A typical Androsynth crew.
The Androsynth were a genetically engineered off-shoot of Humans, developed after the Small War of 2015 but before the Ur-Quan Slave War. Abused for both religious reasons and for their legal expendability, they abandoned their progenitors in a feat of mass-exodus. They eventually settled in the Vulpeculae constellation, former territory of the vanished Taalo. Later, the Androsynth were conquered by the Ur-Quan Hierarchy, joining them as Battle Thralls in the Ur-Quan Slave War, fighting against their former Human masters and the Alliance of Free Stars. Several years after the war's end, the Androsynth disappeared under mysterious circumstances due to the dangerous Inter-Dimensional Fatigue research they had been undertaking. This disappearance is apparently caused by the Orz, who seemed to come from out of nowhere, drawn to Vulpeculae by the Androsynth's experiments.1
The original Androsynth were all created from a few (or perhaps only one) genetic encodings. An SSRII report claims that they are obsessed with aesthetics (the Androsynth were even named, by a member of the SSRII team, the "fashion design engineers of space warfare")2, which, the report states, is reflected in the design of their ship, the Guardian. However, other sources cast doubt over this.3
All seem to have an asymmetrical hairstyle, brushing their hair to the right of their heads. In addition to this, all Androsynth wear gray uniforms with a triangular insignia and a band on their forehead.
The Androsynth are without functioning genitalia. However, one of the primary areas in which they focused their energy in the first three decades after fleeing from Earth was reproduction; this might have been accomplished through cloning.4
Androsynth names are alphanumeric, being composed of a group of uppercase letters, a dash and a number. Generally the letters are the first section of the name, though in the case of the name 1040-EZ (and possibly others, not present in the canon) this does not hold true.
The story of the Androsynth begins in the initial renaissance of peaceful development of science and technology in the first days after the Small War of 2015. The United Nations, fearing a future global holocaust if the development of weapons of mass destruction continued, had prohibited research in such areas. Among the remaining avenues for scientific expansion was biotechnology, which was the quickest of all disciplines to flourish.
In 2019, a brilliant Swiss scientist named Hsien Ho, at the Zurich BioTeknik, combining the now-complete human genome map with sophisticated genetic-engineering techniques, was able to perfect the technology of artificial parthenogenesis. Ho's clones were, judging solely by external appearance, Humans; however, their genes were modified so that they were unable to reproduce.
As the clones were slowly maturing, a new religious order, Homo Deus — also known as the "Godly Men" — was formed in the aftermath of the Small War and the emotional turmoil caused by the destruction of the Holy Lands, centered on the belief that the Millennium was near — on March 11, 2046, Heaven and Earth would join, and each devout person would be elevated to a divine status. The cult's charismatic founder, Jason MacBride, a former used car salesman, was able to amass millions of poor, disillusioned, and impressionable followers.
Meanwhile, Hsien Ho's clones had already become adults. Seeing them as a threat to his "Godly Men", Jason MacBride fought to have the clones declared sub-human. Calling them "Androsynth", or the "fake men", he used the vast resources of his Homo Deus organization to strip the clones of their human rights. Sadly, as the years passed, the Androsynth became little better than well-treated slaves.
The day March 11, 2046 came and went, and no detectable change in the human condition took place. MacBride, blaming the inaccuracy of his prophecy on a "lack of genuinely devout people", withdrew from public life, fading into obscurity; his fortune and power rapidly waned as well.
In the spring of 2085, the Androsynth, numbering tens of thousands and spread across the globe since 2070, broke away from their physically and mentally weaker Human creators and masters and disappeared to parts unknown. Leading up to the actual Clone Revolt, Androsynth working at spaceflight facilities across Earth had prepared several thousand spaceships for the exodus.
The beginning of the uprising was well orchestrated. Within a day's time, every spaceflight facility on the planet was taken over by the Androsynth, aided by a number of underground Human sympathizers. Aboard thousands of stolen spacecraft, the entire Androsynth population was evacuated. Two days later, the clones had captured every off-world base, both in Earth's orbit and on its satellite, Luna.
For two months, the Androsynth rebels, with the help of their huge MASER weaponry improvised from energy broadcast units, held off attempt after attempt by the newly founded United Nations space military force, Star Control, to retake the bases. Meanwhile, the Androsynth were outfitting eight of the space-stations, including the recently constructed StarLight Hilton, for interstellar flight. Before Star Control had a chance to resort to Peace Vault weapons, the new Androsynth fleet left Earth orbit with high speed.
The Human military fleet was too slow to catch the rebels, but an unarmed ten-thruster ore freighter returning from a Titanium mining operation in the Asteroid Belt was able to make a high-V interception on the Androsynth fleet, witnessing their transition to HyperSpace in what the pilot termed a "great red hole" with a diameter of over 500 metres.
Little is known about the Androsynth's history after their emigration. However, they eventually arrived at the Vulpeculae constellation, the same place the Taalo lived in the days of the Sentient Milieu. Finding Eta Vulpeculae II a suitably Earth-like world, they settled there and began expanding, soon having a bustling population and a colonial sphere of influence throughout Vulpeculae space. Beside reproduction, a significant amount of effort was also invested in armament.
They had barely been free for thirty years when the Ur-Quan Hierarchy entered our region of space. The invaders were accumulating Battle Thralls for the war ahead, and after conquering the Thraddash, the Umgah, the Ilwrath and the Spathi, they turned on the Androsynth.
The reclusive Androsynth had no advance warning of the Ur-Quan advance and were taken utterly by surprise when the Hierarchy invaded their territory. It took only a few short weeks of intense interplanetary combat for the Androsynth to be subjugated.
Androsynth became one of the Humans most feared enemies in the war. The thought of having to face the incredible speed and maneuverability of Androsynth Guardian vessels in Blazer attack mode — or worse, a Hit-and-Run squadron employing Guardians specially modified for extended Blazer range — instilled fear in every Human shipmate on the Coreward Front. Cruiser captains became obsessed with their invisible enemies and their inevitable vengeance, often mistaking nearby asteroids for Guardians and madly destroying them in bursts of what was colloquially termed "clone fever".
About ten years prior to the events of Star Control II, an Androsynth Guardian discovered a set of Precursor artifacts somewhere in the Alpha Lalande system. The devices generated Inter-Dimensional Fatigue waves that allowed the user to observe other dimensions. Hoping to be able to develop new and improved forms of hyperdrive and HyperWave, the Androsynth began studying the devices. This led to their eventual disappearance, three years later.
Exactly how this happened is unclear. The computer records in the Androsynth ruins are fragmentary, registering requests for information about "reality aberrations", the "mosquito mange", ghosts, poltergeists and other similar malevolent entities, requests that grew more and more urgent, almost frantic, after which they suddenly ended. Science Officer Bukowski of The Flagship, who investigated the ruins, himself almost went mad as he learned more about the Androsynth's final moments; he destroyed the computers, knowing that the information therein was dangerous, that even knowing could alert "Them", putting the whole of Humanity in danger. "They" had already detected Bukowski, and were "moving toward him".
The Orz, who now inhabit Androsynth space, explain that the clones made some *slippery places* (presumably portals or something similar) through which the Orz were able to *smell* them, as well as the TrueSpace dimension, which was previously unknown to the Orz. The Orz then pushed his/their *fingers* through the *slippery places* and into TrueSpace, *pulling* the Androsynth, against the clones' wish.
It is not known whether there are any Androsynth who survived.5
Notes and references
- 1From the 1998 IRC chat with Toys for Bob (Fwiffo is both Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III here):
- <LordR-man> Fwiffo- What really happened to the Androsynth in sc2?
- <Fwiffo> In regards to the Androsynth: They were snagged by the entity who/which projected its fingers into our dimension (which looked to us as the Orz.)
- <LordR-man> Fwiffo- What really happened to the Androsynth in sc2?
- 2From the Star Control manual, p. 23 (PC).
- 3From a mail by Paul Reiche III to a Star Control II player:
- Hi Maria,
- Good question! My initial intention was that, yes, they were gay, or more properly, strictly monosexual. About the time Fred and I were working on Star Control II, I had my first friendships with openly gay folks. It always has felt good to me to discard a prejudice and I hoped to share that opportunity in teeny-weeny little way with the people who played my games. BUT, when I shared this notion with our publisher, some folks took this to mean that they should use stereotypes for humor, as for instance the "fashion designers of space" crap that ended-up in the manual. I feel like I should have been more courageous getting that comment edited out and if it offended anyone, I feel really bad about that.
- Hopefully as the future unfolds, we will find our species more accepting of others and more appreciative of individual expression... either that or we should all get jetpacks. I'm cool either way.
- - Paul Reiche
- Ps. By the way, now I am not so sure that all the Androsynth are male. I imagine they might descend from a few clonal lines, so I expect there would be both male and female and perhaps some neutrals.
- 4From the Star Control II manual, p. 68, 69 (3DO).
- 5From a mail by Fred Ford to a Star Control II player:
- : Were ALL the Androsynth destroyed when the Orz came?
- Perceptive lad. This was a leading plot candidate for our theoretical sequel.