Formula Four


The very tip of the vertex of the apex predators on their home planet, the deadly Socheticans are now all but extinct. A sole representative is left alive to roam the galaxy, his predatory nature and hunting instincts testament to exactly how much trouble the rest of us would have been in had there been more. Having clawed their way up the evolutionary mangrove by means of forced co-operation against equally deadly species on their planet, the Socheticans turned on each other the very minute they achieved space travel. Historians have traced the start of the conflict to a single insult, which has been translated into English as ‘handbag’. The ensuing skirmishes, conducted by waiting in space-reed beds and lunging out when a rival passed by, left only one victor: Petsuchos.

Don’t feel too sorry for him: He single-handedly conquered a dozen systems and built an empire dedicated to both his worship and cleaning … things… from between his teeth. Though many speculate his need to compete is hard-wired into his genes, his true purpose in entering the Space Race is currently unknown.


A controversial figure even among his own species, Siddhinae is the leader of the Astrometrids; a cult blackballed from all known religious and philosophical groups for their unceasing devotion to their cause. Their determination is such that they were described by the Black Pulpiteer, Unflinching Lord of a Hundred Thousand Stars, as “intense, in a [] creepy way, too intense, y’know”.

Siddhinae founded the cult as a young pupa in defiance of his broodmother, who wanted him to take up a sport instead. Wandering into the Great Barren Boughs of his groveworld, Siddhinae returned years later, fat with purpose and zeal. Attracted by the insistent glint in his eyes and the unusual stiffness of his antannae many millions of all species came to hear him preach his vision of the Multifaceted Truth: His Astrometrids believe that reality is wholly subjective, and only by collating all such subjective opinions on a single topic can the real truth be known. They hold that Siddhinae’s sparkling, multifaceted eyes are capable of seeing many variants of the same thing at once, and condensing them into The Truth. His purpose in entering the Space Race is to convert more members of the Community. Like I said, creepy.


The first member of its race to appear in a public forum, ΦONA is considered the apogee of beauty, an ethereal vision of utter loveliness. Entirely symmetrical and artfully graceful, ΦONA inspires wonder and lust amongst all genders and races.

Its species, the Waerie, are infamous for appearing fleetingly and mysteriously at events through history, seemingly at random. Others can be spotted drifting between nebulae, alone, and are thus speculated to be the sentient larval form of stars. None have ever appeared so publically or for so long as ΦONA, which appeared ten years prior to the start of the 8965th Space Race and became an instant celebrity, though known for its aloof silence on inquiries to do with its species. The galaxy quickly grew bored, however, and turned its attention to the next starlet who came along.

Its purpose in entering the Space Race is unknown, though it has been suggested that its doing so heralds either a galactic spiritual awakening or a terrible disaster. Or maybe it just has a new perfume coming out and needs to promote it.


On a dead planet orbiting a frozen star at the farthest reaches of the galaxy, a twisted spire grew. Rising miles above the cold, anoxic sea, its geometries hurt to look upon, and even species born in non-Euclidean space reeled at the horror of its existence. A narrow bridge from a deathly-blue promontory afforded entrance to the warped and shifting interior. Fewer than a fifth who entered ever returned, and fewer still returned in a fit state to tell of the flexing, waking horrors within. Though terrifying, the chill animus of the spire captured the heart of many: What would be the reward for reaching the peak? Though many bold members of thousands of species tried, none could climb to the top, and it revelled in its apt sobriquet: The Sepulchire.

Decades of toil passed in which species warred over the prize; altered themselves, to horrific extent, on a molecular level to better deal with the interior; and mapped the Sepulchire at enormous cost to life. Ultimately a single brave explorer was nominated by all other species to make the final climb. As the galaxy watched, the explorer paused briefly at the threshold before being swallowed by the gloom. Days passed and hopes gradually faded, until eventually the explorer returned, clutching a dark double-helix that seemed to draw in light. They carefully placed the Artefact on a rock before addressing the waiting trillions of onlookers. They spoke vaguely of the twisted spire as a test both physical and spiritual and told that the Artefact was a reward for having worked together in service of a greater goal. The prize: The accumulated knowledge of all races from the previous galactic cycle, the key to transcendance and life everlasting. After delivering the speech, the explorer smiled widely and cast themself off the cliff into the dead ocean. Those who watched later told of their disquiet that, just before they hit the waves, the explorer looked blissfully relieved, as though a long torment was finally over.

When the crowd turned back a hermit crab had climbed into the Artefact. After about an hour of trying to coax it out, the galaxy grew bored and went home. Now that crab has entered the Space Race. The end.