At the start of the game, the player can select a character of the following races:
Colonists are the children of perfectly normal human beings, who were randomly sampled from the population on Earth. Each has a distinctive personality, and a set of skills that they have developed over the course of their education. Colonists have an established family network by the time they are graduating school, though this is the their lives where they will be setting out and establishing their own networks.
Colonists interact best with other colonists. While they lack the superpowers of the ELF and DWARF class, they make up for this in charisma and persuasion.
ELFs are human embryos that are raised in an external womb, and given surgical enhancements to promote intellectual and communications development. ELFs are raised by an artificial intelligence until they are 4 years old, at which point their body is also full adult size. The virtual reality environment ELFs are raised in accelerates time, so in terms of stimulation they have an 18 year old brain.
Feature: Eternally youthful face, pointed ears
Bonuses: Extreme intelligence, ability to read in any language, direct computer interface
Penalties: Inability to empathize, Lack common sense and personal safety, Insufferable know-it-alls
DWARFs are also human embryos raised artificially, but instead of enhanced minds, they receive enhanced bodies. They are engineered to be small in stature to enable them to take very high G-Loads when piloting spacecraft. They are raised to have lighting fast reflexes. They are given an extensive education on how to operate complex machinery, and perform repairs. Despite their size DWARFs are extremely strong.
Feature: Short stature, solid build, facial hair
Bonuses: Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom
Penalties: Reactive tempers, Bullying, Hearing loss
In addition to the playable races are several non-player "races" of intelligent and semi-intelligent beings on board.
The ship is highly automated. Because those automations must regularly interact with semi-skilled colonists, most high level interfaces are through an expert-system based artificial intelligence or some sort. ORCs have a standardized communication interface that is roughly understandable as English. Albeit, a stylized form of english that has a specific syntax and sounds a bit like conversing with a cave-man. ORCs have barely enough intelligence to perform their appointed duties, and to interpret the instructions that are given to them in the proces of carrying out those duties.
AMAs are disembodied computer processes that carry out policies. Every major system has it's own AMA. AMAs operate on a systems level. As being of pure thought, their logic and actions are inscrutable to human beings.
ELFs, with their surgical enhancements, lifetime of training, and the ability to comprehend a thought beamed directly into their mind by a AMA were designed as an intercedent between the AMAs and the rest of the ship.