|Genus: Hexis Callidus Tenues
Central Authority: Various
Allowed Command Roles: Research Director, Chief Engineer, Chief Medical Officer
Guides: No external guides
Ex’hau (singular ex'hai) are a lanky, thin species of bipedal humanoids primarily insectoid in appearance. With beady, black eyes and thin, fragile wings, the ex’hau are one of two space-faring species that the Sol Interplanetary Coalition has encountered (the other being ethereals). With bodies unaccustomed to what humans consider normal gravity, ex'hau are primarily found in low-g environments, such as stations near gas giants or in asteroid belts. Their homeworld of Wallalius is a bustling, skyscraper-like world, with buildings sprawling along strange, elongated fauna, loose sediment, and plants odd with the lessened gravity.
Ex'hau is an optional species that can be chosen for play in the character creation menu. Your only customization option is to change the pattern of their skin, which also affects their wings.
While not often seen in SIC space, ex'hau still tend to be adored by humans. As a result, they're paid only a little less than what humans tend to be offered. Regardless, they aren't offered protection under the standard Asimov lawset, and thus will not benefit from silicon crew if they are programmed on Asimov. It is advised to be cautious in your interactions with humans if the AI is under an Asimov lawset, especially if you are a member of security.
- Takes 10% less brute damage from all sources
- Can fly in no-gravity environments so long as there's enough pressure
- Their eyes are exceptionally vulnerable to bright lights, which means they need welding-level protection to ignore the effects of flashes, while they need both sunglasses and a welding mask to ignore the blinding effects of welding. They are capable of combining two welding-level protection gear to achieve the latter effect as well
- Takes 25% more burn damage from all sources
- Their max punch damage is 9, meaning they cannot knock people down with punches
- Takes ten times the normal damage from flyswatters
- Pestkiller is toxic to them
- Likes vegetables and sugary foods
- Dislikes dairy and gross foods
- Meats of all kinds, including raw, cooked, seafood, and mice, are toxic to them
- Capable of eating clothes and fabrics for sustenance
- If set on fire and their body temperature is high enough, their wings will burn off
- Has an iconic, buzzing *scream verb
Origins of the ex’hau are curious, as their homeworld’s development is nigh contradictory. Despite having a surface gravitational pull of about 0.4 g’s, Wallalius was still able to develop and compound an impressive root system. Some of the first living animals were primarily insect-like creatures. Over time, as a lack of gravity permitted roots and leaves to soar and hang in positions that allowed them to capture significant sunlight, so too did animals learn to fly higher and higher. As the canopy grew, the area beneath the massive jungles became dimly lit, providing grounds for new, more predatory evolutions to take place. Ex'hau were not one of these predators, but rather a variation of primarily vegetable-consuming pests that would flock from under the canopy during times of night to devour. Their sensitive eyes and biological clock dictated an ever-present fascination with light in sensory reception. In addition, their floaty wings and body dictated a level of agility that was impressive for their new, humanoid figures. That being said, their limbs and fighting abilities were less than ideal for fending off predators.
While typically isolated, the ex’hau eventually formed into packs in order to survive and better guarantee future generations. Spears, as a staple of primitive combat, were even more advantageous for the early ex'hau, as their abilities of flight permitted more advanced attacking maneuvers using the polearms. A lack of pressure in the planet’s magnetic core made precious and industrial metals rare, as even materials like iron and tin became highly sought. It is not known precisely how much time passed before something resembling civilization came to be. Even with the advent of writing and libraries which saw books bound and preserved via petrified plant matter, significant conflict and the tendency of incendiary wildfires saw knowledge and history burnt time and time again.
Over time, the inexplicable ability of ex'hau to rapidly expand their population and their influence permitted them to become the dominant species via the usage of technology between several different civilizations that sprouted out across the planet. Scarcity proved to be problematic, as, while their constructs and infrastructure relied heavily on strong, renewable materials such as ironwood or durathread, the few inventions which relied on metal were massively advantageous. With the late discovery of baroxuldium (also known as plasma), the state of Talium began to construct and sustain a space-faring division. While cross-referencing records is a finicky process, human scientists estimate that the first successful vehicle launch from Wallalius into orbit took place in 1762. However, the stress on both resources and the body which escape into space demanded was palpably high, even with the weakness of the planet’s gravity well. Until more efficient and safe methods of ship development occurred, the project was effectively put on hold.
Later, in about 1895, the Kingdom of Kemius rendered Talium a vassal when worker revolts threw the state into chaos and uncertainty, as what little was left of the republic quickly capitulated as troops armed with kinetic crossbows, concertina nets, and the rare flintlock moved into the blazing highlands. Upon Queen Fastria II’s discovery of the space program and realizing its potential, she put the significant economical backbone of her country into the project. The kingdom’s significant advantage in the production and harvesting of the highly valuable substance earthsblood, also referred to as ambrosia, meant it could afford the costly process, despite the planet’s lackluster industrialization. By 1902, a team had successfully landed on S’lai, Wallalius’ dwarf moon. Over the next hundred years, mining expeditions would leave the planet to the nearby moon or asteroid belt to harvest precious minerals to bring back to Wallalius, which in turn permitted greater technological advancement, such as evolution in circuitry design, infrastructure, weaponry, and much, much more.
In 2010, a colony was established on S’lai by the newly founded United Directorate of Kemius, and there was a rise in the number of proxy colonies from opposing powers that stole technology and materials alike. Various states of competing power, such as the Gx’strum Republic and the People’s Union of Carmas also spread into the belt, as Kemius failed to maintain and hold the monopoly. Even more colonies began to strike their own autonomy as the distance grew from the central homeworld. The belt nations of F’lum, Munatius, and Rellimium were three notable powers that grew from a marked specialization in the export and dealing of precious metals such as gold, titanium, and silicon, respectively. The planet of Wallalius kept its various political influences, simply because of its production of food. On the other hand, the belt nations dictated which materials could be in abundance in the Wallalian market. This symbiotic relationship, despite tensions and grievances that still flared from independence movements, resulted in uneasy partnerships and trading. Inevitably, both the inner and outer powers grew to a point of development where communication and travel times became short enough to permit more effective control over one’s colonies, and thus, the ex’hau slowly crept across the Deria System, being ultimately bound by their fragile bodies and sensitive eyesight.
Soon, in 2323, a remote ex’hai colony encountered the ex'hau's first known sapient alien lifeform: ethereals. Fascination was paramount on both ends: the ex’hau curious due to the species' seeming embodiment of light, the ethereals intrigued simply because of their explorative nature, as well as the nigh-immediate amiability of the strange, fuzzy creatures. Diplomatic efforts between the several ex’hai powers and the ethereal people proved to generally be friendly, and the two species found cultural interactions relatively wholesome, despite the widespread disease that wracked both populations upon initial contact. While there were some that advocated for isolation and distance due to the deaths this caused, the ex'hau were less than eager to engage in conflict with a new species that clearly intended no harm. Furthermore, commitment to such a conflict would be impartially balanced in dedication, thus theoretically opening up one power to conquest from their neighbor. As a result, trade, commerce, and infrastructure between the Deria and Elix systems grew to healthy levels. To this day, ethereals and ex'hau are often found together in various settlements, regardless of the power that claims dominion over the land they walk on.
Over a century later, in 2463, bizarre news hit both SIC and ex’hai media, as two of the species’ space exploration probes had discovered one another accidentally. Two years later, contact and negotiations quickly developed. While the distance between the Coalition’s borders and Deria was notable, the usage of bluespace permitted physical proximity and eventual translation. While the Coalition’s navy was more impressive, humans were cautious about the level of resources conflict or domination would require. The benefits of such conflict were questionable at best, as there were still plenty of habitable planets within SIC influence. The development of terraforming technologies also meant there was still a generally wide array of expansion options open to humanity. In addition, anxieties about the growing and nearby power of the Remnants of Vxtvul inspired reluctance regarding a full-scale assault on a massively distant, only potential threat, especially when one considers the decentralization of the ex’hai people. Relations between the two peoples became ultimately neutral as a result. The ex’hau referenced the ethereal people to humanity, to which they delivered a relatively similar response, aided by the general peacefulness of the lightning-beings.
Today, ex’hau still exist in a state of intense fragmentation, each power pursuing development and expansion. Trade with the SIC sees certain new technologies and items enter into their lives. Notable is the Coalition’s interest in supporting each power equally, so as to prevent a centralizing power from unifying the people. Certain ex’hau who are either seeking fortune, work, or an escape from their past lives tend to end up in SIC space. Some of them shun the fragmented nature of their people, whereas others hold true to their loyalties. Recent experimental treatments meant for low-g trauma mean that the ex’hau, through intense therapy and training, are capable of existing and functioning in standard-g environments (albeit commonly with consistent pain). As a result, ex'hai can now occasionally be seen in traditional SIC environments, though they are still relatively rare.
Ex'hai names can often range from puns as a result of bemusement from translation into Galactic Common to fuel an ex'hai's often eccentric form of humor. They can include ideas and concepts of certain biological functions, often with an ending of "ium", "ius", or "ria", based on the naming schemes of their language, such as "Stimulium" as a first name. Surnames tend to retain the language of the ex'hau, but the spelling done in the Latin alphabet. Potential examples include Scentium Gahesteanius, Fastria Wellinsushen, or Coldius Rentesdillean.
The drive of each ex'hai regarding survival and individualistic desires is notable. They tend more rarely toward offensive action, unless in a community. Even then, an ex'hai will not often extend risk or bravery on its own part. It is only in larger numbers when they feel secure that they will attack, often wildly and aggressively. The variety of cultures is widespread, but a fair number of ex'hau can prove quite violent if provoked. Those who exist in ethereal-majority communities tend to shun and eschew these tendencies, however. Overall, with their low morale and selfish tendencies, ex'hau are more likely to defend only if necessary, opting to flee from undesirable fights.
What is universal among the ex'hau is a love of light in all its forms. Several cultures, despite their varying goals on community, or the self, or God, all cherish incandescent beams. A ex'hau's goal in life may be to see the greatest number of stars as they can, or to cultivate infrastructure to a point where it is well-lit enough to instill a kind of ecstacy in its community. Several tend toward explorative or engineering posts as a result.
Forms of visual media are rare, as any ability to read indicates the presence of light, which quickly becomes a far more curious subject. While literacy is required in SIC jobs, a surprising minority of ex'hau are incapable of reading in the Deria System. Entertainment can often be found in visual feeds such as movies or shows, or, very commonly, light shows which can utilize a wide variety of plants, chemicals, and techniques.
The bliss of flight and the lightness of no gravity on the body are described as heavenly by those who work in no-g environments. While ex'hau are able to use magboots, most strongly disapprove of locking oneself to the ground, and they tend to be highly uncomfortable to their thin limbs.
Strongly, fiercely independent, ex'hau are quick to bicker and argue for what they believe to be their rights and privileges. While this is not universal, several of the belt nations are prideful in how they struck their independence from Wallalius, even centuries later. Political differences and disagreements on matters of social contract, governance, and enlightenment can often spur on loud, buzzing arguments between ex'hau.
The imbibement of substances that alter the consciousness has no significant stigma present in most communities. Some politicians even claim drug usage as a part of their desirability, citing the enhanced mental capability as a boon, even going so far as to claim precognition in absurd tales.
Friendliness between trusted individuals is strong, as ex'hau will warm up quickly to those that show them no ill-will. The fuzziness of their bodies has, as a result, made humans generally consider them fondly. Vuulen, on the other hand, can find the fuzz irritating to their scales. Those more cruel might even mock an ex'hai's feeble body.
Lifespan and Health
Ex'hau have smaller life spans than humans, about an average of 65 years. Some can live longer, though the wings and body tend to shrivel away rapidly beyond the age of 70. Those who work in normal-g conditions tend to live even shorter, as the stress of extensive drug treatment tends to cause long-term damage to the lungs and heart, as well as making them more prevalent to developing bone fractures or muscle tears. Those who try to enter and labor in normal-g environments without the proper training and drug cycle die of overexertion within days.
They have a neurotic obsession with light in most of its forms, often acting irrationally in the presence of extreme light (even if their eyes are protected from the damage) or in low-light conditions where a single, notable source of light is observed. Some crew members have gone on to exploit and mock ex'hau for these tendencies, though cases where discipline is issued for such tomfoolery is few and far between. Their brain patterns are otherwise similar to humans, though they have a higher chance of developing attentive disorders such as ADHD or OCD. Those that lose their wings without feasible replacement often enter a significantly depressive episode- cases of PTSD have been linked to events where they are lost. A lack of them is often shamed both by communities and the self, except for those close to the victim, who will often extend empathy, acting as supports to hopefully encourage them to return to normal life.
While ex'hau are thin and generally feeble, they are tall, having grown in low-gravity environments. Men tend to stand at around 6'2", with a typical variation of about half a foot, whereas women tend to stand around 6'6", with the same variation.
- Often fascinated or irritated with light, as a result of general hypersensitivity
- Live shorter than humans, at an average of 65 years, though some have lived longer
- Prefer low or no-g environments. Will often be anxious or grumpy in normal-g environments, if not outright angsty
- Tend toward energetic and active movements or manners of speaking; apathy and depression are rare
- Animosity can grow for security personnel or silicon units, as flashes are highly painful to their biology
- Ultimately interested in exploration and the glory of the stars, being potentially intrigued with various plant matters
- Generally fail to understand cultural disapproval of eating fabrics or clothes
- Unlikely to work in high-strength positions, preferring to utilize agility or knowledge
- Terribly protective and possessive of their wings, as any that lose them are widely shunned among their species