The Mighty Shivans
The Shivans are often underestemated by many people, case and point the Shivan Manifesto. The Shivans, however, have shown themselves in FreeSpace 2 to be an incredibly powerful force. The Shivans are always the same Shivans in both games, with the same level of technology. They do not care as to how many losses they take, they are there to prevent anyone from gaining too much power through exploitation of the galaxy and its inhabitants, such as the Ancients.
Shivans in FreeSpace 1 are just as powerful as Shivans in FreeSpace 2:
Since the Shivans originally arrived in Terran/Vasudan systems through unstable jump nodes in the Ross 128 and Ikeya, their ships had to be as subspace-worthy as possible. Certain designs such as the SC Cain, SF Scorpion, and SD Demon were much more subspace capable than other, seemingly more advanced designs such as the SC Rakshasa, SF Mara, and the SD Ravana, and even the SJ Sathanas. Beam cannons also tend to interfere with a vessels subspace transit, therefore the only vessel in the first Shivan fleet to attack the GTA and PVN was the SD Lucifer. In fact, there has been no progress of Shivan technology since the Ancients were wiped out.
Admiral Bosch viewed the conflict with the Shivans as the outcome of a terrible misunderstanding, and Allied Command does seem to go out of its way to make sure Bosch has a chance to try making contact with the Shivans with ETAK by protecting him and the NTF Iceni in The Romans Blunder, Rebels & Renegades. This suggests that the Shivans misinterpreted something the Terrans and / or Vasudans had done prior to FreeSpace 1. It seems the GTI may have know of the existence of the Shivans even before the attack on Ross 128 and Rivera Station. Rivera Station was the site of development for early shield prototypes as per the tech description of the GTM MX-50, which makes one question where exactly this shield technology was coming from. Since Shivans are the only race in the game at that point to possess mature shield technology, it seems likely the Rivera experiments were derived from Shivan technology. Potentially, the GTI conducted experiments on Shivans very early, triggering the attack, seeming like imperial attackers (like they were). When Bosch explained the GTI in no way represented humanity, the Shivans destroyed Capella's sun as a warning of their power, and a message to leave them be, to prevent future conflict between the Shivans and Terrans.
- The Shivans are there to prevent the exploitation of, and species in, the galaxy.
- The Shivans encountered the GTI before the Great War, resulting in the GTI stealing technology and experimenting on Shivans, appearing as an imperial race.
- The Shivans have had the same technology since the Ancients
- The Shivans were unable to use their most powerful ships and most beam cannons because both interfere with subspace, making the trip through the unstable nodes of Ross 128 and Ikeya impossible with such technology.
- Admiral Bosch set out to clear up the misunderstanding with the Shivans (the GTI did not represent the Terran race when it experimented on them, and took over their space.) and the GTVA High Council allowed him to, while trying to look like they were attempting to capture them.
- The NTF was Bosch's attempt to attract the Shivan's attention, with imperialism and genocide. While in Deneb, he discovered the Knossos technology, a way of going to the Shivans rather than having them come to him.