The Drask (drᴀsᴋ, plural drᴀsᴋ) are a humanoid race of cold-bodied beings. The Drask hail from Hoorlm, an ice-covered planet with an average temperature of -80 °C.
Drask and YOU
Greetings, esteemed crewmember!
In an effort to encourage inter-species cooperation and workplace efficiency, NanoTrasen has compiled a series of helpful guides on the various species that you may be working with!
(NOTE: If you are a member of the species this guide pertains to, please give it to the nearest crewmember of another species)
This particular guide refers to the species known as the Drask (singular and plural).
Drask Naming Schemes
Drask tend to name themselves in a series of three short sounds, normally resembling humming.
Examples include names like “Vrrm-Viisk-Oom”, which more often than not humans can approximate with varying degrees of difficulty.
The Drask are a species of bipedal humanoids. Their defining characteristic is their ability to survive in extremely cold environments, far below the freezing point of water (in fact, they much prefer to live in such places). Drask bodies are covered in thick ice-like tissue, which, while typically a shade of teal or cyan, can range from nearly white to almost black in tone. The colouration of this tissue is largely dependent on the individual’s genetics, which impacts their skin’s refraction index. Perhaps comically, this has caused the issue of Drask with ‘shiny’ or highly refractive complexions to be the target of some Vox.
Drask possess a unique metabolism, the efficiency of which tends to increase with inverse proportion to temperature, even when those temperatures approach absolute zero. Preliminary medical trials have shown that the introduction of supercooled oxygen into their respiratory system causes tissue damage to heal at astonishing speeds. Due to this natural metabolic coldness, Drask do not share the common culinary practices adopted by most other species, and prefer their meals cold or chilled. They find room temperature food somewhat unpleasant, and warm or hot food can even make them nauseous. The Drask palate is notably different from most species, and many a xenophilic connoisseur has found Drask cuisine to be bland, overly salty, or outright caustic. Despite this difference in taste, Drask have learned to appreciate some of the cuisine of other races; in particular, they have shown fondness for ice cream, citrus, mint, cucumber, and soap.
The Drask, unlike any other known sentient species, possess three eyes. Two of these eyes are located just above their “snout”, with the third one situated higher up in the center of their sloping forehead. Interestingly, these eyes are inhabited by bioluminescent symbiotic microbes that live suspended in a Drask’s ocular and lymphatic fluid, the colour expressed by these microbes varying greatly between individuals. As their planet is distant from their star and due to the fact that they tend to live underground, their sight is adapted to low-light environments, though they are also capable of adapting to brighter environments, especially when using sunglasses or masks to avoid eye strain.
Drask bodies are relatively large, with the average height being above 2 meters, and gangly, with a compact muscle mass and thin, elongated limbs. With their ice-like skin mostly lacking a nervous system they rely on softer tissue around their joints for feeling their surroundings. They possess a pair of spikes on each forearm, which are highly nerved and filled with the same microbe-laden fluid as their eyes, making them important sensory organs and emotional indicators. Drask hands and feet have four digits, with elongated fingers and two opposable thumbs on each hand.
While the age of any group of Drask can vary wildly, those born away from their homeworld can't be older than 85, the age of the diplomatic agreements that initially permitted Drask to work for corps off-planet or emigrate to SolGov and Skrellian systems, with most off-world Drask being considerably younger than that. Drask from the homeworld typically range from 60 to 3,000 years old. Drask generational gaps can be quite large by human standards as it takes them around 30 years to reach sexual maturity (though they reach an otherwise adult form before then). These generational gaps are typically made much wider by both the societal and resource pressures found on their homeworld.
Drask are sexually amorphic, with each individual carrying the organs necessary to reproduce with a partner. In adapting to gendered societies, though, Drask might express preference for male or female accoutrements based on personal taste. Drask generally prefer to wear minimal clothing as it interferes with their sense of touch and provides unneeded insulation, but some choose style over comfort and many appreciate some protection from the warmth of the artificial environments preferred by other species.
The Orluum Language
The Drask speak in a humming, droning language known as Orluum, which sounds similar to whalesong and is ubiquitous through their society.
It can be a simple hum as akin to their naming structure or loud sounds that other species might just see as noise.
The Drask Homeworld
Hoorlm is a rocky planet covered in a thick layer of ice, orbiting the star Raarumvaar (Previously known as 381-Theta-Theta) at an average distance of 10.33 AU. About 1.9 times the size of Earth, Hoorlm is geologically active to a degree, with small-scale volcanic activity dotted throughout the planet, assisting with the formation of fissures and caverns that house much of the ecology. However, seldom do volcanic peaks break the icy surface, and the stark cold prevents their emissions from forming more than a tenuous atmosphere at surface level.
Drask live in large city-states on their icy planet, at current it is estimated that around 600 million individuals are present on Hoorlm. While capable of building on the surface, Drask prefer the dense, more breathable atmosphere found underground, often creating large subterranean networks of tunnels serving as cities. The planet’s many volcanic vents and fissures serve as the lifeblood of most of these cities, providing the basis of a chemotrophic ecosystem (and thus agriculture), and also a source of geothermal energy (though nuclear power is common as well).
Aside from a few close neighbours, or sites connected by ancient trade routes, railways, or mega-tunnels, most of the city-states have had little more than radio contact with each other for centuries. As such, only a handful of the very largest are active in space affairs, though there is fierce competition for off-world opportunities. Any Drask found in space likely originates from one of three city-states, Kvviimmrrrmoogg, Viim-vaarooomunnm or Umumvarr (or are descended from Drask who are). It is likely that primitive holdouts at various levels of technology exist, from both more advanced Drask encountering them in the past and recent alien explorers finding them. While any Drask who engaged in the nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle of their species dawn have long since either settled down or died, populations of undiscovered Drask can exist at any tech level following the discovery of agriculture. Such holdouts who have been found are valuable scientific resources, helping to fill gaps in the sparse written records or the conflicting accounts of different Elders.
The Drask evolved in a chemical environment drastically different than most other carbon-based life. Though liquid water is rare on their planet today, it is hypothesized that life first emerged on Hoorlm around hydrothermal vents in an ancient, subglacial ocean.
The history of Drask is poorly documented, as each separate state has traditionally relied on the living memory of its Elders. And with infrequent communication between many of them, and their conflicting accounts, it is hard to make out a coherent summary of the whole thing. As best as can be made out, the Drask once lived in small groups, migrating between fissures and ice caves that served as oases on the desolate surface, but eventually learned to farm chemotrophic microorganisms deep underground. The caves and fissures which had served as the shelters for nomads slowly grew into the labyrinthine underground cities known today.
While Drask settlements tend to be insular, the very largest of their City-states reached their present size in no small part due to conquest, mainly driven by desire for minerals and the need for access to more volcanic farms to feed growing populations. It is believed that the Drask have possessed laser weaponry technology for many centuries, and though the Drask are often slow to act, every city-state that participates in global affairs can recall numerous slaughters in the wars of expansion.
Drask were discovered in 2469 by a Nanotrasen exploratory vessel due to a course plotting accident. The vessel warped into the system by accident and its sensors immediately picked up signs of life on Hoorlm, These were reported back to NT, followed by a brief observation phase, and official First Contact in 2472.
Ever since, the Drask have been captivated by the promises that space travel holds. The wealthiest states see the promise of increasing their wealth and influence, and some ambitious individuals see the promise of stepping out of the shadow of their Elders, or escaping the crowded tunnels of the largest state, Viim-vaarooomunnm. Certain drask worked closely with NT, to the point of joint ventures on other worlds in their system, colonies belonging to two of the largest states were established on other cold worlds in their system (though most of these are under NT mining or research contracts to this day). While initially entirely dependent upon Nanotrasen for space travel, the Elders of the negotiating states were able to acquire engines and small spacecraft. At present, they have a small fleet that patrols their system, responsible for dealing with their colonies, which are controlled by a coalition of the three largest states, though they still heavily on Nanotrasen for space services. Small groups of Drask have gone on to build, purchase, or otherwise acquire their own ships, founding new communities in space.
Drask, although drastically different from Humans and human-like species, share a similar social structure. Drask communities have grown over the years to large sizes, supporting up to a million individuals. Generally, a community is led by its oldest members, and the most powerful figures in Drask tend to have lived for thousands of years, by human standards. Drask tend to not form family-based bonds, as they quickly gain independence from their parents, but very often will form friendships regardless of age difference.
Though they never developed space travel on their own, the Drask have proven capable scientists. Their exceptional memory and capability for long lives make them capacious learners, and their technology at the time of their discovery was comparable to Humanity’s in the XXVIth century. Drask put much emphasis on self-improvement and obtaining proficiency in multiple disciplines. The Drask societies have no class system, as very often individuals responsible for simpler tasks are also educated to perform much more sophisticated ones, when their hands are needed elsewhere.
Since Drask are biologically immortal, due to their low birth and mortality rates, and due to their planet lacking a day-night cycle or seasons, they have a different concept of time than other species. On a societal level, they are slow to change (save for the necessities of advancing technology) and generally are not concerned with an afterlife. This is why, despite the long distance between many of their settlements, there is little difference between the dialects of their language. Similarly, religious beliefs tend to be much alike across their planet, which can mostly be described as a form of animism. Everything, living or inanimate, has a particular spirit, which coalesces from the general flow of the cosmos and dissolves back into that flow when that life or thing comes to an end, leaving a memory or imprint. Sometimes it is held that a newly formed spirit condensed from such a memory, allowing for a reincarnation of sorts (including from/into an inanimate object).
Traditionally, if any central figure exists in their belief systems, it is their planet itself, who (after self-fertilizing or being fertilized by the cosmos) birthed all life. This origin myth is tempered by advanced scientific understanding, being treated as more metaphorical and philosophical than literal. However, these beliefs are still not taken lightly, fostering a respect for nature, beauty, and things that are well-crafted. They also tend to treat their Elders with awe, since the Elders are the keepers of history and have survived through times of strife.
Such animistic beliefs also fostered the formation of cargo cults in the present day. Homeworld Drask culture (at least in the contacted settlements) has a tremendous obsession with getting into space, as getting offworld is seen as a sure path to personal success and wealth. Some go so far as to worship alien ships and artifacts, or to emulate (a sometimes misinformed version of) Human or Skrellian culture to a fanatical degree. However, some traditionalists see this as disrespectful, either to the planet that birthed them or to their own species' accomplishments (as despite not achieving spaceflight, the Drask reached a remarkable state of technological advancement before their discovery).
While the population of Hoorlm is only around 600 million, the Drask have experienced a recent population boom in space due to the concept known as space homesteading. A spacecraft requires far less energy to be habitable for Drask than for most other species, and so those in space have found it economical to expand. However, the Drask still lack a central government, and so while these micro-colonies are numerous and scattered across known space, each exists as its own solitary entity, consisting of a single ship or station. In some regions, they are notorious for engaging in piracy.
As their largest political entity, the three-states coalition, controls little outside their home system, the Drask cannot be considered a major galactic actor. However, their labor is desirable for many applications, and Hoorlm’s influence on the galaxy isn’t entirely obscure. In particular, the metropolis of Umumvarr has become famous in recent times due to its cultural exports to the rest of the Galaxy. Mainly "Bollywood remakes" of famous stories from alien cultures (featuring all-Drask casts), but original media, including a rising new VR subgenre, has also emerged from there into the galactic entertainment industry.
Remember, knowledge, respect, and cooperation are the key tenets of success and productivity!