A Galactic Menace…And An Enigma
No historian can say with any accuracy when the M’tait first appeared. The first recorded raid happened sometime early in the human diaspora, but given the distances involved and the difficulties in communication and in collating all the information floating around the spaceways, there could well have been incidents well before that.
They have no known homeworld. Incidents have been reported across the Orion, Crux, Carina, and Perseus Arms. As relatively sparsely-populated as the Outer Arm is, there have even been stories filtering in across the Interarm Deeps of even worse.
The M’tait have never attempted to communicate with their victims. Any attempts by the defenders to communicate, even to offer surrender, have been met with silence. Some survivors have recorded what they believe is M’tait speech, but it has so far defied analysis.
While there is no standard pattern to a M’tait raid, they tend to attack in packs of two to twenty Hunterships, massive starships that resemble tapered spines of some sort of volcanic rock. They vary in size from three hundred to nine hundred meters from tip to tip, and are extremely difficult to destroy. There are reports of Hunterships standing up to direct X-ray laser strikes and hardly showing any damage at all.
In very large raids, the Hunterships are sometimes led by what has been termed a “Mastership,” an enormous construct easily five times the size of the largest Hunterships. Only faint recordings have been retrieved of these behemoths, as no ships close enough to get decent readings has survived.
Their tech is markedly different from any other known technology. In many cases, it hardly seems mechanical at all. Most of their machinery appears to be some bizarre fusion of rock and metal. None of it has been left behind intact for analysis.
The M’tait are the only known race in the galaxy that appears to be genuinely monolithic. Every other sapient race has various ethnic, tribal, and cultural divisions, many of them grown more pronounced as they have spread out among the stars. As little as is known about the M’tait, however, they have never shown any outward sign of those same sorts of divisions. Reports from across the galaxy describe essentially the same tech, the same bizarre transmissions, and the same general patterns of behavior. These are consistent across hundreds of thousands of light-years.
They are marked by their cruelty shown toward every race that is not theirs. They have been seen to torture people to death, for reasons unknown. Others have been taken aboard their ships, again without any known purpose, never to be seen again. They also take livestock, machinery, and anything else that appears to catch their eye.
It has been theorized that the M’tait see only themselves as sophonts, and all others as simply animals, and therefore fair game for whatever purpose they put their minds to. How accurate that theory is remains unknown, given how limited the information on these enigmatic marauders is.
In recent years, a disturbing pattern has begun to emerge. Beginning on the fringes, out by the Outer Arm, it seems that M’tait raids are on the rise. It could be that all that has been seen before is only the vanguard of something far, far worse.
Only time will tell.