The Keto are an alien race, and part of the main antagonist BRES.
The Keto first became known to humanity in 2028, when a space fleet launched an unprovoked attack on Earth. Although repelled in 2030, they returned in 2035, this time forming the BRES alliance with turncoat humans, with a two-pronged attack on both the past and present
To human eyes, the Keto effectively combine aspects of reptiles and dinosaurs. When standing upright, the average Keto stands 2.7 meters, although they usually prefer to walk with their torsos nearly parallel to the ground. Their legs are situated like those of dinosaurs and birds, flush with the torso rather than jutting out like with a crocodile, and have tails that are usually just shorter than the torso. Keto of both sexes have a short (extending no more than 2 centimeters at neural spine points from the torso), scalloped "sail" that extends from the nape to the base of the tail. Males and females can be best distinguished by their heads. Males have crests similar to those of Earth basilisks, while females have a noticeable throat wattle.
A Keto's scales are keelless, and are structured similarly to an Earth lizard, except that the placement of scales on the upper ventral torso suggests muscles similar to the human serratus anterior and pectoralis major, although not as prominent. Individuals of both sexes have hides that range the spectrum from orange-yellow to dark violet and black, with fairly common cases of streaking and/or mottling of a different color. Although black is somewhat more frequent than other colors, this is actually due to the fact that the Keto visual spectrum is 315nm-615nm. They can see frequencies in a fair portion of the ultraviolet spectrum, but not human red or red-orange wavelengths. Thus, some of the "black" hides are technically different shades of ultraviolet. The Keto eyes have four different types of cone cells, as opposed to the human three, and are situated at roughly 85 degrees to each other. Feet have three forward toes with blunt hooks at the end, and one similar spur at the back. The hands have four digits, with both outward digits on a hand opposable.
The cranium has volume on the same level as a human's, although not the same shape--a Keto's head is narrower and more elongated. The cerebrum may not the same shape, but it still has the same function. There are several semi-tough barbels, usually measuring 10 centimeters, situated below a Keto's eyes. These barbels apparently assist in hearing, but also are an important part of body language, similarly to a human's lips. Some basic rules about the barbels:
- If they are situated so all barbels on each side of the face are touching at their points, this is the equivalent of a smile.
- If they are fanned out, this is the equivalent of an angry scowl.
- If they all point backwards, this is the equivalent of "don't bother me right now".
- If they all point forwards, this is the equivalent of a sorrowful frown, especially if they are not completely stiff.
The Keto mouth juts outward, with crocodile-like, meat-shearing teeth towards the back, and the front defined by horny ridges that can crush and chew most forms of plant and fungus. The Keto are an unusual case of obligate omnivore--while they can get most of their particular essential amino acids from their homeworld's fungi and plants, there are two other acids that they cannot synthesize, but can obtain from their homeworld's sea life. Escaped and liberated prisoners of war have noted that they consider Earth echinoderms (sea urchins, sea cucumbers, starfish, etc.) as particularly delectable.
The Keto are oviparous. Females become fertile roughly every 4.3 Earth years, laying 1-4 eggs if they elect to undergo fertilization (most Keto apparently favor only having one to three broods). Young reach sexual maturity in 25.7 Earth years, and have an average life expectancy of 92.3 Earth years. Males lose fertility at about 54.1 Earth years, females at 58.7.
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For all the grief the humans have suffered at Keto hands, this is actually an outlier, as the belligerents are actually exiled war criminals. The main Keto species actually dislikes warfare for the most part, having a strong societal fondness for diplomatic works, at least in comparison to humans. While the Keto are very much a spacefaring species, they vastly prefer to terraform unliving worlds instead of conquering, in part because of pragmatism--trying to make a living world habitable for them necessarily requires harnessing the life already there. With terraforming, they only need to deal with insensate chemicals.
While Keto mentalities are easily as varied as human mentalities, a very common thread is a desire to be known, or at least knowable, for some unique accomplishment. It does not have to be history-changing; it can be something as minor as developing a new kind of dye or breeding a new strain of morel. The important thing is that their name always be findable in some place besides a genealogical tree. Keto don't have much more fondness for the idea of dying than humans do, but the thought of being utterly forgotten in all milieus is much more terrible, perhaps on par with the people of ancient Kemet.
Perhaps because of their oviparous biology, sexual/romantic love is largely alien and unknown to the Keto. This is not to say they have no appreciation for those whom they generated broods with, but it is not at all as powerful as with humans. The Keto themselves would think of that as on account of humans being mammals (viviparous life does not exist on their homeworld, although there do seem to be a few ovoviviparous creatures), and thus a trait that helped ensure their offspring's survival. However, to use the categories of St. Paul, while eros is not a thing with the Keto, philia, storge, and agape are emphatically not alien to them. With regard to storge/familial love, while there is a genuine bond with parents and children (even if Keto psychology doesn't allow for much of a bond between parents, beyond typical philia), the strongest bond is with siblings, even half-siblings. Where humans might regard insults to their parents the most monstrous, a Keto would have an easier time restraining theirself. However, they would be most aggrieved if their siblings, especially their own broodmates, were slandered.
The Keto are already in contact with two other alien species. While the two species in question are never at war with each other (their needed habitats are too dissimilar, for one thing), they have occasionally suffered wars within their own clades. Keto advisors are greatly favored by them for helping to find conflict-ending terms.