Adruan

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The Adruan were a sentient aquatic species, native to the ocean-covered planet of Adru. Since Adru was the only naturally occurring source of laktum, the Adruan held great diplomatic sway during the time of the Valcarian Republic. At that time, they held tightly to their neutrality; however, a few farsighted Adruan occasionally broke their neutrality in secret, and arranged deals to help themselves.

Eventually, the laktum market disappeared and the galaxy abandoned the Adruan. It was not until the rise of the Valcarian Empire that the Adruan would have interaction with the galaxy again. Conquered by the Valcarians, the Adruan eventually repulsed the invaders and gained freedom.

Biology and appearance

As an aquatic species, the Adruan were very good swimmers. While their young needed water to survive, once they matured they were able to breathe air. They resembled anthropomorphic sting rays and had blue- or green-colored skin, which was patterned for underwater camouflage. Their mouths were bracketed by cephalic lobes that presumably directed plankton into their mouths. They tended to stroke these during conversation, analogous to the Human habit of stroking facial hair, such as moustaches. Their large, gullet-like throats may have contributed to the sloshing gurgling sounds of an Adruan's voice. In this case, an Adruan's throat may have been filled with water.

All members of the Adruan race had retractable, venom-tipped claws. The use of these claws in any form of combat or attack was considered dishonorable and a sign of madness; to do this was to give in to animal instincts unbecoming of a sentient species. When the Adruan at Komina Station were driven insane by the First One, they abandoned this belief and used their claws to strike down Republic technicians.

The First One was a large female dridalum shark, who was seen as something of a deity to the Adruan, and believed to be their evolutionary ancestor. If that origin was true, than the smaller non-sentient dridalum sharks must have been related to the Adruan. The First One had the ability to let out a sonic wailing, causing both dridalum sharks and Adruan to go insane; she used this ability to turn Adruan scientists against Valcarian Republic forces at the Komina Rift. This was an attempt to disable the laktum Harvester used by the Republic. A Valcarian scientist later commented that, the Adruan "were like children, coming to protect their mother."

Society and culture

With the formation of the Valcarian Republic, the Adruan did not join, but adopted a policy of strict neutrality. Many millennia later, their planet was allowed to keep this neutrality intact due to the advantageous position granted to them by their monopoly on the supply of laktum. Laktum, produced solely on Adru, was a liquid that contained unique healing properties. When the liquid was applied to wounds it increased the healing rate, and patients could even be immersed in it in special tanks for greater effect. During conflicts, the Adruan threatened to cut off the supply of laktum, unless both sides respected their neutrality. The Adruan were extremely serious about their neutrality and would go to great lengths to preserve it.

This neutral zone was maintained through strict security laws, enforced by the Kinba City Civil Authority. If either side were to break even the least of their laws, harsh sanctions were imposed, including withholding laktum or huge fines to the offending side. Individuals who disturbed the peace were often executed or imprisoned.

The Adruan maintained only one surface settlement, Kinba City. This floating city served as the meeting place between Adruan and offworlders, and facilitated the export of laktum. The Adruan themselves preferred to live in underwater settlements, known as 'pods'. These pods were restricted to offworlders, and little was known of them. They were filled with air, not water. The closest pod to Kinba was the Foron pod.

The native language of the Adruan was Adruish, which despite its gurgling sound, could be learned by non-Adruan.

History

Valcarian Republic

While they maintained official neutrality, many Adruan were sympathetic towards the Republic. Some officials set up a deal with the Republic to secretly mine extra laktum from the Komina Rift. The plan went horribly wrong when the station disturbed the First One, a giant dridalum shark, that drove the Adruan insane, causing them to kill anything that moved.

Roughly a century after the Battle of Conkolith Prime, the use of laktum dried up, and the influence of the Adruan waned as foreign groups abandoned Adru. They tried to join the Valcarian Republic at this point, but their petition was rebuffed. This caused the proud Adruan to withdraw from galactic affairs and to swear to never again seek to join with offworlders. Within another hundred years, the Adruan had reverted to primitive ways. Warlords with no recollection of Adru's former prosperity fought amongst themselves, fragmenting the Adruan into tribal clans. Within another century, the Adruan had disappeared from the galactic consciousness.

Valcarian Empire

By the time the Valcarian Empire came to power, few citizens knew Adru existed. However, the Emperor knew of its existence and sent an expeditionary force to the planet. They attacked the Adruan and used aquatic troops to raid underwater cities. Having fallen into a much more primitive society, the Adruan were frightened by the advanced weapons and many surrendered. The Valcarians then revived Kinba City for use as a resort complex. The Valcarian Empire drew all Adruan from the depths, and forced them to live in floating villages around Kinba City. They were enslaved and used to clean Kinba City and serve food to pampered guests. The Valcarian Empire even killed some Adruan to use in special gourmet meals, targeted at Ateda palettes. As in many other instances of planetary exploitation, the Empire polluted the oceans of Adru and wrecked the environment. They also made some use of the limited laktum available, which was used as a less effective alternative to contemporary medicine and technology.

Adruan in the Galaxy

The importance of Adru catapulted the Adruan into galactic importance. However, most Adruan seemed to remain on their homeworld. Some prestigious Adruan were the members of the Kinba High Court, who fulfilled an important function in civil life. These judges also played political roles, although they were often divided in their beliefs.

Eventually, however, all contact was lost with the Adruan when the laktum supply disappeared, and the Valcarian Republic abandoned Adru. Major contact was only re-established with the arrival of the Valcarian Empire. However, in the years prior to this, some Adruan did venture offworld.