|This article, Yanme'e Hives, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Originally, the Yanme'e comprised of numerous hives, ruled by queens, more often than not engaged in war or diplomacy with one another over land and resources, a reign that lasted several thousand years. Eventually, the Yanme'e were discovered by the growing Covenant Empire, and despite only crude weapons and biological defences (acidic spit from their mouth, chitinous armor, sonic wing vibrations, natural flight, etc), they inflicted severe casualties on the Covenant armies sent to subjugate them. The San 'Shyuum went behind the backs of their Sangheili-led military and established lines of communication with the Yanme'e, quickly calling a ceasefire, then a treaty. While angered about the duplicity of the San 'Shyuum, the Sangheili were more than prepared to welcome the Yanme'e to the Covenant, as worthy enemies. They saw positions as warriors and workers, though the line was often blurred, and saw extensive use during the Great War, dying in their droves during frenzied aerial battles among human stations and structures.
During the schism, many hives swore fealty to both the Loyalists and the Separatists, while others cut themselves off entirely. Palamok was consumed in a largely unrecognised war as Hive fought Hive, with millennia old grudges brought to bear under the excuse of fighting for or against the Prophets. The eventual winner was a coalition of neutral and Separatist Hives, who almost immediately cut themselves off from the galaxy at large. They maintained military and diplomatic ties to the Republic, serving them as a protectorate, sending them soldiers and supplies in exchange for mutual protection and autonomy. They had limited outside trade, mostly with the Kig-Yar, trading raw materials, services, then eventually entering the slave trade, trading 'Unmutuals', creative but otherwise psychotic drones, and purchasing Unggoy, Kig-Yar and human slaves. By the time of the Necros War, they had fully colonized not only their own system, but two neighbouring ones as well.
Yanme'e find it easy, yada yada, wings flying yada yada
While Yanme'e hives in ancient times (And some smaller hives in the modern day) relied on scavenging and hunting outside of their hive, collecting vegetation and prey for the hive, modern day hives almost always rely on five different food stuffs.
The first is their primary form of meat. The Forlic is a large, grazing, insect like creature. Raised by Yanme'e workers, it feeds primarily on trees, though they will also eat plants. Useful as controlled and natural deforestation methods, once they reach maturity they are considered ripe for slaughter. Underneath their strong shells they are largely made up of fatty stores, ideal for Yanme'e diets. The meat is chewy but otherwise edible and somewhat healthy.
The second is a fungus crop they grow within the hives. Usually grown close to the outer walls, this crop consists of plants are grown and harvested outside the hive then cut down to size by workers and transported inside the walls. Once inside, it is placed in fungal gardens, where a specialised fungus grows on the plant material and consumes it, in turn producing a nutritious, though not necessarily delicious foodstuff. This fungus can be eaten directly or processed, providing food for the hive.
The third is another domesticated creature, the Hydan. A large and slow moving creature, it primarily feeds on vegetation (And will also eat the fungus cultivated in the walls). Left outside to graze during the day, it is herded back inside the nest where it is milked, and produces a fluid similar to honeydew. This fluid is extremely high in sugar and favoured by the warrior caste, though all will get it when it is abundant.
The forth is a foodstuff similar to honey, produced by workers. By feeding on fungal farms that are fed planets especially high in sugar, the resulting fungal meal is equally high in sugar. Workers eat the harvested material and store it in a secondary stomach, then regurgitate it and eat it again. They repeat this process several times, until it has been partially digested. Once the worker is happy with it, it is eaten once more and then regurgitated in the honey larder, and stored in honeycomb shaped cells. These are left uncapped at first, if only for a few minutes, while the heat in the larder evaporates water from the honey, giving it its viscosity. This is used as a stored food, when other food sources become lean.
The last is produced by workers naturally, and in a limited amount, and used only on the queen and larvae. The royal jelly is used to feed larvae, and is provided for them for the first few weeks of their life, before they are switched over to honey. It is constantly fed to would be queens, which prompts changes in their development. On occasion, it has also been fed to young and newborn alien slaves, on the belief that some Queens believe it binds them to the give. The Royal Jelly is naturally high in sugar, protein and fatty acids, but also trace amounts of antibacterials, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Slavery has long existed in Yanme'e society in two forms. The first is unmutuals, psychotic and mentally damaged individuals who are unable to cooperate with the rest of the hive. Rather than execute them, many are put to work as slaves, working bottom rung jobs, or placed on distant postings to be worked until they die. The other was performed during inter-hive wars. If the attackers broke through to the brood chamber, or defeated the enemy hive, the worker eggs, larvae and pupae are taken back to the victors hive. Here they are raised as their own, imprinting upon them. These captured and imprinted workers functionally blend in to the hive, being almost impossible to differentiate between a worker of the clan and a captured slave. Some hives also specialised in capturing mature slaves, taking them back to their hive and indoctrinating them into it, which would be a difficult process. These mostly stopped with their incorporation into the Covenant. The hives were forced into peace with one another and unmutuals were given to the Kig-Yar for work detail in their penal colonies.
With the collapse of the Covenant, and war between the hives resuming, many returned to the old ways of slave raiding. With the Yanme'e's rise as a space power, they began trading materials, produce and unmutuals with the Kig-Yar, in exchange getting many goods, technology and slaves. Some hives elected to cut out the middleman and perform slave raids against colonies. Kig-Yar and Human colonies in range of their ships were fair game, and were struck.
Against small settlements, their plan of attack is simple. Surround it, destroy all defences and swarm until every potential slave has been rounded up and captured. Once their dominance is asserted over the settlement, they'll bring their raiding ship, usually an SDV-class Heavy Corvette or a Palamok-class Hive Ship into position with its gravity lift and prepare for transport. While in the ground, the Yanme'e warriors will use a translator to order the captives to remove an articles of clothing and jewellery, or be forcible stripped. Others skip the kind request and perform this themselves. Once out of their clothing, they are herded to the ships. On Hive Ships they are placed in honeycomb cells. These cells are arranged vertically, making escape difficult, and all the Yanme'e captor has to do is fly over it with their captive and drop them in. Cells are 'capped' and the prisoner left until they reach their new hive. Against large settlements, where domination is impossible, they'll instead bring their ship in first, and swarm the settlement, grabbing anyone they can as they sweep down upon the population, swarming through buildings and snatching anybody they can find, then dragging them back to the ship. They are stripped on their ship, then deposited in cells for the journey back. Some hives, who had experience or history in snatching only brood would sometimes perform very specific raids where they round up every child on the colony, along with any pregnant females, and steal them away, either keeping the females for breeding purposes or selling them to Kig-Yar slavers once they've had their child.
In the event they are purchased from Kig-Yar markets, the Kig-Yar often drop them off, 'prepared' for delivery. This usually involves having their belongings removed and shackled together so their new Yanme'e masters can better control them. Once in the hive of their masters, slaves are divided up into working groups and placed to work in certain areas, such as arms factories, working on hive maintenance, cultivating the food or working aboard their ships. This work can be very difficult for a terrestrial creature, given the verticality present in many hives, but many have more conventional tunnels to facilitate Berserker, young males and queens. Slaves are kept in cells close to the walls, which, like the cells on ships, orientated vertically to prevent escape. Slaves are fed on meagre rations of cultivated food, though are usually denied honey, honeydew and almost never receive royal jelly. Slaves that prove obedient and loyal to the hive are usually promoted to slightly more important jobs, such as tending eggs and larvae, or serving mature males working in important roles. Those slaves that prove themselves above others may even be entitled to work in the queen's chambers, tending to her, serving her and placing her eggs.
Interactions with other races
In ancient history, hives were traditionally built out of mud or paper daub, mulched by drones then established into structures. As technology developed, they began to establish taller hives, made from concrete, rebar and girders. Most modern hives are roughly similar to one another, and feature some degree of Covenant technology and architecture.
A hive begins construction underground. A young queen, accompanied by workers, will burrow under the earth and begin establishing the foundations. Usually this forms a labyrinth of tunnels, built in an ad-hoc manner to meet their needs. These tunnels house the queen and her brood as the hive increases in numbers. As they reach a critical mass, and expansion beneath the surface can only get them so far, the hive will begin to expand upwards. The underground tunnels, usually lined with concrete and metallic reinforcement form the foundation of the structure. This structure begins construction upwards, in an equally ad-hoc manner to its base. Tacked on structures, patches of Covenant architecture and supports are usually visible. Most hives are built in a wedge shape, arranged so their longest axis face north and south. This is to make use of the suns position in the sky to thermoregulate the hive. At morning and evening the sun hits the eastern and western face of the hive, while at midday it beams straight down, effecting only a small surface and preventing the hive from overheating. Ones closer to the poles, where temperatures are cooler, are usually established as spherical towers. These towers will continue growing as the hive does, the tallest reaching nearly a kilometre in height, and expanding as deep as two hundred and fifty metres into the earth. Smaller hives may be established when the main hive can no longer be expanded, surrounding the periphery. These are connected by enclosed tunnels, usually fortified to prevent entry. The hive is designed to have few external exits, most of which can be sealed with bulkheads, preventing entry. This also prevents the annual flooding that Palamok encounters. The internal conditions of the hive tend to be perpetually humid and warm, perfect conditions for the Yanme'e and their brood.
Internally, most hives follow a similar structure. The below surface structures are devoted to the Queen and the brood. These tunnels are often the most heavily defended and feature multiple layers of bulkhead defences. The queen is often positioned in a central and expansive chamber, where she'll produce eggs. From here, the eggs are moved to brood chambers in the underground section where the eggs are tended too, then the larvae are nursed. These chambers have honeycomb structures made from daubed paper, harvested from trees and turned into a papery mulch.
The base layers of the hive are some of the most important, housing many of the vital structures. These include refineries, factories, food produce, livestock and garages. Hives that house terrestrial slaves also house them on this layer. From this point on, the upper layers are devoted to the drones of the hive. From here, they have the honey stores, the drone nests and armouries up here. Often these consist of concrete floors with internal structures made of daubed paper, mud or secretions to create rooms, nests or honey cells.
Hives are usually built with a degree of amenities, such as electricity, lighting, water and temperature control. Some may have internal elevators to facilitate flightless members of the hive to travel between levels, or external berths for warships.
Working with a caste system not unlike that of eusocial insects from Earth, with a range of polymorphism based on gender and nutrition.
- The female Yanme'e Workers perform literally every task imaginable. They build, maintain and tend to the hive, they feed and nurture the larvae, they grow, cultivate, forage and scavenge for food, aid and look after the queen, in coordination with the males, and if the hive is threatened directly, they will defend it, reconstruct it and aid the warriors. Workers are produced from fertilised eggs and are, effectively all daughters of the queen, or one of the queens. Workers are functionally sterile, but under certain conditions can begin to develop ovaries, metamorphosing into a queen.
- The female Yanme'e warriors form the army, which ensures no harm comes to the hive or the Queen. The warrior caste are essentially the same as workers, but tend to be larger in size, greater in strength and much more intelligent and ferocious. Staunchly devoted to the hive, they are willing giving their lives for the hive, they will fight to the death to defend it. They will also accompany workers outside the hive, during routine hunting, helping in maintaining the hive structure and will lead attacks on other hives. Warriors are produced from fertilised eggs, which are kept at a slightly higher temperature than those intended to be workers, which effects gene expression during larvae development. The result is the larvae is born a warrior, instead of a worker. Warriors will remain infertile their entire lives. They are possessed of long lives and during the course of it, they will moult, becoming larger, stronger and changing slightly, with their age and morphism directly representing their rank, as those strong enough to survive that long are worthy of defending the hive in a more elevated position. As mature adults, they are 'minors', and usually are armed with plasma pistols. Recently they've also began using vehicles, such as Banshees, Phantoms and Wraiths to fill much needed gaps.
- During their first moult, their carapace becomes a deep crimson in hue and they develop a horn on their heads, in a distinct U shape. This gives them a degree of bioelectric senses, giving them short ranged detection capabilities. They are now ranked as Majors, and are usually better armed with Needler weapons.
- At their third moulting, their carapace becomes a deep blue colour, and their horn as grown outwardly from their heads. They are no ranked ultra, and usually carry plasma rifles.
- Upon their last and final moult, they become a Yanme'e Slayer. Their carapace turns black and their horn grows larger, and with it their bioelectric sensors become sharper and keener. Slayers are deeply devoted to the hive, and commune with the Queen directly, serving her personal edict. They are assassins and infiltrators, infiltrating enemy positions and quietly eliminating them. They are often armed with sniper rifles to aid in battle.
- Female Warriors are dimorphic, and very rarely they will birth not as a warrior, but as a Yanme'e Berserker. Much larger than their sisters, they stand at 7' feet tall with immense legs, six keen eyes, long arms with razor like claws on them, and overall increased muscle and exoskeleton mass. Living battering rams, their role is two-fold. During hive defence, they will plug entrances, and breaches in the hive wall, physically blocking it and massacring anything stupid enough to come through, with whole squads of them creating an impassable wall of chitin and claw. During hive attacks, they will lead the charge and breach entrances and outer walls, cutting through lesser warriors with ease.
- Yanme'e Males are the produce of unfertilised eggs of the queen. After pupating from larval stage, they possess no wings and serve the queen directly. Her personal servant and her representative throughout the hive, they are more free thinking and intelligent than most other classes. Once they moult to their mature stage, they possess wings, often allowing them to migrate to a new hive. They are traded and bartered between hives, securing alliances, peace treaties, trade agreements, and usually become instantly loyal to their queen, mating with her for the rest of his life. Mature males that stay at the hive of their birth become ambassadors, emissaries, traders, bureaucrats and diplomats.
- The Yanme'e Queen is the ruler of the hive, and lives a century and a half at a time, with all the Yanme'e born in her reign being her children. As a hive grows in size, it may be necessary for a new queen to be birthed, or for a worker to be uplifted to queen, undergoing the metamorphosis to be capable of reproducing and growing in size over a short space of time. Under other conditions, queens are made by feeding female larvae royal jelly, the high-protien/high sugar liquid, produced by workers, during its entire larval stage. This triggers unique developments, causing her to grow substantially in size and develop ovaries for reproduction. The result is, queens are substantially larger than regular workers or warriors, possess a large ovipositor that allows her lay several hundred to several thousand eggs a day, are substantially more intelligent and become the mother of every Yanme'e in the hive. They are somewhat difficult to move, though they can detach the ovipositor for ease of movement, though they must grow a new one to lay eggs again. They are usually carried by a team of immature males otherwise, and fed by those males, and her workers. Smaller hives possess a single queen, while larger ones possess several queens, of which one is the leader while others are subservient to her.
There are two other castes in Yanme'e culture, disconnected from the main society.
- Unmutuals are Yanme'e who suffer from various personality disorders that prevent them from functioning as a member of the eusocial hive mind. Violent and savage, they often attack their fellows, as well as kill larvae and eggs, usually without provocation, and always without remorse. These personality disorders can come from brain damage sustained in accidents or battle, or from developmental problems. Either way, they become intensely violently, though some have shown the capability to be quite clever, conniving and deceiving. If identified early, these Yanme'e are killed outright, preventing them from harming others. Otherwise, they are placed in penal groups. Worked as slaves, with their wings, limbs and necks bound, they are usually treated with the most low level jobs, or used as cannon fodder or suicide soldiers where otherwise the hive would not bother. However, they are now being sold to Kig-Yar and Jiralhanae slavers, often in exchange for slaves.
- As soon as the Yanme'e began trading with the Kig-Yar, the Kig-Yar offered to sell them slaves. Usually, Unggoy, Kig-Yar or humans, slaves are used on Yanme'e colonies, as the crushing gravity of their home world, Palamok, limits any usefulness a slave may possess. Slaves are used to maintain the hive, tending to the walls and machinery, or working in factories to produce armaments. A few slaves regarded as trustworthy tend to the larvae, and the most well regarded work in the queen's chambers, tending the queen and her eggs. Treatment of slaves varies in different hives, but they all generally follow a similar pattern. Slaves are homed in separate structures of the hive, away from most. Slaves are collared and usually stripped of any and all garments they may of had, since the Yanme'e rarely tolerate shows of individuality between each other, never mind their slaves. Given the stifling heat in their hives, and on the tropical worlds they prefer to colonise, this tends to work well. Slaves are usually assigned to an overseer, possessed with a translation device to order slaves back and forth. More powerful hives may have slaves individually equipped with translation devices. Some hives have invested in creating slaves, attempting to breed slaves together or promote their slaves to mate. Any children born, or children bought, are kept separately to be raised as willing members of the hive. Some hives have been known to perform slave raids against other hives and against Unggoy, Kig-Yar and Human colonies. When slave raiding other hives, they prefer to take eggs or larvae, as they can make them into slaves more easily.
The Yanme'e Hives, for the most part, use the ships and weapons of the USR, the JA (at times), and the former Covenant; it should be noted that they do not use vehicles, having little use for them due to their flight capabilities. The Yanme'e have developed three pieces of unique equipment however: the Berserker Assault Armor, and the Palamok-class Hive Ship.
Yanme'e names are very simple, usually composed of merely two syllables, though there have been recorded cases of more in a name. However, all High Queens have the prefix "Phar-" attached to the front of their names, signifying their status as the rulers of the Yanme'e Hives; Lesser Queens, however, do not have this prefix.
|Factions in the Revenant Era|
|Alliance of United Races|
|Confederacy of Former Covenant States|
Yanme'e Hives | The Syndicate | New Colonial Alliance | The Banished | Apostles of Might
Forerunner Empire | The Flood