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The Minosans

When the former genstruct slaves first encountered the Minosans they were quite amazed by their resemblance to humans. Prior to this contact, the only sentient species humanity had encountered were the Rell, who though humanoid in appearance more closely resembled Earth’s lemurs — though at an average height of almost two meters they were very large lemurs.

Adult Minosans average around 175 centimeters in height and are, for the most part, slender and lithe. Upon casual observation they appear to be human females, though their eyes more closely resemble those of a cat and their hair tends to be vibrant colors completely unnatural to humans. Their appearance was cause for a good deal of confusion in the early days of contact, as it seemed that all the Minosans encountered were female, and the lack of males in their space service led to the assumption that they were a matriarchal society, an assumption the Minosans themselves allowed to persist for some time.

In truth, the Minosans are true hermaphrodites — every Minosan posses fully functional male and female reproductive organs and are capable of both siring and bearing children. The male reproductive organ is not readily apparent as it is contained within an internal sheath and only extends when it is properly stimulated prior to sex.

Not surprisingly, Minosan culture is quite different. Their language does include pronouns, but they are gender neutral. Because of their appearance, it is common and permissible to refer to them using female pronouns. Since every Minosan can be both mother and father (though an individual can’t impregnate themselves) they have very complex family structures. This is made even more so by their views on monogamy; Minosans do not marry, they engage in pairing contracts for the purpose of bearing children, and while such contracts are generally between pairs who share a mutual affection, they are not binding to any extent beyond the welfare of the child. They are also not necessarily agreed to before hand; a contract occurs when a Minosan pairing produces a child, even if the participants didn’t intend to to do so.

Naturally their language also has no word for mother or father. The closets terms are Veela, which translates to ‘the one who bore me’, and Bava, ‘the one who quickened me’. To Minosans these are largely terms of convenience, though they do carry emotional connotations as well, but they assign no specific role within the contract to either partner — in other words, a bava is equally capable of, and expected to, nurse a child as a veela.

As a race, the Minosans are non-aggressive, at least in dealings with others (they can be quite aggressive in sexual matters). This is not to say they are pacifists; they possess a high level of technology, in many areas, especially life sciences, far superior to the humans of the Expanse, and they are quite capable of defending themselves., even if that requires aggressive action. For the most part they try to avoid having to do so.

There are large gaps in the Minosans knowledge of their own history, but a few important facts are known. Though they now identify themselves as Minosan, the Minos system is not their original home. At one time in the distant past they were spread across much of the Expanse, but sometime in the distant past, probably around 30,000 to 40,000 standard years ago, Eta Karynae, the star which was at the center of what is now the Karynis nebula, was destroyed in a hypernova. It apparently caught their ancestors by surprise, and even if it hadn’t even they could have done nothing to prevent it. The hypernova produced a massive gamma ray burst that sterilized virtually every system; the biospheres of the planets weren’t significantly damaged, but their protective ozone layers were ripped away, exposing their surfaces to levels of ultraviolet radiation that killed virtually all higher life forms.

At the time of the disaster their ancestors had only crude FTL capable ships, and many systems’ first warning of the hypernova was when the gamma ray burst hit. At least one, the Minosa system, received advance warning, but by the time it arrived they had barely fifty standard years to prepare. Utilizing stasis chambers they were able to save a portion of their population, about ten million, by placing them in suspended animation deep underground. Almost half of those perished over the next several thousand years when their chambers failed, but approximately six million survived, emerging from stasis around a thousand years before the first humans came to the Expanse.

1 comment to The Minosans

  • Terry

    Cool! I almost missed this bit. I’m glad I didn’t.

    The I hear about the Minosans, the more I want to hear. I haven’t heard anything like them since The Left Hand of Darkness, and I love that book.

    I’m sure your story (at least not you first in this universe) will center on the Minosans, but I bet they add some interesting depth to the story.

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