The Ferin are/were a race of servitors created by the Varn Gene Mage, uplifted from a tree-dwelling marsupial that possessed the natural ability create and project “Bion” energy as a defense against predators. After several hundred years of genetic alteration, the Ferin were able to walk on two legs, speak, and reason as well as any other sentient being, while retaining their Bion generating abilities. They stand at between 4’ 2” to 4’ 10” in height, have light grey skin, and lengthy (average seven foot) prehensile tails that end in a large spade, used for maneuvering while jumping from tree to tree. They also sport two long, mobile spurs atop their heads, 5 to 7 inches in length, used to generate and project bion. These spurs can raise and lower depending on the Ferin’s moods. Their hair comes in a variety of colors, in red, dark blue and all mixtures between.
As part of their expected role as spacecraft power sources, the Ferin have remarkable survival skills when exposed to vacuum. Using their Bion to sustain themselves, they are capable of operating in a vacuum for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. After that, the Ferin drops into a state of hibernation, similar to that of a Terran bear. How long they are able to maintain this final state is unknown.
Modern Ferin were used by the Varn Dominion as servants, pets, and power sources. In the latter role, they proved to be remarkably efficient generators, processing sugars and proteins fed directly into their bodies via large intravenous tubes, and bleeding off the excess energy to be captured by the power cell in which several Ferin served at any one time.
Ferin are also able to use their Bion as a form of empathy or telepathy. In Chapter Ten, when Terinu is describing the first time he used his powers, he claims that he felt Symms’ confusion, and also felt his death. Later in Chapter Fourteen, Terinu attempts to use his empathic ability to tap into Earth’s biosphere to try to plumb for memories of his origins. This backfires, and sends him into a panicked run as the Earth’s incredibly diverse biosphere overwhelms his senses.
Despite their remarkable abilities, the Gene Mage built several safeguards into the Ferin psyche to prevent them from ever disobeying their masters. For starters, they have an instinctual inability to use their bion powers against any Varn. Attempting to fight this instinct results in a severe headache. Next, much like Terran ducklings, between the age of seven and fourteen a Ferin will “imprint” upon whomever they perceive as their master, following that person’s orders without question, even if it results in personal injury. No Ferin may have more than one master, and Terinu was only able to switch his loyalty from Mavra Chan to Leeza through an act of extraordinary willpower. Finally, the Ferin are naturally dyslexic, unable to mentally process written words, though they are able to interpret the simple symbology needed for their roles as personal servants to the Varn.
At some point during the Human led rebellion against Varn rule, the Ferin race was wiped out. In Chapter Four Leeza possibly is referring to this when she says, “Together the allies discovered and destroyed the Dominion’s power sources.” This would strongly imply that the rebellion deliberately targeted the Ferin race for destruction. This is not common knowledge in the GSA, as the existence of the Ferin is apparently a state secret. They are known to Admiral Blake, who is seen in Chapter Thirteen examining a sealed file containing reports and photographs of various Ferin (including an autopsy of one specimen).