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Eponids
Body Type Biped
Average Height 1.75m
Average Mass 65 kg
Eye color varied
Breeds
Eponids are the creation of Ginger, whose main OC is the pivotal Eponid figure, Rhiannon.

Eponids are hermaphroditic equine morphs hearkening back to the earliest morph types. Primarily human in appearance, they have equine ears, the pinnae of which protrude through their hair; tails in the same colour as their hair growing from the base of their spines, equine penis and testicles scaled to their body size, and are covered all over with a fine coat of short hair in patterns reminiscent of several different breeds of horses.

They were created to put on displays of unarmed gladiatorial fighting culminating not in death but in sexual domination by the victor of the vanquished. As such, their sexuality was the primary consideration in the design of their genetic template, which was intended to be grafted onto a human female genome.

PhysiologyEdit

AppearanceEdit

Eponids are hermaphroditic, primitive plantigrade equine morphs, which distinguishes them from later equimorphs and of course taur forms such as the Quange. Their visible equine features are limited to ears, tail, coat patterns and male genitalia; they are not ungulates. They do not have the equine-based cranium nor the supporting musculature and skeletal structure of later equine morphs.

They appear primarily female, and fall into the normal human female range for height and weight, varying from 1.65m (5 ft 5 in) to 1.85m (6 ft 1 in) and from 55 to 75 kg (121 to 165 lbs).

Eponids, like other horse morphs, have a fine coat of hair in patterns similar to those of many well-known horse breeds – Appaloosa, Arabian, Morgan, etc. The head has a human-type growth of hair; the natural range of colours is the same as for humans, though it may include 'blazes'. The natural tail colour typically matches the hair, with some exceptions. They do not grow pubic hair.

Physical structureEdit

The equine aspects of their design is based on the lighter, more high-strung breeds of horses – pacers, hunters, destriers and the like, rather than heavy or draft breeds – and as a result, Eponids typically have well-developed lung capacity and tend toward lean, rangy builds optimized for speed and endurance rather than brute strength. Their musculature differs from humans largely in the modifications to control their ears, tails and penile retractor muscle groups. Similarly, their internal organs were re-arranged as necessary to accommodate the penile sheath and other component organs of male genitalia.

SensesEdit

Eponids have a significantly keener sense of smell than the average human being, and their auditory range extends to nearly 30 kHz; this seems to be an unintended side effect of including equine genes in the design.

Their eyesight appears to be comparable to human range for acuity, colour discrimination and light sensitivity.

Their tactile sensitivity is human-normal except for the density of nerve endings in their erogenous zones – breasts, ears, lips, genitalia, etc. – which is roughly double that of humans; they have a correspondingly larger pleasure center in their brains. The apparent intent of this was to positively reinforce their desire for sexual stimulation in support of their intended purpose.

Reproductive physiologyEdit

Like chakats, Eponids are functional simultaneous hermaphrodites, being able to act in both male and female modes at the same time. The testicles and penis are completely equine, though scaled down; a typical Eponid's penis is anywhere from 20 to 28 cm (8 to 11 inches) long when fully erect and extruded from the sheath, and 5 to 6.5 cm (2 to 2.5 inches) in diameter. The testicles are noticeably larger than a human's and are fully descended. The most common genital skin colour is a dark charcoal black, though the penile shaft may have patches of pink skin in places anywhere from the glans to the medial ring. As with both chakats and skunktaurs, an Eponid must extrude hir penis in order to urinate.

The vulva is located immediately behind the scrotum. The only differences from the human vulva are that the outer labia bear the same fine coat of hair as the rest of the body, and the vaginal canal is somewhat longer in order to accommodate the longer Eponid penis. Their female genitalia are otherwise entirely human in appearance and function.

As a display of sexual dominance was one of the desired design characteristics, Eponids were created to have a copious seminal output for symbolic humiliation of their conquered opponents. Thus, while humans typically have ejaculate volumes of 10 to 15 ml, Eponids were made to produce between 150 and 200 ml of semen. However, the quantity of spermatozoa produced during orgasm remains on a par with human norms, thus effectively giving them a sperm count by volume about one-tenth that of humans. Since much of their semen is ejected from their partner's vagina during intercourse due to the volume produced, the chances of an Eponid successfully impregnating hir partner are quite low. This also means that dehydration as a consequence of sexual activity is a very real danger for them.

Eponids do not follow the equine heat or rut cycles; instead, like humans, they ovulate approximately once a month and are able to produce sperm at any time. So far as can be determined, young Eponids will become sexually mature in their teens as human youngsters do, at which time they will begin ovulating as well as producing sperm. While Eponids are physically able to mate – carefully – with other races, it is not yet known if they are cross-fertile.

Disease and agingEdit

No Eponids have yet died of old age and all indications are that their life span is comparable to that of humans. Given their intended purpose, it is unlikely that extended longevity was designed into them. However, in order to reduce their 'down time' between performances, their designers did include a heightened resistance to disease and enhanced ability to repair injuries. This presents potential medical problems, as Eponids will reject blood, tissue and bone grafts from non-Eponids. This improved resistance and recovery comes at a price; Eponids have an appreciably faster metabolism and it is likely that while they will enjoy the appearance of youth and vitality longer, the onset of senescence will probably be sudden and dramatic.

Psionic talentsEdit

Eponids do not have any particular inclination one way or the other toward Talents, and so far only one Eponid has demonstrated any psionic ability.

Social and Cultural DevelopmentEdit

As Eponids are a new race created under what could be charitably described as 'trying circumstances', they are still in the process of evolving their own social and cultural norms. Probably the most important thing to remember is that every 'first generation' Eponid was created through an extremely traumatic and brutal process which has left unavoidable psychological scars, and each of them is handling it in different ways. Their children do not have these traumas to deal with and consequently see the universe and their place in it quite differently.

Their painful genesis notwithstanding, Eponids are very sociable, tactile beings; they enjoy the company of others and much of their social expression is by touch – cuddling, hugging, holding hands, nuzzling, mutual grooming, etc. For example, as much as possible, Eponids eat together; meals taken as a family or with friends are very important to them, and even off-world, Eponids are loathe to dine alone; they would much rather have company, even a chance-met stranger in a restaurant.

There is a definite desire to shape themselves as distinct from humans as an affirmation of their freedom from enslavement and an assertion of their new racial identity. This can sometimes come across to humans as rejection of human cultures and values, which is inaccurate. Eponids as a group understandably feel a certain wariness where humans are concerned, but they do not reject them; they simply wish to establish their own path. This is, of course, speaking in general terms; individual Eponids may feel more strongly one way or the other.

Forms of address and naming conventionsEdit

Being simultaneous hermaphrodites, most Eponids use the same hermaphrodite pronouns as chakats - “shi”, “hir”, “hirs” - though a few of the first generation prefer to use female pronouns. Practically none of them use titles other than ranks for those that have resumed or taken up military or police careers; otherwise they most frequently use just their names. The only title used within their community with any regularity and consistence is “Mare” or “Boss Mare” for the Eponid currently chosen as their municipal leader.

Some first-generation Eponids have adopted new names, some went back to using their old names as they discovered their previous identities, and a very few have opted to keep the names they were given as slaves. Naming conventions are still very loosely defined, but lean toward the forms used in horse breeding, modified to suit their hermaphroditic nature. For example, Celine and Rhiannon have a foal named Ruth; in this case Celine was the mother and Rhiannon the father, and hir name would be recorded formally as “Ruth, out of Celine by Rhiannon.” Family members often use diminutives, e.g., “Rhia” and children will use “Mum” and “Dad” or variations with little regard to which parent is actually their sire or dam.

Children are increasingly referred to as “fillies” (girls) or “foals” (children). In this case 'filly' is not indicative of sex since they, like their parents, are hermaphrodites. Likewise, the terms “sire” and “dam” are used, but simply to indicate which Eponid was impregnated and which did the impregnating.

DressEdit

Like chakats, Eponids have no nudity taboo; given their original purpose it would be surprising if they did. However, unlike chakats which are well-provided with fur, Eponids do have to dress to protect themselves from the weather. In sufficiently warm climes such as their enclave on Alaula Island, though, they see no need to clothe themselves and may wear only sandals on rough terrain. Obviously, protective clothing and equipment, or uniforms, are an entirely different thing, and when outside their enclave, they conform to local usages.

Their preference for nudity does not mean they abhor personal adornment; on the contrary, almost all of them wear jewellery of some kind, even if it is simply a tail band. Bracelets and anklets are popular; necklaces – particularly the ‘choker’ type – are not, at least among the adult generation; without exception, these are considered far too reminiscent of their slave collars. Piercings are seen, but are not wildly popular. Leis are very popular and many Eponids will devote considerable time to working with local blossoms to produce pleasing designs that complement their coats. They frequently style or dye their hair and tails. The one point of commonality with tail styling is a refusal to cut their tails short; this is again a reaction to their enslavement when many of their owners clipped them short or clubbed (bound them back on themselves). Furthermore, they are consciously adapting and evolving body language that involves their tails to further differentiate themselves from humans.

Sexual behaviourEdit

Eponid sexual behaviour is driven by several factors; the need to genetically diversify their species as much as possible, and their physiology, among others.

Genetic diversityEdit

Families are generally heavily intertwined; it might be more accurate to say the Eponid community is one large, extended family. Because there are so few of them – just barely a viable population, in fact – they have accepted that exclusive mating arrangements are counter-survival; every adult Eponid is encouraged both to sire and bear children by as many different partners as shi can. This need has unhappily led to mockery from human supremacist groups, who paint Eponids as both mercenary and indiscriminately promiscuous, engaging in sex on a whim.

Promiscuous they may be, but by no means indiscriminate; Eponids will not have sex with just anyone, though they certainly view sex as something to be enjoyed and shared, not hidden away. As for mercenary, while Eponids feel a deep-seated need to procreate, they also want to be very sure they as parents are well able to provide for their children. Consider the example of Rhiannon, Celine and Starblaze. Rhiannon has not yet borne a foal but as noted in the section on naming conventions, has sired Ruth on Celine. Celine has likewise sired a foal, Camille, on Starblaze, and Rhiannon very much wants both Celine and Starblaze to sire foals on hir once shi's in a position to be home for an extended period of time to bear and raise them. In the meantime, shi spends as much time at home with hir family as shi possibly can. Both Ruth and Camille call all three of them “Mummy” and “Daddy” with a fine disregard for who had which role or even who was actually involved.

External to hir grouping, Rhiannon has also sired a foal on Raindancer, who is part of another mateship, a four-way one. Both of them discussed arrangements to support the child once it was known that Raindancer had successfully conceived, and have agreed that Raindancer will have primary care, although Rhiannon will not only be welcome to visit and be part of the child's life, but is expected to. In fact, Raindancer and Rhiannon have discussed the possibility of introducing the rest of their respective mates and encouraging more foals, possibly even becoming a seven-way mateship. Even so, it is quite probable that all of them will sire or bear children with partners outside their group as well as within. Needless to say, the urge to increase their numbers to a stable population together with their low fertility rate means the concept of “safe sex” and the use of condoms is utterly foreign to them. Eponids want children, the more the better because that spells racial survival.

Parentage is extremely important to Eponids in order to ensure maximum diversity and avoid inbreeding, but that is the only limitation they place on procreation. Eponids do not accept the notion of bastardy; in fact, they do not require a formal declaration of mateship at all. As their culture continues to evolve, customs and traditions will develop further and will probably be influenced by the chakat and skunktaur models.

Sexual conductEdit

Eponids are, by the standards of most other species, exhibitionists. Nakedness is the norm, and while making love in the middle of a public thoroughfare is definitely outside the pale, there is no societal expectation of privacy, and most see no reason why a pleasant stretch of beach or a grassy meadow shouldn’t do if they feel like it. Other Eponids in the area will, at most, move to make room for them. This is, of course, yet more grist for the anti-morph organizations’ propaganda mills to portray them as promiscuous and amoral animals who have no higher purpose than gratification of their immediate sexual desires.

None of the next Eponid generation has reached sexual maturity yet, and the adult Eponids are working very hard to ensure their foals are not encumbered with human sexual mores and prejudices. Among other things, the adults are taking a leaf from chakats, skuntaurs and foxtaurs, educating their children about sex and reproduction at a much earlier stage than humans do – most often and most simply by not concealing sex from them – and also teaching them how to cope safely with their bodies' physical urges until they reach maturity.

Religion and moral codeEdit

Having once been slaves, Eponids have adopted the credo “Never again!” and as a result, most are to one degree or another involved in activities and organizations geared toward fighting slavery. Eponids who were in Star Fleet or the Marines have tended to return to it, though not always in their original specializations; and many who led other lives before their enslavement have opted to join as well. The chief difficulty, actually, has been for them to restrain themselves when slavers are captured, such is their collective hatred for these scum; and more than one Eponid has been subject to disciplinary proceedings for their actions vis-a-vis slaver prisoners subsequent to such captures.

Similarly, Eponids have a bone-deep hatred of rape, which should come as no surprise to anyone. Eponid police officers are among the most effective investigators in rape cases due to their personal motivation, and their definition of ‘rape’ does not accept such notions as marital privilege. Eponids consider whole-hearted, enthusiastic consent the only acceptable kind; anything else is anathema to them.

There is no ‘official Eponid religion’, any more than there is one for chakats or skunktaurs. However, given the professed beliefs or religion-based justification of most of the anti-morph organizations, most Eponids eschew the Abrahamic religions even if they were communicants before. Nature-based belief systems and animism are the most popular and while atheism is not unknown, it is rare.

RecreationEdit

Although Eponids enjoy sex – a lot – they recognize that one can't have sex all the time and therefore they enjoy a wide range of other activities as well. They tend to be very fit and athletic, and while not necessarily gym bunnies, they have a definite preference for sports and activities that test their endurance and stamina – swimming, track, rock climbing, etc. This is not to say they don't enjoy intellectual and artistic pursuits as well; simply put, though, even the geekiest Eponid will spend at least a couple of hours a day outside doing something active.

DietEdit

Eponids, like humans and most other sentient species, are omnivores but have chosen to embrace a largely vegetarian diet. As a rule, vegetables, legumes, fruits form the bulk of their diet. Dairy products as well are popular; seafood is a bit more questionable. Meat and poultry are not acceptable by Eponid standards.

Alcoholic is popular and Eponids take the same view that many Terran Old World cultures have, that the best way for children to learn about alcohol is as youngsters and under adult supervision. Most Eponids prefer wines or meads, with ales, lagers, stouts, etc. coming in a distant second. Fortified wines such as port or burgundy are extremely rare, and hard liquour and liqueurs are non-existent. The Eponid view is that alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation, but anything with an excessively high alcohol content is just stupid and unhealthy.

The idea of recreational pharmaceuticals is abhorrent to them, primarily due to the role chemicals and drugs played in the psychological conditioning experienced by every one of the first generation Eponids. They accept that medicines have a role in health care but that's the only place drugs should be found.

OriginsEdit

Eponids are a hermaphroditic race, though it is difficult to pin down exactly when they were created. They first came to public notice in 2332, and the first Eponid discovered had been, so far as shi knew, created about four years earlier. Many details are still missing though certain facts are clear.

They were made to be a slave race by what has been variously theorized to be a criminal genetic engineering consortium, a rogue operation by the League of Non-Aligned Worlds (LNAW) or elements of the assorted Humans First, Earth for Humans, God Hates Animals and other anti-morph organizations. If nothing else, it demonstrates that the mindset which created war beasts for the Gene Wars and led to the Three Firms scandal in the 2200s has not been eliminated; and that there are still significant elements of modern society which sees nothing ethically wrong with creating and enslaving intelligent beings.

Unlike the skuntaurs, however, Eponids were not created to be labourers. Their makers designed them to cater to the jaded, perverted tastes of the wealthiest members of human society by fighting in gladiatorial matches which concluded not with death – at least, not intentionally – but in frenzied displays of sexual domination by the victor. The equine morph was selected because the horse has been a symbol of virility, power and freedom in most human cultures for thousands of years; for all that horses are not a predator species, anyone who has seen a stallion angry or sexually aroused is well aware of their strength, speed and capability to injure. As enslaved hermaphrodites, the Eponids embodied that power being chained and subjugated to the twisted whims of their owners, and indeed, some of the owners did not limit their use of Eponids to combat.

From documentary evidence, it appears the process involved kidnapping suitable female human victims in their mid-twenties. The victims were injected with a retrovirus containing a genetic 'program' which essentially over-wrote the victim's original DNA. The equine genes encoded into this program were largely derived from the most spirited and high-strung breeds, namely pacers, hunters, et cetera; the draft breeds such as Clydesdales and Percherons were deemed too placid, it appears. They were subsequently placed under anaesthesia and supported with intravenous nutrient feeding while their bodies were stimulated to re-build themselves in accordance with the new genetic coding. At the same time, male equine genitalia matched to the genetic template were grown in vitro and surgically transplanted onto the victims. This was necessary for their program as the genetic template would ensure their offspring bred as true hermaphrodites, but the technology could not cause the already-adult victims to grow the required organs.

Once that was done, the new-made Eponids were then subjected to a brutal regime of drug therapy, hypnotic conditioning, psychological torture and other brainwashing techniques designed to completely suppress their sense of self and identity while preserving any useful training and knowledge. This program specifically included implanting deep inhibitions, backed by excruciating pain, to condition the victims against any kind of vocalizations. Lastly there were a specific set of surgical implants installed; stimulators buried deep in the pain and pleasure centres of their brains, and a small explosive charge placed in their necks. They were then fitted with collars which controlled these devices.

It is extremely difficult for most humans to truly appreciate the full scope and scale of cruelty and brutality visited on the Eponids in the earliest years of their existence, both in how they were designed and how they were treated. Because they were made to put on shows of unbridled aggression and lust, their brainwashing made sex an extension of combat, completely eliminating tenderness. Instead, there was the victor and the vanquished; when a bout came to an end, the victor, aroused by combat and compelled by hir conditioning, simply raped the loser, mounting and penetrating until shi ejaculated. Under the spur of their control collars, they could, in group combats, readily ejaculate, dismount and mount another loser right away. They required energy drinks and food after every bout otherwise the energy expended from fighting and sex, and dehydration from the volume of semen they produced would have killed them in short order.

Eponids were treated as animals; valuable animals, perhaps, sometimes even verging on being pets – but in the end, not as human beings. Though the people who purchased them certainly deserve no sympathy or tolerance, the evidence so far uncovered suggests that most were not aware that these were in fact gengineered humans. Nevertheless, they certainly did know these were sentient beings who did not speak but understood human speech; who could read and write, though the vast majority of owners did not permit it nor give them opportunities to; who could think and feel. So the owners cannot be excused for their behaviour toward and treatment of the Eponids; these creatures were completely at the mercy of their owners and any kindness or consideration they received was entirely at the owners’ whims, not out of recognition of their rights.

Typically, Eponids went naked, wearing only their control collar. The collar usually bore the owner's name – it is indicative of the hubris of these people that marking their slaves with identifying tags was never seen as a security risk – and if the owner had named their Eponid, that was usually engraved on a tag attached to the collar. Only in the case of team matches did they wear anything else, normally coloured arm or leg bands to visually distinguish the teams.

The control collars merit special discussion as indicative of the utter amorality of the people who created them, who bought them and who cared for them, if their treatment could be considered 'care'. As previously mentioned, the collar controlled neural stimulators implanted in the Eponids' brains as well as a small explosive charge in their necks. The collar in turn communicated with control rods, receiving commands to trigger the pain or pleasure stimulators. There was also an audio channel for the owner to give commands to their slave while in the arena, and of course the ability to detonate the explosive. The collar also sent back a location signal; in the unlikely event that an Eponid managed to escape, shi could be quickly rounded up. There were also handlers' rods; the wealthy owners seldom undertook to train their slaves personally, delegating that chore instead to trainers, who were just as culpable for the treatment of the beings under their control. The only difference between the owners' rods and the handlers' rods was that the latter could not trigger a bomb and did not receive the location signal. If this sounds remarkably complex, it needs to be understood that the fact of Eponids not being dumb animals was a large part of what their owners wanted; they wantedslaves who knew they were slaves and that disobedience meant punishment and rebellion meant death. With the threat of having their heads blown off at any time at their owner's whim, they might hate, but their hate was powerless.

EmancipationEdit

The turning point came in 2332, when an Eponid, Rhiannon, was involved in a vehicle accident which not only killed or mortally wounded hir handlers, but also disabled hir collar although shi didn't know it at the time. Regardless, shi seized the opportunity, walking some 400 km from the crash location into Melbourne over the course of a couple of weeks, hiding by day and moving only at night. Hir body's increased resistance to disease and its efforts to heal hir injuries had placed a huge strain on hir system and shi was both dehydrated and malnourished when shi literally staggered into the Double-H club. Hir arrival prompted questions from the Double-H staff and from the doctors who cared for hir, and this in turn prompted a very quiet but thorough police investigation, resulting in the capture of most of the humans engaged in the purchase and trafficking of the other Eponids. Unfortunately, not all Eponids were saved; in addition to those who had been killed by their owners at various times, some 107 were murdered en masse in an attempt to destroy evidence, adding to an already impressive list of charges to be levied against those responsible. The resulting court cases caused a media sensation and attracted the attention of several human supremacy groups. Some of the Eponids could not or would not respond to therapies and treatments meant to help them recover their memories and identities, and 15 of them committed suicide. In the end, though, the surviving Eponids received handsome awards of damages from the courts to help them defray the costs of their care and to establish new lives for themselves. Part of their recovery has been to establish a racial identity for themselves; they didn't wish to be known as 'ex slaves', and thus chose “Eponids” following their liberation, from Epona, the ancient Roman goddess of horses.

ExodusEdit

(see also Alaula)

Due to the increasing number of terrorist events from groups such as Humans First, Earth for Humans, etc., in 2338 the majority of Eponids applied as a group to the government of Chakona for permission to immigrate. As their population was so small, the government did not take long to fully consider and grant their request, granting them East Island. Star travel is not cheap, but the surviving Eponids had received financial compensation from the civil cases and court-ordered property seizures following the criminal trials of their makers and former owners, and by pooling their funds were able to book passage and subsidize their initial settlement. On November 11, 2339, the Eponid emigrant group set foot on their new home; Thirdday, Week 3, Year 99, at 6 in the morning local Chakona time. Their very first act was to re-name the island 'Alaula.' This pooling of resources is known as The Compact, and later Eponid émigrés to Chakona – those that remained initially behind because of family or duties – are expected to match the contribution each of the first wave made.

A total of 899 Eponids were created; of that number, 107 were euthanized by their makers, 94 were killed by their owners. After their emancipation, 15 more committed suicide, unable or unwilling to live with their new reality. Of the remaining 683, 571 of them joined the exodus to Chakona, leaving 112 on Earth or other worlds of the Federation.

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