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The Kya [kʲa̠] (Captiosus) are a predominately marine carbon-based intelligent life form native to the planet Vyllurian's shallow seas. The genus Captiosus is divided into four extant species, Vokya, Tellurvya, Forgya, and Konsorkya. There are several more subspecies contained within the genus, usually estimated to be an additional ten in number. The Kya share a home-system with Humans who themselves are native to the neighboring planet of Aegyn. Humans and Kya share common genetics, short sequences of DNA, and amino acids, implying a common ancestor which would have existed over four billion years before the modern day.

Throughout most of the history of the Kya, they had been pushed aside by their rival-species of Humans. When both species were contacted by the Triumvirate Civilization and given technology, almost all of its aid went to the land-based Humans rather than the marine Kya. With time, the disparity would only grow as Humans became a galaxy-spanning species while the Kya had only barely established colonies on other worlds. As of late, Kya and Human is integrating due to their common ancestry, heritage, and history.

Anatomy

Kya have torpedo-shaped bodies and generally non-flexible necks. They are bilaterally symmetrical with six large fins located on their underbelly. Directly beneath the head is a series of pleopod-like appendages used primarily for manipulating objects and feeding. Kya range in size from three to four meters in length. They are not the largest genus on their planet, however. They are dwarfed by the related non-sapient Kyaesquea genus whose average length is over double that of the Kya.

On the underside of their head is a relatively small mouth with a layered series of sharp teeth within. On top of their head is two main eyes that consist of a reflective structure situated above a convex retina that concentrates light from a large range into a small bed of receptors, giving the Kya excellent field of view. Directly beneath the eyes are organs for echolocation shockingly similar to those found on Aegyn-born species. Echolocation is the Kya's main form of "vision" as Kya perceive signals from their eyes and their echolocation the exact same way. Due to this echolocative ability, Kya can move their mouths in such a way as to "describe" an object by replicating the sounds they received as they perceived the object. This causes the listener to vividly picture the object as perfectly as the description states.

The Kya have large fans along their backs to aid with heat dissipation that also doubles as a flotation device. When filled with air or, if the Kya are particularly deep underwater, waste gases produced by their metabolism, they decrease in density, allowing them to float much easier.

Skeletal Structure

Kyan bone is different in composition to most other organisms on Vyllurian. While most creatures on their world have a primarily calcium based skeleton, the order containing the Kya, the Kyaserralids, developed an analogy to cartilage to replace most of their bones. To compensate for a weaker internal structure, Kya employ a thin exoskeleton that adds a crucial rigidity to their bodies.

What separates the Kya from other genuses in their order is that the typical Kyan skull retains a bone-like shell. The primary cranial cavity, represented by a bulge of the brow located towards the connection of the spine and nervous system. The skull tapers to a point at the front, presumably for improved hydrodynamics and reduced profile. While the creatures lack a jawbone, a series of cartilage strips connected by muscles allow the Kya to open and close their mouth. In addition to their bony skulls, the Kyan spinal cord has a bony spine to protect it. Their spines are segmented and bind a vestigial rib cage protecting soft organs. The joints of the two forward flippers are opposable and flexible, while the remaining flippers are less so and primarily used only for mobility. The flippers themselves are primarily made of rigid cartilage, measuring between 0.5 centimeters to 2 centimeters in thickness, thinnest at the rear edge of the bone and thickest at the connection to the Patria, a small bone connecting the flipper to it's 'shoulders'. The two tails on Kya span roughly two-thirds of their size measured from the tip of the skull.

Internal Organs

The Kya possess gills are located above and behind their cranium. These gills are filled with numerous structures, analogous to alveoli, whose primary purpose is to absorb as much oxygen as possible from their air while the Kya surface. Most of this stored oxygen goes to the brain while the rest of the body gets oxygen from lesser gills optimized for water breathing. Kyan blood is Hemocyaninous (copper-based).

Kya have multiple stomachs used for the processing of food as well as a decentralized circulatory system with no single heart. Analogies for most organs found on Aegyn-based life can be found within the Kya, in no small part thanks to their common ancestry.

History

Background

The Kya, as well as other native species, all evolved from single, unicellular organisms which came to Vyllurian via a hypothetical object known as Kyap (named after a common Kyan creator deity). The object, which was thought to have landed on Vyllurian during the early period of the Helyar System's formation, was likely material ejected off of Aegyn after it first developed life. The bacteria that rained down upon Vyllurian were largely anaerobic organisms, capable of "terraforming" the world to become habitable for an ecosystem. These organisms were the foundation for the ecosystem for millions of years. They sought out various hydrothermal vents and began to evolve and thrive. Despite the early arrival of life early in the planet's history, the evolution of many species has been greatly hindered. Because of the decreased distance to the Helyar compared to Aegyn, too much radiation reached its biosphere. This would be a serious problem for life on the world until its final continents sank below its waves, causing the planet to become a fully aquatic world.

Another, more impactful, hindrance to the development of complex life was simply the lack of many resources. The planet, while high in oxygen and water, is lacking in base metals and carbon, further reducing the scale and prosperity of life on Vyllurian. Life would slowly develop, with it only recently fully adapting to Vyllurian's unique ecosystem by substituting elements in their cells for others. After the incorporation of aluminum and silicon in particular, life exploded in commonality and complexity about 500 million years ago.

Emergence & Early History

The Kya first emerged in about 2,000,000 BCE, making them about the same age as the genus homo on Aegyn. From there, they would spread out across most of Vyllurian's shallow waters, fully colonizing their world by the 1,700,000's BCE. After sufficiently spreading out, they would begin diversifying to form the modern four species seen today (in addition to some others).

With no access to fire, technology was greatly stunted until roughly 500,000 BCE, upon the discovery of the thermite reaction, capable of producing high temperatures even under water. With some refining, the Kya would be able to use this reaction to make food more easily digestible (cooking it). This was only the first in a series of advancements as shortly after, the Kya, specifically the Vokya species, would discover that the metal left behind by the reaction could be fashioned into weapons.

Iron Age

Upon entering the iron age, the Vokya began a campaign of conquest across all of Vyllurian, utterly exterminating three of their sister-species in the process. Soon, they would form a planet-spanning empire which would last for an unknown number of years before collapsing into thousands of small states. The Vokya would soon lose their advantage as their sister species similarly took advantage of the thermite reaction.

From their, the Kya would slowly advance until beginning to have a notable impact on their environment starting in the 70,000s BCE. At this point, they were entering a sort of industrial revolution centered on chemical reactions taking place on floating rafts that would power aquatic cities below. They would forever remain bound on their planet were it not for outside intervention. It would prove impossible for a functional rocket to be constructed even with the impressive feats the Kya had already done. This did not stop the Kya from learning about the outside universe, first discovering that Aegyn had life in about 40,000 BCE.

Contact with Humanity

Humans discovered the Kya in In 31,809 BCE shortly after orbiting an observatory around the planet. While they had known about the life on Vyllurian for about a century beforehand, evidence of their civilization did not become apparent until directly orbiting the world. Humans would first land on the planet in 31,764 BCE using technology given to them by the Triumvirate Civilization. First contact, while peaceful, did little to convey information between either group. It took linguistic algorithms from the Triumvirate to allow the Kya to communicate with Humanity for the first time.

Shortly after contact, they were also given technology; however, it took time to adapt it for aquatic life. By the time the Kya became a space-faring civilization, Humans had already claimed all of the bodies in the system and had even began attempting to colonize Vyllurian itself. In what nearly became a full-scale war, the Kya defended the sovereignty of their home world until a treaty signed in 15,089 BCE that would grant them sovereignty over Vyllurian as well as dozens of nearby systems outside of the Helyar system.

Split of the Yohjan Confederacy

At the same time as the treaty giving them their sovereignty was signed, the Yohjan Confederacy formed. This polity was a state within the wider Triumvirate Republic, a galaxy spanning federation. The Yohjan Confederacy was the state of Humans while the Commonwealth of Kyan Species was the state given to the Kya. Much smaller in size, the Commonwealth became essentially a puppet for its larger sister-state. It would be forced to fight along side the Confederacy in the devastating War of the Final Transition, a civil war spanning across the entirety of the Triumvirate Republic.

That would change when the Yohjan Confederacy collapsed in 0 CE, marking the beginning of the Common Era. The Commonwealth of Kyan Species became an independent nation, even declaring independence from the Triumvirate Republic government as it fell in 210 CE. With independence, the Kya attempted to stabilize the chaos-stricken Aegyn only to be largely ignored by the Humans fighting over their home world.

Even so, the Kya would occupy Aegyn numerous times particularly after the 20,000s CE when the entire system was recognize as rightful Kyan territory. As Humans began identifying more with their "Core Worlds," worlds such as Thalsiedeln and Thalia, and less on their home world, the Kya were left alone to do with the system as they pleased.

Advancement

In 50,001 CE, the Kya attempted to join the Confederacy of Borealis but were turned down due to their undemocratic form of governance. The Kya had always preferred a form of government called Noocracy or rule by the wise. This form of technocracy, rule by technical experts, would prevent them from integrating with the largely democratic Confederacy. However, they would join the Confederacy's economic sphere of influence, adopting their currency and language in the following year.

After joining the Confederacy's sphere of influence, large numbers of Kya began to migrate out of their small collection of systems near to Helyar. This was largely due to simply a desire to see what was out there in the galaxy. Many settled on terraformed worlds where they would have access to technology as well as vast seas to live in. Human-terraformed worlds are, on average, much cooler than Vyllurian, requiring the Kya to genetically engineer themselves to withstand cooler temperatures by incorporating a layer of blubber around themselves.

Contemporary History

After the War of the Ancients and the subsequent reformation of the Confederacy of Borealis into the Boreal Federacy, the Kya joined the Intergalactic Council, the primarily Human international peace-keeping organization. The Kya, however, have a special status within the organization as it represents every single Kya no matter where they live, including those with citizenship in other nations. Kyan and Human culture have been slowly integrating as the Kya find themselves mostly on Human worlds and, increasingly, Humans find themselves on Kyan worlds.

Culture

The Kya are no stranger to genetic modification of their population on a mass scale. As such, the government has often created retro-viruses to genetically manipulate their population en masse to grant it beneficial qualities. The Kya are highly deferential to authority, in particular the wise. While always a part of their culture, modification has only made this attribute more pronounced. Additionally, the Kya are unable to tell apart their different species even though they originally were able to. This trait was introduced to prevent any racial conflict.

Every single Kya is considered to be a part of the Commonwealth of Kyan Species, including those outside of the nation or with citizenship in other nations. As such, the government of the Commonwealth can and often does give binding orders to its extra-national subjects. While other nations have protested the power that the Commonwealth has, especially considering that it is run by unelected officials, they have a hard time convincing the Kya within their borders to disobey or ignore the Commonwealth. Many nations bar Kya from serving as public officials for this reason. The Commonwealth has no record of interfering in nations where this is not a law, however.

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