Xabeldi are a long-lived race of humanoid, bipedal beings. They are mono-gendered, tall with slender builds, three-fingered hands and possess visible auras that make them appear luminous to non-Xabeldi. These auras are subject to changing color depending on the Xabeldi’s mood. It is also an indicator of a Xabeldi’s age. Sharp, bright auras are typical in the very young, while dim, but still noticeable, ones are a feature of the very old. Most Xabeldi are white-skinned but some will be a shade lighter than their eye color. For example: a green-eyed Xabeldi could have light green skin.
Xabeldi communicate through verbal speech and telepathy, though touch is also employed in private situations, such as among family, bond mates and close friends. Touch is a sacred tradition among the Xabeldi: establishing it indicates trust, a willingness for the minds to be joined. It would be considered informal to invite physical contact with a Xabeldi upon first meeting. Xabeldi can also use telekinesis, though the skill level varies from individual to individual.
Though primarily sustained by the light of the B-class star, Xa, which is consciously absorbed and converted into basic nutrients similar to photosynthesis, the Xabeldi live off a diet consisting of mostly plants, nuts, fruits and vegetables. They have relatively slow metabolisms, resulting in little need to eat as often as a human might over the course of one day. What they cannot live without, however, is sunlight and water. In an environment with weaker sunlight, such as Earth, Xabeldi would need to consume raw sugar to make up for what little they absorb from Sol.
The Xabeldi home world, Xa’Beld, has an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide, which is necessary for the Xabeldi to live. Plants have been engineered to use cellular respiration rather than photosynthesis to sustain themselves, and the atmosphere; the Xabeldi create the necessary oxygen the plants need through exhalation. To this end, breathing pure oxygen would be poisonous to Xabeldi, though O2 in small quantities is not fatal. It may cause dizziness, weakness and pain. Xabeldi would need specialized suits to move about a world like Earth. Only in highly industrial centers, or anywhere excess CO2 is produced, could they forsake the need for suits.
Xabeldi are a curious race, forever seeking ways to improve upon their lives either by revamping existing technology or creating new tech. Because of this, they are known throughout their sector as pioneers, inventors and scholars. The average citizen employs this most basic function in every aspect of their life, whether they are a scientist or stay-at-home caregiver. All Xabeldi instinctively work toward bettering their people no matter their calling.
Xabeldi are very sociable. Gatherings, parties, conventions, and reunions are not uncommon in Xabeldi society. The young are exceptionally sociable. It is not uncommon for a young Xabeldi to get into trouble now and then, but most of these incidents are seen as non-threatening. Very few antics require disciplinary action. However, gravely injuring or killing another is forbidden. Attempting to better oneself at the expense of others- extortion, illegal bioengineering (such as with the Nureni), for example- are also forbidden. Both carry the high penalty of exile to the offender. Should a Xabeldi be imprisoned, time spent incarcerated is used to promote mental health, and most criminals are successfully rehabilitated.
While the Xabeldi are seen as a passive, peace-loving people, their past is fraught with conflict. To this end, they have created one of the finest militaries in their galaxy. The Xabeldi Special Forces, or XSF, are primarily peacekeepers, though they also have a branch that serves as the personal protectors of the Xabeldi high council. The XSF trains only the best, brightest, and strongest of the Xabeldi for this crucial role. Its various units specialize in hand-to-hand combat, mental strengthening, infiltration, and, to some extent, espionage and spying. Members of the XSF have also utilized the mental takeover of indigenous species during missions. This is done to ensure secrecy if necessary to the mission.
The most respected citizens in Xabeldi society are not the high council, but the enigmatic Xa’En. History holds the Xa’En responsible for enabling the Xabeldi interstellar travel, advanced technology, and overall improvement of life on Xa’Beld. The average citizen will go a lifetime without ever seeing a Xa’En, though that lifetime will benefit from a Xa’En’s influence.
Long have Xabeldi believed their star, Xa, to be their creator. That they are bound to the expected life cycle of Xa is the mantra all Xabeldi live by, and all life is considered sacred. Their equivalent to heaven is upon their deaths, they return to Xa as energy to feed new life. Some also believe the Xa’En to be as gods, and often invoke their name in prayers or expressions of gratitude as well as Xa’s, ie ‘By the Xa’En,’ or ‘Xa’En guide and protect us.’
The one dark spot on the Xabeldi as a whole are the Nureni. Originally Xabeldi, the Nureni transformed themselves via the illegal use of bioengineering, creating a new, synthetic life form freed from mortality. This was seen as an affront to the very core of Xabeldi society, and sparked a centuries’ long war between the two until the Nureni were forced off-planet. Though silent since their exile, the Nureni remain the most dangerous foe to Xa’Beld.
A Xabeldi’s longevity does not call for continued mating. It occurs in fifteen year cycles. Pairs typically mate for life, and bear one offspring during their first mating cycle, then another every dozen years or so.
The desire to mate tends to happen between the ages of five hundred and seven hundred years of age. There are times when it strikes earlier or later, depending on the genetic make-up of the pairs. More powerful Xabeldi, for example, will experience the desire to mate as early as their third hundredth year. Less powerful ones may wait as long as eight or nine hundred years. A bond lasts as long as the mated pair is alive. Only death can sever the bond. Many will not seek another mate should his perish. There is also no such thing as divorce in Xabeldi society.
When a Xabeldi is ready to mate, he will present himself to his potential partner, usually someone he has known for a long time, or a friend of the family. Courtship rituals involve variations in aura color, gentle signals exchanged between minds, and, finally, touch. When touch is established in this method it is as binding as a marriage contract; rare does a courted Xabeldi decline the wish to be bonded. The Xabeldi are now mated, and no other non-mated Xabeldi is allowed to touch them or approach them for bonding. Mates are officially recognized by Xabeldi society without the means of ceremony, though the families often celebrate the union with a large social gathering. Bonded pairs share everything via their mental link: joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure. They are as one.
It is not uncommon to see bonded pairs together, for to be apart results in an uncomfortable experience known as the pain of separation. The sensation is described as the intense need for touch (a feeling similar to a human’s heightened sense of desire) and is usually accompanied by gripping pain. Relief can come in one of two forms: the mated pair being in close proximity to one another, or mental calming exercises designed to reduce or block the sensations. The pain of separation is especially strong in the early years of a bonded pair’s mating, but gradually weakens over time. Only those who are continually separated from their mates (such as going on and off-planet) never feel true reprieve from this. It is also experienced if a bond mate dies, is killed, or they are forced apart.
Bonded pairs will touch each other frequently. This is the equivalent of human lovemaking. The longer these touching sessions are, the more pleasurable they will be.
Xabeldi are conceived via internal fertilization, though not in the act of intercourse; Xabeldi have no genitalia. Before conception can take place, both parents must store enough extra energy to be used in the creation of a spawn. This is usually done by ingesting sugar-rich foods and through prolonged exposure to sunlight. Unlike other times when they join, conception involves the melding of the minds as well as touch. Together, the pair will combine their stored energy until a new life is formed. Both are capable of ‘carrying’ the spawn, though it usually falls to the more powerful of the pair. When there has been a successful mating the ‘mother’ will go to a specially-prepared private chamber and continue to take in extra food and sunlight. This is added to what was taken from the ‘father’ during the conception phase. The surplus is used in the creation of what is known as the birthing field. It is an external uterus that is sustained by the ‘mother’s’ extra energy. The tiny body of the new spawn is then transferred from the ‘mother’ to this field, where it will spend approximately one solar cycle. The ‘mother’ will maintain this field for that entire length of time.
The birth requires both parents. The ‘mother’, having already established a connection to the spawn during time spent in the birthing field, will start to slowly dissolve it as the time nears. During this the ‘father’ touches the child’s mind to awaken its consciousness. Once the child’s mind becomes active, the birthing field is destroyed, and the ‘father’ takes hold of the child. Initiating touch in this manner further syncs the child with its parent, before it is handed to the ‘mother’. For some weeks after, the child ‘nurses’ from its parent’s aura until all stored energy is depleted. The child will begin absorbing sunlight on its own then, and be introduced to a diet of soft paste. The ‘mother’ typically spends this time at rest. Recovery periods range from weeks to months, depending on the difficulty of the birth, and the birthing parent’s health.
Because it requires so much energy to create a spawn, most parents will bear children once every decade or so. Some may even choose to only have one.
Xabeldi children experience rapid growth in their first hundred years of life. Some of the more powerful ones will undergo unpredictable bursts of telekinetic or telepathic power. When this occurs, the child is enrolled in a special school designed to help control his abilities. While most Xabeldi children are born with telepathic/telekinetic abilities, there have been some instances where a child will be born mentally ‘blind’. When a child has this low level of telepathic skill, his parents have the option of implanting a special receptor into the child’s brain to allow communication, or they will acquire a computer program to act as an interpreter. Many opt for the implant, despite its higher cost. Utilizing the interpreter program has been going out of style for centuries, and upgrades to keep it at peak condition are difficult to come by.
Xabeldi are considered children between the ages of one hundred and three hundred years old, adolescents between three-hundred fifty and five hundred, and adults five hundred and above. While some will go on to accept positions that take them off-world, many do not leave Xa’Beld. Those that do maintain permanent residences. Despite their curious nature, it is rare for a Xabeldi to want to live and work off Xa’Beld, or even out of Xabeldi-controlled space.
Xa’Beld is ruled over by a high council made up of some of the brightest and most powerful members of the species. Positions are not elected by the common people, or merited through recommendations made by peers. The high council is selected by the Xa’En in a private gathering. Most will not know they have been considered for selection until they already have been chosen. The council is selected in its entirety, and dismissed in its entirety. Should even one member come under suspicion everyone is dismissed. This method of selection prevents a political takeover. The Xa’En do not show themselves even to the high council. They communicate through the use of terminals and specialized message discs.
The high council consists of six members. Five represent the following sections of Xabeldi life: law enforcement (including the judiciary), education, finance, public works and agriculture. The high council leader is the executive of all sections, especially the military. He answers to the Xa’En in matters concerning the sciences, technology, tradition and extraterrestrial exploration. He is also an ambassador to allied species in their sector, and conducts trade and other business with them from the comfort of his office.
Every council member is assisted by an aide. These aides form bonds similar to that of a mated pair’s, but without the necessary courtship prior to bonding. Aides are chosen from a select group of candidates, typically those without family or other social connections. They will also legally change their name to a variant of the council member they serve. It is a mark of respect.
An aide’s duties range from the usual- filing, escorting, researching- to the extreme, such as bodyguard. They are entrusted with secrets that can never be shared with another. Should this happen, the council member, not the aide, will come under suspicion. This typically results in the full dismissal of the council.
Xa’Beld: A Galactic Superpower
The Xabeldi are the most advanced, widespread species in their sector. Aside from Xa’Beld’s colonies, many worlds and species come under their jurisdiction. It is a beneficial partnership, where non-Xabeldi rights and traditions are taken into account. While Xa’Beld itself is inhospitable to non-Xabeldi, its colonies feature multiracial environments. Xabeldi who live on these colonies are outfitted in special suits.
With Xa’Beld being the central power for so many, its economy affects those of its colonies as well. The Xabeldi currency is the most accepted form of payment, though other forms are found in the outer regions. Xa’Beld monitors these outer regions through the use of space stations. Most of these stations are worlds unto themselves, boasting multiracial living quarters, entertainment, and, depending on its location, a dangerous underbelly. Xa’Benth Station is the most infamous of these. Its close proximity to Nureni space makes it an unfavorable post to many Xabeldi, but offers refuge and opportunity for the galaxy’s notorious criminals.