Intelligent minor race originating on Muan Gwi ( Vega / Solomani Rim 1717). They were named by Solomani humans after the bright star near their homeworld.
Vegans are upright, bipedal, and bilaterally symmetrical, averaging 2.2m in height. They are bisexual, homeothermic oxygen breathers with an average lifespan of over 200 years. Because of their low-gravity origin, they are physically quite weak, and are unable to live on high-gravity worlds.
The head serves both as braincase and sensory appendage. Auditory organs are located in a collar-like structure around the neck. Despite external appearances to the contrary, Vegans have two eyes, located inside the hood-like fleshy structure which dominates the head. The paired eyes are covered by a single transparent eyelid-like structure, which acts as a polarized light filter. This structure protects the eyes from glare, like built-in sunglasses, and also serves to keep windblown dust out of the eyes. This filter can be retracted when not needed. The eyes themselves are large, and pick up radiation well into the infrared portion of the spectrum, an adaptation to Muan Gwi's small red sun. Since the skull is solidly fixed in place, a Vegan cannot turn its head, but the fleshy hood containing the eyes can turn through a large arc.
The mouth is a vertical slit in the upper thoracic region, with paired breathing/vocal slits on either side of it. Two mandibles are located inside the upper chest, and grind food between their opposing sets of teeth.
Where the forearm and hand would be on a human, Vegans have three tentacles, which serve them as manipulative organs. Their legs end in broad, splayed feet, which prevent them from sinking into soft sand.
The urogenital opening is a vertical slit located ventrally in the lower abdomen. There are no external differences between the sexes.
Vegans have a number of adaptations to the arid dry region of Muan Gwi where they developed. Their tall, thin bodies are designed for maximum radiation of heat. The torso is covered with a thick integument, whose convoluted surface is richly supplied with blood vessels. By increasing or decreasing the supply of blood to the integument, heat radiation from the torso can be regulated to optimum effect (more during the day, less at night). This arrangement obviates the necessity for sweating and its consequent water loss. All orifices of the body can be sealed to prevent unnecessary moisture loss.
The Vegans received the jump drive about -6000 from Vilani-influenced traders, and colonised several nearby worlds before being absorbed into the First Imperium in -4404. They were severely restricted under Vilani rule, as were all races who resisted being intergrated into the rigid Vilani culture. Thus, they welcomed Terran victory in the Interstellar Wars and the advent of the Rule of Man. The Vegan Polity prospered under the Rule of Man and survived the Long Night largely intact. However, with the advent of the Third Imperium, the Vegan area was broken into individual planetary states in accordance with Imperial policy; non-humans were treated as full citizens, but in order to cement Imperial authority, no multiworld governmental units were allowed.
The creation of the Solomani Autonomous Region in 704 once again restricted the Vegans. Human colonies were founded on many Vegan worlds to maintain Solomani influence there, and Solomani governors were installed on all Vegan worlds. After the Solomani Rim War, the Vegan Autonomous District was formed as a counterweight to the Solomani Confederation.
Vegan society is divided into hundreds of different tuhuir, which might be roughly translated as culture, philosophy, or tao. Each tuhuir has its own customs and traditions, and its own interpretation of the proper way to live. The civil service which governs the Vegan District is a tuhuir which oversees and mediates amoung all the other tuhuir. Although rare, heretical and rebellious tuhuir do exist.
Archeology shows that tuhuir were once separate societies, each associated with a particular people and geographic location, like countries on ancient Earth. Now, however, they are mixed together in complex patterns.
Tuhuir are not hereditary; when a Vegan nears sexual maturity, he or she enters a period of search, which may last for many years. Eventually the individual chooses a tuhuir; once made, the choice is for life. In practice, about 50% of Vegans choose the tuhuir of their parents (the exact percentage varies with each tuhuir); abour 0.5% find that they enjoy the search as a way of life and never join a tuhuir.
(SUPP-10, 1108; SUPP-11: p28, 1107; MT-ENCYC: p44, 1120)
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