- "Unidentified ship. Stand-down [sic] immediately. Do not attempt any form at all of resistance, or you will pay for your disobedience with pain. We are Iskalloni. Your ship is now our personal property. Repeat. Stand down immediately, make no attempt to resist, and we will not have to atomize your starship."
- ―Iskalloni message
The Iskalloni, or Iskallons, were a sentient species of short, blue-skinned, humanoid cyborgs indigenous to the Wild Space planet of Iskadrell. Possessing a physiology that allowed their bodies to integrate foreign matter, the Iskalloni experimented with cybernetic implants, sometimes replacing entire limbs with prosthetics. An isolated civilization with a technological base fusing biotechnology with mechanical devices, they rarely came into contact with the rest of the galaxy. Since their technology produced deadly toxic waste and they did not want to risk their own lives processing it, the Iskalloni resorted to slaving raids on other species, whom they transformed into cyborgs and forced to work with the dangerous waste. Viewing Humans as inferior, the cyborgs were intent to enslave them in particular. Unable to develop safer technology by themselves, the Iskalloni also studied captured Human starships in the hopes of finding a way to build machinery that would not be so deadly to operate.
Prior to the Great Sith War, the Iskalloni were responsible for raising the Zeltron Antos Wyrick, who went on to become the infamous Mandalorian scientist "Doctor Demagol." During their first contact with the Galactic Empire, the cyborgs enslaved Imperial agents, prompting the Empire to attack Iskadrell in retaliation. Half of the planet was devastated before the Iskalloni repelled the attack, but they did not pursue the fleeing Imperials. During the reign of the New Republic, a group of Iskalloni attempted to capture a New Republic starship with the help of the outlaw Wertram Farege. Farege lured the ship into Iskalloni space, where it was boarded by the cyborgs. The Iskalloni betrayed Farege and attempted to convert him into a cyborg, but the latter managed to escape aboard the New Republic vessel along with its crew.
Biology and appearance
- "Seeing true Zeltron theatricality made me long for the half-machine Iskalloni who raised me."
- ―Demagol, in his journal
The Iskalloni—also known as Iskallons—were a sentient species of hairless humanoids with pale blue skin. The Iskalloni had a unique physiology that allowed their bodies to rapidly recover from injuries and to adapt to any foreign matter in their systems instead of trying to reject it, although they used a special mutagen—produced by a large pink plant—to further ease the adaptation process. Because of this, the species willingly experimented with cybernetic implants, which ranged from neural and mental enhancements to built-in blasters and melee weapons. They sometimes replaced entire limbs with prosthetic replacements. However, the Iskalloni made few advances in their cybernetic technology over the years.
Members of the species were short compared to Humans, standing between 1.3 and 1.5 meters. Due to the addition of the mutagen to their systems, the species had deep-set, black eyes, high cheekbones, protruding foreheads, and sharp triangular white teeth, which all combined to give them a violent image. Ordinarily, their implants were covered by their skin for protection, but they would occasionally let some of the implants jut through, surrounded by prominent scars, to make their appearance more intimidating. The Iskalloni usually wore tight, leathery clothing—generally bright burgundy in color—with holes exposing their implants. One unusual ability the species had was a resistance to blaster fire. A blaster set on full power was as effective on an Iskalloni as a blaster set on stun would be on a Human.
Society and culture
- Iskalloni #1: "We need slaves more than we need starships. Our starships are partly organic and they produce toxic waste materials during the course of their operation. We need slaves to tend to these waste products. They are deadly to us."
- Farege: "Won't they be deadly to me, too?"
- Iskalloni #2: "Definitely. But by the time you start to malfunction we'll have more to replace you."
- ―A group of Iskalloni, while converting Wertram Farege[src]
Iskalloni technology was based on a fusion of machinery and bio-technology. Many of their devices, from computers to starships, were grown in vats of organic ooze on their homeworld. These organic devices, like the Iskalloni themselves, could incorporate foreign objects into their physiology. The species' technology had serious drawbacks, however: nearly all of their devices produced highly toxic waste products that were deadly to the Iskalloni. This fact drove the cyborgs to enslave members of what they viewed as "lesser" species to process waste for them. The Iskalloni were especially bent on enslaving Humans, viewing them and the species that associated with them as worthless and weak.
Upon capture, slaves of the Iskalloni were usually injected with the mutagen, which granted their bodies the same adaptation traits the Iskalloni had. The slaves were then given cybernetic implants—in effect, becoming Iskalloni themselves. The slaves rarely lasted long processing waste, though, so the Iskalloni made sure to keep a constant supply of captives. The typical Iskalloni temperament was calm, calculating, and unemotional. They often appeared detached or distracted, since they were continually controlling their implants to adapt to changes in their environment. The Iskalloni did not understand other species' reluctance to be implanted with cybernetics, and performed their operations even despite the protests of their prisoners. The cyborgs often engaged in battle with those who refused to be converted. As their scientific progress stagnated, technology stolen during slave raids also became the Iskalloni's main source of technological improvements.
- "The Iskalloni—emotionless cyborgs, roaming the galaxy and testing on innocents."
- ―Rohlan Dyre
The Iskalloni hailed from Iskadrell, a planet in the Iskallon system, located in the Wild Space region of the galaxy and unexplored by galactic society. For several millennia prior to the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Iskalloni remained isolated from the rest of the galaxy, after several attempts by outsiders to establish peace with the species failed. They did, however, make occasional raiding expeditions into the civilized galaxy in order to acquire slaves to operate their dangerous technology. On one of those expeditions at some point before 4000 BBY, the Iskalloni captured a young Zeltron named Antos Wyrick. Raised by the Iskalloni, Wyrick lacked any social skills and failed to develop the empathetic ability inherent to all Zeltrons. The boy eventually learned the Iskalloni's surgical techniques and adapted to the cyborgs' lifestyle, helping them in their operations. Shortly before the Great Sith War, however, Iskadrell was raided by the warlike Mandalorians, who freed many slaves, including Wyrick. The latter went on to join the Mandalorians under the alias "Doctor Demagol," and he used the Iskalloni's surgical techniques in his infamous experiments on Force-sensitive people in his quest to study the nature of the Force. Having experienced Zeltron theatricality displayed by his wife Sibyl, Wyrick joyfully recalled his childhood spent with the emotionless Iskalloni.
During the reign of the Galactic Empire, the Iskalloni traveled to the known galaxy and encountered Imperial agents. Seeing the cyborgs as potential allies, the Empire hoped that they could pay the Iskalloni to capture slaves for them; the cyborgs converted and enslaved the Imperial emissaries instead. Determined to enslave all of Humanity, the species also captured members of the Rebel Alliance during their initial raids. In retaliation for the loss of its agents, the Empire dispatched a force of three Victory-class Star Destroyers to attack Iskadrell, devastating half of the planet before a deadly Iskalloni counterattack. The Imperial forces were forced to retreat, but were not pursued. After the raid, the Empire no longer considered the Iskalloni a threat, and the cyborgs, in turn, remained in seclusion until after the Battle of Endor. When the New Republic came to power, the Iskalloni resumed their slave raids, hoping to study Human technology and find ways to build machines that would not produce toxic waste. To this end, the Iskalloni allied themselves with a Human outlaw named Wertram Farege, who agreed to lure starships into Iskalloni space in exchange for a share of profits from each raid.
Farege tricked a group of New Republic spacers on the planet Brevost, hiring them to transport him and a cargo of droid parts to Iskadrell. During the flight, however, Farege sabotaged the starship's hyperdrive, stranding the ship and its crew in the Iskallon system, where the Iskalloni frigate Stelaciter intercepted them. The cyborgs boarded the New Republic starship, intent on dismantling it. The ship also held planetary coordinates of several major New Republic systems, and the Iskalloni hoped to use that information to begin their conquest of Humankind. Intending to convert the crew of the ship into slaves as well, the Iskalloni imprisoned them aboard the Stelaciter. Reneging their deal with Farege, the cyborgs chose him as the first test subject, injected him with the mutagen and locked him with the rest of the prisoners, while the Iskalloni prepared more mutagen for the next injections. However, the spacers broke free, returned to their starship, and escaped with Farege, who was still experiencing the effects of the mutagen. Before doing so, though, the spacers sabotaged the Iskalloni frigate, preventing the cyborgs from following them and stranding the Iskalloni in their own system.
Behind the scenes
- "We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."
- ―The Borg, the Iskalloni's counterpart from Star Trek
The Iskalloni first appeared as antagonists in The Iskallon Factor, an adventure for West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game written by Stewart Warley and published in the anthology book Twin Stars of Kira in 1993. In The Iskallon Factor, the Iskalloni were drawn by John Paul Lona. The species were briefly mentioned in the 1995 Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens — Enemies and Allies, in the Marasan entry written by Pablo Hidalgo. The Iskalloni received an extensive entry in the 2008 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia compiled by Hidalgo and Stephen J. Sansweet. The cyborgs were later featured as part of Demagol's backstory in Knights of the Old Republic 48, a 2009 comic book written by John Jackson Miller and illustrated by Brian Ching. In 2010, Miller also wrote The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol, a short story exclusive to StarWars.com's Hyperspace subscribers that included another reference to the species.
The Iskalloni have roughly the same game stats as Farege and other Human characters in the original adventure. The epilogue of The Iskallon Factor presents several more adventure hooks for the players, one of them being Farege's condition. Still experiencing the effects of the mutagen, he has to be cured within sixteen hours or he will become an Iskalloni himself. Although in the original adventure the Iskalloni only intend to dismantle the captured starship and enslave its crew, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia implies that the ship contains planetary coordinates that the cyborgs intend to use to begin their conquest of humanity. The latter source also establishes that the spacers sabotage the Stelaciter, although this is not featured in The Iskallon Factor. As there is no apparent contradiction, however, this article incorporates both versions of the events. In The Iskallon Factor, the plural of the species' name is spelled both as "Iskalloni" and "Iskallons." This article assumes that both spellings are correct but uses the former, since more recent sources address the species only as the "Iskalloni."
The appearance and overall behavior of the Iskalloni are similar to those of the Borg species from the Star Trek franchise, both being a species of cyborgs intent on assimilating Humanity. Even the monologue spoken by the Iskalloni upon intercepting the New Republic ship is similar to the Borg introductory message. Their reduced vulnerability to blasters is similar to the Borg ability to adapt to phaser fire. Though John Jackson Miller admitted the similarity in his endnotes for Knights of the Old Republic #48, he noted that he also believed that the Iskalloni were more sadistic, which made them a perfect fit for the role of Demagol's mentors.
- Knights of the Old Republic 48 (In flashback(s))
- (First appearance)