Vox

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This lore page is the work of Ignus Vam with advice, formatting, and editing from Nadyr.

As a whitelisted race, vox have additional restrictions applied to them for lore reasons. Refer to Vox#Whitelisting Quick Reference for clear guidelines on what is/isn't permitted.

Brief description/bullet points

Vox (voks) are a nomadic species which lives in the outskirts of known space, rarely venturing inward with their primary ships. Largely due to piracy and a closed, alien culture, the race as a whole tends to carry a bad reputation with others. Their homes consist of arkships, colossal vessels which gradually wander through the stars just beyond the sight of most ‘civilized’ races.

Biology

Physically, an average vox is a digitigrade reptilian biped with pronounced, rigid quills on their head; a long prehensile tail with small barbs at the tip; and a sharp, three-sectioned beak. They have a flexible, lightweight skeleton and a redundant two-channel nervous system. They generally stand anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 meters (5 to 8 feet) with green, grey or brown coloration. Their bodies are scaled with rigid, non-conductive feathers and plates in overlapping rows which can bristle or flatten at will to optimize cooling or form a seal capable of protecting their bodies from complete vacuum. Although they breathe in a similar manner to most races despite heavily alien physiology, they require gaseous phoron and find oxygen toxic much in the same way most civilized races find phoron toxic. In general, their builds tend to be geared toward sudden bursts of rapid movement with vulnerability to exhaustion if maintained extensively.

Vox prefer certain varieties of fungi and meat commonly grown on their ark ships but are quite capable of surviving on near any diet, doing so without complaint if necessary. Growing such cuisine attracts pests, necessitating the introduction of small, pest-eating creatures; while introduced deliberately, vox often hunt these creatures out of boredom when pressing needs are lacking. This behavior carries over to other stations; vox with nothing to do tend to hunt anything small enough to cram into their beaks.

Their digestive tract is unique and highly efficient, capable of wringing out sustenance from almost anything that fits down their beaks (including certain inorganic material). Food is ingested through the beak and travels down a relatively short esophagus into an unusually spacious stomach which takes up most of their abdominal cavity, capable of expanding without hindrance from the skeletal system. This stomach is the deepest point for solid meals, acting as both stomach and gizzard with rocks, metals, and other hard things helping break down the meals to a fine slurry before slowly filtering the liquid into a smaller, sack-like organ just below the stomach for nutrient absorption. The digestive system proceeds no further than this.

While the stomach can digest anything given sufficient time, it can be incredibly slow with large meals. To resolve this, vox may cough up their meals, let the stomach filter out processed slurry, then re-swallow their food to restart the process, sometime for many cycles depending on the size of the meal and the patience of the vox.

Vox possess a singular lung filling the dorsal space of the abdominal cavity with a largely internal ventilation mechanism lacking the rise and fall of the abdomen visible in the breathing of many civilized races. The lung consists of a dense honeycomb web-like structure which efficiently absorbs phoron and sheds carbon dioxide but possesses little defense against oxygen. Due to its toxicity to vox, oxygen quickly damages the delicate structure and may cause significant damage should it ignite the phoron almost certainly present in the lung.

Vox claws are sharp and somewhat metallic, capable of digging into rock and metal enough to allow easy walking in the absence of gravity. Additionally, vox scales and feathers conduct electricity exceptionally poorly compared to most civilized races. Low voltage weaponry, such as that commonly deployed as non-lethal security solutions in NT space, produce minimal effect against Vox, insufficient at reaching the sensitive tissue beneath their scales. Vox tend to take full advantage of this fact, often targeting facilities which rely primarily on tasers and stun batons as a first line of defense.

However this describes only standard vox, as there are two more known types of vox; the Apex and Auralis. The major differences for Apex are their size, often twice the height of a standard vox, and a hollowed out tail. At the base of the tail Apex possess a small, internal sack filled with genetic material, analogous to reproductive organs of other races and utilized to inseminate vox growth pods (detailed below). Holding the key to reproduction, Apex often act as leaders to lesser vox, focusing on issues which affect arkships or the entire species as a whole while relying on lesser vox to fulfill more mundane needs. One may compare Apex to the queens of bee hives, although the analogy is far from perfect.

Auralis are the most mysterious of vox, never spoken of to outsiders and held to a reverent, almost deific status by typical vox. Hidden deep within arkships, Auralis can barely be described as vox, existing as huge constructs of greenish-grey flesh stretching from ceiling to floor, weaved into the surrounding plant life (including the pod tree) and integrated with the machinery of the arkship itself. Perhaps only vox by origin alone, little remains of the Auralis’ original bodies: a large torso and head protrude from the central stalk of flesh, largely featureless and appearing asleep. Once the leaders of vox civilization, Auralis are best described as transcendental in thought and mind due to their integration with technology known as the bluespace network. Likely the crowning achievement of vox technology, the bluespace network is best thought of as a communication and data storage system existing entirely within bluespace which stores the vast, mysterious minds of Auralis. From a practical standpoint, the bluespace network allows all Auralis to communicate with one another independent of physical distance and for each Auralis to be fully and constantly aware of everything existing within thousands of kilometers. This awareness coupled with integration into the arkship allow Auralis to quickly and silently jump arkships should outsiders wander too close, albeit without warning to lesser vox. Due to loss of technology which facilitated communication, Auralis have become largely detached from lesser vox and serve no practical purpose beyond maintenance and protection of arkships. Often seeming erratic or insane when spoken to, Auralis’ minds operate at a level beyond comprehension for ordinary vox while Auralis themselves have tremendous difficulty simplifying their thoughts to levels which lesser vox can understand.

Reproduction

Vox naturally lack genitals and the ability to reproduce sexually, instead relying on a method which involves emerging from pods attached to the roots of a fleshy, greenish tree. Found in the breeding grounds of arkships, these ‘trees’ grow to massive sizes with sprawling above-ground root systems supporting row after row of fleshy pods containing Vox developed to an incomplete state. These pods remain dormant until needed, unable to complete development without an outside source of specific genetic material. When more Vox are required, an Apex supplies this trigger by injecting genetic material into a small opening near the center of the bulb. While multiple Apex may provide genetic material in the interest of genetic diversity, most Vox are provided a single genetic sample to tailor their bodies with specific jobs in mind. For example, vox produced when fighters are needed tend to be larger and more muscular while those when construction is needed may be smaller with shorter claws.

Once the vox inside are inseminated with genetic material from the other vox tails, they resume growing for approximately one additional month. Once finished, the vox simply tear free of the pods, fully mature and ready to serve their kind.

Behavior/Culture

To most, vox are a troublesome race that show up out of the blue, plunder what they can, and vanish before victims organize a counterattack. Captured vox are usually anything but cooperative, staying silent, ignoring most orders, and always looking for the right chance to bolt. Simply, they only see other races as just walking meat to consume and exploit.

This is a half truth. Vox culture itself is very reclusive and secretive, viewing other races with a mixture of caution and suspicion in a self-fulfilling prophecy: vox in general view other races as alien and a threat to themselves, refusing to reveal anything of vox culture in fear of exploitation while simultaneously exploiting non-vox due to hostility; this of course results in other races being largely hostile to vox due to piracy which then reinforces vox belief that other races threats useful only for exploitation. While this mindset pervades vox culture, it is not a hard rule and exceptions crop up from time to time. Vox love to trade and won’t hesitate to do so with each other if they see a chance at obtaining something of higher value. This sentiment extends to other races should they possess something worthwhile which does not seem easy to steal, particularly as other races appear to place value on some objects which vox deem useless. Combined with the exceptions to the hostility mindset, this has resulted in the development of trade between vox and non-vox in places where vox are not shot on sight, although relations are cautious and strained at best, liable to break down without much provocation. Paradoxically, vox and non-vox traders find each other easy to exploit and often find trades mutually satisfying. This is largely because vox value items by their usefulness and have a poor grasp on the abstract value of an object. A good example is money; as money lacks intrinsic value, vox see money as worthless and only collect it because other races value it. Vox traders will gleefully dump money in exchange for goods, viewing it much like getting something for nothing. Non-vox traders typically overcharge vox with ease, satisfied with a good deal. While some vox grasp the monetary value of goods often links to their usefulness and rarity, few have the necessary market exposure to spot when they overpay for goods.

By nature, vox love possessions, placing value on useful things but also experiencing attraction toward pretty or unusual objects. They hate to part with anything they find useful or pretty without getting something better in return, quickly leading to piracy once other races were encountered and possessed desirable things. While bad enough on its own, vox are also incredibly cowardly and hate conflict they’re not guaranteed to win, resulting in them targeting the most poorly defended and thus increasing hostility much quicker for exclusively preying on the weak. If captured or facing even odds, vox will flee and hide if able, only surrendering if given no other option. They see security forces as an intimidation tactic and view interrogations similarly to a fight, wanting nothing more than to flee and doing what they feel best aids that goal. Most vox raiders don’t speak Galactic Common either, earning them a reputation of “unwilling to cooperate” if caught.

Due to these original conflicts and continued mistreatment by other races, most vox have developed a deep xenophobia and mistrust of other races out of self-preservation while they view most vox like siblings. They aren't openly hostile to other races as they see little to gain from such, but they're incredibly wary around them, expecting to be attacked and stolen from. As they do little to disprove vox stereotypes and are rarely encountered far from places where vox raids are known, this fear isn’t entirely irrational.

Unbeknownst to civilized races, vox culture and civilization is quite ancient, albeit largely lost and relatively unknown to vox themselves, although they are aware they’ve been around for a long while. Their technology is among the most advanced in the galaxy and many of the advanced tools dug up by xeno-archaeologists are of vox origins, not that vox would be quick to reveal such.

Vox used to all be given small neural-lace implants called "stacks" allowing each vox to garner the memories of all the past vox, linking their memories and knowledge with the Auralis and machinery on board the ships to archive it all, thus allowing new vox instant access to skill and knowledge far beyond their years at the cost of repressing new thoughts and ideas of the sort only a fresh mind could bring. Crime was punished with the removal stack, killing the offended vox with rare exception. This however is no longer the case; due to an undocumented incident involving the destruction of an arkship and at least one Auralis which few (if any) living vox know the full details of, a catastrophic loss of data occured. Much of vox civilization, including the methods for creating the all-important stack, simply ceased to be.

This of course created tremendous change, chief of which being the addition of stack-less vox to vox society as population needs outgrew the number of existing stacks. Those vox with stacks became known as “Enlightened” while giving stacks to new vox became far more selective and unlikely to be given to vox likely to die beyond the arkships with potential loss of the stack (namely raiders). Many stacks are now kept stored rather than used with the hope they will retain their current information should the catastrophic event ever repeat itself.

Tech

Vox technology is ancient, advanced, and built to survive to the end of the universe. Few vox understand their technology beyond how to use and maintain it, entirely unable to replicate what they once made. Vox FTL technology is especially advanced, capable of engaging near-instantaneously with minimal use of fuel, but complex enough that only Auralis seem capable of operating it. Vox prize their technology above all other goods and jealously guard what they can no longer create, taking great effort to prevent even a single piece of it from falling into non-Vox hands. Some of the Enlightened vox study their technology closely in the hopes of reverse engineering it but have not yet been successful. Re-establishing communication with Auralis remains a high priority, particularly as Auralis may retain knowledge lost to lesser vox.

Language

Vox primarily speak Vox-pidgin, it uses mainly the glottal and velar sounds, with a large emphasis on the plosive group, alongside the frontal vowels. Their generally loud speaking voices, shrill tones, and the nature of their language make it noisy and irritating most other races. In return, vox often find other languages similarly harsh and irritating to speak and hear.

Vox can learn other languages and must learn Common to work on NT stations while those looking to trade often learn it for better success in negotiations. Common is painful on their vocal cords so they like to speak in as few words as possible, often coming off as dumb or slow as a result. This tends to work in their favor as vox tend to be cunning and intelligent and are quite content to trick others with this misconception.

While Vox that speak common have a pronounced accent, speaking in short sentences, and few words, though they prefer to speak in smaller words than bigger ones, when speaking common they have a pronounced hiss to their speech at times.

Behavior towards other races

Despite the hostilities towards the vox and vox’s paranoia toward other races, trends are not rules and unusual circumstances may result in unusual outcomes. Vox stranded among other races (for whatever reason) are often intelligent enough to realize treating others poorly often harms their own self-interest. Whether or not they act on this knowledge is another matter entirely. Due to their alien nature, they don't tend to emote outwards much, while other races may laugh to show happiness, cry to show sadness, or growl when mad.. Vox really don't. Most lack outward signs of emotion, only laughing when imitating dusties, not having tear glands to cry, and just glaring when mad.. This does unfortunately make them come off as having a perpetual upset expression.

Note to below: This is an average description of how most vox view the races and should be considered a norm rather than a rule. It may be worth viewing as a widely believed stereotype.

  • Humans Intense fear and hatred. These bald monkeys are the most violent towards Vox and seem to stop at nothing for revenge even when the vox has done nothing at all. They love to blame vox for all their problems.
  • Skrell Cautious, but curious as they have useful, desirable tech and don’t usually attack on sight. However they can also be very dangerous if proper care isn’t taken. Due to the age of the race, vox are familiar with skrell to some extent.
  • Dionaea Indifferent, if not somewhat friendly. They're unusual tree people, but usually passive and friendly. They don’t have much stuff but don’t care if vox take it. Vox usually don't care one way or another towards them, but don't mind their company.
  • Unathi Lizard folk with limited stuff and very hard bodies, definitely a big threat to most vox if aggressive. Vox don’t have much experience with unathi or much of a stance on them overall but they’re strong and have long memories.
  • GAS (Bay code) Utterly terrified. They're huge, armored insects with no stuff and could probably tear a vox limb from limb. Kind of reminds them of home, but in a terrifying war-flashbacks kind of way.
  • Borgs/synths Fancy tech that moves and talks. Vox tend to be iffy towards them, as on one hand it's stuff that they really want, but it's also stuff that fights back.
  • Teshari Food birds. Most vox tend to like teshari as they're small and frail and tasty, making great meals when there's nothing else around. However they have a habit of fighting back and fighting in groups, so it can be a very risky meal. Overall teshari are still new to the vox, a lot of it comes down to personal interactions.
  • Tajaran Fluffy things. vox don't have much experience with tajaran, due to them also being new in NT space, so most vox are wary but interested in tajaran. Some like their fur, some think it's weird. However, much like normal cats tajaran can get hostile out of seemingly nowhere, so many vox tend to keep contact short.
  • Sergals Extreme worry and caution, sergals are well known as warriors with an honor bound culture. Vox know this as well, expecting most sergals can put up a dangerous fight. They tend to be incredibly wary around sergals but can warm up quickly if they aren't hostile in return as sergals are new encounters.
  • Prometheans Goo creatures, vox really aren't sure how to view them as they're new to the galactic playing field. Relations highly depend on the first one that vox meets, as it sets the precedent for them.
  • Shadekin Vox have interesting relations with shadekin and are somewhat familiar due to their attraction to bluespace anomalies. Tensions are a bit strained due to vox vehemently defending their ships against them and shadekin avoiding them due to that. Outside of the arkships, vox get wary around them due to their ability to phase about at whim.

NT relations

When Nanotrasen discovered phoron, it wasn't long before they discovered vox. Attempts at diplomacy rapidly broke down as typically happens with human first encounters and SolGov quickly adopted a policy of attacking vox preemptively in retaliation for Vox piracy. While this position remains relatively unchanged, NT deemed attacking vox more costly than repairing the damage from their raids, adopting an unofficial policy of corporate indifference and simply letting attacked crew deal with piracy as it occured.

While not particularly open about it due to the stance of SolGov and the general public, NT unofficially lifted its ban on vox labor in frontier stations years later due to observations on vox prisoners and a realization they could provide exploitable labor in rare instances. De facto this meant vox could be hired on stations where crew wouldn’t outright riot over a vox crewmember.

Vox crew remain fairly rare as few vox would submit to such a situation unless necessary for survival and such instances are few and far between, typically involving a vox somehow ending up stranded in an NT facility and being presented with the choice of labor or starvation. Once hired, NT tends to view vox more as corporate assets than employees, capable of providing vox little more than needed for survival in exchange for labor. Vox tend to be valued due to how cheaply they provide labor and ease of satisfaction with near worthless goods but receive very little protection from abusive crew.

Vox working on NanoTrasen stations tend to be tame, knowing conflicts with the crew typically worsen their personal situations. They may dislike the other crew but usually realize a facade of neutrality can open many doors to obtaining more goods. Stealing things left out is fairly normal and sometimes vox will break into restricted areas to filch more items but typically only if they’re certain they’ll get away with it.

Vox positions on station are usually lower positions, assistants at best, and almost never work security. Head, and main medical positions are never seen in vox, due to the years of training and schooling needed to even apply for the positions: opportunities vox simply do not have. While some vox rarely can become quartermaster, or sometimes rise the ranks in science, most stay low level.

Vox working security are exceedingly rare, due to the mistrust of vox. Current NT policy is: While vox are permitted to work on station, they are not allowed to apply for security positions until proven trustworthy with the crew, via several weeks of other professions, and at least three (3) crew members have, in private, certified the vox in question is trustworthy. Vox that work security are not allowed to work for Warden or HoS positions. And Detective requires HoS and HoP (or Colony Director approval, having seen the vox work under pressure and assured they treat crew fairly.

Most races that live in inner systems know little of vox beyond occasional mention in newscaster blurbs or stories which eventually travel in from the frontier. Generally only frontier stations and ships traveling on the edges of civilized space have any encounters or dealing with vox while vox crew remain quite rare.

Whitelisting Quick Reference

This section is a quick guide for what is allowed, what isn't allowed, and what is allowed but rare.

  • Vox usually work Cargo (especially as Shaft Miner), Engineering, and Janitor.
  • Vox uncommonly work people-oriented Service (such as Bartender or Chef] or Intern.
  • Vox rarely work Science. This requires years of service with NT: your backstory must reflect this.
  • Vox extremely rarely work Medical as they must have a thorough understanding of Medical Standard Operating Procedure in regard to the Medical Oath, Right to Refuse Treatment, and Privacy Policy which are abstract concepts which vox have difficulty comprehending. Vox may only work Chemist and Nurse in Medical.
  • Vox never work as Medical Doctor, Paramedic, Surgeon, Virologist, or EMT.
  • Vox require special IC interactions to work Security and are restricted to Security Officer if approved. Vox require 3 signed crew member recommendations submitted to Central Command to be eligible for Security. Ensure a staff member has been notified (and approved) if you go through this process as a player note will be written to inform other staff your vox is cleared for Security.
  • Vox require additional approval by HoS AND HoP/CD to be Detective if already eligible for Security Officer.
  • Vox never work Warden.
  • Vox never work any Command position, Command Secretary and Internal Affairs Agent included.

Additionally,

  • Vox are not considered an antag race on our codebase. This was a major driving force behind the rewrite as their previous lore reflected their origins as an antag race despite being open for play in Extended.
  • Vox are commonly played as actively antagonistic. This is not required and actually discouraged as it's often used as an excuse to antagonize other players. While being unpleasant/confrontational/etc. is permitted, you should not be playing vox if your sole motive is to annoy other players.
  • Vox are considered resleevable but require specialized resleeving equipment located off station. Canonically this comes with a pay cut.