STORM OF STEEL
The aliens first entered the To’ok histories two thousand years ago, appearing at the fringe of the then-sprawling To’ok Combine. On the dozens of planets governed by the Combine, their enigmatic legates observed every action taken by the to’ok. On the rare occasions that they interacted with the to’ok officials, they would not identify themselves as anything other than simply ‘the Race’. Their envoys remained active for a century, always appearing uninvited, never explaining their intentions. The Combine suffered their presence in decidedly un-to’ok-like fashion, neither evicting them nor seizing their ships. They would come to pay dearly for their uncharacteristic forbearance.
After the mandatory hundred years of observation necessary for their cryptic plans, the Race withdrew from Combine space. They returned within a decade, however, and they returned in force. The to’ok attempted to fight, to negotiate, even to trade whole planets for a temporary respite from the unflagging alien assault. Nothing would stop or even slow the Race. The aliens were cold, utterly machinelike in every regard. Individual success or even survival meant little to them, so long as their civilization prospered. For a time, the Combine survived as world after world was stripped from them, but the Race remained unable to locate the to’ok homeworld. That changed just over a thousand years ago, when the to’ok were betrayed and their last planet was revealed to the aliens.
A single ship escaped the final attack. It fled into unexplored space, but its flight did not go unnoticed. An alien vessel pursued, only to be damaged disengaging from the battle. Both spacecraft became stranded on the same remote planet, the to’ok behind an immense spine of mountains, their alien foe pressed against the sea. The native inhabitants called the Race the Ute’wehi; at last, the to’ok had a name for their devils. Where the Ute’wehi strove only to destroy the to’ok, they worked closely with the autochthons, even helping them advance their society. While the to’ok fought amongst themselves and against the local population, the Ute’wehi worked tirelessly to repair their ship. It soon became apparent that the needed repairs would be a long time coming; centuries, perhaps longer. Faced with whole lifetimes in exile on this dry, inhospitable world, they merely worked harder to dig mines, extend their territory, and defend their Colony from the to’ok.