The Aakaal are a spacefaring race whose home planet is unknown: there are several candidate planets, but nobody knows which, if any, is their original homeworld. The Aakaal are rather common throughout the galaxy, and many are rather familiar with the cultures and languages of several other spacefaring races. They are known for their cosmopolitan and sophisticated attitudes. They are also known for their hatred of the Attheri.
The Aakaal are bipedal humanoids, but very different from Earthling humans. Their bodies are very tall (between 6-8 feet in height), and their bones, although VERY strong, are extremely thin. Their skin colorations vary from a pale blue shade to a warm brown, but they have no concept of race based on these colorations, seeing them merely as genetic predispositions. They are almost completely hairless.
Their eyes are large, with a small iris (usually of a dark color) and a very large pupil (1 inch in diameter is an average maximum dilation in dark environs). This allows the Aakaal to see in even the darkest environments, and as a result their ships are usually very poorly lighted as far as other spacefarers are concerned (as well as minimally oxygenated—as a standard security protocol—unless a non-Aakaal is expected on board).
The Aakaal have four digits per hand, though the bones in these digits are so small that they move more like tentacles than fingers. Internally, the largest organs in Aakaal are the lungs. Aakaal breathe oxygen, but consume it far more slowly than most other spacefarers, and can survive on far thinner atmosphere than any other spacefaring species. Most Aakaal are fairly weak as far as muscular strength, and it seems apparent that they likely could not have survived in any even mildly dangerous natural environment long enough to evolve into their present state. They are either the product of genetic engineering, or the product of a culture that long ago left its homeworld for space, so long ago that they have naturally (or perhaps artifically) evolved into their present state. Most spacefarers favour the former theory.
There are three candidates for the Aakaal homeworld: Nis, Tiruu, and JZal (the JZ phoneme is a dipthong of J and Z). Each is a smaller planet with a rather thin atmosphere. Gravity is weak on these planets, and each has similar fauna and flora, leading researchers to speculate as to their origins. Some believe that The Aakaal were saved by some unknown species after destroying their homeworld. Others speculate they simply have colonized two of the three planets. Still others believe even more unbelievable tales.
Aakaal are widely known to have harsh feelings regarding the Attheri, and deal with them as little as possible (and always through Ktiath or Stethavini agents). The most anyone has heard is of some kind of long ago betrayal and perhaps even a terrible “Holocaust” of the Aakaal. They almost always refuse to speak of this with non-Aakaal, however, and so little is known to the rest of the galaxy.
Most Aakaal are extremely quiet in nature, but not shy and usually rather friendly. A rare few are loud and boisterous (which is not in human standards, but would be in fact comparable to humans of about average sociability). Aakaal commonly live for about 140 years, although with “special” medical treatment some have survived to nearly two centuries of age (human years). Their circadian clocks are usually 30 hour cycles, with sleep being about one fourth of their day.
Sexually, Aakaal appear nearly neuter. When clothed (usually in multilayered, draping materials of diverse colorations and origins), most other species cannot tell male from female, as their facial structures are not too different at all, and their external genitalia are not visible. Culturally, the Aakaal have very few sexual taboos and enjoy a rather active sexual life, with whomever is available as a partner (same or other sex, same or other species). Such relationships usually form the basis for intimate, long-term friendship, but never exclusive relationships (which are nearly unknown to the Aakaal – part of the reason why human poetry, with it’s notions of love and marriage, appeals to them as so different and “alien”). They are apparently genetically predisposed to this very active sexuality, and are not shy or embarassed as humans often are by Aakaal sex drives and interests. They also seem to enjoy inter-species relations, especially with Ktiath and Earthlings, and many of the hyblood are in fact half-Aakaal. However, many Aakaal who give birth to hyblood and survive, often become sexually inactive, even among their own kind.
There are rumors of “elder Aakaal” who have been preserved beyond the brink of 200 years, who are mainly machine-supported. Rumors sometimes go so far as to assert that these being have survived thousands of years. However, even for most Aakaal these are nothing more than rumors, although bloodlines always seem to link to someone who has seen one of these elders. Aakaal are also know to have gone into frenzied rages at the merest hint that they may be in cahoots with the Attheri: the alleged meaning of these unusual rages has not yet been determined.