Hello! Ric here with the second of two cultural
indexes that were both voted for with equal results. This week, we’re looking into a
race that forever stands apart from those others in the Mass Effect universe by the
very nature of their biology. The diminutive, but influential Volus.
Native to the planet Irune in the Aru System of the Aethon Cluster, they are technically
a humanoid species with four limbs, head and facial features but all this is obscured by
their environmental suits. The Capital city is Lenos and many of its settlements are based
on historic trade routes with few founded for militaristic purpose.
The planet itself has a radius of 11,525 kilometres, a 36.2 hour day and an atmosphere of greenhouse
gases that supports ammonia breathing lifeforms. As such, the standard oxygen-nitrogen mix
most species enjoy is lethal to the very alien biology of a Volus. What’s more, the planet
is 1.5 G and has an atmospheric pressure of 60.2 times that of Earth’s at sea level.
This means that they Volus have evolved to be squat and stocky to withstand this gravity
and that their physiology is uniquely suited to withstanding this pressure.
The human body is quite adaptable and may be able to survive this pressure for a while
with gradual acclimatisation and breathing apparatus but a sudden transition from an
Earth-like environment to Irune’s surface would result in a human expelling all their
air and bits as their body collapsed and they’d pass out and die before they managed to take
another step. The inverse is true for a Volus. If rapidly exposed to a human atmosphere,
they’d effectively explode, likely not even having the time to develop any form of gas
narcosis. This has led to the entire species wearing
distinctive pressure suits when off their homeworld, the look of such a suit becoming
synonymous with a Volus’ appearance and many have not even seen a Volus without his
or her suit. This has led to no small amount of fun to
be had on the Volus’ part with much speculation on how they look beneath their masks, much
like the Quarian race. One recurring topic is that Volus often deliberately avoid answering
questions on one’s gender, considering the topic irrelevant at most times. Some go even
out of their way to deliberately spread misinformation about this topic and an individual’s identity
to confuse the subject further, although they do seem to identify with at least two genders.
They breathe a high ammonia air and their blood may be blue according to several documented
injuries and the colour or their saliva. Yoqta is an illness common on their world that almost
all will contract at some point during childhood. It is effectively Volus chickenpox and rarely
fatal. Their unique and extreme environmental requirements
see them create pressurised zones for other species on their home world for races to conduct
business as can be seen by the Hazard warnings to remain within such areas when visiting
the species. Likewise, Volus who are expecting a long stay away from habitable planets can
petition local authorities to have a sealed living chamber made though due to the danger
of explosive decompression and atmospheric leakage these habitats are uncommon.
On the plus side, their unique and extreme requirements mean that they have little competition
for potential colony worlds and they have many that they have laid claim to. Although
lots of these colonies are listed as having temperatures from -57 to 9C and pressures
of 1.6 atm to around 6. So either the Volus continue to wear their suits even on these
worlds, are far more adaptable than they put on, or the codex entries are inaccurate.
The species is a citadel race, but not on the council. For more on the makeup of the
Mass Effect government, I’ve done some in-depth videos, but the Volus have a long entwined
history with the Turians and are responsible for the creation of the galactic credit through
the unified banking act. In fact, proportionally, the Volus own a larger sway of businesses
and wealth than the other citadel species being a race that long ago took up trade as
the primary means of settling disputes. A clan-like culture, the Volus society evolved
from a myriad of smaller clans that traded goods and dealt with one another through business.
Warfare on Irune is unheard of and this can be attributed to the lack of any idealism
placed on open war. Instead, any disputes that do escalate into conflict are short lived
and settled over the negotiation table. This makes the race natural mediators, if
seeming rather cowardly to others but unsurpassed in financial, information, commerce and such
matters concerning trade. It is for this reason that they allied themselves with the Turians
and supplemented their poor grasp of economics. In return, the Turians provide their military
protection and treat the Volus as a “client” race.
The Volus Protectorate, the government of the Irune therefore has strong ties to the
Turian Hierarchy and decisions for the species often consider the Turian’s input. The race
maintains an Embassy on the Citadel where they lobby for more galactic weight as currently
they share an embassy wing with the Elcor. This is somewhat of a sore spot for the Volus,
especially with the rapid rise of humanity, overtaking the Volus.
In terms of military, the Volus prefer a more passive option and rely on the Turians for
the majority of their security however, they do support their own forces that operate in
cohort with the Turians. And such Volus soldiers have powered armour and exceptionally tough
enviro-suits with those who have a strong Biotic potential often doing well in the frontlines
as Biotic powers are not as dependant on an individual’s physicality and stature. They
prefer to use their frigates for air superiority when they can however, but only have one dreadnaught;
the Kwunu which was a gift from Elkoss Combine, the Volus’ most renowned arms manufacturer.
Most of their technology follows the same Prothean designs as the rest of the galaxy,
but they have a reputation for creating affordable alternatives for many designs.
Their native tongue is Iperian Volus and their naming conventions actually lack a family
name, despite all Volus possessing a first and last name. This is because in Volus culture,
no one person can own another and the assigning of a family name was considered an act of
ownership. This despite that in their past clan-members were also traded among other
tribes. Their clan mentality is strong and as a species
refer to themselves as the Vol-Clan, naming others in a similar fashion, humans are considered
Earth-Clan, even if they never set foot on the homeworld while Quarians are “Migrant-Clan”
or by the stigmatic term “Clanless”. I suspect that species that also primarily have
a clan society would be addressed by their clan name, such as the Krogan and not their
homeworld like humans. The shorter name however seems to indicate
the clan to which a Volus affiliates and its possible as certain clans are known for differing
specialities. The post prestigious university on Irune is the Ten-Clan Academy for example
and the clan names seem to be derived from locations.
They do seem to have religions on their homeworld, probably multiple as one Polytheistic religion
names multiple gods and specifies them as Northern beliefs. These deity’s names are
often used to name stellar objects such as planets the Volus have an interest in, much
like a certain other race has a tendency to do.
They also have reverence for certain historical documents such as the Book of Plenix, A manuscript
that documents charity and expunging of debt in times of national crisis. Only two people
have ever been exiled from the Vol Protectorate before, showing the adept nature of compromise
and negotiation the species has. Initerestingly, two of these writs were for the same radical
who preached the abandonment of ownership as a concept altogether and continued to marshal
followers. The Volus are a species that has prospered
immensely from their interaction from the other galactic races, as many others have
but due to their lack of military might and heavy reliance on trade, they make tempting
targets for pirates. As such, the tight bond they share with the Turians is their lifeline
for protection but through their ingenuity for business they have made themselves integral
to the galactic landscape with most business having employed a Volus company or individual
at some point. , it’s a sore point for many Volus that they still don’t have a place
on the council despite their contributions to the galactic community.
All this however is threatened with the arrival of the Reapers, a power that does not care
for negotiation or commerce and even the diminutive Volus were forced to take to the front lines
to protect their lives, though many served best as analysts and engineers. Or biotic
powered cannon balls. Thanks for watching this index video on the
Vol-Clan of Irune and with this end is the return of the viewer vote on which species
to delve into next. I was thinking we could either keep this mass effect trend going with
the jellyfish-like Hanar of Mass Effect or the from the Star Trek universe, the Changeling
Founders. Cast your vote over on the community tab or drop a comment for another specie you’d
like to see on the index, and until then, thanks again, I’ve been Ric and goodbye!