The T'ikts (singular T'ik) are a subterranean race known for their technological leanings and insular society. Susceptible to the heat and radiation above ground, they have comparatively little contact with the other races of the world, and are usually only employed in certain situations in which their technical skills or connections to the Nest are valuable.
Although bipedal, with four limbs, T'ikts are likely descended from a mammalian species; this is especially apparent in the face, which is somewhat rodentine in appearance. However, the structure of their limbs and the existence of an exoskeleton makes this theory somewhat controversial. They are quite diminutive, usually only reaching a meter in height, with the females being somewhat larger than males.
The T'iksk race, despite having little contact with other sentient species, are perhaps the most widely-spread, having tunnels that connect most parts of the globe. Their entire society is led in a dictatorial matriarchy referred to as the Nest, with leadership being hereditary. Sub-nests are led in a similar fashion, with their matriarch reporting directly to local councils and to the Queen herself.
Diet is extremely varied, and they will even eat carrion or certain raw minerals, as well as being able to digest most vegetable types.
The T'ikts are the most advanced race on the planet, and are the only species to rely on geothermal power for transportation of goods and personnel via their expansive tunnel system. Their weaponry relies primarily on electricity, which does not endanger the user in close quarters with little ventilation. They may use their subterranean lifestyle to their advantage, however, in the case of a large invasion or rebellion, through the use of chemical weapons or explosives.
More importantly on a global scale, the T'ikts are largely responsible for the invention of shipping technologies that are single-handedly responsible for the later drastic increase in cross-species interactions, as well as the discovery and deciphering of the technology behind the Generators, which could then be employed in modern T'ik technology. Some of their more impressive feats have included the Ascension of Gerena, the Deliverance, and the T'ik Empire itself, which links the entire planet in a network of underground tunnels.
Their exoskeletal form and the tight quarters of their living situations make clothing an inconvenience. They do, however, tattoo themselves liberally based on their station and expertise.
Sex and Reproduction
Reproductive permissions are heavily controlled, as overpopulation is a frequent problem. Typically, it is only the matriarchs who are allowed to reproduce; the individual matriarch personally selects the males whom she will allow to fertilize her. Females lay eggs in the dozens, and young are largely self-sufficient upon hatching.
The T'ikts were the first race to discover the Generators, and came to revere their abilities to produce power and safeguard the world above them from the hazards of the degenerating climate, giving greater access to groundwater. As their secrets were unlocked and exploited, however, religious interest in the Generators waned, and while the T'iksk colonies continued to have a deep admiration for the Generators and their mysterious origin, more ritualistic behaviour surrounding became a thing of the past.
The T'iksk language is characterized by a large dearth of vowels and extremely regular grammar, as well as numerous ejectives.