Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What About Nok?

N'Sa Nok (late of the GCS Tesla) Personal Log

Korsa: Keep your eyes open there are a number of badly inconvenienced slavers around here!

Nok: Aye salle-Captain. We were the ones that inconvenienced them.

Thalnerassa: We? I merely worked the scanners and shields.

Nok: Beanpoles are all alike.

Korsa: How did the Courtesan handle, Pilot Nok?

Nok: She has a mind of her own. Almost too responsive. She's a ...

Korsa: ... a warrior!

Nok: ... a female.

Korsa: I met some of your Vole women. Better to disarm an ion torpedo blindfolded with my feet than to bed such females.

Nok: Indeed. The dwelling is a little further going from our scans.

Korsa: You are sure this will be worthwhile?

Nok: ... the list of abductions indicated six candidates from this planet alone. We encountered three slaver ships coming into orbit ...

Thalnerassa: Which you 'Kesslered'.

Nok: No other Voles on the list. These two are special. You have my word.

Korsa: This would be the dwell ...

<<Pyew! Pyew!!>>

Korsa: Cover!!

Thalnerassa: You are the only one still standing in the open salle-Captain!

<<Pyew! Pyew! Pyew! Pyew!!>>

Korsa: Hello the house!! Can you hear me!

<<Pyew! Pyew!!>>

Thalnerassa: Unconfirmed.

Korsa: Please, go knock on the door and confirm they are receiving! Be my guest!!

Thalnerassa: Nok, why don't you go over and have a word with them. You are a Vole.

Korsa; That's pretty racist, Thalnerassa. That's like saying I must have served at Alakir 3 and killed many Terrans because of my species.

Thalnerassa: You  did server at the Battle of Alakir 3 and kill many Terrans.

Korsa: Sue me for fishing for compliments. What the hell, give it a shot, Nok.

Nok: ... <<M'Ffe! It is N'Sa!!>>

M'Ffe: <<Goddess damn it! I have three dead slavers out back behind the shed, still haven't cleared the breakfast dishes, got a mortgage payment I'm late on and now you show up!! Can this day get any worse?? Show yourself monger of lies!!>>

Korsa: What's that?

Nok: She's thinking it over.

<<Pyew! Pyew!!>>

Korsa: If she attempts to study the situation in depth she will wipe us all out!! Hey Vole lady! We are here to save you from these Slavers!

Nok: <<You hear that! We have come to save you from the Slavers!!>>

M'Ffe: K-k-k-k-k-k-k-k!

Korsa: She's growling?

Nok: That's the way we laugh.

Thalnerassa: That is unsettling. We seem to be at an impasse.

Korsa: Madame! I am Xamilcar Korsa! Have you heard of me?

M'Ffe: ... barely.

Korsa: ... We are here to rescue you and bring you to a Fleet base for your protection.

Thalnerassa: What about our protection?

M'Ffe: Take me to a Fleet outpost? I thought you were a mere pirate.

Korsa: I'm branching out! And I am an exceptional pirate!! I digress ... This planet has come under slaver attack. It is not safe here. We are concerned.

Thalnerassa: There's an outstanding reward for 'rescue efforts' by concerned sentients.

M'Ffe: Oh. Didn't get paid up front.

Korsa: In a nutshell ...

M'Ffe: K-k-k-k-k-k-k-k!

Thalnerassa: Obviously this will require careful consideration ...

L'Rre: <<Father!>>

<<Thud!!>>

Nok: <<Oof! L'Rre! Mother and I are talking ... and there may be more shooting involved!>>

M'Ffe: <<Good girl L'Rre, Now hold him and let me get a clear shot at the lying son of a ... >>

Nok: <<What did I tell you?>>

L'Rre: <<Mother!! You will not murder Father!! He came to get us out of this mess. I am sure! Like a hero of old.>>

M'Ffe: K-k-k-k-k-k-k-k!

Tlanerassa: I wish she would stop doing that.

Notes on the Voles

My take on the Voles deserves a write up. First like all my aliens 'Vole' is not their name for themselves. Humans suck at pronouncing alien words. The nickname stems from their extensive underground dwellings on their homeworld (Vole World or Vole Prime.)

The Vole evolved on a tidally locked planet orbiting a dim red sun. Most of the life on Vole P. spends at least part of the time underground to avoid the radiation storms from the local sun (the season/time of the Poison Sky). Plant life usually retracts into the ground when it senses a climb in radiation. Native life takes the cue and heads for caves.

Vole World is older than Earth and a large part of its hydrosphere has begun migrating into the crust. This left an extensive series of caverns and a complex underground ecology that most Voles prefer to live in. This makes the species well suited for space travel and long periods of confinement.

Voles evolved from predators who used camouflage and stealth to attack. This is reflected in their 'wait and see' attitude. The species developed intelligence and a social organization as caverns they used began drying up and they had to band together to defeat larger, fiercer predators for the choice cavern systems.

Physically they are unimpressive standing a bit shorter than humans and are even lighter for their weight. They have a uniform grey-white skin and white hair on their scalps, shoulders, forearms and shins. Many Vole spacers depilate for their voyages to aid in hygiene. They have very large dark eyes with a greater percentage of rod structures increasing their vision in dim lighting. Their visual spectrum is also shifted towards the red and near infra-red parts of the spectrum. They can't see most species by their body heat but hotter objects (embers, beam weapon strikes etc) will provide enough light for them to see by for a few minutes).

Physically the Vole are unimpressive standing a bit shorter than humans and considerably. This is deceptive as they have much more 'fast reaction' muscle fibers than humans giving them short intense bursts of manic strength.

The Vole developed space travel centuries before Terrans driven by a desire to explore the 'Great Sky Cavern' and because many hated their home star's constant attempts to mutate or kill them. Mutation was a constant concern of Vole parents and offspring and any children displaying mutations were ut to death in less civilized times. Modern Vole parents use genetic engineering to insure good health of their offspring. This ancient fear of mutation has translated into a prejudice against psionics seen in many Voles. Psionics often had other pheromone or visual clues that led to their elimination.

Possessing a natural curiosity and their usual wait and see mentality the Vole went to many worlds and studied the life and especially sentients they found. An unkind Polity council characterized this as 'kidnapping' and 'experimentation'. There was a short-lived movement to expel the Vole from the Polity by the Terrans (who suffered the majority of abductions in the Twentieth and twenty-first centuries). this didn't get very far given the Terran history of using nukes on their own people and other exploits the older Polity members found questionable and everyone agreed to stop airing centuries old dirty laundry.

It helped that the Voles had centuries of dirt on the other races proving there are no angels in the RAND equation.

During the First War the Vole managed to keep their existence a barely believed rumor from everyone. At the end of hostilities they revealed themselves to the Polity explaining their actions with "We weren't sure you'd win." Despite the initial snafus common to first contacts the Voles became Polity members and quickly earned a place in the Polity as surveyors and intelligence analysts.

N'Sa Nok has characterized the Vole as 'bastards but with big hearts." The Vole are generous to a fault with their friends. They are terrible enemies though. preferring to attack before giving warning (to a Vole being messed with in the first place but left breathing is all the warning an antagonist deserves.)

'A good friend will watch out for you, a great one will keep you on your toes,' is an old Vole truism. Pranking and pinking each other is epidemic, especially among males. This is not so much out of a sense of humor as a sincere desire to keep their friends' wits sharp. Showing anger at being successfully pranked is considered ungrateful.

Due to their often crowded living conditions (originally in underground warrens carved by hand) the Voles have few secrets among their friends and family. In fact keeping secrets has become something of an art form among them with ferreting out said secrets a great way to win respect and fame. Mind you the secrets will often be of little or no import (think cookie recipes or a favorite color). As their civilization became more complex secrets became more and more complex and valuable (think 'Eleven Herbs and Spices' or "Cola Formula.')

Any conflicts between the Vole clans and later nations were characterized by spying, sabotage, and sneak attacks. Their fascination and aptitude for intelligence gathering alerted them to the humans and their Polity which they took pains to remain concealed from while they gathered information on these strange aliens. When they later allied with humanity they kept and even expanded their home intelligence gathering fleets. this Shadow Fleet remains outside allied control and is often a source of conflict that is explained away with: "We aren't spying on YOU!"