Vratix

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Vratix
HomeworldThyferra
LanguageVratix language
Average Height1.5 to 2 meters
Skin colorGreenish-gray
Hair colorNone
DistinctionsSix limbs, insectoid, hermaphrodites, original bacta makers
Average lifespanChild: 1-12[1]
Young Adult: 13-19[1]
Adult: 20-79[1]
Middle Age 80-139[1]
Old: 140-174[1]
Venerable: 175+[1]
Known MembersList of known Vratix


Vratix are an insectoid race of sentient beings native to the planet Thyferra[2] . There they live in hives within the planet's vast rainforests, making their homes among the thick branches of the Gloan trees[3]. Sporting two long, triple-jointed arms and four legs on a mantis-shaped body, Vratix anatomy is biologically conducive for their life among the treetops. Natural-born healers, the Vratix are famous for combining alazhi and kavam extracts to make the potent healing solution known as bacta. They vastly outnumber the planet's human population, but are considered inferior to their corporate counterparts in the eyes of Thyferra's current rulers, the Galactic Empire[4].

Contents

Biology and appearance

The Vratix are sentient, quadrupedal arthropods. They have triangular head with two bulging compound eyes, no visible nostrils, and pincer-like mandibles. This sits upon a stalk-like neck which gradually broadens into a cylindrical thorax and abdomen, sprouting three very different pairs of limbs along the way. The upper set, positioned where the neck joins the thorax, are triple-jointed arms. At the end of each wrist is a long palm with three slender, skeletal digits: a thicker thumb and two fingers. The lower two pairs of limbs serve as legs. The foremost pair are thick and strong, making the Vratix capable of great leaps. They connect with the body just below where their ribs would be, were they to have a human anatomy. The posterior pair serve mostly to support the creature's large abdomen and are more stick-like in shape. They are located in the center of the abdomen. Most Vratix are grey and green in color, with the shades darkening with age[2].

When it first hatches, a Vratix stands just shy of 1 meter tall weighing around 30 kilograms (around 3' 3" and a little over 65 pounds). During its first few years, its height increases as its still soft exoskeleton grows rapidly. After ten years of constant growth, the Vratix's exoskeleton will lose its plasticity and become rigid. Its height, however will increase when it sheds its exoskeleton. By the time it is an adult, an average Vratix will be around 1.8 meters tall and have shed its carapace 2 to 3 times. An adult in prime physical shape is typically around 2 meters tall and will weigh between 180 and 230 kilograms (approximately 6' 6" and 400 to 500 pounds). In rare cases, elder Vratix have been known to exceed 2 meters in height.

The Vratix frame is adapted for an arboreal lifestyle. Its forelegs are sturdy and strong, allowing it to easily jump 3 meters vertically. The “elbow” joint of the Vratix’s foremost set of appendages is equipped with a large claw used for climbing. These two assets, combined with a heightened sense of speed[5], make Vratix natural and agile climbers.

The Vratix exoskeleton is sturdy, dry, and warm to the touch, some areas of the exoskeleton (lower thorax and abdomen) are slightly porous, allowing for a large amount of oxygen to enter directly into the Vratix’s circulatory system. “Inhaled” air then leaves the throat during speech and heavy exercise. Otherwise, air is "exhaled" leisurely back out its pores.

Chemical excretions

Aside from the air pores, the Vratix's lower exoskeleton has other microscopic openings that excrete three different chemicals: alazhi, kavam, and denin.

Alazhi: While the alazhi bacteria contains the vital chemicals used in bacta blending, Vratix produce this chemical naturally.
Kavam: this chemical mixture is also a product of the Vratix’s body.
Denin: A thin, translucent chemical that initiates color change during Vratix expression of emotion oro production of Vratix (the native language of the Vratix species).

While the Vratix do excrete the primary ingredients of bacta, they do not produce enough to make more than one or two milliliters of bacta per month. Bacta production for commercial use relies on large alazhi farms and bacta processing plants, where the xoorzi fungus' extract is blended with kavam in much greater quantities.

Historically, the discovery of their close bond with the healing chemical is what drove the Vratix to revere bacta. Seeing themselves as actual agents of bacta creation, the Vratix built a culture around the perfect blending of alazhi and kavam to make the most pure bacta for the greatest possible healing effect.

Speech & Language

The Vratix language is multi-modal and is called Vratix. It consists of high pitched sounds, along with clicking and trilling (buzzing) sounds interspersed, visually punctuating and co-occurring with either vocalizations, Vratix change their body color. Almost all Vratix can speak and understand Galactic Basic. Depending on the age at which they acquired Basic, some Vratix may have an “accent” of varying severity, their speech interspersed with clicks, buzzes, and high-pitched chirps. The complexity of the Vratix vocal apparatus sheathed in a long, armored throat is more than equipped to handle Galactic Basic. Many folds, muscles, and chambers go unused during non-Vratix production due to the relatively limited frequency range in normal Basic production. Due to this, their voice has an echoy, reverberating quality when speaking Basic.

The high-pitched sounds of Vratix, while normally indistinguishable to uninformed listeners, vary in tone, making up a majority of the variation in the language. In order to share their language with the galaxy, Vratix scale down the frequencies of words and emphasize the differences in consonant sounds (what would normally be the clicks, buzzes, and trills) while reducing tonal differences. Grammatically complex phrases in Vratix almost always have a visual component. Seeing as how these color changes can not be replicated by the rest of the galaxy, many phrases translated to Basic barely resemble the original phonetically. Due to its multifaceted structure, there is no true written form of Vratix. Thus, the only way to record the language is through high definition holograms. While impossible to produce by organics, some engineers claim a droid could be properly outfitted to accurately "speak" Vratix. This hypothesis is yet to be demonstrated to the galactic public.

Gender and reproduction

Vratix are hermaphrodites, only gaining a definite gender during mating. The gender a Vratix assumes during reproductive periods depends on their age relative to other members of their hive[6]. While personal identity (especially gender identity) falls to the wayside inside a hive, Vratix interacting with non-Vratix often designate themselves a consistent gender in accordance with galactic customs.

Society & culture

Due to their hive-centric nature, Vratix generally refer to themselves with plural pronouns. However, some Vratix who are separated from the hive for long enough will begin to speak in the singular. Unlike other hive mind creatures, Vratix do seem to be self-aware and can disambiguate their own accomplishments from those of their hive members. While not commonly observed, most Vratix can refer to themselves as individuals even while they are in their hives.

A Vratix relies heavily on their sense of touch for social interactions. It is a firmly held belief among the Vratix people that touch is the truest sense. While Vratix are equipped with large, compound eyes and sensitive antennae, they regard vision and sound to be inaccurate, as the perceiver is witnessing information produced in the past. Tactile information grants up to date feedback for the perceiver with no chance for intermediary interruptions. Vratix are generally a sociable species; they prefer all information to be delivered personally. They tend to greet other beings by touching the other being's face, shoulders and/or arms. This potentially awkward custom originates from the Vratix belief that touch is the most reliable sense, and that the eyes and ears can be fooled much more easily than the sense of touch. Additionally, Vratix possess a limited telepathy extending to those within their hive.

Even-tempered and logical, Vratix do not understand the arts. Music, painting, and sculpting are non-existent institutions in their culture. Hive architecture has been equated with beautiful craftsmanship, but in reality every facet of a hive serves a specific, practical function. Their most creative pursuits are performed by the verachen, or bacta-blenders. These individuals have mastered the skill of mixing kavan bacteria and alazhi extract to make bacta. Even in this practice, most Vratix regard bacta-blending as a duty and necessity, not an art form.

The Vratix also keep Knytix, a smaller insectoid species, as pets and for the creation of dwellings (their saliva is used to make a mud-like paste that is then dried to make bricks). The Vratix also eat the Knytix on certain occasions, when the owner of the Knytix offers his pet to another Vratix as a sign of high respect.

Government

A Vratix hive is led by a Canir, an elder Vratix who speaks for the hive during inter-hive meetings. In galactic politics, the hives appoint a High Canir to act as the chief representative of an entire planet’s worth of hives. While most hives are located on Thyferra (and are unified under a single High Canir) there are Vratix hives located outside the Polith system (See #Offworld Hives).

Introduced to the galaxy by the Thyferran medical group Zaltin Corporation shortly after the Galactic Empire's takeover of Thyferra in Year 5, the High Canir of Thyferran vratix has no presence in Tyferran politics. When Zaltin Corporation later disbanded, the High Canir went into hiding to evade the Empire’s continued pressure on the planet’s native inhabitants. Its whereabouts are not public knowledge.

Pacifism

Vratix are not a violent race, preferring trade and diplomacy over war. While minor squabbles have existed between hives, the prime opponent in Vratix diplomacy has been the human government and corporations on Thyferra.

The size and strength of the Vratix frame makes this race potentially very formidable on the battlefield. That said, their size and unusual shape does have its costs. Due to their large, elongated palms and three long fingers, Vratix have difficulty weidling a majority of the galaxy’s common blasters. While some weapons can be modified to accommodate Vratix hands, a majority of Vratix-accessible weaponry are rifles without trigger guards, heavy weapons, and personal, non-projectile weapons. In addition, the Vratix have two powerful natural weapons: their forelegs and their elbow claws. While only anti-Empire terrorist groups have been known to sharpen their elbow claws for combat, all Vratix are capable of kicking with enormous force.

Their carapace offers a strong, natural shield to physical attacks. Due to its unique shape, Vratix are essentially restricted to armor that protects the upper torso exclusively. Lower-body protection can only be achieved with the help of a skilled armorsmith.

Due to their size, a Vratix would be hard-pressed to attempt to fly most snub fighters and some small gunboats. Similarly, cramped vehicles like podracers, enclosed speeders, and most swoop bikes are difficult for a Vratix to sit comfortably.

History

The history of vratix in the galaxy starts with the introduction of human influence on Thyferra. How humans actually found Thyferra is unknown, however it can be assumed that the species' constant drive for expansion led them to explore and colonize any planet they found habitable. Their origins aside, humans interacted with Thyferra's native sentient species and learned of the healing powers of bacta. Humans coexisted with the vratix and soon created a planet-wide industry focused solely on the marketing and sale of bacta.

The Bacta Cartels

Once humans realized how profitable the bacta industry was, the entire workforce merged into at least two large companies: Zaltin Corporation and Xucphra Corporation. Over a very short period of time, Zaltin and Xucphra learned that they could share their galactic clientele. The two bought out every other competitor and eventually dominated the entire planet's economy. Wishing to ensure their domination of the bacta market, the two companies formed the "Bacta Cartel". This alliance lasted until the Imperial invasion of Thyferra in Year 5. Shortly after the occupation, Xucphra received substantial support from the Empire and heralded the end of the Bacta Cartel. This move crippled Zaltin's influence over the planet and, in turn, the galactic bacta market. The company dissolved shortly thereafter.

Offworld Hives

While a majority of the Galaxy's Vratix population resides on Thyferra, the following hives escaped their Polith centered brethren’s slavery and relocated to other areas of the galaxy.

Hive Name Planet System Sector Region Population
Squeegor Polordio II Polordio Danjar Outer Rim Territories > 2,000
Razzix Candoria Asteroid Belt Candoria Phu The Colonies > 2,000

References

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