The Sh'daar are an alien civilization - or, more accurately, a collection of civilizations - native to the N'gai Cloud, a galaxy that would later become the Omega Centauri globular cluster of the Milky Way. They are focused on the limitation of technology in order to prevent another technological singularity like the one that decimated their culture, and to this end have forged an empire in the Milky Way.
The Sh'daar are not a single species but a coalition of them, and as such have wildly different physical forms. Most, however, live on only as digital "copies" of extinct Sh'daar species uploaded into a vast and interconnected computer network. Those Sh'daar that continue to live biologically are known as "Refusers."
One Sh'daar race, generally used for ground combat, takes the form of ten-meter-high hexapedal creatures, capable of standing on two, four, or six legs. These creatures are covered in powered armor, and it is unclear whether they are living things or machines.
The Sh'daar are the remnants of the ur-Sh'daar, an immensely advanced coalition of races native to the N'gai Cloud. Their civilization formed approximately a billion years ago and soon came to encompass the entire galaxy. The u-Sh'daar were spurred into a period of rapid technological advancement by the realization that the N'gai Cloud would eventually collide with the Milky Way. While their lives were not in danger, the collision would disperse the Cloud's stars among the Milky Way and tear their civilization apart. To avert this, the ur-Sh'daar began to preserve their minds and bodies as cyborgs, robots, and uploaded minds, while collapsing stars to form wormholes that linked them to the Milky Way.
However, this eventually proved to have catastrophic consequences. In a relatively brief period of time, most or all of the augmented ur-Sh'daar "transcended," their bodies (if they had them) apparently dying as their minds vanished from the universe to parts unknown. The Sh'daar who had not augmented themselves were left behind, abandoned in a galaxy bereft of most of its inhabitants and left in a devastated state.
Over the millennia that followed, the Sh'daar recovered. While many of their constituent species went extinct, these species survived as uploaded copies, and others remained in their physical bodies. They eventually used the wormholes built by their ancestors to establish contact with the Milky Way 876 million years in their future - the present day. Hoping to prevent another transcendence, the Sh'daar invaded the Milky Way and began a campaign of conquest spanning at least twelve thousand years.
The Sh'daar homeworlds lie in the N'gai Cloud's core, located ten thousand light-years away from the Milky Way and 876 million years in the past. This area is known as Omega Centauri T-0.876gy to humans and most other races, to distinguish it from the Omega Centauri of the present day, which it eventually became. The Sh'daar call it Gu rehe'mek chaash, the "old galactic core." The stars in this region are so close together that orbits cannot remain stable. Therefore, the large majority of planetary bodies in Omega Centauri T-0.876gy are free-floating, frozen dwarf planets, containing uploaded Sh'daar minds and equipped with Alcubierre drives. Near the center lie the Six Suns, a set of six blue supergiants arranged in a hexagonal shape as a power source and a wormhole generator.
In the present day, the N'gai Cloud's remnants have dispersed throughout the Milky Way, but much of its former core remains concentrated in the Omega Centauri globular cluster. The stars making up the Six Suns eventually collapsed into black holes, forming the Black Rosette. The Black Rosette is capable of generating far more pathways through spacetime than the Six Suns could, and eventually opened a pathway to at least one different universe.
The Sh'daar are extremely advanced, surpassing other species to a degree that allows them to subordinate huge swathes of the Milky Way to their will. On top of this, they are the remnants of an even more advanced civilization, and retain some of the ur-Sh'daar technologies even though they no longer have the knowledge to recreate them.
Sh'daar spacecraft vary widely in appearance and form, likely due to the drastically different biologies and psychologies of their member races. Their most common fighter spacecraft is a small, leaf-like drone about thirty meters in length. These craft are invariably deployed in huge numbers and act in massive swarms. Larger ships, several kilometers in length, are also used for warfare. The largest Sh'daar ships are actually dwarf planets, equipped with Alcubierre drives to enable FTL travel.
Sh'daar Nodes Edit
Sh'daar Nodes, known as TRGAs (Texaghu Resch Gravitational Anomaly, after the solar system where they were first observed) to humans, are wormholes reaching across both space and time. Each one is made of a star compressed into neutronium and condensed into a hollow, cylindrical mass several kilometers long. The Node spins at speeds approaching c, allowing them to reach through time while still being finite in length, unlike the more standard concept of a Tipler cylinder. While the Sh'daar are no longer capable of creating new Nodes, they use those created by the ur-Sh'daar to connect the N'gai Cloud to their modern-day empire, and even to some outposts in other times, like the rogue planet Invictus.
Sh'daar Seeds Edit
Sh'daar Seeds are microscopic computers implanted in the bodies of Sh'daar client races. They are very common, but not universal, and may be implanted with or without the host's knowledge. Smaller Seeds are limited to gathering and storing information to be transmitted to the Sh'daar, but larger ones are able to communicate directly with the host and, in some cases, exert a degree of control over them. The latter type is particularly common among the Turusch.
The ur-Sh'daar were capable of moving and merging stars to create new ones, as well as compressing them to form Sh'daar Nodes. The Sh'daar that survived the transcendence lost much of this technology, but retained the ability to artificially detonate stars. The Sh'daar have never been seen to actually do this in the Star Carrier novels, and all of the stellariforming they have access to is the work of the ur-Sh'daar.
Sh'daar ships tend to use meson beams as weapons. The beams fire mesons, the force carrier of the nuclear force, at a target at relativistic speeds. This greatly increases the strength of the nuclear force in the targeted area, to the point that it collapses into a singularity. Other weapons include particle beams and kinetic weapons called "crowbars," which are chunks of solid matter fired at relativistic speeds. The few Sh'daar ground troops that have been seen use electron beams as anti-personnel weapons.