General Information Edit

  • Augmented humans, super-soldiers, created originally to fight the Sheriekas: "To fight augmented humans, one needed special humans, not quite as adjusted and modified perhaps as the Sheriekas...but fighters who were more efficient, stronger, and often faster." [1]
    • The soldier caste from which the present-day Yxtrang devolve, were entirely manufactured, they were created to stringent specifications, indoctrinated from birth into a soldier culture that deliberately distanced them from civilian cultures. They might have been raised up knowing that they were better than the not-soldiers. But they were also raised to a strong sense of duty. The civilians, who were weaker and less able to defend themselves, were natural objects of their protection.[2]
  • Originally spelled Trang (meaning "Troop")
  • The word Yxtrang was formed by blending together Y Strain and X Strain.
  • Yxtrang have deliberately developed their own cant language, referred to as Troop, but they once spoke the common tongue.[3]
    • "If they're gonna have tattoos on their faces," she said to Jela, "and their own language, too, it might be hard for an ordinary citizen to take to 'em much."[4]
    • Their native language was also manufactured, spoken only among those of the Troop. Not only were there technical matters they needed to speak of quickly and efficiently, but secret things, too.[2]
  • Yxtrang are taller than average Terrans, but shorter than Clutch Turtles (average Liadens are 5' tall, Terrans 7' tall, Clutch 9' tall [5]
    • But in "I Dare" Edger is only 8 feet. [6]
  • Yxtrang soldiers do not have beards (although they have beard growth) - it's part of dicipline[7]
  • Soldiers achieve rank by performance (lieutenants, commanders, etc) but from before birth, through design, and through subsequent training, they become dutiful common trooper "Rifles" or the more adaptable, intelligent, and autonomous (but still dutiful) "Explorers" [8] (Some older model "Pathfinders" had "mental shields installed at such a cost" to resist the enemy.[9])
  • Yxtrang have a biological imperative for immediate action but the Explorers have learned techniques to think past it [10]


M Series SoldiersEdit

  • See books 1 & 2: Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon
  • More than a millennium ago the GREAT ENEMY, the Sheriekas ("they'd been human once....they were the evolved human, the perfected species"[11]) created the prototype super-soldier. However, humans stole the design. "The design was captured, modifications were made, and when the Sheriekas retuned to exercise their dominion over the Spiral Arm, the M Series was waiting to deny them the pleasure." [12]
  • Human, "designed with human care" and not vat-born "even if his genes had been selected, and cultivated, and arranged, he was arguably as human as anyone who didn't bear a Batch tattoo on both arms." [11]
  • The M Series soldier had been designed to be "far stronger for his size, to get by on less food, see and hear better than average, and respond with faster and more refined action, etc. [11]
  • M strain soldiers were "resistant to a long list of mental manipulations, including sabotage by pheromone"[13]
  • The earliest named soldier in the series of books is Jela (M Jela Granthor's Guard). Jela was an M Series soldier, a generalist, assigned to Granthor's Guard creche. He was athletic, adaptable, energetic, humorous, repeatedly lucky, and highly intelligent. Above all, Jela was dutiful.[14]
  • Jela and all M Series soldiers were created individually in a lab and nursed from fetus in a crèche with other children. [15] (not vat-born)
  • Engineered soldiers by default cannot reproduce [16] (but Cantra did conceive "Jela's true and biologic child")[17]
  • M series soldiers were designed to die by decommission at age 45.[18]
  • Command decided to improve on the M Series. "They were too independent, too individual, much too prone to use their own judgment." [3]
  • The M Series line of soldiers became extinct, but it could be reintroduced, because Jela bequeathed his gene map to Cantra yos'Phelium, via Captain Wellik. [19]

X & Y Series SoldiersEdit

  • Wanting a more obedient soldier, the designers engineered the taller X Strain and the Y Strain, which became collectively known as the Yxtrang. However, the designers failed to achieve their goal: "They lacked the interchangeability of some committee-envisioned super-fighter: Physically perfect, identical, and above all, amenable to command." [3]
  • The new design created an unintended schism: "The so-called X Strain -- able to work harder and longer on less food than even the efficient Ms...They spoke among themselves a truncated and canted artificial dialect, and appeared to lump any soldier but those of the latest vat runs into a social class of lesser outsiders." [3]
  • Unlike the M series, the Yxtrang were entirely manufactured and deliberately distanced themselves from civilians, in culture, language, etc."[20]
  • Unlike the Ms, the X and Y series covered their face in tattoos: "the all-too-silly tattoos that were becoming the rage -- and making each as identifiable as if they'd shouted out name, rank, creche, and gene units" [3] (The tattoos are eventually referred to as "vingtai" in Plan B.)
  • Not all of the new X and Y soldiers were intolerant of the Ms, as seen by the honor shown to Jela and his decommissioned ship, The Salkithin (renamed Quick Passage). "Happened this particular crew'd been Jela's own from when Salkithin had been put to sleep, six Common Years ago and a bit. It were a mixed crew -- three X Strains, two Ms, a Y, and Ilneri, who was, as far as Cantra could make it, a natural human -- and they all had something to tell about the "Little Captain" [21]
  • As the invulnerable Sheriekas easily devastated Spiral Arm worlds, military command lost hope and interest. With some notable exceptions —-Jela's group, Wellik, etc -- soldiers lost duty, discipline, and honor.
    • Example: heavily tattooed soldiers at Korak Garrison sharpening their teeth, jeering, and shooting at innocent civilians[22]
  • High Command, having been bought, eventually abandoned the beleaguered Rim and pulled back, towards the center of the Galaxy. They set up Temp Headquarters at Daelmere. Subsequently (or consequently?) the Sherieka destroyed planet Daelmere, including Temp Headquarters "or where Headquarters isn't anymore." [23]
    • Commandant Harrib at Scohecan Garrison disagreed with High Command's decision and accepted Jela's datastrip from Consolidated Commander Ro Gayda. Harrib was a natural human: "...a slender man, with sandy hair going thin...not a Series soldier." He ran a tight ship, despite dwindling supplies, with two M series soldiers guarding the gate, and a rambunctious but respectful young X on a scooter. [24]

Post Migration Edit

  • Fleeing the Sheriekas, the remnants of the Spiral Arm migrated to a new universe. Upon arrival, Yxtrang had no High Command, no orders. They set up Temp Headquarters to wait for command, and supposedly still wait, centuries later. [20]
  • Aimless and without duty, but born with an imperative for action,[10] the Yxtrang became world conquerors and merciless ravagers, making themselves an enemy to Liadans, Clutch Turtles, and Terrans (but tolerating some Terrans, the Juntavas).[25][26]
    • The Yxtrang suffered catastrophic loss to the Clutch -- "slayer of soldiers, destroyer of fleets" - and, utterly defeated, agreed to terms, [27] becoming "their fair and just prey" [26]
  • After so many centuries, perhaps a millennium, the Yxtrang series is dying out. "The design was failing. There were fewer viable births every cycle"[8] (vat-births, presumably, still?)

Individual YxtrangEdit

Diglon RifleEdit

  • Yxtrang Rifle (common trooper)[26]
  • Sworn to the service of line yos'Phelium, currently serving on Surebleak, working at Jelaza Kazone and the Spaceport
  • "Married" to field ecologist / botanist Alara chel'Voyon, a Scout on Surebleak, whose Liaden clan is aligned with Clan Korval [28]

Gernchik ExplorerEdit

  • Yxtrang Explorer (similar to Scout) [26]. Hazenthull's mentor. Died on Lytaxin.

Hazenthull ExplorerEdit

  • Yxtrang Explorer (similar to Scout) [26] who served under Gernchik Explorer.
  • Sworn to the service of line yos'Phelium
  • On Surebleak, provides security for Lady Kareen yos'Phelium and for the Spaceport, with Tolliver Jones

Nelirikk Explorer / "Beautiful"Edit

(see especially book Plan B)

  • Yxtrang Explorer, master pilot , similar to a Scout
  • Blue eyes, square jaw, sandy brown hair, scar (Nchaka) on one cheek. After removal of Vingtai: moustache and softly curling hair[7]
  • Earned the "Heroic Explorer's Starburst Certificate" with "his name listed on the Great Board at Temp Headquarters" for discovering an unusual moon (Plan B)
  • Questioned by a young Val Con, who captured and released him on an uninhabited planet [29]
  • Was demoted to No-Troop because he admitted to being captured by "an animal" Liaden
  • Re-encountered Val Con on Lytaxin, and pledged himself to the service of line yos'Phelium after losing an honorable challenge to him (knife fight).
  • Becomes Aide to Captain Miri Robertson, First Lytaxin Irregulars.
  • Field name "Beautiful"
  • Wears various insignia: lieutenant's bars, Tree and Dragon pin, green scarf for Lytaxin Irregulars, and his Captain's Aide Insignia
  • Age unknown but when he meets Miri he remembers having beard growth for 25 cycles (=standards?)[7]
  • The unit where Nelirikk trained paid homage to the legendary Jela and employed the shibjela (translates as "Jela's necklace" or "Jela's noose") a graceful wire weapon.[7]
  • Nelirikk remembers an Yxtrang camp song: "A soldier's opponent is more than might - little Jela was a demon to fight."[7] (Jela, in Crystal Soldier: "He was giddy with a joy totally beyond reason...He felt as he had when he'd come back to the Troop hall...[after] his single-handed fight against the squad from Recon..."[30] Also Jela's bold "I dare!" before fighting a much larger X-strain soldier at the soldier bar, One Day's Battle.[4]

Commander KahliizEdit

"The General" Edit

  • "The General" of the 14th Conquest Corps is never named in the book, "Plan B"
  • On planet Lytaxin, the General ignored No-Troop Nelirikk's urgent warning, thus losing a troop transport ship, the "Spraghentz"
  • The General sent Nelirikk No-Troop into enemy land, on a recon mission
  • Other Yxtrang involved: Captain Kagan, Corporal Dikl, Over-Technician Akrant[32]


Ambassador to the Unaffiliated Worlds[33][34]

Ochin RifleEdit


  • pilot of Vepal's ship[34]

Captain Wellik Edit

  • Jela's comrade. Wellik was an X Strain in command at Solcintra Garrison, in the old universe. He has "a single brown star tattooed high on his left cheek." Jela sends Tor An yos'Galan and Liad dea'Syl to Wellik with some leaves from Tree as proof of trust: "I know you have no love of soldiers, especially the X strains, but I personally vouch for Wellik."[35] Wellik created Jela's Honor Guard unit -- the same unit that Nelirikk belongs to in the new universe. [36]
    • Wellik appointed pilot Vachik (Y strain soldier) to Jela's Honor Guard unit. He was Cantra's friend. [36]

Yxtrang unit emblemsEdit

(there's at least one described during the battle of Lytaxin)

Yxtrang Facial Tattoos - "Vingtai"Edit

  • Marks of rank and accomplishment, done with a needle to be permanent[7]
  • Yxtrang history, as taught to Nelirikk, tells that vingtai were used by the first soldiers because it gave fear to Liadens[7]
  • However, tattoos were already becoming "all the rage" in the old universe.[3]
  • For one example, Jela saw a "woman with a red lance crossing a blue blade tattooed on her right cheek"[3]
  • Nelirikk's vingtai showed the following (before it was removed):
    • On the right cheek: Insignia of born-to troop: Jela's Guard Corps[7]
    • On the left cheek: Marks of Explorers and the double lines of No-Troop[7]
    • The rest: Creche mark, apprentice troop, honors of marksmanship and piloting[7]
  • Flower of Genius, worn at the outer corner of the left eye, may be earned by proposing a creative solution to a difficult problem[33]

Yxtrang Facial Scar - "Nchaka"Edit

  • "When a soldier is done training and has his own weapon given, Sergeant of Arsenal bloods the Grace-Blade, to show the edge is sharp."[7]
  • When Miri gives the order that Nelirikk's Vingtai shall be removed, she allows him to keep the Nchaka ("A man's scars are his own")[7]

X Strain troop tattoosEdit

  • a combat whip throwing sparks--or maybe it was stars [37]
  • three modest diagonal stripes--green-yellow-green [38]
  • an eight-pointed star and a ship [22]


  1. Crystal Soldier, ch 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Crystal Soldier, ch 5
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 17
  5. To Cut an Edge
  6. I Dare, ch 5, Day 50 Lytaxin Erob's Medical center
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 Plan B, ch 15
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 17, "an Explorer born and trained"
  9. The Gathering Edge, ch 16
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 12
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Crystal Soldier, ch 1
  12. Crystal Soldier, ch 31
  13. Crystal Soldier, ch 19
  14. Crystal Soldier
  15. Crystal Soldier, ch 29
  16. Crystal Dragon
  17. Crystal Dragon, ch 22
  18. Crystal Dragon, ch 2
  19. Crystal Dragon, ch 24
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Gathering Edge
  21. Crystal Dragon, ch 27
  22. 22.0 22.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 5
  23. Crystal Dragon, ch 28
  24. Crystal Soldier, ch 20
  25. Carpe Diem
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 I Dare
  27. Agent of Change, ch 22
  28. The Rifle's First Wife
  29. Splinter Universe online pub: "Four Tries for an Yxtrang"
  30. Crystal Soldier, ch 3
  31. Agent of Change, ch 18
  32. Plan B
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 The Gathering Edge, ch 3
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 The Gathering Edge, ch 10
  35. Crystal Dragon, ch 15
  36. 36.0 36.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 33
  37. Crystal Dragon, ch 17
  38. Crystal Dragon, ch 20

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