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The Melnorme (pronounced /'mɛlnɔːmeɪ/)1, as far as we know, are a race of traveling traders in information and technology. They appear as several orange globs piled on top of each other, with a large smile and a single eye.
The Melnorme's basic culture revolves around exchanges of items, information, and commodities. They believe that giving without receiving is barbaric. While their culture abandoned currency long ago, the Melnorme economy is based entirely on the exchange of items of "intrinsic value", quantified via Interstar Credits. The Melnorme are particularly interested in obtaining new information about alien life-forms and the strange Precursor Rainbow Worlds, without specifying how they use the data, though it is probably safe to assume that they simply sell it to someone else. They claim that they have "a thousand secret sources in space and time" and that their charge for revealing even one of them would in debt the whole Human species for centuries.
Melnorme are highly sensitive to a broad spectrum of colors; their single eye, while incapable of perceiving depth, contains numerous wavelength-sensitive cone cells. Their bridge has a colorful background that changes to fit their mood or activities. Red is for travel, purple is generally assumed to be for trade (if one pays enough credits the Melnorme offer to sell the information about it turning purple2). A blue bridge signifies a response to an unexpected threat and emotional distress, and also has the effect of permitting the Melnorme Trade Master to see the weapon consoles more clearly.
The Melnorme possess a large amount of knowledge and unique technology, including a device called the MetaChron that can predict its own destruction. They also claim that they can predict The Captain's arrival using the vibrations of Tzo crystals.
The similarity in name between "Melnorme" and "Mael-Num", combined with the fact that the Mael-Num are described as one-eyed creatures by the Kohr-Ah, may lead to the suspicion that there is a connection between the two races. This suspicion has been confirmed by reliable sources.3Presumably, the Melnorme would be willing to sell this information along with their full history, psychology, mental powers, their unique physiology, the exact location of homeworlds, and their "potentially ominous" long-term plans.In project 6014 the Melnorme are also willing to buy information regarding the Mael-num and any other member of the Sentient Milieu.
The Melnorme are never found in HyperSpace (unless The Captain calls them or they come offering to rescue him or if he runs out of fuel), but they are present at super-giant star systems like Alpha Centauri or Zeeman. A Melnorme Trader is always located in nearly every super-giant star system though one may have to investigate the planets individually to find it. Although they stop traveling to Alpha Vulpeculae after a wormhole apeared there which the Orz call a *slippery place*. due the the fact that in the second half of the 2160s decade theres no longer any planets of Alpha Vulpeculae to explore. Interesting to note that the flagships mission was desiginated as a exploration mission.
The first Melnorme Trade Master to contact The Captain is known as Trade Master Greenish, captain of the Trader vessel Inevitably Successful In All Circumstances.
While not designed as a warship, the Melnorme Trader is still capable of defending itself, possessing a weapon system which Greenish claims he had bought from the Keel-Verezy just one month before his first meeting with The Captain. Its variable power blaster is known as the one thing that can actually absorb an Ur-Quan Fusion Blast and the Confusion Ray is capable of temporarily scrambling a ship's navigation and crippling its special systems.
The Melnorme have an aversion for the Druuge, seeing their prices as "unreasonably low" (though, curiously, they do not mention anything about Druuge slave trading or piracy except alluding to "hidden costs" and "secret tariffs"). The Druuge likewise detest the Melnorme, arguing instead that their prices are high, that they "charge fees for common knowledge" and that their rescue service is piracy.
- See also: List of Melnorme trade goods
In Star Control II, the Melnorme have the following goods for sale:
- Fuel: 1 Credit per unit.
- Information: 75 Credits per piece of information
- Technology: 150 Credits per piece of technology
The Melnorme are also willing to pay for certain things:
- 500 Credits per Rainbow World location, (Also found in project 6014)
- 100 Credits or 75 value in Information Per Information World location. (Project 6014 only) also only on (Gamma Janus II).
- 2 Credits per unit of Biological DataRecovered from various worlds. (Both games)
They have also sold the following to third parties:
==Slylandro and Spathi==
- Catalog item 2418-B to the Slylandro for data on the lifeforms on Source
- The FunRom "Winky's Happy Night"
- Greenish (The leader of the Melnorme in the 2150s and 60s)
- Ochre (the wife of greenish)
- Purple (starship captain)
- 1The name is apparently derived from the name "Mel Tormé".
- From the 1998 IRC chat with Toys for Bob (Fwiffo is both Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III here):
- <Manta> Melnorme... Mel Torme?
- <Fwiffo> Give Manta a prize! He's absolutely correct!
- 2In the original PC version, this information costs 120,000 Credits. In the 3D0 version this cost was raised to 12,000,000 Credits. Both of these amounts are unreachable in normal game play. Also, there is no response in the Melnorme conversation tree even if the player were to improperly obtain enough Credits and to try purchasing this information.
- 3From the 1998 IRC chat with Toys for Bob (Fwiffo is both Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III here):
- <Deep-Reep> who are the mael num, realy?
- <Fwiffo> The mael num are ancestors of the Melnorme