Pilgrims were the first human space explorers and settlers that suffered Space Syndrome Mutation. Those pioneers defied the odds and embraced space, thus developing a flawless sense of direction, a unique trait which distanced them from the rest of humanity, and became hereditary among themselves.
This sense could be described as feeling the quasar and black hole magnetic fields, and navigating space-time itself. A Pilgrim could instinctively perform billions of calculations each second, a process which was artificially recreated as the NAVCOM A.I..
This lifestyle as well as their special trait made the Pilgrims lose their touch with their heritage. Some were so arrogant that saw themselves superior to humans and attempted to follow their "destiny" away from humanity. Becoming radical religious separatists, they believed to be elect with the divine right to live beyond the Sol system.
Frotur is the honorific used for Ivar Chu McDaniel. A protur is the title of the Pilgrim elect's most powerful leader, but can also be used for other male members to each other. A female is known as a sostur.
Not all pilgrims mutations are the same, and not all pilgrims have the same powers. The powers manifest in different ways.
Types of PilgrimsEdit
Some say Pilgrims evolved from savants; There were zappers who were experts at electrical systems; chipheads, able to engineer flawless hardware designs; toolkits who could fix things with whatever happened to be lying around; crunchers who could perform complex mathematical calculations without computers; and rabbitfoots who supposedly brought good luck to missions. There are hackers who strong sense of computers (perhaps a mix of chiphead and zappers). There are telepathics and many who have extrasensory perception. Then there are the telekinetics, and the hypersensory and extrakinetics. Extrakinetics abilities similar to tekekinesis, telepathy, and ESP, but different in how the experience it, and feel objects around them. It can be deadly if they want it to be. Touching inanimate objects gives persons the shakes, and killing someone with it may leave them dead inside. Extrakinetics can use graviton weapons such as extrakinetic strength.
From there, other types of abilities emerged, and one in particular is the most interesting to us: the compass. Pilgrims with a flawless sense of direction. They were subcategorized into the visionary, the explorer, and the navigator.
Navigators are able to jump through dangerous and unstable gravity wells from quasars, pulsars, and blackholes. Christopher Blair is a navigator.
Visionaries can determine which systems would prove most valuable for human expansion. Visionaries can throw their minds across the galaxy, seek out new systems, and analyze their composition. One doesn't even need to send a ship out if you have a visionary on your team. James Taggart is a visionary. Taggart's abilities skills are pretty limited, and he had been wrong on more than one occasion.
Explorers are able to navigate through uncharted regions. Most of the Pilgrim holo-cartography that exists was created by explorers. Some argue that of all three subcategories, explorers are the most powerful. Amity Aristee was an explorer.
Pairs arre two pilgrims with deep connection to each other.
Most half-breeds have no abilities, and powers are rarely passed down through them. Christopher Blair was a special case as he developed latent ability over time (perhaps due to the strong abilities of his mother).
The Carava of Faith are a fundamentalist sect that take a very strong literal translation of the Book of Ivar Chu McDaniel. The men distinctive mushroom-like pageboy haircuts. It had been an important symbol of virility among male Caravans for at least a century. They spoke with a unique syntax and formal deportment. Their intepretations made the protur as nervous as it did the Confederation's joint chiefs.
The Pilgrims of Wickatti of McDaniel's World submit themselves to a number of sundry physical "corrections" to be pleasing to their spouses. Women enlarged their breasts, lightened their skin, bound their feet, starved themselves, and pierced their bodies according to their spouse’s whims; men engaged in a number of painful piercing and stretching techniques as well as making “enhancements” to their hair, skin, eyes, and muscles.
The Pilgrims saw their beginnings in the teachings of Ivar Chu McDaniel during the quarantinization of Earth. McDaniel advocated that it was their sacred duty to abandon the Sol system and emigrate to the outer Universe. His teachings were so popular that the Outer Planets Policy Council was controled by McDanielists, the first organized effort to colonize other star systems with humans.
McDaniel's vision was made possible with the advent of the Morvan Drive; although the first colonization attempt (with McDaniel himself) to Sirius failed, subsequent efforts were surprisingly successful reaching a success rate of 99%. At least few of McDaniel's followers were Compass Savants. McDanielists were openly interested in recruiting these "Graced" individuals and encouraged them to intermarry and procreate. Rumors begun that the Pilgrims originated the method of gene-screening. It was thanks to the Compasses that the Pilgrims gradually came to believe that they were "graced" by the universe, destined to expand to space.
Migrations started in 2311 with destinations (and subsequent self-sustaining settlements) in the local Sol Sector such as Alpha and Proxima Centauri, Cygnus and Sirius. "Pilgrims" was the name of those colonists, as were called by the McDanielists. 
In 2325 they founded the Pilgrim Alliance on Beacon and had a fleet larger than any commercial firm. Around that time regular trade routes were being established between Titan and the Centauri colonies. Occasionally a semicovert trading mission from Sirius or Alpha Centauri would arrive at Mars or Titan, but little news would be exchanged. By 2400 all McDanielists had abandoned the Sol system and left populations less than a quarter of what they were a century before.
By 2450 Pilgrims established the administrative center of the Pilgrim Alliance on Beacon, with the spiritual authority headquartered on McDaniel's World. From there, they started to explore the Vega Sector. Around that time Earth recovered from the ecocatastrophe and the quarantine was lifted. The Pilgrims were alerted when humans started to travel around their system and sent an armed sloship over Luna to negotiate with their leaders resulting to the Treaty of Luna.
By 2588 the Alliance had colonies in 12 systems.
After some years of tension, in 2615 a militant faction seized political and religious control of the Alliance. Considering blasphemous for Terrans to leave their system, not to mention share their space with them, the Alliance decided to attack the Port of Titan. However the Confed was stronger than expected. Pilgrims ignored an offer of a new round of negotiations.
The Battle of Titan in 2653 was the beginning of a civil war. The conflict known as the Pilgrim War resulted to the end of the Alliance. Pilgrims began an aggressive guerrilla campaign into Confed space, attacking colonies and disrupting shipping. More remote colonies suffered offensive, where Confeds were placed under harsh and oppressive conditions with slave labor and mass executions. The Pilgrims considered the Confed weak, because of its defensive policy.
The Confed however was preparing a coordinated invasion. The Grand Fleet surprised and conquered Centauri, Sirius, Cygnus, Frase and Bradshaw. Desperate, the Pilgrims staged an all-or-nothing defense of Peron until they were overwhelmed by a new strike force: the Confed joint fleets jumped into Beacon system and the Pilgrims offered their surrender.
After the warEdit
Standing down their military and dissolving the Alliance government, they asked in return guarantees of the safety of their civilians, and certain limited rights to autonomy for McDaniel's World and other non-military planets. After six weeks of negotiations, peace accords were signed at Cygnus on 2635. The Pilgrims were all but annihilated, and all extant Pilgrim worlds were brought into the Confederation as protectorate colonies. The religious center ordered all its followers to refrain from any space travel, as a collective penance for losing the war. Survivors were integrated into Confed society along with their systems; 3 systems and 5 colonial enclaves maintained some limited autonomy, remaining subject to CSF observation and inspection against renewed military activity, but otherwise with minimal contact with the Confed.
By the time of the Terran-Kilrathi War the Pilgrims were a dying race. Although 2 systems were conquered by the Kilrathi and suffer incursion, they maintained a neutrality and applied for conscentious objector status during the conflict. A portion of them however, bitter by the Confed, allied with the Kilrathi and acted as spies and saboteurs. By 2654 some Confeds would be distrustful to them and accused them for sabotage against the Confed.
Pilgrims led by Carver Tsu III, William Wilson, and Amity Aristee attempt to start a coalition between Pilgrims and Kilrathi with the purpose of increasing hostilities between all sides to either gain full independence, regain the star systems taken from them, get revenge for losing the Pilgrim War, and ultimately draw Ivar Chu McDaniel back to the Milky Way to save the Pilgrims from Terran and Kilrathi genocidal retaliation. Ivar Chu returns with advanced alien technology and begins disabling the fleets on both sides, and taking any Pilgrims who choose to back with them.
By 2701; Very few pilgrims exist by the 2700s. Those that remain began trying to revive the McDanielist faith.
- How few remain! Did you skip Ivar Chu’s departure? Then contact firstname.lastname@example.org- serve for a revival of McDanielist Faith.
This may have reopened hostilities between Pilgrims and Terrans alike.
At some point the alien Pilgrims return to the Milky Way from Andromeda or elsewhere and begin invading or attacking Earth. While they bring the lost Christopher Blair back with them the invasion is not his fault.
Pilgrims are largley known for their Hopper Drive technology. Ivar Chu McDaniel and his those who left for Sirius were assisted by a mysterious alien race (which they are not willing to discuss). The technology made of thought, also has resembalance to sea creatures. The Exodia Chu resembles a cetacean. Rumors abound if there is any connection to the Nephilim.
Behind the scenesEdit
According to the developers of Arena:
- "2525" - If man is still alive...! I will note that most of the numbers here are made up to a useless extent. The settled dates are interesting, though, and they attempt to 'unwrench' some of the oddities the Wing Commander movie material added to the founding of the Confederation. In short: yes, the Pilgrims had a stranglehold on Sol and Vega... but humans were settling the rest of the galaxy anyway.
- "gold rush" - Another attempt to insist that the galaxy was colonized in ways before and aside from the incidents involving the Pilgrims in the movie's history.
- "F-10 Merlin: Glory over Peron" - The Merlin was the class of fighter Blair's father flew at Peron, during the Pilgrim War... so this is one of those hated movie references. I mostly included it to give an 'F' designation to an early design - those debating the meaning of the Confederation's contradictory designation systems would do well to start here.
- I would write entries only for individual projects. No sneaking in an extra event to explain so-and-so discontinuity otherwise unrelated to the timeline (the exception being the Pilgrim War, which was a necessary bullet point given the section's conceit). -Concerning the Arena timeline.
- "2631-2635" - My addition. The aforementioned Pilgrim War; it is written to parallel the Victory Streak 'buildup to the Kilrathi War' paragraph and also to take importance away from the Pilgrims in general.
- "2654.074" - My addition, describes the Wing Commander movie.
- "2654.079" - My addition, describes Pilgrim Stars.
- "2654.130" - My addition, describes Pilgrim Truth. I wanted to make the unpublished novels 'canon'...
- "How few remain!" - Here's our nod to the Piglrims from the Wing Commander movie, which are (per the elaborate history in the Confederation Handbook) formally the McDanielite church. "How Few Remain" is an alternate history novel from a few years back - I wish the phrase came from somewhere great, because it evokes a great sense of generation-fading whistfullness.
- "Ivar Chu" - Ivar Chu McDaniel was the father of Pilgrim theology and the part of the first group to travel to another plane of existence.
- "McDanielist" - I already explained this, but I just wanted to point out how clever Chris McCubbin and friends were in creating the background in the first place. Their entire basis for the Pilgrim religion comes from the fact that without planning anything of the sort intentionally the Wing Commander Prophecy map makers included 'McDaniel's World' on their star map placed near several 'religious sounding' system names (things like 'Faith'). The whole Pilgrim backstory flows from making that connection...
- "email@example.com" - Because they wear distinctive Pilgrim crosses (and so do I!). I can't say for sure what the reserve is - did the Pilgrims leave behind agents to convert future humans or is this a group that has formed in the years since 'Pilgrim Truth'?
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wing Commander film
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, History of the Pilgrim War
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, A Theory on the Origin and History of Extraordinary Navigational Powers
- ↑ Pilgrim Truth, pg