Intelligence Report: Noxter
The Noxter are a space-living organic species who evolved in a large Bio-Mass-Expanse (also referred to as the Biogen Nebula, although it’s not exactly a Nebula) in the Gamma Quadrant millions of years ago. The six large condensed matter structures which served as spawning grounds for most young Noxter would later be called "Mothers". They lived in peace (well basically in ignorance because they didn't know any other life form, they never went to planets and the like).
However, at some time, another space-traveling species of shape-shifting beings evolved in the Gamma Quadrant. This species - later known as the Founders - thought of the Noxter as abominations and killed most of them who left the Biogen Nebula. As time went by, the Founders started to analyze dead or captured young Noxter and were very interested in the rapidly-morphing genetic structure of the Noxter--something they are still quite unique for in the 24th century. The Founders realized that this aspect of the Noxter comes very close to their own beings. Quite the narcissists, they began to fear and love that at the same time. In the following war the Noxter population was reduced to about ten percent of its original size and the Mothers finally decided to leave the Gamma Quadrant and made their way out of their Nebula into the dark depths of the galaxy. Nobody knows where the six Mothers are now or if they are still alive. The Biogen Nebula vanished over time, only some small remains can still be found today.
With their first - and only - enemy gone the Founders begin to feel god-like and started to play with life itself. They analyzed the captured Noxter and remains of the Bio-Gen Nebula and learned much about manipulating the basics of life. A few centuries later they injected control-mutated Noxter DNA into the gene pool of several planets. One of the planets evolved a species that was easy to manipulate - later known as the Jem'Hadar. So basically, the Jem'Hadar are the only thing that remains of the Noxter's appearance in history - until now! Today the Jem'Hadar don’t carry much Noxter DNA, but some very basic elements for their genetic code are still Noxter. There are rumors about "free" Jem'Hadar, where Noxter genetic remains were activated and rapidly changed their host organisms. They are rumored to live with the Noxter Swarm now, but well, that’s just a rumor, isn't it?
The Cardassians are very important to the Noxter, as they actually “discovered” them upon their return, and there are links between the Cardassians and the Noxter… well, not all Noxter, but at least a few. The Noxter society is not very stable. There are some groups of Cardassian fanatics that cooperate with some Noxter later on in the FO story (around 2400) but there is no real alliance, as the Noxter do not share the same values as most "humanoid microbes”.
In the years after the Dominion War many Federation member planets (Alpha Centauri to name the most popular) began to support civil programs on Cardassia and other planets in the Cardassian Union. Supported by Starfleet, a large-scale reconstruction program of the ruined union began. One could say that it was not only a gesture of good will, but also the attempt to bind Cardassia closer to the Federation and – in long term thinking - to make it a potential Federation member. To this end, Federation short term interests are to not only help civilians, but to make the Cardassian union economically dependent on the Federation to reduce the risk of future threats. Many Ferengi, Orion, Hydran and even some Klingon and Romulan civil companies also invested resources in the reconstruction effort, as they hoped to gain new markets.
The resources to rebuild the cities and civil facilities of Cardassia were planned to come from the Noxadion asteroid belt, a large expanse of variable gravity which once was a solar system at the border of Cardassian space. The Noxadion sun went supernova centuries ago, leaving nothing but a giant asteroid belt. The Cardassians already mined there during their first expansion phases - where the Union was founded. Federation engineers were quite confident that modern mining systems could get enough resources out of the system and Starfleet promised logistics support as well.
Only one year after the first mining operations began, some freighters reported strange mass changes in the inner asteroid belt systems. The first scans of unknown space-living organisms populating the asteroid belts were reported by a Starfleet vessel a few weeks later. All mining operations were frozen and a large Federation-wide discussion was kicked off. Should the Prime Directive apply to space-living organisms as well? Many of the criteria of the Prime Directive clearly did not fit. With the Federation mining operations stopped, the Noxadion system soon became a target for many black-market and Ferengi miners who exploited the asteroid belt to its limits. As they went deeper and deeper into the system, the space-living-life forms--named the Noxter after the asteroid belt--became much more active.
The first black market transporters were lost within a few weeks. The USS Kentery found a Ferengi Marauder, badly damaged with most of its armor biologically digested. The Kentery scanned the freighter and towed it out of the belt, as its hull suddenly broke and several Noxter larvae escaped back into the belt.
Scans were made of the wreckage and the organic remains were analyzed. The whole system was put under quarantine by Starfleet and attempts were made to communicate with these strange life forms. So far, all attempts had failed and with growing fears Starfleet watched the Noxter expand throughout the asteroid belt, unsure of what the future would hold.
The Noxter themselves do neither understand technology as we humans are used to it, nor was anybody able to communicate with a Noxter. Popular Federation scientists do still see them as a very interesting and unique stellar life form, but not as a real stellar and intelligent power. Let's see what the future holds.
Their vessels are impossible to assimilate because the Noxter are the vessels. Also some species became part of the swarm during their voyage (for example the macro virus..). The Noxter Swarm has mostly small vessels (no need for crew space or corridors) and plays very aggressively. The Noxter have a hierarchy and a social structure and will play as if you are controlling a giant ant swarm.
The Noxter are planned to have a very unique game style. That already starts with 'vessel' construction: living beings are not built--they are born and grow up. Something similar will be done for the Noxter. Special organisms, called Breeders, may consume small Noxter eggs - called Seeds - that contain genetic information, the "blue-print" of a new species. Once a Seed has been consumed, a complex metamorphosis is triggered, completely changing the behavior of the Breeder. It starts to constantly reproduce new Noxter, according to the seed's structure. As such extensive protein synthesis consumes large amounts of energy, a breeder can only survive within the swarm and must be fed, consuming resources.
Once a Breeder has consumed a seed its genetic information morphs, so the process is irreversible and it can no longer consume other seeds. However, a Breeder may halt evolution for a bit (a few in-game minutes probably) without eating something (consuming resources) but basically, once you have a Breeder you have to take care of it until the bitter end.
Of course you can think of a Breeder being consumed by the swarm again. The Noxter don’t favor cannibalism, but Breeders are not expected to be sentient or intelligent, so they act more like tools and… well... might be consumed if the swarm is running low in food. Basically every Noxter would sacrifice itself to save its mother.
From the current point of development the Noxter will use the same resources as all other races - dilithium and tritanium - but won’t use supply at all, as Noxter are supplied by the swarm and don’t need spare parts or Romulan ale. Mining however will be different, as the Noxter use bacteria to synthesize bio-tech metals. That will also define the look of the Noxter. Unlike Beta 2 they will look less dark, with white or silver and semi-transparent parts. Other elements like purple or orange will be there of course, too.
Those unique concepts of economy give a Noxter player some very special things to take care of. Once a Breeder has absorbed a seed and begins evolving new beings, you have a constant supply of organisms at hand. But once your resources run low, your Breeders may die of hunger! The priority to hold a stable and secure home base - the swarm - is probably much more important for the Noxter, then for any race. That fits to the organic character, as the swarm contains the thing that is most valuable for a Noxter - its mother! To underline that, there are many interesting things planed for the swarm.
They will have organic elements, but there will also be a good part of technology for them and thus will utilize some technological weaponry… The avatars for the Noxter are different mother-entities, so basically different genetic lines or families.
The average Noxter is indeed sentient and intelligent, but those capabilities vary highly from species to species. Perhaps it is necessary to define the term "Noxter" here a bit closer, as the swarm does not consist of just one species. The "Noxter" is really the name of a space-based ecosystem, or a special kind of evolution of life. All Noxter share the basic way of encoding genetic information (they don't have a DNA like humanoids do) and they roughly consist of the same proteins and their bodies work similar. That’s also true for humans and dogs.
The most capable Noxter - mental wise - is the Mother. She is not only capable to forge genetic seeds, she also acts as some kind of communications hub. The Mother emits hormones into the swarm. Nebulae serve as bases for chemical communication between the Noxter. Besides that, they don't have a known language, and nobody was able to communicate with a Noxter, although the Federation tried for quite some time. The Noxter are not controlled by an "Overmind" or super entity, as - in theory - every Noxter can decide for itself if it wants to execute the chemical information package it has received. Their intellectual capabilities are similar to humans, but they have a very different view of the Universe, physics, technology and goals for life in general, so usually there are no conflicts. However, who knows what the future will bring--what with so many strange, metal ships flying around!
Many Noxter larvae hatch in alien debris, asteroids or similar environments. Consequently one ability of the Noxter will be able to "infect" a nearby and unsuspecting spacecraft. The outer hull of the spaceship then serves as a sort of shell or skeleton to the quite vulnerable young Noxter being. Some subspecies of the Noxter have already been reported to infect heavily damaged vessels with larvae, feeding from the vessels interior ... or on whoever didn't reach the last escape pod. Most of the Noxter population still prefers hatching their children in biomatter nebulae near the older Noxter organisms, so you dont have to fear that every vessel could carry something alien!