2302, USS Berlin
Democratic Federal Republic
Anthropomorphs, Bipedal Felines
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The Hirumarians where discovered about 100 years ago, in 2302, by an Excelsior-class starship, the USS Berlin, sent to explore this uncharted area of space, and specifically the nebula. Soon after the Berlin began taking scans of the outside of the nebula, an Hirumarian starship came out of the nebula. The felines had picked up the scans on their sensors, but couldn't make anything out of them, only that this was some sort of regular energy emission, too regular to be natural. They tracked the emissions to their source, and found the Berlin.
After the initial surprise, the crew of the Berlin hailed the Hirumarians and tried to initiate the First Contact procedure, which proved not easy given the particularity of the Hirumarian language, and the subsequent troubles the universal translator had to adjust and create a good translation. But they managed to overcome the difficulties and welcome the Hirumarians into the spacefaring community.
The Hirumarians seem to have evolved from a wide variety of big felines, who appeared to be able of crossbreeding, about 2 millions years ago. The first feline able to stand upright appeared about at this time. First signs of non-primitive technology dates from about 1.5 million years ago, the first communities and more permanent settlement appears about at the same time. Very little is known about what happens between 1.5 million years and 500 million years ago. It seems that several astronomical events; theorized to be a rain of asteroids and perhaps the explosion of a protostar within the nebula; affected the planet, which underwent some dramatic seismic events, and the shifts of the tectonic plates was increased for a time, leading to a rapid change of the planet's geography and topography, thus erasing most traces of this ancient past.
The first really established settlement appears about 100.000 years ago. Agriculture is discovered at about the same time, and the knowledge spread fast, thus leading to the nomadic tribes to really settle in one place for the first time. The first written language is invented about 10.000 years ago, marking the beginning of their recorded history. At this time, several civilizations flourished on their homeworld, most of them in peaceful contact with the other. We also know that a large part of the population was still nomadic, but often came in contact with the various center of civilizations.
Governments at this time were all a variation of a theocracy, i.e. the leader was chosen by the deities, only the way the deity choose changed from place to place. The cult seemed to be common to the whole planet. It is unknown if it has always been that way, or if some events led to a unification. They worshiped the Goddess, the creator of the land and everything there is, a being able to shapeshift, but often represented as having the upper body of an anthropomorph, down to the waist, and the lower body of an animal. It was supposed to represent the link between their origins and the present, and between their more evolved societies and nature.
Major changes started to happen about 500 years ago, when they entered a real technological age. Major discoveries in all fields of science where made at this time, and soon led to practical applications in the everyday life. Quality of life improved, medicine became more efficient, technology for long-distance communications and travel was introduced, etc, and they acquired more control and understanding about their environment. This seems to have been the primary factor in both the change of forms of government, from theocracy to democracy, and the decline of the Cult of the Goddess. A planetary unification happened soon after.
The first spaceship was launched about 250 years ago. It took them about 50 years to create a Faster-Than-Light engine, enabling them to explore space outside their solar system, and that's when they really discovered how dangerous their nebula was. The early years of their exploration of the nebula is full of disasters, accidents, and astronauts killed because of the harsh condition of the nebula. The presence of pockets of unstable gas and clouds of cometary debris makes navigation ex termly difficult and dangerous.
It's about at that time than a group of people, calling themselves 'The Ferals' or 'The Naturals', decided this was all lies, that technology was not good and should be banned. They took over the smallest continent of the planet, declared themselves independent and banned all technology from it. The current planetary president asked the rest of the population for their opinion on what should be done, as the constitution forced him to. The overwhelming majority said to let them live, as long as they agreed to renounce to independence and kept contact with the civilized world, allowing exchanges. The Ferals agreed, and a small settlement was established on the coast of the continent, where government officials lived. This seemed a small price to pay to be able to live as they wished.
It took another 50 years for the Hirumarians to reach the boundaries of their nebula. The discovery of the space outside was quite a shock, and led to them having to rethink a good part of their theories on the universe, like how it was created and such. They established several colonies throughout the nebula while they explored and mapped it. Exploration and mapping of the whole nebula was barely achieved when the USS Berlin made contact with a survey mission tasked with mapping more precisely a zone of the boundary.
The Hirumarians are a warp-capable civilization, with a technology similar to that of the Federation. Due to the unique environment they lived in, their nebula is of the same class than the Briar's Patch, they have never been able to achieve a higher speed than Warp 4 before the first contact. Thus, one of their vessel needed about one month to travel to one side of the nebula to another, the nebula being approximately 10 light-years in diameter.
The Hirumarians are very advanced in the fields of biotechnology, which includes the medical field as well. It ranges from genetically-modified crops, able to grow in the most harsh conditions and resist most diseases, to the creation of artificial transplants.
They have been able to turn one of their space station into a nearly self-sustaining biosphere, with actual wildlife. In essence, they did recreated their home planet, only at a much smaller scale, and without the range of climates one can find on a planet.
They are also actively researching ways to grow artificial limbs, for replacement for those who lots a leg or an arm, or their tail, during an accident or in combat. They have yet to get past some major problems, such as making sure nerves and blood vessels are correctly connected and functioning.
However, despite their knowledge, they did never engaged into research to 'better themselves' artificially, as they never saw the need to.
The Hirumarians are a race of explorers and scientists. Curiosity led them to explore their world at first, then themselves, and finally to try and reach the skies. However, they are not to be messed with. They do still retain a lot of the instincts of their animalistic ancestors, and are formidable opponents when they feel threatened. After all, they are predators. They may have evolved, but the instinct of the predator is still strong within them.
They have a very strong family instinct, and, if threatened, they will protect their loved ones at all cost. Even though the notion of family is often used in the biological sense, i.e. parents and children (being understood that parents and children refers to all levels of relation: grand-parents, grand-children, great-grand-parents, great-grand-children and so on), a large part of the population often extends the notion of family to include close friends, and sometimes workmates as well, to which they refers as 'soul-siblings'. As a consequence of that, the crews of Hirumarian starships, for example, are often considered as a second family unit by their members, and the StarForces as a whole are sometimes considered as something like a big family or clan by some members.