Skinnies, sometimes called the 'Skinny Hegemony,' are a race of bipedal humanoid aliens with ingrained psychic ability second only to the Arachnids. Between seven to nine feet tall, they are wiry beings with a grey, knobbly, rough epidermis. Their eyes are bulbous and seated high on their gaunt faces, and their mouth rests beneath the small nasal cavity between the eyes. Beside the mouth are two large mandible-like appendages, whose purpose is believed to be vestigial. Skinnies share similar physiology as humans, and believed to have the same sensory faculties; sight, smell, hearing, and taste. From recovered cadavers SICON has been able to determine that there are two sexes of Skinny, although their sex traits and reproductive organs are hidden inside their bodies. Skinnies hail from the planet Tophet, a hot, arid planet with a high concentration of methane in the atmosphere. Tophet is one of the few places Skinnies can live freely without their ornate armored exosuits, which function similarly to modern day EVA suits used by Fleet and Mobile Infantry. The suits are equipped with an advanced life support system that maintains their high body temperature (45°C/113°F) and supplies them with a steady stream of methane for respiration. The suit serves as both a spacesuit, armor, and has been shown to harbor a level of psychic shielding for the wearer. At this time, SICON researchers have been unable to determine what gives the polymer the Skinnies use its ability to generate psychic interference.
Skinnies have been shown to be adept psychics, a single skinny can prove to be a challenge for even a Psi-Ops officer. Their ability to coordinate with each other through telepathy allows for quick coordination during raids and an incredibly efficient means of communication. While Skinnies can communicate psychically, they do have their own tongue. Federal translators have been unable to recreate the sounds formed by their alien mouths, and even digital translators show only limited success. When Skinnies speak to each other, they sometimes corroborate their speech with additions of psychic suggestion, allowing for more clear and direct understanding. Psychic trickery and manipulation of perception are not uncommon during skirmishes with Skinnies. Indeed, they are capable of performing psychic feats that would fatigue and stress a veteran psychic with relative ease. Skinny weaponry mainly utilizes a technology that reshapes Skinny bone fragments into 'shards' loaded with a paralyzing neurotoxin. Upon wounding a human being, the neurotoxin can leave them in a full state of paralysis in under three minutes. From what our records deduce, the Skinnie modus operandi for the average raid consists of quick hit-and-run operations, using their boneshard weapons to paralyze and abduct their prey. Recent developments have shown that Skinnies have the ability to make entire settlements 'disappear' in a very short amount of time. It isn't conclusive as to what exactly happens to someone after they are abducted, but findings lead SICON to believe that their abductees are usually treated to levels of scientific probing, enslavement on Skinny border worlds, or are sometimes simply killed after falling into captivity or after periods of experimentation.
Prior to their discovery of space-faring technology, Skinnies organized themselves into different tribes, bands, and nations (usually a collection of tribes) on Tophet. When Skinnies discovered interstellar travel, they became reorganized into a centralized hegemony, and began to focus expansion onto other planets. Using technology similar to the Federation's Cherenkov Drive, they became capable of travelling light years through the galaxy, doing so mainly for raiding and trade. The Skinny Hegemony is headed by a council composed of representatives from different Skinny nations of varying levels of power and influence. Skinnies have distinct cultures that vary from tribe to tribe. The worship of deities and religious practices have been observed among Skinnies, including ritual scarification and ceremonial combat harking back to ancient wars and struggles for power before the Skinnies unified into a hegemony. Valor and prowess in gladiatorial combat hold high places in Skinny society, and have traditionally served as a method of consolidating power, but are sometimes performed for entertainment.
Much like the Arachnid Quarantine Zone, there is also a Skinny Quarantine Zone, extending over roughly 50 systems roughly 62,000 light years away from Earth. The Skinny Hegemony is considered an active enemy of the Federation, as their association with the Arachnids and their history of attacking Federation colonies has given them an infamous reputation across the galaxy.