The Star Priestesses (sometimes referred to as SPs, or Priestesses) are an elite group of humanitarian outreach agents of the Aelisha. They have members from every race, but a majority of them are Aelisha with a fair amount being Solarian.
Star Priestesses are always female (look below for ‘Slayer’), and are very highly trained but a majority of this training is in secret. Their primary mission is to convert and make others aware of the Line. The public sees a group of role models who are interested in bettering society. This is what most see, and it does not include the truth that these women are among the most gifted of intellect, athleticism, and Psionic ability and are often involved in special projects in the deepest reaches of the Solarian and Aelisha empires.
Star Priestesses are very rarely even taken hostage despite their value. Both their own talents – often rumored that they can psionically kill anyone who tries to abduct them – or the few times the Aelisha stepped in for a dramatic show of force. The very few times a Star Priestess was abducted the Aelisha fleet warned that unless she was returned the town would be destroyed. The organizations did not expect the bluff to be put into action, and when it was it gave the universe a very grim reminder that anyone even complacent in a Star Priestess abduction was risking everything they knew and loved. The lesson was never needed more than twice.
Now, Star Priestesses can move easily among any groups, and many criminals are annoyed at their presence but can do nothing; given a stated neutrality Star Priestesses maintain these groups accept them with a very wary mentality. A large part of the accepting though relies on this neutrality that has never been broken, and despite what Priestesses see, keep it entirely to themselves.
Bangle Challenge –
Star Priestesses are scouted from an early age due mostly to latent or overt Psionic abilities. Being talented is not enough, and one of the first tests prospective Priestesses get is what is known as the Bangle Challenge. The young girls are fitted with an advanced bracer that will slip over their small hands. The goal is simple, but rarely accomplished. They must keep it from falling off while the grow up, falling off even once shuts down a sensor in the bangle. It often the equivalent of a few years before their hands are big enough they will not fall off. Eventually they are permanently attached to their forearm, and if they pass the rest they are given complex tattoos on their arms that complete the bangle design.
The bangle itself is very durable, and is likely contains rare Aelisha technology as it can often take direct hits of various melee weapons.
Approximately 98% of Star Priestesses possess this bangle. Other’s that become Star Priestesses later – mostly due to a massive Psionic awakening – and are given a replacement bangle. It does not look the same, and is slightly smaller. The average person can not tell the difference, and it is mostly a mark of pride for the ones that endured one of the toughest challenges.
Lack of Strives:
Star Priestesses are notably in that they are so highly valued and acclaimed but lack the Strive tattoo on their face. They are among the only ones within the Affiliated protectorate that lack this. This is mostly done in accordance with Aelisha history that the leader caste, the Oracles, did not have battle scars (the original basis of the Strive system) because they were to be kept pure to keep their vision clear and their precognition let them avoid getting hit in combat and receiving scars.
Given that very few become Priestesses, the Strives are only removed after completion. For the Solarians this is much easier than the Aelisha that it is tattooed/scarred into the bone.
Slayers are not official recognized and only rumored as the male ‘enforcement branch’ of the Star Priestesses. The general thought it that they are clearly not into the humanitarian aspect of it, and are only pulled from the most notable and select individuals who are part of this hyper secret force. Given the name, it is expected they enact the violence and combat the Priestesses do not. This is not like the Classed Soldiers which are officially recognized as often acting on behalf of them. The rumors are allowed to persist of unstoppable killers mostly to decrease any likelihood of attack on Priestesses, the reality is that Slayers have to have a deep respect for life and only engage in combat as a last resort in which they can bring terrifying power to bear. Wanton killers, no matter how good, are quickly overlooked, and only those with a ‘universal conscience’ have the behavior that is looked for.
Rather than how many planets or systems someone has been to, many people compare how many Priestesses they have personally met as evidence of ‘how traveled/experienced’ they are.
A majority of Solarian Star Priestesses often come from fringe or ‘rural’ colonies.