The Draconians, also known simply as "dragons," are perhaps the most amazing semi-sentient life form in all of Nova Refuge. When Humanity first arrived in this galaxy, they were amazed to find the ancient dragons of their fantasies come to life, and apparently living and moving about in the vacuum of space with ease. Indeed, with their reptilian appearance, spiked hides covered in horns, four great legs ending in powerful talons, vast bat-like wings, and long pointed tails, they were the very spitting image of the dragons of old Earth lore. Exactly how this is possible is not known, though it is speculated that early Human folklore about dragons actually arose from Space Dragons that may have passed by Earth several millennia ago. Whatever the reason, dragons are now once again an active part of Human legends, but with an existence now grounded in reality.
Currently, Draconians are seen more as an anomaly than a threat. They are rarely encountered, only occasionally hanging around asteroid fields (hunting for Thralashks) and gas giants (inhaling Starlight Gas), and in these instances few Humans are stupid enough to get in their way. How intelligent they truly are, what their culture is like, where and how they originally came to be, and what they know about the history and nature of the universe are mysteries that are unlikely to ever be solved.
There are several known and some merely speculated Draconian species.
There are various types of terrestrial dragons that can strangely be found on a variety of worlds, including Terra Nova. These include the earth-colored Sand Dragons, green-hued Swamp Dragons (sometimes called Jungle or Forest Dragons, depending on the environment), and the blue-scaled Sea Dragons, the most common species on Terra Nova. Some even say the Slashrim may be descended from Draconians. Exactly how these sub-species came to be spread across the galaxy is unknown, though speculation abounds. Some conspiracy theorists even hypothesize that the Space Dragons created these lesser species as genetic experiments, perhaps as cheap terrestrial slave labor that would worship them as gods. This is hardly accepted as scientific fact, however, and for now their existence remains a mystery.
The greatest of all dragons are the Space Dragons, most commonly black in color, with bodies covered in great onyx spikes and bright glowing eyes, usually green. They range in size from the size of small transports to some reportedly as long as a capital ship. Though these Space Dragons are rare enough, there is a sub-species or perhaps race of them that is even rarer. Silver instead of black in hue, these are commonly called Star Dragons, and their existence has only barely been confirmed by precious few pieces of recorded evidence. Finally, there is a third variety that exists perhaps only in legend: the Sun Dragon. With scales of a golden hue (usually depicted as golden-orange, sometimes predominately red), the only "evidence" of these creatures is found in Sarran artwork and the exaggerated reports of self-proclaimed "eyewitnesses." Due to its legendary status as "king of the Space Dragons," the Sun Dragon was used on the banner of the Sun Dragon Rebellion in Zygbar, the group that eventually ousted Xarkon and rose to power, making the Sun Dragon that nation's official flag and emblem.
Space Dragon biology is also a mystery. While their terrestrial cousins eat traditional food and can usually fly only short distances, if at all, the Space Dragons are immense and extremely heavy, yet capable of flight, and are apparently able to survive on a diet that can be found in outer space. The most commonly accepted theory is that the Space Dragons inhale Starlight Gas, processing it inside their bodies, and use this for energy as well as for locomotion, superheating it inside veins on the underside of their wings in order to propel themselves through space or planetary atmosphere. Indeed, Space Dragons wings have often been seen to glow in various colors during active space flight, while at other times they seem to ride on solar winds, using the wings as sails. Perhaps the strongest evidence for their consumption of Starlight Gas, besides the rows of nostrils along their faces and their tendency to gather around gas giants that contain the necessary gases, is their method of attack. Human depictions of dragons frequently showed them spouting fire, and indeed a few of the terrestrial Draconians can do this. Space Dragons, however, actually fire intense beams of pure heat and light from their mouths, like a laser or superheated plasma. Essentially, it appears to be Starfire, of the same type created by Human energy weapons that use Starlight Gas as ammunition. For nutrition, the Space Dragons mostly feed on Thralashks, the giant "asteroid worms" that are spread throughout the galaxy. There are reports of them eating Slashrim and Humans as well, but none are confirmed.
Obviously, a gargantuan creature able to fly through both air and space and capable of firing a beam of superheated Starfire from its mouth is a threat to any smaller sentient species, even those in heavily armed starships. Luckily, Space Dragons usually do their best to avoid contact with other species, and they are most often only observed from a great distance passing by a star freighter in the far reaches of space.
In the few times when a ship provokes a Space Dragon, or when the dragon becomes interested in the ship (as they sometimes do), the resulting fight is always quick and brutal. Few conventional weapons are capable of damaging a Space Dragon. Their armored scales deflect most ballistic rounds, and their hides seem to absorb almost all heat energy on contact, much like a Mahlok. Only armor-piercing, explosive warheads like those used in capital ship combat are capable of even wounding a Space Dragon. It should be noted, however, that a Space Dragon is at home among the stars, a place very much alien and deadly to most other species. They are far more agile than any known starship, capable of flying circles around any vessel they come into contact with. To date, all known battles between a starship and a Space Dragon have been victories on the Draconian side. Though a few Space Dragon skeletons, long dead and apparently laid to rest ceremonially, have been found on the surface of some planets and large asteroids, no Space Dragon has ever been killed in battle with a "lesser" species.
Interactions With Other RacesEdit
The only species ever known to have socially interacted with the Space Dragons, and indeed actually allied with them, are the Mahlok. No one knows the full story except for a few Helexith elder Mahlok, and they certainly are not telling it any time soon, but somehow the Mahlok formed an alliance with the Space Dragons thousands of years ago, using the great beasts for interplanetary flight. The Mahlok are capable of surviving in a near-vacuum, so long as they have a decent heat source nearby, but actual space travel is impossible, because they freeze up and die. The Space Dragons, however, can create their own heat with Starlight Gas, so the Mahlok were able to literally ride on their backs, using the heat of the Dragon's body to stay alive. This was how they were able to travel to, and conquer, the Slashrim homeworld of Slasheth long before their culture had even developed explosive firearms. During the initial spread of the resulting "Helexith Coalition" (composed of Mahlok, Slashrim, and Draconians), the Space Dragons carried hordes of Slashrim in air-tight, heated metal boxes that served as troop transports, while Mahlok rode in great numbers along their backs. Only a few worlds were conquered in this way, however, before the Draconians suddenly cut off the alliance, leaving the Mahlok to develop their own starships. Again, it is as much a mystery why they so suddenly ended the alliance as it is why they began it in the first place. If any of the Natives know the reasons, they are not yet telling.