The Hivers

All things Human, Hiver, Tarka, Liir, Zuul and Morrigi.

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Erinys
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The Hivers

Post by Erinys » Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:06 am

Species Information: “Hivers”

Human spacers call this species “Hivers” (or, even more informally, “Bugs”) because of their resemblance to the countless insect species found on Earth. Size notwithstanding, Hivers do have many features in common with terrestrial insects, especially when it comes to social organization and physical appearance. Nonetheless, they are a fully sentient space-faring race.

Hivers may be encountered in any part of the galaxy. The location of the Hiver home world is presently unknown. They are highly adaptable and able to thrive in a wide variety of environments, however; Hivers can colonize worlds which many other races would find inhospitable due to low gravity or atmospheric density.

Technology:

Ships: Hivers move through space using a combination of slower-than-light and instantaneous-transport technology. A fleet of Hiver ships, driven by standard STL engines, begin by traveling a great distance the hard way: it may take them months or years, moving at sub-relativistic speed, to reach their destination. Once they arrive, however, the Hivers quickly set up a massive ring-shaped teleportation device. Should other Hiver ships choose to follow, they can travel instantly to the newly erected ring from any other ring in the Hiver empire.

Physical and Social Characteristics:

Despite appearances, Hivers are not insects in the physical sense. They are much larger than any Terran insect, ranging from 40 to 250 kg in mass and 90 to 450 centimeters in height. They do have six limbs, but the upper four are equipped with opposable digits. Most Hivers have a pair of wings on the dorsal surface of their bodies , but these seem to be vestigial and useless for flight.

A Hiver’s body is partially covered with chitin, but the shell is not an exo-skeleton. Hivers have an interior skeleton, a full array of internal organs and a circulatory system similar to that of a terrestrial bird or mammal. The chitin is not used for tissue support; it is adapted to serve them as armor. Some scientists speculate that the bright colors and patterns of a Hiver’s body also convey a great deal of social information to other Hivers.

In space, Hivers tend to live and move in large family groups. All of the members of any given Hiver fleet are usually related to one another by birth.

The Hiver species is divided into three physical and social classes: the Worker, the Warrior, and the Breeder. All three classes are very different from one another, and might almost appear to be different species to the casual observer. A Worker bug looks, thinks and behaves so much differently than a Warrior or a Breeder bug that it is sometimes difficult to believe that all three bugs could have hatched from the same cluster of eggs!

K'en Class [WORKERS] (illustrations): Workers are the most common type of Hiver, making up around 70% of the species. The average height of a Hiver worker is 150 centimeters, and they generally mass around 70 kg. Worker bugs do not have sexual organs or any psychological quirks related to breeding, but they are intelligent, sensitive and curious, and as prone to be interested in art, science and culture as the average member of any other sentient species. The vast majority of Hiver art and literature is created by workers, and they also make up the vast majority of Hivers engaged in scientific, technical and academic fields.

Workers can pursue almost any occupation in their society. They fill the ranks in all walks of life, from merchants and street-sweepers to architects, farmers and miners. Regardless of what profession they pursue, however, the efforts of any given Worker are always directed to one purpose: to strengthen, protect, unify or glorify its family, and serve the interests of its Mother.

Ri' Class [WARRIORS] (illustrations): Warriors are the second most common type of Hiver, making up around 25% of the species. Of all Hivers, the Warriors have the largest variety, when it comes to superficial physical appearances. They can range from 50 centimeters to 250 centimeters in height, and may have super-light bodies or massive armored frames. They also sport a wide variety of chitin adaptations, including markings which may be super-bright or subtle camouflage in any kind of terrain.

Warrior bugs are generally created to serve a specific function; they are tailored during gestation to perform a specific task as adults. Various features of the warrior are subject to change: size, strength, toughness and thickness of its shell, resistance to radiation and extremes of heat and cold. Some warriors are even adapted to be able to withstand vacuum, for limited periods of time.

Warriors are generally engaged in high-casualty professions. Deep-sea diving, mining, arctic exploration and toxic waste disposal are all generally handled by warrior bugs, as are other tasks involving similar levels of personal risk. Accordingly it is no accident that Warriors, although rare in Hiver society at large, make up a disproportionate percentage of personnel aboard space-faring vessels.

Warriors do not have sexual organs, but their bodies produce a powerful array of hormones, making them far more prone to aggression, ambition, and powerful mood swings. Their interactions are more insular than those of any other Hiver class; Warriors often form secret societies, join dueling academies or participate in athletic contests to channel their aggression. They tend to receive less formal education than Workers do, but far more vocational and martial training.

Like Workers, Warrior bugs are loyal to their families, but they are fanatically obedient to their Mothers. Aware from earliest childhood that they have been born to die for the Queen, and consider it their honor and privilege to do so.

T'cho Class (BREEDERS): Within any given Hiver family, a small community of breeders—a female Hiver, or “princess”, and her coterie of male “princes”—will rule over a large number of Warrior and Worker bugs.

Hiver Princess (illustration): The Princess of any given Hive is its absolute ruler and reason-for-being; her Workers and Warriors will be loyal to the death, and devote themselves to her welfare for the entirety of their lives. The Workers and Warriors of the Hive are simultaneously her children, her employees, her servants, her subjects and her zealous cult of personality.

A Hiver princess is many times larger than a standard Hiver. Depending on her care and feeding, she can grow to a height of 400 centimeters and mass nearly 400 kg. Her wings and chitin are largely ornamental, and often will be cut or painted to enhance her natural beauty.

A Hiver princess can produce any number of Hiver eggs, especially if she has regular access to a male. The eggs she produces are largely generic when they leave her body; it is the care she gives them during infancy that determines their futures. Variations of light, heat and nutrition will produce a variety of changes in the developing Hiver, allowing its mother to not only determine whether the resulting offspring will be a worker, a warrior, or a breeder, but to assign it a number of other physical and mental characteristics.

The one thing a Hiver princess CANNOT do is reproduce herself. Although she can create any number of workers, warriors and male breeders, no princess can lay an egg which will develop into another princess. The power and privilege of birthing female Hivers is reserved for their High Queen—a nigh-mystical and legendary female Breeder who rules the entire species from the Hiver homeworld.

Hiver Prince (illustration): Hiver males are somewhat similar to their female counterparts, although they are somewhat smaller. They average around 350 centimeters in height and mass in the neighborhood of 250 kg. Physically speaking, they can recognized by their size, the extremely bright colors of their chitin, the length and strength of their wings, and the sharp, Warrior-like projections on the second pair of limbs—the so-called “dueling blades”.

Socially speaking, a male Breeder is essentially a free agent; unlike the warrior and worker bugs of his family, his devotion to any one hive is not strong. The reasons for this are obvious; a female Hiver generally seek out males which are NOT her own sons, for breeding purposes. Although a Hiver Princess can reproduce with males hatched out her own eggs, if given no other option, this practice would quickly leads to stagnation, both socially and genetically, if it were common-place.

Breeder males, accordingly, are the only Hivers who are socially and psychologically capable of moving from one Hive to another at will. They are more self-interested than any other class of Hiver, with far weaker attachments to their mothers and families of origin than would be normal in a Worker or a Warrior. A prince’s chief loyalty is to himself, his breeding partner, and the hive to whom he is a Father.

Highly competitive, career-oriented and motivated to succeed, Hiver princes seek out positions of authority and opportunities to lead, perform in public, or otherwise draw attention to themselves. A prince’s ability to draw attention to himself and his achievements makes him a desirable mate, and puts a premium on his services.

Since heredity in a Hiver is based 60% on the contribution of the male, a Prince who is cunning, strong, gifted or beautiful can become a prize that many Hives will vie to win. Savage wars have been fought over the kidnapping or defection of a valuable Prince.

Sidebar: Hivers at War

Wars are common among Hivers. The Hiver military impulse is generally driven by population pressure or the urge for supremacy. Because each Hiver princess can produce countless offspring per year, the population of Hivers in any one place can spike very quickly, leading to intense competition for space and resources. A hive under pressure has one of two options: either they can cull their own population, or eliminate the competition.

Although there are more than 30 words for “suicide” in the Hiver language, many Hiver families choose to go on the warpath rather than institute any other population control measure. Wars of this kind are grim and brutal battles-to-death, in which the full time and resources of all Hive members are devoted to destroying the enemy Hive and its princess.

Occasionally an ambitious Hiver princess will take it into her head to become the High Queen of her species. The global wars of dominion in Hiver history are many, and some have assumed legendary status over time. The destruction and loss of life associated with a battle for the throne has often left the planet almost completely depopulated, with only a few exhausted clans left alive in the rubble.

Sidebar: Death among the Hivers

Due to the quirks of Hiver physiology, death is not necessarily the end for any given Hiver’s life. A great deal of short and long-term memory is stored in crystalline form in a Hiver’s brain case, and these chemicals can be extracted intact for up to 72 hours after death. With the help of the princess, who passes these chemicals through her own digestive tract, the memory of the fallen Hiver can be injected into the thorax of a freshly laid egg. The result is a new-born Hiver which has many of the memories, skills and experiences of the Hiver who died.

This form of limited reincarnation is central to the spiritual beliefs of the Hiver population, who conceive of the Divine as a female Hiver, constantly devouring and renewing the universe. It is also very useful in preserving valuable skills, and giving Hivers access to information which would otherwise be lost. However, the practice has led to a few unfortunate incidents in which some Hivers which had been exposed to a lethal plague were carried back to the queen for renewal, resulting in a predictable disaster for the whole family.


Sidebar: Hiver Art

Due to the extremely strong emotional attachment that most Hivers have to their mothers, a great deal of their art, sculpture and literature is devoted to glorifying their mothers, extended families and ancestors. A great deal of their engineering and architecture is also based upon the female form, or on scenes vaguely remembered from the hatching period.

Hivers seem to find curvilinear shapes comforting and pleasing to the eye, and often design storage compartments and living quarters which remind them of the geometric egg chambers they slept in as infants. Buildings and ships are sometimes highly suggestive of a female Hiver’s body, and may even be direct portraits of a given Princess.
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Erinys
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A Letter Home...

Post by Erinys » Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:08 am

Brother,

I know you have been hoping for a message for a very long time. Believe me, I have wanted to make a crystal like this one for years. Unfortunately, as you warned me, little brothers like us are not highly prized in the Queen’s navy. Before I shipped out, I could not get a place in the queue for the recording equipment. Even now, after years, I have worked very hard and earned only a very little personal time. I will have to slip this message in with the colonial registries and battle reports from the frontier, and hope it finds its way to you somehow.

Many things have happened. There has been battle and death. There have been months of boredom locked aboard a tiny vessel with thirteen warriors who, I swear by the Queen, spend 90% of their daily energy trying to find some new and exciting way to kill each other. When I fold my limbs for sleeping, I often do so in an empty fuel cell or food cannister; once when I awoke I found myself drifting in space, because they had “accidentally” jettisoned me with the garbage. To this day I am not certain that it really was NOT an accident—stranger things happen out here—but I choose to regard it as deliberate because all of my ship-mates were so amused.

You were right, brother, about everything. This is the most dreadful job in the universe. The work is dangerous. The hours are unbelievable. Sometimes I literally stand until my legs crumple, because I am no longer able to hold up my own weight…and then I continue working because my arms are still able to move.

The pay I send home…well, I am sure it is probably more an insult than a boon, to our family. And the rations? Are beyond my powers of description. If I had not seen so many warriors set to with gusto and declare this food “delicious”, I would swear that it had been first served in the cafeterias of Hell.

But let me tell you, brother…for all that you were right, you were also wrong. This is the most dreadful job in the universe…but it is also the best. Aboard this ship, none of us hatched together. We have different mothers, different fathers, we come from different lands and castes, and before we were assigned to this vessel none of us had ever met before. But these sailors are a better family to me than you can possibly imagine…

Because I am a worker and not a warrior, my name is often forgotten on the crew complement on this ship. Sometimes the quartermaster sends us out without having provided me with rations or a berth. At such times, all of my crewmates set aside a portion of what they eat each day for me—a portion they can ill afford, massive and powerful as they are. They arrange their hours to provide sleeping time for me, and reduce the compression of their breathing tubes to be sure I get my share of the atmosphere.

When I fall from exhaustion, someone picks me up. When I am hurt, they risk their lives to retrieve me. They may laugh at my occasional discomfort, but they would never willingly let me come to harm.
It is easy for those at home to say that we are throwing our lives away. Most of us will never see our families again. We all have brothers and mothers we miss. Fathers that we boast of, Princes that have long forgotten us. Lands that we describe in loving detail, painting them with our longing until even the meanest burrow in the most crowded city sounds like paradise.

But this is not for nothing. We sometimes crawl for months to achieve a distant star, and then arrive to find a desolate world useless for our people’s needs. Or fly right into the teeth of some savage enemy who only wants to see us dead. But brother, if you could see the golden Gate open against the velvety blackness of space…! The sleek bodies of our ships silhouetted against a burning sun! The open arms of a whole new world below you, knowing it will provide new homes for our people by the billion…perhaps then you would understand.

When we fly into battle, we all cry out as one: “For the Queen!” But brother, I will tell you my secret—much as I love Her, I would do this just for myself.

I love you. I miss you. But by the Goddess…I love this job!
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Dirt Gunfrey
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Post by Dirt Gunfrey » Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:05 am

Wow. It's cool to get inside a Hiver's head like that.
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The Magus
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Post by The Magus » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:48 pm

Very neat...it does raise a question I hadn't thought of before: just how many Princesses are there usually? I had assumed a small, rare number, like no more than 50 or 100 at the most, perhaps no more than 10 even. I get the impression if so many different clans can be united on one tiny destroyer, that it might be a great deal larger?
The teacher cut in smoothly, "Yes, of course. SolForce never fails to remind us how necessary they are to our...'survival'. ... It amazes me that the human race ever managed to exist, before you lot came along."

Cai Rui smiled thinly. "What amazes me is how quickly the human race could cease to exist, if we were gone."

--The Deacon's Tale

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Erinys
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Post by Erinys » Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:00 pm

At the space-faring epoch of Hiver history, there are many Princesses, some with clans as small as 200-1000 children.

--Arinn
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Post by Day » Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:00 am

I asked this in another thread, but it was a tangent in a longer post. I can't remember which thread, and I have no idea if it was answered there or not. So... I figured I could ask again. If I'm a Hiver, what do I call my race? "Hiver" is a human slang term, right? I guess, actually, I want to know what a human wanting to speak respectfully to a Hiver would call his race (since I'm a human and I don't have the right mouth architecture for making Hiver sounds). Thanks.


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Post by Steve » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:36 am

I believe the Hivers call themselves "The Children" whatever that is in Hiver.

I have a question of my own. We know the details about the human discovery of node space, but how did the Hivers discover their gate technology?

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Post by Omega_Paladin » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:01 am

A horrible accident involving a bowl of Cheerios. It's best no mortal know.


(You can tell me though. I can handle the truth.)
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Day
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Post by Day » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:18 pm

Steve wrote:I believe the Hivers call themselves "The Children" whatever that is in Hiver.

That's exactly my question. I assume that a human diplomat would use some close approximation of the Hiver word for it, rather than a translation.


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Erinys
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Post by Erinys » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:39 pm

Human lips and tongues are not well designed for speaking the Hiver language, but a human diplomat trying to be polite would doubtless refer to the species as "Chekinqua'Chekis". This is probably the closest set of phonemes you could put together without proper mouthparts. Roughly translated, this would be "Faithful Children without Number", which is a polite term for the Hiver as a people.

--Arinn
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Day
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Post by Day » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:34 am

Erinys wrote:Chekinqua'Chekis

Now I'm gonna be a real pain. Is that "qu" as in English or, like, Arabic? And is the apostraphe pronounced in some way, or is it like in English marking some grammatical function (in this case joining the ideas of "faithful children" and "numberless" maybe? Pure speculation.)? That level of detail may be a bit too deep and if so, I'll respect that. I'm just curious. Anyway, I'll use that term in my little fiction thing on the other forum. Thanks!


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Erinys
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Post by Erinys » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:38 am

The "qua" is one of those sounds you can only approximate, but it's more like the "kwah" of "question". And it is a grammatical fragment of the Hiver word for "infinity", or "number beyond counting", which links "faithful" and "offspring".

--Arinn
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Day
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Post by Day » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:46 am

Ahha! Okay... Now you're indulging me. ;) If you keep answering my language questions, I'll keep asking and then you'll have to write whole books about Hiver speech, etc. :twisted:

Last one (for tonight): So, if I'm reading you right, a simple reference to one's children (like a Princess might make casually) would be "Chekis" (or a sound approximate to that as we can assume proper note has been made about the inadequacies of the human vocal tract for making all the sounds in Hiver)? It seems to me appropriate for familial words to be of specific importance to Hiver culture and it occurs to me that dropping words like this into dialog would add some nice atmosphere (for fan fic, anyway... In the actual game audio you have tons of other tools to use for atmosphere as well).

Just let me know when you're done answering language questions.


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Erinys
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Post by Erinys » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:51 pm

"Chekis" is indeed the informal short-form collective noun for all of the offspring of one mother. Generally, of course, this connotes "sons", but it can also include daughters, in the case of the Queen. Most Hivers wouldn't use this term about their own family members--a mother is more likely to use an affectionate term for her own brood which would have a deeper connotation of love, and calling them just "chekis" would be regarded as cold and clinical.

--Arinn

P.S. Hiver language questions are fun, but this is the last answer on this particular subject. ;)
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Post by ChaosMaster130 » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:45 pm

This topic is SLOW!!!!! And not cuz(tm) the game is not out yet, Just look at the liir topic...
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