Uncle Jimbo's Bug Huntin' Range
A (mini-) setting distantly inspired by Alan Dean Foster's 'The Damned' trilogy, and by discussions on the A-list concerning gamesmanship and character flaws.
In the course of evolution, intelligence arises only in a few forms. It seems a last resort, a desperate gambit of a species that has little else to maintain its place. Intelligent beings are neither powerful in body, nor equipped with fearsome natural weaponry. Their clever minds are their only means of survival against predators and the cruel natural world.
On one unremarkable planet, circling an insignificant star far from the grand routes of galactic civilisation, this rule has been broken by a species who call themselves humans. Through a combination of evolutionary and historical freaks, the humans have retained the strength, reflexes and combat instincts which on other worlds are only known in the fiercest of predators. These backward and ignorant creatures have been gifted by chance with the ability to be natural warriors. Even an average human can outstrip the most feared combatant species in the known galaxy.
This would be a scientific curiosity, were it not for the tragic history of that known galaxy, which even now is coming to a head. After centuries of quiet expansion, the Gelquan rulers of the so-called Collective of Free Sentients have tipped their hand. Their nefarious mental subversion and cultural engineering efforts, directed to the sole purpose of complete galactic domination, have at last been exposed to view. The Conclave of Free Species was hastily formed to defend against the Gelquan and their Collective stooges. Those few species which have the natural ability to bear arms have gladly volunteered to defend the Conclave against further Collective incursions, and eventually to liberate the galaxy from Gelquan domination.
About 70 years ago, a Conclave scout ship visited Earth and reported back on its remarkable inhabitants. After much soul-searching, the Conclave decided that despite the possible damage to their culture, humans should be given the chance to defend themselves against the Gelquan menace as volunteers of the Conclave. It is certain that the Collective would have absorbed them, and turned their talents against the Conclave, without a thought. Since that time, humans have been contacted, tested for fortitude and adaptability by mental simulations, and recruited into the Conclave defence forces. Those few who proved too feeble for galactic society were given memory blocks and returned to their point of origin.