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The Shards were a race of intelligent, crystalline lifeforms native to the planet Orax. Their physiology was based on silicon rather than carbon, and they grew to sizes of 40 centimeters in length. They appeared to be simply crystals, but the molecular makeup of their forms resembled a complex form of circuitry which developed its own form of electromagnetic energy, and gave them the ability to think, sense, and interact. The average Shard had a long lifecycle, with the oldest clusters being several thousand years of age. After making contact with early settlers on Orax, the Shards and their human neighbors discovered a way to "disconnect" a Shard from the planet and place it inside a droid body, thereby giving it mobility and enhanced sensory input. These Shards traveled to the corners of the galaxy, attempting to gather information and then return to Orax. During the New Order, Orax was raided for crystals, and many clusters of intelligent life were destroyed, believed to be simply stones. The surviving Shards eventually aligned themselves with the Alliance, and those with droid bodies became some of the Alliance's best spies.