Kivanians are a race exclusive to, as far as can be determined, the Milky Way. They are also a single homeworld race, originally, although these days their Imperium spans many hundred star systems.
They are bipedal and primarily omnivorous. They are counted among the human races, though only just barely due to substantial biochemical and anatomical differences that lead to a near infertility with several other human species.
Superficially they are nearly hairless, even for a human species. Many Kivanians, male and female have no hair below their eyelashes, and there are some that do not even possess these. Two other superficial differences are their pointed ears. Not unique among human species by any measure it is not terribly common either. The second feature is the presence of a third semi-voluntarily controlled eyelid.
Below the skin the Kivanian is rather alien. Their blood utilises hemocyanin in complex molecular groups and carried by corpuscles. Next of note is their respiratory system which does not use a diaphragm, but rather a very avian style system involving air sacs to alter pressures and circulate oxygen over the blood. Finally of obvious note is the presence of two small hearts, one behind each breast. These hearts are sized such that each alone can fulfill a full two-thirds of their body’s circulatory needs. Typically they beat at a rate to share the load on a fifty-fifty average, though at any moment one heart can, as needed , slow or even stop while the other picks up the slack … the latter condition, clearly, cannot be sustained long without risking further damage, this allows them to more easily heal from certain kinds of heart disease and damage. The paired hearts can also beat in full throttle parallel to provide their bodies with a sudden powerful surge of blood throughout the body that, thanks to the avian nature of their lungs is kept well oxygenated and thus giving the species a remarkable boost of stamina.
The third eyelid, is semitransparent. Closing it obscures but does not completely block their vision and is an adaptation for the rich, dense jungles of the species homeworld where it helped to guard their eyes from pollen clouds (there is even a rare phenomena called a pollen storm, not unlike a dust storm of an Earth desert) as well as from some of the world’s various insect species without actually blinding them. It also helps in wiping things that do manage to get into their eyes away, those that left the jungles and started to settle Kivan’s few deserts, or that took to the stars and have settled on more arid planets find it somewhat useful in dealing with the glare from exceedingly bright light.
The Kivanian diet, traditionally involves various exceedingly hot peppers, the mildest of which are comparable in potency to the habeñero, and the typical, medium level examples of, have been known to kill more than a few Humans, and the hottest of which has been reported by some to be useful for cleaning engine parts and removal of paint. The juices of some of these peppers are used as a cooking method for certain foods. A popular fish dish is ‘cooked’ by marinating the fillets in dil’krthplr juice from sunrise to dinner, and served drizzled with a sweet wine mixed with salt and what is essentially peppermint. On the species home world and home continent the normal diet consists of various large insects, mostly ones of a mantis-esque form, and some not dissimilar to the cricket; various fishes; some small lizards; and several birds. Oddly there are few dietary mammals and those are for special ceremonial or celebratory dishes. All their native jungle amphibian life is highly toxic to anything that isn’t a few very specially evolved lizards and birds. Outside this cradle of their race and civilisation the diet varies only by local availability. The species has an instinctive aversion to amphibian based dishes, but some Kivanian recipes for a temperate zone creature resembling an eight legged salamander exist, and in colder climes mammals begin to make up more of the diet, but mostly fish becomes a more important item.
For drinks they like much the same as any human species. Milks of select mammals, juices from fruits, berries, and a few vegetables and ferns, a nectar secretion by a kind of luminous mushroom found at the bases of several species of trees, and of course alcohol. It should be noted that while Kivanians like tea and coffee it does not affect them as profoundly as Humans. This said one still does not wish to give a Kivanian toddler a triple espresso, and may regret a double. A single is safe for the most part if it isn’t too strong. Alcohol too is another interesting item in Kivanian blood streams. They seem almost immune to grain alcohol, and drink wood alcohols for the same effects and purposes we would consume the afore mentioned grain items. Curiously it is safe for humans to drink a small handful of these products, either due to the extremely low concentration of the alcohol combined with a few mitigating ingredients, and the others being made from woods that seem to, if kept under 10% by volume may be safely drunk in careful moderation.
Final biological items of note: Kivanian women are on a menstrual cycle averages 39 Earth days. Females reabsorb uterine lining if implantation does not occur. They have more complex vocal cords than several human species giving them a exceptional range of phonemes. They are more tolerant of heat, but less of cold than a Human counterpart, average is to assume they will die of heat or cold at 20°F higher temperatures than we would. They are also somewhat stronger by mass than the average human. Finally their endocrine system averages on the hyperactive side when compared to most species in general, this gives them a reputation as an exceedingly emotional and passionate people.
Psychologically they are a pack animal. They are extremely loyal to and protective of family. They are also largely law abiding by nature. This is not to say that they will blindly follow laws regardless of their fairness or justification, nor that Kivanians do not have criminals, just that the typical nature of a crime that a Kivanian is liable to commit is centred along different statistical lines than Humans.
This psychology has imprinted itself in their social structure. The family is headed by a patriarch and males hand down their family name to their children. The families are grouped into clans which are headed by females and the clan name is passed down by the mothers. A Kivanian’s name will always follow the format of Given Name, Secondary Name, Family Name, Clan Name. In the event of a halfbreed the name becomes hyphenated and convention follows as: if male father family name is dropped in favour of clan name but clan name will go before the maternal surname if there is one. Thus Clanname-Maternalsurname. If mother is Kivanian then tradition is, effectively held except the addition of hyphenation to denote that the family name is not a Kivanian one. This Paternalsurname-Clanname. It is exceedingly rare for this not to be the case, as few Kivanians will not be very adamant with their lover that this tradition must be followed.
The ruling structure involves a kind of hierarchy of families and clans up to the Imperial
patriarch and matriarch. They are almost never a wedded couple, and only occasionally closely related. For more information see entry on Imperium.
Kivanian religious practices vary, but largely centre around various forms of ancestor worship. A semi-deity among nearly the whole species is The First Ancestor, who is depending on the traditions of a family could be anything from the progenitor of the race, to all life on Kivan, to all life in the universe, some even saying of the universe itself.
Also typical is varying degrees of consideration that their passions and emotions are divine, sacred, and other similar attributes. As a result most embrace their passions, which gives the species a reputation, partially deserved, of being short tempered, rash, violent, vengeful. Among another sort the same partially deserved reputation is as steadfast companion, deeply Romantic, fast to cry, easy to laughter, and exceptionally intense lovers.
Technologically the race is less advanced than the standards of Glafarran or Vortonian culture, largely, but more so than much of Terrans. They have had faster than light travel since around the time of the founding of the early Yellow River Valley civilisation on Earth. And while not all is known about this early drive it is surmised from what is known that it, like their current drives, was a rudimentary form of hyperdrive. Current technologies tend to achieve sustained, safe velocities of up to an hundred lightyears in little under a day in the most advanced models. Their power systems have always been based on photonic reactions within certain crystaline structures not unlike the ‘ambient radiation’ power supplies of Galfarra and is believed by xenoarcheologists and other similar academics to be a likely glimpse into how the now ubiquitous technology may have been born in that galaxy’s antuquity. Their computers are based on optomolecular processing and are utterly incompatible with anything but the Vortonian computer systems and the better calibre galfarran ones, as well as the fifteen dozen other technologies found throughout the Milky Way that are similar (and in four cases so nearly identical that one xenotechnology Professor was quoted as caling it ‘eerie’).
See also Tylanians.