Du Fu (Adopted Mandarin name. Original Nyxian name untranslatable in Hybrid.)
Color & Markings
The Nyx are easily identified by their pronounced head crest and series of deep-set, fat-storing rolls across their bodies.
Reproduction & Development
The Nyx reproduce sexually, generating one offspring. Nyxian mating is complicated by a form of haplodiploidism similar to Earth bees, where some of the 16 defined Nyx genders are infertile, or change fertility, based on environment or social status. Offspring are commonly raised by the birthing female and birthing female's mother. Adult Nyx consume a massive 50-70kg of food a day, and most of their waking hours are spent eating. When not eating, the Nyx immediately turn to their second insatiable habit: Tinkering. They are unparalleled inventors, and love to modify and experiment with machines of all types. Before humans arrived, the Nyx had already developed a technologically complex civilization.
Monophagous. The Nyx stand alone, among intelligent life, in having a diet of only one food: The leaf of the fast-growing Nestr Tree.
The Nyx communicate through a series of low-frequency rumblings, which human cochlear implants are incapable of translating. Helpfully, the Nyx have invented a painless throat implant that instantly translates and speaks in Hybrid. The effect is odd, but workable.
Nyxian language is perhaps the most inscrutable ever encountered by humans. The language seems to operate under an endless series of quantum-state future-perfect teses, shifting under impossible-to-understand rules. Common linguistic dualities such as light/dark, on/off, and alive/dead are not understood in a binary sense, but rather in a spectrum of possibility that's weighted by context, time, location, etc.
Meanings operate on multiple levels, and change even while they're being uttered. To the Nyx, this language flux works as effortlessly as breathing. But to other species, it feels closer to madness. (In fact, the Fillipod linguist Sella, who wrote the best-known study of Nyxian language, herself went insane toward the end of her career.) Most surprising to cognitive scientists, though, is that the Nyx seem to operate under a constant sense of a "Socratic Ideal". Though their language is constantly in flux, each sentence, each intent, is spoken and received as the purest thought possible in that moment. It is the only thing that could be spoken. The only thought that could be expressed. And yet, when asked the same question moments later, they will give a completely different answer. And will remain firm that it, too, is the only thing that could be spoken in that moment. Or at least, that is the best guess of linguists. Most have chosen to stop researching Nyxian language altogether, since Sella was committed to a sanitarium... choosing instead to focus on Veetan food poetry.
Imperial anthropologists never had the chance to study, in depth, the traditional social structures of the Nyx before human settlement began to change everything. And sadly, Nyxian written histories, like their spoken language, are completely inscrutable.
Testing of Nyxian subjects has been extensive, but continually inconclusive. Dr. Chatterjee herself was the first to test the intelligence of the Nyx, and found her own methods lacking, due to the impossible language barrier. With unique methods of testing, it was determined the Nyx perhaps operate in the Papa/Quebec range. But it could be higher. (Helpfully, the Nyx themselves continue to experiment with self-administered tests that work within the Chatterjee system.)
Interaction with Humans
Though humans were already beginning to settle on Veeta, Du Fu can properly be considered the first human "colony" outside our solar system. In a way that never happened on Veeta, humans completely overtook the administration of Du Fu. And the Nyx, somewhat passively, seemed to content with that happening. The first human colony on Du Fu was famously started by a cadre of Chinese professors from Beijing University, as a potential "New Eden" of philosophy and erudite governance. But as soon as La Familia learned of the Nyx' abilities with technology, the planet was forced to become the manufacturing engine of the Empire. Inventions and new products constantly flowed from the laboratories of Du Fu, enriching the local human populace, and keeping the Nyx happily tinkering.