One of my Custom Races, the Arcturian Oligarchy:
A species of sentient Parrot native to Arcturas, they lacked the limbs to build a civilisation of their own, despite their greater than average brainpower. They survive through psychically controlling humanoid species, referred to as a "grasper" by an osmotic link through the claw of the Arcturan.
Humanoids were often abducted or purchased to provide a grasper for every Arcturan. In later years, experiemts were made with cloned and animatronic graspers, though results were mixed and tended to be harder to control than natural born humanoids. Upon the conquest of Earth, an acceptable compromise were found by using condemned criminals that the provisional government provided.
Once relatively peaceful, the Arcturans were happy to isolate themselves in their research institutes and colonial experimentation centres. However, the death of Emperor ThoughtHold Ovsa led to the more pragmatic Oligarchy under the reign of Emperor ThoughtBeam Alpha.Their vessels were designed to evoke dangerous tropical birds of prey: brightly coloured, sleek designs, with large solar collector wings.
The earliest military action of the Arcturans was the conquest of the peaceful Scoctran Econoforms, of whose unremarkable civilisation little record survives. The great distances between the stars required that any invasion fleet must be able to fend for itself, possibly for years.
The first of these miltary vessels was the Lapwing Fighter. Lightly armed, but fast, their main goal was to overwhelm the defences of fledgling species in anticipation of a ground invasion. The version seen here is a converted Lapwing-Chaff Fighter, with limited distance and improved weaponry, used mainly for local planetary defence, though a large fleet of these vessels was notable in their blockade of Torian space during the middle period of Arcturan history:
The second wave in their invasion strategy was the Hawk Troop Transport. Sacrificing capacity for speed, it was nevertheless instrumental in gaining the Arcturian Oligarchy its first foothold amongst the stars:
The most magnificent of Arcturian Starships, the Terrorsaur Wrecker Dreadnought was the vessel that expanded the Arcturian Oligarchy's borders to their widest extent. Capable of travelling anywhere in the galaxy in a matter of weeks, this vessel kept the peace by ghreatly outfighting any other vessel out there, as shown during the Snathi rebellion, where Terrorsaur Uilasta defeated an advanced fleet of 70 Snathi destroyers. It's imposing command section was wholly covered with its torpedo launchers, a deliberate design to inflict terror on its opponents, who would see only a shield and many cannons when approaching from the fore.
This vessel was also the first to be fitted with Thought Beam technology, whereby one Arcturian could amplify his brainwaves to the point where he could telekinetically control over a thousand graspers at once, freeing up the majority of the Arcturians to engage in their research, which is believed to have had a direct effect on their disapperance from the galaxy nearly a century ago.
The graspers left behind were eventually reabsorbed into human society, and were incredibly useful in understanding how to control these powerful starships that they had been left with, a process which gave the humans an upper hand in the ensuing chaos that was a result of the disappearence of the masters of half of this galaxy.