Property of The Crimson Corporation
The Druuge, who reside around the Persei constellation, are greedy, piggish, horned humanoids with a characteristic ooze constantly emanating from the mouth, nose and ears. Their whole culture is an image of extreme capitalism, and all Druuge are the employees of a syndicate they call the Crimson Corporation. The bosses of this gargantuan corporate empire are no less than the overlords of their whole civilization.
Early Druuge history bears a close resemblance to early Human history. Still, as in the case of Syreen civilization, minor differences in early social structures have produced a vastly different culture. Similar to Humans, Druuge evolved from primitive hunter-gathers. However, these primitive Druuge remained solitary and never organized themselves into mutually beneficial tribes, thus fostering a greater emphasis on the individual and a greater concern for personal well-being not completely unlike the Ur-Quan.
Despite their strong, innate individual tendencies, the Druuge created a working civilization. This early society included some form of government, including laws regarding the economy and the interactions of commercial entities. Sometime after their transition to the status of a space-faring race, the Druuge significantly changed their trade laws so that they no longer discouraged the formation of monopolies. Due to this legal relaxation, a single business, the Crimson Corporation, was able to rise to prominence inevitably becoming the only existing Druuge business and the legal owner of everything Druuge. Not only a business, it also operates as the government of the entire Druuge race. All known interactions with the Druuge by other races have been while the Crimson Corporation has been in power.
In recent years, the Druuge have had encounters with a few other races, initially with the Burvixese and most notably with the Utwig. Years before the events surrounding the Second War, the Druuge learned through their neighbors, the Burvixese, about the Utwig and the Precursor Bomb they possessed. The Druuge initiated contact with the Utwig and offered them the Ultron with the intention of obtaining the powerful bomb, but instead received "a hodge-podge of ancient and useless artifacts." The Utwig maintain that this exchange will fundamentally change the Druuge as a race, culminating on a specific day in a momentous event of jubilation. The Druuge also had a long history of interactions with the Burvixese, ultimately having a direct hand in their destruction; They placed a powerful HyperWave 'Caster on the Burvixese moon to purposely distract the Kohr-Ah away from the central Druuge trade world at Zeta Persei. During the Second War The Captain has several encounters (not all amicable) with the Druuge including one in which he prevents them from obtaining the Utwig Bomb the second time.
Society and culture
The effects of the evolution of early Druuge society are still dominant today. Lacking the "traditional" sense of community, every aspect of Druuge culture can be traced back to their higher level of individualization. A Druuge only finds it useful to cooperate with other beings so far as it benefits himself. Selfless concepts like honor and charity do not exist in their culture. Similar to their individual solitary nature, the Druuge as a race are also reluctant to venture outside of their sphere of influence.
As with most things in their culture, the Druuge approach their spirituality with a capitalistic attitude. Not satisfied with a tenuous relationship that most other races share with their respective deities, the Druuge have explicitly established a strong relationship by entering into a contract with their god. The contract reads as follows:
- Whereas the Druuge (hereinafter known as `the Worshippers') wish to establish a long-term relationship with an omnipotent and all-knowing deific entity (hereinafter known as `God' or `god') which shall mutually benefit both parties, the parties agree to abide by the following terms and commitments for the rest of eternity.
- The Worshippers hereby promise to perform faithfully and to the best of their ability the following:
- Worshippers shall make regular and sincere obeisance to God, including but not limited to prayer, sacrifice, and the building of large structures.
- Worshippers shall make every attempt to convert non-believers (hereinafter known as `Them') making sure to obtain signed documents from same attesting to said conversion.
- Worshippers shall not enter into an agreement with another deity, without written permission from God.
- In consideration of the above correctly performed obeisance, God shall provide:
- Continued existance with little or no modification to the perceived reality of the Worshippers.
- No fewer than 3 miracles (Force Majeure), whose exact nature and timing shall be left to God's sole discretion.
- Worshippers shall enjoy some form of life after death which shall remain a complete and total mystery to the Worshippers until such time as they die.
- We, the undersigned, hereby swear to fulfill our obligations as defined above.
- Signed, The Druuge.
- (God, being omni-present and all-knowing is considered to have signed this document, by default.)
Druuge families are viewed as profit-making ventures. Druuge males and females desiring to engage in this kind of speculative investment meet at "Repro Mixers" to find mutually acceptable partners. Once an acceptable business partner is found, both parties proceed through the business arrangements — negotiating the terms of agreement, filling out the appropriate forms, and engaging in the necessary carnal interactions. Offspring from such a union are automatically part of the venture with terms that ensure the parents a 12-18% royalty on the offspring's income. It is therefore typical for a parent to allocate a significant amount funds for the education and training of any offspring to increase the rate of return on their investment.
Economy and government
Life in the Crimson Corporation is typical: there are good times, when benefit packages and bonuses improve and bad times, when the corporation has to lay off some employees. Only, if you're out of job, you're out of luck. Because everything on Druuge worlds is corporation property, every ex-employee is instantly trespassing and guilty of stealing corporation property, like air and sunlight. The only suitable punishment in Druuge laws for that is to feed the Furnace.
By their own words they are merchants, but a word like "slave-trader" would suit them more. These silver-tongued devils always try to get alien captains to exchange their crew for fuel, "priceless Alien-artifacts" and Mauler starships. In these trades the Druuge always cheat and lie to their heart's content, anything to maximize their profit, but they might get hostile very fast if they feel they have been taken advantage of in a deal.
Druuge starship bridges are a disturbing sight to behold as even the captains are in slave cloths and bound to chains. The crew (especially the unfortunate exchanged alien crew) are used as a living cannon fodder in battle when the ship needs more energy. They are ruthlessly thrown into the furnace for a bit of extra man-power.
The Druuge have a law stating that any unarmed ship without escort (no attack ships), is susceptible to salvage. This means that if the Druuge encounter an unarmed and unescorted ship (e.g. yours), they will attack immediately.
Relations with other races
The Druuge had a long-term trade relationship with the Burvixese initially, the profitability of which was assumably poor, due to the Druuge's later scheme involving them. The Burvixese were quite friendly with the Druuge, and not only facilitated communications and trading between the Druuge and Utwig, but warned the Druuge of the approaching Kohr-Ah after they had in turn been warned by the Gg.
Unfortunatley, the friendship was not mutual and the Druuge, looking to save their own hides, constructed a Hyperwave Caster on the surface of the Burvixese moon in a successful attempt to deflect the Kohr-Ah away from themselves and onto the Burvixese instead. The Burvixese were rendered extinct by the Kohr-Ah in 2142 as a direct result of this act.
When The Captain first encounters the Druuge in space, they immediatley extend a friendly offer to visit their Central Trade World of Zeta Persei I, to form a profitable trading relationship. Upon visiting, The Captain is horrified to find out that the Druuge economy amounts to little more than slave trading (though the Druuge vociferously deny such accusations). The Captain manages to obtain the Rosy Sphere through trade (either selling his crew away as slaves, or finding an item the Druuge desire to have instead), and eventually uses it to repair the Utwig's Ultron.
However, when The Captain attempts to retrieve the Utwig's reward of the Precursor Bomb from Zeta Hyades VIb, the Druuge have already blockaded the planet in an attempt to retrieve it for themselves. In the following altercation, the Druuge enter The Captain's "true name" into their Ledger of Hatred, and from then on all Druuge are hostile towards The Captain. It is not known if this attitude is extended to all humans, or exactly how large this Ledger is. If the Druuge tend to dislike other races to the same extent that other races dislike them, the Ledger would presumably be very large.
The Druuge seem to hate the Melnorme with a passion, as they inform The Captain (and presumably, any other travellers) of the Melnorme's existance and attempt to paint them in a quite unfavourable light, decrying their information trade as "charging fees for common knowledge", and mocking their fuel prices. They even go as far as to encourage The Captain to destroy Melnorme vessels, as the resources that can be gained from plundering a wrecked Trader vessel are spectacular; it should be noted that this is false, a single Melnorme wreck is worth only 450 Resource Units.
The Melnorme feel the same way about the Druuge, and for the usual fee will warn The Captain against interacting with the Druuge, claiming they levy hidden costs and secret tariffs on their wares. However, the Melnorme are more civil in their exposition and do not encourage violence against the Druuge.
The Druuge had a brief encounter with the Utwig race, after learning from the Burvixese that the Utwig had discovered a Precursor bomb on their recent explorations. The Druuge attempted to sell the Ultron to the Utwig in return for the bomb, believing the Ultron to be useless junk. However, the trade turned sour when the Ultron seemingly empowered the Utwig with clairovoyance, and the Druuge had to leave with a hodge-podge of useless artifacts, lest they spoil the ruse.
While the Utwig to this day see the Druuge as benevolent, this is far from mutual as the Druuge see the Utwig as little more than prancing, whining and naive fools apt only for taking advantage of.