So, here's my pitch. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Epsilon V is a Desert planet orbiting Monocerotis α, a class F main sequence star with a smaller, class M red dwarf Monocerotis β tidally locked to it’s larger companion. The Monocerotis System is located in the Scutum-Centaurus arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Epsilon V is the largest of the six planets orbiting around the Monocerotis binary set, with the others being titled Epsilon I, II, III, IV and VI. The gas giant Epsilon VII existed as well, but it’s orbit slowly decayed until it finally spiraled off into space. Epsilon V is a harsh environment, mainly due to the extreme heat and large amounts of radiation output by Monocerotis α. The poles are a frozen mixture of water and ammonia, with small oceans seperating them from the mainland. Despite the hostile environment, sentient life has managed to evolve on (and below) the surface of the planet.
The main intelligent species are the Metu, a quadrupedal race that lives mainly underground. Metu have three fingers, as well as opposable thumbs. Their fingernails are long, very sharp and shaped so that they can be connected to each other to form a spade, of sorts. The adult Metu have a scale-like epidermis composed of an iron oxide, which is developed by consuming the abundance of hematite and magnetite found underground. Metu cannot actually process the Iron, however, and if excess ore is consumed it will be regurgitated. These scales protect against predators, as well as the majority of the solar radiation output by the dual stars. They slowly flake off and have to be replaced. The Metu have developed three eyes, with the bottom two seeing the average spectrum and the upper third eye seeing the infrared spectrum. This third eye is mainly used for underground vision. It is closed aboveground, as the excessive heat energy would blind or otherwise damage it.
The Metu have developed FTL warp drives recently, but they are still rather unreliable. Instead, Ion engines are much more commonly used. The Metu have minor outposts on Epsilon III and VI that are used for mining and research. Epsilon IV was deemed unsuitable for colonization due to it’s extremely thick atmosphere. The Epsilon II base project was under construction, but was cancelled when an extraordinary large blast of radiation from Monocerotis β shut down all communications between the base and Epsilon V. The Epsilon II incident was heavily censored by the government, as they refused to send a shuttle to see if the colonists had survived.
Metu culture is heavily based around tradition and order. The Metu who violate the code of laws are first given a warning, then incarcerated, and if their behavior continues exposed to the worst shame possible for them. This shame is where the convicted are forced to let their scales flake off completely, leaving them an outcast from society and forced to stay entirely underground at risk of dying from radiation. These people are referred to as the Etnon Pellum, or the scaleless ones. If the crime committed is severe enough, the felon will immediately become one of the Etnon Pellum. Occasionally, Etnon Pellum band together and form their own settlements, although they are quickly stamped out by the main government. Religion is also oddly absent from Metu society, although small pockets of worshippers exist on the fringes of civilisation.
The Metu have a long and occasionally sad history. One event in particular, roughly translated to the Month of Tears, was an attack by a group of Etnon Pellum who detonated a bio-weapon in the Meto capital city, Kazisirea. The contagion released caused the scales of the Meto to solidify, leading to asphyxiation and death. In only a month, it killed about two thirds of the entire Metu population, including the entire population of Kazisirea. The capital is still contaminated, and quarantined by the government to insure a pandemic of that volume never happens again.
The Metu originally started as a large amount of tribal groups, which constantly warred and squabbled with each other. Eventually, the largest tribe decided the Metu race needed to be unified and went on a crusade, converting and absorbing any other city-states or tribes they encountered. This group eventually evolved into the modern Metu government. Although, some of the other tribes still exist, far away from the main civilization. They rarely encounter each other, but when they do they keep their distance. Ion engines were discovered accidentally by the renowned scientist and researcher Etul Taelou. He was attempting to develop a more efficient energy generator, but discovered that by bombarding xenon gas with electrons, it generated a large amount of ions when the xenon atoms changed polarities. This discovery sent the Metu's technology decades in the future, as well as sparking a new age of space exploration.
The Metu government is structured with a council of five holding power over the entire government. These five Metu are selected by the citizens via voting. Another council member is selected when an existing member dies. Council members can be voted off the council with an appropriate reason and a majority vote. This is a rare occurance, however, and is usually a punishment for extreme power abuse and other severe crimes. This has only happened once in Metu history, when M'lai Sunghali was forcibly expelled from the council for transferring large amounts of government resources to his personal reserves.
The Metu race have a large but rather primitive military. Almost every non-essential able Metu citizen can be drafted if need be, although this has not happened as of yet. The military technology of the Metu is rather primitive, however, with tubular combustion weaponry still being widely used. Research into energy-direction technology for military uses have been started, but it is still rather early in development. Many Metu citizens are unhappy with the current military policy, but due to the government structure have no choice but to obey the laws.