The Feliran are one of the two highly advanced races that the Kthid have conquered before this series begins… an extremely intelligent race of insectile humanoids that had a very advanced society… more so that humanity in some ways. When the Kthid came, their civilization already stretched over 13 worlds, was highly cooperative. Once upon a time, before the race became sentient, there were once thousands of variants on their species on their homeworld. It was only after they grew intelligent and advanced, however, that they discovered this through the fossil record… their race wiped out all competitors at the top of the food chain before they evolved intelligence, and the guilt for that has left an impression on the race.
When the Kthid harvest fleet came about twenty five years ago, the campaign to conquer them was brutal and extended… but in the end their species was wiped out saved for those kept in captivity of the Kthids… thankfully, the captives still numbers in the hundreds of millions or perhaps even billions due to the scope of their empire, but something like 90% of their race was lost.
The Falirans have something of a voluntary caste system – they can cocoon themselves and over the space of a few months metamorphose into a different caste. More important for this story is the Queen phenotype, which has the most unique feature – a direct connection to the Hive mind. A queen has the intellectual and emotional capacity to process all of that raw data and feel it… giving her an ability to sense the thoughts and emotions and feelings of any member of her race, allowing communication near instantly over distance and otherwise impossible levels of coordination. There never were many queens – the personality required to have this sort of empathic connection and stay sane aside, the sheer caloric intake required by one to keep her brain functioning is incredible, so it would be foolish in the extreme to have too many. Obviously, since there are no actual societal rules or laws controlling what caste a person can be, anyone could choose to become a queen, but the neat part is that the caste is inherently self-regulating… if you don’t have the temperament or need to be one, once you become one you will be connected to everyone, and the sheer level of empathy all but forced on you would shame basically any rebel into doing the right thing.
The Hive Mind: Their most notable trait was that at some point in their evolution, their species became effectively psychic… their minds are structured in a way that leaves them especially prone to quantum entanglement, so changes in one mind effect another. It has lead to the creation of a Hive Mind, and they have evolved very specifically to work with it. This Hive Mind, to some extent, connects all members of their species together, regardless of distance, the effects of quantum entanglement superseding even the speed of light and allowing them to share ideas, goals, and emotions, leading to a significantly higher degree of cooperation than humans enjoyed. With that level of cooperation, the species advanced very quickly… in only about a thousand years after becoming sentient, they had colonized thirteen world. Every member of the race has a connection to the Hive Mind, but most of them can’t sense others specifically through it… that level of connection would be distracting more than it is helpful. That is what the queen phenotype is for. Now, the interesting side bit is that one of the queens can feel the thoughts and emotions… and sensations… of every member of her race. All the time. Everywhere.
Other members of the race don’t have quite this access to the Hive Mind. They can still get info from it, but it isn’t as precise, nor is it automatic. It’s the difference between knowing everything like the queens do (omniscience), vs being able to look up what you need in a database… the info is still there, but you need to know you need it to find it. They also aren’t as good at… translating… the thoughts and info into their own mental language, because unlike a queen they don’t have all the context of that person’s life.
Aside from it’s very obvious benefits (increased empathy and understanding of those around you, making you less likely to compete with other members of your race with the evolution and risk one or both of you being injured or dying, and make you more likely to cooperate to insure survival), it also has some really cool effects… like racial proprioception. Ten Faliran could close their eyes and clap each others hands over and over. They instinctively know where other members of their race are in space, not just their own body parts.
Obviously, due to the Hive Mind, the Falirans have almost no sense of privacy, or of secrets. The very idea of “secrets” is one that was introduced to them during interactions with other races. It would be sort of dystopian if their leaders weren’t, by definition, the most empathetic people in the species… who have access to the best information possible to make choices… and have the most intelligence to make the best choices out of that information and… who will have to feel every bit of suffering that might be a consequence of them. If any of their people suffer, the queens suffer most.
Stereotypes: Many of their non-royalty are assumed to have no personality and to be emotionless cogs in a machine. This isn’t true – the Faliran are slightly more stoic as a race than others, and their faces don’t show emotion in all the same ways that human or Kthid faces do, but they still feel it. They also are considered rude sometimes because culturally they have little sense of appropriate boundaries or what information should be private. This isn’t the case because they are rude – It’s just because they don’t these things in their culture because the Hive Mind would make them useless or impossible.
Derogatory Terms: Drones, Shellheads, Bugs