Keequay
Keequay.jpg

The Keequay are a species whose territory is overlapped by the Terran Sphere. Their name comes from the audible sound their muscular, rigid vocal chords produce when referring to their own kind: a distinct 'kee-kway' vocalization. They are sapient, sentient, boron-based, space-faring vertebrates with a complicated social structure hallmarked by various cults of personality.

Factfile


Species Origins

Homeworld: Sikda
Class: Hybridized vertebrate
Scientific Name: Sikda keequay sapiens
Evolutionary History: The Keequay appear to have evolved from a species of small omnivores which lived in subterranean colonies or groups for much of the local year on their homeworld.
Earliest Evidence of Civilization: -4800 CE
Enlightenment Date: 2393 CE

Biology

Anatomy: Keequay are bipedal, lean, and tall vertebrates, featuring a rigid bone structure and unusual hybridized musculature. An average example of the species stands 220 centimeters and weighs 115 kilograms. Keequay have chitinous plates on the vulnerable portions of their body, such as the back of the head, double neck, forearms, gambrels, groin, and shoulders. Remarkably symmetrical in complexion, shape, and texture, they have flesh with scale-like structures over most of their body. Their hands have five fingers, one thumb, and one vestigial thumb which now resembles nothing more than a large bump on the opposite side of the palm from the true thumb. Their feet and six grasping toes are broad and flat, adapted to gaining purchase in loose or sandy terrain (likely from an evolutionary history as burrowers). Keequay mouths consist of a series of interlocking mandibles which create a perfect seal when closed. Exposed vocal chords permit the production of hissing and clicking sounds for communication. These exposed muscles may have developed as an early non-aural method of communication diminished.

The double or split neck of the Keequay is among their more unusual features and it is unclear why it evolved in such a way. The esophagus travels down the 'right neck' and the primary artery travels up the 'left neck'. Both necks also contain nerves.

Physiology:The Keequay brain is positioned at the back of the lower skull, arranged vertically, attached to the spine via long nerve chords, one travelling down the trunk of either neck. The right controls the right side of the body and the left controls the left. Both are responsible for involuntary bodily functions offering the Keequay a sort of natural redundancy.

The defining external physiological features of a Keequay are three pairs of photoreceptors on the front of the head, facing forward, granting it a 180 degree field of vision. These eyes are equpped with a tapetum lucidum but dilate as available light changes to compensate. Each one has three lids; two conventional, to either side, and one transparent protective lid. The upper pair of eyes are tetrachromatic, allowing vision into the ultraviolet range. Four nostrils in two pairs, the first and largest of which is below the plane of the larger lower eyes, facilitate respiration of ammonia via thousands of large spiracles lining the trachea. A muscle within the head allows fully reversible exhalation and inhalation, so either set of nostrils can be used for either task at will. The spiracles can be closed to allow a Keequay to hold it's breath. Two complex ears, two holes for which exist behind each bottom pair of eyes, process sounds on a wide range. The two larger holes and bones for lower frequencies, the two smaller for higher. Keequay take in nutrients primarily via various liquids but sufficiently soft solid foods have entered their diet.

Of particular note is the Keequay cardiovascular system: a single tubular heart with five chambers connected to the spinal column pumps blood throughout the body both within and without vessels. A network of arteries delivers ammoniated blood and nutrients to the various systems of the Keequay, but it returns outside of the vessels, pulled toward special valves on each chamber of the long heart. This system allows a rapid, complete cleansing and replacement of the Keequay's hemovanadin.

Certain cells present in Keequay blood are capable of stimulating other cells to replicate a sample of SNA and using it as a template to recombine their own SNA to take on some of those cells' roles. They are produced by a gland within the brain and greatly increase the body's ability to repair damage. These cells are capable of locomotion utilizing a flagellum.

Genetics: Boron-based sassonucleic acid (SNA) featuring three nucleotides with triangular nucleobases. It is comprised primarily of ammonia, boric acid (sassolite), fluoride, lithium, and various organoborates such as rosocyanine and trifluoroborane.

Reproduction: Keequay are asexual during the wet season and hermaphroditic during the dry season. The change from hermaphrodite to one gender or the other is determined by a myriad of conditions such as: habitat, family size, nutrition, and social standing. They display no sexual morphism and their culture lacks permanent pronouns for males and females. The reproductive organ is located on the front of the torso at the bottom of the abdomen, protected by two hard, chitinous plates. Copulation is ritualized by Keequay society. Fertilization occurs internally and offspring are born live in an amniotic sac. This membrane is absorbed by the newborn's body over the course of the first year of life to take advantage of every nutrient available. During this time the host undergoes a metamorphosis localized to the reproductive organs, forming a birth canal. Upon giving birth this birth canal closes and the reproductive organs slowly regenerate. A Keequay is sexually viable every five T-years.

Gestation Period: Gestation lasts one-and-a-half to two T-years and birth usually allineates with the start of the wet season.

Life Cycle: Keequay offspring spend their infancy in the amniotic sac, then mature to adulthood/sexual maturity over the course of forty T-years. The average lifespan of a healthy Keequay could be as long as three hundred or more T-years. Long lifespans and a lengthy reproduction process keeps Keequay birthrates lower than most other species of the galaxy.

Diet: Generally omnivorous with a primarily liquid diet, supplemented with gelatinous or malleable solids.

Sleep Cycle: Keequay do not have a rigid sleep cycle. Instead, they take a series of naps through the day.

Psychology

Overview: As a people, the Keequay prefer darkness to light and spend much of their lives indoors. Their cities are typically shafts bored into the ground, lined with structures. They are social but reverent of personal space. Any given Keequay society tends to be heavily striated with advancement coming with both age and number of offspring. To observers they may seem reluctant to communicate or even timid because they place great importance on speaking concisely. Their greatest public speakers are not known for their inspiring speeches, rather they are known for their ability to convey ideas or impart knowledge quickly. Vocal communication among collectives of Keequay is sparse. Body language and the written word take center stage.

Society & Culture

Sexuality: Open
Gender Roles: None
Language: Keequayan
Art/Music: Keequay very much enjoy visual arts but are all tone deaf, making music irregular in their entertainment.
Religion: Cults of personality are very strong within Keequay culture and have positions of influence over hierarchy and politics.
Philosophical Concepts: The most common philosophy among the Keequay is at once collectivist and individualist. It is referred to as 'heekakanu' and embraces the idea that the betterment of a single member of society in fact benefits the whole. However, the individual must have the will to improve itself. This tends to make the Keequay extremely industrious.

Psionics

Psionic Potential: Yes
Rate of Occurrence: Very low
Relative Power: Limited but powerful when focused in a specific discipline (such as telepathy)
Role In Society: Social pariahs who wield considerable influence through the fearful respect of the masses