Haephestian

An Haephestian female in formal costume demonstrating the traditional Haephestian greeting.

An Haephestian female in formal costume demonstrating the traditional Haephestian greeting.

Haephestians are a peaceful, starfaring species of the Alpha Octant.

Haephestians are notable for being the first alien species that humans came into their first Full-Contact with after Habakkuk Nesbitt’s first unmanned skew drive test caught their attention.

History

Pre-History

Life emerged on the planet Haephestus some four billion years ago in what were then the planet’s vast oceans.  After a rather brief period of unicellular dominance – only 1.7 billion years – multicellular life emerged.  The dominant form of life was very similar to Earth’s horshoe crabs.  Significant neoteny in a certain population yielded first fishlike and then mammal-like classes.  Haephestians are a neotenic offshoot of what are now referred to as the arboreal “mad tamarins”.  As the climate of Haephestus became more parched and desert-like, the Haephestians were forced out of the trees and across the jagged rock escarpments that would come to dominate the planet.

Civilization

The Haephestians were a fierce and warlike species, driven periodically to wantonly destructive rages by their periods of estrus known as Lak-Nirr.  This savagery, combined with their great strength and intelligence, made their wars extremly bloody.  Their efficiency at preserving, storing and purveying knowledge, however, proved to be the mechanism by which they were able to escape the cycle of bloodshed.

Space-Age

The Haephestian scientist Krell invented the first Haephestian skew drive.  The detection of this led them almost immediately into a Full Contact war with the Fornaxians.  After nearly 200 years as an imperial posession, Captain Zgokk and his stolen starship Vehemence managed to begin a successful uprising against the Fornaxians and a second Full Contact war.  After nearly 30 years of struggle, the Fornaxians were beaten back almost beyond recovery.  The Haephestians took charge of their technology and much of their recently vacated star-empire of six planetary systems.  There is, to this day, a significant Fornaxian flavor to much Haephestian culture, especially in the military sciences.

Etrusculan Civil War

Almost five thousand years ago, the Haephestian Union was faced with the challenge of overcoming the periodic madness of its citizens.  A philosopher named Sorak developed a method of emotional control that involved the purging of all emotion: the discipline of Kohinoor.  Over the next five war-torn years, it became apparent that a large number of Haephestians would not accept the discipline and did not want to surrender their emotions.  A great exodous of those who clung to the old ways took place to the planet Etruscula, the most distant of the Haephestian union’s planets.  These offshoot Haephestians, through thousands of years of isolation and conquest in the Beta Octant, became known as Etrusculans and carved out the Etrusculan Imperial Asterism.

United Stellar Commonwealth

After almost 100 years of cooperation, Haephestians and Humans joined together with the Pensee and the Reticulans to form the United Stellar Commonwealth.

Physiology

Haephestians have Hemocyanin for blood, which is colorless when not oxygenated and blue when oxygenated.  They are roughly three times stronger than humans of equivalent mass and very, very intelligent.  Their unusual physiology makes them somewhat hardier to nuclear radiation, heat and light than humans.  Their ability to survive without water for long periods of time is borne out of the desert harshness of their home planet which is now covered almost entirely by an austere, though beautiful, waste.

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