The Protectors are a species of aliens native to the Lanoir Confederacy. Their home planet is merely 5 LY away from the central black hole of the Crown Jewel, and the species as well as the entire twin-star system are under special protection of the Confederacy. They appear to monitor the central black hole for any irregularities, and contact the central government heads via telepathy if any is found.
When the CHS Hawking left the Lanoo system, it was decided to study Cr-A*, the central black hole. A powerful telepathic signal detected by the Hawking's sensitive scientific instruments lead them to this system.
The species' actual name is unknown, as is the name of their planet, which was dubbed "Aythree" after it's catalogued designation. Due to the size of the Crown Jewel, the Kardashev Scale does not make sense, and so the Confederacy's classification system was used instead. For example, using the Scale, they would be a late Type-3 on the scale. However, since the Crown Jewel is the size of a large globular star cluster, they would be more akin to a mid-Type 2. Using the Confederacy's system however, puts them at a Level 5-a, the most powerful beings in the Jewel.
The Protectors themselves are protected by an extremely poisonous form of plantlife which resembles a purple fern, and it gives off an extremely potent neurotoxin. Any beings that are not supposed to be on the large island where the Protectors are located are killed within seconds by this toxin. The Hawking was given permission to study the planet however, and for this, the Protectors "turned off" the ferns. How this hapenned is not entirely understood. The leading theory was that the Protectors control every living thing on the planet.
The planetside Hawking crew found that the Protectors resembled mere crystalline formations which were hollow, and inside this shell was swirling energies. It is unknown whether the shell and energy, or the energy itself, constitutes a Protector. What is known however, is that these beings were immensely powerful. The entire population of the Protectors seemed to be at most 200, as most seemed ancient, and it is unknown wether or not they reproduce.
Communication was attempted, but was impossible for Human-Protector communication, but the Protectors themselves seemed to know exactly why the planetside crew was there, their mission, and seemed to flash vibrant colors when communicating amongst themselves. Whatever method they used was undetectable.
They did, however, seem to be benevolent, and their world's proximity to Cr-A* offered a vital clue as to what they were doing here. A normal surge caused by the black hole swallowing a star seemed to put them on alert, and the internal energies contained within their shells seemed to slow to a crawl. At the same time, the CHS Hawking detected a powerful signal, not unlike the one that brought the ship here. It seemed to be a false alarm however, as soon the signal stopped and the Protectors resumed their usual appearance.
Flora and Fauna
The only flora detected on the planet were the aformentioned "Neuroferns", but the diversity in their size across the planet was notable. Entire forest ecosystems were made up of different sizes of these ferns, from huge specimens soaring upwards of 50 meters, to clumps of tiny
specimens that more resemble mosses. Analysis indicated that these ferns respond to telepathic signals, confirming that the Protectors control these plants.
Questions arose about the lack of any other flora planetside. Why were these ferns the only form of plantlife? Maybe the neurotoxin given off by them killed all other plantlife on the planet? An answer came in the form of the oceans on the planet. While the flora was severely lacking above sea level, under the waves was a different story altogether, since the neurotoxin could not penetrate the ocean surface. Entire ecosystems existed under the waves, with thousands of plant species and millions of animal species, however none of these had achieved sentience, most likely due do the influence of the Protectors. Some had achieved pack hunting, but that was the most advanced the Hawking away team found.
Conclusion and Departure
While a dissapointment from a diversity standpoint, The Protectors themselves were notable due to their stewardship of the entire Crown Jewel, and perhaps it was they that gave the suggestion to implement special rules for the Lanoir Confederacy to keep with that goal.