. Insectian is a term applied to the ancient and mysterious races of jet black insect people who were for centuries known only in folklore and myths. When the Insectians decided to make their presence known to the rest of the universe they wisely withheld the true extent of their influence on galactic history until a majority of other species could adjust to the idea that shadowy insects had been watching them in absolute secrecy for a long, long time.
. Habitat . Big Sister and Little Brother
. The gas giant S'krick in the distant Mandible Galaxy has seven moons, the largest two of which are red. The biggest is named Klli, but is commonly referred to as Big Sister, and the next largest is named Svith, but known to all as Little Brother.
. These two red moons have blinding white skies during the day due to the enormous radiant energy thrown off by S'krick, and thick pastel nights created by exotic gases and radiations escaping through fissures in the surface. Both moons have sprawling arid conditions and appear similarly bleak to outsiders, however Big Sister is veiled in a thin fog layer while Little Brother is cloudless. Both moons are home to the Ancient Hives.
. Plant life on the Insectian home moons has all but been destroyed by decades of war. There are stories of extensive jungles surviving in deep underground caverns near Little Brother's core, but these are stories told to wide-eyed Grublings in a desolate landscape of sand, rock and sky.
. Biology & Behavior
. Insectians are bipedal hive dwellers with enormously sturdy exoskeletons. They appear as inky black figures with white teardrop eyes and no other facial features. While hand color can vary from hive to hive, most outsiders find it impossible to distinguish one Insectian from others of his kind.
. They can speak in barely audible whispers
and soft clicks but Insectians prefer telepathic communication.
They employ a complicated system of runes in their rituals and
ceremonies (see Samples of Insectian Ritual Symbology,
. The wildly complex and unusually strong exoskeleton of the mature Insectian is able to endure profound crushing in addition to most common fire arms and bladed weapons while remaining light enough to allow wall and ceiling walking in most gravitational environments. Powerful lower limbs can produce jumps up to 200 times their body length.
. Their milky optic organs are limited and require a particular kind of radiation found only in the hard minerals of Big Sister and Little Brother to function properly. Although noted throughout the universe for their considerable power and effectiveness, Insectians are almost completely blind without a rock sample from home. Many traveling abroad carry lanterns or wear jewelry that include the minerals vital for sight.
. Evolution has provided increased psycho-ether sensitivities to compensate for the poor eyesight of the Insectians and it is this energy that is the basis for much of The Way (see below). Insectians can sense the presence and nature of objects and beings from great distances, and with discipline can manipulate those distant objects with the power of the focused Insectian mind.
. Only female Insectians are able to produce a durable web fiber from specialized abdominal glands at a remarkable rate but they are otherwise nearly impossible to distinquish from the males. This web fiber can be shaped and manipulated for a wide range of uses (see Conjunction below) and has proven stronger than many metal alloys known to The Encyclopedia Galactica.
. After what has been described as a "violent and chaotic" hatching, Insectians spend 27 years in a larval stage called Grubling in which they suckle vitamin-rich regurgitation in subterranean nursery hives and are schooled in The Way.
. Unlike most other species Insectians do not require a bubble helmet when in deep space, although many will don them as a matter of consideration for the sensitivities others. Insectians are rarely seen without their traditional head wrap, the origins of which have never been made clear.
. Insectians can live
to be well over three thousands years old. It is said
that certain Elders cocoon in deep caves for hundreds
of years and emerge with wings but very little is known
about that process.
. Society and History
. Each of the Great Hives is ruled
by a Queen who is physically larger than average and is
usually at the center of a vast personal army. Queens
have direct control over their Hive and serve as cultural
examples and political icons, meeting every few decades in a
flamboyant Queens Council hosted by alternating Hives.
. The Red Moths are special forces in the service of the Queen's Council who combine The Way with powerful technological tools. Their activity is centered around the defense and policing of the two home moons but Red Moths have been known to travel deep into space for extended lengths of time. They maintain a decisive edge in almost any environment with their DTAU (Devastating Tactical Armored Unit), an ultra-light winged metallic uniform that is both a spaceship and an advanced weapons system.
. The Way is a unifying mystic order to which all Insectians are deeply devoted and from which they derive unique powers. The true structure of The Way has never been discussed in detail with non-Insectians but there has been reference to a High Court of Seated Agents who serve as an administrative body and in some cases have cultural significance on par with the Queens.
. Instruction in The Way by Agents of the Hive begins shortly after hatching and continues through all stages of development, providing a thoughtful spiritual framework for their impressive natural energies. At adulthood, The Way establishes a lifelong educational mandate with the specific course of study left to the individual. At some unknown juncture in this educational career an Insectian can be anointed as an Agent of the Hive.
. The Way is often revealed to students
through ritualized combat but the full scope of its power reaches
far beyond the battle field. The Way enables the Insectians
to focus their mind and their expanded psycho-ether sensitivities
to achieve often miraculous results. Using The Way, Insectians
can manifest a bubble of pure thought that can be used
to transport them throughout the universe. Other skills available
to adherents of The Way include telepathy, levitation,
telekinetic manipulation, and the creation of spheres
of denial which offer effective invisibility by tricking
other minds into not seeing and desperately avoiding whatever
is inside the denial sphere. It is in this way that Insectians
remained unknown to the other races of the universe for
. Hive Consciousness links all Insectians to a group-mind, giving each individual an accessible library of experiences and allowing each some direct insight into the thoughts of all other living Insectians. This connection has profoundly shaped their history on more than one occasion.
. During their primitive beginnings, Insectians endured centuries of violent civil wars that scorched both home moons and seemed determined to continue until all parties were decimated. It was an Elder Agent named Ki Ik'k who first discovered the idea of nonviolent coexistence during deep meditation, and via the connectivity of Hive Consciousness he alone was able to end the ancient wars with a single thought broadcast. Insectian Hives have lived in harmony with each other ever since that moment.
. Complex minerals are key societal
elements. Vast mining complexes crisscross underneath the surface
of both home moons and much of Insectian industry and
commerce revolves around various ores and gemstones. A brilliant
white/amber mineral known as ovhk is consumed during special
ceremonies every few years and is apparently the only source
of nutrition they require.
. Very early in Insectian history they were able to make limited journeys into space via enormous web-balloons spun from the durable silky threads of the female Insectian. These gigantic woven vehicles allowed early Insectians to colonize Big Sister and remained the only trade route between the two moons for generations.
. Web-balloons were launched during brief periods when the orbits of the two red moons bring them nearest to each other and within astro-ballooning range, occurring every four hundred years. This trans-lunar journey is now ceremonially reenacted during a three day commerce festival known as Conjunction which still marks the four hundred year trade cycle in modern Insectian culture.
. Extended Study
. Big Sister and Little Brother are home to a few other species, notably:
. Fahg are a race of intelligent vapor beasts who nest between large boulders and traditionally engage Insectians who seek them in lengthy critical debate. Fahg are fiercely independent thinkers and often take exception to their own kind, living solitary gaseous lives amid the nursing blue radiation of Big Sister, their moon of origin (MOO).
. Fahg nests are usually identifiable
by a triad of white stone monoliths which demarcate the
mouth or entrance to the nest, often not much more than a crevice
or narrow passage in the rocks. The shape and positioning of
these monoliths are very telling and of great significance to
those schooled in their obscure patterns.
. T'kreen are six legged hive dwelling crustaceans
who are often kept as pets. The t'kreen have childlike
intelligence and are known for their fondness of base practical
jokes, particularly those involving dung. Insectians and
t'kreen have long traded scavenged minerals, gems and
precious soils which are of common interest and value.