Once a slave species to the Xinod, the Fenerox have only just begun to escape the mental shackles put upon them by their now-fallen masters and are creating their own destiny within the galaxy. Two separate groups, unshackled, who have been able to breed out the genetic dampening on their intelligence and have begun to integrate into the Galactic society, and the shackled tribals who still live passing on their limitations, building societies resembling those of a paleolithic species on the worlds they were abandoned on as their masters fell.
The Fenerox are a mammalian species with a biology resembling that of early-Earth mammals with semi-reptilian features, somewhere between Therapsids and Monotremes. Fenerox are endothermic, capable of self-regulation of body temperature, lay eggs rather than give live birth, and females produce milk from mammary glands to rear offspring until they are capable of eating solid foods. The diet of the Fenerox is mostly carnivorous, being supplemented by nuts, legumes, and tubers, particularly among shackled groups, who have by-and-large not yet learned skills such as agriculture, and instead rely upon a hunter-gatherer method of getting sustenance.
Fenerox usually grow to heights of 5’7”-5’11” in males, and 5’3”-5’6” in females, though shackled groups are often much shorter due to a lack of proper nutrition during childhood and adolescence, similar to early humans. The natural coloration of the Fenerox is largely within a set of beige hues, owing to their adaptations to savanna environments, though it is possible to find the occasional Fenerox with much stranger assortments of hues, the result of wanton genetic alterations by their Xinod masters. Fenerox are covered in a fur coat over most of their bodies, save for several plates of thick dermal bone covered with a thin layer of heavily keratinized tissue that grow along the back, onto the mostly vestigial tail, and onto the head and forehead of the Fenerox. Culturally, these plates are often carved as a form of ceremonial marking, especially among shackled societies, who use it as writes of passage and means of identifying someone’s feats in their tribe, as well as their place within its hierarchy. The lifespan of a Fenerox is usually around 90 years, though shackled groups live around 27 to 38 years, similar to other paleolithic species. Unshackled Fenerox can live much beyond their natural lifespan limitations with modern medical technology, however, just like their contemporary modern sapients.
The culture of the Fenerox is one that, among the homogeneous uni-species societies of the Galaxy, can be considered rather unique owing to the history of the species. Unshackled Fenerox generally just coexist within the cultures of other species, carving out their own individual niches among the worlds of other CivSpace Empires, most commonly in Avian or Hylotl societies.
Juxtaposed to this, Shackled Fenerox simply picked up where they were left, either in the wilds of planets that were yet to be colonized by their Xinod masters, or within the very ruins of their once grand civilizations, entirely ignorant of the wealth of technology and information that could be surrounding them, buried under the sands of time. These Shackled societies are typical for species early in the development of structured groupings of hunter-gatherers and late-paleolithic society, usually consisting of tribal associations which number around fifty, but can reach sizes into the hundreds before it becomes too large a group to be sustained by their non-sedentary lifestyles. Shackled tribes formed among the ruins of Xinod cities often take limited advantage of their surroundings, cold working the scrap metals and materials around them into stone age tools, making for a rather interesting mixture of space age materials such as Durasteel or rubium with primitive implements, such as atlatl, early compound bows, or celt axes.
???? - 3286
The Xinod Empire had been expanding rapidly for many centuries, creating a formidable empire that, for all intents and purposes, was unchallenged within the galaxy because of their technological superiority over contemporary sapient species. As this empire expanded throughout the southern half of the Galaxy, the Xinod found themselves in a philosophical hurtle to surpass.
The infrastructure of their continuous empire was beginning to be outpaced by the rate of their expansion, and they were left with the question of how to ramp up production. Xinodian pride and ideals largely excluded the idea of their own kind being reduced to simple labor work that would be required for this, and although the use of synthetic intelligences to continue development was touched on, many of Xinod engineers and scientists held a deep fear and bias against the idea of entrusting too much of their empire to the hands of AI. The fear of insurrection or the emergence of super-intelligence was far too great.
At these crossroads, the Xinod found themselves looking to the galaxy around them for a solution. The answer came to them in the discovery of the homeworld of the Fenerox, a long lost piece of information by this point. On this world, the Xinod found a species which was just burgeoning into true sapient intelligence and society. A perfect fit for their needs, as more advanced species such as the Core Species had been ruled out, deemed unsuitable for the purposes of mass enslavement because of the risk of rebellion and the much greater cost in making them a proper subservient species. To the Xinod, the Fenerox were essentially the goldilocks species for these desires. Intelligent enough to comprehend the tasks required of them, but not socially advanced enough to put a large enough resistance to their invasion to dissuade their Empire. The invasion of the planet was simple, and it is reported that not a single Xinod life was lost on the day it was launched. No records survive of Fenerox casualties, if any were made.
With the Fenerox quickly assimilated into the Empire, the Xinod went about ensuring that they would remain in the mental capacity devised for them, utilizing a series of genetic modifications to the Fenerox genome to dull and halt the continued selection for greater cognitive capacity and the ability to form more cohesive social units. At this point, the Shackled Fenerox were born. With this new workforce, the Xinod progressed with the march of their Empire until they met their fate. In the war that tore the Empire apart from within, many of the lowest run of Fenerox slave met their ends on the battlefield, leaving only those who personally served the elite. It is believed that this is part of the reason for the Unshackled emerging, as such Fenerox were often given more leniency in their cognitive dampening to better serve the wishes of their masters.
The first few generations to survive the conflicts which left them abandoned by their former masters largely decided the future fates of each population, as those which escaped their dampening quickly took to the stars in what remained of the Xinod's technology, finding refuge in the burgeoning space age societies of the species around them. Those which did not escape from this cradle were left behind, now in the darkness of the chains put on them by their fallen masters.