Vulpkanin are a mammalian species originating from the Vazzend system. Unlike their kindred Zorren who had their homeworld devastated by whatever took out the Precursors, Vulpkanin were spared the horrors that destroyed Menhir.
Although loss of supply lines meant the incomprehensible technology of the precursors soon fell into disrepair and the Vulpkanin regressed into an industrial society, they bounced back with admirable adaptability and are once more explorers of wherever their engines can reach.
- Vulpkanin have their own language: Caninluzt - accessible with “,V” while speaking
- Vulpkanin have sharp claws and teeth which they may use in unarmed combat
- Vulpkanin can survive frigid conditions with little discomfort thanks to their thick coat of fur. However, this also means quick discomfort and even risk of heatstroke in warmer climates.
- Vulpkanin have no species-wide restrictions on their diet.
- Vulpkanin can see in low-light conditions
Vulpkanin are a species of bipedal omnivorous mammal-analogues closely resembling Sol’s foxes in appearance. Their biology closely resembles that of other major Orion Spur sapient species, permitting the standard medicinal care without the need for special considerations. Their thick fur, adapted for the colder, albeit still temperate weather of Altam leaves them slightly uncomfortable within standard Human and Skrell inspired habitats.
They are closely related to the Zorren, even achieving cross-fertility with them with only minor edits to the genome necessary. Offspring between Zorren or Vulpkanin often express genetic traits of the former, although often smaller in overall height and with larger ears.
Although closer to the precursor ancestors than their kind on Menhir, genetic drift means even the Vulpkanin cannot interface with the DNA-locked precursor technology.
As a species that looks outwards and seeks to adapt to the galaxy’s many challenges, genetic modification makes individual Vulpkanin quite likely to differ from the baseline, leading to manifestation of traits resembling wolves and even ‘dogs’ as it were.
Culture and Religion
It has been hypothesised by both Commonwealth scholars and the Vulpkanin themselves that Altam may have been established as a market world by the Precursors. Spared from the horrible destruction Menhir suffered, there was never a need for rigid social hierarchies that dictate one’s lot. Before long, Altam became a mapmaker's nightmare of communes, company towns, city states and minor countries. The abundance of resources and technology to be reverse engineered permitted non-conformists to just pack up and leave, pitch their tent elsewhere and try to form a society in their own design.
Soon, Altam was covered in microstates with scarcely enough resources or power to sustain themselves, paving the way to a federation founded in hopes of managing some degree of unity and pooling the abundant resources into something more productive than yet another ideological conflict. Alas, to get such a thing even working, great power had to be seceded to these member states and things were just about back where they started. For a time, consolidation did occur - microstates were absorbed by their neighbours. People began to learn that there is in fact some value in giving up some liberties towards some common goal.
At last, the yoke of gravity was cast off once more and all that progress was just about discarded in pursuit of more and more splinter factions. First came the asteroid habitats in the many belts of Vazzend, then outposts upon the various planets, moons and gas giants. Most were built in hopes of extracting resources without the deadlock the Federation is sullied with, but many become sites non-conformists flocked to in hopes of getting away from crowds that would dictate their behaviour.
Today, Vulpkanin society retains its varied nature with all its boons and ills. Genetic modification in pursuit of the Self is practically the norm and traditions are cast away with little respect when they become unwieldy for the new generation. The circumstances of birth, some would say - have been successfully overcome and it is difficult to predict where a child would take. Such iconoclast undercurrents make things rather unstable and although the federation brings some degree of peaceful co-existence, it does so at the ironic cost of progress. Mistakes of the past are often repeated as the youth question their elder’s wisdom as misguided. Conflict, rather than resolved in a mutually-beneficial way - is rather avoided by running away. In seeking to avoid having their lives defined by others, many Vulpkanin youth end up reinforcing the status quo by refusing to challenge it.
With the rarity of habitable worlds and the cost of staking ground around untapped stars, contact with the Commonwealth offered wayward thinkers an alternative to having to put up with their own kind: working for megacorporations in their colonies. Some latent groups who find what was done to Altam abhorrent likewise find release at last: Menhir - a world preserved as the Precursors desired.
Today, 3 primary factions dominate vulpkanin society - the Federation of Vazzendei Worlds who expand slowly but surely, exploiting the dense, but difficult to traverse systems coreward of their homeworld; the isolationists who came to settle the nebulae on the spin and rimward borders of Federal space to pursue self-reliance and self-determination (even if such comes at cost of comfort and safety); and the Corporate Confederation of the Persean Trail that splintered from the early Federalist attempts at settling the Trailing Wilderness. Some say, it was their contact with the Sol-Procyon Commonwealth that led to the rise in corporate power, while others argue it was a natural consequence of needing a more efficient system of government.
Altam possessed little in ways of self-sustaining precursor technology and thus, the imperial collapse meant they became nothing but fancy decoration after supplies stopped coming. Rather than preserve this technology, try to learn its ways and bring its glory back: it was taken apart and studied in hopes of an easier, faster solution to returning to stars (or at least to make life more comfortable). Such a solution did not come as easily as hoped, and so despite their abundant resources, it is only two or three centuries since the Vulpkanin returned to interstellar relevance - many millennia after the fall.
Fairly isolated except for trade with a distant Commonwealth and Diaspora, military technologies tend towards the outdated and the untried. By no means unarmed, Vazzend nonetheless lags behind her peers in its ability to defend its own interests. Some minorities upon Altam argue this is proof that decadence had ruined Vulpkanin destiny - while others, louder for most of the species history, just point towards the ready access to education, food and healthcare (at least within the larger nations of Altam, as long as one ignores the belt and stellar colonies).
With absence of garden worlds within their reach, or the societal capability to pool the resources necessary for terraforming that the Tajara seem to be capable of mounting, Vulpkanin have developed a sophisticated sense of deep space engineering, building bases, terrariums and even nomadic colony ships to satisfy their inability to put up with authority for too long.
With life in space came its genetic challenges. Rather than mourn such, many Vulpkanin see the technologies borne of these necessities as further means to self-actualize, drifting further and further from their Precursor ancestors in not just society, but genetics as well.
Where habitats and genetic engineering fail to compensate, robotics rise to assist. The Federalists lean more heavily upon automation than the Confederate projects for while the Altamite Vulpkanin refrain from unnecessary risk - those who grew up in the challenging Trailing wilderness willingly tackle such problems with their own hand. After all, proving oneself irreplaceable is one surefire way to secure luxuries atop the basic sustenance provided by the station authorities.
The establishment of phoron extraction operations in the deeper coreward periphery presented an uncomfortable situation: despite their differences, the vulpkanin of various factions desired access alike. The treaties enabling this led to recent rebirth of military innovation - after all, if the treaty defines only mass and size. . . then a small freighter with questionable “anti-pirate” armaments should not be an issue. Modern Vulpkanin military technology strives towards skirting these regulations, packing as much power as possible within ‘civilian’ equipment.
Relations with the Zorren are tenuous at best despite their shared ancestry. What Vulpkanin do to their society, to precursor artefacts and their own bodies is practically sacrilege in the eyes of both the Royal and Free Tribe Zorren. However, this does not bring hostilities - after all, spoiled children will learn in time and as such pity is what Vazzend receives from Virgo-Erigone. Pity they neither care nor have asked for, as they have more important things to attend to such as expanding ever outwards. Still - even the most recalcitrant Vulpkanin (so long as they behave themselves) may be treated better than the average off-worlder on Virgo Prime.
However, such a fractured society is not uniform - not even close. While unpopular, traditionalists exist upon Altam and these traditionalists look to Menhir for guidance on their lost history, technology and society. These traditionalists are almost welcomed and permitted to study under local leadership (albeit as second class scholars and visitors - after all, the Bloodbounders are the true custodians of the Ardent flame).
One might presume better relations with the archetypical Free Tribe Zorren - after all, both emphasise individual capability to make one’s own destiny over a more orderly society. However, Vulpkanin are found to be just as decadent as the precursors by those of the Broken Cycle, for their pursuit of comfort and technologies that imitate or twist life means their souls would further doom Menhir if they dare set foot upon it. Of course, those of the Free Tribes recognize that birth alone is not enough to judge and so: those who discard misplaced notions of playing deities are welcomed as any other kin.
The Confederate Vulpkanin made first contact with the Sol-Procyon Commonwealth and Tajaran diaspora, giving both a skewed view of life back on Altam. Although the human adoption of Unathi-inspired drives capable of reaching the deeper core worlds led to resolving some misunderstandings, Commonwealth citizens still perceive Vazzendei vulpkanin as decadent and lazy and the Confederates as brave enough to enforce progress. The Diaspora is more concerned - rapidly growing, the more distant outposts of the corporatist factions may end up leading to border disputes.
Virgo Orbital Research Establishment
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