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Race Name: Hekshanian (Hekshanians being the plural)
Homeworld Name: Hekshano
Religions: Karish, Munin, Rulerism
Main Cities: North Tek, Damurai, Kar
Biology & Diet
The modern Hekshanian is a biped mammal of humanoid physique, though slightly smaller than most Human gene-types. They are easily identified by the thin layer of coarse fur covering their bodies, long tails used for balance, tridactyl clawed feet and large, tapering ears. The ancestor of Hekshanians was a primitive repto-mammalian species dwelling on the plains of Hekshano in family-oriented groups, lead by dominant females. Before developing to warm blood, Hekshanians regulated body heat through a large fin on their tails. This fin remains visible on the modern Hekshanian, though it is quite small and now vestigial.
Omnivores, Hekshanians are survivors and developed a human-like metabolism for the purpose of ranging long distances in search of food. Their feet are notably tough and calloused, each toe covered in an large, pointed keratin deposit with a vestigial sparring claw at the back of the heel. The toe coverings are so thick that they are considered to be as tough as bone, and thusly Hekshanians rarely wear foot protection.
Northern Hekshanians have lighter, thicker fur and coarse hair on their heads, while mainlanders have darker fur hues and softer hair on their heads. Markings common to Hekshanians include brindles, spots, banding and stripes.
The species seems more prone to PTSD than most other hominids, and due to their low technology level, have developed a predisposition towards self medication and substance abuse. They are generally regarded as having intelligence on-level with moderate to low Human intelligence, with a few exceptions.
Sexual Dimorphism & Reproduction
Although superficially the Hekshanians appear to have two sexes, anthropologists have determined the species appears to have three separate biological sexual categories: One internally similar to a typical mammalian female, and two typical to mammalian males. It is believed this has resulted from their social structures pre-sentience, where family units were primarily under the direction of a lead female, with long-range and homebound male types in distinct supporting roles. Like most mammals, Hekshanian reproductive and mammary organs do not have hair covering them.
Female Hekshanians have similar secondary sex characteristics to Humans - broader hips, visible breasts regardless of estress cycle and a slightly more diminutive size. The females are quite muscular, though most of this muscle is tightly compacted and obviously visible. Females Hekshanians tend to have the most dominant personality types amount their species and are the quickest thinkers - as well as possessing the most volatile tempers.
The smaller of the two male types is quite similar to the female, though generally more passive and subservient. They typically have feminine facial builds and are decent critical thinkers, though do not posses much muscle mass. It is theorized that they acted as surrogate females in pre-sentient Hekshanian homes, and in modern times will often be found alongside women in traditionally female Hekshanian occupations.
The larger of the two male types is the most submissive, taking orders from both females and other males. In spite of this, they have the largest physical build of the species and the most visibly obvious muscle. Their temperaments are typically mild, and it is thought that their biological purpose was to act in defense of the family unit.
Hekshanian copulation is similar to that of Humans, and typically between two partners. Female Hekshanians impregnated by males carry a fetus for approximately eight Earth months, giving birth to a single infant which they will nurse for an additional month. Hekshanian children are significantly smaller than Human children, and though they develop at a similar cognitive rate, they do not grow at a comparable physical rate until age six. Hekshanian children are usually raised by at least one or more family members, though there is no obvious developmental difference in those raised by males as compared to those raised by females.
Language & Culture
It would be unfair to discuss Hekshanian culture without acknowledging that it has undergone a severe and drastic alteration in the last five years.
Linguistically, however, little has changed. Hekshanian language varies from continent to continent, and each continent has several nations - most governed by female figureheads. Each variation to Hekshanian language, however, carries similar sound and grammatical structures, indicating some - if not all- developed in similar regions.
The most common Hekshanian language is primarily used in port cities, and is thought to originate in North Tek. It is this language most traders or visitors learn, though some struggle with pronunciation.
Hekshanian nicknames seem unique to their language, and can be easily understood by foreigners. A Hekshanian nickname is merely the first part of an individual's last name combined with the last part of their first name. These nicknames are meant to be used in affectionate, familial manners, though, and it would be inappropriate to use nicknames with near complete strangers.
Prior to the Rulerist massacres, Hekshanians had developed most of the common forms of art and story telling found in sentient cultures. Music, written word and visual art were still considered primitive for the species' development, but were none the less unique.
After the massacres, little support for these art forms was able to survive the collapse of major cities and nations of industry. This lead to the rise of street art and, as a spectator sport, mine racing: a deadly event where pilots attempt to navigate a low-orbit mine field put in place over port cities. Due to the physical and mental strain of mine racing, the drug culture also exploded post-massacre.
Modern Hekshanian slang has split their drug culture down the middle. There are stims - stimulants and their users - and dims -depressants and their users. Stims are commonly found in use among the mine racing crowd, used to give an edge to reaction time and improve on flying capabilities. Both are dangerous, however, with numerous long-term side effects and dependency hazards. Stim and Dim overdoses are both common causes for emergency room admission at Hekshanian hospitals.
Another hazard from the Hekshanian drug culture is the mixing of stims and dims. This combination is often fatal, causing failure of either the liver or the heart in a short period of time. Because of this, stim users and dim users do not often share social circles - unless they are particularly reckless, or generally self destructive.
Society is generally considered to have collapsed after the events of the massacres, as both culture and economy took violent downturns and infrastructure crumbled. Though there have been efforts by outside alien forces to stabilize Hekshano, most of these attempts are perceived as unwanted intrusions by the natives.
Religion & Rulerism
Hekshanians have two major native religions: Kerish and Munin. Both of these come in a variety of sub-sects and levels of orthodoxy, though those devoted to Munin tend to be more orthodox than the followers of Kerish.
Kerish is one of the oldest religions on Hekshano, and is considered to have been developed from folk legends over hundreds of years. It focuses heavily on the importance and influence of nature, self-sacrifice through solitude and the importance of travel and journey in one's life. There are few major ceremonies, but most are commonly related to events of nature such as the harvest, the first rain or the lunar calendar.
Munin, as a counterpart, is a more structured religion which appears to have made its rise during the settling of three major Hekshanian nations. Munin focuses largely on the importance of family and fairness to one another, as well as health and safety. Munin is monotheistic, and devotees are encouraged to pray at several points throughout the day. Munin holidays are generally synonymous with government holidays, celebrating major events in the prophet Munin's life throughout the year.
Rulerism was, as it usually is, an imported religion - brought through interplanetary trade and communication, and a message of good will. It did not seem particularly dominant or dangerous, at first, and Rulerist groups funded the development of several scientific ventures on Hekshano in an effort to encourage the Hekshanians towards the stars themselves. Most Rulerist converts on Hekshano were originally Munin.
It was not until late fall, some seven years after Rulerism had become established on Hekshano, that events transpired which would lead to a societal collapse beginning with the city of North Tek.
It is unknown what the Rulerist task force (combined with local law enforcement) was seeking, but it is known that some data had possibly been leaked from the then Rulerist- funded Naitec laboratory. The lab was abruptly shut down (Rulerists later denying ever providing Naitec with funds) and the Rulerists entered North Tek with a display of military force. Families were restricted to their homes until orders were received to dispose of those who might have had any access to the missing information within Naitec. No one knows if it was simply a mistranslation, a poorly relayed order, or if someone had taken the most violent interpretation of those words possible, but as most of the city of North Tek worked for Naitec in some capacity, over 60% of the adult population was murdered that night.
This had a domino effect on Hekshanian culture. Immediately, nations began to shut their borders and view any Rulerist-aligned alien species with suspicion. Trade became taxing and complex, and economies began to suffer. Enormous numbers of Hekshanians simply began to leave the planet, searching for somewhere safer to resume their lives. This created a vacuum in leadership and the job force which the still young survivors were not yet prepared to fill.
Attempting to apologize for the events they had been responsible for, Rulerists were quick to step up efforts to stabilize Hekshano. Large numbers of aliens were brought in to take up the positions which were now open, and jobs once held by Hekshanians were now held primarily by Humans and Andoians. The resentment was palpable, and the cultural void between these species obvious. Human psychiatrists were ill suited towards treating Hekshanian patients from alien cultures. The mass exodus continued.
In an effort to stem the exodus, low-orbit space mines were placed in synchronous orbit with the planet's primary space ports. These mines could be de-activated with proper authorization, which curbed the number of emigrants from Hekshano - but greatly increased the general sense of mistrust and resentment towards Rulerists on the surface below.
Realizing that the only real solution would be to return Hekshanians to their jobs and remove the interlopers, Rulerists then began efforts to locate and return errant Hekshanians to their homeworld. Unfortunately, in the process, several offworld-raised Hekshanians found themselves dropped onto a planet with decaying infrastructure and no knowledge of the local culture.
Eventually, the Rulerists appeared to simply give up. Survivors were given living stipends as a way of making amends, and the Rulerists were left simply hoping that one day the youth of Hekshano would grow to forgive them for their mistakes and resume ownership of their own planet.
The few Hekshanians who remain devoted to Rulerism have been labeled by the church of the Ruler as cult-oriented, twisting the doctrine to justify the actions of the Rulerist task force and its mission in North Tek.
Hekshano's experience with Rulerism is considered to be one of the worst, and no other planet to date has experienced such a uniquely awful culture clash with the alien religion.
Technology & Alien Cultures
Hekshano is considered to be quite immature by the yardstick of alien contact, having only been reached by alien visitors approximately 200 years ago. This means that most xenobiologists are still struggling to understand most of the species' unique traits and behavioral qualities, and misunderstandings are perhaps more common now than ever.
Because of the laws regarding the sharing of technology with undeveloped aliens, Hekshanians themselves have not yet developed interstellar travel. The closest they have achieved is orbital flight, and for the time being, this technology is only being put to use in the nearly suicidal sport of mine racing. Were they to be compared to the technology of Earth, Hekshano would fall somewhere on the level of the 1970s.
Aliens seeking to study Hekshano without being forced to conform to its low-tech lifestyle have colonized Hekshano's moon. Though inhospitable in its natural state, the moon now boasts a highly advanced self contained colony. It is to this colony that Hekshanians seeking to fly through the minefields and escape flee, waiting there until they can obtain more substantial transport to other worlds.
Hekshanians are fond of alien works of art and fiction, and especially fond of movies - which they themselves do not create. As forms of entertainment, these are freely traded.
The Hekshanians have a solid alliance with their nearest galactic neighbor - the Rakwulvs. Many Rakwulvs seeking a less modern lifestyle have immigrated to Hekshano, and inter- species relationships are common. Hekshanians also seem to get along well with the hi-tech Chuians, though they often do not understand what the Chuians are saying to them. Prior to the massacre, their relationship with both Humans and Andoians were also positive - both species seemed similar, and friendships often sprung up between them. This is, quite obviously, no longer the case.
Most aliens aware of the Hekshanians' story view them with a mixture of pity and avoidance, not knowing what to say or how to treat them, but fearing that association might cause other species to treat them differently. Though it is common for aliens to agree that the Hekshanian tendency towards self medication is unhealthy, it is equally typical that they are unable to come up with a better method for coping with the events the planet experienced - especially when so few experienced doctors exist to treat the natives.