The Echometa (plural, Echometan for singular) are a bipedal, humanoid species that, in terms of physiological variety, is not significantly different from the standard Terran human. They are, on average, a bit more dense in terms of muscle mass and raw strength; a callback to their evolutionary roots as a generally highly territorial species.
They are visually distinct through their grayish-brown skin tone coloring and sharply ridged features around their eyes and their jaws. In addition to earholes, the Echometa have a pair of antennae that assist in sensing vibrations and other changes in pressure, as well as acute electroreception. Their slit eyes provide them with vision that is crystal clear and with good depth perception, but colors are uniformly less saturated than those perceived by other species.
Furthermore, the species is categorized as a monotreme; they are mammalian, but reproduce by laying eggs. Eggs develop in utero for approximately four months and must be incubated for another roughly seventy days, when the young hatch largely on their own, though modern hatching customs now choose to provide assistance instead. The average female Echometan will generally lay typically one egg at a time, though two and three are not unheard of.
APPENDIX 1, The Irreo Mutation
For as long as the Echometa can remember and as far as their historical/archaeological research has informed them, their species has been plagued by one particular genetic mutation that appears at random, disregarding the heritage of the parents involved. This genetic anomaly results in a baby Echometan that is hatched without a voicebox and, therefore, effectively mute.
The mutation occurs in roughly 5% of all newly-hatched and there is no known cure. The developing mute Echometan is otherwise completely healthy and just as mentally capable, though on average they do seem to have slightly less muscle mass than the non-afflicted.
Those Echometans who are born with this condition are referred to as irreo. With modern technology, the mutation can be detected shortly after an egg is laid, well before its hatching date.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Early written histories indicate that the Echometa struggled a great deal with their original territorial instincts, as they evolved to guard their nests. Cooperation eventually began to win out and the Echometa turned their energies towards invention to help them conquer the natural world. Echometa have no records to indicate any form of organized religion or philosophies of spirituality. The species is eminently more driven by a desire to discover how to bend the energies of the universe to their will, rather than out of any particular sense of wonder or discovery.
APPENDIX 2, the Irreo Caste
By obvious necessity, the irreo upbringing and lifestyle is rather different from those of normal Echometa. As the significant minority, irreo attend specialized schools where the education is tailored to them. Not only do they learn the standard language that all Echometa use to communicate, they learn an additional sign language that can be used to communicate specifically with other irreo. Irreo are also relegated to jobs and work in which their vocal handicap is a non-issue. They are prohibited from running for government and working in leadership positions and numerous other career options are likewise effectively closed to the irreo due to the inconvenience entailed in enabling one to work in the field.
APPENDIX 3, the Discard Market
The difficulty in raising an irreo child and their perceived uselessness to society has had the unfortunate side effect of making irreo children less desirable by prospective parents. Starfleet has uncovered a handful of interstellar operations, where irreo eggs are quietly purchased from their parents and smuggled off-planet to be sold into indentured servitude or even to species who have come to value the eggs as a consumable delicacy. While technically illegitimate, the Echometan government has not been successful in curtailing these enterprises.
RATING: above average
In an earlier age of the Echometa’s development, several small medical communities became especially devoted to the plight of the irreo, spending decades of their research efforts into attempting to find a cure. Though one was never discovered, the focused investigations into Echometa biology resulted in numerous other medical advancements that sped the Echometa along the natural path of medical discoveries a bit quicker than expected. They are especially well versed in bodily regeneration techniques, muscular and dermal.
RATING: below average
The Echometa approach to science might best be described as ‘haphazard’. Though the fields of physics and chemistry are fairly well explored and documented by their scientists, there is a noticeable dearth of information on their own home planet and native species catalogues. In a nutshell, the Echometa at large seem more interested in progression and what’s out in the galaxy rather than exploring what they would consider already known.
The Echometa consider engineering achievements to be the primary driver of progress, so the field and its workers are highly respected. Still, in terms of true ingenuity, there is not much remarkable about Echometa engineering designs. The species tends towards models that implement only the most essential modules needed to function, with a secondary concern for safety.