Excerpted from, Toward a New Understanding of Major Races by Professor Javier Solano-y-Miranda, University of Nuevo Madrid, Home:
“Classically, we count six major races: Humaniti, the Vargr, the Aslan, the Hiver, the K’Kree, and the Ancients. There was discussion of a seventh race on the coreward edge of the Imperium, to spinward, but further research seems to suggest that they are a devolved remnant of the Ancients.
“Here, I will challenge the six-race paradigm. Here, I intend to show you that there are – in fact – five major races.
“When we consider Humaniti as a major race, we consider the Solomani, the Vilani, and the Zhodani collectively. All three races originated on Earth, but the Vilani and Zhodani people, and indeed the people of many minor races scattered throughout the Imperium and elsewhere, were the result of meddling by the Ancients. Earth was visited some 300 thousand years ago, at the beginning of the Middle Paleolithic Era, and samples of her human population – early ancestors of what would eventually become Homo Sapiens, as well as Neanderthals and Heidelbergensians – were taken for their own use and transported to other worlds.
“We can’t begin to imagine what use a star-faring species as advanced as the Ancients might have had for stone age primitives. In many cases, they seem to have simply seeded likely worlds with human populations and then left them there. In the case of the Vilani and the Zhodani, and a few others, their history and archaeology suggests that they shared their world with the Ancients. You will see later that this is a significant point of difference.
“Of the three human races who advanced to the stars, the Solomani people achieved interstellar space last. It is a well-known fact of history that we discovered the jump drive in 2087. When we left our system and ventured out into interstellar space, we encountered the Vilani Imperium. The Vilani were already old in space by that time, and we should be thankful for that – Vilani culture was in decline, stagnant, and that fact allowed us to take our own place in space and eventually to conquer the Vilani Imperium and establish the Rule of Man. The Vilani had discovered the jump drive and began expanding through the stars before we here on Earth had even emerged from the Stone Age, and it was our good fortune that the Vilani had not spread this far, and that they were in their decline when we first met them.
“However, the Vilani had help. Key to the cultural and technological development of Homo Sapiens on earth was the development of agriculture. Agriculture permitted denser concentrations of population, creating the dynamic forces that led to the development of laws and government, the forces that allowed, indeed compelled Terran humans to move from small tribes and villages to cities and kingdoms. It was 290 thousand years after the Ancients were gone before human populations on Earth achieved a density that encouraged agriculture as a viable alternative to hunting and gathering.
“For the Vilani, however, farming was a necessity almost from the moment they were settled on their new world. Comparatively little on Vland is edible, and much of that has to be processed to be useful, creating pressures which quickly led to the development of agriculture and of larger, more organized communities. We believe that the Vilani had help in that as well, that their Ancient masters used their technology to show them what flora and fauna were potentially edible and what steps were needed to make them edible. We do not believe that Neanderthal or Heidelbergensian or even proto-Sapiens hunter gatherers, left alone on a world such as Vland, could have developed the techniques necessary for survival without technological assistance. Thus, at a time before Homo Sapiens had even evolved, the humans of Vland had already been given the concept of agriculture by their Ancient masters.
“The Zhodani too were the beneficiaries of their contacts with the Ancients. The archaeological record is clear that the humans of Zhodane were integrated into Ancient society, possibly as labor or servants. It meant that they suffered with the fall of the Ancients, but it also meant that they had knowledge of the benefits of agriculture and government. The humans of Zdant did not emerge from Ancient domination with a clean slate; they emerged with a knowledge of practices and possibilities that would give them a head start in achieving a technological civilization. We believe that, had it not been for that early knowledge, the humans of Zdant would have progressed much as any other human minor race has.
“This all is in contrast to Homo Sapiens of Terra, and to the Aslan, the Hiver, and the K’Kree, all of whom developed naturally and without outside help on their homeworlds.
“I propose to you therefore that the Vilani, Zhodani and by extension the Vargr, an uplift race given sapience and tool use by their Ancient masters, may in fact be considered to be client races of the Ancients, in that the first steps of those races on the road to technological civilization were not independent but were the product of Ancient aid and guidance.
“I therefore propose three classifications of sentient races: Major, who are races that achieved jump-based interstellar civilization independently; Mediate, who are races that were placed on the road to civilization by Ancient intervention but thereafter progressed independently to achieve jump-based interstellar civilization; and Minor, who are races that have not independently achieved jump-based interstellar civilization.
“In such a classification system, the Solomani, Aslan, Hivers, K’Kree and of course the Ancients are Major races, having achieved their interstellar status independently, and the Vilani, Zhodani, and Vargr are Mediate races, having been launched on the road to civilization by their Ancient masters but having thereafter achieved interstellar status independently.”