The Beast is a unique form of bio-mechanical virus that originated within the realm of hyperspace and can use any known conventional material or organic matter to spread its cells. Its existence was lost for many millenia, until Kiith Somtaaw discovered a Beacon Pod and unleashed the virus on the galaxy.
Nothing is known about how the Beast cells were cultivated or even where they originated from. The only known information about the virus is the data recovered from a pod launched by an alien vessel called the Naggarok.
Almost one million years prior to the events of Homeworld: Cataclysm, the Naggarok travelled through hyperspace from a nearby dwarf-galaxy. The Naggarok was using a form of hyperdrive that was so powerful that it was able to send the Naggarok across a large area of space from the dwarf-galaxy to the much larger Galaxy[notes 1].
During this hyperdrive jump, the Naggarok was forced to exit hyperspace after it detected an unknown organism aboard the ship. The explorers aboard the Naggarok seemed to know immediately that the organism they picked up was dangerous and they needed to contain it within the Naggarok. However, their attempts to prevent the Beast from escaping was undermined by the fact that their ship was designed to eject a Beacon Pod if they attempted to scuttle the engines and communications equipment. Unfortunately for them, the pod contained a small amount of the Beast cells and that was the last that anyone heard of the organism.
From that point onwards, the Beast would live aboard the two remnants of the ship it infected and listened to every single radio communication across the galaxy it now inhabited, waiting for someone to discover the Naggarok or the Beacon Pod to reawaken it from ancient slumber.
Despite being a viral organism, it had a very high level command of Galactic Common — the in-universe definition of the English language used by all races — and was fully capable of stating its thoughts. However, its ability to talk to others was compounded by the disjointed nature of its vocals. The disjointed nature meant it was unable to maintain a single voice at any time, alternating between a deep masculine voice and a raspy female voice throughout many of its conversations.
While the Naggarok was able to communicate with anyone in near-flawless English, due to its million years of intercepting radio communications, the Beast residing in the Beacon Pod was not able to create basic sentences. Instead, this form of the Beast chose to select specific words and creating composite sentences consisting of those words.
The Beast residing in the pod made use of various prefixes to denote different types of vessels, presumably as a result of assimilation of other ships to gain basic English skills. When referring to itself, it would use the prefix -self: when referring to a group of ships infected by itself, it would call them -selves. Any vessel which was not infected would be referred to as parts. For example, if the Beast Mothership was being attacked by an enemy, rather than saying "Command Ship under attack!", it would instead say: "Command Self is pained! Command Self must flee from parts!".
Ships that were previously not infected by the Beast still retain their original voice profiles, but slight hints of Beast infection are apparent, with all words spoken with a rasp.
Despite being a simple aggregate of cells, the Beast is anything but a simple virus. Due to solitary confinement with the ship it infected millions of years ago, it has intercepted all radio communications made by every race living within the Galaxy and has been able to discern every single event which has occurred throughout history. Its existence even predates the arrival of the Progenitors, who only arrived in the galaxy 10,000 years prior to the events of Homeworld. From this, it knows everything about every single race, even going as far as to claim that "it knows more about the races than they know themselves".
As well as having a very high level of knowledge of other races, it has extremely high levels of intelligence and cunning. In its own words, it wants to assimilate as much eligible matter as it can to acquire all knowledge of the universe. By multiplying this way, it can acquire even more knowledge, allowing it to manipulate and understand every race in the universe, providing it with a tactical mind of a super genius. Since it wants as much knowledge as possible, it puts a massive emphasis on finding very powerful enemies as quickly as possible. This emphasis can be seen from the events shortly occurring after its reawakening: in only a single encounter with Kiith Somtaaw, it was able to gain the knowledge to send a large fleet to attack a nearby Bentusi Exchange, knowing that the Bentusi would have knowledge of many other races, for which it can achieve its goals.
Its high level of intelligence can also be seen from its simplistic methods of manipulating the Taiidan Imperialist Faction into repairing the Naggarok, convincing them that, by doing so, they would be able to defeat the Kushan and return the old Taiidan Empire to its former glory. The Imperialists only discover that they were being manipulated after the Beast was pressured into an admission, when a Bentusi Exchange appeared in the midst of battle: the Imperialists were led to believe that the Bentusi had already been defeated. Despite this admission, it willingly avoided attacking the Imperial Fleet, further showcasing its strong intellect to use the Imperials for its own ends.
In several incidents through the Beast War, the Beast showed a very high level of tactical prowess. In an early incident with the Taiidan Republic, who were evacuating the Fornax System, it lured away a powerful Heavy Cruiser escorting the Colony Ships and infected it. Using the infected cruiser, it sent a false distress beacon to the Colony Ships that it had been escorting, causing the remaining escorts to be sent towards the beacon: these escorts were later infected, leaving the entire convoy fleet to become an easy target for an attack consisting of Cruise Missiles.
At some unknown point, the Beast was able to trap the Caal-Shto and subvert it. After it was subverted, it was sent to find the Kuun-Lan and retrieve the Beacon Pod, so it could find "itself". This tactic was employed so that the Kuun-Lan and the entire fleet would be taken into the grasp of the Beast Mothership: had the fleet not been swarmed by the Turanic Raiders and the Taiidan Imperialists, this would have likely ended badly for them.
Later, the Beast would use the subverted Clee-San to disable an entire Sentinel web surrounding an unknown base in the Far Reaches Sector, allowing it to launch a large attack against the base to assimilate more knowledge.
Due to the viral nature of the Beast, no entity or vessel is considered to be safe from its destructive nature. Virtually every ship constructed (with the exception of Leeches[notes 2]) is a suitable surface for the Beast to subvert and use in its goals to acquire knowledge. As soon as a ship comes into contact with the virus, the Beast begins a very rapid process of breaking down the ship materials in order to construct more of itself. When it comes into contact with organic matter, this is broken down and the cells are reassembled for use as living biocircuitry.
Even though the original crew of an infected vessel are subsumed into the Beast, they continue to live, since their memories and thoughts still exist. This dangerous way of living is the reason why the Bentusi are so afraid of the Beast: since the Bentusi are Unbound, they are one with the ships they are attached to, meaning that, if the Beast were to infect them, they would not be dead, but neither would they have any control over their ships, causing them to be trapped within their ships for all eternity.
This method of assimilating material to infect ships means that the Beast is able to assume control of an infected ship almost immediately, rather than simply testing every aspect of a ship to find out which parts need to be infected.
Infection Beam Edit
The Beast is able to infect many ships at once through the use of a high charged particle beam. The cells of the Beast will ride this particular beam and immediately attach themselves to the target ship. Due to the nature of the beam, this allows the beam to jump to any neighbouring ship, but there are limits to how much it jumps: heavier ships will take longer to be infected, meaning that the beam will spend more time infecting a single frigate, reducing the potency of the beam and possibly saving other ships from the infection. This is directly contrasted to basic fighters, which are relatively light weight, possibly resulting in whole wings of fighters being converted with just a single shot.
However, the beam operates at very short ranges and is generated instantly. This means that an uninfected vessel will have absolutely no warning when going near infected vessels and cannot evade the beam in any way. The rate of infection can be reduced by running a charge throughout all vessels and ships who have employed the necessary safety protocols can ride out the infection.
Purging the Beast Edit
In the early stages of the Beast War, no ships would be safe from the virus. Kiith Somtaaw later discovered that, at some point, the Turanic Raiders acquired samples of the Beast and transferred them to a hidden research base under control of the Taiidan Imperialist Faction. The Imperialists were attempting to graft the samples onto living subjects to take control of the virus and use it as a living weapon system. Despite these efforts failing (due to the complex nature of the Beast), they did manage to develop useful sterilisation procedures that would be useful on a larger scale.
It can be assumed that Kiith Somtaaw developed a full vaccination from this knowledge, which later made all ships immune to the infection and allowing its eradication from the galaxy.
- The Beast is actually a codename given to the virus by the Ship Engineer aboard the Kuun-Lan. The real name of the virus is currently unknown.
- During Mission 02, it is possible for the Turanic Raiders to capture the Beacon Pod and hyperspace away. While this results in mission failure, this would have radically altered the events of the Beast War.
- ↑ The Galaxy they were travelling to would later become the home of many races, including the Progenitors and the Kushan
- ↑ Leeches present no organic material to infect, since they are remotely controlled: therefore, they will simply be destroyed.
- ↑ Beacon Pod data
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Engineer's Report 7.2
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Communications with the Beast Mothership
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Communications with the Naggarok in Mission 14
- ↑ Events of Mission 05
- ↑ Events of Mission 17
- ↑ Events of Mission 07
- ↑ Events of Mission 10
- ↑ Communication with Fleet Command for Kiith Manaan
- ↑ Analysis of the Clee-San after its Beast signature is lost
- ↑ Communication with the Bentusi
- ↑ Ship Engineer's Report 1.2
- ↑ Recommendations by the Tactical Officer
- ↑ Homeworld: Cataclysm Multi-Player
- ↑ Analysis of the tapes stolen from Gozan IV
- ↑ End Game cutscene