 Tacticals (Gold-skinned, 'Tacs', 'Golds') - 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.
To the Nameless, your hive is your family, a source of strength through belonging. As a telepathic species, they can connect in ways many other races can't, forming mental networks when in close proximity; these networks allow for the rapid sharing of information, ideas and feelings, and a powerful sense of connection. Hive mates look out for one another, to the point that refusing to aid one in need is a crime punishable by the mandatory destruction of a pilot's shell. However rivalries between hives are common, and they tend to methodical, Byzantine and very nasty.
At one time, membership in a Nameless hive was purely a matter of biology; a pilot remained in the hive of its birth. But with the loss of most of two hives during the Incursion, including the deaths of both queens, there was a great deal of disorganization and realignment, with the remaining three hives absorbing the orphaned pilots. In time, the three hives began to take on a more symbolic and ideological function, with each associated with a particular moral and political philosophy, primarily based on how they chose to interact with outsiders. This led to a great numbers of members switching hives, until now they are more or less uniform in outlook, though of course every family has its black sheep.
THE THREE HIVES
The First Hive is the most conservative, and its members were the first to reveal their identities, turn over their possessions and swear allegence to the Republic; most of its members are currently Astro and Tac models, with a few Diplos and only a handful of Infils. They are very loyal and hardworking, and see members of the Second Hive to be either lazy or naive, and the Third to be dangerous radicals who thoughtlessly jeopardize the life they fought for in the Republic.
The Second Hive is more moderate, typically looking to follow the 'middle path'; they appreciate the Republic, but see the Coalition as offering a very appealing alternative. They include a fairly even distribution of models, but somewhat fewer Tacs and Infils. While they politely disagree with the First Hive, they can still treat them respectfully, but they consider the Tertians to be a major threat to the all sentient life, and actively oppose them.
The Third Hive is by far the most radical, convinced that the Lor will never fully trust them, so they'd best prepare for war or make themselves rich, depending on how idealistic or cynical they are in their philosophy. Thankfully the smallest hive, it has almost no Diplos, a handful of unbalanced Astros, a solid corps of Tacs and a lot of Infils. They see First Hivers as pathetic 'Uncle Toms', and members of the Second as cowards too scared to fight for their own race. Members of this hive are sometimes refered to as 'Tertians', or more dramatically 'the Tertian threat'.