The average kanad is around 1.5 meters in height, or 5 feet, and are thus often mocked for their diminutive size. Their average weight is roughly 45 kg (100 lbs). They possess extremely-pale skin, vivid eyes and hair, all being shades of the same hue. However, this color varies from bloodline to bloodline, giving the kanad race a full rainbow spectrum of possible colors. Despite the whimsical implications, this does not translate into cuteness. In several color ranges, they appear sickly or even corpse-like, especially in the icy blue range. Some are even bio-luminescent in their eyes and hair, but this is considered an undesirable trait and is often prevented through careful genetic cultivation.
Kanads are notorious for their fangs, the largest of which can be as long as 4 cm (1.6 inches). Their elongated mouths are filled with them, and paired with the sharp claws at their fingertips, give the kanads a fierce, predatory appearance. This is no deception; kanads are lean, yet powerful, and ferocious fighters on the battlefield. The major differences seen between kanads and khergians, their closest living relatives among the cosmos, can be viewed as a product of different evolutionary needs; the khergians evolved to suit a land-based lifestyle, while the kanads evolved for a since-foregone amphibious life.
Moreover, planned evolution and genetic modification have played an extensive role in the development of the species. Favorable traits, such as higher intelligence, dexterity, a compact and healthy body resistant to illness, and a powerful digestive tract capable of adapting to a wide range of diets have been bred into the species. Sexual dimorphism has been carefully controlled so that the male and female members of the race are seen as equally capable. Unfortunately, the state has also imposed traits which many outsiders consider highly unfavorable. Rather than extending the average lifespan, kanad medical science has instead sought to extend the span of "peak physical condition." As a result, kanads reach adulthood in 15 solar years, experience almost no sign of aging into their fifties, and then decline catastrophically in a similar, yet more intense parallel to the khergian lifespan.
Kanads are descended from the Precursor-K race which colonized much of the eastern quadrants in the ancient past. Following the collapse of PK colonies, the proto-kanads narrowly avoided extinction while establishing a largely subterranean way of life, relying on Kanadys' massive liquid water oceans beneath the ice sheets, where aquatic life is plentiful. Due to the extreme harshness of the planet and the scarcity of resources, tribal behavior resulted to protect land and water which was useful.
Unlike Humans, kanad society developed with a sense of global identity even as contrasts were quickly found between tribes, possibly due to fragments of PK oral tradition surviving the initial dark age. The tribes were able to build a single common language to facilitate trade, which proved essential to the development of the species. As a result, kanads advanced technologically much faster than humans, as the latter were initially divided by issues such as language, competing systems of measurement, and a large, late-coming dark age.
From the very beginning, kanads were utterly violent toward one another. On one hand, interpersonal violence such as premeditated murder was regarded as unacceptable by society, but on the other, tribes would often eradicate other tribes entirely for reasons such as failure to properly exploit food sources or excessive pollution. To help stem this tide, the kanads adopted a clan system which binned the thousands of known tribes into dozens of competing nations, massively increasing the cost (and potential reward) of war to a level which required great forethought.
This system succeeded for centuries, but was eventually brought down by the advent of advanced technologies. The clans, seeking greater protection against the generational costs of war, each developed methods of increasing fertility and birthrate far beyond what was previously considered natural. The result was successive boom generations which were pitched into global, industrial war over territory and resources. This would continue until the arrival of the atomic bomb in the 17th century CE.
Atomic War and the Collective Edit
In 1630, the Sidikan clan became the first kanad nation to test an atomic weapon. Clan leaders naively wished to end war by sharing the technology with other nations, beginning with allies, as a method of increasing each clan's defensive profile. The Vor'Pangn clan was the first to receive the weapon, who in turn made an unexpected deal with the enemy Rozel clan for the technology. The Rozels and Vor'Pangns, rather than waiting for the global peace through defensive measures, would launch an immediate strike on all third parties in order to win the war outright. Only the Sidikans would be excluded from the nuclear holocaust which followed, leaving much of the planet in ruins.
The two aggressive parties then agreed to a non-agression pact which eventually came to include the embittered Sidikans as well. This pact laid the groundwork for global recovery, with the three victorious clans serving as de-facto authority over all others. Over time, the victors became known as the highbloods while the oppressed clans became known as the lowbloods. This de facto power structure was eventually enshrined in the 1670 Collective Accord which established the Kanad Collective officially.
The Collective promised an end to all future war, and created numerous mechanisms for achieving it. The clans' militaries were all incorporated into a single planetary force, which was for many years kept only large enough to suppress all attempts by lowblood clans to rise up. It wasn't until the Collective began to finance space exploration in the 18th century that defense once again became part of the government's agenda. This time, it would be against alien threats, rather than domestic ones.
Expansion and Wars, Pre-UGC Edit
Throughout the 18th and leading into the 19th century, kanad explorers searched for new worlds to colonize, heavily motivated by the desperate post-war conditions on Kanadys. After numerous encounters with other intelligent life in the area thanks to innovations in interstellar travel, the Collective adjusted its priorities to meet challenges both real and imaginary. None of the Collectives' neighbors was more misunderstood than the massive Sanghvi Mantle, which occupied most of the outer northeastern quadrant.
The phiri, the ayr, and later, the khergians would come to know the Collective as a militaristic power with xenophobic tendencies, frequently over-spending to equip its military arm, the Black Fleet, with the most potent weaponry the state was capable of fielding. Although many states undergo a militaristic period after encountering alien life, the kanads never quite exited this phase as the young state was soon attacked en masse by serek pirates, seeking to exploit vulnerable trade routes while the Collective was still inexperienced with interstellar war.
The Kanad-Serek War (1878-1915) was the result of this harassment. Although the kanads held a technological advantage from the beginning, the sereks employed strategies which confused and frustrated the kanads' inexperienced leadership and exploited weaknesses in the Black Fleet's ship designs which were not anticipated by engineers. For the first two decades, the sereks inflicted costly defeats on the kanads, until the latter began to improve its strategies and deploy more practical ships. The final decade of the war proved catastrophic for the sereks as the kanads refused to come to negotiation after achieving their strategic aims.
The result was a near eradication of the serek species, with dozens of colonies on multiple planets being overrun and destroyed. The pursuit only ended when other nations began to complain about the refugee crisis that the kanads had created in the process. The war left the kanads with a massive military surplus, a race more united and patriotic than at any point in its history, and a leadership desperate to find a new common enemy to keep such advantages. While officials maintained that anti-piracy and law enforcement would be the permanent goal of the Black Fleet, historians now know that this was not the case.
Instead, the Council immediately put measures into place to seek out planet-razing capabilities, believing that the survival of the Collective would depend on continuous, victorious wars to keep the people united, as well as indefinite expansion to acquire the land and resources necessary to facilitate such aggression. While such technologies were being developed, the Collective acquired numerous asteroid colonies, solar space stations, and planetoids before launching more extensive colonies on planets such as Tredet.
The kanads resumed the warpath in 2025 under the tumultuous leadership of Kapela the Bloody. Unflinchingly aggressive, Kapela wished for immediate application of military force in as many winnable conflicts as could be sustained by the Black Fleet at once. Having taken power shortly after the kanad discovery of the human race on Terra (then known as Earth), Kapela was especially keen on the idea of subjugating the humans as an industrial slave labor force to replace the lowbloods, whom she despised. However, it would be the phiri who would suffer her wrath first.
The Siege of Koda lasted for less than a year and resulted in hundreds of millions of deaths, with only about 10-15% of those being military. The kanads suffered very few losses while inflicting terrible damage using heavy planet-bombing weaponry that made short order of Koda's defenses. Those few phiri which survived the sustained bombardment were forced to recognize the Collective as the new leadership of the planet, and were relegated to a lower class than the kanad highbloods. It would take many years for the phiri to gain citizenship.
Although the war for Koda generated a wave of panic in the northeastern quadrant, Kapela's aggression was short-lived. Her planned war against humanity was blocked by the Council acting in unison, and only through direct executive action did she mount an ill-fated attack on the Khergian homeworld. The Siege of Rigel (2031-2035) involved only a small fraction of the Black Fleet's forces which were not equipped to win such a difficult undertaking. Kapela assumed that once she scored a major victory, such as the destruction of the trade port Vukovar, that the Council would commit to supporting her campaign.
Instead, an opposition movement formed and was lead by a Sidikan councilor who became known as Yanim the Justified. Although they were successful at removing Kapela from office, the Sidikans were unable to inherit the Vizier's chair and instead a Rozel administration took office. The new administration chose to continue antagonizing the khergians in hopes of extracting some sort of major concession from the lesser power, but the khergians stood strong. Lingering issues, such as the enslavement of khergians who had been working in Collective-held territory, continued to sour relations until the establishment of the UGC forced the kanads to comply.
The UGC and the Sanghvi Opposition Edit
The longstanding fear of the Mantle finally drove the kanads to begin taking concrete action. Fearing an intervention from the ancient northern power, which held itself as the only legitimate source of galactic order, the kanads successfully instigated the creation of the UGC with numerous partners surrounding the sanghvi state, with the expressed goal of resolving conflicts peacefully, but with a more sinister implied goal of mutual aggression against the Mantle. The kanads got their way in the mid 2300s with the highly tragic First Kanad-Sanghvi War, instigated over a border dispute, among other things.
The sanghvi, responding to repeated challenges to their sovereignty, attempted to enforce its boundary integrity by sending its Pale Armada to the outermost fringes of the Mantle, near kanad space. The Collective was then able to convince its UGC partners that the sanghvi would soon invade from its perched position, and that a preemptive invasion would be the appropriate course of action. In addition, the planets of Sirgas and Voyak were points of contention, as espionage had revealed these two worlds to be struggling under sanghvi stewardship. The kanads thus helmed a plan to "liberate" the oppressed peoples of those worlds.
The war did not go well for the kanads. Despite ample help from the ayr and other races, the sanghvi possessed a superior fleet and commanded doctrine which even the foremost military thinkers of the east could not fully understand. The enigmatic Pale Armada scored repeated victories against the beleaguered Black Fleet throughout the 2360s, until a daring attack by the kanads deep into sanghvi space, destroying an entity which had been controlling millions of sanghvi drones along the front. The immediate result was chaos which disrupted the war and caused errant planet bombing on Spirra. The long-term effect was the formation of factions within the Mantle and the outbreak of civil war.
The war was extremely costly to both sides, but by its end in the 2370s, the kanads had emerged the apparent victor and had received renewed support from the UGC in response to the apparent sanghvi barbarism caused by the kanad strike. The Collective rebounded over the following decade and set its sights on Itara, which it would eventually annex, Rigel, which it would once more occupy, and Sirgas and Voyak, the original source of conflict with the sanghvi. However, before these conquests could proceed, the events of Journey Across the Galaxy took place, leading to the human exit from the UGC, a destabilization which prompted the sanghvi, themselves resurgent, to attack once more in what became the Second Kanad-Sanghvi War.