Iabu IV was a world uniquely suited to colonization by both the human and ob’Thu peoples, with conditions very favorable to one at the terminator and very favorable to the other at both poles, though both could exist with some discomfort elsewhere. A strategic world in the rivalry between the two great powers in the Local Cluster, it was also the unlikely birthplace of a third, the iphigenids, which would eventually come to dominate the sector for a time despite a population that never exceeded 100,000.

The ob’Thu colony leader on Iabu IV sought to gain an advantage through a Trojan horse of sorts; using the very mature ob’Thu bioengineering infrastructure, it created a being that had the external appearance of a human but with an ob-Thu anatomy, with a consciousness and environmental tolerances that could easily exist in both spheres. This being, Iphigenia, was offered as an ambassador to bridge the gap between the two colonies.

In reality, she was a powerful telepath and intended as a tool for espionage.

Iphigenia proved to be far more resourceful than the ob’Thu had intended, however, and engineered a coup that placed the entire world in her hands. Positioning herself as the high priestess of a new caeseropapist order, Iphigenia then created “children” using the same basic template; these children were different in that they were capable of reproduction and bred true. They were also capable of mating with humans and exchanging quasiplasmids like ob’Thu. The resultant offspring possessed the unique bioengineered combined consciousness but otherwise resembled “full-blooded” members of either species, albeit with total sterility.

In this way, the iphigenids were able to infiltrate, topple, and control a third of the colonial governments in the Local Group in less than a generation. Both human and ob’Thu regarded them as an existential threat but failed to unify against them, and it was not until the Demicide Wars that their sectors were captured, though rumors persist even today of iphigenids in hiding.

Their rule left a mixed legacy. Other than the requirement to offer allegiance, moderate taxes, and religious primacy, the iphigenids asked little of their subjects and did much to improve infrastructure and reduce infighting. However, their attempts to integrate humans and ob’Thu into a single society was an abject failure, and intense sustained violence between the two–followed by brutal reprisals from the iphigenids–marred their legacy for many. There is also no dispute that they saw themselves as innately superior to those under their rule, and had very condescending attitudes toward human and ob’Thu alike.

They also tightly controlled their own reproduction and ruthlessly killed all but the fittest of their children, leaving them highly vulnerable to population bottlenecking and forfeiting any chance of ever out-competing the more fecund humans and ob’Thu. But their claim of superiority resonated with many, and to this day they are still worshiped by some–in fact, the worship of iphigenids is still the largest faith among the ob’Thu, who did not have any native spirituality to speak of.

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