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Higher-Tech Species

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Highly refined aesthetics, check. Mastery of Pure Energy, check. Psychic Powers, check. Endless contempt for humanity slowly giving way to respect? Check.

In science fiction settings with a myriad of alien races, there is usually one race that possesses technology more advanced than the other species. They have been in space for thousands of years longer than the other races, and show it. However, they aren't Sufficiently Advanced Aliens (though they might use Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology, depending on their sense of aesthetics). They are a Technologically Advanced Foe in a setting where other species are already fairly technologically advanced. Despite being thousands of years ahead, these guys are merely "much more advanced", but have not reached the godlike levels implied by that trope.

They are not omniscient either, but they consider themselves knowing enough to be Older and Wiser than everyone else. Their attitude towards other races may range from patronizing to hostile as less developed species are considered naive children at best and barbaric savages at worst. This attitude is at least partly justified. Having experienced a long, varied and, by extension, likely much more violent history than everyone else, they have now "matured" out of petty concerns that drive the expansion and conflict of less established civilizations. However, as a tradeoff, they usually become a monolithic and non-diverse (even by fictional standards) society stuck in cultural stasis and occasionally centering their whole existence around a single dogma.

While they may be an overarching force of good or evil overshadowing the entire plot, if they ever take center stage, their supremacy will be often called into question so that they will be proven Not So Invincible After All.

This often sets the plot for a Stock Aesop. There are still many lessons they can learn from the "younger races", and they are generally reluctant to do so due to being a Proud Warrior Race, Proud Scholar Race, Proud Merchant Race or any other example of arrogance. In order to make them rethink their disposition, their mold is often broken over the course of the plot — either by our protagonists, or by having them encounter a problem they haven't met before, and where their experience fails, they are forced to rely on unconventional tactics and forge an alliance with those they have dismissed previously.

Sometimes, however, they fail to listen, in which case their tradition, lack of ability or desire to progress causes them to go into a period of decline; having once ruled a mighty empire, they would only be found on a handful of worlds and it is increasingly rare to even meet one. Despite this, even if they would rather remain obscure and reclusive, the fact that they have technology far in advance of everyone else causes the rest of galactic society to treat them with kid gloves.

Eventually, they can become fully extinct or, having no more interest in the universe's affairs, Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Over the eons, they become shrouded in mystery, only referred to in hushed tones as the Precursors. Their legacy, however, lives on in the form of their relics and technology, up for grabs even many millennia later. Humanity and other species that follow in their wake occasionally find these relics, collect and study them and sometimes use them without fully understanding them, occasionally unleashing the best and worst of their Lost Technology upon the universe once again.

A Justified Trope, in that probability, says (given the age of the universe as compared to the age of the human race) that some alien races we might eventually encounter would likely be much older and thus much more technologically advanced than we are. Obviously justified if the aliens are coming to Earth (well, most of the time), as they have the technology to cross the galaxy to meet us, and it wasn't the other way round.

Often, the elder aliens will play a similar role to that of elves in fantasy works, and not infrequently their esthetic also borrows from elven imagery. Compare Our Elves Are Different.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The manga version of Chrono Crusade has a borderline example: the Demons are actually aliens whose starship crashed into the ocean and sank. They're not all-powerful, but they're powerful enough that some humans believe they must be supernatural beings.
  • Daltanious: Both Helios and Zaal have made such great breakthroughs in technology that they can turn ordinary animals into mechanical monsters. They can also travel through space on a whim, track down people a planet away, and create Super Robots. Unfortunately, at the start of the story, Helios has fallen and the evil Zaal Empire has already conquered Earth.
  • Robot Romance Trilogy:
    • Voltes V: Boazanian technology can teleport objects, imitate voices, and turn animals into massive, ruthless beasts. They also have a vicious military that has a reputation of conquering planets all over the galaxy. Not to mention, the titular robot was also created by a Boazanian. Despite this, the Planet's aesthetics are taken from 17th-Century France.
    • Daimos: Planet Baam is Ancient Rome IN SPACE!, complete with large Robeasts, kinetic guns and multipurpose military spaceships.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Universe, both the Kree and the Skrulls count as this, but the most glaring example is probably the Shi'ar, who stand head and shoulders above pretty much all of the known alien races technologically.
  • In the DC Universe, there are the Daxamites (and their colonial forefathers, the Kryptonians), the Thanagarians, the Dominators, the Psions, and the Manhunters. The extreme example is the Coluans (who come very close to being Sufficiently Advanced Aliens), the race to which Legion of Super-Heroes member Braniac 5 belongs.
    • The New Gods are a race who are both gods and aliens, inhabiting the twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips, and they are technically speaking a Higher Tech species as they possess extremely advanced technology that puts them above most other races, notably the Mother Boxes (personal computers that can do almost anything) and Boom Tubes (portals that can transport someone almost anywhere in the universe). This particularly comes into play when one considers that most of them are physically inferior to other superpower races and individuals (such as Superman) despite, again, literally being Physical Gods, so it's really their technology that puts them near the top of the galactic food chain.
  • In Polish comic book series Lil and Put the fairies, of all possible species, are presented as being tech-obsessed and ahead of their time to the point they reference cellphones, while the rest of the land is still a medieval fantasy setting.
  • In Valérian, most of the time humans are the Higher-Tech Species with their mastery of space/time travel. Their Terran Empire is expansionist and influences aliens that have been contacted by them. This is most prominent in Empire of a Thousand Worlds, where a lost colony ship using centuries-old technology was able to effectively take over a starfaring empire by using their superior science as leverage for manipulation.
  • In the French Comic Book adaptation of The Odyssey, Ulysses, the gods are bored aliens watching over everyone and all of the monsters Ulysses and his crew face are either their technology or experiments.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Tavi's Blood And Fire, the Covenant fills this role. It is explained that the Covenant have only failed to conquer the Citadel races due to the Citadel possessing vastly superior numbers. The Forerunners (Protheans) and Reapers will likely be the Higher-Tech Species to them in turn.

  • The eponymous Predators have more advanced technology than any of the humans they encounter. In AVP: Alien vs. Predator it is even revealed that they were Ancient Astronauts worshipped by Aztecs and the Khmer. It should be noted, however, that their technology doesn't seem to have advanced much in 10,000 years.
    • Perhaps either they became really complacent with the state of their technology (if everyone is off hunting then who does the R&D?) or they long ago hit physical limits that cannot be surpassed.
    • One of the Expanded Universe books says that they got their technology from failed alien invaders and don't understand it well enough to do more than replicate it.
    • On the other hand, we only see hunters of their civilization. The equipment of a modern hunter hasn't changed all that much in a hundred years, as is even less likely to change significantly in the future.
  • The alien invaders of Battle: Los Angeles are advanced enough to reach Earth and field fleets of unmanned attack drones in the air while their infantry has access to man-portable Macross Missile Massacres but they're not so advanced that they don't need infantry to conquer Earth. Infantry who communicate with Hand Signals and are no less squishy than humans, for that matter; the human Marines only have trouble taking down enemy soldiers because their vital organs aren't spread out through the upper body like with a human target, not because of superior armor.
  • The Prawns in District 9 have fantastic and powerful technology, but that doesn't make them any less susceptible to being thrown into a slum by humans since most of them are individually less intelligent than humans. (They're a Hive Mind race and all of their leaders are dead for some reason.)

  • Peter F. Hamilton has two examples of races who are just a hair's breadth away from becoming Sufficiently Advanced Aliens:
    • The Raiel in Commonwealth Saga and Void Trilogy are this. They've designated themselves as safekeepers of the Milky Way, and have the galactic center surrounded by Defense Field stations (spherical pseudomaterial devices the size of Jovian planets) to defend against Void expansions; they can generate completely impregnable forcefields, and turn entire planets and stars into energy, as well as manipulate time and a host of other things. Also, each Raiel has the brainpower to match a 24th-century supercomputer easy.
    • The Kiint in his The Night's Dawn Trilogy have entire galactic clusters under oversight (to the point where they can track and observe single individuals across many galactic radii), and work from a home system consisting of a necklace of inhabited planets sharing the same orbit. Compared to that, intergalactic teleportation at a moment's notice, inertial cancellation, Psychic Powers, Nanomachines, travel into other dimensions and flying cities come off as trinkets. Space travel is boring for them.
  • The so-called tianlong in Junction Point are this to every other species within the 1000 ly bubble of space they've explored. They have Brain Uploading, and are essentially an entire species of transhumans (or transtianlong). They have starships capable of at least 100g's of acceleration, and have FTL in the form of Lorentzian wormholes.
  • The aliens from Contact are this. They are capable of amazing things, but admit to having definite limits on their technological capabilities. (They didn't create the interstellar conduits that took Elenore Arroway to another planet, for example... they just found them and use them.) This was carried over to the film.
  • The "Dawnman Planet" in the Mack Reynolds novel of the same name.
  • From Animorphs:
    • The Andalites have zero-space travel and morphing technology, as well as fierce laws against sharing their tech with aliens and a condescending, infantizing attitude toward "less advanced" races, which is all of them.
    • The Yeerks claim to be this in comparison to other races, though their tech is almost entirely stolen from Andalites or subjugated races.
    • The Chee are a race of robots built by the Pemalites, who themselves were probably the most advanced species in the 'verse.
    • And the Arn, who created the Hork-Bajir through genetic engineering in response to a climate catastrophe.
    • The Skrit Na are, like the Yeerks, an aversion, preferring to steal and barter with any alien tech they find, rather than attempting to understand it or create their own, instead favoring their distinctive Flying Saucer spacecraft and abducting stray individuals as slaves.
    • The tiny, arrogant and insane Helmacrons, with their shrink ray. It surprises everyone everyone just how competent they are - they manage to track down the Animorphs in a few hours, something the Yeerks don't manage in the entire series.
  • Larry Niven's Known Space series:
    • The Puppeteers had been a space-faring race for close to a hundred thousand years by the time mankind landed on Earth's moon.
    • The Pak, who by their basic nature and superior intelligence, tend to develop and manipulate new technologies as easily as other beings breathe.
    • The Outsiders, who fulfill this trope for the previously-mentioned Puppeteers. These extremely advanced aliens sell technology and information but rarely intervene otherwise.
  • Rendezvous with Rama/Rama II/The Rama series: Built the Rama vessels in the first place. The vessels have functioning domiciles for every species, complete to fit their food and physiological requirements. Each vessel has an interface through which the tenants can order materials and food, and a delivery system of chutes. The aliens themselves are only met in book 3, when one of them reveals itself to Nicole, in the form of an eagle-headed humanoid, and explains the purpose of the Rama ships.
  • The Inhibitors in Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds have about a billion years headstart on humanity, and it shows. Their technology makes human nanotech look crude by comparison, and one of their tricks is to convert stars into flamethrower-esque weapons to destroy nearby planets.
  • Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance has:
    • The Sholans and their Alliance partners who readily exemplify this trope.
    • The Cabbarans and the Telaxaudin, who comprise the Camarilla, push this trope quite a long ways. To the point of pulling off the occasional Sufficiently Advanced Aliens routine.
  • In Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga, the Heechee (so named by the humans; their name for themselves is never revealed) explored pretty much nearly the entire Milky Way galaxy thousands of years before humans reached space, and then fled into hiding. They left behind all sorts of high-tech gizmos, including entire fleets of starships just waiting for humans to stumble across, figure out, and use themselves.
  • In Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence.
    • The eponymous aliens build things that involve ripping apart galaxies and have been known to leave construction materials that could destroy planets just laying around abandoned worlds. Their secret: they invented time travel and then founded their own civilization at the very beginning of time to get a head start on everyone else. It's implied they may even be several iterations of this process in, and hence several times the age of the universe. They would easily be Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, save only for the fact that their artifacts and tools are still identifiable as such and can be operated by any lesser species lucky enough to acquire one. None of the people in-universe really know for sure what the Xeelee are. But Exultant ultimately reveals that the Xeelee are self-aware space-time constructs that have existed since very first moments after the Big Bang, pushing them well into Sufficiently Advanced Aliens territory.
    • In later stories, Humanity itself, as well as our sometimes-allies the Silver Ghosts, are this to everyone but the Xeelee. Unfortunately, we're just a titch psychotic about that silver medal. To put in perspective the gap between them, humanity at one point controls multiple galaxies and has a superweapon that literally uses neutron stars as ammunition. They use this in an assault on the Xeelee and the Xeelee's response can be summed up as "Cut that out, humanity. We're a little busy right now."
  • The Humanx Commonwealth universe, by Alan Dean Foster, is littered with the ruins of ancient civilizations, including many who reached levels of technology as great or greater than that of the eponymous Commonwealth itself. The two most prominent of these, the Tar-Aiym and Hur'rikku, were far more advanced than humanity, building galaxy-spanning civilizations and incredibly powerful weapons. Unfortunately, they met each other and fought a war, which escalated to the point of mutual annihilation. Five hundred thousand years later, some of their technology (and even a single, living Tar-Aiym) remains operable, providing Macguffins for numerous novels. There was an even more powerful race, the Xunca, who lived a billion years ago, but they fall into the Sufficiently Advanced Alien camp.
  • In Andrey Livadniy's The History of the Galaxy novels, all alien races are this. The series takes place between the 23rd and the 39th centuries. Humanity makes tremendous discoveries and colonizes hundreds of worlds. Then they discover aliens, whose civilizations reached their peak 3 million years ago, including a vast Portal Network, tiny computers/data storage capable of holding a fully-functioning personality, gravity-bending generators capable of hiding an entire star cluster, the cure for aging, and a Dyson Sphere. They haven't made much progress since then (two of the races were enslaved by a third, who abandoned all scientific pursuits after that). Later, humanity discovers two other races who have been around for billions of years, and whose technology still baffles human scientists. On the other hand, humans have made strides in areas mostly ignored by other races, such as cybernetics, AI, and weapons, mostly for the purposes of warfare. So when the slaver race finds out about humanity, instead of getting its slaves to build better ships and weapons, they just buy them online anonymously (no, this is not a joke). Also, only one alien race besides humanity develops a hyperdrive. All others use Portal Networks, although they are quite happy to borrow the technology from humans.
  • Out of the Dark features aliens with technology carefully calibrated to be just advanced enough to avert a Curb-Stomp Battle—and permit humanity to show what determined and gallant warriors we are—while still ensuring the eventual outcome will not be in our favor, necessitating the Deus ex Machina in the Twist Ending.
    • A better explanation: Due to a quirk of human psychology, we're the only species that has ever reached our current tech level without world peace and thus to invent things like modern stealth fighters. They're far higher tech but are just kitted out for the wrong war and could dominate us if they weren't. They still hold the top of the gravity well and have better bioweapons and cyber-warfare tech.
  • The Consu in the Old Man's War series. A species of religious radicals who attack colonies as part of their rituals and survive the enmity of every other race because they have a Force Field around their extrasolar system. They frequently give other races some advanced technology and create entire species just to watch the fireworks. Nobody understands why.
  • The Seizers fit this role in Starsnatcher. Humanity is not even capable of interstellar travel yet and stuck at a tech level only slightly above the present day. The Seizers, meanwhile, have achieved a post-scarcity economy, live in massive arcologies, can genetically engineer themselves to the point of immortality, and construct antimatter spaceships well-suited for interstellar exploration. However, they are still vastly eclipsed by the various Sufficiently Advanced Aliens in the setting, as they just can't comprehend how wormholes work. Moreover, as their issues with luddism show, they are far from having reached enlightenment. Nonetheless, they are clearly humanity's arrogant elders and by the end of the story, they make contact with Earth and uplift humans to their level.
  • The incomprehensible methane breathing knnn are this to the other spacefaring species (including humanity) in the Chanur Novels, at least in regards to starship technology. Specifically, the knnn's starships can use Hyperspace Lanes which are nonnviable to any other species, can change direction while travelling through Hyperspace, can pull non-hyperspace accelerations which would tear apart the ships (and smush the passengers) of any other species that tried them, and can synchronously enter hyperspace in groups, the last of which lets them drag unwilling starships along with them through hyperspace. Although they are technically a member of the seven species Compact, they regularly violate Compact laws, and there's nothing the other species can do about it.
  • In Jack McDevitt's Academy novels (aka the Priscilla Hutchins series), the Monument-Makers are a race that at their peak were noticeably more advanced than mankind, and far more advanced than any other species around. They left the monuments for which they're named on worlds all around the local part of the galaxy, including the one on Saturn's moon Iapetus, which was the first evidence we found that other starfaring races existed, but their civilization eventually collapsed, and they went extinct thousands of years ago.
  • Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark series has the Lo'ona Aeo, a race of Technical Pacifist Space Elves who are psychologically incapable of being in the same room as an alien. Their non-violent nature also means that their territory is protected by Defenders, who are hired mercenaries from their currently-chosen race. They alternate the race of the Defenders every few centuries to avoid complacency. As a result, there's plenty of bad blood between former Defenders and current ones. The Lo'ona Aeo are extremely advanced, compared to all known races. They are a post-scarcity society, thanks to their technology that can take a small object and increase its size (and mass), which means a small lump of a valuable mineral suddenly becomes a huge pile (essentially, a Matter Replicator). They do trade technology with other races but only technology designed in such a way as to be impossible to reverse-engineer. Any piece of tech they have traded can be shut down remotely by them. The Lo'ona Aeo themselves have abandoned planetary surfaces for orbital astroids (not a typo), which are giant space habitats housing an extended family and tailored to their comfort. The ships of their Defenders feature fully-functional AIs and fire cannonballs, which somehow ignore enemy shields. In order to trade with others, they have created a Slave Race of bio-robots called Servs (who themselves can't fight). The Lo'ona Aeo are also the only ones who know how to access the ancient Portal Network built by the Daskins.
  • Inverted in Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series. The Grik and the Lemurians from a parallel world have very primitive tech by World War II (from which the protagonists come) standards. Even the outdated World War I-era destroyer USS Walker is hyper-advanced to the Grik and the Lemurians, not to mention the refitted Japanese battlecruiser Amagi. Even earlier, it's revealed that the three-masted ships used by the Grik were reverse-engineered from a British East Indiaman that crossed over centuries earlier. Before that, the Grik only had small rafts that couldn't get far from their native East Africa (and even those were reverse-engineered from the Lemurians). The Lemurians haven't really advanced much since they built their carrier-sized wooden Home-ships, which they used to flee their native Madagascar when the Grik came. Later books reveal the existence of the New British Empire and the Holy Dominion, founded by descendants of Brits and Spaniards, respectively, who crossed over centuries ago, which are at the Industrial Revolution level and use hybrid steam/sail ships.
    • At the end of the seventh book, the Republic of Real People is discovered in South Africa, made up of Lemurians and descendants of various groups of humans who periodically crossed over going back at least 1000 years (and Half-Human Hybrids resulting from unions of the two). They are currently at World War I-level level of technology thanks to a German ship arriving full of British prisoners.
    • The most advanced people in this setting are the League of Tripoli, who come from a different world, where fascist France, Spain, Italy, and Germany are at war with Britain, Russia (not USSR), and US. They have powerful ships, subs, and airplanes.
  • Similar to the above Destroyermen example, Pat Kelleher's No Man's World trilogy has a WWI British army unit in the trenches as the most advanced species on the alien world they were transported to. The other intelligent races are a bunch of cavemen and Insectoid Aliens who are only slightly more advanced (however these guys do have a crude Lightning Gun that they derived from their own biology).
  • Humans again in Fuzzy Nation, where the other aliens' humanity has encountered are pretty much still working at a tribal scale. The result is a dynamic very much like European colonialism, except that it's a system set up specifically to prevent those kinds of abuses.
  • In The Stars Are Cold Toys, humanity's level of technology isn't much higher than now, except Earth has hundreds of space shuttles ferrying cargo to and from alien worlds using a uniquely human mode of FTL that kills any alien, who tries to use it. The Strong races of the Conclave are significantly more advanced than us, and many of the older Weak races are too, at least in some respects. The Alari are a Weak race, but they serve as the Conclave's muscle and have the most powerful fleets. Then several humans are informed that one of the largest Alari fleets has encountered a single scout ship of a previously-unknown race. The tiny ship was successfully captured... after obliterating two-thirds of the Alari fleet. However, the Alari were specifically trying to capture the unknown ship rather than destroy it, so they avoided using their main weaponry. Eventually, the protagonist learns that this new race (dubbed Geometers) is genetically identical to humans. They also have no warships... but their scout ships (they also have significantly larger motherships, bigger than anything the Conclave has) have many tools that can easily double as incredibly powerful weapons. Then it's revealed that the entire Geometer race has run away from something, which turns out to be even more advanced.
  • This is the ultimate conflict of The Three-Body Problem. The Trisolarans are significantly more advanced than Humanity, but fear that Humans will exceed them in the centuries it will take their slow-traveling invasion fleet to reach Earth, so they use human agents and sub-atomic drones to sabotage and stymie scientific research as much as possible.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Babylon 5 universe:
    • The Minbari are this to the rest of the known races of the Galaxy. The Centauri prove to be almost a match for the Minbari technologically, but have chosen a Decadent Court over Crystal Spires and Togas, and therefore do not impress the other races nearly as much. Plus, they've been running around screwing most of the galaxy over for centuries, so most are pretty glad they're declining. Though Londo says that even at the height of Centauri power, they never dared to provoke the Minbari.
    • The Shadow and Vorlons are the next level up. They both use starships and recognizable technology, so they aren't quite Sufficiently Advanced Aliens yet, but they like to act like they are.
    • There are also the First Ones who are even more high tech than the Vorlons or Shadows (or else those two are deliberately faking a lower tech level). Though they've all left the galaxy aside from the first First One, Lorien.
  • The Vulcans (and nearly every other alien race) on Star Trek: Enterprise qualify. Of course, the show was set during the early days of human space colonization.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Who Watches the Watchers" inverts this by having the Enterprise crew be the High Technology Race.
    • TNG found the ruins of several space-faring races and interstellar empires from tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago. Tech levels ranged from Enterprise level to so much more advanced they couldn't even understand the underlying principles. At least one race built a working Dyson sphere, then evacuated it for uncertain reasons (though a likely explanation was that the star at its centre was becoming unstable) and then seemingly vanished without a trace.
    • The Borg function as a dark mirror of this trope. It's not explicitly clear how long they've been around, but it's a while and they've got the tech and territory to show for it (they have probably the largest territory of any known species or civilization in the galaxy). Fortunately for most of the people in the galaxy, unless you pose some kind of direct threat or have some piece of new/unique technology or interesting biology that could be useful to them they will just ignore you and their territorial expansions are generally of the "slow and steady" variety. That being said, once one has become their target, it's generally agreed that Resistance Is Futile.
      • According to the Vaadwaur, the Borg have only really been active for about 900 years. This contradicts something Guinan said about them being around for thousands of years, though the Vaadwaur might have only been talking about the region they were in control of or the Borg may have had a major setback.
    • The Voth are massively higher-tech than the Federation and probably the Borg, able to travel several orders of magnitude faster than Voyager (a science vessel apparently retraced Voyager's whole route, including a few massive jumps that cut decades off the trip, in a matter of days) and with ships bigger than a Borg Cube that completely shut down Voyager (which had gone toe-to-toe with Borg ships several times) instantly with nothing they could do to stop it. They've been a space-based race for tens of millions of years, but apparently settled into Space Age Stasis long ago.
  • The Battlestar Galactica reboot implied this about the people who lived on Kobol, prior to the exodus and the founding of the Twelve Colonies. The original series stated it outright.
  • There are several examples in the Stargate-verse, beginning with the Goa'uld. Later, the Replicators would prove to be this, with the Asgard having technology more advanced than pretty much everyone. This speaks well for humanity's future, since the Asgard gave Earth all of their technological know-how before the race went extinct.
    • SG-1 themselves are seen as the Higher Tech Species at times, especially when they came across the really primitive planets.
      • This is especially true after Season 10 of SG-1, which ends with the Replicators annihilated, the Goa'uld thoroughly defeated and empire-less, and the Asgard pulling a mass suicide immediately after handing all of their supremely advanced tech to Earth.
    • In earlier seasons, the Tollan qualified, with tech that allowed them to walk through walls, build their own Stargate (albeit with help), and one-shot Goa'uld motherships. They tended to be a bit patronizing, although they admittedly had been given good reason in the past not to trust less advanced races. This ended when a certain Goa'uld decided to avert Space Age Stasis and wipe them out.
    • In Seasons 9 and 10, the Ori arrived. Since they were from the same race as the Ancients, they had ships that were titanic and could pretty much No-Sell everything the Milky Way races could throw at them.
  • The rarely seen (except for Chiana) Nebari in Farscape seem to be this, although it's only ever hinted at.
    • A pretty telling indicator is the fact that one of their run-of-the-mill "Host ships" Curb Stomp Battled one of the most powerful Peacekeeper Command Carriers. It's a pretty good indicator when your empire doesn't even need dedicated warships to keep bullies like the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans away from you (although the line is ambiguous enough to allow a "standard host-ship" to mean a standard warship as opposed to an equivalently powerful one). In fact, when Crichton set up a fake auction for the wormhole technology, there are only three bidders: the Peacekeepers, and Scarrans, and the Nebari.
  • One episode of The Outer Limits (1995) series had humans take the role of the Higher-Tech Species. A team of explorers, looking for suitable planets to colonize/loot, found one rich with wildlife and no apparent technology. When they discovered signs of primitive aliens with nothing more advanced than sticks and stones to fight back with, one of the more ruthless members of the team leads an attack that kills them all against the protests of the Only Sane Woman. The twist? The aliens aren't so primitive and don't even hail from that planet. They were the equivalent of a Boy Scout troop on a camping trip — and they managed to send a message to their parents before they were killed. They were the Higher-Tech Species all along.
  • Pretty much the basis of Doctor Who in that the Time Lords not only have time machines, but that they've had them for so long that their entire racial identity has changed (they weren't originally called Time Lords, and canon is inconsistent on the question of whether that's the current race name, a caste, or an artificial subspecies): at the height of their power, they managed every second of history in a "Web of Time" and managed access to alternate universes. They rather quickly became decrepit and degenerate though, and even outright evil by the end. And they did have their betters, the Eternals, but those guys rarely actually got involved in anything.
    • Daleks, while not the most powerful race, are much more enduring than their Time Lord enemies. They have technology unmatched by any other species (read: they can, with the right components, wipe out every ounce of matter in every Universe, ever), and have come back from the edge of extinction so many times that it's a racial trait.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller:
    • The Droyne were this once, but have since voluntarily given up most of their advanced technology in order to live in a much more agrarian society. Every once in a while, though, some archeologist will turn up a reminder that the Droyne once ruled all of the known galaxy and beyond.
    • Among the current races, the Darrians have assumed this status. They have a tech level one to two centuries ahead of everyone else in the Galaxy.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Eldar have been a starfaring species for millions of years, and their technology (which is basically Magitek) reflects that. Monomolecular shuriken launchers, psycho-reactive living plastic, planetoid-sized Generation Ships, an intergalactic Portal Network, and Golems powered by souls, are just a few examples of the advanced technology available to them. Eventually, though, they became too advanced for their own good, and their reliance on automation to deal with all of their menial tasks, combined with decadence and hedonism, brought about the collapse of their galaxy-spanning civilization and left most of their race dead with the survivors as scattered refugees and survivalists.
    • Dark Eldar technology is some of the most advanced and scary stuff in the galaxy. We're talking weapons that fire dark matter and miniature suns here. They also have tech that somehow allows the recently slain to be reincarnated into fresh new bodies. Made more impressive since their atrophied psychic potential means they can't manipulate the wraithbone used by their Craftworld cousins. This makes sense since the Dark Eldar are the remnants of the original super-advanced and hedonistic Eldar Empire who unlike the Craftworld and Exodite Eldar kept all of their toys. It gets to the point of verging on Sufficiently Advanced Aliens with some technology, at least in the sense of "indistiguishable from magic" if not "functional gods". "Biological warfare" plagues that turn you into glass, guns that shoot waves of energy that case your flesh to ossify and your (now quite expansive) skeleton to explode in a shower of bone shards, shadow emitting mirrors that when broken also shatter anyone caught in their reflection, on top of basic things like the aforementioned resurrection from near-total vaporization.
    • Exodite Eldar are a deliberate aversion, being Space Amish. They get by with a very powerful natural connection to their worlds (meaning the planets themselves fight back against invaders) and dinosaur cavalry. Though the Exodites still use technology more advanced than what is available to most human worlds.
    • The Necrons make the Eldar look downright primitive in comparison. The Necrons have achieved immortality (though many of them would probably wish they hadn't), tamed and captured C'Tan Star Gods, and possess technology that can tell the laws of time and physics to get lost.
    • In the backstory, the Old Ones super-advanced race who seed life across the galaxy and fought the Necrons and their C'tan masters. Unlike their rivals in the Necrons, who used mechanical technology advanced enough to overcome physics, the Great Old Ones reputedly specialized in psychic and biological technology. They achieved great feats of psychic ability, and they used created the Orks and the Eldar.
    • This trope is Played With by the Tau in a rather interesting way. Although their maximum level of technology is far below the Imperium, what technology they do have tends to be more advanced than the Imperium's direct counterpart. For example, while the Schizo Tech Imperium has access to impressive weapons like Titans and Teleportation, their regular army troops are armed with comparatively primitive equipment (though still far above modern technology), whereas the Tau don't have Titans or teleporters, but their frontline troopers are equipped with pulse rifles and ceramic plate armor that performs far beyond anything that would be afforded to an Imperial Guardsman. Also, unlike the Imperium, the Tau actually understand how their technology works, allowing them to mass-produce and repair their weapons, whereas Imperial weapons of the same type are often irreplaceable or hard-to-manufacture relics that cannot be repaired once broken or destroyed; even when they can be repaired, the techpriest performing the mechanical "rituals" to do so won't necessarily understand how said repairs actually work, just that they do because they always have.
      • More to the point, the T'au own their technology, which on average outpaces the Imperium, and they are continuing to advance. They understand science and technology and are refining and improving their devices. The Imperium does not have the technology; they have advanced hand-me-downs from a golden age. More importantly, the Imperium suppresses the scientific method. Their attitude to technology is like a Cargo Cult.
      • This extends to how the two factions introduce new units. Generally speaking, the Imperial model is, "Look at this rediscovered ten thousand year old relic." The T'au template is, "Look at the new prototype hot off the assembly line."
    • Humans pre-Age of Strife. They made STCnote , managed to cure all illnesses, researched teleportation, Baneblades were light tanks, sentient A.I.s (one of the ships could send the evaded enemy ship commanded by Eldar Farseer back in time and destroyed it), and it's implied to be a bare minimum that we know. Unfortunately, Men of Iron, the birth of Slaanesh, and followed horrors threw us back.
    • The Leagues of Votann retained a greater technological base during the collapse of the old human civilization, and as they don't share the Imperium's ban on innovation they have slowly but steadily worked on improving it since. As a result, the Leagues are flatly more advanced than the Imperium across the board — even equivalent tools are more reliable and effective, and they retain a lot of technologies, such as ion weapons and true AI, long since lost to or suppressed by the Imperium.
  • The fraal from Alternity and d20 Modern are this—highly advanced both technologically and psychically. An issue of Dragon transplanted them to Dungeons & Dragons, where their advanced tech stood out even more.
  • In AT43, the most ancient and highly advanced race in the setting are the Therians. They have achieved The Singularity point and have become robotic hyper lifeforms, and their technology can do almost anything. The twist is they are really humanity who originated from Sol System, and the other human factions were created by them so they could harvest their planet when they used it all up.
  • In the 6th Edition of Hero System there are at least three races the Malvans, the Odrugarans and the Mandaarians capable of doing anything from colonizing and terraforming asteroids and planets to shattering planets, pull a moon or planet out of its orbit and “fling” it away from its parent body, transmute one type of matter into another type of matter (thus allowing for the nigh-instantaneous creation of objects from “thin air”), quickly and easily clone any living creature, then copy or transfer memories into the clone, create force-fields that protect against virtually any force (including magic and psionics), cross the Milky Way Galaxy in as little as a day (military starships) or a week (common civilian models), teleport people and objects over interstellar distances (and sometimes further), giving themselves any superpower they desire and cure nearly any disease, heal nearly any injury,and extend lifespans for centuries (or even millennia, or can even live forever). Luckily they're all peaceful or too lazy from being able to replicate anything they want to be a threat.
    • This is the weaker version in which The Malvans languished, even though they're still the most advanced species in the universe with the most advanced technology. In one of the alternate universes, however, the event that caused them to become that way never happened the result, they took over the universe and continue expanding and are beginning to expand into the multiverse, to the point where the BBEG of the series, Istvatha V’han, who conquered billions of universes of the multiverse cannot take that one universe over and monitors it very cautiously

    Video Games 
  • In Achron both the Vecgir and Grekim are much more advanced than humanity at the start of the game. Even after stealing enemy tech, humanity cannot match the Vecgirs teleportation technology, or the Grekim capability for time travel.
  • The Scrin from the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series, who are an interstellar alien civilization in a setting where humanity has yet to leave Earth's orbit. They can create wormholes and can instantaneously teleport and summon units anywhere on the map. After the initial shock of the Alien Invasion, GDI and Nod end up fighting them on equal terms... because the Scrin being fought are basically a civilian mining operation, not equipped for real conflict.
  • The 11th Clan of the S'pht in Marathon are more advanced than the other clans, which have been enslaved by the Pfhor. Humanity, led by Durandal, manages to send them a message, and they are outraged and save the remaining humans and S'pht.
  • The Karavan in Ryzom are Space Marines, while everyone else runs around without having even discovered metal, let alone laser fences.
  • The long-vanished Protheans from Mass Effect are revered for creating the Citadel and the Mass Relays, which form the basis of nearly all common technology in the galaxy. Of course, they didn't actually create any of them; those were the legacy of the Reapers. The Protheans did manage to reverse-engineer some of the technology. It is unclear how advanced the Protheans really were, as it can be difficult to distinguish between what they built and what the Reapers built.
    • The Protheans seem to be comparable to current species in starship technology. The Prothean flagship, the Penumbra Apex, has a main gun comparable to the Geth dreadnought.
    • At present, the Asari are considered this, as they were the first race to the Citadel and have maintained a considerable gap from other races in terms of technology. As revealed in the third game, they have been secretly using a Prothean Beacon to acquire new pieces over time.
    • Several characters remark on the fact that the Collectors of Mass Effect 2 have higher technology than any other race outside of the Reapers. This is, of course, because they are actually the Protheans, after being altered and controlled by the Reapers.
    • The Reapers themselves qualify, since they nigh-indestructible Mind Hives and are literally aeons ahead of anything else in the Galaxy. Some of their tech even defies the laws of physics, which is remarked and commented on in-universe, by both the codex and terrified individuals.
  • In Spore, the creatures that you create and evolve can eventually become the Higher-Tech Species when you reach the Spacefaring Stage. And then there's the Grox, who have by far the best ships in the game, and are hated and feared by everyone else in the galaxy.
  • Halo:
    • Humanity initially considers the Covenant this, until the former begin reverse-engineering the latter's technology.
    • There's also the Forerunners, whose technology the Covenant based their own on. In fact, the Covies don't even use their own knock-off versions very effectively; whenever humans and their A.I.s get their own hands on Forerunner-based technology, it doesn't take long for them to show the Covenant what it's really capable of.
    • Before the Forerunners, there were the Precursors, who were even more advanced, having effectively turned thought itself into a building material. Or something like that.note  After turning themselves into dust, they end up resurrecting themselves as the Flood.
    • The Ancient Humans and their Ancient San 'Shyuum allies were just as advanced and powerful as the Forerunners until they lost a major galactic war against the Forerunners, who proceeded to punish the losers by stripping them of all advanced technology, devolving the humans back into a primitive state, and exiling both species to their homeworlds. The Ancient San'Shyuum fared a little better as they weren't devolved and were allowed to have a single other planet as a colony, but they were still greatly humiliated.
  • The Protoss of StarCraft are the trope codifier, as noted by the page image. However for Competitive Balance reasons, the Used Future Terrans and wholly biological Zerg can fight them on even terms.
  • Metroid:
    • The Chozo fits this trope quite well. They're depicted as an ancient race of benevolent birdlike aliens that had such advanced technology that at some point, they couldn't advance it any further and withdrew to simply observe the rest of the universe. What exactly became of them is unknown, though statues and artifacts from their society can be found scattered all over the place throughout the series.
    • To put things into perspective, the main character Samus received her iconic Powered Armor from the Chozo, and throughout the series, she uses it to singlehandedly take on entire planets of Space Pirates, who themselves terrorize the rest of the galaxy.
    • The Luminoth from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes are a similarly ancient advanced race of moth-like aliens and were good pen pals with the Chozo. They probably fit this trope, though it seems unclear how their technology compared with the Chozo. For one thing, a single woman wearing Chozo armor was apparently powerful enough to defeat a species that had the upper hand on their entire race.
      • They were likely originally on the same level as the Chozo, but fell behind. Due to the war, they wouldn't have been able to devote many resources to research, as the Chozo could, and thus the Chozo would've surpassed them by the time the war ended. They likely had Power Suit equivalents, considering both how they either developed their own Screw Attack or got it from the Chozo, and how the Light Suit was compatible with the Varia Suit (and surpassed it in pretty much every way). It may simply be that the Ing originally didn't pay much attention to Samus, and her experience fighting the Space Pirates on Tallon IV and in their mothership, along with her training, allowed her to defeat them even if she was outclassed.
      • If you scan the various Luminoth corpses scattered about, it shows that their warriors were unbelievably badass with technology to match. Most of them took hundreds of Ing to the grave with them, and that was only in their final stand. U-Mos, the only currently active Luminoth in the game, is also invincible to Samus's weaponry, having some sort of unbreakable energy barrier.
  • The Precursors of the Star Control universe also. In modern galactic times, the sentient crystal Chenjesu are the most advanced race in the Alliance, and serve as its leaders. On the enemy side, the Ur-Quan are clearly more advanced than anyone else (although later on the Chmmr (a fusion of the aforementioned Chenjesu and the robotic Mmrnmhrm) seems to be able to match them), with only Precursor tech being superior to theirs. Amusingly, the Spathi seem to be on their way to match them, what with their lightning-fast technological progress and reverse-engineering powerful Ur-Quan tech in about a year (said tech was an impenetrable planetary shield; cowardice drove them to the stars in less than a century and drives them hard still).
  • The Bentusi from Homeworld.
    • Whoever created the Naggarok was more advanced than anyone short of the Progenitors. While it was clearly a prototype, the ship could traverse intergalactic distances (good luck doing that even with three Great Cores), had an intertialess drive (the massive ship was more nimble than a fighter), and fired a beam that converted the mass of the target ship and repaired the Naggarok.
    • The Kadeshi seemed to be one of those in the making:
      • Unusual ship aesthetics? Check: all Kadeshi vessels are pure white in color and seem surprisingly round, especially when compared to Kushan ships.
      • Low opinion of "lesser" races? Check: entering the Garden of Kadesh usually is a one-way trip due to their xenophobic nature, even the Bentusi did not venture there.
      • Advanced technology? Check: multi-beam frigates and Swarmers.
      • Been in space for ages? Check: they were descendants of the ancient Hiigarans, much like the Kushan. They, however, chose life in the Great Nebula instead of exile to Kharak.
  • The Morrigi in Sword of the Stars, who are so ancient that their old trade fleets are responsible for human and tarka myths about dragons. After losing the majority of their old Empire and population in a war with a species of Abusive Precursors/Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, however, the species went almost practically extinct: They've only recently re-emerged, and at a technology level that puts them on an even footing with most of the 'younger' species. The game states outright that Morrigi research is not so much inventing new tech as it is re-discovering, reverse-engineering and re-building infrastructure for old technology they've lost the ability to replicate. In the sequel, all the playable factions can be this to the Independent Races, who have yet to crack Einstein's cage.
  • The Shivans from FreeSpace, who possess weapons far more powerful than anything the Terrans or the Vasudans have come up with, whose shields could initially block nearly all damage, and whose subspace drives are far more advanced, allowing them to use "unstable" jump nodes that the player's faction don't even mark on maps. The Terrans and Vasudans survived two wars with them mainly by stealing Shivan tech and adapting it to their own systems.
  • The Remnants from Star Ruler are this at the start, but you will eventually surpass them in most aspects. Some of the things they have though, like Jump Bridges, you will never get.
  • The X-Universe series has several levels of Kardashev-abusing factions, but of the factions directly relevant to gameplay, the Terrans are the standout. They've got the best ships, and they're the only faction capable of building jumpgates without assistance from the Ancients. Prior to Earth's abrupt reconnection to the X-universe Portal Network, the Paranid Empire had the best tech and didn't hesitate to tell you about it.
    • In the Litcube's Universe Game Mod for X3: Albion Prelude, the Omicron Channel Virus is some sort of offshoot of the resident killer robot Xenon. OCV ships are incredibly powerful; their ships have the firepower and shielding of a heavier class, with the speed of a lighter class, leading to their interceptor having the heavy shields of a corvette and the high top speed of a scout. The OCV is hostile to all life, and will steadily expand and take over sectors.
  • The Antarans from the Master of Orion series as well as the titular Orions were/are both massively high tech species compared with the other species in game. Among the playable species, the Psilons have this as their hat, taking on multiple penalties to buy better research scores. In the second game especially, they're regarded as the most powerful playable species because of their tendency to become this.
  • The Polaris in Escape Velocity Nova have ships much faster, far better shielded, and much better armed than anybody else in the setting. Unlike the sheet metal and welds construction of Federation- or Auroran-technology ships, Polaris vessels are grown around an artificial skeleton and top out at roughly the same level of intelligence as a smart dog. In this case, everyone involved are humans, but the Polaris were helped by their chosen region of colonisation by sheer luck having far more Precursor relics than anywhere else, and them then dodging the general collapse the rest of humanity suffered when the hypergates went down.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, both the Vasari and the Advent are at least 1000 years ahead of the TEC in terms of technological development. The Vasari are The Remnant of a massive interstellar empire and have the most knowledge about phase space (although it's revealed that even they found the Phase Inhibitors and copied them), while the Advent are psychic humans who have chosen to integrate themselves with technology and develop along psi-tech routes. They were exiled by the Trade Order and spent the next 1000 years preparing to return in force. Meanwhile, the Trade Order (precursor to TEC) hasn't needed to advance at all in that time. Despite their technological inferiority, the TEC is more than a match for the other two races thanks to their vast numbers, huge trade income, and ships that use Boring, but Practical tech and defenses.
  • In a twist on the traditional formula, Grey Goo (2015) has humans as this. Generations removed from such things as disease, war and space exploration, the recent return of the Grey Goo has humanity breaking out their ancient (but still ridiculously advanced) combat drones and re-learning the ways of war to save the galaxy from their own errant creation. For once, it's an alien race who are the underdogs with the crude, gritty technology.
  • The "Return of the Messari" DLC in Pandora: First Contact has the appearance of an advanced alien race, hell-bent on destroying the human colonists. They utilize infantry and artillery units, which are ridiculously overpowered when compared to their human equivalents, even in late-game stages (and you usually encounter them mid-game). They don't have any bases or cities, simply periodically sending fresh troops from their portals.
  • Stellaris:
    • Any Fallen Empire will have technology aeons ahead of any of the other star nations. They may not be as powerful or active as they used to be, but their warships pack heavy shielding and the deadly Tachyon Lance, and all their planets have absurd resource output, with plenty of rare resources too. In a multiplayer gameplay showcase by the developers, all the players in the game entered an alliance against a single Fallen Empire with 1/10th of the territory they had in an attempt to take it out, and they lost badly. However, Fallen Empires are no Sufficiently Advanced Alien - drowning them in enough conventional late-game ordnance will take them out, especially seeing as they can't rebuild the ships they lose. Should you manage to take one out and reverse-engineer their technology, it's very likely that you will become this to all the other factions.
    • The Materialist faction has this as one of their issues: if another empire is this compared to yours, they will be unhappy, while if you are this to the rest of the galaxy, they will be quite happy.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Sheikah were the original creators of the advanced Magitek found across Hyrule, though they were forced to abandon it because the other races became afraid of it. Yet when said technology was rediscovered a century before the events of the game, it is the Sheikah who are instrumental in redecifering how it functions; Zelda is the only non-Sheikah who is able to keep up with them.
  • The Dwemer in The Elder Scrolls were the most technologically advanced race in all of Tamriel. Where the setting is mostly High Fantasy with all of its people living in a medieval level society, the Dwemer were effectively a late Information Age society, with massive industrialization and automation, an incredibly deep understanding of Nirn's physics, creature comforts and luxuries comparable to or exceeding what we have today in the real world, and their "calling" ability may well have been a fantasy equivalent of the internet. All that exists of Dwemer technology today is up and working thousands of years later and its all that will ever be, since no one being able to replicate their tech after their mysterious disappearance ages ago.
  • The Draenei in World of Warcraft (having been partially inspired by the Protoss from StarCraft), especially the Lightforged introduced in Legion. They make heavy use of Magitek, using holograms, mech walkers, teleporters, and of course interplanetary starships. For comparison, the second-most advanced race is either the Gnomes or Goblins, who have a Steampunk/industrial American aesthetic respectively. Uniquely, the Draenei's technology doesn't come entirely from superior engineering, but rather their devotion to the Light.
  • The Sophons from the Endless Space games have sleek iPod-esque technology and a boost to their empire's research output. They are extremely intelligent and constantly curious, but they apparently dumped wisdom - they blew up their own moon by accident. They're more the goofy Kerbals than the enigmatic Protoss.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X
    • The Ganglion. Apparently they're small-time criminal thugs in galactic terms, but against humans, they have a planet-killing technological edge. Humanity can only pretend to keep up due to a Space Elf taking pity and helping accelerate their technology to survive the aforementioned planet-killing.
    • The Ma-non are the standout example, casually stating that their tech puts everything in the Samaar Federation (which spans multiple galaxies, and whom the aforementioned Ganglion are part of) to shame. They even regard a Perpetual Motion Machine as a trivially mundane power source. The only reason they can't invent superweapons that instantly win the war is because they don't like making weapons and therefore aren't used to considering harmful applications of their tech.
  • The Republic and the Sith Empire in Star Wars: The Old Republic are both at their technological apex, with some of their technology seemingly being even more advanced than what the Galactic Empire would use more than 3000 years later (of note, the Galactic Empire spent their entire budget building the Death Stars. The Sith Empire and Republic are both cranking out smaller-scale, but more practical superweapons seemingly every month). Then the Fallen Empire expansions come around, and they are both curbstomped by the Eternal Empire of Zakuul. It later turns out that Zakuulan tech is reverse-engineered from the extremely ancient, mysterious and assholish Iokath species. 'Til date, Iokath is the only instance of a Dyson Sphere in Star Wars..
  • The Omega of Starsector. They're either aliens, AI that's so advanced it might as well be alien, or alien AI. They don't communicate with you, they don't actively engage you, but if you choose to attack them they will defend themselves with extraordinary prejudice and, despite only having two cruiser-sized ships at most, will likely win. Their ships look nothing like any other ships, even those of the Remnants (Who seem to worship or revere the Omega) and their weapons seem to literally defy reality or instead tear it apart. When destroyed, their ships break apart into smaller ships with new weaponry to counter whatever killed them, which then break apart again when destroyed, and one quote indicates this continues down to the atomic level, leaving only "fractal slag". The in-game codex gives you no information on them, and all the descriptions for their weapons don't even explain what they do or their history like with other weapons, instead being replaced by quotes from lab techs, fleet commanders, and religious prophets. The only reason they aren't Sufficiently Advanced Aliens is that the technology's still comprehensible, if barely.

  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Princess Voluptua's people, the butterfly-like Nemesites, were already a going civilization when the dinosaurs became extinct on Earth (actually, it was kind of their fault). It eventually turns out that they do possess technology that could probably qualify them as Sufficiently Advanced; but for a variety of reasons, they don't like to use it unless they absolutely have to. And they apparently created a race of straight up Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, the Butterflies of Iron, but these days the two civilizations mostly just politely steer clear of each other.
  • Homestuck has the Trolls, who at first simply appeared to be simple internet trolls but later turned out to be one of these. One page makes a casual reference to them conquering star systems.
  • Outsider: The Historians are believed to have been the first species to have begun to rebuild after the collapse of the Soia and to never have lost the totality of their pre-Soia technology, and while they still can't match the technological feats of the ancient precursor empires they remain far and away the most technologically developed nation in the setting.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Gatekeepers (F'sherl-Ganni), who built the Wormgate network. They essentially controlled all galactic FTL for the last 100,000 years until the teraport was invented, have ways to perfectly replicate matter (including life and sentience), have built Dyson Spheres, were in the process of turning the Milky Way's the galactic core into a giant zero-point energy generator, and were the original inventors of the Teraport at a time when humanity (who would later re-discover it) was still living in trees. Eventually, most of their technology was appropriated by the Fleetmind, but they were still millennia above every other physical species in the Milky Way. After a while it turns out the setting actually features Recursive Precursors, and some of them (much more advanced than the Gatekeepers) are becoming active again. It eventually turns out that any race that reaches a certain threshold of technology builds a Planet Spaceship and hides outside the galaxy out of long-term safety concerns; once the heroes learn to look for them it turns out there are uncountable numbers of such ships beyond the galactic rim.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Transformers. Of course, being made of technology helps.
    • In this regard, the creators of the Transformers, the Quintessons, definitely apply.
  • The Gems from Steven Universe. And while some of them, such as the show's main characters, respect and protect humans, other members of the species don't seem to care about the underdeveloped, short-lived organic creatures of Earth at all. Even the main characters often seem a little dismissive of humanity, protecting them more out of a sense of maternalistic duty more than any real affection for the fragile, small-minded beings they've found themselves living among. This trips them up when they have to translate a message from space that's too advanced for their outdated equipment. They are extremely skeptical when Greg offers to help and are quick to patronize and give up on him, despite the fact that, however advanced they think they are, Greg is a sound and video engineer and knows far more about the subject than any of them. The Homeworld Gems take this even further since the show does not use Space Age Stasis. Their technology has taken vast strides in the past several thousand years, to the point that none of the Crystal Gems' weapons can even scratch a Homeworld ship.
  • One arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured the Umbarans. Despite being part of the Republic (and later the Separatists) their technology is about as far above the setting's Used Future technology as that is above modern Earth. Their control didn't extend beyond their homeworld and they had no navy of their own, but they still put up the hardest fight the clone army faced in the war.