History of the Skunktaurs.
People all over the galaxy now know the Skunktaurs as a friendly, active race, always eager to put their capabilities and knowledge to practical use. One doesn't know what hard work means unless they've had to put up with working alongside a shift of Skunktaurs. Their special mental capabilities, Telekinesis, Telepathy and Astral Travelling (all three divided by House) have helped in making the Skunktaur's name as decent workers.
The surname Chakat-kin isn't given to them just by co-incidence, Skunktaurs are in all but a few things genetically equal to the Chakat. How all his came to be, and more, will be explained in the following text.
Historical Account of the Skunktaur Race.
After the world had recovered from the wars that had raged during the 21st century, and genetic science had been restored, Charles and Katherine Turner started their work in genetic research at the Institute of New Generation Genetics. Their work would later be crowned by the successful creation of the anthropomorphic breed called chakat. (For the Chakat, see Bernard Doove's Introduction to Chakats) At the same time, an independent genetic engineer called Dr Bryant Curtis, started to work on research of his own.
Dr Bryant, Charles Turner and Katherine Turner were very close friends at that time, having both gone to the same Academy. All three belonged to the same Fraternity (still called Fraternity out of habit, because men and women were finally regarded as equals at that time) called "Alpha-Omega", Beginning and End, standing for the friendship between the members that began there and should never end. In that light, the three of them came together on occasion to compare each other's notes, add to them, exchange test results, or helping out in case the other got stuck. At that time, Charles and Katherine had already decided on most of the characteristics they wanted their "children" to be and were thus striving for the most ideal being in every way. Dr. Bryant, however, was less interested in a completely perfect creature. He was looking for a particular breed that could adapt to, and provide proper labour in the most diverse of circumstances.
In conjunction with Charles and Katherine, Dr Bryant searched for the best selection of survival-based genetics. Whenever one found a suitable candidate, all three would come together and see whether and how they could put this to good use. This was also the time when they discovered the right "frame" for the body and internal organs for a 'Taur-configured morph. Also at this point the issue about a hermaphroditic nature came in. While Dr. Bryant did see the use for a dual sexuality, a logical step if one wants a species that has to survive, he didn't grasp the actual benefit there could be if the morph had both sexes at the same time. He decided that a gender-shifting ability, as seen in some tropical bullfrogs, would be more suited to his goal. Also, possessing only one gender at a time, there was no hormonal interference to be worked out. At this point, the doctor's and the Turners' view and notes started to develop great differences. This grew further into a lag in Dr. Bryant's work while he tried to isolate the gene and provide a mechanism for the shifting abilities. The Turners, however, had already ironed out the difficulties in hormone imbalance and such that you get in a hermaphrodite, and had already discovered what kind of animal would best fit as a base model to work on: the feline.
Dr. Bryant lagged quite behind at this time, even with the notes and manuscripts the Turners kept sending him, and by the time Charles and Katherine were secretly rearing their first Chakat cubs, the doctor had only just decided on the base animal for his frame: the skunk. He found that the musteline body of a skunk could very much provide for a sturdy, supple frame, while keeping in mind an excellent way for the morphs to protect themselves against hostile creatures they were inevitably going to encounter. Also, with the skunks already possessing rudimentary grasp, he found a way of giving them an extra pair of hands quite like those the Chakats possess on their lower-body front paws. He had been able specify and balance all hormones to only target physical functions, using Charles and Katherine's notes, so that mood-swings and other hormonally-induced effects were eliminated.
Then all of a sudden, things went from bad to worse fast. An incident concerning a mountain accident brought the Chakats into the public eye, and Dr. Bryant lost all backing from sponsors in a blink of an eye. The deed was done and he was beaten to the punch, so to speak. Then three corporations offered their help. They would sponsor him, but he would have to show up with a tangible process fast. Pressed for time, he simply took Charles and Katherine's papers and changed the genetic blueprint to suit to his own. This wasn't quite fast enough and the Firms started to threaten to take it all away from him, thus destroying his life's work. Thus he finished his work by using the rest of the Chakat gene-configuration unaltered. This may have been a good turn of events for the prospective Skunktaurs, for in this bit of unaltered code lay the success to the balanced physical hermaphroditic nature, the proper positioning of internal organs and, most importantly, the basic blueprint of the neural networks. If he had taken to hastily rewriting this bit of information, the Skunktaurs may have never existed.
It was a great success and after a while some male and female Skunktaurs were born. They were in complete health and genetically stable. As for the doctor, he was useless to the Firms now. Though world society had greatly changed for the better, there were always people that wanted to take more then they wanted to give, and so too the Firms. All they saw in Skunktaurs were cheap and sturdy workers, or to be exact: slaves. They chemically lobotomised the poor creatures and put them to work. After the doctor found out about this, he was so devastated that he secluded himself and seemed to vanish. Because he was too ashamed of himself for using the Turners' work, he couldn't tell them about the Skunktaurs and of what happened to them. In the following years, no one found any trace of him, not even the Turners or the Chakats.
In the mean time, the Skunktaurs were being used as cheap working staff, chemically kept in an automaton-like state. As most Skunktaurs weren't easily discernible from each other, skunks not actually having really original fur patterns, the Firms decided to introduce a little mutation to the system. Each Firm created a point-mutation in the fur pattern which caused a odd coloration on the right chest in the shape of a paw-print. Three different colours were used: Blue, Red and Black, so that each could discern the Skunktaur he "owned". This mutational virus had a little side-effect though. It reacted with the chemicals used to dull the Skunktaurs minds and induced a very peculiar change in the cerebral area. The Skunktaurs, over a course of a few months, started to develop an empathic bond. The first time proof of this came by was an incident when a lone Skunktaur was doing some work in a sound-proofed room and he was about to be squashed to death by a piece of machinery. A dozen other Skunktaurs rushed to his rescue, all coming from a different hall where they could have never known their fellow 'Taurs distress.
A series of tests showed that Skunktaurs formed an empathic link with each other if they came within a rough 10 metre radius of each other, and even two Skunktaurs further away could "connect" if there were other Skunktaurs in between to "relay" the connection. Their genetics, developed to recognise new strains that could further the adaptability of their species, quickly absorbed this new mutation, stabilising it and adding it to all cells within a year's time.
Time passed and, a few months after Charles and Katherine had died after a happy life of seeing their "children" beget them "grandchildren", a package arrived at their eldest Chakat's home. It was addressed to Charles and Katherine and the sender gave them quite a surprise. It was Dr. Bryant's, or at least, it was his executor's. Dr. Bryant had passed on recently and wanted this package to be delivered to Charles and Katherine. As they were no more, the package was sent to hir instead as their closest kin. It contained Dr. Bryant's diaries spanning the from the day he started his research with Charles and Katherine, to the day he died. In it was accounted the story about the Skunktaurs and what had become of them. The last diary was filled mostly with self-contempt and begging forgiveness for the error he had made. The most interesting of all the books was a report of work done by him after he exiled himself. It described a way to engineer an Entron-based virus that would create a natural filter in the Skunktaur cerebral area that could nullify poisons and chemicals before they would affect them.
The Chakats immediately deliberated in an emergency council. They all found that this kind of morph abuse was intolerable, and because the Skunktaurs were kind of related to them, they decided on immediate action. A group of Chakats set about following the doctor's notes and making the virus, while a second group started to find locations of where the Skunktaurs were kept. A third began tracking down those Firms' finances and undermining them, as a sort of personal score-settler, aiming to totally wipe them out.
The Skunktaurs were quickly located and when the virus was completed, liberation began. The Chakats literally pounced on the Firms, both physically and financially, and after a short, but furious skirmish, all the Skunktaurs were freed from their slavery. The virus was administered, and took effect in a matter of hours. The benefit of such a filter was recognized and genetically stored for their offspring. The doctor and the Chakats were in the opinion that the virus would restore the Skunktaurs to their natural intelligence. The chemical had already taken such a great toll on the Skunktaur's brains, however, that they remained on a simple level, being free-willed, but childish. The Chakats assumed that this was their natural intelligence and treated them with the care one would treat a small child. Also, because of the initial majority of male Skunktaurs, they were communally referred to as "brothers".
They were adopted into Chakat society, mainly because the Chakat felt a generous amount of pity for the poor Skunktaurs. There, they were given a basic-level education in the same way of life the Chakat upheld, in vision of life, knowledge, social structure and sexuality. It wasn't long before the second generation of free Skunktaurs arose, and the Chakats were genuinely surprised at the mental capability of the children. The smartest of the Skunktaurs were still only as advanced as the general Chakat would be, but it was an astounding difference between the two generations. The Chakats immediately set about giving them the same education and care they would their own children. They realised there was more to the Skunktaurs than actually described in the diaries and started some research of their own. They found that Skunktaurs had more than 90% identical DNA to their own and, not counting the mutation that caused their empathic linking of their neural pathways, were a 100% alike. They figured that the mental powers the Skunktaurs manifested had slightly reduced their intellectual abilities.
Meanwhile, the Skunktaurs displayed a natural aptitude for learning and a kind of instinctive yearning for practical knowledge and activity. A Skunktaur that sat still for over five minutes was either sick or asleep. They showed a devotion to anything that they set their minds on doing and the Chakats saw they didn't need to stimulate them into learning, although they did need some encouragement to learn languages, math and other more theoretically based subjects. Their progress advanced with reasonable speed and soon a second, incredible discovery about the Skunktaurs was made.
A group of three Skunktaurs and two Chakats was playing dodge-ball out in the field next to their school. Although they were outside, there were still a considerable number of morphs in the building. There was a parental meeting going on, when disaster struck. An automatically guided aircraft shorted a circuit and came plummeting down onto the school. Morphs ran for cover, but the ones inside the building still had no idea as to what was happening. Suddenly the aircraft just stopped and hung there in mid air. After the amazed morphs cleared the area and evacuated the school, they noticed the small group of five sitting in the field, intensely staring at the object. On approach they observed an almost tangible aura around the kids as the aircraft slowly lowered onto the building. The school was still wrecked but no one was hurt, but once again Chakat eyes focused on their newly found family.
After a long period of extensive testing and researching, the Chakats, and by now some graduated Skunktaurs, found that the Entron Virus and the mutation caused by the chemical the Firms used, had stimulated use of regions of the brains that had been laying dormant until now. They also discovered that each "House" of Skunktaurs (They named the three different Paw-prints Houses, you had House Bluepaw, House Redpaw and House Blackpaw) developed a different mental power each. House Bluepaw turned out to be telekinetic, House Redpaw developed telepathy and House Blackpaw a power only describable as astral travelling (these powers will be explained in further parts of this transcript). A side-effect of the empathic link was also disclosed: as long as they kept within each other's active range, Skunktaurs could share and even augment each other's powers as if they possessed the particular mental power themselves. This, however, did not explain why the two Chakats were also using telekinesis to help keep the aircraft up. A daring theory was that because Chakat and Skunktaurs had almost identical neural pathways, the Chakats could benefit from a one-way version of the empathic link. This proved correct but it was discovered that there had to be one Skunktaur to every Chakat that was included in the link.
The Skunktaurs prospered in the following years , gaining positions on countless levels in numerous places. They completely adopted the Chakat life-style and moral stance in life, as this was taught to them by the Chakat themselves. Because their adaptability levels were at least as high as, or even better than the Chakat's, they were sent out on the same type of scouting missions. Still, Skunktaurs kept an instinctive love for work, always opting for positions that kept them active. Whether as Chief Technicians on starships or simple working-crew, it didn't matter as long as they had something to do. Their newly found mental powers were applied to various ends. A hull-breach could be repaired by a crew of Skunktaurs and Chakats, projecting themselves on-site and telekinetically manipulating their tools. Though on practical levels a Skunktaur has no equal, the Chakat still proved their intellectual and theoretical superior.
When the Chakats' planet was founded, they invited the Skunktaurs to come over. The Chakats offered them a cluster of islands in a moderate climate. The Skunktaurs accepted and the cluster was soon to be known as the Skunktaur Archipelago. This cluster soon became the planet's productive capital and leading developer of new, safe and environmentally clean methods of production. The cleanest, of course, being situated in the Archipelago itself. For, when every worker can use telekinesis, what use is there for conveyor belts and other means of heavy-transport that harms the ecology? And because the Skunktaurs prided themselves on their handwork, almost none of the production processes were automated anyway. If someone possessed a product made on the Archipelago, they were sure it came with a lifetime guarantee they'd never need to use anyway. Skunktaurs make sound products.
Skunktaurs have taken a similar place in the society as did Chakats before them, and were pioneers in most of the less hospitable places. Their ability to perform normal labour under almost any circumstance was very crucial at establishing outposts. Their natural affinity for practical labour earned many a Skunktaur a position as Chief Engineer/technician on starships, and their mental prowess proved to be crucial added to any landing party. As with Chakats, Skunktaurs can now be found almost anywhere, but most originate from Chakona, having left Earth behind them. The fourth generation of Skunktaurs in now growing up peacefully in the Archipelago.