At one time Cyraria had surface water, which evaporated when the orbit changed from a stable ellipse around Xi’s two major components, to the current lemniscate, an unstable figure-8 pattern. The change was triggered by the star system’s third component, a dG7 orange dwarf, which orbits the other two in a period of approximately 1000 years. The additional gravitational effects of its most recent pass were enough to nudge the planet into the current configuration, a few hundred years before the arrival of humans. During the first transit between the two suns, Zeta and Zinni, the surface water was lost, but fortunately, the underground system of aquifers survived, though some replenished a few surface lakes and rivers during certain seasons in middle latitude regions. The near-collision with dG7 was also responsible for changing Cyraria’s axial orientation from one that was nearly vertical to its current one, which is only 13 degrees from the orbital plane. This is the largest factor in the extreme differences in weather during its circuit around the two stars.
The bnolar are the only creatures native to Cyraria, which have been there for millions of years. Their exact population is unknown, but estimated to be in the billions. They have survived planetary disasters, weather disturbances, and environmental challenges by living underground in the planet’s rich network of caverns. A unique race not found elsewhere in the galaxy, they stand as tall as approximately two and a half meters, though the average is closer to slightly over two meters. They have two massive hind legs and six arms with scoop-like hands, ideal for expanding or extending existing tunnels. Their multilayered skin surround them like a cloak and serves to reflect different wavelengths of light, protecting them from the harsh environment. Several layers of eyelids do the same for their eyes, which are capable of navigating using infrared wavelengths underground, precluding the need for a subterranean light source other than that provided by luma, a native plant with phosphorescent qualities.
Their society is homogenous and entirely without social strata, largely due to their telepathic and empathic abilities. Each individual bnolar operates within their collective consciousness, making them peaceful and non-aggressive. It is believed that these capabilities originally evolved from their constant exposure to cristobalite, which expanded their original communication abilities to include telepathic, empathic, and telekinetic skills. These abilities ultimately became reciprocal with the crystals, creating a strong bond between the race’s presence and psi-conductive properties of local cristobalite sources. The Think Tank is one of many such chambers configured such that the energy reflects synergistically within the chamber itself, then is further energized by the local populace. Being peaceful, the bnolar avoid contact with humans, for whom they wisely hold a high degree of distrust. However, being telepathic as well as empathic, they can read a person’s mind, emotions, and heart and thus determine intent, allowing them to selectively interact with individuals with whom they sense compassion and trust. Their typical family unit is monogamous with pairs mating for life, which is usually over two hundred galactic standard years. Mated pairs tend to have a single child approximately every ten years.
The caverns in which they live form a network beneath 89% of the planet’s surface area. Colonies range in size from a few dozen to several hundred thousand, depending on location and available resources. Food supplies comprise that obtained by foraging native plants and herbs when seasonally available, and athen stored as much as possible. Underground sources fill the gap during severe seasons and include fungal species similar to mushrooms, roots, and other vegetation with low light requirements, i.e. those that don’t require photosynthesis. If food shortages occur, hibernation is also an option.