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Space: Above and Beyond

Updated 30 Jan 2004

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The A.I.s

The Chigs


Humans call them "Chigs." No human truly knows what they call themselves, but it served the war effort well to demonize the aliens with a slur, one that conjures up images of insect pests. When they first appear in Space: Above and Beyond, the Chigs are humanoid in form and encased entirely in armor, a faceless, evil presence we can neither see nor understand. Our reaction to them is simple: they are evil and must be destroyed.

The first encounter with them was catastrophic. They attacked the Tellus and Vesta colonies in the night, without provocation, without warning. The colonists had no chance. The attack sparked the Chig War, and before humankind was fully prepared, the Chigs were bearing down on the Solar System. They had routed Earth's finest combat squadron -- The Angry Angels -- and were preparing to attack humanity's home world.

The enemy seems to know much about humans. It appears that the Chigs has been watching humankind for a long time, perhaps from the television and radio signals beamed into space for over 100 years. In one episode, the 58th encounters one such signal. Perhaps the Chigs have visited Earth in prehistory. In another episode, McQueen suggests that the Chigs may already know an early Native American language that is being used as code, perhaps because they gave the Navajo the language. They also know something about English. On the special fighter craft piloted by "Chiggie" von Richtoven, we see the words "Abandon All Hope" and a crudely painted human skull.

It is from an A.I. that we hear that the Chigs have been watching Earth for an incredibly long time. These rebel A.I.s who have been in league with the Chigs, helping them, educating them about Earth cultures and beliefs. All that the humans know is that Chigs fear the dead…even their own dead.

As the series progresses, we see more into the Chigs themselves. Their technology is superior to human technology in some ways, comparable or even less advanced in others. They are disciplined and even predictable in their combat tactics. They have loved ones dear to them, carrying mementos close to them. We catch sight of one as it takes a moment to admire a great soaring bird in the sky. They spawn on a single moon within their home system, a moon that is sacred to them. We finally see them without their armor environment suits; we see that they are indeed humanoid.

But the biggest revelation comes when a Chig ambassador seeks to negotiate a cease-fire. The ambassador claims that his kind and humankind came from the same celestial substance. He also reveals that Aerotech had knowledge about the region around their sacred place, and in that region was Tellus and Vesta. The Chigs could never allow aliens to settle in that region and all attempts to warn off the Aerotech advance teams had come to naught. The Chigs did what they must to protect their legacy and their future.

Select an image to enlarge.


Morgan and Wong talk about Chigs Morgan and Wong talk about Chigs The 58th opens a Chig environment suit The 58th opens a Chig environment suit
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Space: Above and Beyond is Copyright and TM, 1995, Hard Eight Pictures.

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