An introduction to the Renzar race of the Chakat Universe.
Within the Chakat Universe, the Renzar are one of the sapient alien species contacted by the Star Federation, during their voyages of exploration. Of anthropomorphic-ursinoid morphology, the Renzar inhabit the distant planet Grom, 64 light-years from Terra. This article briefly describes the most relevant aspects of their history and culture, as well as the circumstances that allowed its incorporation into the Stellar Federation, integrated, at that time, by humans, chakats, Voxxans, Caitians, Rakshani, Kalen-toth and Merraki. The Renzar images included here are for reference only and were kindly done by the artist Seth Triggs. Keep in mind that this article is a general summary, leaving open the possibility of deepening the details, depending on the need and the subsequent development of the Chakat Universe created by Bernard Doove.
Grom is a distant planet 64 light-years from Terra. It orbits around the star Eta Crucis (Bolang in the Marlok language of the Renzar) in the constellation Crux. (HD 105211 / HR 4616). Bolang is a main sequence star, with a radius 30% larger than the Sun and 1.5 times its mass. Bolang's color is yellow and it gives its energy and heat to Grom at a distance of 1.98 Astronomical Units (See figure 1)
Figure 1: Sky map with the location of Bolang
Grom has a diameter of approximately 13 thousand kilometers and a slightly higher mass than Terra, so its gravity is slightly higher, making higher life-forms have a thick and robust construction. That increased gravity also retains a denser atmosphere, very similar in composition to Terran's (mostly nitrogen ~72%, oxygen ~27%). The pressure at sea level is also somewhat higher, forcing extraplanetary visitors to acclimatize to the new environmental conditions for a while. The planet rotates on its axis in about 25.4 Terran hours, and its inclination of 24.2 degrees allows the existence of seasons. It takes approximately 1.35 Terran years to complete one revolution around Bolang. Life on the planet is based on carbon, and the atmosphere has 8% more oxygen at sea level than on Terra.
This is a rocky planet, the surface of which is mostly covered by water. It has four main landmasses, some medium-sized islands and numerous smaller ones spread across the world. The four great continents, named Volthur, Dheiron, Ulkaria, and Gromnia after the Renzar, are home to most of the population, as well as most of the species native to the Gromnian ecosystem (See figure 2).
Figure 2: Map of Grom
One of the continents, Ulkaria, occupies a long extension of the north pole, while the other three are distributed in the equatorial and southern zone. In all of them, there are regions of high mountains that give rise to large sources of fresh water, dense forests of various plant species, deserts, and on the Ulkaria continent, a wide territory of permafrost extends.
Climates on Grom are as varied as on Terra. Among the main ones, the tropical climate, the rainy jungle climate, the desert climate and the cold climate stand out, both in the mountains and at the poles. The Renzar have adapted perfectly to each of them and their variants, these climates being one of the causes that originated the four great races: the white Renzar with brindle patterns that inhabit cold climates, the brown Renzar from tropical regions and jungle, the white Renzar of the desert, and the black-furred Renzar, of the savanna and tundra climates.
The planetary flora consists of thousands of plant species capable of photosynthesis and providing oxygen to the atmosphere. The vegetation is concentrated for the most part in the subtropical zones of the great continents and consists of extensive jungles, drifting into forests, savanna and tundra, as they approach towards the poles. Also, thousands of photosynthetic microscopic species inhabit the oceans, helping to oxygenate the air and water, as occurs on Terra.
In the forests, numerous species of plants coexist, as well as gigantic trees over 140 meters high, plants of medium height and abundant leaves for Bolang light-harvesting. There are also ferns, mosses and smaller plants that flourish in the warm season, feeding thousands of species of pollinating insects. Special mention should be made of a parasitic plant whose fruit is cultivated by the Renzar to obtain "Grom's liquor", an alcoholic beverage for export highly appreciated on the different planets of the Federation.
The fauna is equally diverse. There are flying, terrestrial and marine animals, with thousands of species in each group. Because the air is denser and more oxygen-rich, flying animals are able to grow larger and heavier. They range from insects the size of a fist, to huge bird-like creatures, with aerodynamic shapes and membranous structures instead of feathers, which allow them to take flight. On land, there are several families of animals equivalent to Terran mammals. They incubate their young in an internal womb and nurse them with nutritious milk at birth. The Renzar belong to such a family.
The mammals come in different sizes, from the size of a cat, to quadrupedal creatures larger than mammoths. Some of these giant animals have been domesticated by the Renzar since time immemorial for use in transportation, construction, heavy labor, and as a source of food. Within this group, the beldhur stand out – quadrupedal animals of robust construction, of great importance in the development of the Renzar civilization.
According to genetic studies and paleontological evidence, the Renzar would have evolved from large prehistoric quadrupedal creatures covered with hair called "Ren". Evidence shows that the Ren were carnivorous predators that once inhabited much of Grom in prehistoric times, suggesting the existence of land bridges connecting the continents at some time in the past. However, only those on the continent of Gromnia were confirmed to survive, since in the other three, the paleontological record showed a sudden extinction, most likely caused by the impact of asteroids. Ren were a very versatile species that occupied plains, forests and deserts. They competed for food niches with another dominant carnivorous species, the Terak. The struggle for survival and competition evolutionarily pressured both species to develop greater cognitive abilities, giving birth to individuals with more and more brain capacity. In this way, the primitive Ren began to stand on their hind legs, leaving the front legs free to perform manual labor. After millions of years, this behavior led to the definitive adoption of bipedal locomotion, which, added to the greater gravity of the planet, produced an anthropomorphic species with a robust construction. The Terak followed a parallel path, managing to become bipedal and even more imposing and stronger than their Renzar cousins, but due to circumstances that will be explained later, they failed to prosper as an intelligent species, being relegated to a wild minority, inhabiting isolated regions of the planet.
The Renzar are anthropomorphic creatures much like the ursids of Terra, though they are completely unrelated to them. Therefore, when Grom became part of the Stellar Federation, the humans colloquially called them "space bears".
The Renzar, like humans, Voxxans, and Rakshani, are a species of two biological sexes, that is, there are males and females. The average height of an adult Renzar is 2.22 meters, with a range between 2.10 and 2.28 meters, for both males and females. The average body weight of an adult is 230 kilograms, varying between 210 and 250 kg, depending on each individual. They live approximately 130 years.
Figure 3: Comparitive average sizes
Their bodies are robustly built, with thick legs, wide hips and bellies, and a prominent thorax that supports a heavy, broad head. Eye color tends to be reddish. Renzar arms tend to be thick and long. Males have a slightly broader and more toned torso, while females have broader hips and a prominent pair of breasts to feed their children with nutritious milk.
The coat of the Renzar is usually short and uniform throughout the area of the skin. Unlike humans, they do not have long hair on their heads, although mature males of some groups often have long hairs under their chins and on the side of their faces. This kind of beard is considered a sign of maturity and is used as a social-hierarchical distinction in some regions of the planet.
The anthropomorphic anatomy of the Renzar consists mainly of a nervous system, with a brain as the main organ located in the head, a digestive system adapted for a mixed plant-animal diet. Renzar have a circulatory system with veins and arteries inside which circulates blood that oxygenates and nourishes the entire body. A large heart that pumps hard and a pair of symmetrical lungs with superior oxygenation capacity. Due to the relatively high concentration of oxygen on Grom, Renzar who travel to other worlds require a brief period of adaptation to the lower atmospheric concentration, a situation that is somewhat uncomfortable at first, but totally tolerable by their physiology. Likewise, the reproductive system of the Renzar is not very different from that which evolved in the mammals of Terra, with male and female gonads.
In the case of females, the reproductive apparatus consists of a vulva with a muscular channel capable of contracting strongly during intercourse. This vaginal canal empties into the Renzar uterus, of a larger relative size, behind which the two ovaries are located. The sensory organ or clitoris consists of two separate bumps. The proximal clitoris is a small protuberance attached to the wall of the outer end of the vaginal canal. The distal clitoris, on the other hand, is near the entrance of the uterus and is similarly small. The fact that the sensitivity of the Renzar female is divided into two separate organs, at each end of the vaginal canal, guarantees the commitment to keep the male member inside her for as long as possible, thereby facilitating the accumulation of sperm and fertilization.
The testes of the males are likewise doubled and are retractile. That is, they have the ability to remain outside the body in the scrotal sac, or inside the pelvis. The gonads descend into the scrotum when the Renzar male is relaxed, during reproduction, or during moments of intimacy with a partner. And they go up to the pelvis, when the male must perform some stressful task, such as fighting or fleeing from danger. This movement is entirely voluntary, while the scrotal sac is elastic and also decreases in volume when empty. An interesting aspect of Renzar reproductive physiology is the concavity at the end of the penis, where it contains the urethral meatus. It is believed that this space serves to concentrate the amount of semen to be introduced into the female, increasing the chances of fertilization. The fleshy glans of the penis will swell somewhat during intromission and provide pressure against the female’s clitoris. The shaft remains partially ductile while erect and can give additional pressure to the forward clitoris.
Gestation time in Renzar is approximately 11 Terran months. Once they give birth, the females become fertile again within a few days. Double pregnancies are common, due to evolutionary pressure to conserve the species. But beyond three individuals, it poses a serious risk to the health of the female, due to the large size of the offspring and the higher gravity of Grom, where everything weighs a little more.
According to the color and pattern of the coat, four Renzar races can be distinguished:
As stated above, the Renzar managed to evolve into an intelligent species at the expense of their closest relatives, the Terak. It is believed that this was due to a stroke of luck. During the history of the Bolang system, Grom's increased gravity had caused errant asteroids to be drawn to its surface on several occasions, causing violent collisions and planetary cataclysms. This has somehow shaped the evolution of life in general, and the development of the Renzar as a species, in particular.
Paleontological evidence and geological records indicate that one of these impacts caused a global disaster, in the era of the primitive Renzar, decimating their population and also their direct competition, the Terak. Thousands of years later, the descendants of the surviving Renzar adapted better to the new environmental conditions, managing to evolve into the modern Renzar, with superior brain capacity. The Terak on the other hand – on the rise before the impact – failed to survive, and the few that remained gave rise to a primitive and feral form, whose descendants still live in remote regions of Grom. Today, the Renzar protect their primitive relatives in special reserves, and with the help of genetic engineering, they have managed to stabilize their population, saving them from extinction.
The first anthropomorphic Renzar are believed to have originated on the continent of Gromnia. From there, they would have migrated to the rest of Grom through primitive sea navigation, fully adapting to the particular habitats and climatic conditions of each region. This period is known as the age of the First Expansion. The isolation of thousands of years, together with the particular climate of each region, shaped the physiological adaptations and influenced the development of each culture, giving rise to the four main races, as mentioned before.
The first records of cultural activity appeared almost simultaneously on the four continents, manifesting family and tribal settlements. From the beginning of their civilization, family relationships were very important in the Renzar culture, as a means of guaranteeing survival in a hostile and competitive world. This was established when physical evidence of such behavior was found: primitive community graves, where each individual was buried with their family group. Similarly, archaeological remains revealed a growing tendency to live in communities and surround themselves with numerous animals, indicating that the Renzar began to domesticate wild animals at a very early stage in their history.
With the appearance of language, history begins. The historical record recognizes four main periods ranging from prehistory to the present: Emancipation, Second Expansion, Unity, and Third Expansion. During the Emancipation Period, the Renzar civilization achieved "independence" from nature, through its subjugation: intensive development of agriculture (control of the land to produce food) and the domestication of wild animals. In particular, the Renzar recognize the importance of the beldhur as fellow workers. The beldhur are for the Renzar as horses were for humans, animals of vital importance in the development of their civilization. It is believed that at this stage, due to the instinctive need for unity to face predators or other rival tribes, the competition for the election of the Agro'th or war leader arose. This competition would later give rise to Grom’s tournament of strength.
During the Second Expansion Period, the Renzar learned to extract minerals from the ground and make all kinds of tools. This meant a great advance in the construction of buildings and the raising of increasingly populated cities. Likewise, by virtue of the improvement of commercial routes, both land and sea, contact and communication between the inhabitants of the four continents was strengthened, giving a great boost to cultural exchange and mixing between races. Due to the need for communication and trade, the local dialects naturally converged to a common trade language, the ancestor of modern Marlok. In the same way, these advances encouraged the development of warfare. Each continent tried to get the best weapons for defense and conquest. As a result, fierce wars between the races erupted at the end of this period, especially between Ulkaria and Gromnia. Battles occurred both on land and at sea, and such conflicts shaped the Renzar warrior style – a soldier always willing to go to the front, following the leader of the army or the Agro'th – if that was the case.
However, once again, a fortuitous event that occurred at the end of the Second Expansion, which changed the destiny of the civilizations. While the wars were unfolding, a smaller meteor impacted the surface of Grom, causing a moderate cataclysm, but destructive enough to cause the death of many thousands of Renzar, as well as much of the flora and fauna of Gromnia. That astronomical event put an immediate end to hostilities. The gregarious and survival instincts arose again and the Renzar of the regions that remained safe, sympathized with those who had lost everything, receiving large flows of migrants, and reordering the culture and mentality of the Renzar. The meteorite put an end to the Period of the Second Expansion, giving way to the following Period of Unity, of about 4200 years of duration.
In the Unity Period, the Renzar first realized that their home planet of Grom was a dangerous place to live. And that they were at the mercy of those rocks that hit them constantly and without warning. The Renzar saw in this threat the common enemy, which caused the planetary unity. As if it were a Khudok ceremony, they put aside their differences and desires of conquest, and chose the leaders who would lead them in future new catastrophes. After several transcontinental councils, finally, during the first third of the Period of Unity, the first World Council of Grom was constituted, a group of some 50 to 60 delegates from all corners of the planet, vested with the necessary authority to make decisions at a global level. Additionally, they would serve as a court for the peaceful settlement of conflicts between races.
During this period, warlike behavior was replaced by the culture of collaboration. The prevailing peace and harmony fostered the most important advances in Renzar history, both in science and technology. A golden age for civilization began.
Mastery and exploitation of electrical and light energy was achieved. Large-scale production systems, both for services and products, were improved. In the same way, the improvement of technology allowed the construction of large underground shelters to help the population in case of future asteroid strikes. Although the idea of building cities underground was discussed on several occasions, it was never a very popular concept, as the Renzar considered themselves surface dwellers. Only a few mining settlements still function as small underground villages.
During the last two hundred and forty years of the Unity Period, space exploration was developed. The technology created up to that point allowed the Renzar to go out into outer space in well-equipped ships, but without warp drive or teleportation. In a first instance, interplanetary robotic probes and satellites were sent to study the surface of Grom. In a second stage, the first Renzar went out into space and began to build the first permanent space station, with the main objective of monitoring nearby space for potentially dangerous asteroids. The electromagnetic signals emitted by the communication activities and the incipient Renzar technology were picked up by the first Stellar Federation exploration ships that approached the sector of the star Eta-Crucis. Thus, the Renzar civilization was well on its way to developing their space technology when the Federation made contact with them.
At first, Federation scouts, primarily Chakats and Voxxans, stealthily contacted the World Council leaders. The meetings were kept secret, following the principle of voluntary non-intervention. The leaders, faced with the possibility of losing their power status on Grom, rejected contact, arguing that the Renzar, like other civilizations in the universe, had the right to develop on their own, without foreign intervention. However – as in the past – a new fortuitous event changed the course of events.
As said before, the planet of the Renzar was constantly bombarded by space rocks, which caused great planetary disasters. Following first contact with the Federation, a new asteroid, Bolang-4 (named for being fourth in the known history of significant impacts on Grom), was detected to be on a collision course. The Renzar, for the first time in their history, had the necessary technology to deal with the problem. Their space weapons were powerful enough to eliminate the threat. However, calculation and engineering errors – attributed to Renzar inexperience and technological immaturity – led to the attempt to destroy Bolang-4 failing, spreading panic and despair. Thus, despite the agreements reached with the elite, the Stellar Federation had the moral obligation to intervene, and using its advanced weapons technology, it destroyed the asteroid, saving Grom from a new cataclysm. After that historical event, the Renzar demanded to openly relate to the new "friends from space". They reproached the selfish actions of their leaders, removing them all from their positions. A new World Council spearheaded negotiations for Grom's integration into the Stellar Federation, beginning a new era of progress for the Renzar. This in fact put an end to the Unity Period, giving way to the era of the Third Expansion, which lasts to this day.
Grom's entry into the Stellar Federation enacted a new expansion of the Renzar in every sense, beginning a prosperous commercial and cultural exchange. The transfer of technology and resources, during the last 140 years, spurred unprecedented advances in the development of their civilization. Manufacturing was strengthened, with the Renzar becoming the Federation's main providers of work tools and machinery, including cargo spacecraft and long-range weaponry. Likewise, the natural resources of Grom – especially the mining of rare metals (ironically brought by the asteroids) – were exploited rationally, with Grom becoming large exporters of the same. Early Federation merchants realized that the Renzar had great business skills, recognizing their cunning and sense of fair dealing.
In the same way, joining the Stellar Federation meant the beginning of a fluid cultural exchange. The Renzar began to travel to the other planets and the federated species were invited to visit Grom. The destruction of Bolang-4 marked a before and after in Renzar history and it is an event that is still celebrated with joy in the local calendar. Full integration into the Federation occurred without major difficulties, in a period of barely 20 years.
|3,000,000 years BC||Prehistory||First signs of the Ren's presence on Grom.|
|400,000 years BC||Prehistory||Emergence of the first Renzar community settlements|
|200,000 years BC||Prehistoria||Asteroid impact wipes out much of the planet's flora and fauna and decimates the Renzar population.|
|150,000 years BC- 50,000 years BC||First Expansion|
|Descendants of the surviving Renzar, they adapt to the new conditions and begin to spread from Gromnia to the rest of the continents.|
|20,000 years BC||First Expansion|
|First indications of cultural activity Renzar in the four continents.|
|15,000 years BC||Emancipation||Beginning of the written historical record. Development of large-scale agriculture. Domestication of beldhur.|
|5,000 years BC||Second Expansion||Development of mining, fishing and construction of the first cities. Use of metals for the manufacture of tools and weapons. Emergence of rivalries and wars between the different races for territorial control.|
|2000 years BC||Unit||A new meteor strike ends the war, ushering in a lasting era of peace and prosperity.|
|600 years BC||Unit||The World Council of Grom is formed. Unity is deepened and the universal Gromnian language is established.|
|1980||Unit||The space age begins in Grom|
|2224||Unit||Contact with the Stellar Federation|
|2225||Third Expansion||Destruction of asteroid Bolang-4|
|2225-2245||Third Expansion||Full integration of Grom to the Stellar Federation|
|2245–Present||Third Expansion||Fluid trade and people exchange between Grom and the Federation, allowing Renzar to travel to other planets and establish themselves as Federation citizens outside of Grom.|
Due to the evolutionary pressure for survival, the Renzar developed certain social and gregarious behaviors that helped them thrive as a civilization. As in other intelligent species, the main nucleus of Renzar society is the family, composed mainly of parents of the opposite biological sex and their children. There are also homoparental families where children can be fathered with medical technological assistance, or adopted, according to tradition. Renzar are loving parents and very protective of their family. Contrary to other cultures, Renzar males tend to be instinctively more overprotective than the females themselves (See figure 4 and 5).
Figure 4: Renzar workers
In general, children leave home later than in other civilized species. This normally occurs once they have found a partner or have achieved economic independence, but always above the age of legal responsibility. It is rare for a young Renzar to go out to "conquer the world" at a young age. It is traditional for Renzar families to become true family clans.
Adoption is a deeply rooted social behavior in Renzar societies, due to the ancestral need to protect the children. In prehistoric times, the Renzar were constantly stalked by predators and natural disasters. This caused a considerable decrease in the population, leaving entire families destroyed, with orphaned children abandoned to their fate. In this way, the survival instinct as a species was strengthened and the surviving adults began to take care of the orphaned children, incorporating them into their own family. This behavior was maintained even at the time of the great wars between races (Second Expansion Period), where the victorious armies respected the lives of the small children of the defeated enemy, considering it a matter of honor to take care of them. The gregarious instinct and the care of children, whether their own or others, is a behavior that remains intact to this day.
In this sense, a relevant aspect for the reproductive success of the species is the correct teaching and guidance of parents in the sexual education of young people. Upon reaching the age of majority, the Renzar are "initiated" by the parent or legal guardian of the opposite sex, in the first consummation of the sexual act, for the only time, in a ceremony that, over time, became part of the traditions of Renzar. However, today due to formal education and modernity, this initiation ceremony has fallen into disuse in many parts of Grom, although it continues in others. Although for the foreign visitor, this tradition could be interpreted as an incestuous act, for the inhabitants of Grom who still practice it, it constitutes a strengthening of the father-daughter or mother-son bond, as the case may be, and is never used for procreation.
As in other worlds of the Stellar Federation, the formal education of Renzar children and youth, in the different regions of Grom, consists of an accumulation of basic knowledge, delivered in local schools, which prepares them for higher education. After the arrival of the Federation, the teaching of the Terranglo language was incorporated from an early age. Each continent provides its own nuance according to its own culture, but the general guidelines are the same for all, since the creation of the World Council of Grom.
Figure 5: Renzar family
The Renzar, since historical times, have lived spread over the four main continents, giving rise to the different races, as mentioned above. In each of them, their own system of government was created, independent from the rest, building a unique idiosyncrasy and culture. During the first years of the Unity Period, and forced by circumstances, local governments handed over power and authority, to the so-called Gromnian World Council. This consists of a collegiate body of twenty-four democratically elected members. Each continent equitably contributes six members among its most prominent citizens. Originally, the world councilors numbered fifty. But after the shameful concealment of contact with the Federation, the Council was reduced to twenty-four members and strict requirements were placed on candidates. They had to display not only impeccable moral conduct, but also a high IQ and unblemished community life. The Council is renewed every eight Grom years, with the possibility of reelection of its members only once. There is no figure of the President, Prime Minister or Secretary General, who exercises executive functions, as occurs in the political system of Terra or Chakona. Each particular topic is conducted by the representatives of the continent where the problem originated or a decision needs to be made. In order to represent Grom before the Federation, the members of the Council appoint a Planetary Delegate, albeit with limited powers, and any important decisions must always be made by the Council.
On the other hand, the governments of each continent are responsible for resolving issues of local interest. They are headed by a Governor and a local council of ministers elected by popular vote (See figure 6). The spaces for deliberation and local decision-making take place within the scope of the Continental Government. When the matter cannot be resolved or involves the relationship of two or more continents, the intervention of the World Council is requested, which guides, suggests, decides or fails without appeal, when the situation warrants it. The governor is elected for a six-year term in Gromnia and Ulkaria, while in Volthur and Dherion, the term lasts four years. Similarly, each major city, or village, elects a local leader, an equivalent to the mayor of ancient Terra. Even in small towns far from the planet, Khudok is still used to designate them, although it is a practice currently in decline. Unlike what happens in other parts of the Federation, the political leaders of Grom are mostly female, constituting a marked matriarchal society, a situation that has been strongly imposed since the Unity Period.
The economy of the planet Grom covers four major areas: exploitation and marketing of primary products, processed products, people resources, and tourism.
The Renzar are not fond of replicated foods that can be produced in the modern age, so they have proudly maintained over the centuries the production and trade of an immense variety of natural foods and pharmaceuticals made from them. The primary products are basically foods of vegetable origin, of marine origin and, in certain regions of Grom, foods of animal origin. Particularly famous is the Grom liquor, made from the fruit of a parasitic plant found in the forests of the humid regions of the continents, and the kangret, a kind of marine jellyfish, much appreciated for its pleasant taste and nutrients.
Another primary product is minerals. The abundant deposits of iron, corbalite, copper, tin, nickel, and, in particular, other rare metals provided by the asteroids, allowed the Renzar not only to build their urban infrastructure, but also to export the materials to other planets of the Federation, by virtue of the improvement of the extraction and refinement techniques provided by the Federation's technicians. But, without a doubt, the fundamental pillar of Grom's economy is its manufacturing industry.
During their history, the manufacture of tools, weapons and war supplies has allowed the Renzar to fight hand-to-hand, work the land, wood, agriculture, minerals, etc., making use of their unique physical power. With the advent of modern technology, and the subsequent incorporation of Grom into the Stellar Federation, this activity had an amazing development. Given its vast mineral reserves and vast hydroelectric, light energy – and other resources – the Federation's technical experts have contributed to the sustained development of Renzar industry over the last hundred years. In this way, Grom specialized in the manufacture of all kinds of machines and tools. Land and air vehicles and even spacecraft (especially for cargo transport) are products with a unique seal of quality and highly valued in the rest of the worlds. Likewise, thanks to the use of instrumental technology provided by the Merraki, the Renzar became great manufacturers of weapons, especially long-range weapons, used in the arsenals of the vast majority of the civilizations of the Stellar Federation.
The export of all these resources to other planets, and the consequent commercial exchange, fostered the emergence of large exporting companies, most of them under mixed public-private control. These companies are in charge of carrying out negotiations, exporting and importing products and services, in each of the stages. For this, the formal training of the Renzar in everything related to trade, both foreign and internal, was necessary. This is how the World Council merged all the existing local business schools and created the Gromnian Institute of Commerce (GIC), a type of university specialized in training prepared merchants and business leaders in the field. The GIC has chapters in all the major cities of Grom and its prestige has transcended the Federation. Many citizens of other worlds come to their classrooms to gain new knowledge and hone their business skills.
The Renzar, being the physically largest and strongest creatures in the Federation, and possessing a battle-hardened and protective character at the same time, proved to be ideal for security, protection, hand-to-hand military actions and heavy work. In this line, the planetary leaders promoted the exploitation of these characteristics, through the creation of the Police and Security Training School, unifying local institutions that existed prior to the arrival of the Federation. In it, Renzar students learn solid cultural knowledge of each federated planet, as well as various defense and attack techniques, police procedures, combat and assault. Graduates proudly render these helpful services to their planet and to the Federation. This is how the Renzar are usually regular members of police and security institutions, both public and private, in various worlds, ships and space stations. And in many of those places, they are the leaders. Likewise, companies hire them as private guards, politicians and authorities, as bodyguards in regions of conflict, and in the Star Fleet they serve as trained soldiers commanding assault troops. The Grom Police Training School has earned great prestige within the Federation, which is why many students not Renzar, come to it to perfect their vocation of police service.
For its part, the Construction School is an institution promoted by the World Council in recent years. Thanks to the exchange with professor chakats, skunktaurs and Voxxans, the graduates obtain solid skills in construction engineering and related techniques, for their performance in the construction and manufacturing industry of machines and tools of all kinds.Similarly, tourism in Grom began to be exploited massively, from the first interplanetary contacts. The interest in learning about the Renzar culture and the wonders of the planet made it necessary to create adequate administrative support and the training of tourism specialists. Seeing itself as another major source of business, the World Council encouraged the development of tourism in the IGC and the desert Renzar were primarily tasked with its implementation. As the smallest race, the desert Renzar proved to be less intimidating than the rest, making it easier to interact with other Federation species, mostly smaller in size than the Renzar.
As mentioned above, whenever the Renzar tribes went to war, they chose a leader, or Agro'th, to lead them, who could be male or female. The applicants had to show that they were the strongest, performing demanding physical feats: lifting heavy logs, rocks, knocking down trees, etc. Those who passed the tests, later had to face each other, in a fight called Khudok. The goal was to subdue the opponent using only physical force. To win the Khudok, the Renzar had to knock down or expel the opponent, outside a circle drawn on the ground. Although blows to the head and limbs were forbidden (since the chosen Agro'th had to remain more or less intact for the tasks he or she would have to perform in the war), many times the fight ended with the fighters bleeding and bruised. The winner became the leader or Agro'th and the face was painted to distinguish them from the rest. With the passage of time, and the advancement of civilization, the Renzar or Khudok force tournament came to be considered an instance of conflict resolution, similar to human duels. In that context, a wilder version of Khudok called Justa developed. In the Justa, there were no rules, and it was not uncommon for one of the fighters to be killed. The Justa was used to resolve conflicts between large groups of Renzar and it was acceptable that the death of a single tribe member prevented the death of many due to direct battle. However, during the Period of Unity, the Justa was superseded by Grom's more civilized justice system, although it is known that, in some remote parts of the planet, the mêlée duel to the death is still used to cleanse honor, despite being prohibited by the laws of Grom. However, unlike Justa, the Khudok became over time a popular sport on a planetary level, being practiced by all races.
In modern Khudok, two opponents face each other, trying to knock the opponent down or expel them from the circular space in which they are both. It is therefore similar to the ancient Terran sport of sumo. Together with the rivals, a qualified judge (preferably non-Renzar) is always inside the circle, ensuring that the rules are followed, sanctioning the movements and awarding the corresponding points. The Renzar who gets three points first is the winner of the match. The opponents paint their faces recalling the choice of the Agro'th of the past, while the clothing used is usually the minimum to facilitate the dynamics of combat. Females wear a brassiere to support their breasts and a simple loincloth of the same color. Males fight bare-chested and also cover their genitalia with a simple loincloth. Wrestlers belonging to the same family or clan wear a loincloth of unique design, which represents that group and distinguishes it from the rest. Being an ancient tradition, Khudok is practiced with great solemnity and seriousness. In Grom there are local and intercontinental championships, with a world league, where the best fighters compete to be the world champions (See figures 7 and 8).
Figure 7: Male wrestlers at the Renzar Tournament
Figure 8: Female wrestlers at the Renzar Tournament
But the Renzar Tournament of Strength is not only practiced in Grom. The Renzar who live outside their home planet have brought this ancient sport with them to their own communities. On the planet Chakona, the city of Amistad has its own league of Renzar fighters, all members of the resident Renzar community. Every week, they meet in a public gym in the city, set up especially for this sport, and before an enthusiastic audience of all species, the opponents—both male and female—proudly demonstrate their strength and fighting skills.
Although the Renzar do not inherently possess such a warlike spirit as other species of the Stellar Federation, their history has not been without wars where they have proven to be fierce combatants.
The most important armed conflicts began as soon as the Renzar managed to dominate the manufacture of iron weapons and other related minerals, during the Second Expansion. Their physical strength allowed them to use heavy metal armor, as well as long spears, swords, and shields, favoring hand-to-hand fighting and attacking and defending in groups. In various periods of history, armed conflicts arose between the four races, for territorial domain and natural resources. However, due to Grom's hostile nature, such fights took a backseat when the goal was to survive earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, or meteor strikes. In this way, little by little, the serious confrontations between the Renzar were replaced by the Khudok, the tournament of strength, as a universal way of resolving conflicts.
Interest in having powerful armies resurfaced when the Renzar civilization began space exploration. As there was uncertainty about the presence of other hostile species in the universe, the Grom governments were careful to encourage the creation of unique planetary armed forces. Upon contact with the Federation, the Renzar military was strengthened, to deter possible hostility from the "new neighbors" in space. However, thanks to the diplomatic action of Chakats and Caitians, and the establishment of mutual trust, it was never necessary for them to take action.
In the modern armed forces, the Renzar is a strong fighter, with heavy armor, a shield, a helmet with large viewing glasses, grenades, a handheld machine gun, and a large amount of ammunition on their back. A kind of assault monster, with a painted face, just like in the Renzar tournament. The infantryman is well protected against small and medium caliber weapons and can only go down to explosives or larger weapons. Renzar in combat are brave, deadly and proud. Like their ancestors, they value honor, preferring close combat, believing that destroying the enemy from a distance is dishonorable. Although their large size and lower agility, make them an easy target for enemy fire, they will not hesitate to protect their assault party with their body armor, leading them with courage and honor.
As mentioned above, an important aspect that the Renzar society has fostered since ancient times is the ability to trade products and services. As with the Police Training School, the World Grom Council pushed for the unification of the local trade schools into a single large institution, following the arrival of the Federation: The Gromnian Institute of Commerce or GIC. The Institute develops the negotiation skills of the students to the maximum, teaching advanced techniques of internal and foreign trade. It also trains business and labor leaders with the necessary skills to lead projects, design businesses, and direct the workforce. The Institute also currently enjoys great prestige in the Federation, being highly sought after by other worlds to hone the trade skills of its students.
As previously stated, the Renzar civilization, since the Unity Period (its golden age), experienced great development and prosperity. At that time, due to the growing commercial exchange between the continents, the need arose to unify a common ancestral language. Grammatical consensuses arose spontaneously in the heat of business, laying the foundations of the Marlok language. In the middle of the Unity Period, Marlok was refined and fixed, becoming the official language of Grom. After entering the Federation, Marlok incorporated some terms used by other species, to facilitate extra-planetary commercial exchange. Likewise, during the first third of the Unity Period, the World Council of Grom was created, giving it the necessary authority to lead and encourage the development of science, the construction industry, the arts, and other activities of the Renzar economy.
Although their own scientific advances managed to put Renzar into space, it was not until Grom joined the Stellar Federation that technological exchange gave Renzar science a remarkable boost, projecting it several years into the future. The design and construction of spaceships was perfected. Teleportation and warp technology were incorporated into them, allowing the Renzar to travel to other worlds in short times. Medicine, education, research, and construction also improved markedly, due to the arrival of experts from all the member races specializing in the various areas.
The arts also received a great boost, with the arrival of many human and Rakshani artists, eager to learn about the new world and its peculiar inhabitants. Musicians, writers, cartoonists, sculptors and creators, gave life to the artistic culture of Grom. The first humans to set foot on Grom found that the Renzar closely resembled the bear morphs of Terra. Therefore, they coined the phrase "space bears" to refer colloquially to them. However, this concept did not please the proud Renzar who did not accept being compared to pets created by humans. Nevertheless, the nickname persists to this day.
The Renzar are characterized, among other things, for being great merchants. In the past, this activity was carried out in the local markets of each continent. During the Unity Period, transcontinental commercial exchange was strengthened, designating specialized places to carry it out. This is how the markets grew and gained popularity, exchanging all kinds of products and services. After the arrival of the Stellar Federation, the exchange fairs in each continent were modernized and today constitute an important planetary economic activity. Although each fair is held separately on each continent, they are organized in such a way that they take turns throughout the Gromnian year, so that there is always an active fair at any time. These successive fairs constitute the Great Planetary Market of Grom. Here you can find everything from highly technological devices, to relics of past times from the different worlds of the Federation. Likewise, from small merchants to large companies from Grom and the entire Federation, they use this market as a showcase for commercial exchange and doing business. Everything that is sold must comply with strict regulations, and government agents are always on the lookout to prevent the trade in illegal products.
The Renzar of the planet Grom, contacted by the Star Federation in the year of Terra 2224, are an intelligent anthropomorphic species born and developed in the rigor of the constant struggle for survival. Their home planet, although it possesses enormous material and biological wealth, was also a place of constant danger to life, due to the permanent bombardment of celestial bodies. These bodies—on more than one occasion – were about to extinguish them, along with great part of the planetary biomass.
However, these same adverse circumstances shaped the Renzar's character and culture. The murderous asteroids, taught them very early that fratricidal fights among themselves were completely useless, forcing them to think sensibly almost by force. For this reason, unlike other intelligent species such as humans, the Renzar spent long periods of their history living together in peace, which allowed them to channel their energies into developing a thriving, rich, and promising civilization, taking slow but firm steps, at their own pace, just as they are. Large, heavy creatures, fierce defensive guardians and extremely caring when it comes to protecting the weakest, both of their own kind and others. Noble beings, with a high sense of honor and lovers of their traditions. Innate and cunning businessmen, but honorable. Although, as in every intelligent civilization not everything is perfect, we could say that the Renzar managed to mature and survive their "technological adolescence" (as Carl Sagan said), due to the harsh lessons learned from the "sticks" that the universe gave them. Unlike humans, who had to mature painfully through the blows given to themselves through fratricidal wars.
Thanks to: Bernard Doove, Seth Triggs and Mark Sanders for their valuable contributions of ideas and corrections of the text.
– Ben Zider, November 2022
Text copyright © 2022 Ben Zider. Art copyright © 2022 Seth Triggs. Character species created by Bernard Doove and used with permission.
Return to Story Index.
Return to main Den page.