First Contact between humans and the Rax occurred at a planet orbiting one of the stars of 40 Eridani. This planet would later become a mixed Rax/human colony world. The Rax were the first sapient alien species contacted who were roughly on par with human technology.
For the same size, mass and power requirement, Rax hyperdrives were slightly slower at the time than their human equivalent. Sublight warp drives manufactured by the Rax were a bit faster than their human equivalents, all else being equal. Their material science was a bit superior, so their ships were generally either lighter or tougher than equivalent human craft. Due to the social psychology of the Rax, their ships tend to be small, often suitable to be run by a lone Rax or a small immediate family group.
Rax medical technology was also about on par with humans. At the time of contact, both humans and Rax could expect a healthy lifespan of about 200 years, well in excess of the natural longevity of either species. At the time of contact, Rax had better implanted nanomedichines than humans, but human autodocs were somewhat superior. For historical reasons, Rax are generally more comfortable with cerebrocybernetic implants. The Zombie Wars would serve to turn off humans to such things for decades.
The two species have shared technology and scientific research freely since they made contact, so human and Rax technology can be considered more or less identical at this point.
In appearance, a Rax is more than a little similar to a cross between a centaur and a gigantic scorpion. Rather than a stinger, the Rax’s tail ends in a large, strong claw, with a flattened gripping surface similar to pliers. A Rax can quite readily lift its own moderately encumbered body with the strength of its tail. This is frequently used along with the smaller gripping claws on its six feet to aid in climbing. They are not arboreal, but they are perfectly comfortable climbing into trees in pursuit of prey. This claw has limited capability as a fine manipulator, but is perfectly well suited to grabbing and holding heavy objects. The Rax uses six of its limbs purely as ambulatory legs. These are, as was mentioned earlier, tipped with gripping claws useful both for traction on the ground as well as for climbing. Two arms on the slightly reared up front part of the body are weaker than human arms, but the four-fingered hands are capable of finer manipulation.
Above the shoulders, on a long, very mobile neck, the Rax has a large head. At the front of the head are a beaked mouth below a pair of small, beady eyes, suited for close very fine observation not very far beyond the reach of the arms. These eyes do not have significant color discrimination. Above these eyes are a pair of very large eyes with very fine color discrimination over a fairly wide range of light frequencies from near infrared to just short of violet. These aren’t capable of highly detailed in-close vision but for distance vision they have only slightly less acuity than human vision. They are very good at picking out movement and small differences in color. Four, small, not particularly acute eyes ring the upper part of the head. Unlike the four eyes, on the front of the head, these eyes are not capable of binocular depth perception, but they provide full 360º visual coverage and are very sensitive to motion. These crown eyes do not have any discrimination of hues, but they are very sensitive in very low light levels and can see a range of frequencies from thermal infrared to just short of orange. Two sets of whiskers, coming out of the head to either side near the front set of eyes serve as very sensitive tactile sensors and give an acute, but non-directional sense of smell. Another two clusters of whiskers, at either corner of the beak, give a sense of taste and a more directional sense of smell.
These are, all of them, very different pictures, but if you squint a little and use your imagination to triangulate off of all of these, you should get a decent idea of what a Rax would look like. Dear Dogs, I wish I was a better artist!
Now that I’ve made an attempt, through words and images, to depict the physical appearance of a Rax, let’s go on to a bit about their psychology and society.
Psychologically, the Rax evolved from a species of solitary hunters. Social behavior is a bit of a recent innovation in the evolution of the Rax, and they are generally somewhat uncomfortable with large crowds. Rax cities are, thus, generally small, spread out, and surrounded and intercalated with lots of dense greenspaces. Rax don’t have kitchens or restaurants as they don’t cook their food. When hungry, Rax living in urban areas will head out into the surrounding wild or the greenspaces and hunt down usually small prey. Like many predators, Rax can go for many days between eating meals. One of their social activities is the process of keeping the urban greenspaces properly stocked with a wide variety of small or medium prey ranging from squirrel-, rat- and dog-analogues, to a very small number of animals up to about the size of deer.
Rax have a high incidence of antisocial mental disabilities, such as sociopathy. This sometimes makes it difficult and uncomfortable for them to interact socially with others of their kind. For such generally antisocial beings, though, Rax are surprisingly xenophilic. Not really full-on xenophilia, but they do tend to be friendly towards other sapient races that they do not find edible. Among their own kind, they tend to interact distantly when necessary to get business done. They often find that gathering a small cadre of alien individuals to deal with their interactions with other Rax serves to greatly lubricate their social interactions. More than any other species in the UNSEO universe, Rax society has come to integrate other species into their own society, in the process making for a much happier, just and unstressful lifestyle. Even humans, who tend to be more out-and-out xenophilic, have not integrated aliens into their society nearly as much as the Rax have.
This is all I have, so far. As I develop the Rax more, I will post notes of those developments.
I hope this was edifying. Thank you for your attention,