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|
- This article refers to the Ur-Quan translator species of talking pets. For information about the specific Talking Pet who became Zelnick's neo-Dnyarri ally see: Talking Pet (device).
All species that have had dealing with Ur-Quan are familiar with the small quadripedal creatures with atrophied limbs and huge crania called Talking Pets. In all communications with the Ur-Quan the Ur-Quan themselves gesture animatedly with their palps but never deign to actually speak; instead, the Talking Pets, in their own small chambers, carry on separate communications and appear to speak and listen on behalf of the Ur-Quan. However, the Ur-Quan always make themselves visible during communications and make it clear that they, in fact, are the source of the communications and the Talking Pets are merely tools for telepathic translation.
Each Ur-Quan ship, whether Kzer-Za or Kohr-Ah, comes equipped with a single Talking Pet for the exclusive use of that ship's captain (the ship's Lord or the ship's highest ranking Death). Until the events of the Second War made many aspects of the Ur-Quan's history clear, most Alliance members assumed the Talking Pets were merely a convenient translation device created by genetic engineering. However, the Talking Pets are far more; they are a crucial symbol of the Ur-Quan's status of dominance and of their long-ago escape from slavery.
The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah share a cultural conviction that they are superior to all other species and that, alone among sentients, the Ur-Quan have the right to freedom; this is the basis for the Kzer-Za's pattern of conquest and the Kohr-Ah's pattern of genocide. One consequence of this belief is their extreme resistance to adopting any cultural practices from other species for their own use, especially language. To communicate with a life form in its own language is, to some degree, to see the world from its perspective and think on its level, and the Ur-Quan regard all such communication as a form of contamination by lower life forms that must be minimized.
Thus, after the Ur-Quan successfully defeated the Dnyarri in the Slave Revolt and all Dnyarri except those remaining on the surface of Glilandy had been exterminated, the orbiting Ur-Quan captains who held Glilandy under siege decided that extermination would be too kind for the Dnyarri. Instead, the Ur-Quan decided to use their former masters as slaves, in revenge for their generations of suffering and as a reminder of their great victory. With the Sentient Milieu gone the Ur-Quan might be forced to once more learn new languages and cultures to communicate with races in the future; their new Dnyarri slaves could help them minimize the contamination of such communication with their telepathic abilities.
Protected by Excruciators, Ur-Quan scientists were able to extract the last of the Dnyarri population and genetically alter them, devolving their intelligence and personality down to sub-sentient levels, leaving them little more than programmable biological machines. These genetically altered Dnyarri were able to allow the Ur-Quan to communicate simply by thinking in speech at them; their powerful telepathic abilities allowed them to automatically take such speech and render it in a receiver species' language in an appropriate format. For instance, in communcations with Humans the Dnyarri translators rendered Ur-Quan communications as speech in the English language, in a deep, booming male voice calculated to connote authority and power and inspire feelings of fear and submission. The Humans of the SSRI named these devolved Dnyarri Talking Pets, the name by which the Alliance termed them throughout the First and Second Wars. The Ur-Quan's galaxy-spanning activities, especially the Kzer-Za's massive Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, would likely have been impossible without the Talking Pets, which provided them a means of effectively dealing with a huge variety of alien civilizations with very little effort to understand them on their own part.
Unfortunately, Ur-Quan genetic manipulation technology was not subtle enough to erase all traces of the Dnyarri's former intellectual capacity or to detect the traces that remained. When the Umgah, with their far superior gengineering abilities, managed to examine a Talking Pet recovered from a Dreadnought crash, they were able to augment its intelligence and racial memory far past its original abilities, turning it into a powerful neo-Dnyarri that played a crucial role in the Second War.