The enigmatic Arilou
The Arilou Lalee'lay, Ariloulaleelay, or Arilou for short, are an enigmatic and reclusive species. They first made themselves known to the Galaxy during the Ur-Quan Slave War, suddenly appearing and applying to join the Alliance of Free Stars. Their actions were equally mercurial at the end of the war, retreating and abandoning the other races as soon as the Humans were slave-shielded. The motives for their actions seem to be some mysterious connection they have with the Human race.
While the name of the race is often represented as a single word, the Arilou always treat the name as two distinct words when referring to themselves. As the the term "Arilou" is used to refer to individuals of the species,1 this may indicate that "Lalee'lay" is some special identifier for the race as a whole or for some collective characteristic of the race. According to the Arilou, the name of the race is derived from the Celtic family of human languages, though this may be from a very old civilization or one separated from the main family of Celtic groups in Britain, as it bears little resemblance to any Celtic terms known or pg today. However, an ancient legend of the Arilou Lalee'lay is probably the origin of the Irish Celtic myth of the analogously named Tuatha de Dannan ("People of Dannan") or faeries.
Identifying Characteristics and Behavior
The Arilou are apparently very physically similar to Humans, with a build very close to that of a Human child, standing at about 1.5 meters tall with a disproportionately large head compared to a normal Human adult. They have almost no pigmentation to their skin, which appears extremely pale to a Human eye, with a hue that ranges from pale gray to green. Their faces appear inhumanly expressive, almost entirely thanks to their enormous almond-shaped eyes, since their features are otherwise shrunken and flat compared to Humans', with very small chins, tapered mouths, and a tiny, almost completely flat nose. Their eyes appear to contain a tapetum lucidum over the retina (like Earth cats, or the Syreen)— the resulting internal reflections cause their eyes to appear to glow in dim light.
In their dealings with the Alliance, the Arilou never spoke verbally. They appear to have an advanced degree of psionic ability, and communicated solely using telepathy. Many, especially Humans, found this unnerving because in most communications, they would appear completely motionless and wearing an enigmatic smile. They would also remain nearly motionless while piloting their ships, manipulating the controls using psychokinesis, and periodically displayed their power to read others' thoughts and detect psychic activity. One of the courtesies they extended The Captain, whom they seemed to hold in very high regard, was their condescending to speak to him in normal, audible speech, presumably to help put him at ease.
This is only a description of the Arilou's visible, physical forms, and the Arilou themselves repeatedly implied that their true nature was more "solid" and "real" than physical matter. This seems to indicate that, like Human conceptions of faeries or gods, they are creatures who are at least partly composed of a spiritual or noncorporeal matter outside of their physical bodies. Interestingly, when they describe the vistas of their homeworld, the Arilou mention that Humans would experience premature "numbness" without first being properly "acclimated." It is unknown what this "numbness" and "acclimation" actually refer to, but it would seem to imply that the Arilou are somehow more accustomed than Humans to certain experiences.
They claimed to lack the limitation of a typical biological lifespan, and the Arilou representatives who spoke to The Captain claimed to have personally participated in events many centuries ago. Their civilization as a whole is certainly very old, extending back hundreds of millennia and aware of events that took place in the time of the Sentient Milieu. Moreover, they did not seem to fear death, referring to it as "discorporation", and seemed to imply that a spirit or soul survived after the destruction of their physical selves. Objects like the Nnngn or features of Falayalaralfali they referred to as the "Singing Mountains of Thought" or "The Tangible Wish" appear to be similar entities that exist at a higher level or spirit level with which they can interact.
The perception of Arilou as long-lived is distorted by their claim to not naturally perceive time sequentially as Humans do, and take some effort to order their perceptions of events into a coherent history. They appear able to directly perceive future events psionically and perceive several possible timelines at once, seeing which events are necessary to shift the mass of probabilities toward one outcome or another. They seem to perceive this as a quality attached to certain individuals who make certain signficant choices; this is eerily similar to the perceptions the Utwig claim to receive from the Ultron and lends credence to the Utwig concept of "destiny".
Whether through technology or innate ability, the Arilou appeared able to travel individually over large distances, through defenses and without detection, without the use of their ships. The Arilou claimed to be able to directly visit The Captain and observe him without his knowledge during the war. They have never been directly observed doing this and certainly did not use this ability to any effect during the war, perhaps because it involves some form of astral or spirit projection rather than physical travel, though they claim to be able to touch and affect physical objects while traveling this way.
The Arilou claim their internal thought processes are quite different from those of Humans or, in fact, most other sentient life forms. They claim to entirely lack what they call "instinct" or hardwired reactions to immediate environmental stimuli, in which they include all forms of emotional reaction and thought colored by prejudice as well as true instincts; by this definition Human thinking is, of course, almost entirely driven by "instinct". It is the "instinctive" tendencies of Humans that they claim to find most fascinating about Human activity and the developing Human mind. Though they might therefore seem to be entirely rational, they nonetheless admit that their core driving motivations and worldview are irrational and, in fact, involuntary, and claim that their basic nature as living things somehow drove them to formulate and implement their grand plan involving Humanity.
First Contact and the Ur-Quan Conflict
No Alliance race had made contact with the Arilou before the beginning of the Ur-Quan Slave War. Even as open hostilities began between the nascent Alliance of Free Stars and the Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, the Arilou remained absent and silent until the Chenjesu made first contact with the race of Humans in 2116. On the day August 2 on the Human calendar, the day after the Human United Nations formally ratified a treaty joining the Alliance, a fleet of small, disc-shaped vessels suddenly appeared orbiting the satellite moon, Luna, of the human homeworld Earth. Landing on the moon, the ships transmitted a request to meet with Alliance representatives.
It was on the moon's surface where Human and Chenjesu delegates met the Arilou La'leelay for the first time. Claiming that they, too, were under threat from the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za expansion, the Arilou asked for the Alliance's protection in return for its support. Alliance leaders quickly decided they needed any help they could get and welcomed the Arilou into the fold.
Even so, many Alliance members had reservations. The Arilou were extremely secretive, refusing to reveal any details about their civilization or their technology, even refusing to give the location of their homeworlds or the means by which they'd come to Luna. More disturbing, however, was the Humans' reaction. To their eyes, the Arilou appeared exactly like the stereotypical image of a legendary alien race long rumored to have secretly interfered in Human affairs, variously called "Martians", "Roswell Grays" or "Zeta Reticulans". Ancient archives kept by Human governments proved the resemblance too close to be coincidental, but the exigencies of war and the closed-mouthness of the Arilou prevented them from examining the matter any further.
The Arilou fleet played a key role in the war; despite its small size, it had an amazingly fast travel time, disappearing and reappearing from combat sites at speeds far greater than the most advanced Hyperdrives known to the rest of the Alliance could allow. The Arilou Skiff, though an apparently weak ship, employed many unique, exotic technologies, such as an inertialess TrueSpace propulsion system allowing it to hover in gravity wells and an incredibly powerful short-range Hyperdrive allowing it to "teleport", making it unmatched for scouting and harassing enemy ships.
However, the small and lightly-armed Arilou fleet took heavy casualties during the course of the war, as they were primarily engaged in the main fighting on the Coreward Front defending Human space. When the Alliance began to crumble and Hierarchy forces pushed rimward and took the Sol system, slave-shielding the Humans, the remaining defenders of the Front understandably, if regrettably, scattered. As the Yehat and Shofixti retreated to the Gorno constellation, the Arilou and Syreen fleets were left huddled together; expecting help from the Arilou, the Syreen were shocked to see the Arilou wordlessly retreat and vanish into space, abandoning them to the Ur-Quan. The cowardice and treachery of the Arilou are still cursed by the Syreen to this day.
Current events and The Captain
Though contact with the Arilou had been lost after the Ur-Quan Slave War, when The Captain uses The Flagship to begin the anti-Hierarchy actions during the Second Doctrinal Conflict, he inadvertently discovers the Arilou once more, reestablishes contact with them on behalf of the New Alliance of Free Stars, and becomes privy to many of their most closely held secrets.
Unbeknownst to the Humans, the Arilou had long held a semipermanent base of operations in the Chandrasekhar constellation in HyperSpace, establishing a small sphere of influence and an amicable relationship with the neighboring Umgah. Traveling to investigate various reports of a strange radiating body that appeared like a variable star in the area, The Captain discovers the area to be rife with Skiff starships piloted by Arilou.
The Arilou explain that they are not native to this region of TrueSpace but reside in QuasiSpace, an alternate dimensional space only reachable using their unique brand of Dimensional Fatigue technology. The local region of QuasiSpace contains a total of sixteen natural overlaps with or "portals" to HyperSpace, but fifteen of them are unidirectional from QuasiSpace to HyperSpace, so the Arilou found it most convenient to post the majority of their ships in the HyperSpace region immediately surrounding the single bidirectional portal.
Since they carried on very little contact with other races and had very little business in TrueSpace at the time, their reasons for keeping detachments of ships in HyperSpace are unclear. They claim their primary purpose was hunting and trapping strange creatures called Nnngn for sport, apparently because the Nnngn frequented the areas around the portals or were easier to trap there. The Nnngn apparently hailed from QuasiSpace and were composed of a native QuasiSpatial form of matter that Humans could not perceive or interact with; the Arilou merely described Humans as "not solid enough" to interact with them or other forms native to QuasiSpace, and refused to describe the matter further.
The Arilou seem quite taken with The Captain's cause and offer him passage through the bidirectional portal into QuasiSpace, where he finds the Arilou homeworld, Falayalaralfali, a single TrueSpace planet kept in an artificial pocket of TrueSpace within QuasiSpace. There, though they do not allow him to land, Arilou leaders speak freely to The Captain from the surface. They inform him that their numbers and physical resources are too depleted from the previous war for them to provide material support to the Alliance, but they are willing to supply technology and information.
The degree of their knowledge about local events is impressively widespread despite their cloistered appearance, and through unknown channels they are able to inform The Captain about the existence of the Slylandro, the nature of the Mycon Deep Children, and the history of the Ur-Quan.
Moreover, in one of their rare altruistic interventions into other races' affairs, they had discovered the wreck of an Ur-Quan Dreadnought on Alpha Pavonis VII, which had miraculously failed to self-destruct upon impact. This allowed them to rescue the single surviving life form, the ship Lord's Talking Pet.
This wreck represented a colossal and, as far as we know, unprecedented failure of Ur-Quan Kzer-Za technology, normally a benchmark for reliability. Not only did the Dreadnought crash in a safe, deserted area suspiciously far from the main battleground of the Doctrinal Conflict and suspiciously near the Arilou's base in Chandrasekhar, its self-destruct systems utterly failed and two incredibly valuable weapons, the warp pod and the Talking Pet, both survived intact. The Arilou give many hints that their degree of knowledge and control was far greater than they let The Captain know, and some suspect that they engineered this wreck as well as other events within the war on humanity's behalf, including their fortuitous meeting with The Captain in the first place.
The Captain is instructed to salvage the warp pod and return it to the Arilou. Using the warp pod, the Arilou are able to construct a QuasiSpace Portal Spawner capable of generating artificial portals that allow The Flagship to travel through QuasiSpace at will. This allow The Flagship to share the immense reduction in travel time that had proven so useful to the Arilou during the Ur-Quan Slave War; it was able to hop across local space much more quickly than it would have otherwise been able, given its great mass. The Arilou's provision of free passage through QuasiSpace proves to be one of the New Alliance's most critical advantages in carrying out its missions against the Hierarchy.
They meanwhile entrusted the Talking Pet to the care of the Umgah, whose understanding of corporeal biology exceeded theirs, only for the Umgah to accidentally activate the creature's latent genetic abilities, transforming it into a powerful and malevolent neo-Dnyarri. However, The Captain, taking the Arilou's advice, is able to strike a deal with the neo-Dnyarri, and its psychic powers prove to be the crucial element in breaching the Ur-Quan defenses during the attack on the Sa-Matra, which finally defeats the Ur-Quan and ends the war. It was at around the time of this battle that the Arilou finally reenter TrueSpace contact with the Alliance races, as a flotilla of four Skiffs materializes at the Earth Starbase and offer their much-needed assistance for the assault on the Sa-Matra.
Relations with other races
One much-remarked-upon fact was the fact that despite the obvious genetic connection of Humans to the Syreen and the known, documented genetic connection of Humans to the Androsynth, the Arilou apparently showed no interest in either of them. The Androsynth do not appear to have been part of the Arilou's plan for Humanity and no Arilou interference has ever been confirmed with their civilization. Intriguingly, it was soon after the Androsynth separated from the Humans -- and, therefore, from Arilou oversight -- that they discovered Dimensional Fatigue phenomena and subsequently disappeared (see the entry on the Orz). The Arilou seem to imply that this is a direct result of their not protecting the Androsynth; when they mention the Androsynth at all, it is to use them as a stern example and warning of the perils of meddling with interdimensional forces and entities.
Upon initial examination most Humans quickly recognized the Arilou to be uncannily similar to popular depictions of a certain class of science-fictional extraterrestrial in the 20th and 21st century. Often called "Martians", "Zeta Reticulans", "Little Green Men", "Enochian Angels" and so on, the most common and neutral term for such aliens was "Grays" after their skin color. These depictions were based on a series of reported encounters between such beings and Humans, occurring primarily in Earth's period of rapid industrial development following the Second World War (the 1950s) and ending some time before the Small War and the creation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Army and Star Control (the 2000s).
In such encounters, Humans living in isolated locations were typically abducted by Grays using ships colloquially known as "UFOs" (Unidentified Flying Objects) or "flying saucers", after their disc-shaped bodies. Not only were these ships extremely similar in appearance to the Skiffs the Arilou piloted in the Ur-Quan Slave War, but they exhibited similar capabilities of inertialess acceleration, indefinite hovering in gravity fields, and even short-range teleportation. Though most abductees' memories were hazy, possibly suppressed or modified, they did describe undergoing strange, high-tech medical procedures, often finding themselves with an unplanned pregnancy soon afterwards. These subjects usually reported one major operation or procedure being done on them in their first abduction, and one or more secondary abductions taking place afterwards, as though their captors were checking on the progress of their modifications.
The Grays were associated with other strange activities as well, including experimentation on non-Human animals, frequently experienced by farmers as mysteriously mutated livestock, and more bizarre behavior, like strange patterns of circular depressions left in crop fields.
Before the War
In their relationship with The Captain during his New Alliance efforts, the Arilou confirmed what the Humans had long guessed, that they and the Grays were one and the same. They moreover intimated that their interference in Human culture went back far longer than Humans had surmised, dating millennia back to the dawn of Human civilization and, according to them, the very first beings identifiable as modern Humans, implying that, if they did not create or transplant Humans on Earth, they controlled Humans' early development to an astonishing degree.
Human religion and mythology had long had a near-universal fascination with supernatural beings known by various names -- elves, leprechauns, duendes, tengu, and so on. Universally depicted as humanoids diminutive in stature and slender in build, they were notorious in legends for being capricious and amoral, appearing sporadically to make odd and unreasonable demands from Humans and employing a bizarre array of magical powers to enforce their obedience.
These legends were apparently based on early interventions of the Arilou, who nursed Humanity from its prehistoric origins and, acting as gods to some civilizations and devils to others, set the bounds for the growth of its civilizations. They claimed special credit for inspiring the pyramids of Egypt and the standing stones of the ancient Celts, a culture that had been their special favorite, and revealed that their favored name for themselves, Arilou Lalee'lay, was in actuality a descriptive phrase from a now lost Celtic tongue.
The Arilou kept up a continuing program of steering Human cultural development while subtly tweaking Human physiology through periodic interventions, modifying the Human genome through gengineering and selective breeding, meanwhile performing side experiments on other animals and leaving the crop circles and other patterns as covert signals to each other during their missions. The Arilou's interventions had grown less prominent as the Human civilizations developed, until they suddenly accelerated to a staggering pace during the last half of the 20th century, not coincidentally a time of great conflict as Humans neared self-destruction multiple times, while at the same time their industrial development made contact with the nearby starfaring races increasingly likely. We can surmise Arilou intervention at the very least had the goal of preventing a nuclear holocaust, while most likely was also meant to prepare Humans for the inevitable first contact.
The program of Human modification in the late 20th century was far more widespread than even the cultural impact of the "UFO craze" showed; the Arilou revealed to The Captain that those who reported their interventions had been purposely allowed to imperfectly retain parts of their memory while others simply had whole chunks of time completely excised from their minds -- giving rise to the unique Human psychological phenomenon of "missing days". Apparently the UFO craze itself was part of the effect the Arilou wished to have on Human society.
Birth of the New Alliance
In any case, the Arilou again retreated into obscurity during the days of the ascendant United Nations and Star Control, until they suddenly revealed their presence and directly offered assistance in the Ur-Quan Slave War. Their purpose in this war was first and foremost to prevent the wholesale destruction of Humanity; they appeared to be unprepared for the eventuality of Human conflict with the Hierarchy and uncertain of the Humans' fate should they face defeat. Once they saw that the slave-shielding process left the Human species intact and safe, they lost interest in the war and chose to cut their losses of physical materiel by returning to QuasiSpace, betraying their rather cavalier attitude to other Alliance species. However, the looming threat of the genocidal Kohr-Ah once more made it necessary for them to intervene to protect Humanity, this time with The Captain as their chosen liaison.
The Captain, intriguingly, was more than simply chosen by the Arilou; the Arilou appear to have watched him from birth. The Arilou claimed to have traveled repeatedly to the Unzervalt colony during the interregnum between the two wars, overseeing the Humans' progress repairing the Precursor shipyard and building The Flagship. At that time the Arilou also began observing The Captain: Many claim that, far from merely assisting the New Alliance in its initial stages, the Arilou were responsible for its existence and the beginning of the resistance movement in the first place, as the strange chance of a Human child being born with a natural affinity for ancient, complex Precursor computer equipment may be the result of Arilou tinkering.
This is, of course, unconfirmed, but the Arilou maintained a deep fascination with the young boy who would become The Captain. They referred to him as the "focus" of history and said that they were purposely putting the responsibility of saving Humanity and all other sentient life from the Kohr-Ah on his shoulders, in striking similarity to the way The Captain was viewed by the Utwig Ultron-worshippers. They also kept covert observation on him during all his efforts to defeat the Ur-Quan; one Arilou captain once inadvertently referred to his habit of somehow invisibly penetrating The Flagship to monitor The Captain as he slept.
They did not confine their attentions to The Captain; during the interregnum period when Earth was slave-shielded, the Arilou began covert operations aboard the Earth Starbase. How they successfully infiltrated the Starbase without detection is unclear — perhaps they used the aforementioned mysterious methods by which they infiltrated The Flagship — but the Arilou focused their attention on the Starbase crew, many of these served aboard The Flagship in some capacity, possibly modifying them in the process. We may never know the details, but can only assume that the Arilou's attention and possible modifications were intended for The Flagship's mission or something like it and that they played a key if invisible role in assuring The Flagship's success. Whatever the details, the Arilou's role in winning the war for the Alliance is far more extensive than they are usually given credit for.
The Arilou's purpose in all of this is unclear, but the Arilou claim to see their relationship to Humans as analogous to that between a parent and a child — in their own words, we are part of their "extended family". They claim that they and Humans are but one example of many similar relationships between an elder and younger species throughout the universe, and that this relationship is basic to the nature of their form of life and cannot be morally judged by resentful Humans who do not understand their position. Interestingly they react to the common description of themselves as "invaders from space" by claiming that their goal is not to "invade" -- presumably, not to take the stereotypical role of conquerors and overlords often ascribed to them by Earth popular culture during the UFO craze -- but to "pervade", to become everywhere a part of Humanity. They see their intervention in Human nature as somehow an expression and extension of their own selves.
There is an ultimate purpose they have for Humanity, and they seem to be working to tailor-fit the Human species to that ultimate destiny, protecting and nurturing them along the way, and meanwhile tolerating the suspicion thrown against them that is a natural result of their keeping Humans ignorant of that they deem Humans too undeveloped to understand. They seem to find this process itself a thing of beauty, frequently commenting on the aesthetic pleasure they received observing the development of the Human mind from its primitive roots.
Intriguingly they often speak of Humans attaining a similar state to that of the Arilou, claiming that given time to evolve and develop Humans will eventually attain the same quasi-supernatural status, able to live very long lifespans, perceive the invisible and share fully in the Arilou's technology. The implication is that Humans may become the Arilou's peers and companions, or, as one popular theory has it, the Arilou's "heirs" as the Arilou pass away.
An even bolder theory takes note of the Arilou's frequent use of an untranslated term that the Precursor's powerful translating computers rendered in English as "time" to describe dimensional spaces such as QuasiSpace. If the interface between dimensional spaces bears some special relationship to what we understand as time, then the interaction between Arilou from QuasiSpace with Humans may be a nonlinear causal loop; the Arilou may be a far-future, evolved version of Humanity causing their own existence by creating and manipulating their own ancestors.2 This theory is, while seemingly implausible, consistent with much of the observed evidence, but it bears disturbing implications and is still unaccepted by most.
The Arilou were also known to the shadowy, almost omniscient-seeming sources of the Melnorme traders. The Melnorme were not only aware of the presence of Arilou Skiffs at the portal regions but were also capable of tracing the Arilou's movements to and from Earth and were well aware of the Arilou's interventions in Human culture and even tracked their movements up to the the Second Doctrinal Conflict, detecting their actions at the Earth Starbase. This broad base of knowledge did not, however, extend to the Melnorme being willing or able to follow the Arilou into QuasiSpace, of which they presumably remain ignorant.
Much of what little understanding we have of the Orz comes from the testimony of their enemies, the Arilou Lalee'lay; cryptic as the Arilou's references to them may be, their descriptions are far more revealing than the Precursor translator's garbled interpretation of the Orz language, and the Arilou's descriptions provide the model most scholars use for interpreting Orz terminology and concepts.
Though the Arilou refused to elaborate on their final goals for the Human race, they did make clear that accomplishing such goals entails the long-term survival of Humanity, and therefore much of the Arilou's energy was bent toward guarding Humans from certain subtle threats, particularly extradimensional ones that only they could perceive.
The Arilou described the existence of parasitic beings in other dimensional spaces that had intimate relationships with mortal races -- races dependent on TrueSpace matter -- as they did with Humans, but of a purely destructive and violent nature. They claimed that any awareness of the details of the beings' existence would make one vulnerable to their attack. The implication seems to be that these creatures exist in a sort of idea-space, so that merely thinking about them is the equivalent of making psychic contact with them. This resonates eerily with the garbled reports from The Flagship's Science Officer Bukowski of the references to "Them" he discovered in the Androsynth computer core during his ill-fated expedition to Eta Vulpeculae.
The Arilou seemed to identify the Orz as "Them" or perhaps the agents of "Them" within TrueSpace. They claimed that the Androsynth had drawn the parasites to themselves through their investigation into and growing understanding of Dimensional Fatigue and other dimensional spaces, and as a result, though they would not explain how, the Androsynth were now totally and irrevocably destroyed, replaced entirely by the Orz.
The Arilou claimed a large portion of their biological and cultural modifications of the Human species were to give Humans a physical form and general psychological mindset that the parasites would find hard to detect. However, they continued to hide almost all details of their homeworld, their own nature, and the nature of their home dimension QuasiSpace from Humans so that Humans would be unlikely to begin the series of investigations and discoveries that would give them dangerous levels of knowledge. The Arilou defend this closed-mouthed policy by asserting that "in a way, ignorance is [the Humans'] best protection."
Unfortunately, the Arilou were forced to allow The Captain into QuasiSpace and trust him with many secrets in order to fight the more immediate threat of the Ur-Quan; the Arilou openly complained that The Captain's high level of knowledge introduced a complication to their plans. Not only that, but in the course of the war The Captain was also forced to compromise and openly make treaty with the Orz and allow them access to the Alliance. The Arilou had strenuously warned against such an action; although they seemed to fear no immediate threat from the Orz in their current state, they felt them to be untrustworthy. What consequences will result from these actions, and how the Arilou and Humans will deal with them, remain to be seen.
The Arilou had very few relationships with other races; they rarely spoke to or encountered anyone, though they were sensed from afar and found to be benign by the powerful Pkunk psychics.
Similar to their lack of interest in the Androsynth, the Arilou seem to bear no particular concern for the Syreen. They have never had any observed contact with them, and were certainly not concerned enough to intervene when Syra was destroyed. At the Great War's end, once they confirmed the Humans were safe under the slave shield, they ceased their efforts and abandoned the Syreen, despite the fact that the Syreen fleet was far weaker and more vulnerable than the Human population they had initially set out to defend.
This seems to pose a paradox, as Arilou claimed to have overseen Human development so closely that it is hard to explain why the closely genetically related Syreen would not be part of their project. Some surmise that the Humans are the Arilou's main experiment and the Syreen are some sort of discarded or unneeded relic, either a control group set up under standards of strict noninterference for comparison with Humans, or some sort of leftover of genetic breeding pools now unneeded, or, most intriguingly, an original population from which the Human genome was extracted and transplanted to Earth. Certainly there is compelling evidence from a Human point of view that the Syreen culture is a "natural" state for Humanity that Human society and culture seems to have been distorted away from, even perhaps the planet Syra being the template for the Eden stories in many human religions (as was hinted at by the Syreen), but without further information from the Arilou we can do no more than speculate.
The Arilou also mentioned to Alliance members during the course of the war that there was a species none of them had yet discovered in the Draconis constellation, the Thraddash. They were able to say little about them and did not bring them up again in that war or in their dealings with The Captain, being naturally closed-mouthed and their time being at a premium. However, they did mention "having some fun" with them. One need only look at the extremely distorted, counterintuitive and maladaptive social mechanisms employed in Thraddash society to find it likely that their cultural development was somehow artificially tampered with. The Arilou may have done this, as they say, purely for sport, or it may have been an early experiment in covert social engineering, to perfect techniques that they would later use on Human society.
The long-term Arilou presence in the area surrounding the Chandrasekhar portal led them to develop a friendship with the nearby Umgah. The Umgah, focused on more corporeal pursuits than the Arilou, outstripped them greatly in the fields of biology, medicine and genetic engineering. It may be that many of the biological techniques used on the Humans by the Arilou were at some point learned or borrowed from the Umgah; the Umgah certainly seem accomodating to the Arilou's desires and would most likely find the large-scale manipulation of Humans to be a wildly funny joke.
The Arilou and Umgah's relationship was interrupted when the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za attacked and laid waste to Umgah space, subjugating the Umgah as their Battle Thralls during the War. Afterwards when the Arilou joined the Alliance the two races were forced into combat with each other, but after hostilities ended the two races were able to reestablish normal relations.