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Cargomen
Alien
Homeworld:
Dulmufan, Sector 125  
Ecology:
Nitrogen-Oxygen-Water (H:D:1:7)  
Biology:
DNA I  
Languages:
Native and Grand Federation D  
Human Contact:
3241CE  
FTL Status:
4532BC - Grand Federation assisted  
Current Status:
Grand Federation Tertiary Race 4532BC, Grand Federation Secondary Race 1715BC, Imperial Major Race 3500CE, Independent Interstellar Race 4831CE  
   
Environment
Ideal
Tolerance
 
Atmosphere:
.17B O2 .09-.27B O2; CO2 < .01B  
Temperature:
285K 255-295K  
Gravity:
0.88G .15-1.10G  
Other:
Humidity 10% Humidity 05-80%  

Overview

Cargomen are an isolationist interstellar race occupying over forty systems in Coreward Space.  Increasingly isolationist since the fall of the Empire of Humanity, the Cargomen have redeveloped their traditional culture and minimize all interactions with other starfaring races.

Physical Description

Cargomen are bilaterally symmetrical centauroid octopods, with three sets of locomotive limbs and one set of manipulating limbs that end in five digit hands.  The Cargomen head vaguely resembles a sunflower with the face containing over one hundred eyes attached to ten centimeter-long tentacle stalks.  Over two dozen fine olfactory sensory feathers surround the flat face.  Paired auditory and breathing organs are located on the thick neck, below the head and roughly in line with the manipulative limbs; these organs surround a large triangular-toothed vertical slit mouth which marks the beginning of the Cargomen digestive tract.  A rigid bone-like plate covers the Cargomen back, above the six locomotive limbs, creating a flat-bottomed bowl useful for carrying items and responsible for giving the race their common name.  Cargomen skin is smooth and their entire bodies - even their teeth and back plate - are a glossy black; juvenile Cargomen are dark brown in color, blackening only at full growth.

Adult Cargomen average eight hundred kilograms in mass, three meters in length and somewhat less than two meters in height.  The Cargomen back plate is roughly two meters long, seventy centimeters wide and has a twenty centimeter rim.  Cargomen can twist their upper body nearly 180 degrees, allowing manipulation and observation of items placed within their back plate.

Physiological and Social Development

Cargomen are gregarious hermaphroditic beings, spending their entire lives in herds of two to five hundred individuals.  Cargomen reach adult size after ten standard years, but do not become sexually mature until nearly fifty years of age.  Traditional reproduction consists of two individuals exchanging genetic material using glands located near the anus; both individuals become pregnant and produce two to three offspring.  The parents expire after a development process that involves the young gradually co-opting their parent's digestive systems and then birthing through the abdomen wall after a six month gestation.  The herd communally raises and educates the young. 

During the Cargomen's Grand Federation and Imperial Era existence, reproduction occurred via external artificial wombs, and Cargomen adults enjoyed a genetically enhanced lifespan of several hundred years.  After the fall of the Empire, the Cargomen race gradually became traditionalist and religious, adopting the True Range, a society based on older -often pre-industrial - forms of speech and society, and returning to reliance on natural reproductive process.  Cargomen generally choose to reproduce before entering a period of physiological decline and few individuals live past eighty standard years.  During what the race terms now terms the Time Without Dreams the Cargomen were known as outwardly gregarious, friendly and generally pacifistic beings.  After the ascendancy of the True Range traditional society, Cargomen have become almost militantly isolationist and very rigid in their beliefs. 

Cargomen communicate through the symbolic positioning of eyestalks, supplemented by the release of various anal gland pheromones.  During the Time Without Dreams Cargomen adopted a simpler, stalk-only speech compatible with the Federation D symbolic language; True Range Cargomen use this simplified language to communicate with outsiders, but it is only learned by the few who interact with outsiders and never used within the society.

During the Time Without Dreams, Cargomen generally wore clothing only in inclement environments and often carried containers, straps and pockets in and around their back plate.  True Range Cargomen usually wear a colorful tasseled skirt around their back section and adorn their limbs with bracelets of metal and fabric.  True Range Cargomen never place loose items in their back plates; satchels and pockets, often attached by drilled holes in their plates, contain all cargo.

History

Cargomen evolved from omnivorous herd animals on the semi-arid plains of their homeworld's supercontinent.  Intelligence arose in response to desertification, which limited the proto-Cargomen range and forced the herds to experiment with agriculture to supplement food sources.  Several river-valley civilizations arose by 9000BC, fighting wars and developing a metal age continent-wide civilization of competing states by 6000BC.  Continued environmental degradation accompanying the onslaught of an ice age caused a general collapse around 5600BC, but the ice age led to the creation of city-states in newly-exposed equatorial shore regions by 5200BC.  These city-states represented a flowering of scientific development which inaugurated an industrial revolution by 4700BC.

Increased competition for resources, sporadic warfare and the flooding of many coastal areas during a renewed warm spell brought Cargomen society to the brink of nuclear conflict in 4532BC, a conflict only averted by the conscious intervention of the Heshar, who forced peace, unity and interstellar society on the Cargomen during that crisis.  The Cargomen adapted their society to fit into the Grand Federation of Races hierarchy, becoming a Tertiary Race under Un'aa'graum Primary Race sponsorship.  In 1715BC, after centuries of service to their patrons and the colonization of eight Sector 125 systems, the Cargomen become a Secondary Race under Un'aa'graum, Tze't and Hubas patronage.

The Cargomen remained loyal during the War of Liberation and soon came to occupy the far rimward Grand Federation frontier region during the contraction that followed the conflict.  After the Grand Federation encountered the Empire of Humanity at Heshar in 3226CE, the Cargomen worlds in the rimward portion of Sector 125 soon came into contact with Human settlers.

During the First Federation War, Human military forces conquered and occupied Cargomen worlds.  Despite spirited resistance, the Cargomen homeworld of Dulmufan surrendered to two Imperial Hellking battle groups in 3470CE, marking the effective end of Cargomen resistance.  The Cargomen worlds were brought into the Empire at the conclusion of the Annexation Campaigns in 3500CE, and the Cargomen remained a loyal Imperial Major Race until the fall of the Empire.

During the Chaotic Era, the Cargomen became progressively more isolationistic, slowly reviving their long dormant native culture.  By the middle of the 53rd century, they had expelled all outsiders from their worlds and instituted the True Range, returning to their ancient language, religion and reproductive practice.  This isolation soon became militant, protecting their territories against incursion, most notably in the 5622CE sterilization of the Human world of Ushan, a response to Ushan's support of pirate activity.  At the urging of other former Grand Federation Races, the Cargomen joined the League of Independent Races in 6263CE, but remained aloof, sending official delegations to conferences, but allowing contact and trade only though isolated space stations.  Even this experiment in limited interstellar cooperation proved too controversial for Cargomen society, and they withdrew from the League in 6569CE, retaining contact with outsiders only through a score of isolated stations at the outskirts of major systems.

Current Status

The nearly twenty billion Cargomen occupy 44 systems in Sectors 125, 342 and 343.  Cargomen worlds remain totally isolated from other spacefaring races and cultures.

Notes

Cargomen contact stations exist in the macrojump-safe ranges of twenty of their systems, often orbiting a small gas giant.  Cargomen themselves do not venture outside their home systems, though military squadrons patrol large sections of their three home sectors, occasionally encountering Humans or B'dr'rak vessels and settlements.

 

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