Hardits are short fur-covered humanoids (approx. 1.5m-1.7m tall) who are common throughout the White Knight Empire, where they often specialize as miners and engineers. They have a wolf-like appearance with a pronounced teeth-filled snout and acute sense of smell. Over short distances they employ a bandy-legged bipedal waddle. For longer journeys they will shift any equipment they wish to hold from their hands to their gripping tails, and then proceed on all fours. They are capable of trotting for very long distances so long as the atmosphere is not too oxygen-rich for their needs, or they are equipped with breathing apparatus.
Threats & Weaknesses
Hardits, especially female ones, are notorious xenophobes, despising all other species with such a vehemence that a Hardit should always be considered a potential enemy, whatever the circumstances. Understanding their vassals’ phobia, the White Knights have kept Hardits in self-contained settlements, isolated from each other and particularly from other species. This is usually successful in preventing Hardits from giving trouble to other species. After all, according to the Hardit mindset, staying at home is preferable to going out and conquering the galaxy, because doing so would force it to interact with so many disgusting non-Hardits. On the other hand, Hardits who are goaded into action by a perceived threat, and Hardits who merge (often bloodily) into larger communities can rapidly escalate into military threats.
Hardits distrust advanced electronics and AIs, perhaps as a natural extension of their xenophobia. This often leaves them weak militarily because this rules out the use of many key military assets. However, this advantage cannot be relied upon indefinitely because Hardits have such natural talents as engineers and innovators that they can rapidly evolved home-grown counters to your military advantages.
As soldiers, Hardits have several physiological weaknesses.
- Hardits are not good at moving and firing a handheld weapon. For example, a Hardit soldier rushing to a new position in a firefight, would first transfer its gun to its tail, move on all fours to the new position, and then transfer their gun from tail to hands before it could fire. The tail is also a vulnerable body part as it is difficult to provide armor while leaving the tail flexible. A Hardit soldier with its tail shot off cannot fight effectively.
- Hardits are prone to hyperventilation in most atmospheres unless provided with breathing equipment. The Hardit homeworld has a low-density, oxygen-poor atmosphere.
- Hardits are particularly prone to the disabling effects of bright lights, especially in the ultraviolet range.
In this Infopedia entry, we state assumptions about Hardit culture and physiology, but you should always consider that the Hardits who interact with humans and other species are usually the very lowest in Hardit society. There may be important aspects of Hardit culture that we have never encountered.
There are two principle Hardit genders, although there have been reports of more complex gender configurations. Males are slightly shorter, lighter in build, and with a more triangular snout. Other than during mating season, the two genders barely tolerate each other, and live in separate communities.
The mating period lasts for approximately one week out of every two Earth-standard years, each far-flung Hardit community synchronizing to their own local cycle with uncanny accuracy. The males who approach females first have about an evens chance of either securing a reproductive advantage, or dying from the claw wounds inflicted by an unimpressed female.
A tentative understanding of Hardit culture suggests that there is an overarching elite ruling class comprised of a very small number of alpha males. Beta males – which comprises the vast majority of that gender – appear to be lower in the social hierarchy than any female; they occupy the most inhospitable locations and carry out the most dangerous professions. And yet, most interactions with humans are from low-ranked female Hardits. Perhaps carrying out a role so odious that it is not assigned to males is the ultimate punishment for Hardit females. The truth is, we just don’t know. Perhaps the only thing we can say with certainty about Hardits is that, despite living near them for centuries, they have an unending capacity to surprise us… and that their surprises are usually unpleasant