Cynos Union Databank

 

 

 

N'Kaf
SPECIES:
N'Kaf
TYPE:
Non-humanoid
PLANET:
Sybal

Overview: Hailing from the remote and entirely unique homeworld of Sybal, the n’kaf are one of the six founder members of the Cynos Union.

Evolving on a planet with such a unique and dangerous ecosystem, where most things will kill them, gave the n’kaf a unique view of the universe and a naturally careful and painstakingly precise attitude towards everything, from business dealings and romantic liaisons, to warfare and diplomacy.

Some members of the Cynos, most notably the yowason, have often said that the n’kaf seem to suffer from some kind of species-wide obsessive-compulsive disorder, but given that a lot of people describe their homeworld as ‘a toilet that that wants to kill you utterly’, such a trait is most likely a very strong survival strategy.

The n’kaf go about every task with the same diligence and as such, they are often employed in courthouses and space-traffic control.

History & Culture: In addition to their painstaking precision, the n’kaf have another interesting quirk, pertaining to their language; as the n’kaf lack vocal cords, their language is based on clicks and sonar pings, leading to their spoken language having little to no inflection. To the n’kaf themselves, this is not an issue, as their language also includes unspoken thermal cues, created by the speaker altering the blood flow round their body, in the n’kaf equivalent of body language. To other species, ones who use either translation software or telepathically-implanted understanding of the language, who don’t have the benefit of these thermal cues, the n’kaf voice comes out as a monotone, adding to their existing reputation as obsessive-compulsive bores.

The n’kaf also hold the record for having the most peaceful history of any Cynos species, with only one brief interstellar conflict on record, and that was started by the yowason. Other than this brief clash, the n’kaf have preferred to avoid conflict; perhaps their homeworld has instilled in them a healthy sense of self-preservation, and they would much rather not draw the attention of the big, stomping beast or the alien armada that happens to pass by, and which could wipe them out completely.

Surprisingly, the n’kaf do not produce much music, although this is perhaps due to the fact that their primary means of sensing the world is based on sound. Music would make it harder for them to sense the world around them, and put them in potentially dangerous situations which they wouldn’t be able to react to.

The n’kaf species is ruled by the Grantha Synod, voting for which takes place every six Sybal years.

The n’kaf have several polytheistic religions, with over 700 gods at the last count, although this figure will very likely increase in future, as they are exposed to the larger galaxy through the Cynos Union and need to find some new god to blame for when new things go wrong.

Evolution & Biology: The n’kaf are widely regarded as one of the two weirdest-looking sentient species within the Cynos, as their limb configuration is entirely backwards when compared to more humanoid species; each n’kaf walks on its front limbs, while its two lower appendages, technically it’s back limbs, act as fine motor manipulators. These long front legs give each individual n’kaf an astonishing turn of speed when needed, and it is once again unsurprising to see such an adaptation on a world as hostile as Sybal.

This limb configuration gives a clue to the nature of their evolutionary ancestors; the n’kaf are descended from creatures not unlike Earth bats, which evolved to a land-based existence.

Similarly to Earth bats, the n’kaf also have an adaptation which is unique amongst the member species of the Cynos; they are the only known sentient lifeforms to ‘see’ using sound instead of visible light. Evolving as they did on a planet orbiting a red dwarf star, with a central ring of misty storms running from pole to pole where traditional eyes are next to useless, the n’kaf instead use active sonar, generated by the large melon organ each n’kaf has in its head. This adaptation, combined with infra-red heat sensors running along each side of the head, gives the n’kaf a near perfect analogue of ‘vision’ within the dark, foggy climes of Sybal’s sacred ring.

Their unique physiology, with the arms set low down on the body, also precludes the use of handheld firearms. Because of this, n’kaf deployed into combat situations use a combination of back-mounted guns, with helmet-mounted IR laser targeting.

N'Kaf Stims: As the n’kaf see with a combination of sound and heat vision, and as sounds travels much slower than light, the n’kaf have evolved to use a particularly fast and efficient neurotransmitter within their nervous systems, so that they can react exponentially quicker to events than other species in the Cynos.

This has led to some unscrupulous criminal groups setting up illegal harvesting operations, whereby unsuspecting n’kaf are lured in, before having these neurotransmitters siphoned off. The result, n’kaf stims, are known to exponentially decrease the reaction times of someone using them, while making them move a lot faster.

They also, however, have the side effect of damaging and eventually destroying a large proportion of the user’s organs, with the most famous case of Stim abuse being former maglev racing champion Bradley Sinclair, who was stripped of his title and banned from racing, after being found using n’kaf stims during races.

Organs damaged by n’kaf stims (usually the heart, liver and kidneys, although other organs can also be affected) can, of course, be replaced through transplantation of healthy organs, but these practices are no longer allowed, under the Cynos Medical Council’s charter.

Because of this, a secondary industry has spring up around the n’kaf stim trade, that of black market organ transplants. Cynos Security is in the process of stamping out this trade, as well as the trade in n’kaf stims, which costs the lives of hundreds of innocent n’kaf every year.

Overview:The n’kaf enjoy good relations with every Cynos species bar one; there is no love lost between the n’kaf and the yowason, a situation that has extended back as far as the first contact meeting between the two species. The reason for this animosity is based on their individual biologies; n’kaf see and talk using high-pitched sounds, while yowason skin is unusually sensitive to the very same high-pitched frequencies, leading to a situation where n’kaf sight and speech can physically hurt the yowason. Curiously, however, this is seen as a positive thing by some yowason, who will actively seek out n’kaf who are willing to engage in what has been described by the yowason involved as “the best talking to you’ll ever get, baby!”

It was this that led to the brief conflict which engulfed both species, and without the intervention of the vossarulls, these two unique civilisations might not be here today.

Today, the two species enjoy more cordial relations with each other, as both have made a conscious effort to work with each other’s idiosyncrasies. This has led to a new understanding between these two unique lifeforms. It has also led to the founding of the first colony owned jointly by the yowason and n’kaf (as well as humanity, who got involved to help foster a tighter relationship with both species), the commerce-focused world of Kandul-4.