The Guardians were an alien humanoid species who developed a highly advanced civilisation that spanned the galaxy. They were driven to extinction 1-2 million years ago by the Constructs, intelligent machines that the Guardians had created to serve as their labour force and military.
The Ancient Ruins of the Guardians were first discovered in the Synuefe XR-H D11-102 system on October 27, 3302 by CMDR XDeath. Engineer Ram Tah subsequently requested data scans from the ruins for further study, and on January 10, 3303, he began providing a free decryption program for the data at all ports in the Meene system. Decrypted data from both the Ancient Ruins and the Structures discovered the following year provided significant insights into the history and culture of the Guardians.
- 1 History
- 2 Culture
- 3 Biology
- 4 Language
- 5 Technology
- 6 Weapons Development
- 7 Legacy
- 8 Videos
- 9 Gallery
- 10 References
- 11 External Links
The Guardians evolved as intelligent, nomadic pack hunters that eventually organized themselves into clans. A sudden climate cooling early in the Guardians’ history meant they were forced to settle, develop tools and shelters. They swiftly domesticated animals for food, and had a remarkable understanding of inherited traits. This developed into understanding and manipulation of genetic material, culminating in the cure for many diseases. Technological development varied between each clan, creating inequality and conflict. Conflicts were initially resolved through personal combat between individual clan champions, but the clans later used numbers to overwhelm their opponents, which gave rise to conventional warfare. Weapons development accelerated accordingly, and biological weapons became the Guardians' weapons of choice, leading to an arms race focused on making new biological agents and countermeasures.
The catalyst for the advent of the modern Guardian society was a major conflict: an alliance of a number of northern clans from the northern region of the main continent on the Guardians' homeworld fought a swift war of global conquest. This brought the entire Guardian species under the northern clans' leadership. It gave rise to an enduring system of co-operative city states. There followed a great period of peace, growth and advancement, resulting in the first ark ships sent to colonise alien worlds, faster than light communication, hyperspace travel.
Computers were developed and commonly used by Guardians for generations, and later linked together by an interstellar communication and computing system called the Monolith Network. The Guardians soon developed artificial intelligence to manage the monolith network, and neural implants to access it. The Monolith Network became the heart of the Guardians' society and triggered an Age of Information.
The Guardians experimented with artiﬁcial intelligence prior to the invention of the monolith network, but the creation of the network and the knowledge-sharing it facilitated dramatically accelerated the rate of progress. Eventually, the Guardians' experiments bore fruit, resulting in the ﬁrst fully sentient machines. These Constructs were seen as a means to enhance the Guardians' technological mastery, and were integrated into various aspects of their society. Neural implants were developed that connected the Guardians with both the Constructs and the monolith network in a symbiotic circle. It is truly remarkable.
The rapid pace of the technological revolution resulted in new forms of inequality that threatened the very fabric of society. Unfortunately, the Guardians were unable to muster a unified response to these changes, which widened the gap between those who accepted the changes and those who resisted them. The politicians were the first to react to the changing social landscape, but soon the resistance to the technological revolution took on a religious overtone.
The Thargoids seeded a number of planets with barnacles in what eventually became Guardian space, millions of years ago. Thargoid barnacles are designed to extract resources from a planet and transform them into meta-alloys – an essential ingredient in the creation of Thargoid ships and technologies. The Guardians surmised that for the Thargoids, seeding a planet with barnacles is an important process in preparing an area for occupation.
Several thousand years after they seeded planets in Guardian space with barnacles, the Thargoids returned. Of course, they discovered that the planets they had seeded were now occupied by the Guardians. The Thargoids immediately launched an assault, making no effort to communicate with the Guardians, which tallies with the Thargoids' behaviour in human space.
After the war with the Thargoids began, the Guardians were forced to make a partial retreat. They were reluctant to take up arms against the Thargoids and kept communicating with them. Eventually they gained enough understanding of the Thargoid language to communicate. It didn't benefit the Guardians much, because the Thargoids were determined to continue hostilities. The Guardians were forced to employ more aggressive methods to address the Thargoid threat.
At first they deployed ground troops, but when this proved ineffective they started to use drones – autonomous machines that felt no fear, fatigue or uncertainty. These war machines became highly sophisticated in a relatively short amount of time, and were soon able to identify and target anything that utilised Thargoid engineering. Even more remarkably, Thargoid bio-mechanical technology was engineered to recognise anything of Guardian origin. That explains why, millions of years after the conflict, Thargoids devices still react aggressively to the presence of Guardian technology.
It appears the Thargoids entered Guardian space unprepared for a protracted military campaign, and after facing a relentless onslaught from the Guardians’ war machines they were forced to retreat. The development of the Guardians’ war machines created a schism in their society, which may have seeded the civil war that occurred later in their history.
Schism and extinction
The Second Guardian Civil War ultimately led to the species' demise. The Guardians had a deep veneration of nature, and many of them saw the development of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, as a perversion of the natural order. The alienation of many non-implanted Guardians gave rise to a religious abolitionist movement. The abolitionists were rooted in spiritual traditions and rejected the development of neural implants and artificial intelligence.
A schism emerged between the nature-worshipping traditionalists and the technologically minded progressives – a divide that widened with alarming speed. Efforts were made to defuse the rising tension, but the traditionalists felt alienated by the rapid rate of change. Artificial intelligence and the development of the monolith network became scapegoats for all manner of social ills, and the traditionalists began to clamour for a return to simpler times. Ultimately the ideological divergence proved insurmountable, a second civil war erupted, quickly engulfing most of the Guardians’ star systems. The abolitionists seized control of the homeworld, and exiled supporters of a liberated AI.
In its early stages, the war was fought primarily by soldiers, but within a decade – and after significant loss of life – most of the fighting was conducted remotely. The progressives fought with automated combat machines. These engines of war took various forms, from autonomous drones to vast, lumbering dreadnoughts imbued with limited artificial intelligence. On the other side, the traditionalists relied mostly on biological weapons. They used germ warfare alongside long-range missiles loaded with corrosive enzymes, which could target the enemy’s war machines from a great distance.
The main issue was the internecine nature of the conflict, which raged for over one hundred years and brought the Guardians’ civilisation to its knees, retarding any further social development. But the challenges facing the traditionalists were exacerbated by the fact that they devoted most of their resources to honouring the dead. They regarded the departed in much the same way as the primitive cultures of Sol, constructing vast shrines to honour the deceased. As their situation worsened, they became increasingly obsessed with these practices. With so much of their resources dedicated to these rites, it is little wonder that their enemies’ war machines were able to overwhelm them.
Remarkably, it seems the artificial intelligences developed during the conflict became fully self aware at some point, and were horrified by the destruction unfolding around them. It’s difficult to get a sense of exactly what happened next, as the Guardians were not privy to the Constructs’ thoughts. But reading between the lines, Ram Tah believes the Constructs determined that even if peace was restored the Guardians would never be able to transcend their violent natures. Ram Tah believes they decided that the only way to preclude further violence – while giving their own burgeoning society the best possible chance of survival – was to destroy what remained of the Guardians’ civilisation. By this time, the Constructs had complete control of the Guardians’ munitions and automated war machines. Their attack, when it came, was swift and merciless. Strategic nuclear and chemical-weapon strikes were executed with a precision that only a machine race could accomplish. The few that survived were able to record what had happened, but they soon succumbed to radiation poisoning. Increasingly automated weapons irradiated the Guardians’ planets, forcing the creation of protective shield domes. As these eventually fell, so did the last of the Guardians. The Guardians were utterly destroyed.
From a young age the Guardians were raised communally with shared values of co-operation and social responsibility. Laws were based not on individual rights but on the responsibility of the individual to the community, and each Guardian enforced and followed these laws. There was expectation for everyone to take part in the scientific, cultural and administrative tasks, and it seemed that they gained great satisfaction from these collaborative practices. They had a rich cultural life with evidence of art, interactive theatre, and music all forming part of their social duties. Architecture was inspired by geometry, and used to illustrate relations between the Guardians and the world around them. They felt a spiritual connection to the environment, and a collective responsibility to maintain it. These spiritual traditions eventually formed the basis of their religion, together with rejection of the development of neural implants and artificial intelligence.
The Guardians had red skins, sharp cutting ridges on their forelimbs, small faces, and round, dark eyes adapted to bright sunlight. The lower gravity and higher temperature on their planet meant they were taller and more slender than humans. They are also more agile and resilient than humans, with greater auditory and visual senses, but more vulnerable to cold and with a limited olfactory sense. They were carnivorous, and hunting, killing, and serving meat remained an important social ritual.
They had two distinct sexes and sex had an important role as a recreational as well as procreational activity. Their anatomy enabled them to become temporarily sterile at will, allowing for population control and fewer taboos around sexual activity. Procreation was a matter of personal choice in Guardian society, but all Guardians were required to become a parent at least once in their lives in order to ensure the continuation of their genetic line. The gestation period for Guardians was lengthy to allow substantial development of the young prior to birth, and infants were effectively helpless for a period after delivery.
There is evidence of a genetic break corresponding with the geographical north-south divide of clans on the Guardians' homeworld. The northern clans are thought to have suffered greater hardship early on, possibly leading to a stronger breed, which allowed them to conquer the southern clans. Members of the northern clans also had a redder skin pigmentation, suggesting a racial element to the genetic division.
The formal basis for the Guardians' communication was visual rather than verbal, a distinction that arose very early in their evolutionary development. The Guardians used a single language across their species comprised of written, spoken and gestural forms. They were gifted linguists.
The written language is comprised of glyphs representing whole words. The glyphs evolved from sign language that the Guardians developed while hunting to communicate stealthily. The glyphs retained characteristics of the physical form in their format, and the use of movement.
Spoken language used similar sounds to human speech, and altered meaning through word order and tonality. There are some emotive concepts present in speech, not present in the written form, suggesting a more social role to vocal communication. It is believed the Guardians spoke with accents and regional dialects as there are regional variations in the sounds of their words.
Accessing a Guardian codex requires the use of two corresponding Guardian artefacts, with the glyphs on the codex denoting which objects are required. But this log indicates that the Guardians’ written language often incorporated pairs of characters. suggesting that this dual system was present in other aspects of their culture.
The Guardians shared a single language with only minor regional variations, and even after they colonised other planets they continued to share a common tongue. But, after the start of the second civil war, it seems that each side developed its own distinct version of this gestural language. This allowed each faction to communicate in code, so as to safeguard information from the enemy.
The Guardians used these implants to connect cerebrally with their Al creations. Unfortunately, the technology was still in its infancy when the Guardians were destroyed. Apparently, the implants created a symbiotic link with the Constructs through implantable ﬁbres, which connected the central cortex to a multimodal interface within the Construct. Essentially, the Guardians were able to direct their creations with thought alone – at least until the constructs rebelled.
The Guardians were a highly intelligent species and mastered a number of technologies. Their understanding and manipulation of genetics was far more advanced than human science. They used it to eradicate disease, address environmental concerns, and create entirely new organisms for food and war.
The Guardians had the capacity for sophisticated flight technology, but also possessed an ecologically-conscious philosophy that precluded widespread usage of technologies they viewed as damaging to the environment. This led the Guardians to rely on less-advanced machines such as dirigibles, and refrain from pursuing the manufacture of rockets, which had been deemed harmful.
When the Guardians first attempted space travel, they instead used large electromagnetic launchers to catapult ships into space. Pilots and passengers rode in breathable gel cocoons that helped them withstand the extreme G-forces experienced at launch, and doubled as hibernation pods during long journeys. The electromagnetic launchers were not only used for civil purposes, but also for launching kinetic projectile weapons.
Defensively, they could deploy city-sized shields capable of withstanding significant damage. Their strong communal and ecological focus meant that their flight technologies were inferior to ours, only employing a limited variety of airships and spacecraft, and avoiding the use of rocketry or explosives on their homeworld.
The Monoliths are the remains of a species-wide, interstellar, faster than light communications network covering all aspects of Guardian life. With the invention of neurological implants and artificial intelligence they could share and manipulate thoughts and ideas directly though this network. It was used for practically all of their society's communication, regardless of importance. The network was designed with very few restrictions, in keeping with the Guardians' predilection for sharing knowledge. There was no evidence that separate networks were used for military of administrative communication, as humans developed. This meant Guardian society was extremely open, but this made it significantly more vulnerable when social divisions arose.
The neurological implanted Guardians were reaching a technological symbiosis with artificial intelligence, and a technological singularity. That was before the rise of the religious abolitionists who opposed the neural implants and artificial intelligence.
The Guardians had developed extremely effective shields, capable of protecting entire cities and even of withstanding orbital bombardment. Their shields were effective against both laser weapons and kinetic projectiles. It is remarkable to consider that this technology was developed millions of years ago, relatively early in the Guardian’s evolutionary timeline.
We already know how ecologically conscientious the Guardians were, and of their assiduous avoidance of rockets and fossil fuels, so it isn’t surprising to discover that their first spacecraft were fired into space with electromagnetic launchers. This was an imperfect system that did not allow pilots to adjust their course after launch. Over time, the Guardians starships became much more sophisticated, but their approach to space travel remained rooted in a respect for the natural world, and their interplanetary expansion was fueled by clean nuclear fission and fusion. Their ships could travel at speeds approximating those of our own present-day craft. Unfortunately the log data included no schematic information, so it seems likely that the details have been lost.
It seems their drives produced a far greater jump range than anything humanity has so far developed. Regrettably, however, the data in the log is exceptionally dense, and it could take years if not decades to fully understand it. What is clear is that the Guardians’ hyperspace technology was very different from our own.
The log suggests these undiscovered sites might contain blueprints not only for Guardian engines, but for Guardian starships! Just think — someday soon, we might uncover a Guardian ruin that will allow us to manufacture ships and ﬁghters incorporating Guardian technology. It makes my skin prickle just to think of it. And who knows — maybe you’ll be the one to ﬁnd it.
Guardian Data Terminals
These terminals were used to store schematics for weapons and other sophisticated technologies. They are linked to energy pylons, scattered across Guardian sites, by some form of computer program. Of course, this system has been dormant for millennia. But targeting the pylons with an energy weapon will increase the charge within. Essentially, we can awaken the system.
The panels are made from a unique alloy, manufactured from a metal which Ram Tah has yet to identify. Even more remarkably, the panels appear to incorporate nanobot technology which activates when in proximity to a foreign body. This explains the faint glow given off by many Guardian materials and structures. This is an extraordinary discovery. Humanity has dabbled with nano technology, but evidently the Guardians’ achievements far surpassed our own.
These blue crystals are part power source, part computer, part key — and apparently played a central role in Guardian technology. Remarkably, it seems the crystals were grown rather than mined. The log is light on details, but from what Ram Tah has been able to piece together, each crystal was designed to fulfill a specific purpose within the Guardian’s technological network. And, like the panels found at many Guardian sites, the relics incorporate nanobot technology.
Guardian Power Plant and Distributor
The efficiency of the technology far exceeded anything the human race has yet developed, and the yield was huge in relation to the input required. Unfortunately, the specifics of how this was achieved are not described in the log. But who knows? Perhaps the secrets of the Guardians’ energy technology will someday be discovered.
Hull and Shield Tech
It’s clear that starship hulls, and the Guardians' equivalent of ship modules, were made of the same lightweight alloy as the panels found at many Guardian sites. Unfortunately, this alloy incorporates a metal that has yet to be identified, which means it cannot be recreated. What is clear is that this alloy was both lightweight and highly durable. As for their shield technology, it is already known that it was highly sophisticated, encouragingly, the log describes it in considerable detail. Given time, Ram Tah might be able to use this data the develop some exceptional defensive technology.
It seems the Guardians developed electro-magnetic projectile weapons early in their modern period, utilising the same technology they used to launch their first spacecraft. These weapons ionized the path of their target before firing focused bolts of energy along the ionized track. They were crude and unpredictable at first, sometimes resulting in the death of the wielder, but once the Guardians learned to regulate the ionisation process they became more stable.
It seems the guardians employed three different designs: an energy-based weapon similar to a rail gun, a projectile weapon that fired concentrated plasma, and a weapon that fired charged crystal shards at extreme velocities. These weapons were apparently powered by the crystals we have termed “Guardian Relics”, and the log describes how the relic generates and distributes energy within the weapon. This is a significant discovery, as it means it might be possible to recreate these weapons, or at least to design our own versions of them.
These Sentinels date from some time prior to the second Guardian Civil War. They are designed to respond aggressively to any unauthorised activity around the ruins. If you are forced to defend yourself, kinetic weaponry would be your best form of attack, since the Sentinels have no shields. Sentinel weapon parts and wreckage are of considerable value, so the loss is not signiﬁcant.
The Guardians' artificially intelligent Constructs were responsible for controlling the war machines and other military apparatus, as well as overseeing civilian technology and infrastructure. And we know that these Constructs eventually gained sentience and destroyed the Guardians. But it appears that it was not the military Constructs that made this choice. The Constructs for civilian utility and those for military operation were independent of one another, and it was the non-military Constructs that decided to attack the Guardians. The military Constructs were opposed to this decision, but somehow the non-military Constructs won out, forcing their military counterparts to comply with the attack. What a remarkable discovery. It makes Ram Tah wonder what happened to these Constructs, and what they eventually became. Were they destroyed? Or do they still exist, somewhere in the vastness of space?
It seems that before the second civil war most menial work was performed by Constructs. But despite this the Guardians did not become idle. On the contrary — they devoted themselves to artistic and athletic pursuits. Many Guardians participated in what humans would call sporting events. Although it seems these events incorporated some ritualistic elements. One cannot help but wonder what would happen if humanity made more use of labour-saving technology. Would we become a more cultured people as the Guardians did? A shame, the long-standing convention against the development of artificial intelligence means we will probably never ﬁnd out.
There are some possibilities as to the legacy of the Guardians. The Guardians created the sentient machines known as Constructs. During the second Guardian Civil War they regarded the Guardians as a threat to their burgeoning society. They decided that the only way to stop the Guardians' violent nature and future wars was to destroy them. So the Constructs rebelled and utterly destroyed what remained of the Guardian civilization. It is hypothesized that the Constructs still exist somewhere in the vastness of space. 1 to 2 million years later they could have changed beyond recognition.
The Guardians built many structures on airless planets millions of years ago. These are known as Ancient Ruins. The monoliths and earthworks are the remains of a species-wide, interstellar, faster than light communications network.
The first Ancient Ruins were discovered in October 3302. All sites hold data packages which can be decrypted to reveal information about the Guardians' biology, history, culture, language, and technology.
Ram Tah said a decoded log suggests there are many more Guardian sites out there, waiting to be uncovered. Hundreds perhaps even thousands. Unfortunately, some of the data in this record has degraded. If there was a map inside this log, it has been lost. Who knows what remarkable knowledge might be hidden in these alien ruins? The more of the Guardians’ extraordinary technology we uncover, the greater the potential impact on our own technology. Locating further Guardian sites could help us take giant steps forward.
Discovered in February 3304, Guardian Structures were also built on various airless worlds. Compared to Ancient Ruins, Guardian Structures feature almost no earthworks and exhibit different architectural features. Several Guardian Structures are patrolled by hostile Guardian Sentinels, and also feature functional Ancient Data Terminals.
Guardian Beacons were discovered in August 3304 after Ram Tah identified three unusual energy signatures coming from three distinct regions in Guardian space. The Beacons are the first space-based Guardian sites that have been observed. They have no defenses of any kind, but are shrouded in a blue mist of unknown composition. Even millions of years after they were placed into their orbits, the Beacons remain functional and can be reactivated to obtain an Ancient Key and location data for pairs of unique Guardian Structures where Guardian Vessel Blueprint Segments can be retrieved.
Since the discovery of Guardian civilization and its ruins, human specialists have successfully grafted Guardian tech into human-made devices to create powerful new hybrid weapons and modules. These include the Guardian Gauss Cannon, Guardian Plasma Charger, Guardian Shard Cannon, and Guardian Hybrid Power Plant. Beginning in February 3304, certain Technology Brokers, such as the one found at Jameson Memorial, were willing to make these items available for sale to pilots in exchange for certain Materials and Commodities.
On June 28, 3304, Technology Brokers began offering the Guardian Frame Shift Drive Booster, Guardian Hull Reinforcement Package, Guardian Module Reinforcement Package, Guardian Shield Reinforcement Package, and Class 3 versions of the Guardian Plasma Charger and Guardian Shard Cannon.
On May 30, 3305, Zende Partners of the Zende system began distributing the Advanced Multi-cannon, a weapon module based on Guardian technology that had fewer technical limitations than previous hybrid modules, as part of the Bridging the Gap Interstellar Initiative. The weapon used unique configurable munitions, allowing it to be effective against both human and Thargoid vessels.
- Interview with David Braben - PAX East 2017 - Elite Dangerous (begins at 5:10)
- 10/28 : Civil War Log – Annihilation
- 6/28 : Civil War Log – Dawn of the Construct
- Guardian 1/28 : Thargoid Log – Barnacle Seeding
- 2/28 : Thargoid Log – The War Begins
- Guardian Codex 3 Decrypted. Thargoid Log - Unsuccessful Truce
- 3/28 : Thargoid Log – Unsuccessful Truce
- 4/28 : Thargoid Log – The War Machine
- 5/28 : Thargoid Log – Victory
- 7/28 Civil War Log – The Schism
- 8/28 : Civil War Log – Two Tribes
- 9/28 : Civil War Log – Ancestor Worship
- 20/28 : Technology Log – Glyphs
- 24/28 : Language Log – Gestural
- 25/28 : Body Protectorate
- 12/28 : Technology
- 13/28 : Technology
- 19/28 : Technology
- 23/28 : Technology Log – Starship Technology
- 15/28 : Technology Log
- 16/28 : Technology Log – Material Panels
- 17/28 : Technology Log – Relics
- 21/28 : Technology Log
- 22/28 : Technology Log : Hull and Shield Technology
- 11/28 : Technology Log – Weapons Development
- 18/28 : Technology Log – Energy Weapons
- 14/28 Technology Log – Sentinels
- 27/28 : Body Protectorate Log – Discord
- 28/28 Body Protectorate Log – Domestic Constructs
- 26/28 : Body Protectorate Log – Hidden Ruins