Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah
Second Doctrinal War
|Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah|
|Path of Now and Forever|
Ur-Quan Hierarchy • Battle Thrall • Fallow Slave • Oath of Fealty Doctrinal Conflict
|Dreadnought • Marauder • Sa-Matra|
|Excruciator • Slave Shield • Talking Pet|
The Eternal Doctrine is how most species refer to the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah's alternative philosophy to the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za's Path of Now and Forever. It stipulates that to eliminate any future threat to Ur-Quan freedom all non-Ur-Quan sentient species are to be exterminated. While the Kzer-Za, the Melnorme, and most Human sources use the term "Eternal Doctrine", the Kohr-Ah themselves never use this phrase to describe their philosophy, instead calling it the "Path of Now and Forever".
The Black Ur-Quan, lacking the subtlety of thought of the Green Kzer-Za caste or perhaps simply finding the Dnyarri-created administrative hierarchy inherently untrustworthy or distasteful, found themselves unable to accept the Path of Now and Forever created by the Kzer-Za following the victory of the Ur-Quan Slave Revolt. A charismatic leader, Kohr-Ah, stepped forward to declare a new interpretation of the Path of Now and Forever that renounced the Kzer-Za's plan to mimic the Dnyarri in becoming slave masters, which the Black Ur-Quan saw as despicable. Instead, seeing the Kzer-Za's altruistic concern for the inferior races as superfluous, they would take the bold step of simply destroying sentient life where they found it.
The first race they destroyed was the Yuptar, a former Sentient Milieu member race, only just freed from the Dnyarri Slave Empire by the Ur-Quan's revolt. After burning the Yuptar homeworld from orbit, they traveled to the homeworld of another of the last remaining Milieu race, the Mael-Num. However, the Mael-Num, having learned of the Kohr-Ah's intention and unable to resist them, broadcast a single, plaintive plea for an explanation. The Kohr-Ah, perhaps still emotionally vulnerable, were so moved by this helpless gesture that they felt compelled to halt their advance and argue the case for their beliefs to the Mael-Num. While they were thus detained the Kzer-Za intercepted their advance and began contradicting their argument, making a case for the original Path of Now and Forever and stating their absolute opposition to the crime of genocide. In the confusion, the two opposing factions broke out into the first Doctrinal War, and the Mael-Num escaped.
This became a defining moment for the two parties, and both saw the Mael-Num's plea, known to them simply as "the Words," as a fundamental challenge of legitimacy to the two doctrines to which both sides were obligated to respond. Such was the emotional attachment to the Words within the two Ur-Quan cultures that many generations later, any repetition of the Words — usually translated in English as "Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why are you doing this thing?" — is enough to force the Ur-Quan to halt their actions and justify them, though the Kohr-Ah's emotional reaction to the Words are far more intense than the Kzer-Za's; (The Words, however, have to be properly phrased, as the plaintive cry of a helpless, inferior species for a simple explanation; most appeals by other species instead held the Ur-Quan responsible to some higher moral principle or authority, which the Ur-Quan moral system unqualifiedly rejected and felt free to ignore.)
After the Kohr-Ah lost the first Doctrinal War, they were forced to give up their claim to the Sa-Matra and let the Kzer-Za pursue their Path of Now and Forever on a spinward path through the galaxy without interference, while they traveled antispinward pursuing what they themselves refer to as the Path of Now and Forever but the Kzer-Za refer to only as the Eternal Doctrine. Pausing only to give the barest of warnings to each species they encounter, giving them an opportunity to invoke the Words and hear an explanation of their deaths beforehand, they have ruthlessly slaughtered over five thousand civilizations throughout one whole half of the galaxy before they are stopped at the Battle of the Sa-Matra in the Second War by the New Alliance of Free Stars. What form the Eternal Doctrine will have, given the crushing and disorienting defeat of the Ur-Quan race and unseating of their place as the galaxy's dominant life form, is unknown.
The Kohr-Ah's Eternal Doctrine is much simpler and less subtle and nuanced than the Path of Now and Forever; the Kohr-Ah seem to pride themselves on the straightforwardness of their policy toward alien races compared to the byzantine Hierarchy system established by the Kzer-Za, and pride themselves on remaining the proactive, clearminded and uncontaminated Effectuators they had been in the Dnyarri Slave Empire, as opposed to their "effete" brothers. They roundly counter moral objections to their philosophy — that it could not be the proper destiny of any living species to be utterly destroyed — with an odd belief system similar to certain religions. They believe in the transmigration of souls, that all sentient life is in a constant cycle of death and rebirth in new forms. Since the death of an individual is the not the end of its existence, termination of life has no adverse effects, but in fact provides an intelligent being with an opportunity to be reborn in a new, hopefully Ur-Quan form. All other forms of life are threats to the freedom and security of the Ur-Quan species, and therefore all manifestions of non-Ur-Quan intelligence are explicitly unacceptable and implicitly inferior. Thus purifying the universe of other races so that their souls might have a greater chance to become Ur-Quan is in fact a sacred duty.
Compared to the Kzer-Za's Path of Now and Forever the Eternal Doctrine is almost instinctive in its simplicity; the Kohr-Ah simplified their philosophy to almost nothing but a kneejerk urge to destroy, expressed in their terminology as the high duty of "Cleansing" the galaxy of "Filth", a worldview rivaling the Mycon's in its single-mindedness. Filth is not the only status that the Kohr-ah give to other races. If The Captain destroys a few Marauders, he gets a pseudo-promotion: "You are no longer filth. You are a threat. Threats deserve more attention than filth." The more thoughtful Kzer-Za, though their own culture could not allow them to conceive of the Kohr-Ah as anything less worthy of respect than themselves, saw them as an enemy to be contained rather than peers to be reasoned with.