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Skaters

These Planet Loki off-shoot bad boyz are native to a rather chilly planet and have a very interesting pair of adaptations: the claws of their front legs form skis while those of their back legs form ice skates. As for dealing with the low temperatures a nice bit of blubber and white fur does the trick. They're distant relatives of Earth's ferrets and it shows. While not naturally intelligent, the The LIR or League of Intelligent Races has decided to "uplift" some of them for use as colonists on planets which, guess it, are really cold.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

Their front legs claws merge together and curve back into skis while their back claws are merged together to push the middle one down so that it can act as the skate. They can stand on 2 legs to walk around and skate or go on 4 legs to ski, in which case they put their skate feet onto the ski claws.

Biological Traits

There's very little visible variety for the human eye to notice because of all that white fur and how very specific skate and ski designs have been favoured by natural selection but just trust me when I say that their faces, the sounds they make and smells vary a lot between individuals.

Genetics and Reproduction

They get onto the highest peaks they can when mating so that they can ski while mating if they need to get away from something. Both males and females will track one another down to mate once every 1.4 Earth years, although they only succeed in finding a mate about a fifth of the time. When they mate they produce 2-3 offspring.

If there are males and females in a pack that aren't related, they will form their mating pairs and leave the pack while the ones left over (as there's rarely a 1:1 ratio: try landing heads exactly 3 times when flipping a coin 6 times) split up to search for mates.

Growth Rate & Stages

Pregnancy lasts 5 Earth months and, after that, the cubs need a year before they can ski and skate. After 2 further years of mastering their skiing, skating and hunting skills under the guidance of their parents, they go out in their groups of siblings to work as a pack/pair that might join other packs if there's enough food to be gained from teamwork (otherwise packs fight for territory). This pack splits up after 2 more years when they all basically ditch one another to find mates they're not closely related to, at which point they're adults and capable of hunting for themselves.

Ecology and Habitats

They're most numerous at the equator of their world, which is full of coniferous forests and mostly covered in snow, despite it having comparatively less snow as there is so much available food. They don't, however, inhabit the North or South Pole of their world because it's too cold even for them. Oceans, which have a much higher salt content than ours, haven't been able to stop them because of their planet only having a single continent, even if it is most of the way through splitting apart.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Mostly carnivorous but both can and will eat some berries and shrooms. Due to their foxy intelligence, they're able to use those big sharp ski arms in many interesting ways to get their hands on the edibles from using them to threaten other predators into giving up their hard-earned food, hiding in the snow before leaping out and slashing their prey, tearing apart dens containing the delicious cubs of other species with ease and so on. They've also got this awesome thing of leaping from a skiing position as they're moving to pickaxe-kill their prey, often using methods of getting above their prey. They often form packs and work together in hunting, but these don't tend to last.

Biological Cycle

They hibernate every Winter in dens they dig with those giant ski claws because it's too darn cold even for them. If they have mates and young then they'll make sure to snuggle up with them to up their odds of not freezing to death in their sleep.

Additional Information

Social Structure

In family units there's no hierarchy as parents take turns hunting and caring for young (this is after they're weened off milk, as before then the male has to be a very macho man and provide all the food while the female converts most of it into milk). In any pack it's generally the most intelligent that's running the show while the strongest becomes their enforcer, while a male or a female in a pack consisting almost entirely of the opposite sex will often be given food by the others in an attempt to impress them as the others don't want to search for weeks to find a mate when there's one right there.

Domestication

Natural ones are kept as pets by intelligent inhabitants of icy worlds, including their uplifted buddies (if this sounds like Mr Peanut-Butter getting a Labrador or Peppa Pig getting a Tedpig for her Pokemon journey, that's because it is).

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Used for hunting as all you gotta do is not let them lose the pack mentality: the way to do this is to raise them alongside the skater of the opposite sex they'll be breeding with (this won't work if they're related they can tell if they're related by smell) as the thing that makes them split up is the search for mates.

Facial characteristics

Eyes, snouts and noses vary in size and shape but that isn't obvious to a human onlooker.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

The uplifted ones are on most of the LIR's cold planets.

Average Intelligence

Naturally: fox.

Uplifted: fox with glasses.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Infra-red vision, brilliant long-distance sight and hearing and an amazing sense of smell to help them find food in the snowy wastes.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

So there are these ticks and fleas that they get but more interesting are the asexual worms that live in their stomachs. They basically work by leaving their eggs in the poop and eating some of what the Skater eats. The dung is then eaten by rabbit-sized insects that get eaten by other Skaters...

ewwwwwwwwww

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Translations: skiing warrior, skating hero, running kindness etc.

Major Organizations

The LIR or League of Intelligent Races and Zee Pirate Confederation both have them in their ranks, although the latter has less than a hundred.

Beauty Ideals

"Real thicc ski-claws you got there, and nice sharp skate-claws too."

Gender Ideals

They're new to the whole sapience thing they haven't really got a clear idea of what a gender ideal is yet just give them a while they might get into it.

Average Technological Level

They're citizens/soldiers of the LIR so plasma jazz, low level time muckery, genetic modification etc.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

They're all taught the common language of the LIR, despite it being slightly painful for them to speak it due to how their voiceboxes are differently designed to that of Toppers, who happen to be the ones who made the language.

Common Dress Code

Most don't wear clothes as their fur covers all their bits and wearing anything over that fur is a great way for them to die from overheating.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

None. Like all uplifted species, they're a bit of a blank slate: perfect for the Toppers (top lads in the LIR) to mold to their purposes.

History

Evolution: Some of the ancestors to ferrets went through Loki to their planet and, after many, many years of using their claws below their stomachs to reduce heat loss to the contact to the snow, their claws got much bigger. The loss of their tails was also a useful adaptation for the cold.

This led to their claws of their front feet stretching all the way down to cover their entire bellies as they slid around and used these claws like extensions of their legs when walking, but meant the ones on the back feet weren't so useful and so they began to walk semi-upright. This turned to being fully upright for improved mobility and climbing prowess.

The next step was for them to grow the skates on their feet: but what was the natural selection lead up (sure, it'd be hella useful for a lion to be born with wings but individual mutations don't generally cause such large changes so the things that lead up to them as the back plates grow out from the body and grow feathers need to not be so much of a hindrance that they can never reach the point of wings: speaking of which they'll definitely be a hindrance and that's why lions will need numerous other changes to them before wings can become a possibility... big sad)? Well, they had those mini-ski-claws on their back legs at the time as well but these had a lot of friction on ice and so, when someone got themselves a mutation that resulted in the part that touched the ice being thinner, they were in for a good time as they had it easier than everyone else and so could have more children (as hunting was easier and so more could be provided), passing on those genes, and more of those children could survive thanks to this and then they could have more kids in a magnifying effect. Now fling in that this process basically repeats itself numerous times until the middle claw of each back foot is basically a proper ice skate that is kept in place by the other claws, which can also be used to add friction for faster stops.

The biggest leap forwards is often intelligence (for ultimate success of the species: ie aliens colonizing numerous worlds, propagating the species and making the loss of their genes less likely as the destruction of one planet doesn't mean the destruction of the species) and, while already at fox-level, some of them got a helping hand in this regard by the LIR... then they got reduced rights because they're artificial and flung into an economy without anything to start out with, including beyond-basics knowledge of what trade is.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

They don't get along well with most of the warrior races of the LIR because of them being uplifted rather than natural (they don't have working hands or opposable thumbs they're not gonna be working any machines unless they get cyborg ad-ons) and are very loyal to the Toppers thanks to the fact that they were actually trained to love Toppers before being uplifted and then brainwashed into it again before being put into cut-off colonies where they'd be taught to continue loving the Toppers alongside other uplifted races. Only those that have effectively escaped into the LIR Almost-Anarcho Capitalist Crime-Infested Wilderness that is the in-between zones have been able to escape this system of indoctrination and think independently.

Scientific Name
Nullam sapiens
Origin/Ancestry
A common ancestor with Earth's ferrets.
Lifespan
23 years
Conservation Status
Uplifted ones get the same rights as other Uplifted races, being very few. Their home planet is being taken advantage of but the natural ones aren't yet under serious threat, not least because they're used as pets.
Average Height
0.8 meters when in ski mode, 1.4 meters when standing.
Average Weight
28 kg
Average Length
0.6 meters
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Whitest whites only: they've got snow to blend in with.

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