The crystalline Chenjesu.
The Chenjesu are a race of silicon-based, crystalline beings that are native to the Sapphire World of Procyon II. Possessing vast intellects and advanced technology, they were the de facto leaders of the Alliance of Free Stars.
Physiology and culture
Unlike most other sentients, the crystalline Chenjesu are photo/chemovores and have neither natural predators nor need for prey. Another distinguishing feature is the electromagnteic energy fields that they naturally produce, which create the characteristic Chenjesu crackling noise from minor corona discharges. However, when experiencing strong emotions, Chenjesu have been known to cause visible and audible electrical breakdowns in air, which often interfere with nearby electronics. Along with these innate electric fields, the Chenjesu can produce sustained, controlled electrical discharges. They also have highly sensitive, natural receptors in the HyperWave band, which gave them the first inkling of the Ur-Quan invasion. While silicon-based, they are not at all like the Taalo — Chenjesu are crystalline rather than rocklike.
Due to their unique niche in their native ecosystem, they are naturally non-hostile, preferring instead to engage their vast intellects in philosophical discussions and other pursuits of knowledge. Their culture's greatest achievement, a philosophical text, is The Book of Bzzbezzu Kzaaz. Avid explorers, their star charts of HyperSpace form the standard that the races in this region of space use.
Their technology is electrical and crystalline in nature, similar to their own physiology. Images of the Chenjesu captains during the Great Crucible of Sentience imply that they interface with their equipment through creating controlled electrical discharges. Their starship, the Broodhome, possessed more raw power (and raw material) than any other Alliance ship, even if, in general, it was not the most effective in combat. Some of their technology bears similarities to late Precursor technology (namely the Utwig Bomb).
Their rare physiology, advanced sentience and peculiar evolutionary path leads some to speculated that they are the product of an ancient, peaceful culture. An alternate explanation is that they are mostly software, interacting with their environment through some kind of field manipulation mechanism.1
History and relations with other races
The Chenjesu are one of the oldest of the space-faring races, and so have had interactions with a number of the other alien races in this region of the galaxy. A little less than a thousand years ago, the Chenjesu established amicable relations with the nearby and recently arrived Mmrnmhrm. Part of this relationship was a defensive military alliance that later deflected an initial attack by the Ur-Quan circa 2111. This alliance formed the basis of what became the Alliance of Free Stars.
The Chenjesu have also been knowledgeable about, if not in contact with other, more primitive races. For example, they were aware of the Umgah and the technologically-primitive Ilwrath, and had occasional friendly encounters with the Spathi prior to these races being subjugated by the Ur-Quan. They also apparently had come into contact with the Zoq-Fot-Pik and the Pkunk, though further relations appear to have been halted by the events of the Great Crucible of Sentience. The Yehat and Shofixti joined the Alliance sometime before 2115, but the extent of their contact with the Chenjesu leading up to this is unknown. Most notably, the Chenjesu were the first race to officially contact Humanity.
After the Sa-Matra was deployed against them by the Ur-Quan, they and the Mmrnmhrm requested to be shielded together on the Chenjesu homeworld. The Ur-Quan permitted this, and once on the planet, the two races began a synthetic hybridization of their species, which they called "The Process". However, the Process was interrupted prematurely by The Captain, instead resulting in the hybrid race, the Chmmr.
The reasons for this are fairly clear for the Mmrnmhrm, as that race had lost the ability to reproduce on its own. The motivations of the Chenjesu are still unclear. The Chenjesu likely decided to undergo this transformation because they felt that their culture had become so advanced that it had stagnated entirely, and they hoped that the modification of their species into a transChenjesu synthesis would reinvigorate their society.2 Their motivation probably also had something to do with defeating the Ur-Quan.
- Bzrrak Ktazzz
Chenjesu on Wikipedia (warning: Wikipedia considers Star Control 3 canon)