Kass'ih-Aya (Dropped)

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Kass'ih-Aya (Scenesys ID: -1)
Quote
"Everything has a sssong. You just have to know how to listen to it-t!"
Profile
Full Name: Kass'ih-Aya
Gender: Female
Species: Tursops amicus capensis
Theme: (OC) Startide Rising-1
Function: Acoustician
Status: Dropped
Factional Information
Faction: Union (0-Enlisted)
Groups:
Other Information
Physical Age: Middle Age Actual Age: Middle Age
Still Aging? Yes Voice Actor:
Height: 7.8' (length) Weight: 298 lbs
Hair Color: Grey (skin) Eye Color: Black
Theme Song:

Profile

An acoustician trained to identify sounds and single out frequencies on military bands, Kass'ih-Aya has keen hearing and the ability to reproduce a staggering variety of sounds through complex vocalisations. Her talents earned her a post in the Union as a communications expert, able to track signals, identify frequencies or sounds, and work with audio in just about any way necessary. Her genetic enhancements also allow her to work more closely with machinery. Originally hailing from the colony world of Calafia, she was part of the original crew of the Streaker during its disaster on Kithrup. Like most of her kind, Kass is curious and inquisitive, with a burning desire to learn about anything that may catch her sometimes fleeting attention. Life is like a game, to her, and one that she views with perpetual amusement and a certain irreverence.

Advantages

Defining

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Significant

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Minor

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Disadvantages

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Anesthesia
Due to how cetacean brains function, Kass can't be put under anesthesia. One hemisphere of her brain must be active at all times to regulate breathing, so if both shut down, she would asphyxiate.
Atavism
During the uplift process, a delicate psychological balance was upset when cetacean genes were tampered with. Intense stress can cause neo-dolphins to unravel, and this fatal flaw can manifest in various ways. Known symptoms include aggression, stunted linguistics, obsession, irrational fear, and severe introversion. In particular, Kass displays aggression and stunted linguistics under stress, though she doesn't become violent like certain Stenos variants.
Audiophile
With so much emphasis and reliance on sound, neo-dolphins are also highly susceptible to it. Audio interference can temporarily "blind" Kass, scrambling her sense of echolocation. Stronger interference can even injure, stun, or even temporarily incapacitate her.
Language
Neo-dolphins afflicted by atavism, rescue fever, or other psychological trauma lose command of their linguistic faculties. They revert to Primal Delphin, a simplistic tongue that civilised cetaceans spurn, which doesn't communicate complex ideas well. Even once they've been calmed down and made lucid again, it takes them some time to "reformat" their brain to speak Anglic or Trinary Delphin again.
Machine Interface
Kass' amplifier socket allows her to control machines more intuitively, but it also presents a dangerous vulnerability. Machinery can be used against her, as the circuitry is connected directly to her brain. A high-voltage attack in such a state could potentially cripple or kill her.
Patron Reverence
Neo-dolphins are bred and genetically engineered to see any act of violence against humans as abhorrent. Kass is no exception. Even if asked or ordered, she is psychologically incapable of harming a human being or anything that closely resembles a human being. In terms of combat, her only use is in fighting against markedly non-human opponents.
Pelagic
Like their wild cousins, neo-dolphins are vulnerable on land. Beaching can have dire consequences for Kass, and that threat is something she is phobically afraid of. Too much time stranded can damage internal organs and skeletal structure or dehydrate her; if she actually survives the exposure, she could also starve. The trauma of stranding will also start to peel away her civilisation, reducing her to a creature of mindless panic, helpless but to broadcast a frantic distress call in Primary Delphin until answered.
Rescue Fever
Dolphins were the least likely cetacean to beach themselves, once, but the genetic alteration of uplift has upset some delicate psychological balance. If beached, a neo-dolphin will panic and broadcast a frantic distress signal. Any who hear it will lose all rationality, helpless to answer the call; they can and will go to suicidal lengths to rescue their stricken comrade, often beaching themselves, too. Sometimes it takes a conflict of interest to bring them back around, like playing on the genetic instinct of rescuing a drowning human child.
Speech
Like many of her kind, Kass'ih-Aya has trouble voicing particular Anglic consonants. Fricatives, plosives, sibilants, and certain diphthongs all give her trouble: K, P, S, T, and TH are problematic when she's agitated or excited, causing her to stutter and slur. The more agitated she is in any way, the more difficult Anglic becomes for her to speak (or be understood).

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Cutscenes

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Info Files

Equipment

  • Breather
Though many complain of the discomfort of wearing them, breathers allow neo-dolphins to stay underwater for extended periods of time. To the untrained eye they might look like a chaotic jumble of hose and flat, streamlined tanks, but this sophisticated array fits sleek to the torso for a minimum of drag. The apparatus that covers the blowhole makes Anglic speech difficult, but a neo-dolphin wearing a breather can stay underwater for hours.
  • Harness
Rather than genetically modify neo-dolphins to give them arms or hands, human and dolphin engineers instead devised artificial arms and hands worn by a harness over the torso. Sleek and unobtrusive, these stay fastened even during the intense acrobatics neo-dolphins are known for. They are lightweight, though if damaged they must be repaired by specialists. They are engaged by plugging a jack into the amplifier socket over a neo-dolphin's left eye, and controlled via direct neural impulses.
  • Walker
A large mechanical device resembling a spider, walkers were made to allow neo-dolphins to move around on land. Each walker has four stout legs and a partially enclosed cockpit for its single operator. They sport tanks of water for misting and keeping their neo-dolphin pilot hydrated. Like the harness, the walker is controlled by plugging a jack into the amplifier socket.

Since a neo-dolphin's "mobility equipment" is controlled the same way, through the amplifier socket, only one of these can be used at a time without special couplings and fittings.

Genetics

All Tursiops amicus individuals have gene grafts from one or more dolphin species. Kass is an experimental variant, using genetic information from Delphinus capensis, the common long-beaked dolphin. As a result, her physical characteristics most closely resemble this species, with their general size and colouration.

In terms of psychology and behaviour, Kass also shares the species' traits. She is curious, inquisitive, and capable of doing things quickly, though her attention can sometimes wander if presented with more interesting stimuli. She is generally stable, psychologically speaking, and works very well with humans.

Languages

  • Anglic
The linguistic standard of Planet Earth, Anglic is a language developed for the clear communication between humanity and their uplifted client races, such as chimpanzees and dolphins. Some of its terminology is different from English, and its pronunciation is altered in a way that allows dolphins to form words, and speak efficiently underwater.
  • Trinary Delphin
Dolphin trinary is composed of whistles, clicks, and other cetacean sounds, often related at high speed. Trinary can be learned and physically "spoken" by humans, with practise, though it is difficult due to its speed and the range of sounds it employs. Though its structure varies, its best comparison is to Japanese haiku. Trinary is used mainly among dolphins, for relaxation, evocation of imagery, and personal matters. Trinary is denoted by asterisks (*).
  • Primal Delphin
A language known by all Odontoceti, particularly those who have not been uplifted. Primary is classified by child-like repetition and simplicity; due to this, it's impossible to express complex ideas with it. Lucid neo-dolphins shun Primary as a language of animals. To hear a neo-dolphin speaking Primal is usually indicative of stress atavism. Primary is denoted by pound signs (#).
"The most formal Anglic, spoken carefully by a neo-dolphin, would be difficult for a human raised only in Man-English to understand. The syntax and many root words were the same. But a pre-spaceflight Londoner would have found the sounds as strange as the voices that spoke them."
- Startide Rising, p. 145-146

Physiology

In the course of the careful breeding and genetic modification of the uplift process, Amicus dolphins have been given several physiological traits that set them apart from their wild cousins.

  • Blowhole
The shape of the blowhole has been modified slightly, adding capability to use human language as well as the other range of sounds and vocalisations that uplifted cetaceans can make.
  • Eyes
Amicus dolphins are colourblind, able to sense only light and dark. Through genetic alteration, their vision has been sharpened. The range of light and dark has been broadened, lending a clearer image which can be further defined through imposition of sound-sense. Their eyes have been altered to visibly recess when in water, allowing them to change focus more easily. This process is usually unconscious, such as when a neo-dolphin is lost in thought or automatically shifting focus to see, but their eyes can be forcibly recessed to protect them.
  • Gill-Lungs
Uplifted cetaceans have a rudimentary gill system in their lungs to draw oxygen from water. This adaptation was made chiefly for starfaring crew to breathe in an oxygen-rich solution, which dolphin-crewed ships are pumped with. Though it satisfies a need for oxygen, Amicus dolphins tend to complain of fatigue, shortness of "breath," and nightmares of suffocation or drowning.
  • Expression
While of no real practical use, Amicus dolphins have been enhanced, lending their faces a greater range of expression. No longer are they trapped in a fixed grin of perpetual amusement. When a neo-dolphin is worried, they're capable of actually looking worried. The range they can show is tremendously limited compared to a human being's, but it's enough to get across their meaning.

Terminology

Amplifier Socket
A cybernetic implant some neo-dolphins choose to have installed, which allows for easier manipulation of machinery. See +powers and +flaws.
Anglic
The lingua franca of Earth. See "Languages" +info file.
Atavism
A psychological affliction that affects neo-dolphins under extreme stress. See +flaws.
Atlast
A small colonial water-world inhabited by neo-dolphins and humans. Like Calafia, Atlast's land masses are largely islands and archipelagos, with much of the surface covered by water. Atlast is a short-term colonial world, its "lease" due to expire in six thousand years.
Calafia
A colonial water-world inhabited by neo-dolphins and humans, whose land masses are largely broken up into archipelagos and islands. Only a quarter or so of the human population works with the neo-dolphin population. Calafia is known for its universities.
Fin
Colloquial, gender-neutral term for the uplifted dolphin, Tursiops amicus. The plural form is "fen."
Harness
A device which allows dolphins to use fine motor skills. See "Equipment" +info file.
Iki
A metaphor for death. Frequently alluded to as "the nets of Iki."
K-K-Kph-Kree
An Old God of the Whale Dream, a behemoth whose flukes send lesser beings tumbling and whose voice commands presence. Mightier than Physeter, the sperm whale, its presence is not a comfort.
Keneenk
A school of thought employed by many uplifted cetaceans. Keneenk advocates critical thinking, logical analysis, and an adherence to duty. Even after forty generations of uplift, these behaviours are not natural to cetaceans, so Keneenk is used to focus the mind.
Nukapai
An Old Goddess of the Whale Dream, closest in form and function to the dolphin. Nukapai is called on to offer advice, understanding, or vague prescience. She represents one of the safer corners of the Whale Dream, unlike many of her brethren.
Physeter
Physeter macrocephalus, the sperm whale.
Primary
A cetacean language. See "Languages" +info file.
Rescue Fever
An affliction that sometimes affects uplifted dolphins. See +flaws.
Shark-Biter
An honourific reserved for an individual, cetacean or human, of extraordinary courage.
Trinary
A cetacean language. See "Languages" +info file.
Uplift
The process by which an advanced race artificially advance more primitive races up to spacefaring standards, using a combination of selective breeding and genetic engineering. The new client race pays this debt through a period of indenture to their patron race.
Walker
A mechanical device which allows dolphins to move on land. See "Equipment" +info file.
Whale Dream, The
The philosophy of pre-uplifted cetaceans. Begun by the humpbacks and kept by their smaller cousins, at its core is the concept of multiple and parallel universes, infinitely changeable, accessed through a trance-like state. Few call on it willingly, for it is inhabited by nightmares and Old Gods. Though uplifted cetaceans have forgotten much of it, it's still a part of them, deeply buried:
"The concept of endless parallel universes was one known by dolphins long before humans learned fire. It was integral to the Whale Dream. The great cetaceans moaned complacently of a world that was endlessly mutable. In becoming tool users, amicus dolphins lost this grand indifference. Now they understood the whales' philosophy little better than did men."
- Startide Rising, p. 174Dropped