Alien Profile: The Bani

The following article was written by Alfred Ashby as an entry to the Alien August competition.

Banivorosi CalvorSpecies: Banivorosi Calvor (Xenoinsecta)
Common Name: Bani
Homeworld: Banivo Prime

Size: 6.2 feet tall, 8.5 feet long. 9.3 feet upright.
Mass: 120-200 kilograms.
Sex: 3 sexes; male, female and inter.
20% male, 60% female, 20% inter.
Birth is oviparous, generally leading to 5-6 hatchlings per brood.

Colouration: Body colouration ranges between light blue to deep navy/green, darkening with age. The colouration of the crest which runs from the crown to the tail (spinal crest) and from the breastplate to the genitals (belly crest) depends on gender. Orange with white markings for males, purple with black markings for females and completely yellow for inters.

Biology: Carbon-based, proteins, fats. Double helix DNA structure.

Locomotion: Quadrupedal, although can comfortably support itself on hind legs and tail.
Manipulative Digits: Two on forelegs and five on short, flexible arms protruding above forelegs.
Nutrition: Omnivorous.
Vision: Binocular trichromacy.
Senses: Echolocation.

Day/Night Cycle: Eight days waking, two days sleeping. Thirty-four Earth hour day.

Gravity: 12.70 m/s2 (1.3x Earth)
Atmosphere: 56.8% sulphur dioxide, 19.3% oxygen, 17.5% carbon dioxide, 3.5% methane, 3% nitrogen.
Temperature Range: -40°C – 63°C. Average 25°C.
Escape Velocity: 13.91 km/s.

Society: Matriarchal.

Religion: Pantheism 31%, spiritual monotheism 62%, atheism 7%.

Government: Empire ruled by the representatives of several ancient families.

Technology: Interstellar flight, advanced computing, advanced industrial mining.


The species Banivorosi Calvor hail from the harsh terrestrial planet of Banivo Prime. This planet, roughly a fifth larger than Earth, has a lethal composition sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to a fantastical native collection of flora and fauna. Banivo Prime is four planets from it’s star, Waura. Due to this, the planet’s temperature range is fairly gentle, with temperatures at the poles reaching negative forty degrees Celsius and peak temperatures in the planet’s many equatorial deserts nearing sixty five degrees Celsius. Recorded temperatures in the planets most populated regions average out in the mid-twenties.

Banivo Prime is composed of one supercontinent – Yuthi, which dominates the northeastern hemisphere – and one super ocean – Yutho, which fills the southwestern hemisphere. Biomes on Yuthi are fairly diverse, the southernmost part of which is made up by a highly populated tropical area named Cyelio. Going north, Cyelio gives way to the equatorial, iron-rich desert region of Hortha which itself stretches northwards for thousands of miles until the temperate forest Ameriol and taiga forest Vuniro wrap around Bani’s coldest regions, just before the frosty north pole of Frio.

Bani society is ancient, in relation to other spacefaring civilisations, the species having been around for 250,000 years. Structured civilisation took form 180,000 years ago and the Bani-Yari (the society’s council-ruled empire government) enjoyed a profitable, moderately peaceful rule which extended further millennia. The Bani set their gaze to the stars about 50,000 years ago and a millennia and a half after that developed an interstellar space engine.

Their comfort in a quadrupedal stance dates back to their primitive days when they’d charge prey and hunt in herds, corralling lesser species and attacking them for food. As omnivores, they are equally capable of using their hind legs and tail to reach up into trees and feed on fruit and nuts. Their rear legs sport three powerful claw-hooves, their front legs end in two long finger-claws which are equally suited to manual work as they are to hunting. Their arms, which developed in their final evolutionary stage, sport spindly hands with opposable thumbs which make them exceedingly capable with civilised, industrial work.

This said, their internal industry is largely based on trade. Banivo Prime is incredibly mineral rich, most so in iron and titanium, and the various biome regions of the planet are mostly abundant in one kind of resource and barren of another. Because of this, the families of Banivo – named for the region in which they make their home – trade the resource that naturally occurs most in their home region, for which they receive otherwise difficultly-obtained minerals in return.

Banivo Prime’s atmosphere is thick and visibility is, more often than not, unfavourable due to dust storms and frequent volcanic activity. Due to this, the Bani long ago developed appendages that protrude from each temple, forming a hammerhead, that can produce and receive sonar waves.

Bani society centres around a loyalty and devotion their government, the rule of which takes the form of small council consisting of the God Empress, three Chief Shamans and five representatives from the ruling house of each region. The God Empress – obviously – is worshipped and revered by all Bani, something which is rarely seen in spacefaring societies due to the difficulty of maintaining theistic adoration throughout a planetary colony. However, Bani-kind are dedicated to the God Empress in whichever way they can; Banivo Prime’s culture booms with music, poems, sculptures, paintings, plays, recreations and all other manner of arts dedicated to their divine ruler.

Their matriarchal society is divided – rather simply – by the regions in where the Bani live; three houses are in control of each region, with one elected house retaining majority power of the three. The representative is always female, as are the Chief Shamans and any Bani in a position of particular power. Males in Bani society serve to raise young and perform strictly manual industrial roles. Females, besides being rulers, sit comfortably in positions that require intellect and finesse due to their more active mental capacity. The inter gender’s – something that makes the Bani very interesting to humankind – role in society is that of a necessary sexual component in the creation of further life, other than that, the inter are highly prejudiced against, existing mainly as slaves and manual labourers.

The Banivo Prime is a crystalline-rich world, so much so that the Bani have long since lived within the enormous selenite, quartz and pyrite formations that stab skyward from the earth. These dizzying, winding tunnels that the Bani call their home snake downwards for miles creating underground labyrinths all across the planet. Their interstellar space vessels mimic these niva (home, in Bani) by taking on largely crystal-like forms. Their space fleet long ago gave them the ability to colonise the four other rock planets in the Waura system, and it is this powerful, profitable colony which has secured them their place in the great commonality of the galactic meta-civilisation.

Written by Alfred Ashby.

Artwork by Alex Thümler.

  • Nice article Alfie. I like it!

  • Kirov

    Again, another outstanding article. If they’re going to keep getting better like this, I can’t wait to see what the end of the month holds.

  • Leonardo Faria

    Excellent profile.
    Just a little objection: there’s an inconsistency imho between the assertion that their society is matriarchal and the assertion that their government is “ruled by the representatives of several ancient families.”
    Indeed, the social unit called family is just the overcoming of the matriarchal organization, where children are bred all together by the women, with no regard to the fatherhood. Patriarchy comes about to make the legitimacy of the issue certain and arrange the legacy from father to son, and that’s the origin of the family, which keeps existing as a distinct entity through the several generations (whereas matriarchs care nothing about it).
    It seems to me that the Bani society is not really matriarchal, but rather patriarchal but based on female power rather than male power.

    • Alfred George Ashby

      Thanks for the feedback!
      I think you’re quite right. The Bani are a society in which females are in leading roles of power but I overlooked the more literal definition of matriarchal, I suppose. 🙂

      • Leonardo Faria

        To be completely utterly totally fair, there are dictionary definitions of matriarchy perfectly consistent with the concept of female power, so I wouldn’t regard it as a real mistake. But in anthropology the matriarchy is a society marked by a substantial absence of private property, the tasks of care as pivotal to the overall arrangement, lack of patrilineal legacy, absence of nuclear family and so on

    • I don’t see that as a big issue. They are after all a society with three genders, and that throws everything out of balance in terms of of our dual sex definitions of anything.
      I have one “three” gender society in my universe. Because it is perhaps the hardest concept to explain or find a reason that is somewhat plausible. (for the need of a third gender) And perhaps they developed and the Government is “female” in form but not in nature?
      There are a million concepts of “Female” and not all are women or mothers… just a thought

  • Yep this is how I hoped the contest would develop. There were a few pearls in the last Alien August..and it seems there are “diamonds” in this as well.
    Reads like an entry in some kind of “Galactic Encyclopedia” entry. Very detailed
    Alien, yet firmly grounded in a physical and possible “verse”.
    Kudos to Alfred, well earned (At least in my opinion)