The Vaathkree are a race seemingly made out of stone or metal, averaging between 1.5 to 1.8 meters tall. Essentially a loosely grouped band of traders and merchants, they are fanatically interested in haggling and trading with other species, so much so that thier religion is roughly translated into 'The Deal'. The Vaathkree have an unusual metabolism which allows them to form extremely hard compounds, which deposit on the outside of the skin to form scales or plates. These amiable aliens wear a minimum of clothing, usually limited to only belts or pouches to carry goods and tools.
Vaathkree are long-lived beings, with 300-350 standard years forming an average life cycle. They begin their lives as 'Stonesingers', small mobile nodes of living metal which inhabit and roam the deep crevasses in the surface of the Vaathkree's volcanic homeworld. At the beginning of its life, the Stonesinger is non-sapient, but at age 9 or so begins to develop some rudimentary thought processes.
Stonesingers take two full decades to develop into a matureVaathkree. During this time, the evolving alien must pick a 'permanent form'. The alien decides on a form and must concentrate on retaining that form. Eventually, the growing Vaathkree is no longer capable of altering its form so it must pick one that it finds pleasing. The Vaathkree almost always select a humanoid form.
The Deal, the code of trade and barter that all Vaathkree live by, is the focal point of a Stonesinger's education and the centerpiece of Vaathkree culture. Vaathkree language is also adapted well to trade, but is clouded with subtleties to provide advantages in trade situations. Thus, the basic Vaathkree language is not difficult for an outsider to speak, but its convoluted nuances can be very difficult to understand.
Vaathkrees, as a species, tend to be amiable and good-natured, almost to the point of being rather over-friendly. However, they are certainly not naive. Vaathkree will be found almost exclusively as traders, merchants, or cargo handlers. They are fanatic hagglers. The Vaathkree homeworld, being of little or no resource value, has been largely ignored by the Empire. The Vaathkree government has no strong political leaning, although the New Republic seems to respond much better to price-haggling.