Rakata : The Infinite Empire

Rakata

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki.

This article is about the Rakata species. You may be looking for other uses of the word Rakata.
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Long ago the Rakata ruled all the known Galaxy; all species bowed down to us.
―Keeper Orsaa [src]

The Rakata (also known as the Builders) were a roughly humanoid species with distinctive amphibian features. They were a scientifically advanced people that developed early in galactic history. Long term use of the dark side of the Force corrupted their society and turned them into a race of merciless warriors. The Rakata used their potent Force-powered technologies to conquer and enslave every other species they came across throughout the known Galaxy. During the reign of their Infinite Empire, they were characterized by their cruelty, savagery, and arrogance. They were known to strip entire planets of their resources, terraform worlds to fit their own shifting needs, kill entire slave workforces, and to eat and defile the bodies of slain enemies.

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Technology

The Rakata’s rise to power was fueled by a range of advanced devices that married the Force to high technology. The Builders were rumored to have been one of the first species to develop energy shields and were credited with the invention of the earliest form of the interstellar hyperdrive. The Rakatan drive, however, was a severely limited device due to the fact that it relied on the Force itself to function. It was only capable of perceiving and traveling to worlds with a significant Force signature (ie. a high degree of native life). As such, the number of worlds under the Rakata’s thumb was limited, though diverse and far flung.

A Star Map.

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A Star Map.

Star maps were placed on conquered worlds as a lasting monument to the power and scope of the Infinite Empire. Like many Rakatan technologies, the Star maps were self-sustaining and capable of regeneration. Terraforming machines were also frequently used to modify a conquered world’s climate, geology, flora, and fauna to meet the Builder’s needs. In so doing, the Rakata transformed entire worlds and greatly influenced the development of native species. One of the Rakata’s most interesting inventions was a “mental prison“, a peculiar box that trapped the mind of its victim. The only way for a prisoner to escape (a flaw discovered by a Rakata imprisoned for an exceptionally long time) was to take over the body of the next being to foolishly open the box. Revan very nearly suffered this fate after playing with one such device, but after winning a game of riddles with the Rakatan captive, he was released. Unfortunately, he could not figure out how to save the prisoner from bondage without imprisoning a replacement.

Slaves construct the Star Forge.

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Slaves construct the Star Forge.

A virtually endless stream of supplies was needed to expedite the expansion of the Rakatan empire. To this end, the Rakata created the Star Forge in 30,000 BBY. The Star Forge was the centerpiece of the Rakatan empire and the most advanced of their technological innovations. It was a massive space station fueled by the Rakata system‘s star and built for the mass production of war hardware. It alone was capable of meeting the entire Empire’s demand for starships and war droid construction, yet such efficiency came at a terrible price. The Star Forge was, in part, powered by the dark side of the Force and was, therefore, highly corruptive. Rakatan scientists and engineers allowed the Star Forge to have access to a near-limitless supplies of energy because they believed that they could control it, but they were wrong. As a semi-living entity, the Star Forge gorged on dark side energies and with time, it began to feed itself by manipulating its own creators.

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History

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The Infinite Empire

Five thousand years before the formation of the Galactic Republic, Rakatan civilization was at its peak. Through the use of dark side fueled technologies, the Builders had formed the Infinite Empire which dominated known space for thousands of years and enslaved numerous developing species including the Duros and Humans. By transporting these slave species to new worlds, the Rakata were believed to have inadvertently seeded swaths of the galaxy with sentient life.

At its height, the Empire governed 500 worlds and its population numbered ten billion Rakatan warriors and one trillion slaves. Among its conquests were the Selkath of Manaan, Sith of Korriban, Wookiees of Kashyyyk, Kumumgah of Tatooine, Noghri of Honoghr and the natives of the Corellian Sector. The powerful, Force-wielding Rakata may have even displaced the most advanced species of that time period, including the Killiks of Alderaan and the Sharu of the Rafa system, during their meteoric rise to power.

After generations of galactic supremacy, the Infinite Empire began to fracture. Constant tensions between internal factions suddenly erupted into a devastating civil war caused by the Star Forge’s corrupting influence. Adas managed to drive the Rakata off Korriban. Already weakened by warfare, the Builders were suddenly struck by a deadly plague that spread rapidly through their ranks. Later, it would be theorized that the disease was created by a slave species because it only infected the Builders themselves. The virulent plague nearly exterminated the Rakata and brought the Infinite Empire to its knees, yet the worst was yet to come.

The Rakata suddenly and inexplicably began to lose their connection to the Force. Worse, they were unable to uncover the source of their failing sensitivity. Rakatan scientists came up with numerous speculative hypotheses to explain their worsening condition, but in the end, all of their theories proved incorrect. In time, it would be revealed that a mysterious mutation in the plague had caused it to strip the Builders of their powers.

As the Force users were culled from the overall population at an ever increasing rate, the Rakata lost their ability to manipulate their own technology. Soon, they were forced to rely on inferior devices that were not dependent on the Force. Sensing weakness, slave species rebelled in large-scale insurrections on many member worlds and stemmed the total collapse of the Infinite Empire in 25,200 BBY. The nearly decimated Rakata could do nothing but abandon their conquests and retreat to the safety of their homeworld of Lehon.

The Temple of the Ancients.

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The Temple of the Ancients.

The Rakata system was protected by a disruptor field that could disable any incoming ship’s communications and navigational systems. The field, operated from the summit of a Temple on the surface of Lehon, was originally constructed to protect the Star Forge, but it was now used to protect the Rakata themselves.

On their homeworld, Rakatan civilization rapidly faded into obscurity and barbarism. Warlords devastated the surface of the planet with weapons of mass destruction and the majority of the Rakata were forced to flee underground. Only the descendants of the Priest Caste, the Elders tribe, remained on the surface protected by their ancient temples and enclaves. They alone would retain full knowledge of the potent technology and turbulent history of their species. In the following centuries, the Builders were purposefully erased from the records of their slave subjects and the Infinite Empire slipped from the pages of galactic history.

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Jedi Civil War

20,000 years after the fall of the Infinite Empire, most Rakata had only just begun to reemerge onto the surface, yet the Elders Tribe still thrived within their secluded compound. After long millennia of solitude and contemplation, the Elders desired to destroy their great factory so that they could finally put their bloody past behind them, but there was a problem. They could no longer enter their own Temple of the Ancients, the nexus of their collected knowledge and the key to accessing the Star Forge, because the Force was lost to them.

Lehon during the Jedi Civil War.

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Lehon during the Jedi Civil War.

Darth Revan and Darth Malak‘s timely arrival in the system gave the elders a perfect opportunity. Promising to destroy the Star Forge, Revan entered the temple, but he betrayed the Elder’s trust and took the space station for himself. Around 3,959 BBY, he harnessed the full power of the Star Forge and began a massive military invasion of the Galactic Republic that would culminate in the Jedi Civil War. Meanwhile, the Rakata were forced to watch their species’ actions repeat themselves through the person of Revan, powerless to stop it. Their Temple and Star Forge became the dwellings of dark side users once more.

Yet Revan would return, unlooked-for, three years later and redress that betrayal. A redeemed Revan ended the Sith occupation of the Rakatan temple and deactivated the planet’s disruptor field so that the Star Forge could be destroyed by a Republic fleet. He also aided the Rakata’s efforts to regain their lost Force sensitivity which would eventually allow them to rejoin the Galactic community.

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Post-Civil War

In the following years, the Rakata were welcomed into the Republic, but because record of the Infinite Empire was lost to time, some were skeptical of the notion that the seemingly primitive beings had once ruled hundreds of worlds. Nevertheless, the Republic’s academic circles began cataloging and studying Rakatan artifacts, and would continue to do so for thousands of years.

Many of the Rakata dispersed off-world, and the Rakatan gene pool ultimately became too limited to sustain the species. By the time Darth Bane arrived on Lehon in search of Darth Revan’s holocron (c.1,000 BBY), the Rakata had become extinct.

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Behind the scenes

A Rakata.

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A Rakata.

Rakata is the name of a volcano on the island of Krakatau. After the destruction of Krakatau, it’s now the name of the island that is once part of Krakatau.

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The Rakata and the ‘Hyperspace aliens’

‘Hyperspace aliens’ is a fanon nickname of the otherwise undescribed aliens who according to Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, gave the Hyperspace technology to Humans.

In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the player can find a Rakatan Band which has a description that reads:

This simple device improves the wearer’s ability to perceive the reality of their surroundings. The origin behind the item’s name is unknown, but rumor has it that these bands were constructed as a defense against an ancient species of alien deceivers, who made absurd claims of dominance concerning their role in the galaxy. It is said this species of lying primitives went so far as to take credit for almost every major event in galactic history since the discovery of the hyperdrive.
―Rakatan Band description [src]

The statement above obviously implies that the Rakata made some contact with the greater galaxy between the Battle of Rakata Prime and the Jedi Exile‘s mission to unite the Jedi.

According to The New Essential Chronology, the Rakata were the original creators of the hyperdrive. The Corellians, Duros, and various other civilizations adopted and modified it for their own needs after the fall of the Infinite Empire. However, it is notable that the book refers to the mysterious Architects separately from the Rakata.

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Appearances

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Sources

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See also

Retrieved from “http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rakata

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