The Skrell possess a highly diverse military, with different levels of organisation, expertise and various duties dependent upon who it is organised by.
The most common military forces seen in the skrellian territories are the local reserves of each City-State. In charge of the city’s defence, they also fill the role of law enforcement for the government. However, their small numbers coupled with the political independence of every City-State limits their capacity in time of war and general offensives against their enemies. As such the forces of a city state, known as the Qrri-Morr'Kon, are usually limited almost entirely to local defence, emergency medical, search and rescue and policing with a heavy focus on the latter. The Morr'Glo also contains a city states intelligence service is unusually diverse, often consisting of a large number of Malish-Katish analysts and Talum and Kanin-Katish operatives monitored by Raskinta handlers.
To compensate for this issue, the Skrell formed what they call the Skrellian Defence Task Forces, or Qarr-Morr'Kon. SDTFs are independent entities formed by several City-States who pool together resources and manpower for their common safety. Once such a group is formed, they gain full independence from their creators, although they are still informally bound to them as they need the City States as a source of recruitment and materials. Private corporations also have a part to play with the SDTFs, as they often sign contracts with them to sell equipment and ships at preferential prices. For the corporations, it is mostly a way to advertise themselves: The prestige of a partnership with an SDTF, along with the fact that such groups only procure the best equipment generally means a major boost in sales based on the reputation of the SDTF.
Unsurprisingly, SDTFs are not ruled by Qerr-Katish, but by a Raskinta-Katish commander, assisted by a variation of a Qerr-Koal council, in the form of the officers in charge of the various subsections of the organisation.
As for recruitment, City States provide the SDTFs with volunteers s after which the SDTF evaluates them under various criteria to decide how many of them will actually join the group. There is rarely a lack of volunteers for this task, as being an SDTF member entails a lot of advantages over a regular inhabitant of a city; Higher wages than with an equivalent ‘civilian’ job, priority when it comes to healthcare and education for their close family and more. Members of a SDTF also enjoy multi-citizenship across the various founding cities of the organisation, a perk rarely enjoyed in civilian life and a serious motivator for potential recruits.
Contrary to what one might expect, the Raskinta-Katish only represent half to three quarters of an SDTFs' manpower. Kanin-Katish generally have a strong presence in a task force and a smaller amount of Malish-Katish can be found working along their more physical brethren in a variety of medical, science and research roles. A few Qerr-Katish work as diplomats and managers for groups, while Talum-Katish are a very exceptional caste to be seen working in them, only for for rare tasks related to the SDTF’s public image.
Culturally SDTF's are fundmanentally different in style, culture, mode of operation and living to human militaries. SDTF's are, thanks to their heavy Raskinta influence and control, highly communal organisations, and tight familial bonds are formed within them. Skrell put little importance on standing on ceremony or command separation. There is no officer-enlisted style divide, and there is often little need to "pull rank." Life in an SDTF is a highly personal, informal, yet regimented affair.
As for the castes, they take a more complicated shape within the skrellian military; while the main structure remains, they are subsequently divided into more diverse categorisations, themselves separated into smaller partitions to ensure every Skrell is performing their duty as a specialised, competent component of a greater machine. The sub-divisions are divided into the following components:
- Me’kerr-Ketish: Soldiers specialised in boarding operations and fighting in 0G, they are formed to perform lighting strikes, at their best in closed environments. They also handle rapid strike orbital strike operations.
- Me’xoal-Ketish: The ground forces of a SDTF. Contrary to the Me’kerr-Ketish, they are formed for long range combat, patient and thorough in their actions.
- Qi’kerr-Ketish: The skrellian space and air forces. Heavily trained in hit and run operations, mostly as a support and diversion for the infantry. While most are focused around the operation and piloting of fighter, bomber and strike craft they also helm the larger SDTF fleet vessels and a Qi'Kerr is usually found as the commander of the Fleet.
- Qi’xoal-Ketish: The ground vehicles of a SDTF, their role is further divided into long range support to the infantry and as a lighting strike force for critical targets.
- Keloa-Ketish: Mostly fleet-based, this component is in charge of the Research & Development projects of the SDTF, generally working closely with the groups partners to improve and adapt their technology to the needs of the defence forces.
- Mero'ta-Ketish: An SDTF's medical caste. This component is almost entirely responsible for providing medical services within an SDTF and has a variety of physicians, surgeons and nursing staff.
- Toglo’i-Ketish: Technical support for Raskinta, these Malish-Katish often accompany them during operations to provide technical support. As such, they often tend to adopt some traits of their military brothers.
- Megloa-Ketish: Work in collaboration with the Keloa-Ketish in R&D. Their close contact with their intellectual kin tends to make them more inquisitive and individualistic than other Kanin-Katish.
- Xiqarr-Ketish: Fleet-based, they are in charge of operating, maintaining and piloting the SDTF’s fleet and starbases. Heavily engineering focused.
- Goxo’i-Ketish: Similarly to the Toglo’i-Katish, they handle technical support for the Raskinta-Katish, generally accompanying the Qi’xoal-Ketish for vehicle maintenance on the field, but also engaged into demolitions and communications operations along the Qi’xoal-Ketish. The similar mindsets of Kanin-Katish and Raskinta-Katish consequently improve their capacity for cooperation.
- Mero'tol-Ketish: Roughly equivalent to human medical technician/field medic roles these are combat trained medical personnel who accompany Raskinta infantry and provide medical support, patient care and emergency medicine on the battlefield. They also guard, maintain and establish field hospitals for the Mero'ta-Ketish, and their close work with both see them adopting some of the traits of both groups.
The Qerr-Katish and Talum-Katish, few in numbers, do not have larger component organisations within the SDTFs. As for the subsequent divisions within each component, they tend to differ from task force to task force, although some global patterns exist (separation of space and air forces within the Qi’kerr-Ketish, artillery and frontline vehicles within the Qi’xoal-Ketish and so forth.)
Here are a few famous SDTFs found across history:
- Qerr’voal: A famous name within the Raskinta-Katish community, the Qerr’voal is the SDTF in charge of defending the Qerr’Vallis system, a task the Qerr'Voal has carried out with distinction for 600 years. Despite the relative safety and stability of the system many young Skrell of Qerr’balak and the surrounding colonies try to enter the prestigious organisation in order to gain status and influence with their brethern.
- Qala’oa: Relatively recent, this particular group was funded shortly after the first contact between Skrell and humans. Patrolling several worlds at the border between the two species this SDTF has, like the colonies it protects, started to slowly adopt some human customs and views, for better and for worse. Still growing today, some expect it to become the largest SDTF along the skrell-human border within the next thirty years.
Life in Space
Up until the 8th century, the Skrell had no established rules or customs when it came to life in space. While they certainly had their planetbound colonies and small space stations spread across their territories, long-term living in the void was virtually unheard of. However, as new settlements began to grow in numbers and importance, many corporations that had heavily invested in colonial development had to adapt their infrastructures, with many moving most of their operations to large space stations either in orbit of Qerr'balak or, more generally, within the Qerr'valis system. Imperceptibly, they had slowly grown increasingly independent from planetside governments, and by the end of the century, most planetside leaders had to acknowledge that the only logical step left for these companies was to attain full political independence, breaking the hegemony of the Qerr-skria over Skrellkind.
Back on Qerr'balak, the various governments were scrambling to find a proper way to react to the crisis. The transition process was already well on its way, and across the planet, academies and Qerr-skria were afraid to see their authority turn to dust as one corporation after the other would free themselves from their influence. Open war was immediately discarded; not only were the corporations too numerous, making any sort of military operation difficult, perhaps even doomed to failure as several of them were responsible for the manufacture of many city-states' spacecraft and weaponry, but the repercussions of public governments openly attacking the private sector would be disastrous for the economy and most likely a very unpopular move for the population in general. More so, the geopolitical ramifications of militarising space were legion: who would be the leading authority in such a war? how to prevent similar occurrences in the future? how to make sure that space would remain a neutral zone, free of the political struggles between the thousands of independent governments back on the planet? No city-state was willing to take the first step to react to the situation, until the city of Kal'lo, as often in its history, proposed a solution that would shape the skrellian military for centuries to come.
Using the corporations' own weapons against them, the city-state, along with numerous others partners, pooled its resources to create a government-funded but privately-owned military group, tasked with enforcing skrellian laws in areas where the planet's governments could not operate. This new structure would later give birth to the countless defence task forces we see today in skrellian space. The organisation, officially operating of their own volition and able to declare itself an authoritative figure without implicating planetside governments, was therefore able to pressure private organisations into respecting most of Qerr'balak's legislative apparatus under threat of military action, even though it could not fully keep them under control.
Nowadays, the dynamics of the relationship between corporations and the military have not changed much, except for the scale of it; thousands of corporations with their own structures and agendas have to compete and operate with thousands of military groups with their own structures and agendas in a gargantuan yet functional machinery only the Skrell are capable of.
On one hand, life in corporate territories resemble most aspects planetary life: stations have their own laws (over time, the focus shifted from obeying traditional skrellian laws to creating their own set of rules that nonetheless respects the spirit of the universal skrellian system), use the same caste system, and are still tied to the economic system of the city-states, as they are still the only ones printing money universally recognised in their territories. They are, however, very different in their organisation, as they are mostly ruled by groups of share-owning Qerr-Katish who legislate and manage their holdings in a much more oligarchical system than the technocratic monarchy of the city-states.
Despite their best efforts to place themselves as equals to the city-states, various pressures have so far prevented them from fulfilling their potential; apart from their monetary dependence, they are also strongly discouraged by the SDTFs from forming their own large-scale military groups, usually relying on small private security and said SDTFs to ensure their safety (and despite the copious amounts of money and equipment invested in these groups, the defence task forces often seem to prioritise their own interests or the city-states' before the ones of corporations). Similarly, while several corporations have attempted in the past to evolve into fully-fledged, space-based city-states with the powers and duties linked to the function, these experiments have for the most part always failed, with the stations falling back to their corporate habits in the next 50 years, in the best of cases.
On the other hand, one would be mistaken to think that the authority of the SDTFs stops at their fleets. Over centuries of power struggles and expansion of their operations, the task forces own a fairly large amount of assets in space, from observation outposts to orbital cities occupied by civilians who fall under the authority of the military. In their case, life is much harsher than in city-states or corporate territories, as martial law is much more strict and punitive than everywhere else. It does not help that the military authorities maintain a tight control on migratory fluxes, leaving very few opportunities for the Skrell to move away to more tolerant environments. It can however be said that territories under the authority of SDTFs are the safest places in skrell with the military being so pervasive in society that piracy and organised crime are unable to properly operate. Moreover, while corporations have a relatively (in comparison to city-states) unequal society, with the Qerr-Katish holding most of the wealth and resources, the SDTFs do everything in their power to preserve the egalitarian structure of planetside societies in their own holdings.