The Puregene human is a mishmash of half-suppressed adaptations, and wherever he lands, evolution augmented by the crudest of gene-engineering techniques often brings the required adaptations to the fore rapidly, reshaping his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the new world with astonishing speed. The Snowborn of Nifelheim are one such adaptation, clinging to their frozen fortress world with an incredible tenacity.

Short and stocky, the Snowborn are often mis-recognized among the Sons of Man, their coal-black skin covered as it is in a short, but thick white fur, while great shaggy manes adorn their heads, from which dark black eyes peek. Four-fingered hands and feet confuse the issue further, as does their outright need for the cold. Between their fur, the surprisingly thick layer of fat beneath their skin, and their heightened metabolism, the Snowborn will broil to death in temperatures that the Puregene considers chilly, leading them to prefer life where the temperature never rises much above freezing.

While culturally, they hew to many of their ancestors ways, the Snowborn society is well aware of its place in the universe. Perched on the frontier of a cold, arctic world between the Starkin Federation and a hostile race, they exist solely to be a fortress world, difficult to invade, and impossible to ignore for their ability to strike into the supply lines that might reach towards Neo-Terra.

With their cities burrowed deep into their world, laying well beneath the true surface of the ground, with miles of glacier above, they are well protected from bombardment, while landings to seek out the secret entrances to their lairs upon the glaciers are pointless and painful, for precious few entryways exist through the miles of solid ice, and it is there, upon the ice, that the Snowborn wait for their enemy, hiding in the cold and snow and desolate places. They wait for the bone chilling cold to have its effect on man and material alike, and then they attack, with the precious few weapons that can be adapted to that cold, their rail slugs shattering frozen armor as if it were glass, before they melt away into the arctic night, slipping back over the ice shelves to sink into the slushy ocean, to the amphibian gateways into their cold cities.

There, amongst the typical human activities, they raise their children, instilling them with a deep sense of duty to the Federation, and a powerful respect, even adoration for the arctic clime they live in, reaching a nearly religious fervor in its totality. Yet, this same Federation cannot help but be repulsed by the Snowborn, a harsh people for an even harsher world.

Living in bare subsistence, the life of the Snowborn revolves entirely around the heat generated by massive fusion devices brought with them from the remains of Mars and Venus, for even the atmosphere, here, must bow before the rule of heat, for the roiling seas of oxygen bounce and boil atop the thick crust of water ice. Expeditions to the surface must carry their own heat and air to the surface, generally in a strongly modified suit, not entirely dissimilar to a space suit, referred to as the 'Armor of Tyr'. Designed for the Snowborn, rather than for the Puregene, the Armor of Tyr can, at best, sustain a standard Puregene for a mere hour or two on the surface of Nifelheim, but through the extensive gene-engineering and incredible mind-over-body disciplines of the Snowborn, they may survive on the surface for periods up to two days on average, with the record being well over a week.

Much of the Snowborn's daily life revolves around a small handful of activities: The maintaining of their armor, the maintaining of their underworld cities, the excercise in discipline and training required to survive above, and in their religion. A strange fusion of reverence for Earth itself and the ancient Germanic paganism, equal places are given to the idea of Old Earth and to the lands of Muspelheim, and it is to this forgotten land of warmth and plenty that they aspire to reach - they will go to to the memory of a dead world in their own death, should the gods be pleased.

Each of the Snowborn, during their training, is also taught to fight, and it is to the last man that they will defend their frigid world, and to defend glorious Neo-Terra when they are finally called upon to fight against the coreward alien menace of the Scranja once more.

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? Quest

Winter. The final frontier. For who truly knows, if spring will ever come.

This months quest revolves around the concept of winter, in all its hoary splendor. Cold, death, decay, and torpid hibernation. Snow, ice, and frost. These are the ubiquitous images of the long, bleak season.

We are looking for the finest examples of winter-themed submissions. The winners of this major quest, will become worthy recipients of frosty mugs and glasses, engraved with odes to victory, courtesy of Scrasamax! Good luck to all. Don your mittens!

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