Arvonians are mammalian with a bone structure and facial features that are surprisingly Terran in appearance. But generally Arvonians are shorter and more slender than Terrans, with a lifespan that is almost two and a half times as long.
Their skin has a quality similar to Terran chameleons only much brighter and that, with training, can be specifically controlled. Arvonians like to run brightly coloured curved and spiralling patterns across their bodies and faces that most Terrans find attractive.
Arvonians loose the capacity to control their pigmentation when experiencing strong emotions such as rage, fear, embarrassment or arousal. So, for example, it’s easy to see that a bright red fiery Arvonian is very angry. When sleeping Arvonian skin pigmentation changes to a gentle pale blue which darkens to almost back on death.
Arvonians have a head of hair, again much like Terrans, which they can also consciously alter the colour of. But unlike their skin Arvonian hair is only monotone in its colouring. Without conscious effort Arvonian hair is black, changing to silver in old age.
The colour changing abilities of the Arvonian likely evolved as a defensive measure against the numerous and large predators of their homeworld. Though the Arvonians have culled or contained most of these aggressive creatures some, such as the Trianton and massive Vellatrix, can still be seen in a select number of zoos.
Due to their native environment Arvonians have a much higher tolerance to radiation and ultraviolet light compared to the Stellar average, but also weaker than average immune system.
Twice in the last few hundred years the Arvonian Empire was almost wiped out, not by a hostile military force, but by a virulent virus. Most recently thirty eight standard years ago the Green Creep, named after the tendril like green rash that spread across its victims bodies in the later stages of infection, killed one in ten adult and two in five adolescent before a vaccine could be synthesized and distributed.
A one hundred foot monolith was erected outside Queen Sansha’s Winter Palace and set into the top is a natural diamond twice the size of watermelon. The monument is called the Tear of Remembrance and is dedicated to the children that died in the Green Creep plague. Parents and siblings regularly make pilgrimages to the monument to grieve for those they lost.
Arvonian musicians and singers are famed across the Orion Galactic Spiral for their talents. The Arvonian language itself is quite musical in tone and even a casual conversation about the weather can sound like quite a melodic exchange to listeners that don’t speak it. The Arvonian written language consists of interlocking lines and geometric shapes and is one of only two known languages where the colour of the script has a bearing on a given word's meaning.
The Arvonians are herbivores and live on a diet of fruit, vegetables and funguses. Eating meat and meat products can cause considerable abdominal pain and sickness. Females have two mammary glands on which baby Arvonians suckle until they are old enough to develop teeth, which normally takes about six months. At which point fruit is introduced into their diet.
Traditionally it’s the female’s role to gather food and feed babies and the males job to care and nurture them. Despite their own modern sexual discrimination laws Arvonian culture is still very matriarchal, so most important civilian and military positions are taken by the more dominant females, which are seen as being stronger and more confident than their effeminate male counterparts.
Arvonians marry to form family structures which, being polygamists, usually consists of one female wife and two or more male husbands. Originally marriage parings were arranged and based heavily on family status, social class and lineage. In modern times marriage candidates are selected by the Supreme Understand based on genetic compatibility, social dynamics of existing family members and both physical and personality attributes.
Just over a hundred years ago the much beloved Queen Sansha peacefully united the nations of the Arvonian homeworld and, with the advent of faster than light travel, led her people to colonise new worlds around distant stars.
The first alien life forms the Arvonians came into contact with were space whales. Queen Sansha declared the beautiful spectral beings to be a symbol of the Arvonians bright future in space. To this day the majestic space whales are beloved by all Arvonians.
As their empire expanded so did the bureaucracy required to run it. When it became too much for Queen Sansha to manage she ordered the construction of a super intelligent master computer to assist her. What resulted was, and is, the most powerful computational innovation in the known galaxy.
The Supreme Understander, as the computer became known, was so successful at managing the needs of the new Arvonian colonies and deep space bases that ever increasing governance decisions were delegated to it. Its capacity was continuously increased as it took on more and more functions until the Supreme Understander took on every aspect of government. While it is still technically a monarchy everything from legislation to education, from battle strategies to traffic violations, is now managed by the Supreme Understander. It expanded into homes, offices, security systems and most forms of transport. It now has direct control over everything from high speed passenger trains to an individual households proffered environmental settings.
While many Terrans consider the Arvonian Empire some kind of technological dystopia, Arvonians genuinely adore the Supreme Understander. They consider this to be their golden age, overseen by the benevolent super intelligent computer. So much so that they practically revere it and any facet of it or terminal integrated into its systems.
All major religions have been in an exponential decline in the Arvonian Empire since the Supreme Understander became accessible to the common people. It watches over them, knows them and, unlike the gods of Arvonian religion, speaks to and converses with citizen with a standard communicator that wants to talk.
The Arvonian Empire expanded unhindered for just over thirty years until it came into contact with the Ximni. Though both sides blame the other for starting it, the brief two year war between them ended when the Arvonians pushed the Ximni back and expanded their territory to include an additional star cluster.
The Supreme Understander’s analyses of the First Arvonian Ximni War concluded that the Arvonians were only victorious due to their greater numbers, which allowed them to swarm the Ximni with their smaller and more manoeuvrable ships. The Supreme Understander also now knew that there were other stellar empires out there with large, technologically advanced and powerful military forces.
In response the Supreme Understander instituted polices to stimulate rapid population growth and began a program of aggressive colonisation and territorial expansion. It also constructed a grand Armada of carrier craft that could disperse large numbers of small agile combat fighters. The strategy being that they could, just as they had with the Ximni, swarm enemy ships, bringing them down, not with giant blast cannons, but by dozens of smaller particle beams.
For 18 years the Arvonian Empire grew rapidly and they came into contact with the other major stellar powers.
In 2188 the Royal Armada joined with the Kraliens and the Torgoth in a joint attack on the resource rich United Planets. The predominantly Terran defence forces fought fiercely but, despite the invasion proving more difficult than expected, the new Torgoth, Arvonian and Kralien alliance seized several United Planets systems before a cease fire was agreed.
Emboldened by their victory against the Stellar Navy the Arvonians launched a pre-emptive strike against their old enemies the Ximni in 2192. Initially the Arvonians seemed unstoppable and the Ximni sustained heavy losses in the first seven months. But the tide turned in 2194 when, without warning, a full Stellar Navy Division answered a distress signal from the civilian Ximni colony at Delphine Minor. They remained to defend the strategic system until the Second Arvonian Ximni War ended in 2195.
The Supreme Understander then calculated that the only major opposition to the Arvonians eventual domination of the galaxy was the United Planets. The Arvonian Royal Armada has been involved with every major war against the United Planets ever since.