General Information Edit

  • Augmented humans, super-soldiers, created originally to fight the Sheriekas: "To fight augmented humans, one needed special humans, not quite as adjusted and modified perhaps as the Sheriekas...but fighters who were more efficient, stronger, and often faster." [1]
    • The soldier caste from which the present-day Yxtrang devolve, were entirely manufactured, they were created to stringent specifications, indoctrinated from birth into a soldier culture that deliberately distanced them from civilian cultures. They might have been raised up knowing that they were better than the not-soldiers. But they were also raised to a strong sense of duty. The civilians, who were weaker and less able to defend themselves, were natural objects of their protection.[2]
  • Originally spelled Trang (meaning "Troop")
  • The word Yxtrang was formed by blending together Y Strain and X Strain.
  • Yxtrang have deliberately developed their own cant language, referred to as Troop, but they once spoke the common tongue.[3]
    • "If they're gonna have tattoos on their faces," she said to Jela, "and their own language, too, it might be hard for an ordinary citizen to take to 'em much."[4]
    • Their native language was also manufactured, spoken only among those of the Troop. Not only were there technical matters they needed to speak of quickly and efficiently, but secret things, too.[2]
  • Yxtrang are taller than average Terrans, but shorter than Clutch Turtles (average Liadens are 5' tall, Terrans 7' tall, Clutch 9' tall [5]
    • But in "I Dare" Edger is only 8 feet. [6]
  • Yxtrang soldiers do not have beards (although they have beard growth) - it's part of dicipline[7]
  • Soldiers achieve rank by performance (lieutenants, commanders, etc) but from before birth, through design, and through subsequent training, they become dutiful common trooper "Rifles" or the more adaptable, intelligent, and autonomous (but still dutiful) "Explorers" [8] (Some older model "Pathfinders" had "mental shields installed at such a cost" to resist the enemy.[9])
  • Yxtrang have a biological imperative for immediate action but the Explorers have learned techniques to think past it [10]

Daily MantraEdit

(Diglon Rifle reflecting): "The Yxtrang concept, learned at first by a story told by an elder Troop, was rote as a child and reinforced at first once per ten day and then once per five day and then once per day until at last it was part of his very waking thought: Today I will joyfully do the work of the Troop, without delay, remorse, reserve, or restriction."[11]

M Series SoldiersEdit

  • See books 1 & 2: Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon
  • More than a millennium ago the GREAT ENEMY, the Sheriekas ("they'd been human once....they were the evolved human, the perfected species"[12]) created the prototype super-soldier. However, humans stole the design. "The design was captured, modifications were made, and when the Sheriekas retuned to exercise their dominion over the Spiral Arm, the M Series was waiting to deny them the pleasure." [13]
  • Human, "designed with human care" and not vat-born "even if his genes had been selected, and cultivated, and arranged, he was arguably as human as anyone who didn't bear a Batch tattoo on both arms." [12]
  • The M Series soldier had been designed to be "far stronger for his size, to get by on less food, see and hear better than average, and respond with faster and more refined action, etc. [12]
  • M strain soldiers were "resistant to a long list of mental manipulations, including sabotage by pheromone"[14]
  • The earliest named soldier in the series of books is Jela (M Jela Granthor's Guard). Jela was an M Series soldier, a generalist, assigned to Granthor's Guard creche. He was athletic, adaptable, energetic, humorous, repeatedly lucky, and highly intelligent. Above all, Jela was dutiful.[15]
  • Jela and all M Series soldiers were created individually in a lab and nursed from fetus in a crèche with other children. [16] (not vat-born)
  • Engineered soldiers by default cannot reproduce [17] (but Cantra did conceive "Jela's true and biologic child")[18]
  • M series soldiers were designed to die by decommission at age 45.[19]
  • Command decided to improve on the M Series. "They were too independent, too individual, much too prone to use their own judgment." [3]
  • The M Series line of soldiers became extinct, but it could be reintroduced, because Jela bequeathed his gene map to Cantra yos'Phelium, via Captain Wellik. [20]

X and Y SeriesEdit

X and Y became Yxtrang

  • Wanting a more obedient soldier, the designers engineered the taller X Strain and the Y Strain, which became collectively known as the Yxtrang. However, the designers failed to achieve their goal: "They lacked the interchangeability of some committee-envisioned super-fighter: Physically perfect, identical, and above all, amenable to command." [3]
  • The new design created an unintended schism: "The so-called X Strain -- able to work harder and longer on less food than even the efficient Ms...They spoke among themselves a truncated and canted artificial dialect, and appeared to lump any soldier but those of the latest vat runs into a social class of lesser outsiders." [3]
  • Unlike the M series, the Yxtrang were entirely manufactured and deliberately distanced themselves from civilians, in culture, language, etc."[21]
  • Unlike the Ms, the X and Y series covered their face in tattoos: "the all-too-silly tattoos that were becoming the rage -- and making each as identifiable as if they'd shouted out name, rank, creche, and gene units" [3] (The tattoos are eventually referred to as "vingtai" in Plan B.)
  • Not all of the new X and Y soldiers were intolerant of the Ms, as seen by the honor shown to Jela and his decommissioned ship, The Salkithin (renamed Quick Passage). "Happened this particular crew'd been Jela's own from when Salkithin had been put to sleep, six Common Years ago and a bit. It were a mixed crew -- three X Strains, two Ms, a Y, and Ilneri, who was, as far as Cantra could make it, a natural human -- and they all had something to tell about the "Little Captain" [22]
  • As the invulnerable Sheriekas easily devastated Spiral Arm worlds, military command lost hope and interest. With some notable exceptions —-Jela's group, Wellik, etc -- soldiers lost duty, discipline, and honor.
    • Example: heavily tattooed soldiers at Korak Garrison sharpening their teeth, jeering, and shooting at innocent civilians[23]
  • High Command, having been bought, eventually abandoned the beleaguered Rim and pulled back, towards the center of the Galaxy. They set up Temp Headquarters at Daelmere. Subsequently (or consequently?) the Sherieka destroyed planet Daelmere, including Temp Headquarters "or where Headquarters isn't anymore." [24]
    • Commandant Harrib at Scohecan Garrison disagreed with High Command's decision and accepted Jela's datastrip from Consolidated Commander Ro Gayda. Harrib was a natural human: "...a slender man, with sandy hair going thin...not a Series soldier." He ran a tight ship, despite dwindling supplies, with two M series soldiers guarding the gate, and a rambunctious but respectful young X on a scooter. [25]

Yxtrang Today Edit

  • The remnants of the Spiral Arm migrated to the Liaden universe. Some Troops flew rear guard to Cantra’s ship Quick Passage. [26]
  • But upon arrival, the Troop found no High Command, no orders. They set up Temp Headquarters to wait for command to arrive, and supposedly still wait, a millennium later. [21]
  • Aimless and without duty, but born with an imperative for action,[10] the Yxtrang became warlike world conquerors and merciless ravagers, making themselves an enemy to Liadans, Clutch Turtles, and Terrans alike (but tolerating the Juntavas, who are Terran). They destroyed Rys Lin pen’Chala’s clan and vineyard. [27]
  • “Liadens were taught to fear and despise the soldier hordes, to consider them forever a threat to the universe, a menace to civilization.”[28] see soldier Diglon in The Rifle's First Wife.
  • After so many centuries, perhaps a millennium, the Yxtrang series is dying out. "The design was failing. There were fewer viable births every cycle"[8] (vat-births, presumably, still?)

Pathfinders & ExplorersEdit

  • "Pathfinders became Explorers among Yxtrang. Scout is the Liaden equivalent of Explorer."[29]
  • They are all Master Pilots
  • known Pathfinders: Chernak (f) and Stost (m)
    • On Bechimo, for Minot Port, they were given the last name Strongline[30]
  • known Explorers: Nelirikk, Hazenthull, Vepal the Ambassador , Gernchik (died on Lytaxin)
  • Nelirikk suspects the Explorer line is being phased out, because he hadn't seen any in years[31]

Turtles’ PreyEdit

Clutch Turtles

  • “There were many documented attacks of Yxtrang upon Clutch vessels as late as eight hundred Standards before. Then, the attacks ceased.”[32]
  • The Yxtrang suffered catastrophic loss to the Clutch -- "slayer of soldiers, destroyer of fleets" - and, utterly defeated — they agreed to terms, [32], [33]
  • The turtles named Yxtrang their "fair and just prey"[34]
  • “Clutch turtles? Nelirikk managed to stifle the shiver, while fervently hoping never in his lifetime to see a Clutch turtle, enemy of the Troop, slayer of fleets."[35]

Korval's TroopEdit

  • Korval gave them the name nor'Phelium, acknowledged House Guard
    • Tolly Jones to Hazenthull: "The prefix nor means "you're officially attached to Clan Korval, an acknowledged member of the House Guard"[36]
  • Nelirikk, an experienced Explorer; Diglon, a simple Rifle; and Hazenthull, a young immature Explorer
  • Former Yxtrang who served in the Fourteenth Conquest Corps when it invaded Lytaxin.[37]
  • For various reasons, they eventually gave their oath of fealty to Val Con yos'Phelium and Miri Robertson, heroic captain of the Lytaxin Irregulars, and to Line yos’Phelium. [38], [7]
  • See Nelirikk, Diglon, & Hazenthull for info

Genetic MapsEdit

The Pathfinders asked Captain Miri Robertson to find a trustworthy repository for the genetic samples they brought from the old universe. She chose The Uncle:[39]

"You already hold a big collection of similar material, all of which makes you the best choice to receive and care for these ... rare and precious samples....”

"Those cases contain viable samples, with documentation, of the K, M, X, and Y strains developed by the military. There are also samples and notes for various specialist strains. The cases are purposely built to keep the samples fresh until they can be move to a more appropriate, long-term archive."

"I did some research while I was considering this situation, and I found out that, in all the years you've been running roughshod over the universe and pretty much getting your way on everything, you never once fielded an army. Hired a few mercs here and there, mostly as guards; and from time to time you seem to have your own guards handy, like your sister's 'hand -- but no armies. Even a couple of situations where it seemed that it would have been easier to raise an army and invade a planet, you went for the more difficult, less direct path.. . .”

“So, I'm thinking that this material is safest with you." [40]

Individual YxtrangEdit

Gernchik ExplorerEdit

  • Yxtrang Explorer (similar to Scout) [41]. Hazenthull's mentor. Died on Lytaxin.

Commander KahliizEdit

  • Raided and claimed a small smuggler ship and left it stranded, until Borg Tanser of the Juntavas so kindly gave it to Val Con and Miri, in false faith with the Clutch Turtles. Kahliiz then tried to recapture the smuggler ship with Val Con and Miri, but Val Con jumped to Vandar while too close to the Yxtrang marauder. The blast didn't kill Kahliiz but it seriously damaged his ship[42]

"The General" Edit

  • "The General" of the 14th Conquest Corps is never named in the book, "Plan B"
  • On Lytaxin, the General ignored No-Troop Nelirikk's urgent warning, thus losing a troop transport ship, the "Spraghentz"
  • The General sent Nelirikk No-Troop into enemy land with inferior equipment, on a supposed recon mission
    • where he was captured by Jason Carmody of The Mercs, Gyrfalks Unit, to eventually pledge himself to Captain Miri Robertson, Line yos'Phelium
  • Others in 14th Conquest Corps: Captain Kagan, Corporal Dikl, Over-Tech Akrant[43]

Ambassador VepalEdit

  • Ambassador to the Unaffiliated Worlds[44][45]
  • An Explorer

Ochin RifleEdit


  • pilot of Vepal's ship[45]

Captain Wellik Edit

  • A dutiful soldier. Captain Wellik was an X Strain in command at Solcintra Garrison in the old universe. He has "a single brown star tattooed high on his left cheek."
    • Jela sent young Tor An yos'Galan and Liad dea'Syl to Wellik with some leaves from The Tree as proof of trust, saying: "I know you have no love of soldiers, especially the X strains, but I personally vouch for Wellik."[46]
  • Wellik created Jela's Honor Guard unit -- the same unit that Nelirikk belonged to in the new universe. [47]
    • He appointed pilot Vachik (Y strain soldier) to Jela's Honor Guard unit -- Cantra's friend. It's unclear what mission they were given. Maybe helped Wellik's troops fly rear guard in the Exodus from Old Solcintra [47]

Pathfinders Chernak and StostEdit

  • Chernak Strongline, female
  • Stost Strongline, male
  • escaped the Sheriekas and entered Wyrd Space / Teapot Space in a holed ship, carrying priority document cases to be delivered to High Command or, if none, the highest governing official among civilians. Rescued by Bechimo and crew[48]
  • adopted the only other survivor, a cat, Grakow
  • helped deal with greedy admin, Scout Captain Ing Vie yos'Thadi, and the rioting crowds at Minot Dock. Helped rescue Captain Rig Tranza, Theo's teaching pilot when they piloted Primadonna
  • see The Gathering Edge

Yxtrang Facial Tattoos - "Vingtai"Edit

  • Marks of rank and accomplishment, done with a needle to be permanent[7]
  • Yxtrang history, as taught to Nelirikk, tells that vingtai were used by the first soldiers because it gave fear to Liadens[7]
  • However, tattoos were already becoming "all the rage" in the old universe.[3]
  • For one example, Jela saw a "woman with a red lance crossing a blue blade tattooed on her right cheek"[3]
  • Nelirikk's vingtai showed the following (before it was removed):
    • On the right cheek: Insignia of born-to troop: Jela's Guard Corps[7]
    • On the left cheek: Marks of Explorers and the double lines of No-Troop[7]
    • The rest: Creche mark, apprentice troop, honors of marksmanship and piloting[7]
  • Flower of Genius, worn at the outer corner of the left eye, may be earned by proposing a creative solution to a difficult problem[44]

Facial Scar - "Nchaka"Edit

  • "When a soldier is done training and has his own weapon given, Sergeant of Arsenal bloods the Grace-Blade, to show the edge is sharp."[7]
  • When Miri gives the order that Nelirikk's Vingtai shall be removed, she allows him to keep the Nchaka ("A man's scars are his own")[7]

X Strain troop tattoosEdit

  • a combat whip throwing sparks--or maybe it was stars [49]
  • three modest diagonal stripes--green-yellow-green [50]
  • an eight-pointed star and a ship [23]


  1. Crystal Soldier, ch 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Crystal Soldier, ch 5
  4. Crystal Soldier, ch 17
  5. To Cut an Edge
  6. I Dare, ch 5, Day 50 Lytaxin Erob's Medical center
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Plan B, ch 15
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 17, "an Explorer born and trained"
  9. The Gathering Edge, ch 16
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Gathering Edge, ch 12
  11. The Rifle's First Wife, in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume III
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Crystal Soldier, ch 1
  13. Crystal Soldier, ch 31
  14. Crystal Soldier, ch 19
  15. Crystal Soldier
  16. Crystal Soldier, ch 29
  17. Crystal Dragon
  18. Crystal Dragon, ch 22
  19. Crystal Dragon, ch 2
  20. Crystal Dragon, ch 24
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Gathering Edge
  22. Crystal Dragon, ch 27
  23. 23.0 23.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 5
  24. Crystal Dragon, ch 28
  25. Crystal Soldier, ch 20
  26. Crystal Dragon
  27. Necessity’s Child
  28. The Rifle’s First Wife
  29. Neogenesis, ch 51 Audible format
  30. The Gathering Edge
  31. Plan B
  32. 32.0 32.1 Agent of Change, ch 22
  33. I Dare, Lytaxin, Erob's ClanHouse
  34. I Dare, Lytaxin, Erob's Clanhouse
  35. I Dare, Day 50, SY1393, Lytaxin, Erob's House
  36. Neogenesis, Tarigan, part 2 / ch 43 in Audiobook
  37. Plan B
  38. I Dare
  39. Neogenesis
  40. Neogenesis, ch 20 vi
  41. I Dare
  42. Agent of Change, ch 18
  43. Plan B
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 The Gathering Edge, ch 3
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 The Gathering Edge, ch 10
  46. Crystal Dragon, ch 15
  47. 47.0 47.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 33
  48. The Gathering Edge
  49. Crystal Dragon, ch 17
  50. Crystal Dragon, ch 20