|Home System: Unknown|
|Language(s): Tau Ceti Basic, Vox-Pidgin|
|Political Entitie(s): Unknown|
The Vox are a race of space-faring, nomadic, raptor-like aliens. The Vox have no known settlements; instead they live in massive ships called arkships which travel the galaxy. While they are found anywhere in inhabited space, little is known about them and most of their history is a mystery to other species. While Vox are infamous for being raiders and pirates, a number of them engage in trade with other civilizations despite their questionable reputation.
Vox populations are diffused throughout several star systems, but are mostly focused in the relative-south of the galactic plane. They have never been observed attempting to colonize a world, and it is unknown if there are any permanent Vox settlements. Vox tend to cluster together in groups ranging from as small as thirty individuals to as many as 400,000, forming roving fleets of shipjacks and salvaged frigates. Their language has only been translated on a very basic level, but as a result of studies and observation, some aspects of their culture have been unraveled. Vox all breathe a mixture of almost pure nitrogen. Air mixes that many other sentient species find tolerable are highly toxic to Vox.
- Vox breathe pure nitrogen and take toxin damage if they breathe oxygen. Vox should have their internals (with nitrogen) activated at all times.
- Similar to xenomorphs, Vox can lunge at people and stun them.
- Vox have their own language, which can be spoken with ,5
- Vox are able to break out of handcuffs. To do this, resist while in harm intent.
- Vox are pressure and cold-resistant, allowing them to survive in space as long as they have internals.
- Vox possess natural insulation.
A Vox can be classified as belonging to one of four different species: Primalis, Armalis, Auralis and Apex. They are all omnivorous raptor-like creatures covered in hard, insulating scales that protect from the elements, have sharp beaks on their faces, and have tufts of quills that grow out of the tops of their heads. Their hands and feet are clawed, in a similar manner to talons.
The Vox Primalis make up most of the Vox population and are the group that the rest of the galaxy has had the most contact with. They stand around 1.5 to 1.7 meters tall and weighs around 120 kilograms. They are capable of sudden and impressive bursts of speed and strength, while their beaks are sharp and can exert enough pressure to break bones. A Vox Primalis's claws are sharp and insulated, making them deadly weapons and useful tools when performing infiltration work.
A Vox Primalis can live up to 150 years, and in the case of their death, their Shoal will remove their cortical stack, an artificial organ that stores all of the deceased's memories and knowledge.
The Vox Armalis is a rarer type of Vox. They vary in size from three to six meters tall, and their bodies are flexible and have a serpentine construction. They possess quills near the tops of their heads, at the ends of their tails, and around their hands and feet. They are otherwise covered in smooth, small scales, similar in nature to a snake.
Armalis appear to be extremely intelligent and possess limited telepathic abilities that allow them to coordinate with each other. They have no spoken language, aside from a few chirps or whistles emitted depending on their mood, but instead communicate via telepathy. However, this ability seems to interfere with their capacity to communicate with other species. The few individuals who have attempted to communicate with Vox Armalis became extremely distressed and developed nosebleeds, and the attempts were all cut short due to health concerns.
While members of Vox Armalis appear to be largely peaceful, they do have means of defending themselves. When threatened, they are capable of slashing with their large claws, and flinging their barbed quills at would-be attackers. Their scales provide them with natural armor plating, capable of absorbing the impact of continuous small arms fire.
The Auralis make up a small part of the Vox population, described in rare records as large creatures and endowed with extreme intelligence. They are supposed to be the leaders of their species, responsible for the decision making inside the Shoal. In the same manner, as the Armalis, they can communicate via telepathy and are rumored to possess other forms of similar power.
There have never been any recorded sightings of a member of the Vox apex species. The only information about them comes from the accounts of Vox traders and captured raiders. These accounts vary wildly between individuals with only a few shared details. Shared amongst their kind is a potent psionic ability, the limits of which are not known. It is unknown how many members of this species are in existence. Members of both primalis and armalis all refer to the apex as the voice of God. This worship of the apex may explain the suicidal devotion of the primalis and armalis in defending Vox fleets potentially housing an Apex from outside forces, going so far as to perform kamikaze strikes on enemy craft.
While the Vox do not have gender, their reproduction is overseen by the Auralis inside their arkships. When a Vox Primalis or Armalis dies, their cortical stack is collected and implanted in a larva that will then grow into an adult Vox in matter of months. The new body will have the personality and the memories of the old owner of the stack. The other species of Vox do not have any known means of reproduction, and it is likely that their numbers cannot be replaced in case of death.
The Cortical Stack
The cortical stack is an organ present in the Primalis and Armalis species. It is a mechanical implant that stores the memories and personality of its owner, and regulates several body functions. It is also considered the most valuable part of a Vox’s body, since without it reproduction is impossible. For this reason, the Vox always attempt to recover the corpses of their deceased when raiding.
The stack is linked directly to the Vox's brain, being a vital part of the organ. While most Vox die when the cortical stack is removed, a small number of them can survive this procedure. Without this organ, a Vox is labeled as a Pariah and outcast from its society.
Arkships And Spacecraft
Arkships are massive ships that house thousands of Vox and their smaller vessels, and are similar in purpose to mobile space stations. They seem to be managed by Vox Auralis, and it is the place where all Vox are born and live their lives, except when raiding or trading. The arkships are also used to store all that is left from the lost Vox civilization; their fauna, flora, technology and the Apex themselves. The group of Vox that inhabits an arkship are collectively called a “Shoal.”
The Vox and their fleets will do anything to protect their arkship. When engaged by enemy forces, the arkship's forces will try to buy enough time for it to perform a Bluespace jump and escape.
The arkships also requires constant maintenance that the Vox can hardly afford, either due to the lack of resources or the technology being lost, forcing their fleets to either raid or engage in trading.
Skipjacks are the most common type of small space vessel used by the Vox. Their crew can range from three to twenty Vox Primalis. They can be used to trade or to raid, and have no singular design or style.
Vox raiding parties make use of modified EVA equipment and pressure suits, and use a variety of salvaged weaponry, such as nitrogen cannons, spear guns, and crossbows. Raiders typically target space stations or docked civilian craft. They go about stripping resources and kidnapping crew from these vessels and either ransoming them or selling them as slaves on the black market. Vox raiders have a distinct pecking order amongst each other, and before a raid they often fight amongst themselves to determine who will lead the coming raid. The leader is of a raiding party is often referred to as a “quill” by the other Vox.
Many thousands of cases of ships going missing in interstellar space have been attributed to destruction at the hands of the Vox, though it's difficult to determine if missing ships are the fault of Vox assault or simple mechanical or bluespace malfunctions.
Though the only accounts of Vox culture come from traders, captured raiders or Pariahs, it seems that across all accounts, that theft is a way of life for the Vox. Many share stories of great and clever Vox thieves, exaggerating accounts until the characters of such stories appear almost godlike.
The term "Pariah" is used to designate the Vox who survive the removal of their cortical stack. Those individuals are expelled (in most cases via airlocks or mass drivers) from their arkships or skipjacks after the extraction of their stacks. While they retain some traces of their old memories and personalities, they are irreparably damaged by the loss of the organ and their bodies and minds will not retain their previous capabilities.
Some Pariahs may survive exile and integrate into the lowest sectors of any society that will accept them. Most of these Vox resorts to criminal activities, scavenging or trading to subsist. Members of the Shoal will shun Pariahs, and may kill them if they are found during raids.
The Vox Primalis have a tendency to subdivide themselves into clans, which are the closest the Vox have to a traditional government. Clans are very important to the Primalis, as a prestigious clan name is often seen to bring prestige to an individual. Prestige is earned by a clan for performing particularly risky or dangerous heists, thereby proving themselves to be clever and cunning. Vox Armalis, on the other hand, do not seem to share any societal interactions with each other at all. The reason for this is unknown. Vox auralis and Vox apex societal structures are currently unknown.
Although often separated by distances of light-years, most Vox do not seem to develop major ideological differences from other groups. There have not been any recorded armed conflicts between two rival groups of Vox; however, it may be because such conflicts may only occur within deep space and away from observation. Vox have something of a common language, although many groups appear to develop “accents”, creating some difficulty when two groups attempt to communicate. However, if one or both groups has an Armalis with them, any language difficulties seem to be negated due to their telepathic abilities. Vox have no common currency, and instead rely on bartering and debt with each other and other sentient species in order to obtain supplies.
The Vox Inviolate
The vox inviolate is a code that all shoals share, and seems to be printed in the minds of the Primalis, and it is respected even during raids. It is possible for a vox to break said laws and suffer punishment, either by his comrades during a raid or later by the Auralis. The most common form of punishment is the removal of the cortical stack, causing the death of the vox in the majority of the cases. The inviolate is composed of following the commandments:
- Kill as little as necessary.
- Waste as little as necessary.
- Preserve the arkships.
- Preserve materials.
- Adapt and expand to all circumstances.
Scholars from Skrell and Humanity have been researching Vox history through dialogue with their traders and scavengers since their respective first encounters. However a true, intensive study wasn't conducted until Nanotrasen's startling discovery in the Romanovich Cloud in 2451, which is in the Tau Ceti star system when it was still a territory of the Sol Alliance.
A Xenoarchaeologist team was conducting surveys of several artifact sites in the asteroid field when the field expedition stumbled upon an amazing discovery during a xenoarchaelogist dig of a phoron-rich asteroid. The dig revealed an incredibly old, alien airlock of unknown origin embedded into the asteroid. Due to advanced age underneath the rock the airlock no longer functioned and the dig had to use heavy industrial equipment to cause a breach. Once a hole was made pure nitrogen began to escape, and while the eventual breach of the interior vented the entire internal structure it's believed that it had been pressurized with pure nitrogen.
The interior consisted of a single room with a plasteel tomb in the center the size of a small car. Excavating the tomb revealed an extremely decayed skeleton of what is now thought to be a Vox Auralis. Using advanced techniques the fossil itself was dated to be between 650,000 to 350,000 years old.
Modern xenoarchaeologists now believe that the Vox Apex managed to become a galaxy-spanning empire at least 750,000 years ago. It is unknown how far this species managed to spread across the galaxy but Nanotrasen and other expeditions continue to uncover further evidence of fossils that can be tied to Vox Apex, Auralis or Armalis. Most of them are in sealed tombs dug out of asteroids, while an Haesphestus Industries exploration vessel stumbled upon a group of dead Primalis Vox floating completely free in space encased in simple metal coffins in deep space around the Procyon star system, aged approximately 380,000-250,000 years.
Beyond this, Skrell, Vaurca and Nanotrasen Historians have separated the history of the Vox into four epochs, each varying into what is known about their species.
Of the first epoch, theorized to be at least 950,700 years ago, not much is known beyond that the oldest alien artifacts discovered tend to be from several, unidentified species unrelated to the Vox. It is interesting though, that amongst these artifacts, Vox machinery is also found. It is theorized that this epoch was one of expansion for the Apex, which saw the eradication or collection of different species in the relative-south sector of the galaxy into their collective organization. It is believed that through extensive gene editing and modification, these species were made to resemble a host species native to the Apex homeworld, thus explaining the bird-like features shared amongst all species of Vox besides the Apex themselves.
The second epoch is believed to have begun around 850,000 years ago. This epoch saw a halt to the expansion of the Vox, and instead saw an increase in sophistication in their technology. The most various and most advanced artifacts found tend to be from this epoch, as it seemed to be one filled with experimentation. Through recent breakthroughs in non-carbon dating, it is now known that natural bluespace crystals are no older than 850,000 years. It has led to some to theorize that it was this age that bluespace exploration and technology began to be created.
The third epoch, the shortest of all four, appears to have begun 540,000 years ago. This era saw further expansion of the Apex to eventually exerting dominion over nearly the entire galaxy. Likely due to the extensive bluespace use at the time. The theories involving this age require deeper exploration in the galaxy at large to draw more conclusions, but it is known that the expansion into the rest of the galaxy was not uniform, likely due to the existence of other, possibly hostile, civilizations.
The fourth, and final epoch saw the collapse of the Vox galactic empire. Believed to have begun around 450,000 years ago, this epoch saw the rapid collapse of their territory and a noted decrease in advanced technological finds upon ancient Vox worlds. The collapse of the Vox was swift, however, with clear signs of sectors of their territory functioning for a time after other sections have disappeared. This fractionalization of their empire is an ongoing process, the results of which explain their distribution in the present day. The collapse of the Vox galactic empire remains the greatest unanswered question amongst xenoarcheologists to this day.