|This article, Ve'nek, was written by Athena32. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "Our great civilisation has survived, and will continue to do so, because of the truth of our thought, the purity of our spirits and the conviction of our actions. I do not pretend to know what the future holds for us, but in these uncertain times, one thing is certain; we will weather this storm."
- ―Excerpt from High Imperator Q'uorl's speech, September 2681
The Ve'nek were a sentient, highly advanced species originating from the world of Kri'Tau. Ve'nek were thin, brittle-boned mammalian reptilians, possessing leathery wings capable of flight. Although seemingly emotionless to the untrained eye, Ve'nek were simply adept at concealing their emotions and rarely displayed them openly. Exhibiting avian, mammalian and reptilian characteristics, Ve'nek were nonetheless most closely related to the latter. Ve'nek were intelligent, logical creatures with a strong focus on doing what was better for the needs of a collective over those of an individual.
Having reached Tier 1 some time before 5,000 BCE, the Ve'nek were a relatively advanced race with powerful technology, medicine and travel abilities. Participating in the Remnant War from 2558 until 2565, the Ve'nek became a species adept at combat, using superior technology and tactics to overcome their physical weakness in combat. From 2633, they involved themselves, through necessity, in the Swarm War, participating extensively in early and some later armed actions against the Swarm. However, they later became increasingly withdrawn as their fighting forces were depleted and their territory encroached on.
The modern-day sentient Ve'nek species evolved on Kri'Tau between 2 and three million years BCE, originating from several predecessors. Around 100,000 BCE, they were taken from their homeworld to Installation 00, in order to protect them from the Halo Array's activation. By this point they had evolved simple civilisation and society, and were on the verge of mastering farming. Upon their return they evolved very quickly technologically, reaching Tier 3 on the Forerunner advancement scale around 6,000 BCE. Already possessing a planet-wide government, this was renamed the Ve'nek Dominion after the successful colonisation of their first four planets. Around 1,000 BCE the Ve'nek encountered the Therans, their first contact with another species. Both being intelligent, thoughtful races, first contact was peaceful and several interspecies colonies were set up, trade between them flourished as well as sharing of information and technology, and the two governments maintained contact on amicable terms.
Later, The Royal Allegiance introduced the Ve'nek to the Antareans, another sentient species. In 2553 the three species jointly made first contact with the UEG, as well as the Alliance of Sangheili Clans and several of their allied former Covenant factions. Following this, the Ve'nek entered into the Unified Coalition of Governments, an intergovernmental organisation set up to promote peace and act as a platform for dialogue. During the Remnant War (2553-2565), the Ve'nek became increasingly involved in action against remnant Covenant factions as they emerged onto the galactic stage.
Later, during the Swarm War, the Ve'nek were heavily involved in the conflict until their territories were devastated by The Swarm. Following this, they survived largely by roving uninhabited regions of space using huge generational vessels, rarely participating in combat unless they themselves were engaged.
Biology and Appearance
The Ve'nek were a species of humanoids with avian, mammalian and reptilian characteristics. An adult individual could reach as much as two metres in height, with a wingspan of roughly 3 metres. The Ve'nek body was covered with hairless, soft, rubbery skin that was generally brown, grey or green in colour, occasionally with light grey or white spots. Each Ve'nek had graceful physical features that emphasised the species' natural agility and physical prowess. They were slender beings, particularly in their limbs, being generally weaker than most Therans though stronger than many Humans. The Ve'nek head was flat and pointed, dominated by a vestigial beak and set with pupil-less black eyes.
Although they could move by walking, Ve'nek were winged beings and had two leathery, nontransparent wings between the wrist and the hip. The Ve'nek could use these wings for aerial movement, gifting the Ve'nek speed and agility in the air. Their flight ability was also adapted to the natural, gale-force winds of their homeworld; while non-native pilots found that flying in those winds was very difficult, the Ve'nek boasted great maneuverability and resilience during the stronger storms there. Much of this was due to their experience in intently watching the native currents; over a lifetime, a Ve'nek could predict the changes in weather more efficiently than specialised technology.
At the end of each wing, a Ve'nek had one four-fingered manipulative appendage. The hand had an inter-digital membrane similar in appearance to their wings, although this film did not reach to the tips of the fingers. The most external digit was a partially opposable thumb. As the hands and arms were attached to the wings, a Ve'nek could hold items such as weapons in hand while flying, but he or she could not use them adequately. Each leg ended in a foot with three forward-pointing toes.
The Ve'nek were very intelligent beings, comparable to the Therans in sheer reasoning capacity. Although autonomous individuals, Ve'nek coordinated well in groups, working together with little or no communication and making use of a sort of collective mind. Other species believed that this ability was more related to natural bio-chemicals than to cultural reasons. With a life expectancy of 190 standard years, a Ve'nek was considered an adult at 20 and could work until he or she was 170 years of age.
Society and Culture
- "Don't let their apparent indifference fool you; they're just as capable of feeling emotion as the rest of us; just a lot better at concealing it."
- ―Anonymous observer
The Ve'nek were a creative, studious, and hard-working species who disliked conflict, and made good use of their natural intelligence without rejecting manual work. Nevertheless, to outsiders they were most famous as emotionless, imperturbable beings who seemed not to react to important or dramatic events happening around them. As such, the species appeared not to be affected in moments of great tragedy, or even joy; however, this was a wrong impression on the part of strangers. Ve'nek were indeed concerned and touched by such events, like most other sentients; they simply did not express those feelings in a way that non-Ve'nek could easily interpret. Indeed, the calm, peaceful, spiritual Ve'nek tried to stifle their personal emotions and maintain composure when among others. As a species, Ve'nek were much more centred around the needs of a collective before those of any individual, trying to grasp what they called "the bigger picture." Ve'nek allowed themselves outbursts of emotion only in private. A side effect of this talent to hide emotions was an unparalleled skill at negotiation and a penchant for deceit in games of chance. Despite their closed nature, parts of the Ve'nek's body language could be understood by aliens; for example, baby Ve'nek nested and curled up to protect themselves.
Kri'Tau, the native planet of the Ve'nek, had an unusual axial obliquity that caused severe seasonal changes and very strong winds during one of the months-long seasons. Just over 7 billion Ve'nek lived on the planet, inhabiting large and sophisticated underground structures, partly buried in the mountains and plains of the planet to protect the structures from the elements. Ve'nek commonly took shelter from stronger storms and hurricanes in their subterranean constructs whenever they noticed a storm coming and during the season of storms. As the Ve'nek were technologically advanced, they could have easily built more resistant buildings on the surface, but they preferred the much more secure feel of underground dwellings. Monuments, on the other hand, were supposed to be enduring and impressive, with the Ve'nek using their natural sense of harmony and keen aesthetic sense to build elegant constructs and impressive artistic achievements on their planet's otherwise mainly blank surface.
The city-like expansive underground settlements were built in geometrical arrangements, often with a central hollow column for flight in and out. These cities were essentially the cultural centre of their civilisation. Each settlement was considered autonomous and unrelated to the others, but Ve'nek worked together, regardless of their area of origin, to maintain monuments, spaceports and military facilities.
For the most part, the Ve'nek were atheists in that they did not believe in the existence of god-like beings. However, their spiritual beliefs revolved around the idea that, once an individual died, their 'spirit' or consciousness was transported to another realm or plain of existence, from where they could watch over the living. This idea was somewhat prevalent throughout their society, in a form of ancestor worship that held deep respect for those who came before them. Although most religious Ve'nek believed that proper communication with ancestors and deceased relatives was not possible, it was widely believed that they 'watched over' them and protected them, subtly influencing events and acting as a sort of ever-present 'guardian angel'.
- Main article: Ve'nek Dominion
The Ve'nek species' government was a democratic one consisting of an executive, judiciary and legislative branch. The executive was made up of the High Imperator, the de facto leader of the government, and advisers. The High Imperator was chosen by general election once every twenty two years; there was no limit to the number of terms a successfully elected Imperator could serve. The legislative branch was composed of the Grand Assembly, a senate-like organisation featuring one representative for each of the several hundred thousand Ve'nek colony worlds (in ancient times it had been one representative for each underground colony). Both the legislature and executive have the power to propose, amend and alter laws, though this must be passed successfully by the other body. The judiciary branch was made up of the Court of Justice, the highest court in the system, and many smaller ones. The Court of Justice had the power to veto or abolish laws passed by both the executive and legislative branches. There were eight members of the court who sat for life; new members were chosen jointly by the executive and legislative branches.
- Main article: Ve'nek Armed Forces
The Ve'nek military force, being comparatively new, was rather small, efficiently organised and extremely well equipped. Until the Remnant War (2553-2559) the Ve'nek never required a permanent, professional military, instead relying on local militias and law enforcement agencies in the rare event of trouble.
The Ve'nek Expeditionary Projective Force (VEPF) known informally as the Ve'nek Navy, was the larger of the two branches and handled all actions, offensive and defensive, in the vacuum of space, including deployment of allied forces to distant locations and the defence of Ve'nek systems. The Navy was mainly composed of fighting vessels such as warships, and their single ship complements which supported forces in battle both in a planet's atmosphere and not. In the starfighter capacity, the Navy overlapped with the Army, both operating them in-atmosphere, though the Army maintained mostly atmospheric vehicles and the Navy operated in this manner only when necessary. The Navy also maintained its own infantry force, for offensive and defensive actions between vessels, and occasionally for deployment planetside (usually when accompanying Army forces were not present).
The Ve'nek Terrestrial Force (VTF), known informally as the Army, was responsible for all actions, both offensive and defensive, in a planet's atmosphere. Their forces consisted mainly of atmospheric aircraft, infantry and armoured vehicles. The Navy was responsible for transporting Army forces to a planet for offensive action, on which the two could coordinate for best efficiency. Usually in offensive actions the Navy would provide most of air support as their craft could transition from orbit to atmosphere. In defensive action, the Army provided the bulk of the strength on the ground and was supported by orbital or high atmospheric Naval units. Both the Army and Navy operated special forces units independently of each other, though joint units were not uncommon.