Thursday, May 25, 2006

TAS Library Entry for the Most Popular Pet of the Imperium: The Canar

The ubiquitous, and popular Canar is a creature known throughout human society, and can be found in virtually all environments habitable by humans throughout the Festrian Reach, as well as explored regions of the Old Empire. As such, it is ranked among the “Cradle animals,” that rare group of creatures believed to have evolved on the theorized birth-world of humanity. What citizen of the Imperium has not heard of the Canar’s utility as a primitive early warning system in the mines of antiquity, alerting miners to deadly gas with their strident call? Who has not heard tales of their later utility, to similar purpose, on the earliest legendary "Seed" ships, alerting the heroic founders of our species to fouling air on their rudimentary craft? That the Canar was also prized as a songbird is a source of some puzzlement today, as the Canar does not so much sing as mutter, gabble, and perhaps honk, the Canar’s wide flat beak appearing to be better adapted for dredging than for production of song.

Canars are mostly aquatic birds, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water. From this, its connection to a mythical Canar Islands seems founded. Historically, the nature of its initial habitat is in dispute. Earliest records indicate the creatures preference to be areas such as orchards note that the Canar build their nests in bushes or trees. Since their body length is generally, from base of neck to base of tail, approximately 30 cm, this seems unlikely; their webbed feet, too are better adapted for use in acquatic environmnets rather than arboreal.

The role of the creature in human society, historically, is obscure, and made more so by the multiplicity of languages used by most pre-Old Empire human societies, and the intermingling of the same into the predecessors of Old Galactic. Flying, egg laying and feathered species are understood to have been widespread among human societies from the earliest days, and appear to have often been domesticated, although to what purpose is not widely agreed upon in historical sources. This species was often kept as a pet, as they are even today. Many are found on worlds and even on shipboard, throughout the Imperium. They are companionable creatures, bonding well to their owners, so it is understandable that this should have been the case in antiquity. Canar, in additional to their most common role in human society as pets, are in some few backward areas farmed for their meat, eggs, and feathers.


Blogger KenHR said...

Ha! We know what side of the evolution debate you're on! :)

I love this bit of color! Great extrapolation; I love the fact that they still used canaries to determine whether there was bad air on ship.

As a detail, it supports the gritty feel of YTU. 5/5

5:44 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Thank you!

I like injecting a little silly here and there too: Canaries may have been useful for such purposes in antiquity, but I suspect that the Canard's aptitude in that area would be low...

6:28 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Although, re: evolution - I don't know that I'm getting so involved in that here "of creatures believed to have evolved on the theorized birth-world of humanity" as what I expect would be as controversial issue in the Far Future as it is on the Traveller lists: How did humans spread? MTU doesn't have Ancients, but that doesn't stop a good number of MTU scientists from taking up similar torches.

IMTU, I should think that most educated folks would agree that it's impossible for the same species to just materialize on thousands of worlds lightyears apart - the general consensus would be that there had to be a world of origin. The real bones of contention would be "Which One?" and "How did we spread," which would break down to issues of "Own agency" or "Other agency," the latter being more the domain of either the "Ancients" theorists, or the denizens of those "D" Government worlds.

Just so's it's clear: Me, I'm an evolutionist and a secular humanist from tip to toe. But not everyone IMTU would be. Even a cozy little 9-subsector TU is a pretty big place.

8:34 AM  
Blogger KenHR said...

Hey, I like that! Make the metagame argument a metaphysics argument IYTU. Let everyone get their viewpoint in.

Honestly, the humanity problem is a bit vexing. My solution is similar to yours; Arkad Sector is still within the old borders of the Imperium, so humans are there because they travelled there, built homes, and so on. But there are some things that point toward an Ancients-analogue.

I really enjoy reading this blog, in case it's not clear already. Your approach to the game is really refreshing; rather than "why aren't things this way? I'll have to change them!", you say, "why are things this way? I'll have to find the explanation!" The "rules as physics of the game world"'ve produced some of the best examples of it I've seen.

9:07 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it! I'm enjoying the experiment myself.

8:10 PM  

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