(from Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 11467)
The Akann System is a largish solar system comprising five habitable planets out of seventeen satellites, all of which are populated. Twenty standard years ago a warp-capable ship was launched from the nominal capital of Velette. The ship successfully completed it's voyage to a neighbouring star system and was beginning a survey when First Contact was made. This lecture will teach you the basics of Akanese culture.
Sentient life in the Akann system (the Akanese) began on one planet, now the capital world of Velette. Around two thousand years before First Contact was made, the inhabitants of Velette were driven almost to extinction by a disaster still largely unknown. Before the Great Devastation, Akanese tech was on par with Federation tech.Though it is unknown if they had achieved warp travel. It is considered unlikely, however.
There are bits and pieces, some records left over of the Great Devastation. Not much. The chain of disasters wasn't caused by wars or conflicts. Accounts of the Great Devastation strongly suggest that it was a pandemic of some kind, but whether it affected the Akanese or the less sentient creatures, or perhaps plant life is still a matter of conjecture. Whichever way it went, it was those who kept the people alive, rationing food, maintaining quarantine zones, burning out the infected who carried power in those decades and the centuries to follow. Carried because it was given to them. Grateful survivors built palaces for those who had orchestrated their survival and monuments to those who had died trying. Power attracts and breeds power. Holdings and legacies stayed in the hands of select families. Families to extended families to Clans, heroes to ancestors to Nobility. The Imperium was born in cheers and accolades.
The Imperium was ruled ruthlessly by the Nobility. Ordinary citizen society was much the same as Terran countries around the 20th or 21st century. They had jobs, governments, courts, laws. Any and all of this, however, was subject to immediate and arbitrary veto by any of the ruling class. For example: a citizen-owner could walk into his office to find a Warrior at his desk. He would be instantly jobless and penniless, with no recourse, legal or otherwise. The Courts had no jurisdiction over the Nobles. Should he not accept his fate with enough eagerness and humility, he could even lose his life.
There is a saying on Velette, "Beware the mouse who learns to sit up and count noses.". This may have had it's origin in the Bloodless Revolution. Though not entirely accurate it adequately describes the primary weapon of the Citizens in defeating the Warriors of the Imperium. They cut off the cash flow. By this point, the Clans had evolved (or more correctly devolved) into a parasitic dependence on the Citizenry. Even their training in combat was mostly ceremonial. The real fighting was almost always done by disgraced Clans that had lost their Fiefdoms. As a way of marking them and their descendants as fallen, they were genetically marked with a pattern of black patches on the sides of their faces. Though some of them gained employment as bodyguards or household troops, the bulk of then turned to banditry or attempted to hide out in remote areas of the planet. Far from being insignificant, as most of the Warriors labelled them, these outcasts would be rather influential in the years that followed.
In 1887 AC, Jahn Talock, a Citizen of past middle years and well-loved by his employees, arrived at work to find a young Chalock had taken his company. There is no record of what he did to draw the Warrior's ire. What is known is that the he was killed within minutes of arriving at his desk. Old hat, really. The fact that the Clansman was unexpectedly swarmed by Talock's employees and almost literally torn apart - now, that was new. And it began the "Bloodless" Revolution. Before too long, other family firms, hoping to avoid Talock's fate, hired what mercenary forces they could and closed the doors.
One of the smartest things they did was to announce a blanket amnesty for prior offences to anyone who came to help. Clanless warriors answered the call in the thousands. Imperial Warriors made a misguided attempt to intimidate the Citizens by destroying any company they could take, root and branch. Misguided as all they managed was to push more and more Citizens into this strangest of revolutions. And though the dissolution of the Imperium would take many more years, the outcome was now quite inevitable.With no source of income, the Clans turned on each other. Remember, the best of the merchant families had shut their doors and the guards they hired were more than a match for what numbers the Imperial Warriors could muster. But the other Clans... their troops were no better trained than any Clansman. This was the end of the Imperium. Not by conquering, but by cannibalizing itself for a few scraps of food and money.
When the Citizens took power, they reestablished a people's government. The new system was both a democracy and a meritocracy. At least at first. And not for everybody. The warriors were imprisoned by the new regime almost immediately. With the Imperium gone, they did not want any chance of it being re-created. Warriors, no matter their allegiance were locked up on suspicion. This split, once it settled in solidly, grew into a Caste system.
There are many theories as to why the Caste system developed as it did. The most likely is that the disenfranchised Clans largely went mercenary, hiring themselves out to the rising merchant families. In time, the scarification process of the masterless warriors became the norm. In an effort to prevent another Imperium, the new ruling class outlawed the Clans and stripped the old Nobility of the right to carry family names. As the decades turned into centuries more injunctions followed. Nobles could not hold public office, nor vote. Eventually they would be proscribed from any employment not connected to the practice of battle. Far fallen from the power they once held, the remnants of the Clans became slave-soldiers. The Ottoman Empire of Old Terra once held such troops. They were called Janissaries.
Rogue Janissaries would jump ship on any of the harvesting worlds, forming small, hidden colonies. These would become the core of the rebellion and later civil war. This time, the Janissaries had all the aptitude on their side. The Citizens had wealth, power and the technological edge. The circumstances were very similar to the Citizens and Clans of the Imperium and the result of this Rebellion was almost as predictable.
Almost. Not quite, though. Led by three generals of both sides in the conflict, ni Varick, le Talock (the universe is ironic) and Kelem, the armies stopped short of crushing the Citizen's capital. The pendulum swing of oppressor to oppressed and back was, for the first time, losing it's momentum. Though relationships between the two were by no means smooth... and still aren't... a new spirit of tolerance was emerging.
It has been around fifty years since the end of the Naruskian-Velette Civil War. Tensions were still high between the two major planetary powers of the Akann system. The lightspeed drive was meant to be a project to heal, draw the two sides from the worlds they huddled on and lead them into a more lasting peace.
The list of capable officers proposed to lead the first journey beyond the home system was a short one. When General Jana ni Varick threw his name into the hat, though, there was little doubt who would be at the helm of the intergalactic ship. Ni Varick was a Janissary, the nominal winner of the war and filled the victor's need to spearhead the project. His reputation as a tactician satisfied the xenophobes that their home system would be protected. And his capacity for mercy during the conflict, arguably the pivotal voice in establishing the first cease-fire, provided the Citizens with a commander they could somewhat support. The crew would be drawn from both sides. When the drive proved successful, far more of the galaxy was opened up to them than was thought possible. The arrival of a Federation First Contact Team solidified the power base of the new System Governors, enabling them to sign the first of a series of treaties.
Ni Varick was once again offered command of the ship the Alliance would field. He spent some time observing and serving as an officer and tactical physicist aboard the Federation's U.S.S. Redemption under Captain Tyler Cross. When he left Cross' service to take the helm of the U.S.S. Copenhagen (named after a place that featured prominently in Old Terra's scientific history) he adopted a new taken name, Xosse, in honour of his Captain and friend.
Today the crew comprises the command of an immense starship, constructed by Starfleet engineers with the assistance of the best the Two World's Alliance has to offer. Their mission is to serve Starfleet Admiralty, training for the day when the Two Worlds Defence Fleet is launched and those of the officers who qualify take the reins of their own ships.
Akanese are bipeds, taller than Terrans. Their eyes are uniformly black with no discernible iris. They have a rather unique appearance due to the large air vessels just under the skin. Skin colour varies from light grey, blue or purple to black. Hair is thick on the heads of both sexes and males' faces. They live about 250 years. Offspring are usually born twinned. Though genetic scarification is no longer used, the mark still breeds true in the Janissaries' children.
One of the more unusual attributes of Akanese physiology is that they molt. Well, not so much in the same way that snakes do. As an Akanese gets older, skin darkens and thickens while hair progressively lightens. At the end of this cycle (usually 12-15 Terran years) the old skin cracks and peels off like that of a fruit rind. Underneath the Akanese is totally bald and very much lighter of tone. Oxygenation of the skin and exposure to UV rays darkens the skin a little in the first few days after a peel. Hair regrows rather quickly, starting off dark. And the cycle begins again.
Additionally, Akanese lifespans are measured by Peels. First Peel is a child, Second Peel, an adolescent (and an Akanese's psychic abilities manifest during this cycle) and an adult at Third Peel. The oldest Akanese on record lived into her Fifteenth Peel.
As a side benefit, much damage is regenerated under the Rind, even up to regeneration of fingers, ears, eyes and even hands or feet.