Clients or Slaves?
The phrases “subservient client races” and “client races” are used in relation to both the Pfhor and the Jjaro, as has already been remarked.
This is something i never really thought about until now.
If we presume that they chose the correct word, it describes a similar but inverted relationship as that of master–to–slave, where the impetus proceeds to the slaved object. (So that you know, i refer to such things as slaved indicators or gages, which do not read directly from an instrument but from its master gage; if the master gage fails, so do the slaved gages.) As most of us know, in a server–to–client relationship most of the support or substance of concern (whatever it may be) does come from the server but at the behest or initiation of the client.
Maybe not everybody worked under this misconception, but it seems that the Pfhor aren't always capturing their slaves by force and severely refitting them with implants. Wait, we know this because when Durandal has us free the S'pht, he tells us that many other Pfhor (?employees) were subjugated by fear.
In the Try Again terminal with that bit of Pfhor history, and in many of the old M2D notes, the Pfhor empire is described as a trading empire, taking from the weaker for sale to the wealthier. Obviously they'd trade with those which they either favor or can't conquer and with which it is safer to interact economically rather than militarily (like human history).
Was this something abandoned in the story, or do we simply never get to see their allies? Maybe we are on the wrong end of the galaxy. Vylae, et al?
Maybe some of their slaves came from trade, rather than as instruments thereof (again, like human history — e.g. almost none of any slave trades consisted of slaves captured by war, but by merchants trading with slaves as a commodity). Maybe the Pfhor didn't capture as many slaves by conquest as i previously thought.
When i think about it now, i read “client race” as describing mercenaries or some kind of purchases involving goods and services. So, what is a “subservient client race”? Maybe many of the Pfhor laborers or soldiers — Drinniol, Nar, et al — were subservient by means of debts or economic dependencies à la proletariat and bourgeoisie, and thus “subjugated by fear” of their owner's accrued clout. What we learn of Pfhor culture in Mi and M2D — dronish members of cruel bureaucracies — does seem to be in the same vein of thought. I doubt anyone at Bungie were big into social economics, but i wouldn't put it past them to have some aquaintance.
Being freed from the Pfhor would, for them, be more like suddenly finding yourself sans home and a job; this would conform to what Durandal said in Welcome To The Revolution, but not exactly in the way it connotes to me, with “fear” by intimidation moreso than by threat or reliance.
Maybe. Maybe it was never planned, but it certainly can be conjectured as such.
When the S'pht and the Nakh are described (implicitly or explicitly) as client races of the Jjaro, it makes much more sense: the Jjaro had something they needed, but it was not entirely impressed or oppressed upon them like it was with the Pfhor and their clients.
This is where the conjecture gets fuzzy.
Let's think about that Try Again terminal where this mention first appeared. Of course, it is likely that Bungie simply slipped, and maybe it was more consistent with an older version of the story. Already the discrepancy of the date and the source of that information have been discussed. Even if this information came from Leela, how would she learn it? Et c.
Maybe the origin of the Try Again terminal was both much nearer and much further from us than has previously been supposed?
Perhaps Leela received some leaked info from the S'pht, and in her confused state she had difficulty separating it out. But if it came from the S'pht, voicing knowledge of the Pfhor, why would it seem like they mention themselves leaving Earth? The S'pht were never on Earth, and the Pfhor didn't know where it was; so, who else has associated with the S'pht and has been to Earth but Yrro a.k.a. a Jjaro?
But why the special mention of Earth if this is from a S'pht perspective? Again, probably this is something Leela interpreted or even dreamed, and she saw it from her point of interest.
If we work on the assumption that the information is correct, then we have three events:
• the Pfhor “rose to prominence”
• soon afterward, someone leaves Earth
• more than 300 years later, this document as given to us through the terminal is recorded
If the document is indeed historical, then it needn't be written from the same point in time as when you read it.