The Liir military is run along monastic lines, for lack of a better word. Their organization most closely resembles that of a martial temple or order — Elders are generally the venerated "masters", but youth, talent and strength are respected and shaped. A gifted tactician or strategist could rise to become a Black Swimmer very quickly, if that youngster could lead them to victory. The Liir do not give their ships prefixes as the other races do.
The Liir as a species are going through a time of great turmoil. Since the coming of the Suul'ka, they have been forced to cope with some things which were virtually unknown to their species for thousands of years. Murder. Slavery. And now, war.
Culturally speaking, the Liir have a strong pacifistic streak and are inclined to avoid violence. Up until recently the very notion of "war" was unknown to them — they do not war among themselves, historically, and had some difficulty grasping concepts like "conquest" or understanding why such a thing would be desirable.
Because of their empathic and telepathic abilities the Liir are always keenly aware of the sufferings of others and they take no joy in causing pain, fear or anger. They revere life and harmony and abhor needless death or destruction. Nonetheless, they also value their own lives and over the past two centuries they have come to embrace survival as a necessary virtue.
There is a great deal of debate, angst and soul-searching among the Liir general population over the actions of their military. There are many Liir who have never embraced the changes that came with Suul'ka and genuinely would have preferred to find some peaceful way of resisting their oppressors. They argue that mass suicide would have been a better answer than embracing the ways of their enemies. In death they would have freed themselves from bondage without becoming stained — without losing an essential part of themselves which made them Liir and not Suul'ka. Or Human, or Hiver, or Tarka, or Zuul.
In short, the Liir have found a way to cope, culturally, with war.
- Do not expect to face a peaceful and idyllic race in battle.
- The beings who helm the starships of the Liir navy count themselves among the dead.
- They are not Liir — they are everything which is not Liir.
- They are ruthlessness, they are destruction, they are death-dealers and plague-bearers.
- They have become one with the black sea, deafened by its darkness — the void swallows all sound and they cannot hear you screaming.
Liir are somewhat removed from the psychic impact of killing in space combat much more so than in a close assault. But there are still echoes and there is still tremendous guilt and pain, especially as the "lights" aboard the enemy vessel flicker and go out. Whenever a sentient dies, the universe is a darker place for a Liir.
The farther away this event occurs, the easier is it is to shunt aside the emotions associated with the act. But yes, even Liir working to create weapons or build ships are somewhat hardened relative to a normal Liir, and even they have ethical pain to deal with. They usually think of their work as a defensive measure to protect their people, both planet-side and in the Black.
There is darkness in the universe that humanity has seen only in glimpses. The Liir know more than they are telling about many, many things.
The Liir are extremely curious and quick to learn and have made astounding strides with technology of various kinds in a very short period of time. They are masters of back engineering — the combination of telekinetic tool-use and their ability to form three-dimensional schematics of any machine without having to disassemble it have proven to be powerful advantages. And although most of the weapons in their arsenal are easily recognizable, the unique character of their species does tend to show in their battle tactics.
Liir have a tendency to encircle their enemies, forming an attack ring which allows them to assault the target from several sides at once — this is analogous to the standard treatment of predator species on their home world which are dispatched in a similar fashion. Liir will always target an enemy’s engines if possible, not only to spare the lives of the crew but to preserve any useful technology or data that might be gleaned from the undamaged remains of the ship. Their reverence for life has given them a strong aversion for high-explosive weapons and they dislike the indiscriminate bombardment of planets because of the impact to life forms other than the resident Suul'ka.
When Liir attack, they strike with surgical precision.
Close Combat Edit
A Liir in close combat is the most dreadful foe imaginable, unless you have developed specific technology to spoof his psionic and physical senses.
You cannot hide. Your life force and thought patterns are about as subtle as foghorn with a laser show attached.
If you can be "seen" sonically, you can be easily attacked — not only by his weapons systems, but by a tornado of whatever stray objects he has managed to tear loose from his surroundings. Everything under the size of a bread box in your ship is likely to come hurtling at you at the speed of sound.
If he understands the mechanisms which operate YOUR weapons, the tiniest telekinetic twitch can cause them to misfire or explode. The same is true of the tiny flicker of pressure it takes to burst the blood vessels in your brain, which are as easy for him to read sonically as the trail map in a city park.
This, of course, is assuming that he is very calm and being subtle. If he is hurt and angry, he'll get crude and childish — pick you up and crush you to jelly in a telekinetic fist, or batter you into spam against the hull of your own vessel.
War Effort Edit
Building a machine, no matter how deadly the machine, is still a sterile task by comparison to the actual combat faced by the Black Swimmers. The Liir are no different from humans when it comes to achieving emotional distance from acts which are physically distant. This is why they try to keep war as far away from their homes and loved ones as they can. But yes, even Liir working to create weapons or build ships are somewhat hardened relative to a normal Liir, and even they have ethical pain to deal with. They usually think of their work as a defensive measure to protect their people, both planet-side and in the Black.