The Scarrans are a fictional alien species in the Farscape universe.
Scarrans are imposingly large humanoids that are distinctly reptilian in appearance and which display a noticeable variation in body structure. Most members of this species are perhaps best described as tailless "lizard men" with extended necks and long muzzled faces that some have found reminiscent of a horse. A significantly smaller portion possess a slightly smaller and more humanoid face on a shorter neck; this may be indicative of a transitional phase. Finally there is a third and even rarer variety that are almost human in proportion though their faces retain a certain bestial mien. There have been examples of male Scarrans of all three types, but the only females seen to date have been of this last variety - an exaggerated sexual dimorphism exists between the large muscular males and the smaller svelte females. As these Scarran women possess breasts, it may be inferred that they give birth to and nurture live young; whether the same can be said of females of the other types is uncertain. Scarrans are known to reproduce in a manner physically compatible with humans and Sebaceans.
By inference natives of a hot world, Scarrans none the less seem comfortable in temperate conditions to the point that their military facilities are heated to a level comfortable for non-Scarrans. This may have to do with the specialized gland in their chest that permits a Scarran to emit a focused beam of heat that proves exceptionally useful for purposes of torture and interrogation. Some Scarrans are skilled enough in applying this ability and studying the response its effects elicit that they can tell whether or not the victim is answering truthfully, though certain individuals (including the Scarran/Sebacean hybrid Scorpius) seem immune to this probe. The gland's ability to produce heat is negated by sub-zero temperatures, and its removal has a noticeably debilitating physical effect.
Scarrans are much stronger than most other humanoid species in the galaxy, and are capable of snapping a victim's neck with a single hand. Thick skin provides effective natural armor against most pulse weapons (however concentrated fire from even a pulse pistol will eventually compromise this); the more evolved Scarrans are generally more vulnerable to such attacks than their brutish kin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Scarrans seem particularly vulnerable to cold damage.
Forced Evolution & Hybridisation
Scarran mental faculties are known to be enhanced by the continued consumption of the plant Crystherium utilia. Whether this has a secondary effect of altering their physiology towards a more human appearance - as possibly evidenced by the secondary sexual characteristic of female breasts - is unknown. However, given the penchant for the Scarran Imperium to assimilate other races into its service, there remains the possibility that the different types of Scarrans seen in the series are distinct subspecies working in co-operation rather than a mutation of a single core race.
For an unknown amount of time prior to the beginning of the Farscape series, and possibly beyond its conclusion, the Scarrans are seen to conduct a significant number of force breeding experiments to determine the whether or not lesser species might avoid genocide by providing suitable offspring; due to the essentially incompatible nature of their biologies, Sebeceans are one such race slated for extinction. The existence of such a program when seen in the context of the use of Crystherium utilia may be taken to lend credence to the position that the variation in Scarrans phenotypes seen in the Farscape series is the result of a eugenics program rather than subspecies co-operation.
Currently, Scarran society is structured along Imperial lines, with an Emperor in overall charge. This position's power is not absolute - an incomptent may be removed by a Council (of Ministers). Though dynastic succession is expected, killing the current Emperor and taking power is a perfectly legitimate means of ascending to the throne which has no gender restriction on who may occupy it. The position of War Minister is considered the third to the Emperorship in terms of power and prestige within Scarran society, though whether this is constitutional mandate or a result of the Imperium's inexorable mobilisation to war be the time of the Farscape series is unknown.
In contrast to this apparent meritocracy of strength, Scarran society as a whole is stratified into castes that seem to correspond to the physical appearance and associated degree of intelligence of the populace. In essence, the less bestial in appearance, the higher the caste. Beneath the Scarrans themselves are their client species, such as the Kalish (public servants) and the Charrid (cannon fodder). Though there is no doubt as to Scarran primacy, these lesser races share their masters' arrogance sense of their own superiority compared their fellows; by augmenting the forces of the Imperium in this fashion, the Scarrans out-number the monoracial forces of the Peacekeepers by 10 to 1.
One of the primary means of Scarran advancement is by the use of Crystherium utilia. Similar in appearance to Earth's bird of paradise flowers, the plant increases Scarran brain mass when eaten, allowing Scarrans to evolve past their reptilian roots. The need to regularly consume this substance has essentially led to an inferiority complex within the higher echelons of Scarran society regarding how the galaxy at large refuses to acknowledge them as intellectual equals, for which they must be subjugated.
As of the end of Farscape's fourth season, Scarrans have "for some time" possessed the technology to create biological replicants of individuals, referred to as bioloids. The term is an apparent portmanteau of "biological mechanoid" as the replicant is a biological shell housing a cybernetic intelligence. The duplication process involves encapsulating the original within a biomechanical pod; though the process appears to be capable of completion within a limited time, the resultant bioloid demonstrates inferior interaction and problem-solving potential (Aeryn's duplicate cannot react in an appropriate manner to Crichton's deduction of its identity, while Sikozu is eminently capable of thinking on her feet). Additionally, a fully matured bioloid is capable of at least a limited mimicking of the original organism's extra-normal abilities. The Kalish Resistance has stolen this technology in order to create deep cover agents genetically engineered to be capable of assassinating Scarrans; though a bioloid can host a translator microbe colony sampled from the original organism, this ability would seem to be lost to those subjected to this alteration.
Scarran fleets are based around massive dreadnoughts the size of cities. Scarran dreadnoughts mount considerable firepower and at points have taken on fleets. Scarran dreadnoughts can also carry enough troops to subdue small planets, and are much larger than Peacekeeper Command Carriers.
The Decimator is the flagship of the Scarran fleet and personal warship of Emperor Staleek during the Peacekeeper-Scarran War. Faster than either a Dreadnaught or Stryker, the Decimator is also heavily armed including missiles which appeared to be armed with nuclear warheads. It has also shown to have formidable defenses, able to withstand concentrated fire from a Peacekeeper Command Carrier. It does have, however, several vulnerable locations near its aft section, making it possible for the ship to be disabled with as few as three precise hits.
The Decimator sports a sleek, aggressive appearance, complemented by three blade-like protrusions that surround the rest of the forward section of the craft. While it is dwarfed by the Peacekeeper Command Carrier and Scarran Dreadnaught, the Decimator can hold its own in an engagement.
The backbone of the Scarran fleet. Somewhat stronger than a Peacekeeper Command Carrier, a Dreadnought carries an enormous crew usually made up of Soldiers, Maintenance Techs, and Pilots. As for defenses, it too has strong Defense Shields and a type of Cannon similar to a Frag Cannon.
The Scarran Stryker is a small starship analogous to the Peacekeeper Marauder. Possessing an unusual FTL drive it has been attributed as one of the Imperium's fastest vessels; the standard Leviathan starburst is unable to match the Stryker's top speed due to the recovery period required between each jump. These vessels are considered well armed, carrying weapons powerful enough to disable a Leviathan with only a handful of shots.
History & War
The Scarran Imperium has risen to its current position as a major galactic power within the last 12,000 cycles and within that time they have come into conflict with the Peacekeepers, both civilisations laying claim to parts of the so-called Uncharted Territories into which their populaces might expand. How long the state of cold war has existed between them is unknown - though legend tells of the Eidelons creating a peace between the two species over 12,000 years prior to the Farscape series at the temple on Arnesk, the testimony of the Eidelons themselves as to their lack of familiarity with the Scarran species would indicate the story as the galaxy knows it is fallacious.
By the end of the Farscape series, hostilities between Scarrans and Peacekeepers escalate into an open conflict that lasts for a number of months; almost without exception, the Scarran war machine carries every battle, conquering many systems both within the Uncharted Territories, and under Peacekeeper control. Despite this, the war is brought to a peaceful conclusion with no victor when John Crichton utilises a wormhole weapon with the potential to destroy the galaxy in order to frighten both sides into signing a peace treaty.