The Zaphragi Empire is based on the Kilrathi Empire from Wing Commander. They may not be feline however, in the Ancient Panther Figurine's dialogue it mentions that the statuette is based on the Kilrah, a feline predator from their homeworld. They seem to have taken up the name Kilrathi to be based on the Kilrah's strength and ferocity.
The Zaphragi are a humanoid marsupial race with a very low maturation time, and a strong desire to mate. Due to this fact, they are in a perpetual state of population expansion. They use up the resources of a planet in excess of fifty times that of a normal humanoid species. Eventually during the youth of their race, they used up most of the resources on their homeworld, they could no longer support their population. They began to slowly die of starvation, disease and overcrowding. It was then a strong military government took control and began the reckless Zaphragi expansionism. Before long, all the worlds that had contact with the Zaphragi were conquered and colonized, their native populations massacred. It took only a few years before they had settled on every habitable planet in their sector. Even with this newfound territory, the Zebra Armada realized that they needed even more planets to sustain their population which was already in the hundreds of billions, it was then they found the wormhole that led to the Terran sector of space.
There is an important distinction between the Zaphragi Empire and the Zebra Armada. The Zebra Armada is the military state that controls everything, Zaphragi is the name of the race.
In the first conflict between the Terrans and the Zaphragi, Earthforce fought back while the Lyceum Researchers found a way to seal the portal shut, stopping the Zaphragi from entering Terran space. The Guardian of the Lyceum was created in the aftermath of the Zaphragi war to prevent further incursions into Terran space by Zaphragi. Ever since, the Guardian has patrolled Serengeti Blockade, ensuring no one comes in or out of the Serengeti portal. There is however the Cult of Mastodonte, working against Earthforce they have been attempting to open the portal to the Zaphragi sector once more (they are assumed to be Terrans). They have been unable to open the portal or to destroy the Guardian however.
This is until the player arrives in Serengeti Blockade, greeted by Aristotle 3000. Aristotle 3000 informs the player of the Guardian of the Lyceum, that it is prophesied that one day a great warrior will defeat the Guardian and open the gate to the Serengeti. Unknown to the player, behind this gate lies a threat that is even more dangerous than the murderous UrQa. The player destroys the Guardian and opens the portal to the Zaphragi. Both Lyceum and the Zebra Armada swiftly prepare for war once more. Calling upon Earthforce and the Paxians, the Lyceum tasks the player with reconnaissance and killing the leaders of the Zebra Armada.
Aristotle 3000 may or may not have been a member of the Cult of Mastodonte, deceiving the player into unleashing the Zebra Armada from their lockdown. The Guardian of the Lyceum later emerges in the depths of Zaphragi Space to confront the player once more as the Corrupted Guardian, before the player meets the Emperor.
The Zaphragi prepare to invade Terran space once more, with the belief that their technology has progressed far quicker than that of the Terrans. When they meet much greater resistance than expected, as well as a counter attack from the Terrans the Zaphragi High Command reconsiders their strategy and moves to a more defensive approach, tightening the perimeter to prevent incursion into Zaphragi space, as well as ordering all transports to fly with escorts. Princess Ragitagha Kilrathi executes all members of the Zaphragi High Command, claiming they were working for the enemy and leading their own to their deaths. She informs the Zaphragi battle fleets to clear their space of enemy fleets and to resume the offensive into Terran space.
The lore of the Serengeti ends with the destruction of the Emperor's ship, the Zaphragi fleet is thrown in chaos and the gate is resealed.
Ancient Panther Figurine
The Zaphragi are a fecund species of marsupial humanoids. Due to their fast reproduction rates they have been engaged in warfare throughout much of the history of their race, ranging from bloody clashes between local clans to wars of conquest against other races.
Though it seems counterintuitive, this preoccupation with conflict and war has given rise to a rich artistic tradition. Tales of brave heroes fighting against overwhelming odds are sung across pages of Zaphragi literature and every clan keeps meticulous records of their ancestors' chivalrous deeds, usually in ballad form. In a society where life is often cut tragically short, accomplishing deeds worthy of the clan's memory is the goal that all promising young warriors strive for.
This particular figurine is one of the rare few Zaphragi works of art that exist in our universe, salvaged by an unnamed fighter pilot during the first Zaphragi War. The statuette itself depicts a Kilrah - the great feline predator native to their homeworld and revered for its strength and ferocity.
Imperial Seals are of Zaphragi origin. The one given to the player for killing Princess Ragitagha Kilrathi is described as having been preserved from the first Zaphragi war. The one given to the player for killing High Vizir nar Qarg is mentioned to have been retrieved by Marco Colombus during his exploration of Zaphragi space (Marco is a Paxian explorer). The Emperor's ship is also referred to as an Imperial Capital Ship in the mission The Emperor.
The Zaphragi sector includes a location referred to as The Jungle. This area is not as militarily strong as The Serengeti, possibly having a bigger focus on colonization and industry. When an unknown alien species arrives, the Jungle Zaphragi attempt to send a diplomatic envoy but are destroyed by the unknown aliens. The Zaphragi commence combat against this new threat but to no avail, they open a portal to Terran space and prepare to evacuate their industry units while their fighter wings combat the aliens. The Zaphragi High Command informs the fighter wings to avoid fighting Terrans unless attacked.
Herophilus 3000 discovers this new portal and requests research assistants to find him in LACS 1894. Here the player helps Herophilus 3000 explore Jungle and defeat the Zaphragi Jungle Armada before they can escape into Terran space. Unknown to the player, Herophilus 3000 has not reported LACS 1894 to Lyceum, Earthforce or the Paxians. After a transmission to Earthforce about a new title, LACS 1894 was investigated and Lyceum took over Herophilus 3000's research vessel Amerigo, informing the player that he had no authority and has been punished, and the player would be as well had they not single handedly disassembled the entire Jungle Armada.
Within Dark Jungle the player encounters the unknown alien force that the Zaphragi have been combating. The Aveksaka have been creating portals into Zaphragi space and destroying all Zaphragi ships they find.