Biology and appearance
The species held a limited range of facial expressions because they lacked the necessary anatomical infrastructure. Most Nikto had cold black obsidian eyes. These were sometimes covered by a protective membrane. This took the form of a thin transparent pellicle that protected their eyes underwater and during windstorms. As a result, they were noted for their "staring" eyes and a seemingly blank expression which led to many underestimating Nikto intelligence.
The Nikto species featured six distinct mutated sub-species due to massive radiation bursts from a dying nearby star M'dweshuu, which sped up the rate of mutation so that traits that normally took millions of years to occur instead took only thousands. The five sub-species inhabited different geographic areas of Kintan, developing unique adaptations to suit the different environments on the planet. Only five were known to the galaxy at large; the sixth, the Numol'elrul, were a water-breathing subspecies that lived in the caverns below Glussa Island but were considered nothing more than a legend to the others, as they cut off all contact with the rest of their species around 5000 BBY.
The varying appearance of the Nikto sub-species caused confusion amongst those who were unfamiliar with the Nikto, but all Nikto had certain similarities; leathery skin, sometimes covered with spikes or horns, as well as eyes that included a protective membrane to shield against Kintan's harsh environment.
The mutation caused by the planet's radiation atmosphere were triggered in the race that resulted in five different subspecies that were each adapted to a specific environmental niche. These five reptilian species all displayed unique cosmetic features. While each subspecies of the Nikto was physically distinct and originated from different parts of Kintan, Nikto from different subspecies could easily interbreed. 93% of the offspring from such unions ended up with the characteristics of only one parent's race, with the rest combining the traits of two subspecies.
The most common subspecies, the Kajain'sa'Nikto or "Red Nikto", adapted to survive in the Wannschok, or "Endless Wastes", a desert region on Kintan. They had a series of forehead ridges and small facial horns surrounding their eyes and on the chin. Their noses were covered with a movable flap of skin and a semi-permeable membrane which allowed the Nikto to breathe without ingesting sand and grit. The Kajain'sa'Nikto also had a pair of breathing tubes on each side of the neck with openings covered by similar membranes. These membranes also trapped exhaled water vapor and sent it back into their system. Their equivalent of smiling was flattening their mouth flaps.
Most Morgukai warriors were of this race.
Kadas'sa'Nikto, or "Green Nikto," originated in the milder climatic regions of Kintan, such as the forests and the seacoasts. Their scaly faces had small facial horns surrounding the eyes and on the chin. Their main distinguishing feature was the long climbing claws on their hands, which could also be used in combat.
Esral'sa'Nikto, or "Mountain Nikto", adapted to the variable climate of the mountains of Kintan. They had large facial fins which were used for heat regulation. These fins also improved the Esral'sa'Nikto's hearing. Their skin was blue-gray, and they had neither horns nor breathing tubes, though they did have a covered nose similar to the Kajain'sa'Nikto.
Gluss'sa'Nikto, or "Pale Nikto", came from the Gluss'elta Islands of Kintan, causing them to be natural sailors. They had white-gray skin, eye-horns like the Kadas'sa'Nikto, and fins similar to those of the Esral'sa'Nikto, but smaller. Xenobiologists believed the first Gluss'sa'Nikto to have been born of a Kadas'sa'Nikto who mated with an Esral'sa'Nikto.
M'shento'su'Nikto, or "Southern Nikto", had no horns, a covered nose, and several pairs of breathing tubes. These tubes were larger than those of the Kajain'sa'Nikto, and also acted as primitive ultrasonic sensory organs. Their skin color varied from white to yellow or orange.
Nikto evolved on the harsh world of Kintan that was located deep in the heart of the Si'Klaata Cluster that contained a volatile star known as M'dweshuu. Many millennia ago, a massive amount of radiation was hurled from the dying star that reached the blue-green world. This radiation impacted the biosphere and affected the indigenous inhabitants. Many native inhabitants died as a result whilst the survivors were horribly mutated into fearsome monsters that rivalled the Rancors of Dathomir or the warbeasts of Onderon. Over thousands of years, the mutation led to the rise of animals such as spine dragons, gigantic gray-eyed tuskbeasts, and the immense horned trogwhale. It was in this environment that a diminutive hairless reptile race evolved into intelligence that eventually became known as Nikto. Under constant threat from predators, the Nikto people were strengthened and unified in order to survive. Their civilization emerged from the watch camps that had been built to warn of tuskbeast attacks. In addition, the predators forced the Nikto to take up arms which in turn led to the evolution of tools as their civilization developed. Being a hearty people, they survived on Kintan despite the odds and conquered their environment where they placed themselves at the top of the food chain.
Following standard cultural paradigms, Nikto society developed technology and eventually discovered atomic level technology. Their civilization at this point consisted of many isolated city-states that were all walled to keep the wildlife out. By this point, many of Kintan's forests and swamps had been burnt down to force the more dangerous creatures into extinction. Thus, the Nikto destroyed their own world's biosphere to preserve themselves that transformed it into a barren wasteland. In this time, numerous devastating planetary conflicts erupted on their home planet. During this time, the Nikto became more involved in astronomy as their technological base advanced. After the fourth planetary war, the Nikto discovered the M'dweeshu Nova and determined that it was the source of the numerous monstrous beasts that emerged on their world. The discovery of the star's effects led to news of its effects quickly spreading around their war-torn planet.
In circa 26,000 BBY, the ancient Nikto astronomers discovered the M'dweshuu Nova star. After learning of it, a strange and bizarre faith was a formed known as the Cult of M'dweshuu. None truly knew how the cult was formed or what its initial interests were at the time. However, they quickly spread throughout Kintan where it rose in power and number with terror spreading throughout the planet as a result of their actions. This religious movement worshipped the Mdweshuu star and offered blood sacrifices that they believed appeased the spirit of the celestial body. They also began to "purify" those that they believed were not worthy descendants of M'dweshuu. This saw thousands of Nikto slain for not subscribing to the beliefs of the Cult during a bloody inquisition. As the Cult of M'dweshuu dominated their culture, many joined their ranks whilst many more hid in fear and even more paid the price for not being deemed "pure". The Cult of M'dweshuu became the rulers of Kintan and controlled the planet for thirty years.
Allegiance to the Hutts
After thirty years, Kintan remained under the rule of the Cult until a new interstellar development rocked Nikto civilization. During this time, the Hutts were expanding into the Si'Klaata Cluster in the Pre-Republic era which became a point of contention in the conflict with Warlord Xim's empire. The expansion of Hutt Space would bring about the end of the short lived reign of the Cult of M'dweeshu when the Nikto were discovered in 25,130 BBY. By this point, the Hutts had long recruited the Klatooinians and Vodrans. Unlike the other two species, the Nikto proved to be much more technologically advanced, and that made them a challenge for the Hutts. Hutt merchants visited Kintan and intended to seek control of the star system in order to secure a strategic advantage over competitors. Upon visiting Kintan, the Hutts desired in taking the planet for themselves and witnessed the Cult in action.
The envoys from the Hutts was led by Churabba the Hutt who had a cunning business being. Upon "her" arrival in the Kintan system, she came to realize that the Cult of M'dweeshu held a stranglehold over the planet and that the Nikto feared them. Legends spoke of "her" respecting the Cult but recognizing them as being fierce and unpredictable. Churabba also saw that many of the Cult's "loyal followers" were a disgruntled people and thus ripe for a rebellion. Thus, instead of finagling or bargaining with the Nikto, Churabba decided to destroy the cultist's seat of power from orbit and had no regrets in doing the act. Not only did this act show the Hutt's power but demonstrated that the Cult was not infallible to common Nikto. Many of the cultists were killed when their stronghold was destroyed and earnt the gratitude of the Nikto who saw the Hutts along with Charubba as saviors.
Following their control of Kintan, the Hutts had no qualms with forcing the powerful Nikto into servitude. The grateful Nikto almost immediately joined in a pact with the other two servant races of the Hutts. Thus, by circa 25,100 BBY, the Nikto alongside the Klatoonians and Vodrans were bound into permanent servitude to the Hutts following the signing of the Treaty of Vontor. Kossak Inijic Ar'durv was known to had worked to lure the Nikto into Hutt service so that they would tip the balance in the eventual Battle of Vontor. They would serve their Hutt masters in the Third Battle of Vontor where Nikto warriors fought alongside conscripts from the Vodrans and Weequay races. In the ground battle, Xim's warbots and janissaries were overwhelmed by the berserker Nikto, Klatoonian and Vodrans that were being led by Boonta Hestilic Shad'ruu. These hordes of fighters battled against Xim's war-robots where Xim would be utterly vanquished as a result. Legends would be spoken of how the Nikto aided in the defeat of Xim at Vontor.
The Hutts later used the Nikto to maintain their hold over Hutt Space and eventually build a powerful criminal empire within the Old Republic. The pact between the Nikto and the Hutts remained unbroken for thousands of years though the Cult of M'dweeshu returned in one form or another over the years.
Days of the Old Republic
By 4000 BBY, millions of Nikto had been transplanted from their homeworld and had been distributed to other planets such as Nal Hutta. In this time, they began to question the value the Hutts had on their lives and began to believe that they were having less and less say on their own affairs. They noted that millions had died protecting the interests of the Hutts leading to general discontentment. Looking into their own past, the Nikto learnt that the Cult of M'dweeshu had opposed the Hutts during distant times. This led to a new period where many Nikto embraced the ideals of the Cult in the hopes of gaining freedom that led to a re-emergence in the Cult of M'dweeshu. Rapid popularity in the Cult led it to overthrowing the minimal Hutt presence on Kintan. In response, the Hutts dispatched their armies of mercenaries to retake control. At this time, the Great Sith War was being waged in the galaxy that prevented the Republic from being involved in the conflict as they were already mired in their own war. The control for Kintan, fought over a millennia ago, saw the Hutts forced off the Nikto homeworld and led to a series of blood mercenary strikes. After a short time, the Hutts regained control of Kintan though the struggle had left almost a third of the planetary population dead.
During the time of the Jedi Civil War, the rank-and-file membership of the Black Vulkars swoop gang on Taris was composed largely of Kadas'sa'Nikto. At some point, Nar Shaddaa's Nikto Sector was awarded to the species following successful services of a Nikto warrior to his Hutt master. During the Cold War, groups such as the Kintan Kings consisted of Nikto who operated against the Republic. On Taris, a group of Nikto settlers were targeted by the Sith Empire's Mandalorian allies for extermination. Some Nikto formed a cult that followed a Dark Jedi known as Ki Sazen in this time.
At some point around the time of the Cold War, a proxy conflict between the Sith Empire and Galactic Republic, miners on the world had discovered cave paintings, presumably made by pre-civilized Nikto. Eventually, someone was sent to discover the history behind the paintings. Findings revealed that the paintings depicted four terrible wars in Kintan's ancient past and honored a warlord named Da-Shek Yalaa.
Rise of the Empire
By the time of the Separatist Crisis, a renewed fear came from the Cult of M'dweeshu that had found a way off their homeworld of Kintan. The blood cult's Nikto followers had committed numerous acts of violence against travelers near the Sisar Run. This led to a warning being issued by the Bureau of Ships and Services for travelers in the region due to the death of numerous beings as part of occult mutilations. As a result, local businesses and planetary governments issued open bounties on free Nikto in the Periphery with rewards ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 credits for Nikto; either dead or alive. These bounties only covered free Nikto that were not in the employ of the Hutts or their enterprises which was why they were strongly advised from traveling within the Periphery.
During the Galactic Civil War many Kajain'sa'Nikto and Kadas'sa'Nikto worked for Jabba Desilijic Tiure on Tatooine. In this time, many Nikto slaves escaped following the demise of Jabba. However, many willingly returned to the service of another Hutt who "inherited" them that fell in accordance with custom. Despite this, a few number of them decided to take advantage of the situation to become free beings.
New Jedi Order Era
In 26 ABY, the Yuuzhan Vong conquered Kintan. Over the course of the Vong occupation, 75% of the planet's Nikto population were either killed or enslaved (more often the former, due to the combative nature of the Nikto people). The remaining 25% either went into hiding in Kintan's more inhospitable areas or fled the planet altogether. The population began increasing after the war, eventually returning to prewar levels.
Society and culture
Early in their development, tensions between the sub-species erupted into four bloody wars, although as their civilizations advanced, conquering the dangerous mutated flora and fauna of Kintan united them.
Nikto civilization gradually developed to a pre-star travel level, when they gained an understanding of M'dweshuu's influence on their species and their world. Numerous cults and secret societies developed in praise of M'dweshuu, offering sacrifice through bloodshed. The most prominent of these was the Cult of M'dweshuu, which rose and fell several times through its history. Another secret society was the Morgukai.
A harsh life on Kintan combined with casual Hutt brutality made Nikto cunning combatants. Whilst lacking free will, they made up for this with their single-mindedness and tenacity. They were also able to quickly adapt to their environment. Nikto were a fierce people and perhaps the most dangerous of the Hutt's warriors and enforcers with them being a fearless as well as humorless race. 
Most Nikto were content with a life of servitude as in their eyes a life in slavery was preferable to the hardship and toil on their homeworld. Not all Nikto worked for the Hutts though most free members of their kind came from an enslaved species. Whilst Nikto were known to escape from their master, most tended to fall into service of another Hutt who "inherited" them according to custom should their previous employer die. However, some escaped Nikto did instead use some opportunities to genuinely become free beings. Any such emancipated Nikto had to be constantly on guard as they risked capture by Hutt-employed slavers who returned their prey to their "rightful owners". In addition, they lacked charisma and preferred to follow orders instead of giving them. As a result, the Nikto were most identified with their Hutt masters.
Far-flung groups of Nikto rarely interbred and this has been the case ever since the species gained hyperdrive technology. Many taboos on racial divides were formed by the Nikto that was further supported by genetic diversity that was forced on them by their Hutt overlords.
As the Hutts did not trust their servants, the Nikto had no real government of their own. Instead, an attache of the Hutt Clans of the Ancients ruled them who spoke for the Nikto on every political level. No planetary government was allowed on Kintan also due to the lingering presence of the Cult of M'dweeshu. However, individual Nikto were capable of becoming a clan chieftain. Despite this being the case, the Hutts spoke for the Nikto in dealings with the rest of the galaxy.
Behind the scenes
In Darksaber, they are called Niktus.
Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic mistakenly identifies the Kadas'sa'Nikto as the "Klaatu", implying they were a different species than the Nikto. This confusion stems from the origins of the species' name; it is an homage to the iconic 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which the most famous line is "Klaatu Barada Nikto".
In the Star Wars Roleplaying Game published by Wizards of the Coast, Gluss'sa'Niktos have specific rules for a natural armor and hold breath. However, the Gluss'sa'Niktos in the adventure A Mon Alone are listed with an unexplained feature, really ugly, instead of the previously-mentioned ones.
- "Force Fiction"—Star Wars Tales 7
- Tag & Bink: Revenge of the Clone Menace
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
- "Fortune, Fate, and the Natural History of the Sarlacc"—Star Wars Tales 6
- "The Revenge of Tag & Bink"—Star Wars Tales 12
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Lords of Nal Hutta
- ↑ Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens — Enemies and Allies
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Ultimate Alien Anthology
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 The Essential Guide to Alien Species
- ↑ The Old Republic: Annihilation
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 The University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life: The Nikto
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ The Essential Chronology
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic—Archaelogy Crew Skill Mission: "A Painted History"
- ↑ HoloNet News Vol. 531 45