Star Bandits Background Information

Star Bandits

Name given to the semi-legendary culture which seems to have flourished some 5,300 years ago on the spinward end of the Spinward Main. Almost all evidence of the Star Bandits has come from oral traditions, myths, legends and the like from a number of separate worlds in the Regina and Lanth subsectors. Their origins, fate and details of their culture remain unknown. Estimates place them at TL9-10 and stories seem to indicate them to be a race of upright bipeds, but nothing is certain.

Tradition invariably depicts the Star Bandits as a ruthless, aggressive race, descending from the sky to spread destruction and death among the inhabitants. Plunder and pillage would seem to have been their main object in these raids. A number of theories have circulated regarding their origins; the most recent, put forward by Professor Jothan Messandi, places them on an obscure world in the Regina subsector known as Knorbes. The theory has not won widespread support in scientific circles.

Jothan Messandi

Formerly Professor of History at the Institute for Systems Studies on Regina and author of the popular book, Hoard of the Star Bandits. Born 298-1055; educated at Regina University and several advanced schools; degrees in history and comparative folklore. Missing and presumed dead, 1103. Messandi’s career was undistinguished before the publication of his book, which led to a short-lived celebrity status. His theories on the origins and fate of the so-called “Star Bandits” created great public interest, as well as considerable controversy among scientific circles. It has been suggested that Messandi’s act of publishing his material for popular consumption without first going through the accepted academic channels, was as much behind Messandi’s resulting ostracism as any failure in scholarship or research in the theories themselves. At any rate, Messandi was forced to resign his position with the Institute shortly after the appearance of the book in 1102 and he retired to private life. In 1103, however, Messandi disappeared, reputedly while leading a privately organized expedition to Knorbes in an attempt to vindicate his theories.

Hoard of the Star Bandits

“Along among the systems of the spinward end of the Spinward Main, Knorbes has left us no legends recounting the coming of the Star Bandits. It can only be assumed then that Knorbes – standing near the heart of the region where the Bandits flourished – must be the home of those interstellar Vikings …”

from Chapter 1

Hoard of the Star Bandits continues in a similar fashion to present 493 pages of collected stories, legends, suppositions and speculations into the background of the Star Bandits. Much of the book is devoted to a recapitulation of the material known about the Star Bandits and the research presented is among the finest ever assembled on the subject. However, some of the material chosen for inclusion in this portion of the book has proven to be unreliable – in some cases even falsified, apparently included only because it supported the theory being presented. A case in point is the legend cited from the tradition of Rech, a world in the Lanth subsector, which has long been proven to be connected with the arrival of human colonists some 2750 years ago, long after the accepted period of Star Bandit activity.

The book turns to speculation once these initial chapters of background are completed. Professor Messandi tends to exaggerate both in writing and in his drawing of conclusions in general. For example, sweeping statements that “no Star Bandit activity is recorded in any Knorbesian tradition” are based on a lack of such legends in the folklore of a handful of coastal tribes, the only ones on which extensive research material exists.

The lure of treasure also taints Messandi’s scholarship. He seems much more concerned with discussing the fabled “hoard” – five full chapters are devoted to doing so – than he is in presenting a fair account of who the Star Bandits really were. The main thrust of the book is the identification of the Star Bandits with the Raynirjik culture mentioned in Knorbesian myth; this apparently because the descriptions of the lost city of Tlaynsilak are indicative of the kind of wealth credited to the Star Bandits. When discussing the subject, the Professor sheds any pretense of scientific detachment and waxes poestic:

“Stories reach us from the natives of Knorbes of Tlaynsilak, the ‘City of the Golden Walls’, a fabulous El Dorado in the humid jungles of Lesser ‘where the sky draws near the ground’. Where so-called scholars dismiss the story as legend, a knowledgable seeker of truth can discern the location of the great hoard. Tlaynsilak existed and still, I say, exists in that great Outback; and he who finds that golden city will find the plundered wealth of a dozen worlds.”

Though the theory is beguiling, flaws in Messandi’s scholarship detract from the quality of his work. Of all his faults, perhaps Messandi’s worst is his armchair theorizing; he has never himself led an expedition to seek proof. Thus his book, though popular, is destined to remain a borderline, pseudo-scientific work.

Raynirjik

Native name used by various aboriginal tribes present on the Lesser continent of Knorbes for the ancient civilization which flourished on that planet 5,300 years ago. The name translates as “Lords of the Golden Walls”. Archeological evidence has placed that the Raynirjik were a Tech 3 culture embracing parts of both of Knorbes’ two continents. Little is known of the Raynirijk culture, as most ruins thus far discovered have contained little in the way of records, artifacts, or other useful material.

Professor Jothan Messandi, in his book, Hoard of the Star Bandits, has suggested that the Raynirjik civilization should actually be identified with the so called Star Bandits (qv). The theory has received considerable popular support, but little in the way of scientific backing. Evidence has not supported this position to date. It is not, however, impossible that remains of a more advanced culture may yet be found on Knorbes, as a great deal of the Outback remains unexplored.

Tlaynsilak

Native name given to the most famous of Knorbes’ “Lost Cities”. Reputedly a great centre of power and wealth among the Raynirjik, little is known about the veracity of native stories of this city. It is believed to exist somewhere in the Outback of Knorbes’ largely uninhabited continent of Lesser. Despite the persistence of the legends, many scientists believe the city to be an “El Dorado” with no basis in fact. Followers of Professor Jothan Messandi’s theory, which holds Tlanynsilak to be the home of the so-called “Star Bandits”, disagree with this view.

Star Bandits Background Information

Mustered Out on Regina NickPendrell