You'd be forgiven if, like the humans of Earth, you believed no one lived on New Terra anymore. From space, the surface appears a dark visage of what it once was; a megalithic urban exterior crumbles into decay as the remnants of a human super-city finds itself in apocalyptic ruin. But one man's urban decay is another rat's drone repair nest, or possibly a nuclear powered fungal hydroponics bay. The Iskrit of the planet Skritch (formerly, New Terra) have evolved in the shadow of a disastrous human nuclear meltdown brought on by religious unrest. Unshackled by the preclusivity of aesthetic design, the Iskrit are pragmatic and self-preserving to the bone and each of them is capable of at least some degree of mechanical or computational skill.
Directly following nuclear winter on New Terra, the reactors responsible for powering Dis-Crete Aerospace Research Facility were still online if barely. One particular group of lab rats, the only mammalian survivors due to their inherantly coddled circumstance, huddled and procreated in the warmth of the remaining six reactors. Mutated by the proximity and atmosphere, becoming slowly intelligent and fiercely matriarchal, they began to learn and formed six separate factions each with their own matriarchs. Existence was gruelling and primitive at first; subsiding on kibble, prepackaged sustenance bars, radioactive water, and cannibalizing the weak or unfaithful when food was difficult to find. Of computers stuck seemingly forever on their log-in screens with their human operators' skeletons now adorning the floor like so much discarded waste, the rats first benefitted only of the warmth their processors gave off; however, it woulnd't be long before they benefitted from the information and programming hidden therein as well.
Society went on like this for some time, the rats growing more intelligent, deconstructing and repurposing devices for their survival all the while weaker gatherers were driven into the unforgiving urban decay and radiocactive sprawl to ferry back salvage and sustenance. They found themselves traversing the evolution of society extremely quickly as they uncovered stored information in the computer archives, even if it was difficult to piece together. Procreating much faster than the facility could sustain them, and driven to endless infighting and cannibalization, they spread slowly into the surrounding urban area, coming to inhabit the remains of the metropolitan planet now in serious disarray and reclaiming the it as their own. Each faction's character, personality and even culture being molded by the data uncovered from archives and databases in each of the six bands' respective regions, they began attempting to sustain themselves on a grander scale; a couple bands maintained and ruled over machines capable of continuing meager agrarian effort where humans left off. One particular band now infamously referred to as the Gun Rats found themselves the owners of military equipment and its accompanying schema, while the majority of individuals kept themselves alive and useful as mechanics or foragers for the more powerful bands and factions. Regular life consisted of stealing food from the more agrarian bands, while each band suffered from piracy, thievery and murder. Although their previous human owners would consider their manufacturing and autonomous efforts rudimentary and entirely reliant on existing machine foundries, hydroponic bays, and autonomous mining drones, there are no humans here to judge.
Finally stumbling upon the vast knowledge of "DCTAIntranet.exe", generations later, a Skritian Gun Rat was able to accumulate much power. First making herself matriarch and then subjugating the five Iskriti bands and naming herself Raton (pron. 'rat-toh-n'; a supreme leader of the Iskrit), she began work on the most promising development yet: the first Skritian ramshackle starship.
Skritian society is filled now with tinkerers, scrappers, and even some fully fledged engineers (although 'engineer' is still… relative) and all are shady, cutthroat, and largely self-serving, scrambling through the underbelly of the metropolitan subway network. Iskrit can be seen trading salvage in the subway stations; while Raton-assigned Gun Rats keep the peace with a tiny iron fist (and bigger guns). Still more scurry through repair shops, mechanics, and manufacturing stations in the overworld ruins. Still others are found lurking in the unlabeled building husks, extorting the local growers, running crime rings, and there are even rumors that there still exist Iskrit who consume other Iskrit although it is strictly forbidden by Raton K'thar. Today they call themselves Skri'klizar or "The Skritian Salvagemony".
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