The Vulpkanin (vulp-ka-nin) are a species of humanoid canine-like beings. The Vulpkanin hail from the Vazzend binary system, and originally from its second planet, Altam.
Vulpkanin and YOU
Greetings, esteemed crewmember!
In order to promote synergy and create a harmonious, productive work environment, NanoTrasen has compiled a series of helpful guides on the various species that you may be working with!
(NOTE: If you are a member of the species this guide pertains to, please give it to the nearest crewmember of another species)
This particular guide refers to the species known as the Vulpkanin (singular and plural).
Vulpkanin Naming Schemes
Traditionally, Vulpkanin names typically follow the conventions of their spoken language. They tend to sound harsh and guttural, and many a scholar has compared them to the names found in ancient Germanic and Semitic languages. However, with vast immigrant populations having grown in other systems since their contact with the wider Galaxy, you can expect to hear some familiar sounding names among your Vulpkanin crewmembers.
Vulpkanin bear a superficial resemblance to Earth’s canines in both appearance and sound, and traditionally favor diets high in protein. However, structurally they possess many differences from anything found on Earth. Their rib cage extends in a web-like lattice over their upper organs, and their tails share more in common structurally with limbs than the vertebrate appendages more typically seen in other species. However, - unlike a usual limb - it does not possess enough strength or flexibility to be used in a prehensile manner. Their fur consists of fibroin, rather than the keratin of Earthly hair, though the difference is hard to see without a microscope. Of particular interest is their stomach, which features two chambers, believed to be an adaptation for omnivorous diet from carnivorous ancestors. Finally, most are born with Deuteranopia, also known as red-green color blindness, though it is often corrected with modern science.
Their superficially canid features - particularly their large ears and tail - appear to have evolved into their present forms mainly for the purposes of social display and communication. While retaining their original functions, these features have far more nerve endings and much finer muscle control than in their ancestral forms, vastly increasing the range of expression. Their tails possess much longer fur and more striking patterns than in their more primitive relatives, enhancing their visibility. Paleontologists believe that the variable blood flow in their large ears helped their species spread to more diverse environments, due to improved thermal regulation.
Vulpkanin are typically slightly smaller than humans on average, but well within the variations accounted for by commonly available clothing. Their feet and hands, though clawed, are compactly shaped and can thus fit comfortably into the gloves and footwear favored by other crew members.
The Canilunzt Language
Scholars have often compared the Vulpkanin language - Canilunzt - to Semitic and Germanic languages found in old Earth texts, due to its grammatical structure, harsh consonants, and a guttural/throaty enunciation; however, the language also differs greatly from those of humanity, with strange, upward-pitching vowels. These vocalizations are often likened to the baying, whining, and yipping sounds of Earth canids, with many vowels sitting just above the range of human hearing. Interestingly, the term “Vulpkanin” is not the self-proclaimed name of the species, but a term coined by Sol immigration officials in 2480, due to the native term being inaudible to human ears. Fortunately they have little difficulty speaking Galactic Common.
A fascinating feature of Canilunzt is that it is traditionally bereft of inflection, relying on the use of their ears, tails and hands in order to indicate tone. The written form even preserves keys denoting certain body language. However, the necessities of early telecommunication called for developing a purely spoken language, and subsequently the full scope of Canilunzt is now reserved for more formal or personal settings.
Crew members of species with more nuanced non-verbal expressions should note that Vulpkanin can have trouble recognizing intent in spoken language. In order to effectively convey intent, it is recommended to use exaggerated facial expressions when speaking to a Vulpkanin coworker.
The Vulpkanin Homeworld
Altam is a once-verdant planet orbiting the binary stars of the Vazzend system. Formerly a temperate world rich with life, its biosphere was destroyed by a stellar disaster in 2189, which stripped much of the planet’s atmosphere, scouring its surface with cosmic radiation and solar winds. While plans are currently underway to try and restore the planet's habitability, the core population of the species lives on several other worlds within their system. In particular, Kelune and Dalstadt.
Kelune is the large moon of a gas giant, further from the star but kept at an ideal temperature by tidal heating and a thick atmosphere. At around 0.3 times the size of Earth, the initial colonists were able to terraform the atmosphere within a century and move out of sealed cities.
Dalstadt is a nearly Venus-sized planet. It used to be a cold desert world, with any water or other volatiles bound up as ice at the poles. However, after the stellar disaster, the temperature of the world began to rise, causing these polar deposits to start melting and helping make the planet more habitable. While far from ideal for its Vulpkanin settlers, it still boasts and supports a large population.
Today, these and many of the other smaller colonies have formed independent governments, but still take part in a cooperative federation.
Little of Vulpkanin history is known to outsiders due to the loss of many records and artifacts during the Exodus, but thanks to a strong oral tradition, an overarching narrative has been pieced together from the accounts assembled by Vulpkanin archivists. As can best be gathered, their civilization formed from the conglomeration of innumerable smaller tribes into larger nations.
During the early industrial age of their civilization, the Vulpkanin learned of a stellar event that would dramatically increase the output of their binary stars, leading to the loss of their planet’s habitability. Scientists quickly reached worldwide consensus on the certainty of this event, but opinions on how to utilize Altam’s resources remained divided across the tribal nations. Wars broke out, but as the disaster loomed, a solution appeared that enough of the planet’s divided tribes could get behind. This was The Assembly, a massive cooperative body formed to develop interplanetary travel as soon as possible.
Formed in 2130, The Assembly tirelessly worked on a solution to Altam’s woes, starting with only existing communication satellites and the infrastructure for manned repair flights. It took several decades, and the massive industrial expansion caused further strain on an already burdened and dying world, but eventually they were able to send a few million colonists to begin settling the other worlds of Vazzend. Tragically, there was not nearly enough time nor resources to evacuate the entire planet, and billions were left behind to perish, but those who escaped preserved a diverse sampling of the Vulpkanin cultural and genetic heritage.
Over the next three centuries, the Vulpkanin labored diligently to rebuild their species, making the two most promising worlds in their system habitable. At first they worked together under The Assembly, but as the respective populations boomed, the two planets soon developed their own governments. The need for emergency power waned, and The Assembly diminished from the ultimate authority of the Vulpkanin to a loose federal alliance, an organization for determining how best to use the resources of Vazzend for the entire species. While there have been some disputes over control of smaller colonies and allocations of asteroid mining rights, the people of Vazzend on the whole have been shy of conflict since their brush with extinction.
In 2474, the Vulpkanin made first contact with a human exploration vessel, the FSS Calypso, which had journeyed to the Vazzend system to investigate reports of unusual broadband radio signals. At this point in history, the Vulpkanin had not yet developed FTL technology, and were subsequently unable to enter the political scene of the galaxy as a major actor. After a brief year of diplomatic talks resulting in the recognition of the Vulpkanin as a species and The Assembly as a galactic actor, The Assembly entered trade talks with NanoTrasen with hopes of gaining further legitimacy in galactic affairs, as well potential access to its lucrative market share of plasma. Whilst some aspects of the trade agreements are still being discussed to this day, Vulpkanin have enjoyed access to many new technologies as well as access to the galactic labour market.
Having become widely dispersed in recent times, Vulpkanin culture has greatly diversified, though each facet of it still bears the memories of their common roots. While tendencies towards larger families with many children are still prevalent (a remnant of official mandates established shortly after their exodus and near-extinction) Vulpkanin are known to integrate the traditions of the communities they migrate into after a generation or two, and back in Vazzend there are long-standing movements to revive or reinvent the family traditions of old Altam.
Despite their past calamity, a great variety of classical Vulpkanin religion survives to this day, preserved both by archives sent into space and the descendants of living practitioners who escaped. There are the several tribal pantheons of various old nations of Altam, a faith worshiping the binary stars as the supreme God and Goddess, as well as a Monist tradition centered around an all-infusing universal will called “Racht.” Additionally, a number of new religious movements have emerged since, often inspired by historical events that have occurred since their exodus. Of particular note is a new astrological faith which worships the galactic core, which has a tense relationship with the traditional “Binarists.”
There is also a sort of secular spirituality, found even amongst some Vulpkanin far removed from Vazzend, which places emphasis on one’s roots, and regards their homeworld (and the lost generation who rest there) with great respect and awe.
In Vazzend, Vulpkanin philosophers traditionally describe two forces in their society, both born from their species’ Exodus. These are Kelebunzt, or “Wanderlust,” and Yalshampt, or “New Foundation.” Kelebunzt is described as the feeling of lost homeland which drives people to seek new homes, or to never settle at all in one place. Yalshampt is described as pride in a newfound homeland, a sentiment most commonly found on Kelune and Dalstadt.
However, having all descended the population bottleneck of Altam’s survivors, the people of Vazzend possess a strong sense of unity and solidarity, born from their mutual hardship and will to survive. The Vazzendim are often regarded as isolationist, being cautious of alien interference in the development of their system, and reluctant to allow entry to non-Vulpkanin. However, even Yalshampt-minded Vulpkanin are known to set out into the galaxy at large, given the vast opportunities available.
Outside of Vazzend, there are two main Vulpkanin cultural groups. The first are the Kelebunztim, nomadic bands who wander the galaxy, much like the spacefaring wanderers of Vazzend before the days of first contact. The second are the immigrant populations of Sol, who have grown large and gone through several generations over the past eighty years.
Even after more than 300 years of development and expansion, the Vulpkanin are still in many ways a race in recovery. While altogether they are estimated to number up to 20 billion, it is believed that even the most highly developed regions of Kelune have yet to reach the standard of living of Altam’s height, and Kelune remains the only world in their system fully habitable without sealed environments. They are subsequently behind the technological standard of the rest of the galaxy, and compared to other galactic powers like the HSA, their unambiguous holdings are miniscule.
However, the Vulpkanin are nothing if not tenacious. With their persistence in the face of calamity, and now widely dispersed population, the Vulpkanin are likely to leave their mark upon the galaxy.
Remember, crewmember, solidarity and teamwork will overcome any obstacle!