The Vox (voksh) are a nomadic species of secretive raptor-like aliens with a soft spot for other people's things. Having no home planet they instead live on giant moon-sized Arkships as well as smaller crudely put together space stations. The information shown below, while canon, does not completely characterize in-game knowledge of characters, even those experienced with the Vox. Only a Vox would know all of this information, and they do not share with outsiders.
- 1 An Overview
- 1.1 Naming
- 1.2 Biology
- 1.3 Behavior
- 1.4 Language
- 1.5 Relationships
- 1.6 Technology
- 1.7 Vox Weaponry
- 1.8 Arkships
- 1.9 Stations
- 1.10 Pariah
Vox have three distinct names:
Their formal name, which is a long list of descriptive titles, jobs, clan/faction affiliations, as well as physical or mental features of note.
Their use-name, usually a physical or mental feature followed by their current clan and finally a unique one syllable sound. This name is the most used, their full use-name being used between close friends and the singular gutteral end term used by everyone else.
Raider names. Military style call-signs, either given to them or chosen by them. Usually one to two words.
In-game the use-names can be represented by unintelligent jabbering and shrieking, E.G.: Yaitakikat, Kikigakia, Hayahakaiti. Vox names use many I's, A's, K's, and T's with a smattering of Y's, H's, C's, and G's.
The Vox species can be seperated into three distinct types: Auralis, Armalis, and Primalis. All three, while distinct, share a similar biological make up.
All three are omnivorous bird-like creatures with a singular oriface used for eating, breathing, and extretion. They are all covered in hard scales and have a tuft of quills growing out the top of their skulls. They have a hard and sharp beak on their faces and they breathe Phoron using a large air capillary sack.
They all have talons on their feet and their hands and they have a long prehensile tail that comes out their backside between their legs. Their bones are especially light and flexible and their nervous system is especially redundant to the point that their limbs are known to keep moving even after being cut off.
They appear to have an almost robotic control over their scales and are able to lock them so tightly together that they form a protective 'space suit', allowing them to walk comfortably in zero pressure environments.
The Vox digestive system is entirely compacted inside their head, neck, and upper body. It consists of a singular long gizzard-like organ that breaks down and absorbs nutrition from whatever they put in their mouth. Their diets consist mostly of fungis, meat, and anything they can fit in their mouths. Often times Vox will digest hard metals or rocks to aid in the digestion of particularly unruly foods, like monkeys or Teshari. Often times Vox will have to digest something multiple times before getting the full benefit of their meal, which often times consists of choking up something half digested and then swallowing it again.
Interestingly, Vox cannot breathe Oxygen and instead breathe Phoron. Oxygen and Oxygen-deprivation medicines are both extremely poisonous to Vox and require dialysis to remove from the Vox's system. The Vox 'lung' is a singular sack of air capillaries, similar to that seen in birds.
From here is where the separation lies:
The most commonly seen Vox, the Primalis, are approximately 1.7 meters tall, weighing approximately 140 kilograms. Their muscles are extremely dense, allowing them sudden bursts of speed and strength, though sustained strenuous activity can cause dangerous levels of lactic acid to build up. The exception to this rule is their beak, which consistently can sustain pressure up to 500 psi. Their talons are very hard and resistant to electricity and their scales and dermal layers have an almost instant regeneration factor.
Armalis are a type of Vox that is both rare and powerful. Their height varies between 1.5 meters and 6, and their weight can also vary between 60 to 600 kilograms. The only true way to recognise an Armalis is the characteristically long limbs they have and the dense quills that run down the entirety of their upper body as well as their extremities. Their dermal layer's density could be likened to that of steel and their eyes are a singular bright pink shade. They are known to be extremely fast and extremely strong and should not be taken lightly.
Auralis are the rarest of the Vox, and there have been no confirmed sightings of them, only word of mouth and hearsay speaks of their existence. From what could be said they are roughly 4 meters tall, weight around 90 kilograms, and are the thinnest and slowest moving of the Vox.
There lies a fourth Vox, if one could call them that, that are known only from the emergency transmittions that describe them. The Apex are giant computers made equally of flesh and metal. They are typically between 20 to 40 meters in size, though their shapes themselves vary from Apex to Apex, all share the singular feature of many robotic and organic tentacles that they use to move around and interact with the machinery they are connected to. Extremely dangerous, they move surprisingly fast and with a cool calculated step will just as easily rip the spine out of someone as they would open and harvest a nearby ship for biomatter.
Primalis Vox are greedy and cowardly creatures with a non-interest in all things non-Vox. For a Vox, morals, guidelines, rules, and honor do not matter when dealing with a non-Vox as only Vox matters matter and only Vox matter. There are times when a Vox puts forth an olive branch and allows a respected non-Vox to be protected by the same unwritten rules as they are, but this only happens when the Vox doesn't see any advantage in not doing so.
For instance, a Vox never willingly surrenders to a non-Vox, unless absolutely necessary for survival. Or if they think surrendering puts them into a better position for escape or some sort of gain. But if at all possible, they'd simply prefer to just ignore non-Vox, running away from their presence and avoiding fights with them. They have no interest in them, outside of their things.
But to a fellow Vox the rules become different. Vox enjoy challenging one another to fights, be it physical or mental, and use it as a means to judge their place on the hierarchical ladder. It is unheard of for a Vox to kill another Vox, and those that do, either accidentally or purposely, are usually forced into becoming a Pariah: a fate even worse than death. They form bonds similar to a family structure, the cleverest or strongest at the top being the Quill, with the second in command being a similar respected second-Quill. These bonds are usually born from "adoption", when a Vox becomes born whose stack is known for a certain talent or work, a family that wants or needs said talent might "adopt" said Vox into their ranks and teach, or pay for teachings, in said talent. Families are usually 2 to 10 Vox, any larger and the family might break apart due to being unsustainable or disorganisation. Families form ties with other families, trading goods and services. If the families become truely successful and large enough, they may attempt to split off from the arkship or station they are on to make their own station, though this only happens if the groups in question do not believe they are needed, or do not have enough sway where they are.
Vox enjoy hiding and trapping. They will avoid any direct combat unless its necessary or if they believe they cannot lose doing it. Under no circumstances will a Vox sacrifice themselves for a non-Vox, their stack is too important and too valuable.
Vox greed comes from their intense loyalty to their species and their survival, mainly manifesting itself in over consumption and stealing non-Vox items. Stealing from a fellow Vox is unheard of and is the easiest ticket to getting Pariah'd by an Apex, instead Vox prefer to trade, seeing trade as an excellent way of creating bonds and ties with other Vox, and while they do trade with non-Vox it is usually to rid themselves of something that they understand has value to non-Vox, like thalers, broken or otherwise poor quality items, and scrap. Their card and board games truly highlight their tendencies, often designed so that the one with the most cards loses, or the one with the most pieces, and as a result are very challenging to a Vox, though non-Vox typically play them with ease.
Vox are very aggressive in their youth, constantly fighting within one another and challenging those around them, and as a result a fair bit of them become raiders, joining roving bands of pirates or scavengers and seek fortune for their family. The ones that don't become raiders bide their time, honing their craft, and gaining a foothold in the family, so that the sudden return of their now older raider siblings does not displace them heavily on the hierarchal ladder via whatever fortune they've gained. The raiders, after settling down, either become teachers or return to whatever craft they performed before.
The Apex do not speak, instead letting their actions dictate their words as they move from place to place, either directing Vox towards something or doing it themselves. They do somehow communicate with both the Auralis and the Armalis, and some can be seen 'speaking' to them though no words are exchanged.
They also act as the ultimate dispensers of justice for the Vox, somehow knowing about a Vox's dubious actions and dealing the only punishment they know: ripping of the stack. This does not always end in Pariah-hood, for the stack at least. Sometimes the Apex destroy them, sometimes they do not, there is neither pattern or reasoning to it, at least to the onlookers and the ones keeping score.
The Apex do not normally deal with matters outside of the ship, instead letting the Armalis, their personal stock, to deal with problems. However if an Apex decides that something needs their immediate addressing they will not hesitate to leave the arkship they are on and deal with it.
Death even happens to an Apex, usually from decay or the occasional accident, but their means of reproduction is unknown even to Vox. One dies one day and the next another, smaller Apex takes its place. They do not appear to change, each sharing a singular silent personality.
Also known as the Apex's personal stock, the Armalis are a group of Vox bred for specific yet varying purposes, their genomes crafted specially for whatever the Apex needs. For instance, if an Apex has need of an engineer for fixing things in small places and there are no current Vox that fit that bill, it will instead breed a small, agile yet clever Armalis. The Armalis speak, though they are typically silent and tend to ignore other types of Vox. They are known for 'speaking' with Apex and generally live near or around the Grove with other Armalis. They share a similar looking stack to that of a Primalis, which may indicate they were once one or have similar behaviours.
Besides being easily created tools for the Apex, the Armalis are also known for cortical stack retrieval. When a Vox dies in the field and their stack was not retrieved, an Apex might send a team of Armalis after it. First a scout team is sent to figure out the location of the stack, and then a Apex selected group of specialists closely follows. The Armalis cortical stack retrieval rate is roughly 60%. The other 40% are usually traded for eventually or otherwise destroyed. As a result they are highly thought of and are considered respectable, if not the most respectable, type of Vox.
The Auralis are the 'true' Vox, their main jobs being research, experimentation, and leading the Vox to a better tomorrow. Auralis's cortical stacks are much larger than a Primalis's though they share the same general shape. Auralis's personalities can be described as transcendant, their minds being on some higher level that makes thinking about normal, physical things very hard. They tend to be erratic and could be labelled as insane. Their connection with the Bluespace network allows them to think and process information faster than normal, and gives them an unnatural awareness of the things going on around them for hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers. They treat the Apex like butlers, making demands and holding 'conversations' with them, they ignore the Armalis and Primalis, though occasionally they will attempt to communicate 'on the level' with the others, without much success.
They do not really have much interest in the physical world, their clothing is typically a long comfortable robe and they eat food processed for them by the Apex, typically high nutritional pastes and liquids. They do not leave the grove unless something catches their interest, be it a certain Vox or a certain item they sense has made its way to the arkship they call home. They rarely leave the arkship itself, sometimes to move to another nearby arkship and sometimes to visit a place nearby that they find interesting. When they do leave an arkship they are closely followed by a mass of Primalis and Armalis, either selected by an Apex or from the desire of said Vox.
The Vox language, commonly referred to as 'Vox Pidgin', uses mainly the Glotal and Velar sounds, with a large emphasis on the Plosive group, alongside the frontal vowels and their general loud speaking voice, makes a noisy and irritating language to the ears of those around them. Vox do not seem to mind, quite interestingly they see other languages as being similar annoying and noisy, having too many words and sounds.
Vox interest in non-Vox is minimal, and as a result most have a loose grasp on Galactic Common, though this is not always the case. Many Vox traders know Common extremely well, but feint their stupidity in an attempt to get people to misjudge them or simply because they feel speaking it perfectly is insulting.
With Other Species The Vox do not care for non-Vox, and vise versa. Coupled with their attempts at raiding unarmed stations and ships and the usual policies of shoot on sight enacted against their ships, they do not visit other core systems, instead making due with scavenging and raiding stations and ships in the backwater systems, preferably abandoned ones. They will avoid well armed settlements, instead attempting to send traders to either gather information or at least trade for something good.
Vox don't like Humans. They are both dust-breathers AND treeless, and they talk funny. They do have many settlements and quite a few of the seedier ones are open to trading with them, which is nice, but even then some are known to harbour Pariahs, the worst possible crime.
Vox are wary of Skrell. They've been around a long time, similarly to the Vox, but they are not as easily subdued as the nearly equally aged Teshari. They are also slimy and dust-breathers. They don't know if they have trees or not, but they probably are treeless as well.
Diona are the only decent alien species. Their young make excellent snacks and they are easy to steal from. They are also trees, which makes them not treeless. They also don't breathe, so they can't be dust-breathers. They are slow though. Like rocks.
Unathi are scary. They always want to fight. Vox try to stay away from Unathi unless they know they can subdue them. They are also dust-breathers, as well as tree-less. They also have rotten scales.
The Vox have not met a lot of Tajara on their own. They are usually with other species, so that means they are probably tree-less and dust-breathers. Or at least associate with them. Their fur is disgusting and gross.
Vox do not like Teshari. When they first met them they thought they were going to be easy picking, their weak and fragile bodies easily threatened if they were cornered. But then the Teshari started killing them and their ships on sight. A shame, they were said to be entirely edible, not just their insides.
How Other Species See Vox
Most species see the Vox as a loosely organised civilisation of pirates and scavengers, with no real home or goal to begin with. They do not know how they reproduce (though many believe them to reproduce via eggs, and will believe them to have genders) or where they come from. They are seen as stupid, dumb pests with a greed streak.
Organisations that do take a magnifying glass to the Vox species often time find themselves disbanded from disaster. Whether this is an intentional act from the Vox species, or pure bad luck, is unknown. No one has figured it out, or those that have are not saying anything.
Vox technology is both extremely advanced and extremely stagnant, as it has been the way, with small modifications, as it always has been for thousands of years. In fact much of their advanced technology is antique: they have no means or knowledge of reproducing them, only maintaining them. Passed down from generation to generation, their stock of advanced weaponry, armour, and other similar technology is carefully managed to last them forever.
Their greatest achievement is perhaps the bluespace network, a way of storing and transferring data through bluespace. Its primary uses are communicating between Arkships and storing the vast memories and minds of the Auralis. How exactly it works is kept a secret, or perhaps it is just inexpiable to the majority of Vox, its true inner workings only known by the Auralis who use it and the Apex that maintain it.
The Vox take great pride in the way they blur the lines between biological and mechanical, truely their bodies and their minds are made to use and maintain their robotic limbs as much as the limbs are made to be used by the body. Cyber limbs and organs are one of the few things Vox take pride in being able to manufacture, and as a result many opt to replace much of their internal structure with that of metal.
Much of their technology is both biological and mechanical in fact, their armor made from a mixture of metal plates and grown chitin, their weapons both meat and electronic parts, it makes maintaining them as much repair as it is nursing. Replacing broken electronics as well as patching up wounds and injecting nutrition pastes to help with healing.
Vox FTL drives are completely bewildering to human scientists, as they consumes little to no power and have no moving components. They take the form of large globes about two feet across, set into the nose of the craft. No indication is given that any of the Vox aboard ships with FTL have any idea how it works, or how to use it; FTL jumps by Vox vessels seem to happen at random, without any consent or input from the crew.
Their most treasured, and harboured technology would happen to be the irreplaceable and valuable cortical stacks. Cortical stacks are what make Vox, Vox. They hold the memories and knowledge of past Vox, giving a sense of belonging and loyalty to the Arkships that they would not have without. They also control much of the Vox's internal organs and systems, regulating and making them run efficiently.
This is a common weapon used by Primalis, both as raiders and independent pirates. Usually used to subdue targets from afar, as well as cause havoc by slipping unsuspecting targets hallucinogenic drugs, it can also be used to apply beneficial chemicals to lucky individuals. While some models appear keyed to Vox physiology, similar weapons have been produced by human corporations and are more common.
A uniquely Vox weapon, the Spike Thrower is poorly understood by other races and organisations. It is biological in nature, and some facet of its design prevents its use by non-Vox. While even some Primalis may not know exactly how the weapon works, it generates and projects metal spikes of an adanced alloy towards targets at high speed.
Raiding has been a recent but enjoyed addition to Vox society. With the sudden appearance of new advanced species in the universe, it meant Vox would no longer have to create many of the things they needed. Instead they could make due by stealing/scavenging these things from others. Vox society, for once, flourished as many of their long standing problems and non-working equipment was replaced by newly crafted and well working goods. This lasted for a few years until said species got wiser to their tricks and their bounty dwindled from a river to a trickle. But with trading and the odd raid/scavenged station, they still grow to new heights every year.
Raiders themselves are typically younger Vox, ranging from 5 to 15 years old, that wish to abandon their craft for a chance at making the big time and bring home loot and goods to skyrocket their standing amongst other Vox. All Vox start at the bottom, and like any other profession, only gain rank by challenging higher ranking Vox, and winning.
Raiding is a mostly uneventful life, lots of waiting around for a vulnerable ship to raid or a nearby disaster to take advantage of. Most raiders make it out alive and well, though casualties do happen their stacks are almost always retrieved and as a result are not seen as casualties.
The dream of all Vox raiders is to one become the Quill of a raiding party and two to attach a new ship or device to the Arkship's shroud, indicating their vast wealth and raiding ability. Vox that end up doing this are usually set for life, their ranking becoming unquestionable and low ranking Vox coming to them to hopefully learn and skyrocket off of their success.
The exact number of Arkships is unknown, though there are no more than a hundred. An Arkship is the main vessel, the main home of the Vox. From which all Vox are born and breed, from which the Auralis make their home and living. The Arkship comes in two parts, the Grove and the Shroud. The Grove is a oval like module in the center of the Arkship that holds the many bio-pools and breeding pits that from which all Vox spawn. It is here that the Armalis, Apex and Auralis make their homes. Most of the ancient and advanced technology is stored here, lent out to the Vox that need it, but always making their way back.
The Shroud is the twisting tunnels and alcoves that make up the Primalis's homes. Made from the offerings of the various raiding parties, the exact nature of the bits and pieces of it vary, they can be ships stolen, large twisted pieces of metal, or perhaps verious items in need, like solar arrays or generators. Whatever they are, the Primalis make their homes, businesses and live their lives here. Maintaining them for the future and modifying them to fit new pieces brought in by Quills.
The Arkships are mobile, though very slow. They have no exterior engines, outside of the ones brought to them from raiding parties, and rely on the Auralis and Apex's super-awareness of incoming vessels and drones to escape detection. They tend to sit two to three jumps away from any inhabited system. Far enough away to escape detection but close enough for raiding parties to come and go as they please.
Arkships, like most Vox-related things, have long, complex titles that are completely irrelevant to non-Vox, and when translated, would sound more like a long-winded recitation of the Arkship’s history, rather than a name. A brief example would be Arkship Long Nights of Solace, Spent Reciprocating Many Moons of Technology Long Stolen Before Primalis Expansion. The naming of an Arkship usually includes a code sign, a brief summary of its recent history within the last several thousand years and a encoded message of Vox specific knowledge that is known only to Auralis and Apex.
The Arkships are not the only Vox settlements. Powerful families and factions see the Arkships as crowded and unruly. they assets are unprotected and hard to manage, and so when they decide they are big enough, or powerful enough, they will attempt to forge their own settlement, made similarly to that of the Shroud: bits and pieces of scavenged ships and stations welded together to make a working eyesore.
These stations lifespans are fickle, many factions misjudge their sway and break away from the Arkships too soon, causing them to collapse in the matter of days. Other factions, powerful as can be, maintain their stations and use them to gain even more goods and services, piloting or creating them in neutral or outer rim systems so that they can trade with Humans/Skrell/Etc. Others are placed in asteroids, ones to be mined out until the station is dislodged and piloted to a new place.
The exact amount of stations is unclear, however they number in the thousands and increase/decrease every single day. Not every decrease is the destruction of a station however, some factions come to an agreement, and a 'joining of the stations' ceremony occures, where the two stations are broken up and reformed into a big, mega station.
Vox stations are typically self sufficient, containing hydroponic gardens, large gas stores, or similar access to such items. They typically house a hundred to three hundred Vox total, though the largest one holds up to three thousand Vox at once.
Being a Pariah is considered worse than death, for a Vox. Becoming one is a sudden and violent act, an Apex judges the Vox to being malfunctioned and takes one of its many limbs and pierces the back of the Vox's skull in one fast movement. The stack is then twisted, to remove the various connections into the meat, and removed. The body is then left there to rot or be thrown away by nearby Vox. This kills the Vox, usually. Though some survive, uncoscious and bleeding, these are usually either killed quickly by a pitying Vox, or dumped outside into the void, their body looted save their 'unpure' gas tank and the clothes on their body.
But Pariahs that make it outside of the Arkship have a good chance at living. Jettisoned at super sonic speed into the void, their bodies quickly go into stasis, preserved against the ravages of space, and time, until they hit something, or someone, and are 'rescued'.
A lot of the Pariahs that hit something hit a sun, or a deserted planet. But some eventually make it into charted space and are easily picked up from their heat signatures. These Pariahs are quickly bandaged and given the wonders of modern medicine, and then sold for a couple hundred bucks to an interested party.
These interested parties are usually mining companies, or companies that want cheap, dumb labour. Occasionally they are picked up by seedier organizations, mercenaries that appreciate the combat-ready body of a Primalis, people that want a loyal, but dumb, slave.
The Pariah's personality depends on how it was trained, mostly. They can range from docile to deranged, and all in between. Most Vox, the ones picked for mining and working in companies, are 'socialised' to other Vox. The common Pariah has an intense, innate fear of Vox and that extends to other Pariah. But they will be forced to stay in contact with an already socialised Pariah until they get over such fears. This makes the dumber Pariah easier targets for regular Vox that think them ill will, but the companies do not seem to care, or mind.
All Vox hate Pariahs. They see them as disgusting garbage, not even worth the air they breathe, and should be killed as soon as possible. Killing Pariahs is not considered bad, and is actually considered a gift to the Pariahs, though even then torturing Pariahs is common amongst Vox, a way of 'trading' with the Pariah, releasing their hate in return for killing the Pariah.
Pariahs remarkably last about as long as regular Vox, 30 to 50 years. Though this says more about how Vox take care of themselves then it does for the Pariah's body. As a Vox becomes Pariah-ized, it begins to decay. its scales turn greyer and harden, no longer able to be loosened or moved like a regular Vox could. This causes their body temperature to be abnormally high, and they tend to be sicker because of it. Their brain remnants also begin to rot, producing the unique Pariah stink that can be easily identified in the next room over.
Half-Minds are the product of the unfortunate circumstance of an Apex forgetting to put a stack into a Vox. This happens rarely, though is more frequent during large 'batches' of Vox, but it does happen. These Vox are typically paranoid and reclusive, a product of having to hide the truth from other Vox in fear of getting killed.
While they are typically of clearer minds than Pariahs, their bodies do start to stink and decay as they grow older. Most do not survive to their 10th year, due to being found out. Those that do usually flee the Arkship and all Vox settlements to do so.
Vox Pariah Living conditions
Due to the stench produced by the rotting brains of Pariahs, they're mostly shunned by all moderate standards of living within Nyx, or their relative system. In the case of Nyx, NanoTrasen has provided several workers with accommodations, though poor ones at best. Their "rooms" are generally only five square meters, with a bed not that different from a prison bed.
Personnel other than Pariahs are seldom seen in these areas, due to the smell. Synthetics are sent to provide maintenance and cleaning, though most of the Pariahs living in NanoTrasen housing tend to take care of their home, or risk eviction. Most dwellings are equipped with nutrient paste dispensers, meaning that Pariahs are still fed, but the cost is kept to a minimum.
Outside of NanoTrasen, the treatment of a Pariahs is up to the individual's organisation, owner, or employer, and their own ability to barter and negotiate salary, as well as the willingness of people to allow a Pariah to stay within their building. Some Pariahs are able to buy small rooms, though for exorbitant prices due to the majority of people believing that the Pariah is dumb, rather than brain damaged.
Pariah Employment Situations
Most Pariahs employed by trans-stellar corporations are hired because of their ability to operate without the need for any form of E.V.A. gear, and their willingness to work for absolute minimum wage. Lack of legal protection, and the ongoing conflict between the Vox and Solgov allow corporations to pay Pariahs little to nothing. Though rare in human space, employed Pariahs are little more than corporate assets, nonetheless, their treatment remains far better than they would receive from fellow Vox.