Intelligent major race descended from omnivore/gatherer-scavengers native to Guaran ( Ricenden / Guaran 0827), where they were adapted to an underground existence. Of the major races, the Hivers look the most alien compared to humans. The Hiver body exhibits a modified six-fold radial symmetry; the body has a calcerous internal skeleton consisting of a series of rings supporting the limbs and a fused carapace protecting the brain and most of the important internal organs. The adult Hiver stands about 1.5 meters in height (or three meters from limb to limb), and weighs about 150 kilograms.
The six limbs extending from the torso end in manipulative tentacles. The head is a modification of one of the limbs and is typically held in a raised position. It contains a sensory cluster with six eyestalks, six manipulative tentacles, three infrared sensor organs, and three auditory sensors. The mouth (digestive opening) is on the lower surface of the body. There is no sound-producing organ.
The other five limbs are identical to each other (except for slight modifications of the hand opposite the head), and the limbs function interchangeably as arms, legs, hands, and feet. Each limb ends in a six-fingered radial "hand". Fingers are very flexible and have muscular suction cups on the lower surface about halfway to the tips. Hiver hands and arms are generally weaker than a human's, but are very tough and difficult to injure.
Hivers have only one sex. Reproductive cells are exchanged each time that Hivers meet, using the modified rear hand (the process has been termed by humans "shaking hands"). The cells are kept in a reproductive pouch on the lower body surface where they conjugate and exchange genetic material. Once every 40 days or so, a cell will develop into a larva, which then drops from its parent's body.
Hive planets are mostly wilderness, and the larvae enter the wilds, where most are killed. After about a year, survivors return to civilisation, where they are welcomed into any nest and begin their education as citizens. Parental instinct in Hivers is very strong, and the young are adopted by the entire nest (note that this only applies to year-old returnees, not to the younger larvae; in fact, the latter are treated as minor pests).
Hiver language is a combination of arm/tentacle-waving and physical contact. The written language is ideographic and is used as a standard language among the races of the Hive Federation. Hivers talking among themselves use all three aspects of language (gesture, touch, and writing) at once, a process requiring a great deal of subtlety and sophistication, but unintelligible to the outsider.
Hivers are unique among major races in that they had a complex culture before becoming sentient. Originally, they lived in the tunnels and built-up mounds of a large (1000kg) burrowing animal. In exchange for shelter, they gave food. They farmed fungus and foraged outside for decaying vegetation and dead animals as a source of food for the fungus.
Burrowers were allowed to graze in the farm tunnels. Hivers ate the fungus and whatever fresh food they could find outside. Intelligence arose as the outside environment changed, forcing the foraging parties to travel further to discover new sources of food and fertiliser; foragers advanced from simple scavenging and gathering efforts to complex co-operative efforts of hunting and trapping live game.
Today, fungus remains the staple of the Hiver diet; fungus growing is a highly developed art. Most buildings retain the beehive shape and large underground tunnel complexes of the original burrowers, but they are constructed by machines; the burrowers (known as snohl) are restricted to the secondary function of keeping the tunnels clean. Hiver attachment to them is essentially non-rational; they just feel more comfortable with snohl around.
Hive society is highly individualistic. The term "Hive" results from an early human misconception which stems from the appearance of the Hiver's building and tunnel complexes. Nests contain from five to five hundred individuals, who are usually centred around some common endeavour. While one hundred is an average size for a nest (and was the size in pre-civilised times), larger groups may come together for some civilised purpose such as large manufacturing companies or universities. Small nests are usually spaceship crews or isolated research parties. A young hiver will spend his first 15 years in his home nest; thereafter, nest changes may take place as often as a modern human might change jobs.
Because of the nature of their reproduction, hivers never experienced the population pressures so important to human history. the population of their homeworld is now only a few hundred million, only 10 times greater than what it was in prehistoric times. Predators control the young; when the adult survival rate rises, thus increasing the numbers of young produced, the predator population increases proportionately and the balance is maintained. Space colonisation arose not from population pressure but from curiosity, with which Hivers are amply endowed.
The Hivers have colonised only those planets with climates most pleasant to themselves; if the planet has no predators that like to eat Hiver larvae, they are imported. Because of the high birth rate, a colony will rapidly fill up to its maximum population level of a few hundred million and will then stabilise. Hivers like planets of size 6 or less, with Thin or Standard atmospheres and unvarying climates. Hiver enclaves, for commercial or scientific purposes, are found on worlds of more extreme characteristics.
Hive industry and business excels at communications technology and robot construction. Major exports include artificial and computer languages, translators, and sophisticated electronic hardware of all types. Hiver mathematical systems are much in demand for their power and elegance.
Hiver government is largely the result of many nests co-operating or working in concert. Hiver society is utterly egalitarian - competing for power over others is foreign to the Hiver nature. However, the strong parental instinct of the Hivers leads them to take great pride in subtle forms of individual predictive manipulation of others. A successful manipulation (one which is for the common good) earns the manipulator respect and honour among all Hivers.
The main co-ordinating centre of the Hive Federation is Glea ( Glea / Centrax 2609).
(SUPP-8, 1107; MT-ENCYC, 1120; DIGEST-17, 1120)
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