K’kree Racing Sports
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue.
Author’s Note: K’kree words or phrases have, at minimum, three translations. The language is agglutinative, meaning smaller root words are glued together to form single, more complex ones. The simplest translation of most K’kree words is the literal translation of the word pieces. The second is the informal translation of the generally accepted use. The third is formal translation.
For this article, all of the K’kree terms are built from the base word glossary provided in GURPS Traveller: Alien Races 2.
K’kree, like all sophonts, enjoy sporting events. The physical activity and competition provide a basis for a social gathering. K’kree sports are participatory, meaning that the expectation of event organizers is that there will more participants than spectators.
As herd creatures, K’kree like to move about. It is therefore unsurprising that K’kree like to organize events where groups go from here to there; in other words, racing. There are three general rules about K’kree races, each with specific exceptions.
The events are foot races, rather than using machines. K’kree strongly view machines as tools used for working and not as part of their relaxation.
Racing is a team event with each group between three and a dozen members. The race begins when the leader of the group goes across the starting line and ends when the last member of the group crosses the finish line. By tradition, the last member of the group would also be the leader of the group, indicating they have moved their group safely together.
Races may be closed loops or point-to-point. Generally, closed-loop races emphasize pacing and cooperation; point-to-point races emphasize pacing and endurance.
Kr’rikni: Literally “walk around the herd”. Also translated as a “patrol walk” or “knowing the steppe”. Usually more of a social event than a real sporting event, it is one of the few events where males and females participate together. The distances covered is 1 to 5 km.
Winning the Kr’rikni calls for walking the course in the most appropriate time. The course is evaluated and times assigned by race officials. Pacing is important as penalties are assessed if a team becomes too spread out or seen trying to compensate (by running or stopping) for being off schedule.
For the more social events each team is given a range of time to complete the course and a small prize for crossing the finish line in that time. In real competitions the team that comes closest to their calculated appropriate time is declared the winner.
Kr’rikni as part of military training exercises will also have three or more points of interest along the course that must be noticed and accurately reported on at the finish line, with penalties for failing to report accurately.
Rikirni: Literally “walk for the day”, also “scouting the steppe”. This is a longer distance (10km to 20km), taken at a walking pace. Like the Kr’rikni, the course is evaluated and assigned an appropriate completion time for each team.
Reenikirr: Literally translated as “run the world”, but also rendered as “Grand Tour” or “Exile’s Run”, a reference to a K’kree legend. The event is usually held in memory of the story.
This is a much longer race of a 100km to 1,000km or more. The whole trek is broken into parts each between 20km and 100km depending upon terrain. On smaller worlds (size 3 to 5) the race may be literally around the world. On larger worlds the course generally goes between the largest settlements on the world or continent. As the Reenikirr teams run each section of the course, they are commonly joined by locals who run one or two sections of the course with them.
While the Reenikirr isn’t paced the way the Kr'rikni or Rikirni are, there are enforced health checks at the end of each section. Failing the check because of injury or simple exhaustion means disqualification.
Nireeaaxk: Literally “run for breath” though usually translated as “Steppelord’s Summons”. This is a short race taken at a quick trot or slow run. Distances covered are 0.5km to 5 km. Like the Kr’rikni, there are informal versions where the teams just run the distance, trying to match a broad range of time. The more formal versions require the members of the team to arrive together and recite a short greeting to the “Steppelord”, the race officials.
Irniree: Literally “run there and back”, but generally translated as “Messenger” or “Courier”, and in reference to the event as “Steppelord’s Word”. This race is the exception to the convention of having a race along a loop. These races are set between two points, the team starts at the first point, runs to the second, then returns to the first. In the formal races the team leader recites a short message at the mid-point to the master of the race.
When the team makes it back to finish line, the team leader again recites a short message. The points are set between 5km and 20km apart.