Physiology and Biology
Njerus are carbon based creatures who have most of their cellular tissue inundated in water kept at an almost neutral pH. They breathe oxygen in order to metabolise their food into energy, like the majority of life in the universe.
See also: Njerus Internal Anatomy
Njerus are large warm-blooded creatures capable of both bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion, but they rely on two large leathery wings for longer range travels. They have a thick covering of oily fur which keeps them waterproof in the almost constant rains of their native habitat.
Njerus are obligate carnivores who cannot ingest any significant quantities of plant matter without suffering medically significant symptoms ranging from mild cramping all the way to death from salt imbalance.
While meat from a fresh kill is considered by most Njerus to be the height of fine cuisine, most civilians confined to the Second Project will never actually taste real meat. For these populations vat-grown GMO meat is used, allowing for meat production nearing the efficiency of vegetarian nutritional production.
The Njerus race is a disexual species which reproduces through internally fertilized egg-laying. Breeding happens on a yearly cycle - if the right conditions are met. This means that the breeding cycle of Njerus can easily be managed within the controlled environments of space-borne habitats.
During this mating season Njerus females become fertile for a period of around two to three days. During this time males who have been maintaining loose affiliations with the female during the previous year will potentially fight each other for the right to mate. While females are allowed to turn down the winning male, this rarely happens due to the inebriating and aphrodisiac effects of this mating ritual.
Subspecies and Biological Variation
Due to many generations of segregation and selective genetic modifications the Njerus species has several distinct subspecies which are generally unable to interbreed in any meaningful way.
The politically dominant of the subspecies, Garact can physically be distinguished by their reddish brown fur and dark colored eyes. The are the second largest of the Njerus varieties, being smaller than only the Anoah.
See also: History of the Njerus
The prehistoric era for the Njerus race is counted as the time before the Marriage elevated the species to a state of genuine sentience. From archaeological evidence it is apparent that during this time Njerus lived as solitary predators very much like tigers, each fiercely defending a large swathe of land from other Njerus. Few if any tools seem to have been used in any meaningful way.
At some point during these ancient times it seems that a reasonably common brain parasite which lived of the Njerus started exerting greater control over their behavior than ever before. These changes led to a sort of evolutionary arms race which functioned to promote cohesion and mutual benefit between the former parasite and prey. This led to a steady growth in the technology available to Njerus, with stone, bone, and wood tools entering the scene in that order.
The Wasted Ages
Njerus society promptly developed written histories, which led to a noticeable uptick in the accumulation of knowledge as small tribes started banding together in loose coalitions. These tribes covered vast areas, with each individual living a reasonably solitary existence, except for weekly or so trade meetings with the rest of the tribe.
This allowed for some specialization to occur, and for metallurgy to become commonplace among some of the more prosperous of the tribes. Several loose empires rose and fell over several thousand years, with none truly maintaining any long term stability. These times became known as the Wasted Ages in subsequent years, due to the extreme lack of progress achieved by the newly uplifted Njerus race.
During the later stages of this era the Garact tribe first rose to prominence after seemingly being the first tribe to manage the domestication of local fauna, in this case of the Skeruwian Spiders. Under the rulership of Tatosh Hurknosh Garact the Garact tribe established the First Garact Empire, at the time the largest and most powerful nation to ever have existed.
The Garact Empire established a widespread system of serfdom and slavery under which they bred the Anoah to become the most populous of all the subjugated and free tribes on Shar. The Empire fell into some decline, and lost up to half of all its territory to neighbors toward the final years of the Wasted Ages. Widespread corruption and nepotism took a noticeable toll on the political stability of the Empire.
How exactly the Marashz invasion and conquest of Shar happened is an area of much speculation, as most records from this time were lost, and those Njerus surviving the war were actively prevented from keeping any written records. What is known is that they had been observing the planet for some time, and had spent a generation or two with countless Inserts embedded in Njerus society.
The Chained Ages
Rebellion and Freedom
Society and Culture
Njerus have countless examples of beliefs in supernatural and philosophical ideals which aim to guide them through their lives.
The most prominent of these religions, and the current state religion of the Union of Shar, is the New Moon. The New Moon is a religion based around the Book of Shabba, an ancient document written by Shabba'cotctosh Garact after the successful Njerus rebellion against the Kel marashz. It serves as the philosophical foundation of modern Njerus society.
Njerus society exists with a markedly high level of normalized violence, much more than any of the other dominants species of the Galaxy. This leads to extreme attrition in terms of violent deaths and serious injuries suffered by Njerus through their lifetimes. This is combated by an extremely well developed body of medical science, allowing for even grievously wounded individuals to be brought back to essentially perfect health.
The reasons for this ubiquitous tendency to violence is considered by most to be due to the evolutionary history of the Njerus as a species, and the natural patterns of behavior that subsequently arose.