Physical Appearance and Structure
Apart from a few superficial differences, the Mhemne are remarkably similar to the Humans of the Frontier. In fact, later genetic studies will show that, although the two are indeed separate species, the Mhemne and Humans are genetically identical - save for an active hypertrichosis gene.
The Mhemne are tall, thin hominids covered with an amber, downy inner fur (ground hair) and a reddish-brown, coarse outer fur (guard hair). This outer fur is about as long as that on a short-haired domestic cat. Their skin is a pale red, and nearly translucent. It is exposed on only the hands, feet, and face. The Mhemne have wide-set eyes and narrow noses with tiny nostrils. Belter and Confederacy Mhemne are relatively weak-muscled, because they have adapted to free fall and low gravity environments. The Iceworlders are more robust and muscular.
All Mhemne are vegetarians. Food is provided by hydroponics. Animals are rare, domesticated, and extremely valuable.
If shaved, a Mhemne could pass as a Human, although, upon close inspection, the impostor would be revealed.
Like Humans, the Mhemne have color vision that senses the spectrum between infra-red and ultraviolet wavelengths. They have good depth and motion perception. Their hearing covers a range from 16 to 27,000 cycles per second, with good separation and direction-sensing qualities. Their skin is touch-sensitive. Their senses of taste and smell are not as highly developed as their sight.
Also like Humans, they speak by forcing air from their lungs through a larynx or voicebox and shaping sounds with their lips and tongue. They can create a wide range of sounds, and have no difficulty speaking Pan-Galactic and Yazirian languages.
Society and Customs
By the time the temperature began to drop on Snowball, the Mhemne had become a technologically advanced race. They had built major settlements on Akhala, in large, artificial satellites (space stations L4 and L5, and in the asteroid belt. As a result, the Mhemne population was divided into three' main groups: the Iceworlders, the Confederacy, and the Belters.
The Iceworlders retained an emotional attachment to their planet. They struggled in vain to forestall the inevitable collapse of civilization and extinction of life forms on Snowball. These romantics and visionaries wanted badly to reconstruct the planet whose fate they had brought about through their short-sighted and self-destructive actions. Descendents of the Iceworlders have inhabited a few well-equipped research stations on Snowball, as well as several smaller settlements that aren't so well-established.
Iceworlder culture is characterized by a communal socialism, pacifism, and an abiding concern for the miracle of life. The typical Iceworlder is open, generous, friendly, and rugged enough to survive the harsh conditions on Snowball.
The Confederacy was a loosely organized group of independent states set up on the natural and artificial satellites of Snowball. The Confederacy quickly abandoned any hope of saving Snowball, and turned to the more immediate task of ensuring the survival of Mhemne culture in space. They have been plagued with uncontrolled population growth (a central principle of personal freedom) and a scarcity of food.
Over the past 2,000 years, there have been no major technological advances in the Confederacy. The Mhemne here work hard to conserve the technology of the past. Since the already scarce resources must be distributed equally, there is no surplus to go for research.
Confederacy culture is characterized by unchecked population growth, and the fierce protection of their freedom-loving society, even though the substance of these freedoms is being eroded by poverty and social stagnation. The typical Confederate is formal, polite, humble, and self-conscious of his status in society.
The Belters were the least affected by the "death" of Snowball. They have continued to grow technologically over the past 2,000 years, though the scarcity of resources and the difficulty of survival in the Belt have slowed the rate of development. The Belters are strongest in the biological sciences, computers, and electronics. Still, the Belters are far behind the Frontier societies in most areas of science and technology.
Since the Belters were responsible for the asteroid strike that precipitated Snowball's sudden ice age, they have borne the hatred of the rest of Mhemne society for the past 2,000 years. Though the generation of war lovers has passed, their descendants still feel a heavy burden of guilt. Belters get very uncomfortable when the subject of Snowball's climate change even comes up in conversation; they change the subject or become sullen and uncommunicative.
The Belter culture is characterized by cold, emotionless application of science and logic to all problems. They are fiercely independent. Belters believe all intelligent behavior is motivated by self-interest, and they don't trust anyone who pretends to be motivated by generosity or charity. They are extremely honest as well as proud and self-satisfied. If it is suggested that they are in any way technologically inferior, Belters become hostile and uncooperative. They are shrewd and aggressive traders, and can cleverly manipulate circumstance to give them every advantage in a bargain.
Being a recently discovered race, they have yet to form an opinion about the races from the Frontier Sector. They are on the other hand, eternally grateful for the help and support they received to thwart the decade-long Sathar occupation.
They are like humans, but they also benefit from a coat of insulating fur. The fur is thick enough work like coveralls, if the Mhemne is naked to the elements - all they need are shoes and gloves for cold weather. This fur works best for cold weather, but in high-heat, the fur can become a liability. It is recommended to have on loose, reflective outerwear and hope for sustained dry winds.
(Cited from the fourth Knight Hawks module: The War Machine, p.18-9)