The Hon'Kken are a bioborg tweak-splice hive race or dinosaur-neogen provolves that seem to be the result of biotech gone wrong. They are one of the new races, developed in the poorly populated Outer Volumes in the post-ComEmp period, where they have gradually built up a fairly decent (by modosophont standards) empire on the basis of trade and (where that doesn't work) stand-over tactics, always preying on beings of lower toposophic, and being careful to avoid antagonizing the local hyperturings and posthumans.
Although it is frequently suggested that the Hon'Kken are descended from one of the many saurian provolve races created by the hyperturing GEvidan, there is no evidence of the GEvidan genome signature, and in case in character and personality they are very different from the standard GEvidian prove. It is possible that their original creators acquired one or more of GEvidan's templates second, third, or tenth hand, as these had became widely circulated during the later Re-Evaluation Age, but this is unlikely, as the Hon'Kken almost certainly date back to late ComEmp period at least. Another hypothesis is that the may be result of a proto-Biovirate or peri-Biovirate gengineerist clade, as is known that the Hon'Kken incorporate Biovirate technology.
In body form the Hon'Kken are not unlike a small dinosaur provolve, except that the back is more erect (almost like a baseline terragen kangaroo), the legs and feet are jointed in such a way that the creature can move backward or forward with equal ease, and on the end of the long and flexible neck the head is similar to that of a baseline human. The mouth is far to small to feed the large body, and is used mainly for taking in liquids, sweets, etc. Over the stomach are a number of intake ports, by which the Hon'Kken can directly plug into a nutrition unit and receive the specially processed paste called kkhe'kneh that sustains them.
They have a thin layer of fur covering the entire body except for the head. The hind legs are long and powerfully built. There are two pairs of long arms, both come from a large shoulder socket. The heavy pair is strong and muscular, used for lifting heavier objects. Over that are a small dainty pair, which can manipulate finer tools and instruments. All four arms are studied with various bionic interfaces, which can mate with the ports in the Hon'Kken environment and machinery.
The tail is about twice the length of the neck and body together. The first third of it is thick and heavy, often loaded with fat cells, and serves to counterbalance the heavy torso when the creature is walking or running, as well as a support to rest upon when sitting, and a glucose and carbohydrate storage when kkhe'kneh is not available. The remaining two thirds is very thin and cylindrical or tube-like, about a centimeter in diameter, and loaded with wetware and biocircuitry. It serves both as a transceiver with which the Hon'Kken can stay in contact with the rest of the Hive, and as a sensory organ. So sensitive is it that a blindfolded Hon'Kken can easily navigate through any room or obstacle course, whether moving backwards or forwards. Similar rings of bioware and wetware are found in the long neck.
Hon'Kken are hermaphroditic, and every four (Terran) years, each Hon'Kken (other than the Sovereign or a Biowar castes) over the age of 12 spawns and gives birth to between 1-4 young which are cared for in hatcheries.
When fully gown they stand between 2.2 and 3 meters in height and weigh anything from 80-300kg, depending on the caste.
Length of life varies also according to caste. Generally a Hon'Kken will live for about 200 years (terran) before eir symbiotic bionano requires replacement, although a Sovereign or a Biowar will live much longer.
The Hon'Kken are a strongly communal and hive race. This is another way they differ markedly from all other known dinosaur provolves. Service to their race and sovereign is almost automatic. The good of the race outweighs all personal considerations and they will do anything to prevent extinction of there race.
The Hon'Kken are often classified by their neighbours as parasites, as they tend to enslave other, weaker, clades and races. Dominance and prestige play an important part in the Hon'Kken society although they would rather enslave anyone than kill them.
It is sometimes believed that the Hon'Kken are a lazy race, as they have dominated other lesser clades and incorporate them into their society, using them as a secondary servant or slave caste. If the Hon'Kken can't be bothered to do something physically they will get a servant biont to do it for them. In fact, this is more a symbolic or psychological approach tied in with the caste system and the Hon'Kken's peculiar sense of honour and worth, since ordinary biobots can do most menial work.
All Hon'Kken begin in the egg in the same manner. However, depending on the hormones injected into the embryo and later fed to the hatchling, they grow differently, forming one of six castes that determine their society
1. Sovereign - the Sovereign is actually a SI:1 transapient DNA-vat computer designed along old biovirate lines, possibly originally derived from Zoeific templates. Like the Biovirate vatcomputers it is a living being, and even more so that the Biovirate versions (which obviously constituted the original template) it is alive, and grows like any other living organism. The original Hon'Kken body has become vestigial, and the Sovereign is essential a huge brain. Each Sovereign controls an entire hive. There is no uber-Sovereign; all sovereigns are equal; although they form a committee or society which determines overall political strategy. However, any Sovereign can, if e wishes, choose not to follow the suggested policy. A few Sovereigns actually represent or have initiated distinct clades and subspecies of Hon'Kken.
2. Nobles are, under the Sovereign, the rulers or aristocrats of the empire and highest caste of Hon'Kken society. They consist of government officials, heads of state and merchants, engineers, etc.
3. Warriors are a pure genetically breed for warfare and military value. There are actually several variations here, some are heavily armoured and cyborgised, others are closer to the typical "baseline" morphology). Warrior configuration depends a lot on the Sovereign's predisposition and preference, and what type the Sovereign considers best able to respond to the situation at hand.
4. Biowars. Hon'Kken biowars are based again on former biovirate, proto-biovirate, or Zoeific technology, although their biochemistry is distinct enough to mean they were not targeted by the Keterist goo that attacked the the Biovirate autowars. Essentially they have become so modified that the original body (as with the Sovereign) is vestigial, and in this case exists inside the outer shell or hull-skin. They are vacuum capable, and can be mated to a fusion-pulse, fusion-amat, or conversion-drive unit for interplanetary or even interstellar travel. However, they find long relativistic travel uncomfortable, because their shielding is not up to the standards of Biovirate biowars and conventional autowars. Equipped with a selection of missiles, lasers, and particle-beam weapons, the Biowar caste makes a formidable weapon against technologically inferior races.
5. Servants are the main driving force behind the society as they do most of the clerical and manual work. Sometimes described (by outsiders) as slaves, this is incorrect, as no Hon'Kken will tolerate the enslavement of a member of its own race.
6. Non-HonKken ("slaves"). These constitute a sixth caste so to speak. Considering their advanced biotech, it is strange that the Hon'Kken would wish to enslave other races. Some have put it down to their (real or more often presumed) laziness, but it is now known that the Hon'Kken have a higher purpose (at least by their understanding). They consider that they are helping the enslaved race, or "client", in their evolution, by provolving them to the noble standards of Hon'Kken civilisation. While slaves generally do all the "grunt work", they are otherwise well treated, and outfitted with Hon'Kken bioware to enhance their strength, endurance, intellectual ability, or whatever is required for their task. Many Slaves actually are allowed to have Slaves of their own (the slaves of slaves constitute a 7th, informal caste of Hon'Kken society) which they allocate to do their work. Hon'Kken consider that a Slave that in turn has a Slave is actually an Honorary Hon'Kken (specifically, an Honorary Servant, with all the rights that a Hon'Kken Servant has), as one of the Eight Exemplary Qualities of the Hon'Kken is "The Sovereignty over other Races". (The First Exemplary Quality is of course "Devotion to the Sovereign")
This caste system is the standard in pure Hon'Kken society. Mention should however be made of the Assimilationist Hon'Kken, which are much disliked by the Traditionals. They have a much freer caste system, and as well as allowing Servants to rise to the position of Warrior or Noble, also allow former Slaves to rise above the the rank of Servant to Warrior and Noble. Among some Assimilationist hives and colonies the proportion of non-Hon'Kken can be as high as 85%. Some of the Exemplary Qualities are different as well; for example "Pride in the Hon'Kken Race" is replaced by "Equality of original and adopted Hon'Kken"
Having seen what the Keter Dominion did to the Biovirate, and what even a minor ISO or ahuman ai can do to a modosophont civilization that lacks a patron, the Hon'Kken have no desire to conflict with larger empires or higher toposophic (basic transapient and above) entities. Instead they are happy to build up their power base. They seem to be located on the borders of the old Cybexba volume, Keter, and the MPA, although they have also sometimes been found along the NoCoZo/NoCoNeg borders.
It would seem that there are several Hon'Kken factions (hives, each with it's own Sovereign), some wanting closer trade relations with the big powers and better connections to the Nexus, others wanting nothing to do with it and preferring a relativistic empire. These different factions are already clading and evolving along different lines. Occasionally internecine warfare flares up between them, although the rigid sense of honour means this is rarely carried out to the extent that the loser is destroyed.