Technologies of the Whai
While classically scavengers and raiders, the Tahora Whai are also have a knack for creating their own gadgets. Dynaean technologies (and thus many Whai technologies influenced by them) by-and-large are bespoke, custom made, artisan and heirloom products. Mass-production is rare unless there is ready access to automation and abundant materials. The bones and other body parts of Tahora are typically integrated into tools, armor, and vehicles for their unique properties or to evoke the power and spirit of the great beasts. Whale bone is commonly used in spacecraft as it requires less refining and is often superior to conventional metals for use in the void. Whai tech is, however, often not made from scratch. Instead equipment is often salvaged, reclaimed, raided, stolen, and sometimes traded. A jury-rigged and scavenged ethos derived from a time of necessity pervades almost all that is found among the Whai.
Whai equipment and tools are highly personalized things. They are as often adorned and illustrated as the bodies of the Whai themselves. Personalization may include the adding and use of charms, scrimshaw, ink, paint, carvings, inlay, gemstones, knotwork, patinas, plating, etching, engraving, and embroidery. Some have commented that this practice of decoration is a way of masking its previous owner, but to the Whai it is adding a new chapter to the piece’s story and allowing its provenance to shine through rather than hide it. A highly decorated, but used and maintained, tool or device is regarded as a prized possession.
Cybernetics are an integral part of the Tahora Whai. [Vāk and Erinaa|The Vāk]] implants are ubiquitous among the Whai, but it is nearly always the case that Whai have other augmentations and enhancements.
The nature of these cybernetics varies from species to species, and from user to user, but generally consists of some Tahora blood (or synthetic analog) and electrical components. Some alien species cybernetics are fully bio-mechanical while others are only wires and silicon. Before the Vāk, the planet Dynae was one of the sector’s preeminent cybernetics hubs. Military, industrial, and civilian cybernetic augmentations and enhancements designed for ranges of sentient bodies were widely produced on the planet. What knowledge and facilities that survived the Great Cataclysm have continued production and development with the Tahora Whai.
Cybernetic Enhancements common among the Whai:
- Communication Implants, The Vāk, Wrist computers, Holotech, and AR Lenses
- Information and memory storage
- Sensory Suites for visual enhancement, atmospheric sniffers
- Prosthetics and organ replacements
- Exoskeletons and amplified muscles
- Concealed Weapons
- Other cybernetics
Visible on all Whai bodies are the characteristic tattoos of the west. The physical representation of Whai tattoos are species dependent. While traditionally described with the language of ink-based skin art, the tattoos of the Tahora Whai may manifest as imbedded lights, pheromones, scars, and sonic signatures. These shapes, smells, and sounds are often copied onto one’s clothing or armor so that they can proudly project their identity and personal history.
Tattoo artistry is a deeply respected art as the skill doesn’t come simply from a steady hand and fine craftsmanship, but are viewed as a seers who can pierce through the physical body, draw forth one’s internal nature and indelibly mark it on one’s skin. Without connecting via a neural link, taking the measure of another Whai takes all but a glance at the other’s ink.
- “Without the link, they may speak silently via their ink.” -- an anthropologist of the Tahora Whai
As all Whai are individuals, the reasons one might adorn themselves with tattoos vary:
- Symbols of Achievement and personal journey. While much of Whai society is centered around the technological marvel of the Vāk and the Erianaa, the Whai tattoos reflect an individual’s life.
- Aesthetic enjoyment
- They are often reflections of an internal spirit and character, perhaps aspirational in nature
- Signs of social standing, if rightfully earned.
Weapons and Arms
The dangers of the Rangi have led the Whai to lives of piracy and plunder. A key part of these engagements is the famous ‘boarding action’. Narrow confines of ships and stations encourage unique tactics and related weapons that have been perfected by the Whai.
A precise typology of the arms carried by the Whai would do disservice to the vast array of weapons created by the Whai. Each weapon is a tool often crafted for its user, and classification is an imprecise art.
- Axes - Tomahawk, Shark-toothed Club, Boarding Axe
- War Clubs - Patu, Wahiaka, Mere Pounamu
- Staves and Maces - Taiaha, Makila
- Swords - Saber, Cutlass, Seax, Tapanga Machete
- Knives - Mono-blades, Suit-rippers
- Spears and Harpoons, including Spearguns
- Hook and Chain weapons (kusigrama, et al.)
- Scatter Guns/Shotguns/Boarding Guns
- Tailor made for narrow hallways and cramped quarters of boarding actions
- Versatile ammunition - ball shot of various gauges, slug, flechette, sand, explosive, etc.
- Carbines, Bullpups, & Repeaters
- Small-profile and light-weight rifles for compact spaces and quick movement.
- Often chambered in high-velocity intermediate or pistol calibers
- Machine Pistols, Sub-Machine-Guns, and Light Machine Guns
- Rapid firing weapons
- Complexity of these munitions makes them rare, with few indigenous designs.
- Often finicky with unique quirks and operations, If you don’t have access to the gunsmith that designed and made it, best to avoid for your own well being.
- Few indigenous weapons of this type are made
- Pistols & Hand Cannons
- Large caliber or Magnum cartridges
- Slow-firing but deliver a weighty punch
- Revolver mechanisms are common, if dated
- Void Carbines & Rocket-Rifles
- Designed for use in zero-g and airless environments
- Launches a miniature rocket at the target
- Rounds are sometimes equipped with rudimentary guidance systems to steer towards their targets
- Energy weapons and Gauss Rifles
- Few Whai have the cybernetics and physical fortitude to wield the heavy and power-hungry energy weapons, gauss rifles, and rail-guns
- The power plants and exoskeletons required for these weapons is equivalent to a suit of conventional power armor
Explosives, Other Weapons, and Martial Tools
- Stun Grenades and Flashbangs
- Limpet Mines
- War Drums and Horns
Ships and Vehicles
The practice of scrapping and salvages is visible in the ships and fleets of the Tahora Whai. Repurposing and retrofitting old vessels for new uses is common, with many sector standard hulls looking nigh unrecognizable after a Whai mechanic has done their repairs and ‘improvements’. Not simply bodging disparate parts together, some technicians will incorporate biological components--typically bones and organs collected from Tahora--to augment and enhance a ship’s capabilities. Much like the tattoos of the Whai, no two crew’s ships are alike; the form and function of a Whai vessel will reflect the nature of its occupants. Nevertheless, many of the tools for pirate ships and whalers are similar enough to serve dual purposes in a pinch. The shared utility of harpoons, tethers, signature reduction (aka cloaking) devices, nets, and other munitions make discerning the intent of a Whai ship merely on sight a fraught encounter. Ship styles vary considerably from salvaged commonwealth freighters, to bespoke Tahora inspired bio-framed frigates, to jury-rigged scrap ships that can just about keep their atmosphere. Many of these vessels were built, retrofitted, assembled, or simply passed through the large dock-yards of Ulfbert Magnus over Dynae.
- Waka: literally meaning “canoe” is a generic name for any whai longship. These craft are typically outfitted with tools and weapons that can be used for both whaling and piracy.
- Waka Hourua: A migratory canoe, a waka specialized in long distance travel and tracking of elusive fauna. Craft like these are said to have brought the first peoples to the Beacon and followed the Tahora to Dynae.
- A fleet of these ships famously discovered most of the modern Rangi (before being lost over Telas)
- Dreki: "Dragon" a whai ship outfitted and armored for war. These ships are rare as the Whai typically hide under the guise of whalers or as mere opportunistic pirates when out on raids.
- Ghorāb: literally meaning crow or galley, these are large longships or ’gunboats’ from the planet Puluhan. While used as a trading ship in peace time, a Ghorāb may bristle with guns and turrets.
- The Black Ghorāb was a small fleet of ships gifted to the Whai by the naval forces of Puluhan after the taming of the Antaboga over the world.
Atmospheric requirements and power sources are all constraints unique to each planet. However, much of the same ethos of the Dynaean scavenger is used in other Whai worlds.
- Gyroplanes and Autogyros
- Land yachts, light-weight carts with large sails common around the salt-flats of Dynae
- Mechs, although there are few Whai mech builders. Most mechs used by the Whai are plundered martial models or civilian loaders up-armored for point defense and security.
- Sand Schooners - Large vehicles, typically wheeled or tracked, used as mobile homes and refuges on the surface of Dynae
Ship Weapons and Equipment
Ship equipment often serves dual purposes for both whaling activities and piracy.
- Lasers Batteries, Plasma Beams, Particle Cannon
Physical and Projectile Weapons
- Harpoons, Torpedoes, Railguns, Flak Emitters
- Nets and Tractor Beams
- Signal Jammers, Emissions Dampeners,
- Fighters, Scouts, Boarding ships, Tenders, Lifeboats
- Astronavigation, VI assisted links (The Gam), Sub-system management
- [See more below in Virtual Intelligences]
Stations and Settlements
Much like their ship counterparts, space stations are equally cobbled together and jury-rigged enterprises. While often built around a stable core or foundation, many stations experienced rapid expansion to counter overcrowding. Cargocontainers, ships, and all manner of space debris can be found fuzed to the core, forming a sprawling station. As a result, most stations in the Rangi have limited artificial gravity and decentralized infrastructure.
When many whai are found over a world or in a system, it is common for Erianaa relay facilities to be installed to amplify and improve local links.
- Tinara - The largest station over Dynae. Built around a central spire with 5 counter-rotating rings. Rapid expansion following the cataclysm of Dynae stopped two of the habitation wings to accommodate additional living spaces.
- Styarnaby - The sister station to Tinara, was not expanded as rapidly as Tinara and resembles an old Dynaean station.
- Ulfbert Magnus - Dynae’s largest dockyards built out of an old military base.
- Kanisthaou and Canala 6 - The heavily populated moon of Dynae focused around the prosperous refueling station of Canala 6 at its heart.
- Hvalakokari - A whaling station over the ice giant Paikea, in Teuthem.
- Voo 6 - A deep space station built around a sealed vault.
- Karang Belt Stations - Little way-stations, beacons, and lighthouses to help the Whai navigate the dust, rocks, and void-snakes of Nusantara’s belt.
- Polyantha - The first moon of Rosebud and a local resort.
- Relic’s Harbor - Research station recently built over Langgan, has expanded into a sprawling network of neighborhoods and ‘suburbs’
- Dave - Refueling depot and supply hub in Kuafu. Serves as a last stop for many whalers and explorers in the west.
Terrestrial settlements follow a similar form to Whai space stations. They are typically built out of a foundational ship or prefabricated colony core but expanded in an ad-hoc fashion. Geodesic City One on Dynae is a prime example of one of these central structures. Depending on the local conditions expansions may take the form of a warren of subterranean tunnels, scavenged structures transplanted in place, or masonry buildings using local rock. Little grand planning or elaborate schemes are created for new settlements. Instead, the growth of cities is incremental rather than revolutionary. Services and infrastructure are added when they are needed rather than aspirationally.
Computer systems are a common part of the efficient management of modern life and facilitate Whai society and their technologies. Onboard ships, stations, and in settlements, these VI, or Virtual Intelligences expedite daily operations. They help compile the chores and duties required and monitor what gets done and what doesn’t as not everyone can be an adventurer all at once. Following many pre-glitch precepts of how to develop and implement computer intelligences, the Whai have hard breaks and governors on their virtual intelligences. Successor mandate institutions, like Rosebud’s Meigui Mandate look kindly on how the Whai treat and limit their virtual intelligences to prevent the catastrophic consequences of unbraked or ‘true AI.’
- Translation and Speech Synthesis. Common to communication across species and cultures.
- Interpretation, transmission, and reception of ideas and thoughts to peers as part of the Vāk
- Facilitating group decision making via The Gam
- Starfinding and Navigation, aka Astronavigation
- Ship and station resource allocation, troubleshooting, and maintenance
- Surveillance and Advanced Sensors
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