Art by, Echylok
Common Jobs: Services, Anything that lets them see new places or meet new people
Likes: Seeing new things, Telling stories, Their family, Their friends
Dislikes: Rudeness, Conflict, Anything that harms their family or friends
Attack Method: Avoid conflict if possible, aims to disable via crushing if forced.
There is no organized worship among all neighbors, but it is not uncommon for them to join a religion after learning of it. It is much more uncommon if those religions are based around hatred or violence though.
A neighbor is comprised of two parts, the heart and the vessel. The heart is a glimmering crystal that can come in a wide variety of colors, and may be in one large piece or several shards, with the "face" typically having eyes visible within. Note that these eyes are not used to see, and is simply a projection used to assist communication with other species.
The heart can be likened to the "spirit" of the neighbor, and is what houses their consciousness, allowing them to think and communicate with the outside world. The vessel, on the other hand, can be more likened to a vehicle the neighbor pilots. It can be attached and removed with no issue, and mainly serves as a means to protect the heart and assist with manipulating the environment. What the vessel actually looks like will vary from neighbor to neighbor. If the neighbor is fresh from space, it will most be made of passing meteors or debris. If one has been living among society, however, they have been known to make up their vessels with whatever they happen to find pretty or fascinating.
Neighbors are a very polite species. They heavily emphasize their pleases and thank yous, and do everything in their power to give people the utmost respect. Most neighbors will go about this by going out of their way to refer to people by their title or rank whenever possible. This thoughtfulness can lead them to overcompensating when meeting a beings from a new culture, as they are prone to overreacting when they feel they have violated a previously-unknown social norm. There is one case where a neighbor encountered notails. Upon learning the reason for notail masks, the neighbor immediately went into a panic, scrambling for any materials it could find to cover its face. It took much reassurance to convince them that they didn't offend anyone with their lack of face covering.
To a neighbor, the close bonds between people are the most important thing in the world. While a neighbor is polite to everyone, it's family that they value most of all, and the people they choose to bond with become their family. Neighbors also have a reputation for being quite naive. They often assume that anyone being rude or deliberately cruel are simply ignorant. For example, if someone were to litter, a neighbor would politely inform them that a trash can was nearby, sometimes going to great lengths to show them how a trash can operates. If it becomes clear, however, that someone is being malicious for the sake of it, a neighbor will become quite aggressive - this is one of the few times they will openly berate someone. To blatantly and intentionally go out of your way to harm or inconvenience someone, especially if that someone is family, is a grievous offense that should not be tolerated.
As a side effect of their unique lifespan and family circle, they can have a hard time truly empathizing with other species. While they may recognize that a person is upset, the fact they're upset that someone had died is a confusing to them. To a neighbor, "death" is a foreign concept, because if a neighbor "dies" they simply move to another body somewhere. The worst thing that happens is that they'll have to wait a long time to meet someone they had lost, and various depictions of the afterlife do little to squash that thought process. Similarly, they have a hard time understanding familial and social conflict, since fights among neighbors are almost unheard of. The idea that two people can outright hate each other is strange to them, and simply must be the result of a misunderstanding, especially if the argument is between two people in the same family.
The native language of neighbors is based on flashing light produced from their cores, with different signals being different feelings, emotions, or concepts. To differentiate one neighbor from another, rather than using names, a person would be represented by a specific pattern of light rather than an actual word, which makes translating it complicated. When the neighbors started to integrate into civilization, many took on the names of objects or places that they felt reflected who they are, such as a digger naming themselves Burrow, or a musician naming themselves Harp. If a neighbor takes on a more traditional name, it will often be of a historical figure, or a person they have met that had a profound impact on their life.
*Please note that any information pre-contact is collected secondhand from various interviews. None of this could be verified due to the fact that the homeworld of the neighbors is lost, possibly outside the arms of our galaxy.
Neighbors made their start as a massive mineral formation deep inside the core of a planet, forming naturally from the unique mineral composition deep inside the crust. When the planet was ripped open by a meteor, about half of the mineral cluster remained intact, later forming Mother, with the other half shattering into hundreds thousands of shards, which would go on to become the hearts that her children inhabit. Over a period of several thousand years, the various crystals were bathed in the cosmic radiation of the nearby star. It was this unique set of circumstances which finalized their transition into a fully fledged connected consciousness.
As most of the planets resources had been scattered, Mother focused on developing the many consciousness of the neighbors to help her gather resources, transferring them to the thousands of shards scattered around her. They acted as her hands, building a shelter for herself and her family and gathering any untreated shards for use by her children. As more resources were gathered, each gathering trip took longer and longer. Many times, a neighbor would miss their mark, and manage to slingshot themselves way off course. Other times, they simply lost track of an unused vessel as it drifted away from the colony. On one occasion, a massive plasma storm launched thousands deep into the reaches of space. The neighbors weren't that concerned though. They had many, many more vessels to go around, and it's not as if they had actually lost anyone.
These lost vessels would drift throughout space for many millennia. The neighbors would periodically shift to the vessels adrift as a form of sight-seeing, admiring passing nebulas or other cosmological phenomena, but otherwise they considered the vessels lost. It wouldn't be until relatively recently that one of these vessels made contact with civilization, being picked up by a group of scavengers mistaking the heart for a valuable gemstone. While it was unoccupied at the time, the core was excavated from the rock around it and sold to a collector, where it was put into a museum. Several years later, a neighbor inhabited it wanting to sightsee, instead finding itself inside of a glass case and without a vessel. For the first time, it had seen something other than the cold reaches of space, and it couldn't wait to explore this new world it had been brought into.
Thirty minutes later, the neighbor was captured by authorities, after destroying several thousand credits worth of property making a new vessel for itself, and subsequently stumbling crashing into everything due to never having had maneuvered on a planet with gravity before. It took some time to develop a line of communication with them, in part due to the language barrier and in part to them being easily distracted with absolutely anything they had encountered, but when it was learned that they had caused a great deal of inconvenience to the owner of the museum they made every effort to make it up to them.
That very same neighbor works at that museum to this very day, long after the original owner had died. During the off hours, however, they spend their time finding ways to get other lost vessels to planets, so that their other brothers and sisters may see the joy of civilization themselves.
The birthplace of the neighbors is actually an asteroid cluster, formed when a meteor shattered the original planet into pieces. While they've done the best they can to create shelter and art, at the end of the day all they have to work with is rock floating in space, leading neighbors to describe Home as "Comfortable, but a tad dull." Being able to see what the universe had to offer is a major motivation for them to get more vessels out into the universe.
In an attempt to locate Home, a neighbor was trained in astronomy and tasked with memorizing and charting the stars surrounding Home. Unfortunately, this chart matches no known star chart the Cosmosdex has on record. The neighbor interviewed was very sorry they couldn't be of more help.
Mother: Mother can be considered the leader of the neighbor species, as a neighbor will always tell you, "Mother knows best." She is a towing spire of crystal, shielded from the the rigors of space deep inside a massive asteroid. She acts as the hub for which the neighbors use to transfer themselves between vessels. Too vast to inhabit a vessel herself, she will often request her children visit certain places or people in her stead, and to tell her stories of the various lands that they have visited. Notably, she also has the same telekinesis that her children use to make vessels, but on a much larger scale, though this is mostly regulated to building shelter or shielding her people from meteor showers.
A step away from Home: A neighbor is not confined to one vessel. In fact, there are many more vessels then there are actual members of their species. Through a poorly understood process, they can transfer their consciousness to any available vessel in the universe, usually so they can sightsee or "visit Mother" back on Home. This also means that any slain neighbor will not truly die, as they will simply be shunted to another vessel elsewhere. While it may be theoretically possible to force a neighbor to stay in their particular vessel, no known means of doing so has been attempted yet.
Matter Warping: Neighbors are capable of low-grade manipulation of objects. This is mostly used to fuse objects together for the purposes of making a vessel, but it also allows them to pick up objects for mundane uses and to cause vibrations to simulate speech. Note that the strength of this is tied to the size and quality of the shard the neighbor inhabits, and not the neighbor inhabiting it.
• When a neighbor "calls home to Mother," it is not uncommon that another neighbor may use their vessel for a time, exploring the friends and belongings that their sibling has acquired. Don't be surprised if a crew member has a radically different personality after their nap. They'll probably go back to normal after a few days.
• Owing to their massive lifespan, neighbors are very patient, often to a ridiculous degree. There has been a case of one being told to dig a hole "until I say stop." After a few hours of work, the hole collapsed, and after an unsuccessful rescue attempt the neighbor was presumed lost. Two months later, they were found over five hundred miles from its starting point, having emerged in a gas station parking lot. They were very apologetic that they stopped digging before being told to, but the pump attendants were very insistent that they not dig anymore.
• Gender is a new and puzzling concept for neighbors. The idea of it was only introduced relatively recently in their lives, and is being worked on and expressed constantly. It is not uncommon for a neighbor to shift between pronouns and identities many times trying to find the perfect fit. Care should be taken to not mistake this for another neighbor inhabiting their body, however, as a change in gender may also be accompanied by a change in name.
• The process to make new cores is a known one, though it can be quite expensive. There's a few dedicated neighbors working with the express goal of making as many new cores as possible, so that all their family can enjoy the universe with them.