The !*!*! are the chief antagonist in Bolo Rising and are a machine intelligence / civilization capable of subverting Bolos under the right conditions. They are believed to have originated somewhere in the Galactic Core and then rapidly expanded, destroying or conquering the organic civilizations they encountered. Their motivations are not well understood, but their martial technology is. Their name is somewhat complex to pronounce, and the following excerpt from the book says that ""!" was a clucking sound of tongue against molars, made with the lips pulled back in a grimace. "*" was the same sound, but made with the lips pursed for a whistle." The !*!*! employ Berzerker-like war machines of every size between an insect and a planetoid and have no compunction against flinging asteroids or rocks against planets with immense momentum causing near nuclear-like devastation.