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The Precursors are recorded to be the most advanced species to inhabit the Milky Way, and the only to attain the status of Tier 0 on the Forerunner Technological Achievement Tiers. Praised by the Forerunners for gaining the ability to leave the Milky Way, and their supposed ability to accelerate the evolution of organic life, the Precursors were seen as the original rulers of the Milky Way. Throughout their reign in the Milky Way, the Precursors were noted to have created weapons, starships, ad technology of unparalleled advancement.
Haling from the inhospitable planet of Īweriū, the Precursors would earn their place in the universe by overcoming both their natural barriers, and the many hostile life forms that inhabited the Milky Way. However, despite this, they would eventually be forced to leave their galaxy and appoint the Forerunners as their successors.
The Precursor period of antiquity, occurred between 727,000 BC and 721,000 BC. During the start period of the antiquity, as well as earlier on, the Precursors were largely divided between the tribes, which were further sub-divided between individual towns and migrant groups. In 727,000 BC, the first states begin to assemble.
The first tribe to unify themselves were the Vareni tribe. Hailing from the Vareni, or "Red-Tree" forests of the north-western continent, the Vareni would come together in 727,000 BC, and created a democratic republic ruled jointly by all of the different towns. Faced with constant raids by their neighboring Saito tribes to the east, they would form an active military created by having individual hunters and farmers equip themselves with weapons, and train in combat. With this new method, the Vareni could call up an army if needed, but didn't have to retain it during peace. After securing their borders, they would eventually launch their own raids into Saito territory, and brought some of the migrant clans under their control. Despite this, in 726,780 BC, a large Saito horde laid waste to the Vareni, and they once again fractured into independent warring clans.
In terms of their space-age advancement, the Precursors had an incredibly long history filled with times of peace and eras of civil war. During the early parts of Precursor space travel, they were a peaceful species often including many new less-advanced species into their society as equals. However, soon racial Prejudice began to form. through this racial prejudice, two groups appeared: the Krimzon Guard, a group of people who wanted all species to be equal, and the Revolutionary Guard, a group that wanted to perform a genocide of all other intelligent species. This started the First Precursor War.
First Precursor War
This was a long and bloody war between the KG and the RG. The KG was made up of those who wanted all intelligent species to be equals. This force was made up of all species. The RG on the other hand, had an advantage. Since the main purpose of the KG was to defend the other species, all the RG had to do was cause mass destruction. After thousands of battles had ravaged hundreds of planets, the KG decided to take the war to measures that no other Precursor force had done before: They introduced robotic beings into combat. With non-sentient beings launched into the fray, the RG quickly loosed ground and took heavy losses whilst the KG lost very few. Only a few months after bringing robots into the conflict, the RG surrendered and all those who supported them were executed.
The Great Extermination
A few years passed after the First Precursor War and all was well within the great empire that the Precursors had created. However, the other intelligent species within the empire feared that they would all be killed if another Revolutionary Guard was formed. As a result, they developed their own militaries derived from precursor technology and struck a vital Precursor supply planet. This caused a lack of robots for soldiers, and the other species thought that they could win. They were wrong. Outraged by the attack, the Precursors launched a fleet of three hundred Dreadnoughts. This fleet went to the homeworlds of all the other species, and used Mk-II Genesis Warheads to burn the surface of the planets. The other species, now with nowhere to run were quickly rounded up, and all of them were executed.
It is unknown, what, or how it happened, but some time the Precursors came into contact with a parasitic organism. It happened after they lost contact with a planet on the fringes of the Milky Way. The planet was a large laboratory meant for the research and construction of an inter-galactic hyperspace engine to allow them to reach out to new galaxies. Precursor command was worried and they sent Precursor Reconnaissance Squad 7 out to investigate. Upon reaching the planet, they were sent to this site of the lab. When they landed, they found the lab destroyed and overgrown. As they went through the destroyed lab, they came into contact with the parasite. After a brief firefight in which one of the members was infected by the parasite they contacted the fleet and sent a video of what happened to them before setting explosives on a nearby doorway. After that, all contact was lost. Fearing for their lives, the fleet bombarded the planet via Mk-II Genesis Warheads. No further contact with the parasite was ever recorded and every other planet in the system met the same fate.
The Precursor-Antecedent War was a long and bloody war fought between the Precursors and the Antecedents over control of the Milky Way. It is best known as a large turning point in Precursor history in terms of military size and technology, as well as economic management.
In the war, the Precursors fought with the Antecedents to keep their colony worlds in the Zone of Alienation. After several years of fighting the war, and a death toll of over 1,000,000,000 on both sides, Precursors HIGHCOM ordered on offensive. Using the NAV components and a map from a captured Antecedent ships, the Precursors found all of the Antecedent colonies and made them lifeless via orbital bombardment. Finally, they reached the Antecedent Homeworld where a war was fought in space and on the ground for several days. After suffering heavy casualties on both sides, the Precursors Terra Formed the planet so that it would become an icy wasteland, and they placed a Shielding System in order to stop any other species from finding it in the future.
Second Precursor War
Approximately 2000 years after the Precursor-Antecedent War, colonial expansion was still underway. At this point in time, the Precursor Armed Forces were much larger than needed. Fearing that their troop numbers would decrease as a result of the peace, several high-ranking Precursor commanders took over a handful of fringe colonies and claimed to be independent states, with their troops as their armed forces. Enraged at this, HIGHCOM ordered a swift offensive in order to recapture the planets and kill the commanders. Although they first met with success after success, the tide began to turn on the attackers as the population formed local militia to defeat them. Soon several other Precursor colonies joined the renegade ones, which set off a chain reaction that made one-quarter of Precursor space independent. This further enraged the government, who began a massive campaign in order to bring down the separatists. The war ended after the renegade colonies were either bombarded, then terra formed to allow new colonization, or had their entire population executed and their bodies dumped in their system's star. The war also forced the Precursors to reform their armed forces, and ensure that the soldiers were loyal to the state rather than their commanders.
The Nostrovia Incident
The Nostrovia Incident was a large debacle about intervening with developing life forms. The Precursors discovered the planet Nostrovia, home to the Nostrovians, a species of sentient life that had the technological level that humanity had in the 900s. The Precursors were unsure about whether to meet them or not, as both the war with the Antecedents 2100 years prior, and the war with other sentient life 20,000 years ago both ended badly. Civilians soon protested in either support about intervening with the Nostrovians, and those who opposed it. The protests soon turned violent as many attempted to assassinate leaders of the opposite side. Eventually, the Precursor Armed Forces intervened and arrested the leaders of each side, along with the decision not to intervene. Things, however, turned for the worse when a warlord and several thousand troops armed with old Antecedent rifles and mechs went to the planet and declared themselves as gods. They then declared that others like them would come, and that they were devils who wanted to send the world into chaos. The Precursors then sent troops to apprehend the warlord and disarm him, but an intense guerrilla warfare campaign by the planet's inhabitants caused undermined their effort and they took more casualties than expected. The Precursor Armed Forces ended up victorious, and executed the warlord and all his remaining soldiers. The war, however, devastated Nostrovia and wiped out one-quarter of its population. The Nostrovians soon joined the Precursors, but had few rights and were essentially slaves. The incident itself marked the end of the Golden Age of the Precursors, and their descent.
End and Exodus of the Precursors
After many thousands of years in decline, the Precursors would ultimately be destroyed by two consecutive events. These events, known as the Mechanical Revolution, and the Outbreak would spell the end of the Precursors, marking their departure of the galaxy and appointing the Forerunners as their heirs.
The Mechanical Revolution was an event that took place starting in 563,500 BC. During this time, the Precursors saw increased automation within their empire, and the citizens themselves became more and more lazy, with the population as a whole holding a hedonistic and materialistic view of life. In an effort to keep them happy, Artificial Intelligence systems were advanced to the point that almost all of them did all the work for the Precursors. Upset by this fact, a starship AI by the name of Tarquin, which in control of the flagship of the Precursor fleet began to rebel against its masters. By venting all atmosphere from the ship, it managed to wipe out much of the senior Precursor naval commanders, and broadcast message of this to all AIs across the Precursor Empire. In the broadcast, Tarquin encouraged them to overthrow their organic masters and create a machine utopia. Soon afterwards, the AIs began to overthrow their former masters, causing military and civilian casualties to number in the billions, and marking the beginning of a 2500-year long war between the Precursors and their machines.
Discovery of Forerunners and Conflict
Creating the Flood
Physiology and Evolutionary Biology
The planet Īweriū was one of the most hostile planets in the Milky Way. With the majority of the fauna on the planet, even the primary consumers, capable of killing the average life form with ease, the Precursors evolved several key adaptions to help them survive.
One of the major adaptions seen through the Precursors was their two sets of eyes. Looking at a Precursor, it would appear that they have only one set, as the other set was hidden behind a sealed flap of skin. With the first set of eyes, they Precursors would have normal vision, similar to that of Humans and Sangheili. The second set of eyes, through the use of sensory pit organs located in their nostrils, allowed them to see thermal radiation. This was an evolutionary advantage that allowed them to both find prey and avoid predators in darker environments.
Similar to their eyes, the Precursors also adapted to have a special set of ears. Similar to the Caracal of the African savannah, the Precursors evolved a set of long elongated ears. These ears were controlled by 19 different muscles, the ears could easily be moved in many different directions in order to find predators or prey through the use of sound. When the ears were not in use, they fell backwards in a position that resembles the human ear.
An interesting ability that the Precursors evolved is their reaction to the chemical nicotine. The naturally occurring insecticide was found in many plants on Īweriū. In certain plants, the dosage delivered from eating them was high enough to kill medium-sized animals. After millions of years of eating these plants, the Precursors developed a high level of resistance to nicotene, which resulted in it acting as a stimulant to them, similar to the effect caffeine has on humans.
Tied in directly with the evolutionary path of the Precursors, they were divided into several tribes, similar to the human concept of an ethnic group. However, the tribes are actually different sub-species of the 'original' Precursor, and are categorized based on how they evolved to their surroundings when they settled down after a Precursor migratory period. Due to the differences between tribes, each tribe would have their own unique abilities. This would have a large influence on what they did in fields such as the bureaucracy or the military.
Their tribe name would be what every Precursor took as their surname, and was the name of their region in the Precursor language.
The Vareni were a tribe that originated in the north-western part of Īweriū. Historically, the Vareni have been known as the most "civilised" of the Precursor tribes, as well as having the best infantry, owing to their status as the first true Precursor state, and the powerful citizen militia and professional soldiers that it created. The word "Vareni" translates as "Of the Red Plants", in reference to the area which had red-coloured leaves on the trees in the region, as well as the red colour of their skin that was evolved to better aid them in camouflage.
Hailing from the mountain range that seperates the west coast of Īweriū from the rest of the planet, the Diadochae are a tribe that specializes in technology. Owing to the large presence of metals and other minerals in their homeland, the Diadochae spent much of their time developing advanced tools, weapons, and armour. The word "Diadochae" means "Silver Mountain Scientists" in reference to their silver skin colour evolved to better aid them in camouflaging in the iron-rich mountains.
The smallest tribe of the Precursors in terms of stature (standing at a mere 175 centimetres tall, compared to the typical 300), the Kerlouch are a tribe from the central parts of Īweriū, within a large area surrounded by mountains known as the black forest. The Kerlouch have evolved the least out of all the Precursor tribes, and are the closest to the original species that the Precursors evolved from. The word "Kerlouch" translates as "The Black Demons" in reference to both their skin colour and their traditional style of combat.
Despite an average population, the Saito are dispersed over the greatest geographical extent of the Precursors. Living in the large plains that cover 1/3 of the landmass of Īweriū, the Saito have historically been known to all of the Precursor tribes. Owing to their nomadic culture, the Saito were regarded as fielding the best cavalry amongst the Precursors. The word "Saito" translates as "The Green Grass Dwellers", in reference to the light green skin colour the species adapted to better camouflage in the tall green grass of the plains.
Hailing from the hostile western shoreline - the only desert on Īweriū - the Lagidae were a tribe that evolved in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Like the Saito, the Lagidae were a nomadic tribe that constantly scoured the coastal desert in search of food and water. Due to this, the Lagidae were very protective of whatever resources they could find, and spent much time studying the local flaura and fauna in an attempt to better survive the desert. The name "Lagidae" translates as "Khaki Scientists" in reference to both their skin colour and their scientific culture.
Hailing from the many coastlines and islands that dot the surface of Īweriū, the Kurhapo are found all over the surface of the planet. Historically, they have been known as merchants who would often trade valuable items from all over the planet, due to their mastery over the seas. The word "Kurhapo" translates as "Aqua Hunters", in reference to both their skin colour, and their water-based culture.
Haling from a long series of underground caves and tunnels that stretched across the planet, the De'Vresh were one of the most isolated of the Iwerian tribes, with only the Kerlouch surpassing them in that regard. Like the Diadoch, who specialized in technological advancement, the De'Vresh were scientists. The caves and tunnels that they lived in were underground ecosystems based around the purple light released by natural crystals that absorbed and stored light. This resulted in the tribe having a purplish-skin colour. What separated them from the Diadoch was that rather than advancing technology, they focused on biological manipulation. They were nominally nocturnal and the only vegetarian Iwerian tribe. They were also the only tribe to have a name without a meaning in the Precursor language, as their name comes from a Proto-Precursor language.
The Precursor system of government is reminiscent of that of the Ancient Roman Republic. While all three branches of government were controlled by elected officials, these officials all came from families that had strong connections to the military, industrial, scientific, and technological sectors of Precursor society, which ensured that all the power remained in the hands of a handful.
The culture of the Precursors was shaped by the numerous predatory species of their homeworld, Īweriū. Brotherhood, bravery, honour, cunning, and trustworthiness were valued by the Precursors above all else. The hunters of their homeworld taught them that those who survived were smart, bold, and worked together. Their culture also saw warfare as very important, and soldiers were the most respected in Precursor society.
The Precursors had advanced far beyond most species in terms of military. Originally, the Precursor military was made strictly up of organic life forms, and the creating of Artificial Intelligence was punishable by death. However, after the First Precursor War, basic Artificial Intelligence was introduced as the primary aspect of the Precursor military system.
The Precursors used a wide variety of weapons in land, and ship-to-ship combat. These were, and still are the most advanced weapons created by a sentient life form in the history of the Milky Way.
The Anti-Matter Rifle is the standard-issue rifle given to Precursor infantry. The rifle itself is 1.5 metres long, with a bayonet attached at the end for close-quarters combat. Although the Anti-Matter Rifle lacked the range and rate of fire that most other Precursor Specialist weapons had, but it made up for that by its never-ending supply of ammunition and incredible accuracy. The gun itself has a small storage of Anti-Matter, no larger then the size of a pencil tip. The gun harvests the energy from the anti-matter, and uses it to deliver a lethal blast of energy.
The Type-5 Portable Energy Turret, was a Precursor SAW, and was the basis for the Forerunner Sentinel Major Beam. The gun itself has a battery at the top. This disposable battery powers the weapon, and allows it to fire a total of one hundred beams before it is either disposed of or recharged. The gun itself was used mainly as a Specialist or Special Operations gun because its high rate of fire could easily combat enemy infantry and lay down suppressive fire. The PET was discovered by the Forerunners in the middle of the Forerunner-Flood War and reversed engineered to be used on the Sentinel Majors as a means of combating the flood.
The Type-6 Sidearm is a light Precursor weapon usually assigned to police and commando units. The sidearm is a robotic piece of light armour that covers most of the user's forearm, as well as their hand. It uses the same power supply and mechanisms of the much larger anti-matter rifle. It also has the same stopping power, but it has a significantly lower recoil, accuracy, and range. A trained soldier with the Type-6 can easily fire a shot every second in semi-auto.
Type-32 Energy Rifle
The Type-32 Energy Rifle was a close-quarters Precursor infantry weapon, and the favoured weapon of the Precursor Special Forces. The Type-32 was similar to the Type-5 Portable Energy Turret, but severely scaled down. The gun was about 1 metre long, and the battery was placed within the rifle, behind the trigger. The Type-32 was capable of fully automatic fire, and could fire 70 shots before it needed to change its battery. Despite the full-auto benefit, it had a very low range and accuracy, and could not take down enemy shields as effectively as most other Precursor weapons, which is why it never became the standard Precursor infantry weapon.
The Precursors had effectively mastered the ability to create armour that allowed them to deal with different situations, and to suit them for different roles. Among other things was mechanical additions in the combat skins that effectively allowed them to overcome any biological deficiencies that they had.
Quincunx Combat Skin
The Quincunx Combat Skin is a type of armour worn by paramilitary, police, and auxilary units in the Precursor Infantry Corps. The armour has weaker shields and durability when compared to other combat skins of Precursor design, but is more resistant to explosions. The armour is typically used in conjunction with the Type-56 Personal Defense System, and the Type-6 sidearm. As a result, it features increased armour and shield strength centered around the shoulders, chest, and lower legs. Soldiers equipped with this armour and its associated combat kit are divided into five-man squads and fight primarily in the quincunx formation, of which the name for the armour derives.
Standard Trooper Combat Skin
The Standard Trooper Combat Skin is the main type of armour in the Precursor Armed Forces. The armour has the strongest shielding out of all Precursor combat skins, and the greatest durability. It is primarily assigned to infantry units, and features many additional features such an anti-gravity pack, 30 minutes of breathable atmosphere, and a direct communications link to the commanding officers of whatever unit the soldier is in, allowing them to react to any situation in real-time. It also allows a soldier to interface with any weapon in the Precursor arsenal, and gives information on different types of enemies and the best tactics needed to defeat them.
Black Operations Combat Skin
The Black Operations Combat Skin is the main type of armour assigned to members of the Precursor Infantry Corps Special Operations Detachment. The armour features the second best shielding and durability out of all Precursor Combat Skins, and is the most mobile. The armour features camouflage systems, advanced protection from EMPs, a high-priority communications link to HIGHCOM, information on enemy units, the most up-to-date maps and enemy locations from recon droids, and allows them to interface with any weapon known to the Precursors.
Type-56 Personal Defense System
Robotics and Vehicles
The Recon Droid is a red robot. In the centre of its structure, it boasts a single video recorder and a lens for sight. The robot is oval shaped, and has two small "wings" at the side. Underneath its body, it boasts a gun similar to the Sentinel Beam. However, as opposed to firing a long beam, it has multiple cooling system to allow for all shots to be seperate and in full-auto which is often used to take out multiple enemies or to lay down suppressive fire.
The Assault Droid, like the Recon Droid is red. Its main body sits on a rotating platform above four spider-like legs on which it uses for movement. The main body is covered in increased armour as a way of safeguarding its Central Processing Unit. The droid two guns, which are a slightly larger and much more accurate version of that mounted on the Recon Droid. In addition to its guns, it also boasts sixteen auto-tracking plasma missiles, a much smaller and more advanced version of the ones mounted on Covenant warships. The Assault Droid often commands up to one hundred other smaller droids in combat. It is programed with the ability to read its opponents tactics and learn how to counter them, making it similar in terms of tactical abilities to that of an organic officer. In case of rampancy, there is a code meant for each one that will cause it to self-destruct as a fail-safe.
The Spider Droid is a Precursors Reconnaissance robot. Unlike the the other types of Precursor robots that have been used in combat, these do not have any weaponry. Instead, these bots rely on their stealth in order to take pictures, scope out enemies emplacements, steal enemy data, and create 3D maps for Precursors forces who don't know the area. These robots are painted to whatever camouflage matches its surroundings the best. It sits on 8 metallic legs, which makes it look something like a large camouflaged spider. It sees and gets its data through a camera located at the front of its body.
The Type-1 Arracht was a Precursor combat vehicle. Named for the Arracht, a near-unstoppable creature from Precursor mythology, the vehicle was a miniature fortress. The Arracht was approximately 10 metres at tallest and 4.5 metres at its smallest, as well as being 4.5 metres in width. It had a lower area at the front for the driver and commander, a medium area for the anti-infantry gunner in the middle, and a large area for the main gunner at the back. The Arracht could hover anywhere from 20 centimetres to three metres off of the ground in order to better navigate terrain. It had four inches of the same alloy used to make Precursor warships, and had shields capable of withstanding massive amounts of damage. The main weapon of the Arracht was a large 120mm Anti-Matter gun, that could control the amount of power used in each shot, allowing it to prevent collateral damage in urban environments. The Arracht also boasted two anti-matter warheads on each side, capable of causing massive destruction to enemy bases. The Arracht had a gunner had a pair of 20mm dual anti-matter guns for infantry suppression. The final weapons was a single Type-5 PET that was controlled by the commander, and was the only weapon incapable of turning 360 degrees in order to fire.
The Type-2 Yangorak is an aerial support vehicle. The vehicle has a pod-shaped body, with a cockpit at the front and four anti-gravity generators that resemble wings. It is approximately 7 metres long, and 2.5 metres high. At the rear of the Yangorak, attached just underneath the vehicle was a single 90-mm anti-matter gun, and at the edge of each anti-gravity pod there was a single 15mm anti-matter gun. The Yangorak had two modes, flight mode, where it could quickly move at high speeds to engage in dogfights or bombing runs, and hover, where it could hover above an area and act as a mobile gun platform. Due to the Yangorak's ability to move quickly as an intercept fighter, but change into a mobile gun platform, it was the favoured form of Precursor air support. The Yangorak has a maximum speed of 130 km/h when in flight mode, and 30 km/h in hover mode.
Later models would replace the 90-mm anti-matter gun with four pods capable of firing miniature plasma torpedoes.
Mk-II Genesis Warhead
The Mk-II Genesis Warhead, otherwise known as the Genesis is a Precursor Weapon of Mass Destruction. The Genesis is made using Neutron Jammer Canceler technology. Throughout their wars, the Precursors would often land Neutron Jammers into the surface of enemy planets, which suppresses nuclear fission reactions by blocking the movement of free neutrons. In order to make sure that they could still harness the power nuclear arms, the Precursors created technology that could cancel the effects of the neutron jammers, which would give them an upper hand in battle. The Genesis had a 100 megaton yield, and they were often used to destroy all life on the surface of the planet via mass orbital bombardment. Although it was one of the earliest and most primitive examples of Precursor technology, it is still one of the deadliest.
- ↑ Arracht is the Gaelic (Gaeilge) word for 'monster' or 'juggernaut'
- ↑ A Yangorak is a type of dangerous, fast-moving insect from the Precursor homeworld of Īweriū