The Selkath were a sentient aquatic species, native to the ocean-covered planet of Manaan. Since Manaan was the only naturally occurring source of kolto, the Selkath held great diplomatic sway during the Jedi Civil War. At that time, they held tightly to their neutrality; however, a few farsighted Selkath occasionally broke their neutrality in secret, and arranged deals to help their preferred side. Eventually, the kolto market disappeared and the galaxy abandoned the Selkath. It was not until the rise of the Galactic Empire that the Selkath would have interaction with the galaxy again. They were later conquered by the Galactic Empire.
As an aquatic species, the Selkath were skilled swimmers. They resembled anthropomorphic sting rays and had blue, pink, or green-colored skin, which was patterned for underwater camouflage, and their mouths were bracketed by cephalic lobes. They tended to stroke these during conversation, analogous to the Human habit of stroking facial hair, such as mustaches. Female Selkath differed from males by the presence of tendrils on the back of their heads.
All members of the Selkath race had retractable, venom-tipped claws. Similar to the Wookiees, the use of these claws in any form of combat or attack was considered dishonorable and a sign of madness; to do this was to give in to animal instincts unbecoming of a sentient species. When the Selkath at Hrakert Station were driven insane by the Progenitor (a large firaxan shark which they believe they all descended from), they reacted primitively and used their claws to strike down Republic technicians.
Society and Culture
With the formation of the Republic, the Selkath chose not to join instead adopting a policy of strict neutrality. Several millennia later, they were able to remain neutral due to their monopoly on the supply of kolto and the diplomatic bargaining power this monopoly granted them. Kolto, produced solely on Manaan, was a liquid that contained unique healing properties. When the liquid was applied to wounds it increased the healing rate, and patients could even be immersed in it in special tanks for greater effect. During conflicts, the Selkath threatened to cut off the supply of kolto, unless both sides respected their neutrality.
This policy was maintained during the Jedi Civil War, with the Selkath supplying both the Republic and the Sith with kolto during the conflict. Manaan’s neutrality was kept through strict security laws, enforced by the Ahto City Civil Authority. If either side were to break even the least of these laws, harsh sanctions were imposed, including withholding kolto or huge fines to the offending side. Individuals who disturbed the peace were often executed or imprisoned. As such, the Sith often goaded Republic soldiers into street fights, causing the Selkath to fine the Republic.
The Selkath manufactured distinctive vibroblades, one of which was owned by the Hutt Dreddon many decades after the Selkath withdrew from society.
The native language of the Selkath was Selkatha, which despite its gurgling sound, could be learned by non-Selkath
In ancient times, the Selkath’s ancestors were conquered by the Rakata and were slaves in their Infinite Empire. With the collapse of the Infinite Empire, however, the Selkath regained their independence. As such, they refrained from joining the Galactic Republic, instead claiming neutrality.
While they maintained official neutrality in the Jedi Civil War, many Selkath were sympathetic towards the Republic. Some officials, such as Shelkar, set up a deal with the Republic to mine extra kolto secretly from the Hrakert Rift. The plan went horribly wrong when the station disturbed the Progenitor, a giant firaxan shark, that drove the Selkath insane, causing them to kill anything that moved. Jedi Revan investigated the station and destroyed the kolto harvester in order to calm the Progenitor. The Selkath officials did their best to prevent the Sith from finding out about the deal.
At the same time though, the Sith kidnapped several Selkath youths and trained them in the ways of the Force, to bind them to the Sith and enable them to take over the government one day. The Jedi Revan was again asked to investigate, this time by a Selkath named Shaelas. Uncovering the plot, Revan raided on the Sith enclave and found Shaelas’ daughter, Shasa, who was being trained as a Sith apprentice. Revan informed Shaelas of this, who brought the information to the Ahto High Court. As retribution, the Selkath banned the Sith from Manaan shortly before the war’s end.
Roughly a century after the Battle of Rakata Prime, the use of kolto dried up, and the influence of the Selkath waned as foreign groups abandoned Manaan. They tried to join the Galactic Republic at this point, but their petition was rebuffed. This caused the proud Selkath to withdraw from galactic affairs and to swear to never again seek to join with offworlders. Within another hundred years, the Selkath had reverted to primitive ways. Warlords with no recollection of Manaan’s former prosperity fought amongst themselves, fragmenting the Selkath into tribal clans. Within another century, the Selkath had disappeared from the galactic consciousness.
During the Great Galactic War, the Selkath again became embroiled in galactic affairs. Despite attempts to remain neutral, their surface cities were destroyed, and the species was forced underwater. The kolto supply returned, however, and was known to be used as early as 1013 BBY. Since the supply was used during the Galactic Civil War, it can be assumed that the Selkath resumed the shipment of kolto offworld. However, it was less effective than bacta, and was used as a cheaper alternative, explaining why Manaan did not regain its old importance.
At the time of the Cold War, a proxy conflict between the Sith Empire and Galactic Republic, the Selkath discovered an ancient pre-hyperdrive vessel and revived its captain from suspended animation. Eventually someone was sent to meet with the captain, resulting in a bond between the envoy and the captain—who was still confused by the revivification—discussing the officer’s native era. Ultimately, the captain provided the envoy with a gift from the ship.
During the Clone Wars, a Selkath Jedi fought on the side of the Republic against the Droid Army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. A Selkath bounty hunter called Chata Hyoki was hired by Count Dooku to aid Robonino to forcibly dissuade opposition Senators from voting to stop an increase in clone trooper production and an escalation to the war. One Selkath named Morgo was captured by Trandoshan hunters and killed on the moon Wasskah. Another Selkath bounty hunter named Mantu participated in a competition orchestrated by Dooku from which he planned to organize a team to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.
By the time the Galactic Empire came to power, few citizens considered Manaan a predominantly important planet. However, Emperor Palpatine knew of its importance and sent an expeditionary force to the planet. They attacked the Selkath and used aquatic stormtroopers to raid underwater cities. Having fallen into a much more primitive society, the Selkath were frightened by the advanced weapons and many surrendered. The Imperials then revived Ahto City for use as a resort complex. The Empire drew all Selkath from the depths, and forced them to live in floating villages around Ahto City. They were enslaved and used to clean Ahto City and serve food to pampered guests. The Empire even killed some Selkath to use in special gourmet meals, targeted at Hutt palettes. As in many other instances of planetary exploitation, the Empire polluted the oceans of Manaan and wrecked the environment. They also made some use of the limited kolto available, which was used as a less effective alternative to bacta.
Using artful manipulation, Darth Vader journeyed to the planet disguised, and started a “shadow revolt” among the Selkath. He found the Order of Shasa and supplied them with precise information on the Imperial patrols. The Adepts struck Ahto City with two hundred warriors, slaying stormtroopers everywhere. Because the Empire thought of Manaan as safe and did not need much protection the stormtroopers were fresh recruits. Once the Selkath drove the Empire off-planet, a rage gripped the Selkath, and they killed all the tourists. When they calmed down and realized what they had done, Darth Vader came out and explained that revenge would guide them, and that they served the same master, Palpatine.
All that came to an end however when the Rebel Alliance defeated the Galactic Empire losing its grip over the Selkath. In appreciation, the Selkath later joined the New Galactic Republic and Manaan became a resort site for tourists with a reconstructed Ahto City becoming the hub of the resort. Manaan still produces Kolto as an alternative to Bacta but usually only manufactures it at a local level but they will still sell Kolto to offworlders who are interested to buy it.