The Skunktaur Archipelago is the adopted home of the Skunktaur race. It is situated in the equatorial regions of Chakona, roughly to the West of Flinders Continent.
The Archipelago is a cluster of islands of varying sizes. The largest being roughly half of Earths Australia and the smallest going into surfaces of about 50 square metres.
The Archipelago is prominently dominated by splendid coral reefs, the most important one the northernmost Crimson Reef.
The Archipelago is populated mainly by Skunktaurs, though many other morph spieces, Chakat, Foxtaurs or even Humans make their home there.
So far, every settlement on the Archipelago is based and integrated with some form of industrial productivity or has been planned to hold another purpose.
For instance, Curtisport was founded to take care of commerce and tourist travel, from here all imports and exports are coordinated. Likewise every tourist who wants to visit the Archipelago will find himself landing in Curtisport first.
The Archipelago Consists of many Islands, though only a few are populated. Many islands are kept unpopulated on purpose to preserve the unique ecological balance.
To the north of the Archipelago, spanning almost along the entire lenght, lies the Crimson Reef. This is probably the finest natural highlight of the Archipelago and is home to many different species of sea-creatures. The reef can be seen from miles away, due to its distinct color. The exact nature of the reef is still under research by many marine biologists.
Just under the Reef lies the Island of Newolland. From here the research of the Reef is coordinated and quite an impressive Marine Biology research facility has grown near the beach; Newolland Marine Biology Centre. Its work is closely tied with Dewclaw University on Flinder's Continent.
Newolland itself has only one settlement called The Glades.
Further south lies the largest and main island of the Archipelago: Mephitus.
Mephitus is crowned by a huge sweet-water lake named Chakat Lake, in honor of the Chakat who liberated them.Like all islands, Mephitus is covered in lush tropical forests with the occasional rock outcropping. There are no high mountains in the entire Archipelago, though the southeast edge of Mephitus hosts an impressive cliffside.
Mephitis has three settlements:
Curtisport in the north;
New Bletchley to the northwest of Lake Chakat;
And Redpaws, southeast of Lake Chakat and the first Foxtaur village in the Archipelago.
To the east of Mephitus lies ::unknown:: a stretched island with a huge white beach along its east side with a nice view of one of the many coral reefs surrounding the Archipelago. As of yet there is one dwelling on this island called ::unknown::, situated on the side nearest to Mephitus.
Further down south lies ::unknown::, this is the southernmost island in the Archipelago. Two settlements are founded here though one of them is the 'obligatory' Federation StarFleet/StarCorps base. Many of the inhabitants of the Archipelago who choose to enroll into either will go here for their base training and education. The places are called:
::unknown base:: on the west side of the island;
::unknown village:: opposite of the base, on the west side of the island.
Lastly to the east lies a group of three islands who are bunched together, their name is ::unknown::. Two of them are inhabited, but the third is kept in as pristine a shape as possible. This last island is home to a group of mammals known as Barclay's Wolf and is off limits to anyone except the scientists who are trying to study the Barclay's Wolf in general and who are trying to determine wether or not the seclusion has caused them to develope differently than their 'mainland' relatives.
The island to the north is home to the town of ::unknown::; The island to the southwest is home to the town of ::unknown::.
Political and Social Structure.
Since the Archipelago is situated on Chakona, its inhabitants adhere to the laws and codes set by the Chakat after they founded their first city. The general Political structure of Chakona can be read in Bernard Dooves 'Introduction to Chakat'.
The Archipelago has its own local Council located in New Bletchley. Like most provinces on Chakona, this is little more than a formal office. There is also a Justice seat located in the same building, all matters that can't be settled privately or locally are taken here.
Overall, the Skunktaur Archipelago runs the same course as the rest of the planet, legally, socially and politically.
On social notes there is a slight difference.
Each town and city that has been built was planned, having a specific purpose in mind. Usually these towns are integrated with workshops and other production facilities, products rangeing from simple tools to entire starship parts like engines.
The detailed accounts to Skunktaur society is given in the chapter 'Social and Political standings of the Skunktaur'.
Schooling is provided for everyone in these settlements, and special training is also provided for skunktaur childred to teach them how to use their powers well and wisely. Everyone who is old enough or wants to has a job working in one place or another and if you're without a suitable position is soon found.
Like stated, every town or city on the Archipelago is integrated with some form of productivity. This can be anything from household products to Starship engineparts. And not every town produces the same product continually, since workshops and factories can be adapted to produce something else within a day.
The entire Archipelago can actually be seen as one big centre of productivity. Orders are put into business offices in Curtisport and from there the work is divided amongst the different towns. The end products are then sent to Curtisport for final shipping. Of course, when a town needs certain products for itself, then these are quickly assembled locally.
It's necesarry to note that Skunktaur productivity is not at all stressfull on the environment. In a workplace where the combined telekinetical powers of the crew can slot a 5 ton engine into its place with millimetre margin, detrimental tools such as heavy trucks and cranes are uneccesary.
Also new methods of production are developed and discovered every day, not just for use in the Archipelago, but for anyone who wishes to use them.
Skunktaurs are very proud of their handiwork and put in meticulous efforts to produce the best they can. Everything from the Archipelago therefor comes with a lifetime guarantee, one you won't need to call on.
The only exceptions to this sofar are Curtisport, New Bletchley, Redpaws and the Federation Base.
Curtisport is the biggest city on the Archipelago and is centered on being the axis for import and export as well as being the general Customs for any tourist or traveller to and from the Archipelago. Its position is also on the side of the Archipelago easiest to reach by boat and closest to Flinder's Continent. Trying to reach the Archipelago from a different location, specially by boat, would upset or even destroy much of the reefs around it. Curtisport is a bustling city with lots of hotels and businesses.
New Bletchley was founded to be the 'capitol' of the Archipelago and serves at a Government/Student city. It houses the Counsil and the archipelago branch of the Justice department.. As well as many research facilities and the Twinstripe University of Crafts. This University offers a broad range of technical educations and courses. Most facilities work in close contact with the T.U. and the university itself works closely with the Dewclaw University.
It is also here that most of the new developements in environmentally safe, physically safe and improved methods of production are researched.
It is not uncommon for Engineering students to spend their education in Dewclaw for their theoretical base, then transfer to Twinstripe for practical classes and finish their education with an internship in one of the many facilities in New Bletchley. This kind of closely knitted education has earned Chakona the label of offering the finest Engineering education available.
Redpaws is in this list because it's not a Skunktaur settlement. It's home to a Foxtaur Clan who has recently moved to the Archipelago. They live their lives according to the law on Chakona, but mostly secluded like most Foxtaur clans. Their hunter/farmer lifestyle has given them a close bond to nature and the Clan had decided to take care of the surrounding forests and act as inofficial rangers shortly after they settled in. Foxtaur patrollers set up small lodges for hikers along trails and for themselves if they found themselves still out and about at dusk. The storages are always kept filled up.
Lately the counsil in New Bletchley has decided to offer the Foxtaur Rangers an official appointment, as increased tourism could mean a heavier burden on the forests. Not to mention more trouble as tourists sometimes have the tendency to pick the wrong trail. Due to this, a Rangerstation has been set up in Redpaws and the Foxtaurs now have official authoroty to act when something is wrong.
The Federation Base is part of the membership of Chakona in the Federation itself. Some Federation forces are based here to provide for the protection as well as being able to 'keep an eye' on this young pionier planet. Also, a training facility for young cadets is incorporated into the base as the surroundings provide for a good basis to train certain survival skills
While obtaining Visa and permits for Tourism and hiking is usually easy, there is one time a year when the Skunktaur Archipelago enforces a strict number of permitted visitors. This is on the 15th of January (Terran Date) during the three day Freedom Celebrations. The festivities are held across the galaxy, wherever there are Skunktaurs to celebrate, though most try to get home for the occasion because the celebrations are greatest on the Archipelago. Mates and other people invited by families are usually permitted to enter, but all other tourists must make sure they have a special Visa of wich there is only a limited number available. This to keep some sense of order and to prevent the islands to be flooded with people. The festivities centre mostly round Curtisport and New Bletchley with a special 'surprise' held at Chakat Lake on the last day.
Chakat visitors and psychicly active species are given a special headband when they enter the Archipelago, usually this is supplied with the Tour booking or the Visa itself. The headband is woven with strands of a special alloy in it which has a certain psychic ommStarblocking characteristic. This because every Skunktaur has the ability to form an empathic bond with hys brothers, within a certain 'psychic range'. Because this works as a 'relay' every Skunktaur feels the buzz of a legion of Skunktaurs around hym, or even on the other side of a city. To hym this is absolutely natural and often soothing and Skuntkaurs can even 'pick' certain signals belonging to close friends, relatives and even mates. However, Skuntaurs also form a one-way bond with Chakat, sending hys signals to hir, including everything relayed, but not sensing hirs. The Chakats mind would be flooded with input. Also shi could inadvertantly begin to use the mental powers of the Skunktaurs around hir, since on an island filled with skunktaurs the 2:1 ratio is easily met. Other psychicly active species could be affected in the same, or even a worse way. Walls of hotels and private rooms are also lined with the same material for privacy.
The Archipelago has a fine infrastructure for traveling, though not yet as extensive as on Flinder's Continent.
Buses Travel regularly between Curtisport and New Bletchley, though personal transport can be rented if you wish to travel further.
There are regular ferries that travel inbetween islands and most ports also service 'express fare' to single target islands, which you can use instead of a ferry that visits each port in turn.
Each town and village also has a small aircraft field just outside its limits, these are usually used for shipping goods, but can also be used for personal travel. With the only exception the pad near Redpaws wich is only to be used for supplies and emergencies.
In the worst case, the Archipelago hosts the same hitchhiking formula as employed on the 'mainlands'. That is, if you don't mind that you can end up being suspended in mid-air next to some big piece of equipment when the only ride going your way is a factory transport.
Communication is still a little underdeveloped in the Archipelago. The usual FEDSTELNET communication is possible, and Public terminals are available in every town. The Foxtaur rangers have even set up each cabin with a means of communication. It is best, however, when you choose to go out hiking in the wild to get yourself a CommStar-compliant communicator. The Archipelago tourist association has set up an office in every settlement, though some are rarely more then a single office, where a tourist can get a communicator free of charge. Because of central communication it's not neccesary to return a communicator to the same office where you got it, as long as you return it. Close tabs are being kept on these devices, but the generous availability seems to have a positive effect, because not a single communicator has gone 'missing' yet.
Additional Tips about the Archipelago.
The following information has been given on numerous occasions and can be found in a lot of texts about Chakona. It is, however, a very usefull list and the latest edition of the compiled texts is provided below.
Do's and Don'ts
Do be polite and courteous - a smile and a friendly attitude goes a long way!
Don't refer to Chakats as "it" or other neuter terms - Chakats are referred to as Shi (or Sie, both pronounced Shay), or the possessive form Hir (pronounced like the German word Herr).
Do remember that Chakona was primarily intended as a homeworld for non-human species, and expect some differences in standards and amenity configuration based on that fact.
Don't refer to Skunktaurs as "it" or other neuter terms - Skunktaurs are referred to as Hy (or Hie, pronounced like the English word He), Hym or the possessive form Hys (pronounced like the English word His).
Do take the time to get to know the locals. Friendships can be easily made and last a long time.
Don't stare or point at Chakats or Skunktaurs, and don't discuss their sexuality with them unless they invite you to. After all, how would you feel to have your sexuality and bedroom habits the subject of public interest?
Do feel free to give Chakat service staff a friendly hug in lieu of a tip for good service - tipping isn't generally practiced on Chakona due to the good wages paid to service people.
Don't mistake the friendly and affectionate nature of Chakats as an open invitation for sex, and don't assume every chakat who takes an interest in you wants to bed you. Chakats may be promiscuous, but they are also discriminating, just like other races.
Do keep an open mind, and refrain from judgmental comments about Chakonan society until you have spent some reasonable time on-planet, as you would anywhere else.
Do take care if you are psychically active; The empathic abilities of Skunktaurs have proven to include not only Chakat, but also other species. When you're unused to it, it might be disturbing to sense the emotional state of everyone you meet. A special headband is supplied to you if you request one, at no fee.