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Morphologically closest to insects, this species joined the Alliance relatively recently. Since their main language is filled with unpronounceable sounds, they are the only members of the Alliance who do not have an official name for themselves, which, however, does not particularly worry them.
Average height - 140-160 cm.
Estimated life expectancy - 45 ± 5 years.
Average weight - 60-80 kg
From a paleontological point of view, the insectoid homeworld has the most ancient history, going back more than two and a half billion years to the existence of multicellular organisms. The total age of the insectoid solar system is estimated to be 5-5.5 billion years. Approximately 500 million years ago, the planet experienced a serious cataclysm consisting of long series of numerous extinctions that almost completely destroyed all large vertebrates. This left mostly insects, fungi and plants on land. Insects quickly filled the vacated niches and increased in size simultaneously, and in their modern state, the world of insectoids represents a kingdom of chitinous exoskeletons, which was flourishing like never before. Due to their longer history, the planet has a higher number of minerals compared to the average value, brought to the surface mainly by meteorites, but with it there are fewer radioactive elements.
The initial contact with the Alliance took place in a highly stressful situation, which only miraculously did not result in the first large-scale interstellar war. By that time, the insectoids had their own network of colonies and were constantly expanding their territories, until they finally came across the Alliance, trying to colonize a world already occupied by Raharrs. From a raharrian point of view, the attempt looked almost like an aggressive military invasion, and the mutual reaction of both civilizations to each other only made the situation worse (the raharr shared with many species of the Galaxy subconscious fear and hostility to arthropods, and the insectoids in turn perceived the raharr as monsters turned inside out). The ensuing battles prompted the insectoids to resort to massive orbital bombardment, which led to the destruction of the colony. The defense fleet that arrived at the site destroyed the insectoid ships orbiting the planet, but several managed to escape from the system. The situation would have inevitably escalated into further mutual attacks, but the situation was resolved by the Sashli, who stumbled upon the insectoids when they sent another research expedition from their territory. Not having a subconscious hostility towards insects (because of their almost universal absence on their planet), as well as themselves perceived by insectoids as more grublike than turned inside out, Sashli became a diplomatic mediator who made great efforts to present insectoids to the Alliance peacefully. In the end, the initial impressions were overwhelmed, and the raharrs were able to conclude a peace agreement with insectoids, and later they were incorporated into the Alliance. Insectoids still feel guilty for the initial incident with the colony, and try not to miss any chance of allowing them to strengthen and improve relations with the raharr. Despite the fact that they have somewhat different ideas about individuals and moral principles, the insectoids quickly understood how their actions looked from the point of view of the raharr themselves and of the civilized cosmos.
The remaining members of the Alliance treat them with caution, although their negative attitudes is not often encountered, and is mainly due to the first contact incident (which only further urges the insectoids to look for ways to make amends to the raharr).
Outwardly, they remotely resemble giant ants. Biochemically, they are identical to most species of the Galaxy, with the exception that they have D-chirality, which is why they are able to eat only imported food on foreign worlds and colonies. Although they resemble giant insects on the outside, they are radically different from terrestrial insects anatomically, having only morphology and an exoskeleton in common. One of their distinguishing features is their ability to control their body temperature at will, which makes them both cold-blooded and warm-blooded at the same time. It is highly efficient in spending energy in warm climates, but without experiencing problems in cold climates.
The insectoid body is divided into four segments (head, chest, pelvic and abdominal), three of which have limbs, a total of 6 pairs: the first pair is specialized in manipulating objects and is very mobile, the second pair is specialized in making sounds and secondary handling of objects or prey (almost always tightly pressed to the body), the next 3 pairs of limbs are specialized for locomotion needs, and the next pair are rudimentary legs that help in excrement, laying eggs and digging the ground. Insectoids cannot move freely on steep surfaces due to their size and weight, but they do not have problems moving on reliefs troubled for other types of the Alliance, with slopes up to 75 degrees, especially if the surface consists of hard and uneven materials.
The extinction of most of the highly developed animal life almost immediately led to the explosive growth of plants, which increased the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere and allowed the protoinsectoid fauna to increase its size. Being exoskeletal, the fauna of the native world solved the problem of the strength of chitin at large sizes by changing the chemical composition of the exoskeleton, significantly increasing the proportion of silicon and iron in the structure. The main bearing elements are less plastic and have a more pronounced crystal structure. The high percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere, after a while, began to quickly fall down to the values before the great extinction. In response, the protoinsectoids had to change their breathing system, which had been passive before and could not support large bodies in conditions of insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere. Together with a reinforced exoskeleton, active breathing broke through the barriers concerning size, allowing the arthropods to drastically increase in size. Modern insectoids have the end product of the evolution of active respiration in the form of 8 pairs of analogs of the lungs, into which air is pumped through modified and enlarged spiracles. The pairs are separated in two adjacent central segments of the body and are connected into a single system that almost continuously drives air through the “lungs” unilaterally, by successively reducing the pulmonary chambers.
Insectoids are a species that do not shed during life, but undergo several pupation stages, during which the exoskeleton softens, stretches and grows to a new size. The insectoid spends the first stage of life in the form of a sedentary larva, which then pupates, and after a few months produces an adult insectoid, which does not increase its further dimensions over the course of life.
The brain of insectoids has a special structure. Having developed from primitive nerve ganalians, it has an absolutely unique structure, and everything else is divided into two sections located in two different parts of the body. The higher sections of the brain are located in the thoracic segment of the body, where it is easier to ensure a stable supply of oxygen. Directly in the head is a more primitive part of the brain, responsible for the reflexes and information processing coming from the main senses. Because of this, insectoids react to sudden environments of the environment on average about 60-50 ms faster than any other species, but they also have a higher delay in the awareness of stimuli with higher mental functions. Both parts of the brain, in spite of the fact that they are rather strongly connected with each other, can successfully continue functioning to some extent if one part is damaged. There are at least several cases in which serious damage to the insectoid head did not lead to its death. The individual became slow, even apathetic, but they could still think coherently, although they lost their sight, hearing and the possibility of independent nourishment. Equally, if the thoracic region of the brain is damaged, the insectoid can fall into a coma, but continue to react to stimuli and even move.
The surface of the insectoid's shell is covered with a large number of fine and soft hairs with high sensitivity and allowing insectoids to touch the world. On the front limbs of the insectoids, there are four flexible pads that can adhere to any surface by means of Van der Waals forces, like gecko legs. They allowed insectoids to manipulate objects and create tools.
Insectoids communicate mainly with the help of a second pair of limbs, capable of producing loud enough chirping sounds when the fronts are rubbing against each other or the body, and the spiracles, which are capable of producing low-frequency humming when resized. Some of the information is also distributed using pheromones, but the limited transmission distance and the inability to reproduce complex concepts have left pheromones only the role of mood identifiers. If the insectoid is happy for instance, then he smells of happiness.
Insectoids are the only organic species that can survive for a short time in a vacuum without a spacesuit. Provided oxygen supply, problems come from overheating of internal organs.
Insectoids make a special emphasis on infantry during battles, due to the fact that the exoskeleton itself provides some protection against weapons and shrapnel, and also for the reason that most non-lethal damage is fairly easily processed right on the battlefield, and does not greatly affect combat readiness of the soldier.
The tactics of the cosmic insect flotilla during the siege of the planets are rightly considered the most merciless and cruel in the Alliance; Because of the biochemical differences, the insectoids do not see much point in preserving the infrastructure or biosphere of the enemy, and therefore extensively uses dense orbital bombardment, sometimes burning out tens or hundreds of square kilometers. For this reason, the insectoid fleet practically does not participate in joint operations of the Alliance, especially in active roles, but their soldiers are still valued for their survivability and mobility on the battlefield.
Society (general mentality, special features)
The social structure of insectoids resembles the social insects of Earth, but only at first glance. A queen in an insectoid society has no weight in government matters; this position, although honorable, essentially makes the insectoid just an incubator for eggs. As separate individuals, insectoids are individual to no less than any other kind of Alliance, contrasting with traditional notions of intelligent insects as soulless drones under the control of a hivemind. The sex ratio of 10 to 1 in favor of females, as well as the extremely weak sexual dimorphism, created a society of insectoids with a complete indifference regarding questions of gender and gender roles.
Because of the structure of the insectoid nervous system, in the Alliance, they have the reputation of impulsive personalities who act first and think later. Since insectoids are anatomically incapable of speaking the standard language of the Alliance, almost all of them carry interpreter modules that synthesize voice based on the movements of vocal limbs and trapping pheromones to give the phrase an emotional touch. Many people install themselves an advanced version, which is an implant that connects directly to the nervous system, which allows them to increase the speed of communication and greatly reduce the number of errors in the construction of phrases and shades of expressiveness.
|Pangalactic Alliance | Leaving the Cradle | The Cliff World|
|Organizations||Alliance | Independent Worlds | Science Corporation | Politics|
|Technologies||Hephrene | Interstellar Travel | Spaceships|
|Places||Planet Harr (Star Harr) | "Shining" Space station | Underwater settlement of Harr | Artifact X | Artifact Spindle|
|Characters||Gharr | Zane | Hekaht | Ahshu | Dan | Mark | Val | Virus|
|Further reading: | Civilization development stages | Instruments | Идеи ||