Species descriptions (FreeSpace Reference Bible)
These are the descriptions of FreeSpace species taken from the FreeSpace Reference Bible. These descriptions are copy/pasted from the Reference Bible; please do not edit them.
The Galactic Terran Alliance was formed many years before FreeSpace begins. It’s largely a defense and research organization, and has few domestic influences, focusing it’s [sic] attention on matters in outer space, and the exploration thereof.
Terrans (aka Humans) are much the same as modern day humans. They share many of the same strengths, weaknesses, and prejudices. During the T-V War (later called the 14-Year War) Terrans have excelled (over Vasudans) in the area of mass manufacturing and weaponry.
Earth (sometimes half-jokingly called Terra by spacers) has naturally become the super-industrial hub of the GTA’s space empire. All central government functions take place on, or in orbit around Earth.
Vasudans originate from the planet Vasuda Prime. Their anatomy is similar to humans in many respects. They’re bipedal, have two eyes and a mouth, and have nearly the same atmospheric & respiration needs. For a long time, their bony, sinewy limbs were a cause of revulsion for by the relatively soft-looking humans. The dry, arid climate of Vasuda Prime has given the Vasudans a brown, mottled, leathery skin.
Terran-Vasudan communication was relatively easy to establish, despite the fact that Vasudan vocal cords are unable to make the sounds needed to produce the English language (now refered to as “Terran Standard” by spacers). This requires the use of small translational devices during any T-V exchange. The speaker talks in a low tone near the “squawker” and it translates and speaks for the user in the desired language. Small earpieces allow the devices to relay the opposite translations to the user. While the squawkers work on both species, the Vasudans are typically the ones to wear the devices.
Human archeologists and geologists have often been amazed that Vasuda Prime was capable of producing an intelligent species like the Vasudans. The planet is nearly completely covered by wind-blown deserts and barren, rocky terrain. As a result, Vasudans live mostly in domed, sheltered, or underground cities. Vasudans have, of course, always excelled at excavation and the efficient use and transport of resources. It’s also been speculated that Vasudans were originally forced prematurely into space in order to gain the resources needed for their species’ survival. Vasudans also excel at general engineering and efficient, high-speed ship propulsion systems.
Despite the physical differences between humans and Vasudans, their mentalities evolved very similarly. They have strong family structures, and enjoy many similar social activities that Terrans do. Parts of their not-too-distant history are shrouded in much ancient mysticism, and preoccupation with legends. So much so that it’s been often rumored that the Vasudan Parliamentary government actively discourages any remnants of such mysticism and fanatical religion.
It is suspected that the Vasudans may have actually been visited long ago in their past by another race, simply called “the Ancients”. Not much is known about this race, but from archaeological digs, it seems that they originated from a system nearby to Vasuda Prime. Since it is unlikely that Vasuda Prime could have sustained a primitive race for long enough to develop space travel, it is not unfeasible that “the Ancients” may have helped Vasudan culture develop enough to allow them to survive.
However, all evidence of “the Ancients” is mysteriously cut off after a certain point in time, leading scientists to believe there was some kind of cataclysm which befell their culture. Other more religious groups claim that they were destroyed by a powerful cleansing force, and that the same would happen to the Vasudans when they became too prideful. They claim that the ancients left a prophecy detailing the destruction of themselves, and the subsequent destruction of the Vasudans. Most modern Vasudans have abandoned this mythos, and believe that “the Ancients” were just another spacefaring race that stayed in the area for awhile, then moved on to more fertile systems.
The Temple at Altair, a massive ruins of what may have once been an Ancients’ building, stands on Altair 5, a liveable planet in a system not far from Vasuda Prime. This “temple” has been reconstructed into the headquarters for the “Hammer of Light”, which is a group of the most fanatical believers in the “Omen of Darkness” which is the term they have given to the eventual destruction of the Vasudan race. The Hammer of Light believes that only by staying steadfast and abandoning pride can they truly step into the Light and become one with their maker. Hence, they are a “Hammer of Light”, pounding in the values that they believe will help others see this light.
Due to the fact that the Vasudans were the first sentient species that the Terrans encountered in space, the Terrans adopted a naming convention based on Zodiac signs and constellations for Vasudan ships.
Not much about the Shivans is known. Their complete disdain for planets and colonies has led most to believe that the Shivans do not live on planets at all. Their origins are unknown, however, it is possible that they were the cause of the destruction of "the Ancients". Their technology is far more advanced than the other two cultures, and their anatomy is totally dissimilar. They have only been seen in zero-G environments where they use their three large "legs" to propel themselves. They also have two top "arms" which are primarily used for balance and guidance. They have numerous arachnid-like eyes on their well-protected heads.
The Shivan's [sic] familiarity with Jump Node locations and their desire to gain control of them leads Terran Intelligence to believe that they know more about FreeSpace than anyone else.
Note discrepancies, inaccuracies, and trivia here
- Though the Reference Bible gives "Human" and "Terra" as synonyms for "Terran" and "Earth" (respectively), neither of these names are used in game.
- The Vasudans entry claims that Terrans used Zodiac signs and constellations to designate Vasudan ships. In reality, while Vasudan fighter and bomber wings are referred to as such, very few Vasudan ships are actually named through this system; the PVC Taurus (Out of the Dark, Into the Night), PVFr Andromeda (The Hammer and the Anvil) being two rare examples. Names for large Vasudan ships in FreeSpace 1 do not seem to follow any particular system, but by FreeSpace 2, larger Vasudan ships are consistently referred to by Egyptian names. Zodiac signs are used to name enemy wings, both Shivan and NTF.