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The guys I talked about in WATER BEARS...
Based these guys on Opabinia's.
Strange intelligent invertebrates, these lifeforms are amphibious. Blessed with excellent eyesight and a dangerous claw, they never saw much in the use of long-distance weapons, althrough they often made use of artillery in their genocidal wars against other ethnic groups.
That was their death warrant when they became enslaved by a race with a superior military force. Their ritualistic way of war was annihilated and they became slaves, creating curious machines and fueling obscure research.
Through trading with trading empires, they learned about other races in space and freedom. However, six revolts, 12 million deaths and 50 years later, they were still subdued. That changed, as the reason for their enslavement became clear.
Their oppressors had fought against a rebel political faction, and crushed them. However, the rebels launched two deadly viruses before they were ultimately destroyed.
The first one killed off everyone in the 4th larval state, and the procreative state.
The second virus would cause a deadly cancer to grow during the 4th larval state, basically giving everyone a "death timer" and no ways of reproducing.
This race had no genetic research, and had to "buy" it from other races.
Basically teenagers, looking for a way out they conquered the Opabinia's to advance the research by selling the natural resources of the Opabinia planet.
However, their genetic makeup was difficult to work with, and the rebel faction had made sure that those who could work with their DNA were paid enough not to do it.
So one day, the Opabinia's woke up, to find out that their oppressors were no longer able to maintain their hold. A bloody revolt broke out.
The Opabinia's now free, set up a big trading empire, with peacekeeping aspirations.
UN and the World Bank as 5-eyed creatures with crab noses.