Have you a question about the Chakat Universe that hasn't been answered in any of the stories and articles? Chances are that you might find the answer here, and if you don't, you can submit a question. You don't have to confine the questions to just chakats either. The Chakat Universe's versions of foxtaurs, wolftaurs, equitaurs, skunktaurs, non-taur morphs, and aliens are all fair game. Of course, sometimes even I don't have the answers, but I can sure give it a try!
And now, on to the questions. At this stage they haven't been put into any particular order, so do a "find" on a keyword if necessary.
Are the chakats part of the Star Trek universe?
NO. Although I have used such terms as Star Fleet, Warp Drive, Transporter, Caitians, and other such things familiar to fans of the Star Trek universe, it is only a case of not re-inventing the wheel. I felt that I did not need to create my own versions of such things when I first started writing because they were only background details. I did however love Caitians, so I did eventually define my own version of the species, which substantially differs from the ST version now. Then I wrote "Transformations" and had to describe how a Transporter worked, and you'll find that it is significantly different from the official ST explanation. The structure of the Stellar Federation is different from the United Federation of Planets. Keep looking, and you'll find that the differences are far greater than their similarities. (Of course, if someone wanted to officially put chakats into a Star Trek movie, I would have no hesitation in saying "Yes!".)
For a list of all the No-Nos of writing in the Chakat Universe, click here.
What languages are spoken in the Stellar Federation?
Although 24th Century Earth is a great deal more unified than in previous centuries, there is still a plethora of languages spoken. However, there is an official "world" language - "Terranglo" - which is basically a rationalised form of English. The major inconsistencies of the old language, and most of the minor, have been eliminated, whilst retaining the richness and diversity of the old language, thus making it easy to learn and use.
Cait is known for its diplomatic and communications specialists, all of whom have a great deal of facility with languages. Nevertheless, their world also has a common language - "Ratarsk" - evolved from High Plains Trade Talk.
Voxxa uses "Yatta", the Northern Common Speech, used by roughly 2/3 of the population.
Raksha has no official common language. The commonest is "Katang Low Tongue" which is understood by roughly half the population. Rakshani who deal with the Federation usually learn another language, usually either Ratarsk, which is better suited to their physiology, or Terranglo, which is by far the most commonly spoken language in the Federation.
The Merraki have several languages, but as they generally use speech translating gadgets to converse with others who don't speak their language (Merraki or alien), no common language has ever been used, or is ever likely to be declared. They are the designers of the sophisticated translator device commonly used by Star Fleet.
Kalen-toth only ever deal with the the Renzar, and their language(s) is only known to the traders who don't mention it to others.
Renzar won't let language come between them and a deal. Although they rarely master any language besides their own, any Renzar trader worth his salt is able to make him/herself understood in a multitude of languages. Their homeworld though uses "Marlok", a language developed by international traders in the past, and became the de facto common language.
The Faleshkarti have become so homogenous that they have only one language, and a very utilitarian one at that. They don't even have a name for it. They refused to learn any other language from visiting aliens until Leanna made a breakthrough with diplomatic relationships. Now they are sending out representatives who have been taught Terranglo.
How complicated is it for a human to visit/pass through foxtaur territory? How well developed are the roads and footpaths?
Bear in mind that many of the foxtaur territories are former national park areas. The foxtaurs have been ceded control of these areas in exchange for maintaining them in as near pristine condition as possible given the current circumstances. Therefore there are very few sealed roads, a handful of emergency access tracks, and a lot of bushwalking tracks and hunter trails. The roads are not usually located where passing through is necessary or advantageous. Humans who want to visit these territories are welcome to drive (or walk on the main path) into the village that controls that particular territory and apply for a pass. This is little different from the way park rangers control some areas even today, but the pass may be denied for various reasons. If denied a pass, the person is required to leave the territory promptly, or be forcibly ejected. A person doesn't need a pass if visiting someone in the village just for that day. People can be declared 'persona non grata' and may never come back to that territory. Violations are treated in accordance with their severity.
What are the special Talents?
The recognised Talents are all psionic in nature and come in five kinds Empathy, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Astral Projection and Teleportation. While there are other special Talents, they are all variations on those five. For example: Pyrokinesis is a branch of Telekinesis. For a full explanation on these abilities, check out the Guide to Talents.
What is the UNTWG, how does it work and what are its powers?
UNTWG stands for the United Nations of Terra World Government. Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, it has complete authority in Terran world affairs and foreign policy, although its member nations retain a lot of leeway over domestic issues. The UNTWG is a member of the Federation but the nations that form the UNTWG are not. The use of UN does not mean it is a continuation of the historic organisation of the 20th and 21st centuries, but was intended to try to "invoke that organisation's spirit of international cooperation". For some reason many historians find this very funny.
How does the whole pirate thing work? Why doesn't Star Fleet stop them?
Starship sensors can only pick up ships up to a few hundred AUs away in normal space, which is about the width of a star system. While under warp drive, hyperspatial disturbances can be used to detect ships much further away, but still be relatively small distance compared to the distances between stars. Planet-based systems (and some military starships) can see farther, but only by focusing on a small section of space. Communications represent similar difficulties, and though it possible for a ship to talk to a nearby star system at any time, in practice the time needed to set it up prevents its use as a pirate distress signal. Pirate vessels are typically small-medium transports with some anti-ship weapons in one cargo bay converted to a launch bay. The preferred tactic is to intimidate a ship into surrendering using the starfighters, and then transfer cargo via shuttle while the base ship remains at a safe distance. Pirate Law is based around to singular principle of "Don't anger Star Fleet too much!". Other common practices:
- Smuggling gravity-bombs onboard ships. These produce negligible explosions, but distort space-time in such a manner as to reproduce a mass of many tens of thousands of tonnes, and force the ship's safety systems into shutting down the warp reactor.
- Leaving some sort of receipt and ID behind for Star Fleet. This protects pirates from false accusations if/when they are caught, and the pirates hope it will stop Star Fleet 'over-reacting' to such false reports when the pirates are cornered.
- Loading all their specialised equipment and weapons into their cargo shuttles and then trading 'legitimately'.
- Pirates will be interested in spare parts, exotic matter, transporter/replicator/holodeck technology, anti-matter, luxury items, genetic information, email, ecash, shipping schedules, and rich hostages - who are often well treated.
What is the physical and mental development versus age of chakat kittens and cubs?
Chakat kittens aren't nearly as helpless as human babies. They are able to get up and walk around at a couple of weeks. At this time and for about a year, they are little more than very intelligent cats though, operating off instincts not to get into trouble, or to deal with trouble if they can't avoid it. A frightened chakat kitten can be very dangerous to handle. This is part of the survival mechanism built into chakats as one of their overall design to increase their ability to survive most circumstances. It's not until around when they are weaned that they start taking on truly intelligent thinking, and they are able to draw on their experiences as kittens.
Chakats mature sooner emotionally because of their empathic abilities. That is why they have their coming-of-age at a younger age than humans who, although physically ready for sex, are rarely emotionally mature enough for a sexual relationship yet.
Up until they're weaned, chakats are not much more than clever big cats. After that though, they start to learn at a ferocious rate. They always learn to talk sooner than all but the most precocious humans, aided by their empathic sense to understand meaning behind words and other subjects. At this age, they can learn multiple languages with great ease. They tend to retain the ability to learn new languages readily even in maturity, although nowhere near as well as their early years.
How do chakats handle shedding all that cat hair?
Unlike natural cats, chakats bathe regularly. This dislodges the majority of loose fur, so their homes aren't just one huge pile of shed fur. They have very good filters for their bathing facilities. Of course that doesn't mean that there isn't some fur around the house. It's just a chore that any furry morph has to deal with.
Do they have the same sense of smell as actual cats?
Chakats have an excellent sense of smell, better than almost all others. Bloodhounds would have a better sense, but the chakats have the advantage of intelligence to interpret the scents better.
How are they able to breed with so many other species?
Chakats can only interbreed with other taur species. In the chakat universe, all morphs are genetically engineered. All taurs were built upon the research done for the previous taur species, so they have a lot in common genetically. The further away from the original though, the harder it is to conceive. For example, chakats can interbreed with wolftaurs, but not with Quange (equitaurs). There is also one exception to the rule: Admiral Kline. How this is possible was explained in Forest Tales #12.
Do they overheat in the Australian sun?
Yes they can. Chakats are optimised to tolerate cold. The thickness of their fur varies depending on the ambient temperatures, but even at its thinnest, too much sun can give them heat stroke. However, being intelligent beings, they can compensate with such simple things as a hat and carrying lots of water. They also can sweat in the paws and on their heads.
Do they sweat?
As mentioned previously, they can sweat, mostly in the paws (for dealing with hot surfaces), and under their manes (to keep their brains cooled).
Do they have need of whiskers?
They do have whiskers/vibrissae, although not to the same degree as wild cats. Often they're not shown in art, but they are indeed there. They are mostly useful when they pull their special trick of focusing all their senses, as shown in Forest Tales #10.
Do they have souls?
Yes. Non religious answer -- Chakats feel that all sentient creatures possess a soul as the the essence of that which characterizes and defines what and who they are. Religious answer -- Chakats are not atheists, and therefore they believe in the existence of souls on that basis. They just usually aren't into organised religions, although they respect other people's beliefs. An example is Christmas dinner in the Admiral & the Chakat #6. There are of course the usual exceptions, such as Chakat Gildedtongue.
Are they partially derivative from Titanides?
Not in the slightest. I hadn't even heard of them when I created the chakats. I don't even particularly like some of the aspects of the Titanides.
Being cats, why don't they get in more fights?
They're not cats. They're based on felines, but keeping only the parts that were useful and getting rid of the bad aspects. They were also bred to be extremely social, so they much prefer to make friends than to fight. "Make love, not war" is not just a trite saying to them.
How do they clean themselves?
Specially built taur-sized showers mostly, deep baths occasionally. They can tongue-wash, but usually reserve that for spot fixes.
Do they get fat?
Their digestive system is more efficient, and excess food is usually either converted to milk or discarded. However, even this can be abused, and the chakat can get overweight.
Do taurs have special swimming pools?
No, they swim quite well and don't need any special facilities.
Do they have separate public washrooms for chakats/herms or ones for just taurs?
Well-equipped public facilities in all places, such as schools or shopping centres, will have taur facilities. While a chakat or foxtaur could manage to use biped facilities (barely), someone like a quange would be utterly helpless. In fact, public toilets have to cope with a large array of species and needs, so that they are no longer divided into "Men's" and "Women's" anymore. They will have separate facilities for urinals, biped stalls, taur stalls, baby/cub facilities, and washrooms. Chakats may use the urinals, but would probably be more comfortable using the taur facilities. By law, herms may not be discriminated against, and may use whichever facility they are most comfortable with.
In a classroom with taurs and bipeds, what's the sitting arrangement?
The same as classes without taurs, except that they don't need chairs.
HOW are schools run? (like all computer or what?)
Considering all the changes since I was in school, that's very hard to answer, but I think that it will be a mixture of computers for all the common material, with teachers freed up to lend guidance and assistance to those needing it most.
Do schools still run the way they do now and days? (high school, etc. etc. | summer months off)
You're thinking too much like a person from the United States of America. Schools run differently all over the world. However, in the chakat era, they also have to deal with the different needs of various species, many of which learn different things at different rates. Basically schooling starts as soon as testing shows that the child is ready for it. There are no "prep", "primary", "secondary", "high", or "college" divisions. Instead the school year is divided into ten-week quarters with a three-week break. Each quarter has modules defining academic achievement. If the child fulfils all the targets for that module, he/she/shi moves into the next module. Average students will do eight modules during a year. Slower students maybe only six. Exceptional students can be moved up the modules more quickly. At the end of the school years (which can range from ten to fourteen), then the students move onto either apprenticeships or degree courses. Actual age is not a very significant factor.
How many non-chakat herms are there? (like recoms)?
The actual number is not generally known outside of a census, but aside from Chakats and Stellar Foxtaurs, they represent only a small percentage of the population. Nevertheless, when the population is in the millions, that adds up to a fairly large number, and that number is growing. Before the creation of the chakats, no herm species had been bred since the beginnings of the Gene Wars. Like many morph species, a large proportion of the herms were killed off during the wars, but they still occur in several different species, not all of them obvious. Hermaphrodism is a recessive trait in some of them, and they can breed normally with non-herms of their species and produce either single-gender or dual-gender offspring. Occasionally, two single-gender partners both possessing the recessive gene will produce a herm child. Amongst the species known to have herm specimens are foxes, rabbits, cats, mice, skunks, wolves, otters and hyenas.
What is the status of herms in society?
Hermaphrodites suffered from various degrees of discrimination after the Gene Wars. However, when the new chakat species started gaining in popularity, pressure was applied to enact new laws specifically to deal with this problem. Legislation banning discrimination on the basis of gender was extended to specifically cover herms. Herms may present themselves as males or females if they choose in any situation excepting those where they would gain an unfair advantage (e.g. athletics), although many will opt to evince both sides of their dual nature. Nevertheless, many people are not comfortable with herms, so it is often hard for them to find suitable partners. Most herms are very ordinary people though as, like all other exotic morph species, their exaggerated traits were brought under control after the Wars. Although not generally known, there is a support organisation for herms called the Double H Club. The HH stands for Hermaphrodite Haven, and is there to provide social and other forms of support for herms with their unique needs.
When does puberty start for chakats?
First stage puberty starts in hir tenth year and is considered finished at First Heat. Second stage lasts until about age 18 or 19, although most chakats don't reach their full physical potential until their twentieth year.
What are the signs of puberty for chakats?
The first sign of puberty is a sudden growth spurt. Up until this time, a chakat will only have reached about 2/3 of hir mature height, and will have have a more rounded, kittenish look. With the growth spurt, legs and torsoes grow longer and leaner, and the muzzle grows larger. Then the breasts will increase in size at least one to two cup sizes. The genitals will also increase in size, although that is only readily apparent in the penis as most of this is internal. Hir scent will change with the addition of pheromones, and hir voice will deepen. Shi will start developing a sexual interest in how others look, as well as hir own looks. At this point, cubs who adamently refused to wear clothing most of the time, will suddenly take an interest in wearing flattering tops, and other decorative items of clothing. Although chakats have a far more stable system than other species, even they are susceptible to mood changes due to the major changes occurring to their bodies. This may manifest as the occasional desire for privacy for exploration of hirself or hir peers, embarrassment, lustfulness, hunting focus, mild depression (they never suffer from deep depression), empathic disassociation or bad temper. When First Heat arrives, the system is given its final kick into high gear. Physical growth is not yet complete, but hir system reaches stability and, for all essential purposes, the chakat is now considered a young adult.
When does a chakat's first heat occur? And first rut?
I must admit that I've been dreading this inevitible question. It's almost certain to cause some overzealous person to make a hue and cry about child sex. Oh well, time to bite the bullet.
In the 21st Century, age-of-consent for humans varies a lot around the world, but mostly between 14 to 18 years of age, with 16 being a very common average. In the 24th Century though, they have to deal with many morph species which mature either earlier or later than humans. As you should have noticed by now, chakats start doing almost everything at an earlier age than humans and most morph species. Generally speaking, First Heat occurs between age 13 and 14. First Rut occurs either the first or second male peak after hir First Heat. Hir First Lovemaking can occur any time after that. The important thing to remember about chakats is that they are sexually and emotionally mature by then, and have been thoroughly educated about sex, and are thus able to treat it responsibly.
Does puberty have any effect on psionic Talents?
Definitely. A chakat cub's Empathic Talent is usually at the low end of the scale until puberty kicks development into high gear. Shi will not achieve hir full potential until the end of the primary puberty stage. It is important for hir to exercise hir Talent during this period or it may fail develop properly. Shi will usually get plenty of empathic interaction with hir family, but an orphan raised by non-empaths during this critical period can potentially have hir Talent stunted. This can apply to other Talents also if shi has them, but they don't depend on other people to interact with.
When is a chakat able to produce mother's milk?
A chakat can produce mother's milk just as soon as hir body has matured sufficiently. This is always after the growth spurt that also includes the increase in breast size, but always before hir First Heat. Generally speaking, shi will be able to lactate sometime in hir twelfth year. In my story, Quickpaw was able to produce milk for a ceremony half a year before hir First.
Are chakats affected by the Terran plant N. cataria (catnip) as common housecats and some wildcats are? If so, is it also like Terran housecats where some are affected and some aren't?
Chakats all find catnip to be pleasant and slightly stimulating, but it does not have the same effect as it has on various cats.
In the stories and the alien species guide, it mentions that Rakshan infants have a high mortality rate. I was wondering what exactly is causing this. Is it something like S.I.D.S. or predators or something else in the environment?
It's a large number of factors including those, but the largest contributor to Rakshani infant death is the poor state of the medical profession. Despite their technical advances which made them a star-faring race, their medical profession compares to early nineteenth century Earth. This is gradually improving as Federation doctors educate their Rakshani colleagues, and deep research is conducted into Rakshan biology.
How do I use those various words that refer to that race (Rakshan, Rakshani, Rakasha, Rakshasan)?
You have come up with a couple that I never wrote! ^_^
Anyway, "Raksha" is the name of the planet. "Rakshan" means "of or pertaining to Raksha". "Rakshani" are the the intelligent species, or pertaining to this species. Examples:
Before I finalised this, I may have made a few mistakes though.
- Zhane is a native of the planet Raksha.
- The Rakshan climate is frequently harsh.
- The Rakshani are a warrior race.
- Rakshani traditions are very strict.
What governments are there in local space?
- Stellar Federation: The economic and technological super power that dominates local space, the Federation (Terranglo translation) is a peaceful democracy currently in an active colonialist phase. Founding worlds include Cait, Earth, Raksha and Voxxa, and colony worlds like Chakona. All stories can be assumed to take place within the Federation unless stated otherwise.
- League of Non-Aligned Worlds: A group of independent human colony worlds that cooperate in military and economic matters. They maintain a peaceful, though actively patrolled border with the Federation. Famously, the League allows member worlds to engage in 'slavery' of genetically engineered species. The extent of this varies considerably from world to world, as does the protection afforded to various servant races. 'Alien' species and non-human Federation citizens can usually visit in relative safety; although few choose to do so. The LNAW leads the Federation considerably in many areas of Terran biosphere genetics, but lags considerably behind in all other sciences. The LNAW has a treaty with the Federation which allows it to maintain strict trade corridors to other LNAW worlds within Federation space, but there is an embargo on trade between LNAW worlds and Federation worlds. Unfortunately, there still exists illegal black market operations, but they run the risk of running into the ever-vigilant Star Fleet patrols.
- Voxxan Imperium: A group of Voxxan colonies that operate as a more centralised version of the LNAW, save that they have no worlds in Federation Space. Non voxxans are welcome as tourists and traders, though settlers may find themselves treated as second-class citizens. Mixed couples including voxxans, fox-morphs, or foxtaurs should exercise caution where they go. The youngest Imperium (Terranglo translation) colony world is older than the oldest human colony world. The greater maturity means less trade is required, but the Imperium maintains an active interest in importing luxury items.
- Nazdrazi Coalition: A alliance of mixed Rakshan, Caitian and lately Voxxan worlds scattered throughout known space. Named for the Rakshan and Caitian designations of a star where the original treaty was signed. Central government is almost non-existent save for a unified foreign policy towards other worlds. Famously safe from pirate attacks, this has been explained by the relative poverty of Coalition (Terranglo translation) worlds. Some, though, accuse worlds with the Coalition of sheltering and profiting from pirate activity. Visitation is possible, though caution is advised.
- Faleshkarti Administration: Sometimes referred to as Central, High, The, or Administration Triple One, as this is the only word the Faleshkarti use for organised hierarchies. Notorious for lack of interest in other species. The apparent lack of defence policy belies a large army of soldiers trained to suppress hostile life forms, and a host of 'peaceful' technologies related to colonisation, terraforming and weather control. A simplistic foreign policy can be summarised to 'if we can see a planet, it's ours' and 'all visitors report to Administration 111-70934', which is a newly opened administration for dealing with outsiders. Despite a planet overloaded with excess population, until Leanna made hir breakthrough with diplomatic relationships, it remained understaffed. Now it coordinates efforts to find ways of integrating into the Federation, mostly by sending out trained observers in the early stages.
- Damocles Hegemony: Based in the Sol asteroid belt and, in recent years, the Barnards Star System which they purchased from the Federation. A socialist and, by some standards, decadent collection of space habitats, that predates the Federation and is known for its universal laws. Has a significant lead in many aspects of non-relativistic space technology and its proximity to a major Federation world ensures relative parity with most others. Almost all species can visit in perfect safety and, save for the view inside the habitat, most would be hard pressed to know they're not on a Federation world. Peaceful relations have become strained following the Stariionae incident. The Hegemony has a defence treaty with Earth, a mutual co-operation pact with the Federation, and has recently begun to seek closer relations with the Federation colony world Chakona.
- [Unknown] Enemy: Unknown space race/civilisation described by the stariionae. Known for hive-like tendencies and a violent reaction to the Stariionae. Suspected of having a common origin.
- [Unknown] Prince Aries: Apparently a minor Terran colony world beyond Federation borders.
What do the colour codes on the Star Fleet & Star Corps uniforms represent?
Red Operations / Command
Gold Engineering / Technicians
Blue Physical sciences / Astrogation
Green Biological sciences / Medical
Purple Communications / Cryptography / Intelligence / Logistics
Grey Security / Weapons / Fighter pilots
White Protocol / Ambassadors
Tan Ship's Services
What about the comm badges?
The comm badges indicate rank and, in the case of the medical profession, they can also indicate specialty. Click the links to see the complete set of Star Fleet standard rank badges, and the Medical Division badges. The badge art was done by the talented efforts of Jonathan Rich.
What sort of 'recessive traits' exist among the Chakats? I know of a few, such as multiple sets of breasts and the like, but are there any others?
The only thing that I can think of offhand are psionic abilities other than Empathy. They don't really have a lot of conspicuous recessives due to their genetically engineered heritage. They do not have multiple breasts at all.
Some artists draw the chakats with human-style hair, while others don't include it. Is there any particular standard, or do some chakats just not have human-style hair, while others do?
Almost all chakats have very thick human-style hair. Left uncut, it's thick enough to grow into a mane. However, there are rare exceptions.
- The cheetah chakat (as opposed to a cheetah-patterned chakat) is without hair. Shi just has normal fur on hir head. This is part of the modifications made to optimise them for speed.
- The lynx-like chakamils can have rather short hair, but still relatively human-like.
- A severe haircut can make a chakat look lacking in human-style hair, but it's still there to regrow.
- Some artists draw chakats incorrectly, or are drawing ordinary felitaurs but still calling them chakats.
What is a chakamil?
A chakamil is a special variety of chakat especially and illegally bred for military purposes. For their full background, please read this article on Chakamils.
Are there any birdmorphs?
There are no birdmorphs. Any possible such creations would have died back during the Gene Wars. The closest you would get today would be a mammal with wings amongst the exotic slave morphs on the Non-Aligned Worlds.
How are bipedal males' penises covered? By foreskins (like humans) or by sheaths (like chakats, foxtaurs, etc.)?
That depends on the species, but the best rule of thumb uses the degree of anthropomorphism. For example, we'll use fox morphs. They come in both plantigrade and digitigrade varieties, the latter being closer to their fox side, and the former being closer to their human side. So usually you will find that the plantigrades have foreskins while the digitigrades have sheaths. Another thing that distinguishes them is that those with foreskins usually can interbreed with humans, while those with sheaths usually cannot (except by specialised medical intervention). My characters, Kris and Trina, are both plantigrades.
Obviously not all species can be judged so easily. The oldest morph species tend to be closer to human though, while the newest tend to be more animal-like. For the rest, I'm afraid you'll have have to find out on a case-by-case basis.
If they have foreskins, are the foreskins circumcised?
They may or may not be, and for exactly the same reasons that humans are or are not - religious and health considerations mainly.
Is there magic in the Chakat Universe?
I like stories about magic. I have a large collection of fantasy books where magic is an essential part of the plot. I have even drawn a chakat wizard. See - Heroic Chakat. However, in order to keep things more consistent and believable, I don't use magic in my chakat stories.
So, the bottom line is that for stories that are submitted to me for inclusion in the Chakat Universe, it is canon that magic is not a part of it.
However, it is my official stand that if someone wants to roleplay in a Chakat Universe scenario, they can do many things that aren't canon, including magic, provided that they do not violate my description of the chakats themselves. No Power Players though, please! The Chakat Universe is intended for the enjoyment of all who play nicely within it.
What's the difference between warp and subspace? Why do some authors use one and not the other?
Our local universe consists of three main sections. Subspace, normal space and hyperspace. An analogy would be a pond of water (subspace) with air (hyperspace) above it. A small enough object placed upon this pond will create a dent in the water but not sink. This surface tension (normal space) effect is gravity; which is more traditionally modelled by a weight on a rubber sheet. Note that an object existing in normal space (~placed on the surface of the pond) will produce distortions in normal space and subspace and hyperspace. Hence you can detect and describe an object or effect by looking at it from any one of these three points of view.
The FTL propulsion in the stories similarly produces effects in normal space, subspace, and hyperspace. For various plot or technology points of view it sometimes makes sense to describe things in terms of just one of these aspects and not the others; even though the other aspects could be used to describe it. For example navigation can be related to normal space (where the actual destination is), communications to subspace (sound travels faster underwater) and sensors to hyperspace (since spray can be seen at greater distances above water). Sometimes these habits can become institutionalised, and different institutions can have different habits. Hence Damocles trained personnel tend to talk in terms of subspace-effects, Star Fleet trained personnel tend to talk in terms of hyperspace-effects, and Star Corps are trained to do both.
Why are your vehicles called PTVs, and what's so special about them?
Firstly, not all vehicles are a PTV. That stands for Personal Transport Vehicle, and refers specifically to vehicles designed primarily for transporting people. It is a bit of a misnomer as it refers to anything up to a mini-bus size vehicle, and not just the small passenger automobiles that the first PTVs were.
There are a few major differences between old-fashioned cars and Personal Transport Vehicles (PTVs). After the Gene Wars, the world had the dual problems of depleted petroleum resources and severe pollution. Old-fashioned cars could no longer be allowed. Additionally, manufacturing ability was reduced for a while until industry recovered. This made vehicles scarce and expensive. The PTV and the laws associated with them were introduced to cope with all these problems.
Firstly, they run only on electricity, which is provided either by a highly efficient battery system or, for a longer range, boosted by some form of ecologically clean electrical generator.
PTVs are frequently designed to be readily adaptable to the requirements of various species. For example, taur models have low pads instead of seats, with fold-back backrests with safety harnesses. The CS model (Chakat Special) provides controls suitable for use by chakat handpaws, which allows them to keep their true hands on the wheel at all times. Other PTVs provide raised seating and other adaptations for very small species of morphs.
The next point is that while the privately owned PTVs can be manually controlled, each PTV has a mutiple-redundant AI system in it which provides driver assistance in many ways, with the emphasis on safety features. Collision avoidance systems, automatic wet weather and terrain compensation, etcetera, are standard features. Each PTV's AI system communicates with other nearby PTVs to maximise safety and traffic flow by the large decentralised computer system. However, there are routes such as super-highways and high-traffic areas such as the inner city areas where control is surrendered entirely to the AI units. The PTV AIs coordinate their movements with local traffic AI units which provide data such as the best routes and the overall traffic flow, but ultimately it's the AI in each vehicle that is in control. In cities, this means that there is no longer any problems with gridlock, and everyone gets to their destination quickly and easily. On the superhighways, the PTVs can travel at their fastest possible speed without fear of an accident. It also allows emergency services to divert or even stop all traffic (or just one car) if necessary. In safety zones (such as near school crossings), the AI may intervene and take over in an emergency. However, the driver may choose to surrender complete control to the AI at any time. The destination is entered, and the vehicle will take you to your destination entirely by itself. This is particularly useful if you need to travel long tiring distances, or if you're unfamiliar with a route, or want to talk on your comm while en route.
While not restricted, ownership of more than one PTV per household is discouraged, and the use of the Public PTV (PPT) system encouraged. The "Peetees" are analagous to taxis, except that they come in all sizes from two-person to mini-bus, and they are completely controlled by the AI. A PPT account allows the commuter to call for a public PTV at any time. This arrives very promptly as a coordinating computer has the optimum number of units available in all areas at all times. The journey is charged to the customer's account, and that is the only expense involved. Savings on costs of ownership such as fuel, maintenance, insurance and depreciation, very quickly make this a great financial benefit. The AI in each PPTV also knows how to deal with all sorts of special situations ranging from medical emergencies to to drunks vomiting, so you can be assured that your trip will always be fast and pleasant. They also coordinate with mass-transit systems to provide even cheaper and quicker transport.
For a more in-depth look at PTVs, see the article by McClaw.
How soon does a Chakat kitten generally open their eyes? Like, between a day and a week after they're born?
Chakat kittens generally open their eyes almost immediately, usually within a day. Foxtaurs take a few days.
How long until a Chakat kitten starts to walk?
Very quickly. Too quickly, some think! They can crawl on all six limbs almost from the start. Four-legged locomotion starts after a couple of weeks. (I think I answered this question to someone else. I hope that I gave a consistent answer!)
How do you solve the problem of the urine and feces of chakat kittens?
Simple diapers are good enough for chakat kittens for the few days until they get mobile. Kittens start getting around by themselves very quickly, and at that point they are introduced to the sandbox. They have very strong toilet instincts, and will almost always immediately start using that. After a few days, they will not excrete without being in the sandbox. When they are old enough to understand, then they are trained in the use of a child's seat on the normal taur toilet. So why don't you see diapers in pictures? Heck, I'd take them off to take family photographs. Wouldn't you?
What is the normal length of pregnancy for the average taur (Foxtaur, Wolftaur, etc) and Quange?
Foxtaurs, wolftaurs and ordinary felitaurs have a pregnancy a couple of weeks shorter than a chakat's ten and a half months. Skunktaurs have almost exactly the same as a chakat. Quange have a considerably longer one, probably over a year, but as I didn't create that race, I would like a more definitive answer from the one who did - Roy Pounds.
How many digits (fingers and thumb) on their hand do morphs have?
Despite some erroneous images drawn by various artists, most morphs have five digits on their hand, not four. While there are some exceptions, morphs have five digits because they are engineered with human genes which specify the five digits. To create a morph with a different number requires additional, and usually pointless, extra work. Of course some were nevertheless created with four digits only during the period before the Gene Wars, and several survived those wars.
Rakshani also have five digits and, allowing for fur and claws, are remarkably like human hands. Caitians, however, possess only four digits which are thicker and shorter than the Rakshani. Incidentally, the Caitian people use a base eight number system directly because of this. While Caitans in general have a strong facility with languages, dealing with the common base ten number system used by other Federation members remains a constant stumbling block.
Real cats have scent glands on their faces with which they mark their friends and owners. Do chakats have the same thing?
Yes, chakats do a have a scent marker, but it's subtle and only noticeable to species who also have a good sense of smell. Humans and many morphs would not smell it.
Do foxtaurs have "cock-knots"? What about wolftaurs?
In the Chakat Universe, foxtaurs do not have cock-knots. No breed of foxtaur, including Stellar Foxtaurs, has this trait. They were given a human-like penis to make them seem less animalistic. However, wolftaurs do have a knot. They are the oldest and most primitive taur species.
What is the difference between Star Fleet and the Star Corps?
Star Fleet and Star Corps are the two arms of the Federation's Stellar Services, and are broadly split between military and non-military. More specifically, Star Fleet are both the police and the army of the Stellar Federation. They are responsible for policing interplanetary matters, patrolling space between member planets, defending them against hostile forces, exploring new star systems and surveying new planets for potential exploitation, and First Contact situations. Star Corps takes over from where Star Fleet leaves off. Once Star Fleet has done the basic survey of the new planet and determined that it is (1) not inhabited or already claimed, (2) not inherently unsafe, and (3) suitable for exploitation, it is signed over to the Star Corps for development. Depending on what it's suitable for, they then handle full-scale exploration and mapping, identification of resources and how best to exploit them, and for worlds suitable for colonisation, preparing settlements, colony teams and logistical services. Star Corps remains in control until the new world becomes self-sustaining. The Star Corps ships are non-military, but may carry heavy defences and some basic weapons in case of encountering unknown hostiles.
According to the Lonely Stellar Guide to Chakona, Chakona has an eight day week. This leaves me confused about the timing of such things as weekends and the names of days.
Nobody thought to name the days when they made it an eight day week, but through general usage from sheer lack, they became known as Firstday, Seconday, Thirday, Fourthday, Fifthday, Sixthday, Seventhday, and... what was that last one again? Oh yeah, Eighthday! Fiendishly clever, hey? As for a weekend, the free structure of the working week on Chakona has left that world without the traditional style weekend, but typically most people's schedules have Eighthday in common as a day off, so large events can be planned around that.
You mentioned Cheetah Chakats more then a few times, but you've never explained this fully; how can you be a 'cheetah' chakat, if chakats aren't felines?
Firstly, although chakats are hybrids, they are still predominantly feline. The cheetah chakat is a variation on the standard chakat. Although they still possess most of the standard features of chakats, they have been optimised for speed. They don't have handpaws because they need paws more suitable for running. They have a leaner and more flexible body, and no mane to add wind resistance. They are able to run almost as fast as a natural cheetah, but running is not their only forté. In fact ALL their reflexes have been tuned for extremely fast reactions, and they are exceptional pilots, and excel at any activities that require very fast reaction speeds. They all are cheetah-patterned, unlike the random patterning of the normal chakats.
Is Chakat breast milk and milk water ever used in recipes? (e.g. Auntie's Special Milkshakes?)
If a chakat has excess breast milk, it is never wasted, and putting it into cooking is a common occurrence. Note that CKF will break down under high heat conditions, so a cake made with chakat milk will not trigger mother's milk production in other chakats, nor will it provide the vital nutrition for very young cubs. Cold foods like milkshakes or ice cream will retain the CKF. Milkwater usually isn't used for cooking because, unlike lactation, that isn't constantly being produced. It is only replenished if it used. It is supposed to be an emergency supply or ready-boost in high-energy activities, although it is also frequently drunk during sexual activities (which can be high-energy too!)
In addition, do chakats require fortified foods, seeing as 'normal' foods may not contain those nutrients that exist in breast milk?
Special components of chakat breast milk such as the CKF that is essential to a cub's normal growth are manufactured in the breasts. A chakat mother only has to eat a normal balanced diet to produce these ingredients for the cub, and once past the nursing stage, the cub no longer requires those extra components.
How is fat deposited on a chakat? In Humans and other mammals, fat tends to be deposited in limited locations (although it does tend to get everywhere evenutally), so were would you commonly see deposites on a chakat? Does that chocolate cake go all to hir thighs or what?
Although chakats have a far more efficient metabolism that usually prevents them from getting fat, it is nevertheless possible. Fat would then get deposited mostly in the breasts and torsos.
What proportion of the pre-Gene Wars morphs were stupid or smart?
Broadly speaking, there were three types of morphs when talking about their intelligence -  Sex toys,  Pets,  Servants (including war-beasts)
Roughly 8 out of 10 of the morphs bred primarily for sexual purposes were given the neural inhibitor that kept their intelligence low. The remainder had average intelligence for various reasons, such as more creative love-making or performing other duties that required the ability to think.
Morphs bred as "pets" were generally smarter than the BBVs (Big Breasted Vixens) but still below average intelligence. Other treatments kept them docile.
Morphs bred as companion creatures or as servants were of medium to high intelligence. These were the true slaves as they were the ones that were the equal of humans in every way, but kept in line with physical, legal and other restraints. Many morphs were bred by the military as the so-called "war beasts", and definitely needed intelligence to be useful. However, they were also the most dangerous to humans, irrespective of which side of the conflict they were.
By the time that the wars started, the morph population numbered in the millions. Being stupid, the sexual playthings such as the BBV's were the ones that were least equipped to survive. However, as mentioned in the stories, many fox morph species survived due to unrestrained breeding, and this was true of several other species bred for sex, such as the rabbits, cats and canids. This is a large factor in the modern morph population's proclivity for sex as the vast majority are fully or partially descended from former sex slaves. The pet types generally died out. They lacked the skills to survive, and humans could not afford to keep them during wartime. Ironically, despite being stupid, the sex slaves survived better because no matter how bad things got (and perhaps because they got bad), humans always wanted sex.
But now we come to the intelligent ones. Many actually welcomed the wars which frequently broke down the fabric of society, and thus removed many of the restraints upon them. These ones banded together for strength, sometimes forming alliances with humans that had been opposed to morph slavery. Many of these morphs survived, and it was these and their descendants who were primarily involved in the Great Reconstruction until the stupid ones had their neural inhibitor disabled.
By the way, don't over-analyse this neural inhibitor. How exactly it worked and how it was disabled is irrelevant. All you need to know is that it was a primitive form of slave control in comparison to that now used by the slave breeders of the Non-Aligned Worlds.
So, to sum up, while there were a huge number of really stupid morphs in the world before the Gene Wars, there were still plenty of intelligent ones, and even if a large proportion of the total population were killed, the sheer size of the population meant that there were still plenty around. Depending on where in the world you were, the portion that survived ranged from almost none to almost all.
The first chakat cubs were born of five Bengal Tiger surrogate mothers. Why tigers and not some other intelligent host mother? Why only five? How could they create a viable population from so few?
Tigers were used as surrogate mothers for the Alphas for several reasons:
1. Their sheer size enabled them to carry a large taur cub easily.
2. Their feline instincts worked best with the empathic cubs.
3. They needed to be genetically modified in order to provide the ideal environment for the developing chakat foetuses, and to provide the correct milk after the cubs were born; something you wouldn't want to inflict on a person, no matter how enthusiastic they might be.
4. The chakats were the Turners' children, having never had human children of their own, so there was an element of not wanting to compete with a sapient surrogate.
The single-hearted Alphas were a "Proof of Concept", which enabled them to keep developing the species further, adding such things as the double-heart system, regenerative abilities, etcetera.
More tigers were brought in after the initial five once the surrogate process was proven to be totally satisfactory.
Some of the maturing Alphas mated with ordinary felitaurs, wolftaurs, and foxtaurs, and of course produced all-chakat offspring due to the programmed genetic dominance, but it did help in lessening the inbreeding of the Alphas.
What were the Gene Wars like?
The participants had a whole slew of ideological, political, economic and social reasons for fighting, but the morph slaves were a major bone of contention only in the latter stages of the Wars after many of them became willing fighters on the behalf of humans who wanted to see them freed. The problem with the Gene Wars is that it was a lot like the Civil War in the states, only on a global scale. In some areas it was brother against brother, in others you could have a whole town/county/state/country in agreement. The same problem occurred with the different militaries some would be torn from within, while others were on one side or the other. A few areas were nuked (the first showing the rest of the world that this was a serious fight) while others were completely untouched. The Wars weren't a continuous series of battles, but rather a series of major conflicts interspersed with periods of major political and social instability. Some parts of the world could enjoy relative peace while devastating battles were fought elsewhere, and years later the situation could be reversed. Later during the Wars, someone in an anti-fur faction mixed up a virus that killed off half the morphs. The same virus mutated and turned out to be even better at killing off humans – taking out ninety percent of those remaining. The massive population drop was one of the major reasons for the end of the wars. Unless the remaining humans wanted to drop back to the stone age (well bronze age) they would need furry help – as equals – not slaves.
What does the former United States look like politically in the post-Wars era?
John Plunkett has provided a basic map that shows how the former USA is now divided into seven provinces. Five of them Oregon, California, Dakota, Michigan, and New England belong to Greater North America (GNA) which also includes Canada (except Quebec) and half of Mexico, while Texas and Ozarkia are part of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America (HCKNA).
North America was largely depopulated durng the Gene Wars, except for some small enclaves. Not a few of those enclaves were reclusive, survivalist types to start with; once things calmed down they came out of their bunkers and set up towns. The towns grew, and some of them banded together into confederations. The HCK started this way; over time the confederation solidified into a nation. There are plenty of other towns and confederations who never got large or powerful enough to resist when UNTWG came through. They bowed and scraped when the troops were present, then mostly went back to doing their own thing once the soldiers were gone.
There's plenty of empty land in which other, late-coming settlers might plop down a village. Plenty of areas in North America have retained a "frontier" reputation that's persisted into the modern age. Oregon Territory is one example. It's ostensibly under UNTWG's control, but given how rough the terrain can be and how sparsley populated it is, evading governmental scrutiny isn't particularly difficult.
The Wolftaurs and Foxtaurs complcate matters a bit. The greatest concentration of Foxtaurs can be found in California and Oregon Territories, while the Wolftaurs mainly live in Dakota Territory.
The HCK occupies Texas and Ozarkia Territories. The treaty zone (western half of New Mexico) is claimed by the HCK but was ceded to UNTWG under the Ozark Treaty, which grants limited autonomy to the HCK (and also to the Wolftaur Packs and the Foxtaur Clans). The treaty border is the Rio Grande.
Michigan and New England Territories are settled by Terrans and othrs who moved in after Reconstruction. New England's been reconstructed fairly heavily; Michigan still has a lot of hot spots, toxic zones, old ruins, and other wastelands."Sepratists" towns could easily exist in the western and southern parts of Michigan Territory, away from where pre-war cities used to be. They could also be found in Dakota Territory; the zone isn't entirely controlled by the Wolftaurs. The borders of some Wolftaur reservations aren't clearly defined, or are contested, which gives non-Wolftaur settlers a toehold. Wolftaurs do tend to agressively defend what they consider theirs, so rumbles with the Sepratists (and ordinary settlers) are fairly common. UNTWG does what it can, which isn't a great deal.
What about the rest of the world?
The worldwide conflicts resulted in invasions, take-overs, annexings, amalgamations and other events that drastically reduced the number of nations on Earth. Some lands were so completely ruined by warfare that most areas are quarantined. Some small countries that had gained their independence could no longer support themselves and were re-absorbed into the parent nation. Some struggling countries were forced into making unions. The newly formed United Nations of Terra World Government formalised and enforced the new borders. While cultural and political differences still abound, nowadays instead of forming a new independent country, a self-regulating territory within the nation is established, giving them the security of the larger nation but more freedom to follow their own lifestyle. Click here for the UNTWG World Map.
What drive systems do starships have?
A starship has two main drive systems - Warp drive and a reaction drive. The reaction drive is used for manoeuvring and travel within a gravity well that won't allow the warp drive to engage. Once far enough out of the gravity well, the warp drive can be engaged. However, that doesn't mean that it goes straight into FTL speed. At a warp factor of less than 1 (e.g Warp 0.3), it acts like a reactionless drive - warping space to pull the ship along. This can accelerate the starship to a large percentage of the speed of light. That's when time dilation becomes a factor. However, once it exceeds Warp 1, it effectively drops out of the normal universe and is subject to different physical laws. Time dilation does not occur due to its speed. There are other factors that affect relative time, but they are trivial and easily compensated for. Goldfur works on a Star Corps ship which frequently utilises sub-lightspeed warp to make swift passes through a star system in order to do scans of planets, etcetera, in passing, scans that can't be done in FTL. Hir aging has thus been slowed down a fraction relative to the rest of hir family back on Earth.
When and how does Territorial Attachment Syndrome (TAS) affect foxtaurs?
First of all I need to give a bit more detail on the nature of foxtaurs and their attachment to the land. While few people ever mention psionic Talents in association with foxtaurs, they do all have a very specific form of Empathy. (You didn't think the Turners developed that out of thin air, did you?) Like many new things, this empathic nature was an unexpected development that stemmed from the incomplete understanding of genetics at the time. In other words, it was an accident. (Skunktaur Talents anyone?) In trying to give their new creations a mindset that made them very attuned to their homelands, the genetic engineers unwittingly put into place the seeds of TAS. Because the very first generation of foxtaurs was bred straight out of the gene construct facilities, they never got the chance to have this trait manifest itself. However, when the first of the natural-born foxtaurs kits were growing up, they had this subtle empathy giving them an affinity for their home territory. However, it's the final stage of the maturing process (around the age of 19-20) that locks the affinity into full-blown Territorial Attachment. If the foxtaur succumbs to TAS, its strength can vary. Some can barely stray from their territory for an hour before needing to return. Others could go for a couple of days. In either case, it cannot be resisted. TAS is however treatable, although not completely curable.
A foxtaur's territory does not have to be a forest or clan grounds; it can just as easily be a township or a starship, and it is for this reason that foxtaur spacers with children at the vulnerable age will spend longer time on shore leave than normal to disrupt the bonding with just their ship. The use of a holosuite to reproduce other environments won't work because although their eyes might see a forest or a beach, they still subconsciously empathically sense the ship. However, it's not like it's flicking a switch and TAS is turned on. If the young-adult foxtaurs only stay on the ship for a couple of weeks and have a week's shore leave, it's almost certain that TAS won't set in. Also as previously mentioned, it varies in strength from person to person. It's possible that a foxtaur who is TAS-attached to his or her ship can go on shore for a couple of days before the itch to return gets too strong.
And as a side note, ever wonder why the inter-clan baseball games (and other sports) are so actively supported by all the clans? Yes, it's to give their children the opportunity to avoid becoming restricted to their home lands. One of these days, that could be a critical capability. And one last factoid TAS has been eliminated from the Stellar Foxtaur breeds.
How many breasts can a foxtaur have on their upper and lower torso?
All foxtaurs in the Chakat Universe have only one pair of breasts on the upper torso, except for the Golden Foxtaur breed which has two pair. That was an unauthorised addition to their genetic make-up that one employee of the genetic lab put in just for his own kinks. However, the gene was made super-dominant and linked with the fur colour, so any species of foxtaur that interbreeds with a Golden Foxtaur will always produce a kit with gold fur and four breasts on the females.
On the lower torso, there are only vestigial nipples from the base fox template, but on very rare occasions there are throwbacks where the vestigial nipples may develop into typical animal udders, similar to breasts. This typically happens only when the vixen gets pregnant though.
What is chakker?
Chakker is the official national sport of chakats. Please read the entire article on this subject to learn the nature and history of this game.
Where can I find wolftaurs living?
While wolftaur packs can be found throughout Greater North America, they are most common around Dakota Territory and westwards to the coast. About three quarters of all wolftaurs live in these packs, but the rest have rejected this lifestyle to live much as other morphs do, or to form compromise lifestyles similar to the foxtaurs. There is also a wolftaur village on Chakona, settled by those who wanted a foxtaur village style of living without too much interaction with others. The rest can be found all over the world and in just about any situation where other morphs can be found, including Star Fleet, so it's obvious that the pack lifestyle is partly cultural rather than just instinctive.
What are wolftaurs like physically?
Biologically, they are more primitive than foxtaurs because they were the very first taurs created. Unlike the foxtaurs, there wasn't any attempt to make their sexual characteristics more human-like, so they retain the penile bulge in the males, and canine vagina of the females. Although the bitches do have breasts on the upper torso, they are usually smaller than average, and the mammaries on the lower torso often develop also when they are pregnant. Because they were created as war beasts, they are strong and tough, although despite their looks, not stronger or tougher than the foxtaurs who were bred to replace them.
What are wolftaurs like socially?
Within the packs, it's very similar to normal wolves, with dominant males and females. Their numbers are far fewer than foxtaurs due to this fact as it restricts the number of births, and their lifestyle tends to shorten their life spans. Civilised wolftaurs however tend to be very similar to average morphs in behaviour and life span, although with stronger influence from instincts. The low numbers outside of the packs means that it's hard for them to find mates, but bitches in heat are very unfussy about partners when they want to quell their urges. Wolftaurs can interbreed with foxtaurs and other canine taurs (and even chakats), with mixed results.
Are there kangaroo morphs in the Chakat Universe? If so, do males have pouches, and females have normal breasts? Can they walk or only hop?
Yes, there are kangaroo morphs, and I actually used a couple in my second ever Forest Tales story. Although only female roos have pouches in nature, all morph roos have pouches. This is due to the fact that the genetic engineers who originally created the morph species wanted it that way. "They're kangaroos, so they ought to have pouches!" Of course the males have no teats in theirs, but they do find them handy for storing their wallet and keys. Female morph roos do have human-like breasts in addition to teats in their pouch. They need the teats still because like their natural cousins, they give birth to an immature foetus. Unlike natural roos, they do assist the foetus to get safely to a teat where it attaches itself and grows to about normal baby size. However, due to the fact that the morphs are upright walkers and not as effectively built to carry a large child, there comes a time when the joey gets too big for her pouch, but still needs to be milk fed. That's when the upper breasts start lactating and the child is nursed in the normal way. Unlike natural roos, morphs keep their pouches a lot cleaner and drier. Also unlike natural roos, they can move their legs independently to walk, but they do hop rather than run.
What are the flags of the Federations worlds and Terran countries?
Here is a list of the flags that have been provided so far, and the people who designed them. Some designs may be updated or improved in the future.
- Stellar Federation (GingerM)
- Chakona (Goldfur)
- Raksha (Chakat Blackwater)
- Voxxa (ChakatBlackwater)
- UNTWG (GingerM)
- South American Union (Sandwalker)
- HCKNA (GingerM)
- Quebec (GingerM)
- Kingdom of Sahara (Honeymane)
- United Europe (Chakat Blackwater)
- Amazonia (Sandwalker)
Got a question? Email me at IAQ@chakatsden.com
Chakats are the creation of Bernard "Goldfur" Doove, and remain my intellectual property.
The Chakat Universe is also the creation of Bernard Doove. However, I wish to acknowledge that the contributions from many people who have written stories, created background material, and drawn illustrations which have all added immensely to my vision. These people include, but are definitely not limited to, John Plunkett, Terry Knight, Kacey Miyagami, Boyce Kline, Leonardo Maffi, Mayra "Huskie" Boyle, and many, many others. Thanks go out to each and every one of you!
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