Vox

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The Vox (vəks) are a species of elusive bird-like humanoids. Nomadic in nature, they are never station staff but occasionally feature as antagonists as Vox Raiders. The Vox are a very secretive species and for this reason detailed IC knowledge of the Vox should only be used by those currently playing them. Vox have their own language which can be used by typing say :5 The Vox are a whitelisted species, but are only used in specific events or gamemodes.

Mechanics

Vox have their own language which consists mainly of shrieks. It can be used by typing say ,5 Vox are immune to pressure and do not need voidsuits to survive hard vacuum. Vox can only breathe phoron and usually carry phoron internals. Oxygen and oxygen-deprivation chemicals are toxic to Vox. Guidelines Violence is a means to an end, and is something to be avoided as much as possible. Weapons, Vox-specific weapons in particular, are a resource and a threat. Conserving them and using them sparingly is smart. The Vox method of operation is get in, get what you came for, and get out. 'Shinies' don't mean anything to them unless they are in particular need of raw resources. Vox are very tight-knit. Betraying a crewmember or leaving one behind, living or dead, is a very shameful and destructive thing in Vox culture. Patience and hiding in lockers are your best tools. Running like the clappers is close behind.

Overview

Naming Unintelligible strings of shrieking and jabbering. Heavy on the i's and a's. Examples: Kikakarat, Hitakhaatiki, Yahakata.

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 guttural end term used by everyone else.

In-game the use-names can be represented by unintelligent jabbering and shrieking. 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. Examples: Kikakarat, Hitakhaatiki, Yahakata.

Raider names. Military style call-signs, either given to them or chosen by them. Usually one to two words. This sort of name is most commonly known amongst non-Vox. Examples: Black Talons, Tearing Beak

Language

Vox can understand common fairly well but speak it poorly. They tend to creel or shriek as punctuation. KHAAAAK! SCRAAAAHK! Their laughter sounds like 'kikiki'. Vox often insult other species. Humans are 'meat'. Unathi are 'rotten' due to their colour. Skrell are 'leaking' or 'slippery'. Tajarans are 'mouldy'. Vox tend to jeer a lot about how their victims are treeless, that their lungs are full of dust, and such. People usually have no idea what they're on about. Which is fine because the Vox don't put much thought into it either.

Vox have two tongues - one large one for swallowing and tasting, and another in the roof of the beak for vocalizing softer/subnotes within Vox-pidgin. Vox-pidgin itself is bewilderingly complex and defies any concerted study by linguists.

It would be impossible for a human (or humanoid) to speak Vox-pidgin without drastic and disfiguring throat and facial surgery.


Lore

The Vox (voks) 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.

Biology

The Vox species can be separated into three distinct types: Auralis, Armalis, and Primalis. All three, while distinct, share a similar biological make up.

All three are omnivorous raptor or bird-like creatures with a singular orifice used for eating, breathing, and excretion. 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 mostly compacted inside their head, neck, and upper body. It consists of a singular long gizzard-like organ that breaks down and absorbs nutrients from whatever they put in their mouth. Their diets consist mostly of fungus, 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. Occasionally 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 requires dialysis to remove from the Vox's system. The Vox 'lung' is a singular sack of air capillaries, similar to that seen in birds.

The differentiation in the sub-types of Vox is as follows: 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 recognize 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. Only word of mouth and hearsay speaks of their existence, and even those rumors are rare. If they do in fact exist, the stories tell that they are roughly 4 meters tall, weigh around 90 kilograms, and are the thinnest and slowest moving of the Vox.

There lies a fourth type Vox, if it can be counted as a Vox, that is known only from the distress signals that have described them. The Apex are giant construct-computers made equally of flesh and metal. They are typically between 20 to 40 meters in size, and though the exact form varies 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 when disconnected or threatened, they move surprisingly fast and are believed to be responsible for the disappearances of dozens, if not hundreds of ships and crews.

Behavior

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 a metaphorical 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 sees no disadvantage to 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 hierarchal ladder. It is unheard of for a Vox to kill another Vox, and those that do, either accidently or purposely, are usually forced into exile: 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 similarly 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 disorganization. Families form ties with other families, trading goods and services. If the families become truly 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 necessary or opportune. 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 overconsumption and stealing non-Vox items. Stealing from a fellow Vox is unheard of and is the easiest ticket to getting exiled 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.

Apex - The Apex are giant computers made equally of flesh and metal, they act as the caretakers of the Vox species, maintaining the bluespace connections the Auralis hold as well as selecting cortical stacks for each crop of Vox. They 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 death, 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.

Armalis - 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 behaviors.

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. Auralis - 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 transcendent, their minds being on some higher level that makes thinking about normal, physical things very hard. They tend to be erratic and could be labeled 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.

Language The Vox language, commonly referred to as 'Vox Pidgin', uses mainly the Glottal 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 similarly 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.

Technology

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, armor, 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 unexplainable to the majority of Vox, it's 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, truly 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 harbored 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.

Raiders

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 vastly increase 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, punctuated with scavenging and occasional violence. Most raiders return to the Arkships alive and well, though the Vox only truly count casualties in the case of irretrievable cortical stacks.

The dream of all Vox raiders is to become the Quill of a raiding party, and to acquire a novel ship or device to the Arkship's shroud, indicating their vast wealth and raiding ability. Vox that accomplish this are usually set for life, their status unquestionable and hordes of less successful Vox serving them to hopefully learn and profit from their success.

Arkships

The exact number of Arkships is unknown, though it is believed that there are no more than a hundred. An Arkship is the main vessel, the main home of the Vox. From here all Vox are born and bred, and it is here where the Auralis make their home. 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 are found. Most of the ancient and advanced technology is stored here, and though it is occasionally lent out to Vox that need it, its recovery is priority over even fallen stacks.

The Shroud is essentially a spaceship graveyard, ran through by 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 a Shroud’s components varies. They can contain stolen ships, large twisted pieces of metal, or assorted practical acquisitions, like solar arrays and 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.

Stations

The Arkships are not the only Vox settlements. Powerful families and factions see the Arkships as crowded and unruly. Their 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, as 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 quantity of Vox stations is unclear, however the number is believed to fluctuate daily. Not every fluctuation results from the construction or destruction of a station however. On rare occasion two or more factions come to an agreement, and a 'joining of the stations' ceremony occurs, where the two stations are broken down and rebuilt into a larger, shared 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 hold up to three thousand Vox at once.

Relationships 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.

Humans - 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 harbor exiles, the worst possible crime.

Skrell - 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 slimey and dust-breathers. They don't know if they have trees or not, but they probably are treeless as well.

Dionaea - 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 - 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.

Tajaran - 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.

Teshari - Vox do not like Teshari.

Positronics - Vox have no interest in robots or Positronics. They do not regard FBPs as actual beings, only as walking and talking piles of metal. Any FBP seen by a Vox is seen as just another robot and a tempting thing to steal.

How Other Species See Vox Most species see the Vox as a loosely organized civilization 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, annoying pests with a greedy streak. Organizations that do take an interest in the Vox species often time find themselves experiencing massive setbacks, fatal lab accidents, and other disasters. Whether this is an intentional act of sabotage by the Vox themselves, or pure bad luck, is unknown. No one thus far has managed to properly study the species, and the Vox are hardly likely to spill their secrets.