|Affiliation||Nautolan Society, The Wraiths, House ExHilo|
|Prior Affiliation||Avance Coalition, New Republic, and various other organizations on the fringe of civilization|
Zao Nephalem is a Nautolan male from Glee Anselm. He is a member in the Nautolan Society and once served as the Contra of the Nautola Clan. He had a very long and illustrious carrier in the Avance Coalition, before it was dissolved. He now is Lord of House ExHilo and leads The Wraiths.
Unlike most Nautolans, Zao was at home both in water and in the trees. As a child he would climb trees to dizzying heights to jump off into lakes far below. That is when Zao caught the flying bug. He loved the sense of flying, and soon bought a cheap speeder to work on. After failing miserably at getting the damn thing to work, Zao decided leave his flying love and go back to the forest on foot. After his formal education, Zao was a guide for “Wild Planets Safari”, a hunting business spanning the galaxy for large and exotic animal hunts for the rich and bloodthirsty. He was the scout that went out ahead of the group before they reached the desired planet, and found the herds of beasts, or that one large target that often considered him lunch. This scouting allotted him the opportunity to pursue his love of flying once again. He became very good at flying at great speeds just feet above the treetops scanning for herds of animals below. He had a good life, and was content with it.
Then one fateful day, Zao arrived on his home planet of Glee Anselm to visit his family. Zao’s family had come to the Star port to see him, … his little sister ran towards him as his parents stood at the entrance waving. He bent down to hug his sister, but as he stood back up holding her in his arms, a white flash blinded Zao, … then darkness. When he regain consciousness, all he could smell was burning metal and meat, and cries for help. His little sister was lying on the ground next to him. Once emergency personnel started to drag Zao and his sister away from the burning debris, he could see the destruction. The only thing that saved them was that they were on the lee side of his ship from the apparent epicenter of an explosion. His ship, only half a ship now, had taken the brunt of the hit. Soon a medical team came to their side. Zao's sister, Hiwatta, had a concussion, but was stable. There was no Hospital at the time on Glee, so the medical teams could only treat her with basic first aid. Zao himself had some slight burns, a few cuts, and also suffering from a concussion. Afterwards he looked around for his mother and father, but he could not see them. The truth hit quick, and cold. He saw a row forming of bodies covered by white tarps and blankets, … covered over their faces.
After weeks of settling his family’s affairs with government and kin, Zao sat in a stupor, still unable to grasp what had happened. His sister had gone back to school for the semester, and he was alone. What kicked him out of his stupor, and into anger, was a report over the holonet that the government still had not found who was responsible for the apparent terrorist attack. The major hold up was that the government was powerless to board suspected ships out in interstellar space. The rules of the government were impeding their own set rules of justice. He saw government as a broken system. He wanted justice, he wanted revenge. He spend hours at the holonet cafes looking up news of vigilante groups and others that took the law into their own hands, … he would be one of them.
With what credits his family had, he bought a YT-1210. Before leaving Glee, he left a note for his sister telling her he had found a way to avenge their parents, and that one day he would return. Zao traveled to the Orus sector. He had read about pirate activity there. He soon hooked up with a group that took him on as a scout, and taught him the basics of melee weapons and their advantage over blasters. Zao soon became known for his preference of melee weapons over ranged weapons and blasters.
After a failed uprising against the Pirate's Leader, Zao traveled far away to hide in a prospector’s camp until he felt the threat of payback had died down. During this time, Zao found that he was good at trading, and managing businesses. And he became more of a commerce Nautolan than a fighter. It was during this time of long months alone on a rock looking for minerals that Zao found religion. It soothed his mind and his soul, and made him more at peace with his past. After the Overseer of The Way saw Zao’s ambition for this new found faith, he was prompted to ordain Zao as a Chaplain of the faith.
After he felt the threat of payback had passed, Zao went back out into the Galaxy to see what it held for him now that he had come to peace with his past. After several fortunate sales, Zao boosted his worth. After being found by the ExGal society, he quickly went to work in establishing himself in the Avance Coalition. Once he had a job, and a home, Zao went back to Glee to find his little sister had grown up, ... but without guidance, had fallen into the wrong crowd. He pulled her from the planet and took her with him back to his home on Jomark. He enrolled her into a martial arts school run by Master Piico SaNikto. Master Piico quickly molded her into a lady with a fist of fire.
Zao quickly founded the royal House ExHilo and became the director of ExGal Society, helping to build the infrastructure and development the expansion of the Avance Coalition.
As if his life had not been thrown into a tailspin enough, he met the Nautolan Society Overlord Siejo Kutol sister, Anjyl Kutol, and fell in love with her. To his surprise, she seemed to care for him as well. They were quickly wed with a honeymoon, oddly enough for Nautolans, in the mountain region of Corvanni IV, just outside of Zao's Palace. Anjyl quickly bonded with Zao's sister as their draw towards physical contest seemed to both be quite strong. They can both often be seen practicing their skills either in Zao's palace gardens, or just outside in the Teras Kasi competitions.
Zao, on year 8, day 245, organized and executed the dissolution of the ExGal Society so that it would be reborn as the Avance Coalition Military intelligence. He then settled down as Lord of a House and Husband to Anjyl.
This down time only lasted for around a year when he was called by SRE leadership at the end of Year 9 to mentor and primp the new leaders of the Rendili Stardrive. Kissing his wife Anjyl goodby, he flew off to the hidden system of Thonner to start up his new duty. It didn't take much time at all to pick out a young Wookiee as the new leader, he had initiative, loyalty, and amazing organizational skills. Early in year 10 Zao moved the reins of power over to the young Wookiee, and remained 2nd in command for a month's time to make sure the shift was complete. He then went back to working on Corvanni with his new found tools and contacts from being the leader of a ship manufacturer.
Zao held the rank of Duke in the Avance Coalition and has a position in the Hall of Houses as Lord of House ExHilo until mid year 11 when he decided to leave the lime-light of public life and start a family. House ExHilo was set up as an oligarchy, Zao moved his House's assets to a deep space community he had started a year ago, and there he began the rest of his life with his wife Anjyl and his son, Zophiel.
The Next Chapter: New Republic
Zao grew restless, as he often did. After Zophiel was about a year in age, and was romping around the station like a little trooper, Zao sought to help Dan Neo in his new position as Leader of InCom - the shipbuilding company for the New Republic. Zao knew Neo from a few merc missions in his 'prior life' and Zao had always liked ships. The two just fit well. That, and the Nautolan was hoping to get to fly some of the restricted tech they had in their starfighter fleet - the speed of the A-wing alone made him wonton for hotdog'en in an asteroid belt. Zao put his experience to work and organized full system shipyards for optimal performance. However, life in space quickly reminded him of the mining had done years ago, and became boring quickly. He went back to hunting, his first love.
The Derra virus effect
While hunting on Sanyassa, a relative hub of activity both for wildlife as well as new recruits for the Avance coalition, Zao started to come down with what he thought was a mild cold. Not wanting to miss out on the hunt that was currently tracking down a massive pre-juvenile heard of Rancors, the Nautolan filled a Bacta tank and jumped in for a quick "system cleanse"-or at least that's what he thought. The attending medical droids notice that while he was in stasis his body was starting to be ravaged by something unknown. They kept him unconscious for over three weeks in the tank constantly feeding it Bacta with a later optimized combination of Ryll, Bacta, and sedatives. Ryll was found to have properties that retarded the advancement of the genetic modifications that were taking place. But not all the genetic modifications were stopped. After two weeks, it seemed the infection was over, but the droids continued to keep Zao in stasis for another week, continually pumping him full of Ryll and Bacta.
When he stepped out of the tank, he had no idea such time and past, but he quickly realized something had gone terribly wrong. As the droids explained as best they could what issues had occurred over the past three weeks, as well as the news that had been broadcast, the Nautolan reached out with his senses and could feel various parts of his body were different, some stronger, some weaker. It was then that the final news the droids delivered to him hit like an iceberg to the jaw, "while you currently look Nautolan, your DNA is Gammorian. The droid went on about possible later modifications, but it was muted by the sound of blood rushing in his ears, his vision when red - something it had never done before now. There was a rage inside him that he could not suppressed, a primitive feeling. He put on his armor, unsheathed two combat knives, left his Sprint and its several squads of hunters, and walked out into the jungle. Something was driving him, he needed to feel blood, he needed to kill with his hands, he didn't know why.
As the months passed, the acceptance of his new physical traits slowly sank in. He was stronger, more agile, but his running and fighting speed had diminished, as well as his abilities to pilot ships. He had also lost the ability to use his gills-a truly horrible thing for a Nautolan. The acceptance was never truly there for what it had done to him mentally, he was less peaceful, quicker to anger, and constantly had to suppress bloodlust on the hunt as to not endanger his hunting party.
He went back to the luxury space station where his family was, his wife Anjyl, and his son Zophiel. They both realized quickly he had changed, so much more mentally than physically. After a rather intense and almost physical fight between Zao and his wife, the Nautolan sat in the dark and realized the sad path forward-for their safety he would have to leave. After a soul crushing conversation with his family, Zao handed his wife 600 million credits, and told her to take Zophiel and herself to her brother Siejo, and have him hide them. And then they were gone.
Zao Nephalem then pulled everything out of the space station they could possibly ever need, and scuttled it. He was a new creature, it was time he explored what this new creature was. .
Hunting. Hunting seemed to be the only thing that came natural and gave comfort to Zao. He found a planet teeming with life, he hunkered down and hunted. Once he would only hunt with blades, relying on his quickness of attack. But his quickness was gone now. He did find, however, that he was able to site in a rifle with much better accuracy now. Blades now were only for backup. With what was left of his capital and his contacts from his old life he was able to get outfitted with multiple sniper rifles, medium-range rifles, and short range blasters. Along with a legion of Abyssian troops at his side, the ex-Lord Nephalem, founder of the Avancian house ExHilo, ex-leader of ExGal and RSD, and a good friend to many wandered off into the wild wondering what would be.
A New Hope
It had been over a year since the Derra virus had ravaged Zao's DNA, leaving him filled with anger, sorrow, and loss. His violent rages and caused him to send his family to the other side of the galaxy for their safety. He also could take no solstice in the deep waters to calm his mind as his gills no longer functioned properly. He was a hybrid, half Nautolan and half Gammorian. His fighting prowess increased, as did his strength. But his sociability and manners plummeted. He had surrounded himself with like-minded Abyssians and hunted beasts and bandits, bathing in their blood daily. It was his new life, he stopped fighting what he believed he had become.
After a rather uneventful month of hunting, he ascended to orbit to "check in" with the wraiths and his commanding officer. As usual, no communication-he was meant to learn to kill efficiently and be left alone. However, there was a message from someone he did not know. A doctor, Dr. Kekal. Evidently, this doctor had come across Zao's earlier pleas to the Galactic medical community at large to help with what happened to him. Most others affected by the virus had complete DNA conversion. However, Zao's case, was different. A stream of Bacta and Ryll had retarded mutation, leaving him a hybrid. This doctor purported to have found recently a strand of DNA that could alleviate and possibly even remove the invasive Gammorian DNA and physical traits that went along with it. But needed funding to evolve it beyond single cell tests.
Hope? Did he dare?
After thorough background check, and proof of concept in one of laboratories by his personnel, it was decided that the idea was plausibly viable. However, to scale up the idea it would require a full research center worth of space, support, and equipment to perform the final tests and procedure with acceptable risk. One week after this assessment was presented to Zao, construction was started on Lanteeb III for a new research center floating just off the East shore. Months later, the new pristine research facility was used to perform the first interspecies DNA substitution to mitigate the effect of the damage done by the Derra virus. Naturally, the first tests were performed on Gungans. After a few issues were resolved, Zao was prepared for the procedure. Dr. Kekal, a bipedal sentient of unknown race or origin, methodically and without any physical semblance of emotion perform the procedure on the Nautolan-Gammorian hybrid. Initial results would be evident within 24 hours, full realization of the procedure success would come within seven days. To help with recovery and to suppress Zao's anxiety, he was Sedated and a Bacta tank for a full week.
Year 15, day 258....
When the seemingly full Nautolan regained consciousness lying in white silken sheets, his first thought was that of plunging to the ocean's depths to fully test the procedure success. Seconds later, the thought of nourishment quickly struck his mind and stomach. He craved Nerf burgers with a dash of Nubian spice. The doctor insisted the full examination first before anything was tested that could result in cellular damage or asphyxiation/drowning. There would hear nothing of it, and simply ordered a dive team to go along with them just in case. He didn't want to see land or cities, he only wanted the deep blue, they travel a full five hours by shuttle to the southwest quadrant of the planet. With repulsor jets foaming the ocean below the shuttle, Zao and the dive team jumped into the deep blue. Although he could not survive under the water without artificial means, he still had hunted the past year in deep ocean environments. Just this time, there was no gear, no suit, not much more than a loincloth on his bare body. He swam straight down vigorously, holding his breath. It was either going to work, or he would feel the burn deeply.
Within just 3 min. the gulping sensation deep in his chest became unbearable. He opened his mouth, dropped his tongue, and expanded diaphragm. Deep burn. Panic. Anger. His head throbbed. His vision blurred with the tears mixing with the ocean. Then it all subsided, he felt his gills "tickle" It worked. He continued deeper, leaving the dive team behind. He swam down to the depths where sunlight rarely penetrated. A deep azure.
He was Zao again. He longed to see his wife and children, he felt the hate and rage from the Gammorian side wash away. Perhaps it was only psychological and not genetic. It didn't matter now, time to reengage the galaxy. Time for some changes.