The Neinzul are an alien race of short lived insectoid aliens. The Neinzul first appeared in AI War and were the subject of the Children of Neinzul expansion, and are also an NPC race in Stars Beyond Reach.
The Neinzul are a race of perpetual "younglings", who live for an extremely short time before death (only around an Earth day), and which are then replaced by fully-aware and vicious replacements. They are a sentient race of essentially "Sentient Fruit Flies". They're able to telepathically link their minds with each other, but unlike the Thoraxians, they don't have a full blown hive mind, as there are individuals in their species. They are arranged into localized "Enclaves" that form mini-collectives.
Each Enclave is run out of a living mobile hive known as a Neinzul Enclave Starship, and each starship has its own goals and centralized knowledge-store from which its spawned Younglings pull their collected memories; this sort of nodal archival system is the only thing that has allowed such a short-lived species to ever advance to star-faring status, or even develop a civilization in the first place.
Neinzul Younglings are able to survive the rigours of empty space for a short time, allowing them to temporarily leave their Enclaves and defend them. Once their bodies are damaged enough, they usually return to a Regeneration Chamber to heal themselves.
Some Neinzul are able to mature, becoming much more resistant to damage, and with a greatly increased lifespan. They can also survive in outer space indefinitely.
Role in AI War
Much like the Zenith's remnants, the Neinzul are not an unified nation, unlike the Humans or the AI. Multiple "Minor Factions" represent individual Neinzul groups that can be introduced to a campaign, to the player's benefit or detriment. The most notable of these are the Neinzul Preservation Wardens, the Rocketry Corps, the Roaming Enclaves, and the Hybrid Hives.
Preservation Wardens are Neinzul Enclaves that are obsessed with their ancestral memories of the great beauty of the celestial realm with its many stars and planets. Those Enclaves are horrified at the rapid consumption of resources and the use of nuclear weapons forever marring the face of the galaxy. Feeling that without action the grand vistas of the galaxy and future memories of its beauty would be denied to their children, those Enclaves have emerged from its reverential seclusion to put an end to resource harvesting. The Preservation Warden scours the galaxy on the lookout for Harvesters and will attempt to destroy any it finds. In their zeal, other vessels and structures like turrets or guard posts that are too close to the resource patches may also be destroyed.
Rocketry Corps are Enclaves that built Neinzul Silos throughout the galaxy, which will attack human planets if the planet they're in is alerted.
Neinzul Roaming Enclaves are independent Enclaves that can either help the Humans, the AI, or neither.
Hybrid Hives are AI-built ships that were merged with Neinzul hives. They are very autonomous and extremely dangerous to the surviving Humans if left unchecked. Some hives are incredibly advanced, and also incredibly dangerous.
Unlike the other race starships, Humans can't build a "Neinzul Starship", but they can build an actual Neinzul Enclave. A Mercenary Enclave can also be built. They can also build Regeneration Chambers for Younglings to heal themselves after a battle, or once their health goes below 30%.
If Ancient Shadows is installed, two Neinzul factions can be found in the Nebulae planets, the hostile Neinzul Astrid, who were the predecessors of the Hybrids, and the friendly Mourners, a subspecies of the main Neinzul race.