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  1. The Hype Priest spoke, his amplified voice shattering windows for blocks around. "Who is like unto ZAREK?" he said, "Or who dares to oppose ZAREK? ZAREK, the Ineluctable! ZAREK the Subjugator! ZAREK, the Undefeated! ZAREK--merciful to his vassals! ZAREK--cruel to the rebellious! ZAREK of the Shining Hawks! ZAREK of the Galactic Throne! ZAREK the Ever-Living! ZAREK the Conqueror of Suns! Prostrate yourselves before ZAREK and live! Surrender your abject planet to ZAREK and live! Resist ZAREK and be swept from existence! Glory to ZAREK!" Any good spacefuture game needs an expansionist god-king with a cult army bent on planetary conquest, and Lord Zarek of Hydra's Imperials seem up to the task. I went with blue skin partly to emphasize them as aliens, partly to evoke blue-skinned gods and demons of multiple cultures (and also the Kree, various X-Men and Smurfs), and partly because I'd already used a lot of non-blue color schemes. The green and gold and metallic red are garish, but garish in a way I could see Frazetta paint, or imagine from Buck Rogers or Ming the Merciless. Zarek is seen here with his Psi-Mages, Nodens and Oannes. Better views of the Psi-Mages: Commander Shamash keeps the legions in line with draconian discipline: Lugalbanda and Urartu, a pair of troopers. They drop out of the sky, take over a world, run it for a few hundred years, and set off for the next one. No one is quite sure why, but most of the sentient species in this sector have a cultural memory of the blue conquerors that came from the sky at the dawn of civilization. One such species, apparently very far advanced technologically, just up and *vanished* in the galactic recent past. Their ruined crystal sky-cities hung abandoned over a planet whose crust had been cracked into the familiar Eye motif. Glyphs a hundred kilometers long overwrote the main continent. Xenolinguists are still working on the translation, but have come to a consensus that one of the letter-groupings translates roughly to CONSCRIPTION.
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