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The Prt' were carnivore/pouncers until they were geneered for use as servants by a race they call Hasst'kor ("those-who-came-before"). Approximately -10,000 Imperial, the Hasst'kor were destroyed by chemical assaults and bio- plagues in an interplanetary war with their neighbors, leaving the Prt' as the only intelligent life on planet. Their population drastically reduced, the surviving Prt' "took to the woods" to avoid residual toxic agents. For milennia they lived a primitive existence, slowly evolving their own culture.
As time passed, a few brave ones entered the devastated ruins of their former masters. Many never returned. Those who did, were ostracized and outlawed. These outcasts formed their own clans and moved into the ruins where they learned to use some of the remnant technology.
About -2400 Imperial, a Hiver expedition discovered the planet and the Prt'. Assessing their tech level as one, the Hivers typically decided the locals needed uplifting to a civilized level. Prt' were soon accompanying the Hivers on scouting expeditions to the stars. Despite their somewhat violent ways, Prt' remain very active in Hiver exploration service and the Hivers provide space and interstellar defense for Prt'aow and other Prt' "colonies".
Hiver archaeological expeditions have revealed little information on the original inhabitants of the 3rd planet of Prt'aow system. The Hasst'kor were a race of roughly Solomani shape and size, but apparently did not portray themselves in art--at least not in a form which has survived the millennia since their destruction. Altho remnants of their technology appear to have been roughly tech nine, they had not attained jump drive. Their bio-sciences have, however, been tentatively assessed at about T-16. Superb bio- technicians, they were responsible for geneering the Prt' into an intelligent tool-using species.
Approximately -10,000 Imperial the Hasst'kor were destroyed in a war with a species native to the 4th planet of Prt'aow. The condition of this planet is perhaps the most lasting testament to the temperament of the Hasst'kor. Its surface is almost entirely stripped of life and pockmarked with huge craters. Of the race which once dwelt there only the barest traces survives. It is hypothesized that crude anti-matter ordnance was used. Rumors have it that one or more Prt' clans possess the secret of such ordnance.
Prt' society is dominated by the clan system. This should not, however, be confused with the Aslan style of large hierarchial feudal clan organizations. All Prt' clans are at least theoretically equal, and, given their fractious nature, many Prt' clans are quite small. What government exists among the Prt' as a whole is by a council of clan elders who hold meetings to decide policy for a population or with regard to a pressing issue. The Prt' do not maintain regular armed forces--space and interstellar defense is provided by the Hiver Confederation. Other defense functions are clan-maintained--in effect a militia composed of a very argumentative populace. The clans frequently hold competitions to determine which militia unit seldom larger than a company or battalion is the most impressive. Such competitions also serve as sporting events. While it would be extremely difficult for Prt' to conduct a campaign of conquest, they are superb guerrilla warriors and are capable of extremely effective defensive campaigns.
Another clan event is the Kha'i, a rite of passage which marks the entry of a male Prt' into adulthood. Held biannually among the clans of a region, adolescent males compete against one another in ritual combat to prove their strength and suitability as mates. Males not selected often leave their clans for a time to further prove their suitability by questing in unknown territory--nowadays this means star-faring. Females of age also have the right to leave the clan, but most females encountered in space are usually accompanying their mates. Though not as sexist as the Aslan, Prt' males, in mixed groups outside the home, tend to be rather protective of their females--which often annoys said females
The clan elders also "decide" policy for their individual clans--with final approval coming from clan matriarchs. Each Prt' who reaches age 60 becomes an elder. Some are honored by this status as young as 40.
The extreme love of independence by Prt' counters clan authority. Many Prt' feel little sense of responsibility to the clan unless it is confronted by an external threat. While not as touchy as Aslan, Prt' are extremely proud and will not tolerate overt insults to either themselves or their clan. They are capable of extreme violence if they feel that the situation warrants it. They are careful, however, not to bite off more than they can chew and will often defer their vengeance to the most inopportune time for their victims.
Respect for any authority other than clan or family is even less. Prt' tend to ignore orders unless they want to obey them.
This inability to subordinate themselves to organized hierarchies has obviously had a profound effect on Prt' technology. :
Prt' enter service at age 16. Aging begins at 40. Owing to their innate curiousity, most Prt' encountered off-planet will be Scouts, although Scientists, Belters, Free Traders, Agents, and Hunters/Guides are also fairly common. Athletes, Entertainers, Criminals, or Bounty Hunters are not unheard- of. Owing to their independent and restless nature, very few join the military or in other professions involving hierarchy/routine. Because all males engage in militia training, Armed Martial Arts (Small Blade)-1 is a default skill].
They may have any skill except Riding [substitute an Explore skill]. They will avoid Admin/Legal. They are limited to Small Blade under the Armed Martial Arts cascade, and generally avoid other weapons skills where Strength is the controlling attribute.
Owing to their small size (one meter in height and 25-30 kg in weight). the Prt' must use specially modified weapons--at a 25%-50% increase in cost. They use human or Aslan weapons at a -3 handicap, in addition to Strength limitations, as they must use both hands to fire. They prefer low-recoil weapons such as lasers or rocket weapons.
The Prt' have a specialized weapon similar to the Askan ayloi which they call the Korrt'u Hasst'kor (the gift of the Hasst'kor); in Galanglic, springclaws. This weapon is a set of three blades 12-15 cm long which fit in a harness which covers the wrist and the back of the hand. Normally recessed, the blades spring out beyond the hand with great force when triggered by the wearer (Damage 3). Thereafter, they are used like normal claws but with greater effect. Treat as blade. Treat Outstanding Success as if three hits landed.
Prt' independence has led to some unusual features in Prt' society. Their revulsion to hierarchy ensures that their participation in prolonged offensive campaigns is extremely sporadic--at best. On the other hand, they make superb guerrilla warriors and covert agents in the defensive role since their clan/personal pride dictates total resistance to insult/aggression, their diminutive size facilitates covert warfare, and their independence makes them capable of continuing resistance long after conventional command/control structures have broken down.
Since technology is highly conditioned by social organization, the level of technology utilized by a Prt' clan (or even a family thereof) can vary wildly. Prt' have no industry of their own to speak of, and are not outstanding artisans owing to the physiognomy of their hands. Valued by their patrons for the services they are capable of providing (when motivated), they generally purchase the products of others; eg. Prt' do NOT build starships. Consequently, they are keenly aware of the value of a credit (unlike Aslan males), and can drive hard and clever bargains.
Though fairly loyal to clan or patron, a Prt' is nonetheless an abrasive and outspoken individualist. Capable of great concentration when their curiosity is stimulated, they may nonetheless lose interest in a lengthy "routine" project--unless their employer has managed to develop a strong personal relationship with them. Though impulsive, they seldom consciously act against their own best interests--always seeming to land on all four feet. While little research has been done with regard to Prt' psionic abilities/practices, some believe such exist.