The Hiver are avid gardeners, farmers, and raise various herd animals for their own sustenance. Food is rationed and tends to be distributed on a daily basis through clan hierarchy channels. Withholding of food is a common mild punishment for those who commit any offense, and free access to communal food stores for a brief period is a common reward for meritorious conduct. Sharing of food or preparing meals communally with others is a sign of affection and esteem. Sacrificing of one's ration to another is a rare but powerful gesture.
The Hiver have had the capability to move at STL for more than a thousand years, but their ability to create Gates is a much more recent invention. They have understood the menisceal principle of the Gates for about 500 years, and only in the last century have they begun to devote the resources necessary, as a species collectively, to create an interstellar empire.
Most of the pre–Gate Hiver Space Age was simply spent in developing and colonizing the various planets and moons of their own solar system, with many strong clans emerging over time. These groups viewed for control of the species and the home world for centuries, with the empire often fragmenting into warring factions and chaos. Real progress was difficult to come by until the Reunification and the period of relative peace that followed.
Prior to the first Unification, during the Warring Queens period, Hiver had a great deal more cultural diversity and many ideological reasons to oppose one another. The worship of the Goddess, although it became the paramount faith, was only one of many religions practiced in antiquity. The incorporation of the Black Queen and Her horde into the dominant religious schema probably represents the absorption of religious icons from conquered foes.
The gods of a defeated people are always transformed into devils. — Erinys
Although a few ships were sent out in the pre–Gate era to reach and colonize more distant worlds, these early colonization attempts did not fare well — the distances involved were too great, and it was too hard to develop transport routines that would allow the building and maintenance of adequate domes or terra–forming efforts for a pioneer colony.
This being said, there were a few expeditions which sallied forth as "life ships" during those days, whose whereabouts and final fates are unknown. There is a remote possibility that hidden "lost tribes" of Hiver may still exist somewhere in the universe, undergoing some sort of parallel cultural and physical evolution...
Family Structure Edit
The Queen is the child of a former queen and of the Goddess, who is Mother of All. Hiver practice a certain amount of ancestor worship, for obvious reasons, and even the Queen's relationship to ancestors is important. All Hiver have a keen interest in matters of lineage and pedigree, and often credit for individual merit is shared with the parents, clan or lineage. "Bad blood" can also be blamed for deviant or anti–social behavior, as well as "mis–birth" — a defective Hiver born to an otherwise worthy clan.
In space, Hiver tend to live and move in large family groups known to Humans as "Clans". The Hiver language has over 600 words to express familial relationships between individuals and the groups to which they belong, so any term used is going to be very simplified and robbed of meaning from the Hiver point of view. "Clan" is as good as anything. These clans are groups of a single Princesses and her children. All of the members of any given Hiver fleet are usually related to one another by birth. At the space–faring epoch of Hiver history, there are many Princesses, some with clans as small as 200–1000 children.
Interpersonal Relationships Edit
How a Hiver female views her children depends on the mother. In general there is a strong sense of entitlement — a Princess or Queen expects absolute love, devotion and sacrifice from her children. On the other hand, there is responsibility — although Hiver seem to be "disposable" from an outsider's view, a Hiver female has maternal attachment to her sons (and, if she becomes Queen, her daughters). How this balance sits with any individual Hiver mother depends on her character, obviously — there are evil abusive mothers, loving nurturing mothers, rigorously ambitious mothers, etc.
On the other hand, all other non–royal Hiver who work together will work together as brothers — and in 99 cases out of a 100 they literally are brothers. They have the sorts of relationships you expect among siblings in a large family — some are very close friends, some become competitive (even destructively so), some are mutually disdainful or outright loathe one another.
In communications with each other, a Princess would not call a Hiver "son" unless he was her son. Only the Queen can call all Hiver "son" or "daughter" in that way — the relationship is both social and mystical regardless of birth details. And even the Queen has a tendency to call other Hiver royals by their actual names, unless they really are Her own children.
So far as cultural stigmas attached to an unusual appearance — they are actually somewhat more rare in Hiver society at large, due to the extreme variation of forms that are produced intentionally by various Princesses. A Hiver who sees another Hiver who is unusually colored or in possession of some strange set of features will more likely be curious than inclined to condemn — Hiver ask "Why are you made the way you are?" rather than immediately decide that the way you are made, if different from their own, is automatically wrong.
Make no mistake, they do demonize. But a Hiver is more likely to be demonized for divergent thoughts and behavior than for having a strange body.
Hiver go through an extended education process and compete quite vigorously for jobs and desirable careers. Since educated and well–placed sons are not only prestigious but profitable, most Princesses will try to test their children very rigorously in childhood for aptitude in various disciplines. A Princess who produces a great artist or general will see a corresponding rise in her social currency.
Hiver understand personal possessions and personal space, but they also have a strong sense of responsibility and co–ownership of communal property and communal space. They do not understand "littering" in a park, or willfully leaving a mess for others to clean up.
Any given Hiver may own a few small items of his own which have personal significance, but he is more likely to be emotionally attached to his workplace, recreational facility and barracks as "home". Only those with the highest status ever achieve any elbow room, such as having ones' own quarters or office. Warriors and Workers are more likely to have an attachment, sentimental as well as physical, to a favorite tool or weapon.
Hiver wear clothing items only for protection. Like Liir, they do not have any taboos related to exposure of the body, and tend to use the body more as a decorative surface.
Even domestic Hiver have a tendency to hot–bunk with other clan members, sleeping in shifts while others are awake and working or enjoying recreational time. They like to secure their limbs while sleeping, and tend to try to nestle into an appropriate–sized hexagonal chamber.
In terms of basic individual rights and basic attitude toward others, every bug is as good as the next bug — unless the next bug happens to be of the breeding caste. Design parameters aside, the personal competence and usefulness of the individual cannot be discounted. Hiver in a military organization have rank and a chain of command that goes with it.