The history of the pirates and whalers the west, the Tahora Whai
Dynae, the home planet of the Tahora Whai was first colonized centuries before the creation of the Vāk and before the arrival of Humans to the sector. The planet was once a paradise world and the Teuthem system was home to the space fauna known as the Teuthemi Leviathans. Among the histories and mythologies of the Dynaean people and the Tahora Whai, the Teuthemi Leviathans and their song served as a beacon guiding people to the glorious planet of Dynae.
With the multitudes of people from far-flung planets and galaxies, competition for Dynae’s resources resulted in countless wars and conflicts on the planet. Political power ebbed and flowed between the warring states and they all left their marks on the world. From the arrivals of the first peoples and on through the tumultuous Glitch, conflict was a constant worry for Dynaeans. This era has been collectively titled the Age of Discordance, a time before the enlightenment of the Vāk.
Creation of the Vāk
During the periods of Dynaean Wars general respect for the local megafauna as dangerous but valuable resources in the Teuthem system. Whaling had been a common practice during this entire period, but it was not until The Great Migration brought a plethora of megafauna to Beacon Space that interest in the Tahora expanded. In year 1 of the Teuthemi Calendar (347 by Sector Reckoning) one noted researcher, Hakina Paraone, and their team discovered a means to replicate the song of the majestic Teuthemi Leviathans. The resulting technology was named the [[Vāk, or Voice, and allows for light-speed communication of thoughts and emotion between individuals. Transcending the restrictions of traditional conversation, a greater sense of empathy and community was quickly apparent with its users. In a matter of months, the researchers brought the technology to a community scale and it was widely adopted. However, the explosion in use of the Vāk also came with its detractors.
Dissidents, who were more often non-adopters, warned of a potential societal collapse and the possible dangers that connecting relatively untested and unproven cybernetics to one’s brain would fundamentally change, and perhaps, even erase one’s own personhood. In the year 6 of the Teuthemi Calendar, studies by the Vāk research team found that the cybernetics subtly resonated with the thought waves of local megafauna, but concluded that the effect was limited and could be completely mitigated with firmware updates. None-the-less, many alarmists overestimated this resonance, claiming that “science had gone too far” and that “a cult of whale worshipers had made thralls of the Dynaean people.” A cultural revolution was soon underway and the debate over the Vāk broiled in the public sphere.
Most, if not all, who utilized the Vāk quickly came to the conclusion that the wars over Dynaean and Tuethemi resources were petty squabbles motivated by simple and crude desires of power-hungry individuals. This framing positioned the detractors of the new technology as not simply Luddites, but as politicians clinging onto the power structures that facilitated their greed. In a matter of only a few years, what had been a discussion in the media over what this new technology could mean for social equality and transcendence of what it means to be part of a society turned into a full-scale war: The Final Dissonance.
The Final Dissonance
(c.10 - 27 Teuthemi) It likely began as physical harassment and assaults by gangs shortly after the widespread subsidization and adoption of Vāk cybernetics, developed into two opposing coalitions militarized to end the other. Those that would later be known as the Tahora Whai were the utilizers of the Vāk and proponents of the cultural and social revolution that the new technology facilitated. Opposing the Tahora Whai was a coalition of counter-revolutionary forces that included established political and government entities, religious organizations, and reactionary civil militias, all known collectively as The Discordant.
For a decade physical confrontations and propaganda battles were fought in the Teuthem system up until The Great Fleet Battle of Jōtun (which took place in the rings of Teuthem's smallest Ice Giant) in the year 27 decimated The Discordant. Most fled the system finding new homes amongst the stars, but a small handful hid themselves away on the planet plotting an ultimate last hurrah.
(28 Teuthemi c. 319 BD ) Exactly one Dynaean year after the Battle of Jōtun, counter-revolutionary agents in tunnels below Dynae’s greatest cities and in deep mines simultaneously detonated nuclear warheads deep beneath the surface. As shockwaves triggered chains of explosions in power stations and destroyed much of the planet’s infrastructure, millions of tons of dust and debris were unleashed into the atmosphere. Most notably, reactive salts that had been securely locked in the planet’s crust became aerosolized with the detonation. Resultant chemical reactions caused the desertification of much of the planet, poisoned the meager rains, and killed off keystone species. In a matter of moments, Dynae was forever changed. The dust filled air blocked out the light from the star, nuclear winter ravaged the planet, and climatic shifts destroyed Dynae's diverse lifeforms.
The people of Dynae, those that were unable to escape to orbit and beyond, faced the brunt of the devastation, wreaked by the Discordant’s final death-throes. Most turned underground into caves and mines, sealing themselves out from the toxic atmosphere, hoping that the rocks had not shifted overhead. It was in these hovels and homesteads that thousands of Dynaeans managed to weather the decades of storms and survive.
For many other planets, life in the post-apocalypse would have been a cut-throat world and scavenging tribes of rival gangs seeking to latch onto what little power was left to grasp at in the dust. However, two factors provided Dynae its salvation. First, the populace of the planet, using Vāk technology and the song lent heavily into its hard-as-nails roots and worked together propping each other up. Secondly, Dynae’s void-borne population of pirates and whalers could provide from their quarry amongst the stars the food and resources needed for bitter survival. These starship crews, formidable in their own right, were driven by a sense of solidarity and community with the Dynaeans trapped on the surface yearning to rebuild their world.
The reconstruction process would take several centuries to stabilize. One of the first projects undertaken by the Whai was the expansion of the orbital stations above Dynae and in the Teuthem system. Construction of long-term housing and increased amenities in the station Tinara, the de facto capital of Whai space. Multitudes of new Tahora in the sector resulted in a flourishing whaling industry and challenges to intersystem trade.
The Golden Age of Piracy
Known by others in Beacon space as The Beacon Wars, the Second Teuthemi Century provided many crews with ample targets for raiding and adventure. Several whai crews became quite notorious and were even commissioned as Privateers by warring factions. The efficacy of the letters of marque granted to Whai crews is often debated on the whole, but several notorious interventions and blockades by pirating fleets incontrovertibly swung the tide of battle. However, Whai fleets suffered much of the same lack of perceived reliability as mercenaries during this time. As each Whai and ship often operate wholly independently, few factions could organize enough simultaneous privateering contracts with Whai to prevent others from targeting them. The Machiavellian critique of mercenaries, although often overly broad and pessimistic, became the de facto argument against contracting Whai. Seen as opportunistic, undisciplined, and faithless only a handful of factions continued to involve pirates from sector-west in their conflicts.