"The creature he described is neither a predator nor a parasite (unless one stretches the definition of "host species" to include starships), but I believe they could be useful."
―Governor Wilek Nereus[src]

A rat roach was a nonsentient pest that occasionally infested starships, typically after docking at a low-class spaceport. They were approximately the size of an outstretched Human hand, with two long antennae and backs covered with many quills. They bred inside of bulkheads and other similarly dark places, and were known for gnawing on wiring and circuitry. When threatened, rat roaches would dig into inconvenient-to-reach spaces and bristle up their quills to protect their antennae.

The starship Belle docked at Ord Zat about six seasons prior to Governor Wilek Nereus's interrogation of one of the two smugglers who operated it. The Belle became infested with the pests, and two hyperspace jumps afterward, the ship began handling unusually. The crewman began pulling down bulkheads, finally locating the rat-roaches' nest; as soon as it was exposed to light, however, the creatures dug into the ship's conduits. It took crewman and his partner seven hours to extract them with tongs and crush them with a Hydrospanner. The creatures had devoured enough circuitry to have destroyed the ship on its next jump to hyperspace.

Nereus was interested by the smuggler's mention and discussion of the creatures, and following the smuggler's termination, he ordered several rat roach egg cases for his own ends.


In other languages