- "I was never one to trust those pesky Geelan, but they are a permanent and ever-present fixture on Zirtran's Anchor. It's hard to conduct almost any kind of transaction without a visit from one of their 'handlers,' a representative of a nest who in [sic] interested in getting a share of your hard-earned credits. Some of them get downright nervous, especially when everyone pulls their blasters."
- ―Platt Okeefe
The Geelan, or Geel, were a species of sentient, bipedal canines with pot bellies, lanky arms, and stubby legs. Thick fur covered most of their bodies except for parts of the face and hands. Each Geelan had two large, yellow eyes, a dark, wet nose, and a muzzle of sharp teeth. The species hailed from Needan, a planet in the depths of Wild Space, where they lived in cities and divided themselves into tribal nests under the ultimate rule of the Geeloniran, or "Master Geel." Members of the species were nosy and greedy by nature, traits that made them incurable hoarders of nicknacks and baubles. The typical Geelan made every effort to engage in a bout of haggling each day—and to a Geelan, haggling was a sport with no rules. Although such aggressive behavior did not endear them to many non-Geelan, it did make Geelan gifted entrepreneurs and businesspersons.
Although Needan was once a lush world, a passing comet struck the planet and wrenched it from its orbit. The resulting cool-down forced the Geelan to move into domed cities to survive. After they were first contacted by outsiders from the galactic community, many Geelan fled the world to operate businesses and act as traders in the galaxy. One of the more visible Geelan business ventures was the space station Zirtran's Anchor, which was jointly owned and controlled by several nests. The Galactic Empire sent a representative to the station to demand the Geelan pay proper taxes and collect the proper tariffs, which annoyed the canines. At some point, Zirtran's Anchor disappeared mysteriously in an event that came to be known as "the Vanishing." Spacer rumors circulated about the cause of the disappearance, but the station eventually reappeared in another part of the galaxy, devoid of all life. The Geelan reclaimed their wayward property and reopened for business. Nevertheless, the specter of the station's previous fate hung over the place.
Biology and appearance
The Geelan, also known as the Geel, were sentient canine mammals marked by their protuberant bellies and dark, wiry fur. Geelan had short, squat bodies that matched a broadly humanoid physiology. However, their arms were markedly longer than their stubby legs. Members of the species ranged in height from 0.75 to 1.5 meters, although aged members of the species sometimes appeared shorter due to a stooped posture. Their five-fingered hands sported sharp claws. Thick hair covered the body except for most of the face and fingers. The Geelan were divided into two sexes, male and female.
The Geelan visage was wrinkled and hairless except for a hairy beard along the chin. Two resplendent, yellow eyes peered forward from atop a snout full of sharp teeth that protruded even when the mouth was closed. In some specimens, the muzzle was short and snubbed, but in most members of the species, it was long and prominent. A dark, wet nose lay at the end of the snout. Pointed ears stood erect on the sides of the head, large in some Geelan but small in others. Few taller beings found the Geelan's appearance intimidating.
Society and culture
- "The Geelan way of doing business can be really annoying sometimes. It means 'no-holds-barred' free enterprise. Some traders I know don't mind all the haggling and counter-haggling. Personally, I prefer the nice, cautious way of exchanging goods and credits. Too many times have I seen some nerf-herder get a little too excited and pull a thermal detonator just to make a point."
- ―Platt Okeefe
On their homeworld, Needan, the Geelan originally lived in cities in the tropical forests of the planet. However, after the world cooled to arctic temperatures, they inhabited domed habitats that protected them from the elements. Many Geelan inhabited Zirtran's Anchor, a space station the species bought after their world's frigid period had begun. In their artificial environment, various Geelan groups set up their dwellings in the central section of the station, known as the Hub.
The species was divided into autonomous, tribe-like groups called nests. Each nest member received a role to play for the benefit of the group, positions such as nest leader, negotiator, secretary, treasurer, and even assassin and spy. The nest leader answered to an individual who, in the Geelan's native language, was known as the Geeloniran—a term that translated as "Great Geel" or "Master Geel." The Geeloniran was the ruler of all Geelan in the galaxy and presided over all enterprises and contracts that affected the Geelan as a whole. During the Galactic Civil War, an Imperial presence aboard Zirtran's Anchor maintained some control over the Geelan's affairs.
The Geelan personality was driven by two overwhelming goals: to obtain an ever-increasing store of possessions, and to do so by getting the best of others in negotiations. They had a reputation for being intrusive, annoying, covetous, and greedy for personal profit. These traits led non-Geelan to write the species off as nosy, meddlesome, and egotistical, and caused most non-Geelan to avoid the species whenever possible.
However, the Geelan's aptitude for bargaining and their penchant for hoarding valuables meant that some beings had no choice but to deal with the diminutive canines. The Geelan were born hagglers with a well-earned reputation as experts at negotiation. Deals with Geelan followed different norms than those familiar to members of most other species. Geelan bargaining had no rules: in an anything-goes style, the Geelan used any means at their disposal to get the better of their rival, including blackmail, bribery, intimidation, and even physical violence. Despite being able to fight with their sharp claws, the Geelan were comparatively weak in comparison to many other beings. Geelan thus preferred to negotiate with several of their compatriots present. They used their wealth to hire larger, tougher beings to protect them, such as assassins, bounty hunters, and mercenaries. Most members of the species carried sidearms as well for additional protection. On the space station Zirtran's Anchor, owned and operated by the Geelan, particularly violent business deals were broken up by the security firm Defensus Solar before they got too serious. Geelan preferred complicated deals; the more difficult a deal was to comprehend, the better. Overall, most non-Geelan found the species' negotiating style taxing. However, their love for the deal was a soft spot that others could use against them. Geelan considered any day without some new acquisition to be a day wasted.
Their gift for haggling translated into business acumen as well. The Geelan took a laissez-faire attitude toward free enterprise, allowing traders to do business on Zirtran's Anchor with a minimum of bureaucratic hassle—even known outlaws were welcome to deal with the species or the other inhabitants of the space station. The canines were thus resourceful entrepreneurs, driven both to make a profit as well as for the sheer sense of accomplishment involved with success in the private sector. Nevertheless, their anything-goes attitude toward negotiations made Zirtran's Anchor a rough-and-tumble place to do business. Geelan preferred to conduct their business as a nest. Each nest owed a cut of its profits to the Master Geel, but the cut was only a nominal tariff. They meddled in deals between visitors to Zirtran's Anchor who might wish to exclude the Geelan; any bargaining session might be interrupted by a handler, who represented a particular Geelan nest and tried to insert his or her nest's interests into the deals of outsiders.
The goal of such haggling was, of course, acquisition of new items for the Geelan nest. Although they preferred valuable commodities such as credits, gems, and spice—or shiny, eye-catching objects—Geelan were incurable hoarders who valued virtually anything, provided they had it in their own possession. The only way to part a Geelan from something he or she owned was to trade something else for it or to threaten the Geelan's life. Many of these possessions wound up in a communal treasure horde owned collectively by a particular nest. Such treasure troves were secreted away from prying eyes, but rumors told of collections large enough to fill a shuttle bay, with items that ranged from artwork to creosol to spice, in addition to more unusual fare. Stories told of even average treasure hordes holding enough wealth to buy an entire fleet of starships. Geelan nests made good use of their stores, as their wealth allowed them great leeway when bargaining with outsiders, especially when dealing with customers who sought some hard-to-find item found in the nest's horde. They also brokered information.
Geelan wore clothing typical of other galactically integrated species, including vests and trousers. At least some Geelan had a slovenly appearance and wore dirty, ragged clothing. Some Geelan also pierced their ears and wore rings on their fingers, and most members of the species carried pouches with them in which to hold new acquisitions.
For much of its history, the world of Needan was a verdant planet, with two thirds of its surface covered in oceans and the remainder with jungled continents. A vast array of life evolved on the world, with high levels of biodiversity on both land and at sea. In the forests evolved a species of canine pack animals who eventually developed sentience—the Geelan. Pack instincts compelled the Geelan to found cities, and the species developed the concept of tribal nests. At some point, the groups recognized the authority of a single ruler, the Geeloniran. Geelan scientists developed new technologies, and the species entered its information age.
A passing comet changed the Geelan's history when its orbit brought it crashing down into their world. The impact jolted Needan into a wider orbit, and the environment cooled significantly, eventually reaching frigid depths. The majority of the world's species failed to adapt to the new conditions and suffered mass extinction. The Geelan responded by constructing domed habitats that sheltered them from the arctic wastes outside.
The Geelan endured for some time, but they realized that their energy stores would one day run out and leave them once again slaves to the elements. Scientists sent distress signals into the void of space in the hopes that some outside civilization would be led to Needan to offer help. The gambit worked: visitors from the stars did arrive, aliens known as Arcona, who had detected the Geelan's transmissions from their medical ship. The visitors introduced advanced technology that secured the Geelan's survival; their aid allowed the Geelan's domed dwellings to operate into the future.
However, this new technology also allowed the Geelan to leave Needan, and with the knowledge that conditions on their world were growing progressively worse, large numbers of Geelan did so. The traumatic events on Needan changed the Geelan psyche: they gained an overwhelming urge to collect possessions, an urge that bordered on avarice. The Geelan became fairly common sights throughout the galaxy and worked in a variety of careers ranging from infochants to investors to entrepreneurs: the proprietors of cantinas, casinos, spaceports, and other businesses, eager to gain new things for their hordes. As the canines spread throughout the galaxy, they preferred to work only for other Geelan; thus if a business employed a Geelan, it was often an indicator that the enterprise had some Geelan ownership as well. Meanwhile, their cousins remained on Needan, which came to be considered part of Wild Space, far from the edge of the Outer Rim Territories on the southern edge of the galactic disc.
- "If you're tired of making the same old planet-fall, as well as sorting out the kilometers of tariffs and regulations at most starports, check out Zirtran's Anchor. Oh yeah, I know all about the 'mysterious vanishing' part, but that's the way the sabacc cheater chip trips up the cars. No one ever becomes a free trader to lead a boring life."
- ―Platt Okeefe
During the reign of Emperor Palpatine over the galaxy, one of the new wave of Geelan investments was the joint purchase by several nests of a prototype space barge called KV-29233-44B. The ship had become a financial failure for its previous owners, the brothers Teebo and Urbo Zirtran, when its hyperdrive failed and left it a derelict in the Besberra system, located in the Cegul sector of the Outer Rim Territories. The Geelan converted the barge into a space station and drew customers with the prospect of a place to do business free of the interference and speciesism of the Galactic Empire. This stance was in keeping with the species' neutral ideology during the Galactic Civil War, during which they sold information to both the Galactic Empire and its opponent, the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
The pitch worked: merchants came to the station, and many decided to stay permanently. By docking their ships with the barge and with one another, the mass of spacecraft grew into a conglomeration of such vessels connected by accessways and pressure tunnels. The Geelan christened the station Zirtran's Anchor, after the brothers from whom they had purchased it. The Geelan's inability to throw anything away meant that when portions of the assemblage became unstable or incapable of sustaining life, the Geelan simply sealed them off rather than remove them from the station. Zirtran's Anchor proved an economic boon to the Geelan. Their no-holds-barred system of business held sway there, and they received a cut of all business deals done on the station. Zirtran's Anchor soon became the species' number one source of revenue.
Despite the Geelan's desire to remain clear of the Empire, the galactic government put pressure on the species to honor Imperial trade laws, to collect Imperial tariffs on goods transferred through the station, and to more strenuously control the commerce undertaken there. The Empire eventually stationed Admiral Vence Tabok aboard Zirtran's Anchor to monitor the Geelan's acquiescence to these injunctions. Tabok was accompanied by stormtroopers and starfighters, and upon his arrival, he declared martial law and rounded up suspected criminals and Rebel Alliance sympathizers. The Geelan were dismayed by Tabok's actions. Rumor claimed that an aged Geelan resident of the station known as Whisk the Elder—according to some versions of the tale, the Geeloniran himself—warned the admiral that if the Empire continued in this manner, Zirtran's Anchor would befall a catastrophe, one that would affect all on board. However, Tabok dismissed him with disdain.
Only days later, Whisk's reported prophecy came true: visitors to the Besberra system found no trace of Zirtran's Anchor or its inhabitants. Rumors spread throughout the galaxy that the station had fallen victim to an attack—either from Rebels, pirates, or the Empire. Other tales ascribed the station's disappearance to the bad luck of the Zirtran brothers finally catching up to the Geelan, an entity that dwelled in Wild Space taking revenge for an artifact stolen by the Geelan, or the hyperdrive of the barge at the heart of Zirtran's Anchor finally becoming operational again and taking the station with it. Another story held that Emperor Palpatine ordered an active investigation into the station's whereabouts. The event took on the air of a folk tale, referred to mysteriously as "the Vanishing."
Zirtran's Anchor had not simply disappeared, however; it had moved. The station soon reappeared near the Phosphura Belt Nebula in the Atravis sector of the Outer Rim. Investigators found no lifeforms on board, not even microbes, and the remaining droids had no memory of what had befallen the station. Geelan entrepreneurs soon re-established their presence on Zirtran's Anchor, apparently unconcerned with the fate of their fellows. The post-Vanishing Geeloniran maintained his headquarters on Needan and seldom visited the station; when he did, he was accompanied by various functionaries and a bodyguard named Tiny. The smuggler Platt Okeefe was under the impression that the Geeloniran never left Needan.
The Geelan put out a search for further investment in the station and hoped to reconstruct it as the hub of free trade it had once been. Slowly, traders returned, although the notion that the station was somehow cursed or dangerous proved a hard one for the Geelan to counter. The Empire, too, re-established a presence on Zirtran's Anchor, although only as a small customs office. The Geelan maintained their neutrality in the Galactic Civil War, and at one point a nest even made an arms deal with an Imperial governor, although the Rebel Alliance sent agents to Zirtran's Anchor to stop the deal. A university historian was transported to the station by a group of spacers to interview the Geelan about the Vanishing as the intrigue between the Empire and Rebellion played out. The Geelan proved reluctant to discuss the station's previous fate, although the historian and the spacers did discover the arms deal.
Behind the scenes
The Geelan were created by author Anthony Russo for the article "Zirtran's Anchor," published in Star Wars Adventure Journal 5 in February 1995. The article, created for Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game by West End Games, is a tie-in to the book Platt's Starport Guide, published that same year; it details the space station of the same name, which is owned and operated by members of the Geelan species. "Zirtan's Anchor" offers contradictory information regarding the Geeloniran: according to Platt Okeefe, who offers in-universe commentary on the text, the post-Vanishing Master Geel never leaves his homeworld. Nevertheless, the text later states that he does leave on occasion. According to "Zirtran's Anchor," the average member of the species is highly dexterous and competent at firing a blaster, picking pockets, bargaining, running a business, and fighting in hand-to-hand combat. However, the statistics offered are not in a format usable for players to portray Geelan characters.
Author Brian Smithson elaborated on Russo's description of the Geelan for his article, "Alien Encounters," which appeared in Star Wars Adventure Journal 13 in May 1997. Smithson's expansion includes game statistics to allow players of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game to portray Geelan characters; the canines are more agile and perceptive than Humans, but they are weaker and less intelligent. The Adventure Journal article presents different statistics for a typical Geelan and makes them more dexterous and perceptive than the game's average, but removes the various skills given them in Russo's article. Pablo Hidalgo illustrated the Geelan for the "Alien Encounters" article, the first time they were pictured in any source. Smithson's write-up of the species and their statistics were reprinted in slightly altered form in the book Alien Encounters, published in 1998. The book features an illustration of the species that differs significantly from Hidalgo's version and from the text itself. The description above assumes that this is a legitimate variant of the species' phenotype and not simply a mistake.
- "Zirtran's Anchor"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 5 (First mentioned)
- Pirates & Privateers
- "Alien Encounters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 13
- Alien Encounters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and references
- Alien Encounters
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 329 ("Geelan")
- Pirates & Privateers
- "Alien Encounters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 13
- "Zirtran's Anchor"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 5
- The Essential Atlas
- The comparison is to the statistics for the Human species given in Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded; Humans have average attribute ranges according to the rules.