Wing Commander Information Center

The Kilrathi Thrakhath.

The Empire of Kilrah is an interstellar entity controlled by the Kilrathi. It is ruled by the Kilrathi Emperor.

Borders of Kilrathi space are in Vega, Gemini and Epsilon Sectors. Epsilon is roughly divided between Terran colonies and those originally settled by the Kilrathi.[1]


"Yes, we have a fleet, the best in the galaxy, but we don't have the infrastructure, the web of commerce. We conquer, destroy, populate a new world like a fiefdom, placing a few tens of thousands of our own blood where billions once existed. Those whom we suffer to live, labor in our factories as slaves, not allies. Then we expand yet again. We are like a hollow shell, the Confederation is a solid mass."
― Lord Vakka

The Kilrathi Empire is expansionist and imperialistic, expanding in space by conquering and subjugating other races.

To keep their subject races under their thumb, they did not permit them to have command of much in the way of technology.[2]

The Empire rested on the toil and labor of enslaved non-Kilrathi: races that were subjugated. Such slaves were engaged in doing the research and building of the latest weapons for the Kilrathi campaigns. While the Kilrathi obeyed the Emperor striving for honor, the slaves labored fearing for their lives. The subjects of Lord Vakka were threatened with their heads and the lives of their families in order to work on the new weapon the Kilrathi would use against the Confederation.[3]


The Kilrathi Empire was formed after a series of bloody wars among the clans that lasted centuries. The leader of the winning side became the first Kilrathi Emperor.

Eventally the Kilrathi Empire came to the hands of the Kiranka clan. One of the Emperors conquered the Eyoka, his son the Wu, and the next Kilrathi Emperor, the technologically superior Varni; after the victorious Varni War, the Empire looted their technological secrets. The Clans continued expanding outwards without any resistance, until around 2629 they made contact with the Terran Confederation; the following half-year they made more contacts as they approached the Confed borders.[4]

Cold War[]

As the Empire's borders were ever-expanding, the Emperor seemed to arranged a tacit agreement to bar the humans, and there was some kind of unofficial war with some skirmishes. Antiquated ships from the Varni War were patrolling the borders, in order to keep their current technology far from Terrans; as a result, Terran intelligence thought that the Empire is an inferior "third rate power". The Empire's frontiers expanded rapidly, and Confed struggled more and more to patrol them.[4]

Crown Prince Gilkarg nar Kiranka, in the tradition of his forefathers, advocated war against the new neighbor, to inherit their glory. One of his reasons was the existence of the Nephilim coreward; instead of confronting that greater enemy (leaving their other flank open), he'd rather create a buffer zone in the Confed direction before facing the other enemy.[4]

Social structure[]

Kilrathi society is predatory and demands clear definitions of superior and inferior[4] and as such, it is highly hierarchical: essentially the whole race is composed of an upper class of nobles (the Thrak'hra) and a lower class (the Kilra'hra), the commoners.[5]

A Kilrathi's fate, whether a warrior or a citizen, is determined by their social status from birth: only the nobles have a right to rule or command and the common Kilrathi simply follow their leadership. The Kilra'hra clans swear allegiance to one of the noble clans and throughout the generations this servitude is passed on. Kilra'hra obey their masters in everything and are literally not allowed to do anything without permission. As such, one of the most important concepts of the Kilrathi culture is that of honor: each Kilrathi must act so that they does not dishonor their race, master or their own clan. It is not uncommon for an individual who has fallen into disgrace to commit Zu'kara (ritual throat-slashing suicide): such failures could range from dishonorable behavior in combat to unintentionally insulting a superior.

Although aliens almost never saw Kilrathi females, these held important positions, especially in day-to-day administration of government and estate-management, and the cult of Sivar as only females could become priestesses. Females of Ghorah Khar, including many priestesses of Sivar, were prominent in the rebel cause against the Emperor, with ample opportunity for concealing insurrection.[6]

The source for the belligerence and expansionist behavior, which are associated to the Kilrathi, has recently received an interesting new explanation. This is based on some hypothesis developed by research conducted during the Confederation clashes against the race codenamed "Nephilim". It is thus possible that the aliens have purposely or inadvertently forged the Kilrathi lust for conquest by triggering their sense of honor.

See also: Oath-swearing

Members of the Kilrathi race.


Thrak'hra and Kilra'hra are divided into hrai, the Kilrathi word for clans or septs. It is defined as one's family and vassals, and is the focus of one's honor. A hrai has usually more than 100 members, although some are very small, especially when they suffer heavy losses during times of war.[7]

Each Kilrathi clan had something to contribute to the Empire and were all ranked by nobility. There are eight Kilrathi noble clans whose members are part of the "Council of Eight", a political organ directly below the Emperor. Throughout history these clans have made a special effort to preserve the purity of their blood-lines.

(Italics indicate the members of the Council of Eight)

nar Kiranka
The ruling clan of the Kilrathi long before the start of the Kilrathi War. They were the first Kilrathi to develop space travel. Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka and his father Gilkarg nar Kiranka were notable leaders of this clan, as was the last Kilrathi Emperor. Following the destruction of Kilrah, they lost power over the Kilrathi Empire and all of their leaders died.
nar Caxki
A warrior clan noted for their brutal and tenacious attacks on human warships on the frontier of the Kilrathi Empire. They were primarily in control of the frontier worlds as a result. They seized control of the Empire and its fleets following the fall of the Kiranka.
nar Qarg
Also a warrior clan, but are more logical and analytic of their means of attack as opposed to the bloodthirsty nar Caxki. They are constantly at war with the nar Ragitagha.
nar Ragitagha
One of the largest clans and possibly the most egotistical in nature. They own and operate more space stations, colonies, and warships than any other clan. They are enemies of the nar Qarg.
nar Ki'ra
The noblest of the clans and among the most respected. They are experts of espionage and have an extensive knowledge of warfare. Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra was the clan's best-known member. They own the least territory in the Kilrathi Empire thanks to the ruling Kiranka clan.
nar Kurutak
One of the lowest clans who contribute little to the war effort.
nar Sutaghi
One of the stronger who own a number of inner worlds in the Kilrathi Empire.
nar Sikhag
The lowest and least-respected clan. Their lack of knowledge on warfare relegated them to police forces and are so negatively-viewed upon that no one bothers to fight them.
nar Hhallas
A branch of nar Ragitagha. It was almost exterminated during the War and its 2 survivors, Ralgha nar Hhallas and Kirha defected to the Confederation.
The T'Agg A'Bren clan are religious zealots who worship in the Cult of Sivar. N'Sharr and his squadron were rescued by Lieutenant Casey and Hawk in the T'lan Meth system.[8]


Snakeir-class Super Dreadnought.

The Kilrathi military consists of the Imperial Navy, Imperial Space Force, Imperial Marines, and Imperial Army each of these branches of the Kilrathi military was formed from Kilrathi clan's armed forces.

Kilrathi Ranks[]

This is a list of ranks in the Imperial space forces.

Kilrathi Rank Equivalent
Least claw crewman
Third claw senior crewman
Second claw petty officer
First claw chief petty officer
Fourth fang 2nd lieutenant
Third fang 1st lieutenant
Second fang captain
First fang major
Shintahr commander
Kal shintar colonel
Kalahn brigadier
Khantahr major general
Kal Khantahr lieutenant general
Kalralahr Admiral

It was those of the royal line who usually reached the top ranks. Those were tolarated if they ever openly questioned or attempted to circumvent a direct order. Only very few non-noble veterans, thanks to their life-long career and achievements, like Nargth, could become an Admiral.[9]

In order to prevent instinctive hunting behavior, endangering a strategic mission, orders to inferior warriors are specific, not open to interpretation (Junior officers were permitted to know nothing more than they absolutely needed for their functions.[10] ). Imagination and creativity are only encouraged in senior commanders and nobles. An adversary, once determining the force's mission goals, might manage to make them unachievable, throwing it to a complete chaos.[11]


Terrans estimate that the Empire consists of 300-500 inhabited systems.

Vega Sector[]

Epsilon Sector[]

Kilrah Sector[]

Trk'pahn Sector[]

Enigma Sector[]

Unknown sectors[]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, History of the Terran-Kilrathi War
  2. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 8
  3. William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, Chapter 4
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, Chapter 1
  5. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 1
  6. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 5
  7. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 10
  9. William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, Chapter 4
  10. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 5
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tactics
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Claw Marks
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Wing Commander I
  14. Action Stations, ch. 3