The hestv (singular: hest) were a humanoid species from the planet Rukbah V. Tall and almost skeletal-thin, the hestv had greenish-bronze skin, and though bipedal, they possessed extra knees and elbows. When sitting, hestv could cross their legs at both sets of knees. Their faces were usually long and gaunt, with "large, gentle eyes," either green or golden in color. They appeared to possess infrared vision, based on recreational equipment selections, although it is not clear if their vision includes other types of light. Terran humans perceived hestv voices as "whispery."

Hestv non-verbal communication differed from common Terran human non-verbals in several ways. For a hest, smiling involved pursing the lips into a round expression. Other species familiar with this difference could and did replicate the expression, including Terran humans. Acquiescence could be signaled by tilting the head to one side, analogous to the nod used by many Terran human cultures. A "long-faced grimace" signaled resignation to a disagreeable situation. One hestv greeting involved sticking out one hand as if to shake, then putting the hand behind the back. Many Terran humans misread the shapes of hestv faces as having a "perpetually wistful" expression, a disconnect at least one hest used to good advantage in poker games.

One hestv beverage described as a "legal intoxicant" and enjoyed by many species in Starfleet was known as "nhwe". Dark blue in color and with a flavor described as tasting "like machinists' oil," it contained a neuopressor hormone capable of enhancing the emotional state experienced at the moment of consumption by most hominid species. The Terran Anglish slang name for nhwe was, thus, "More-of-the-same."

Little hestv language has been directly recorded, but a reply to a request to send good wishes appears transliterated as "Maiwhn ss'hv rhhaiuerieiu nn'mmhuephuit." One known bit of foul language spoken by a hest was the word "fwe." The exact translation has not been recorded, but the word was used in a sentence where Terran Anglish speakers might use "dung" or stronger obscenities.

During the 23rd century, there was at least one hestv serving in Starfleet: Commodore Katha'sat, who commanded Starbase 18 in 2275, and who was also a former classmate of James T. Kirk. (TOS novel: The Wounded Sky) Friends could and did shorten the commodore's name to "Katha."

As per The Wounded Sky, the species name is not capitalized in print. The hestv are likely asexual, since Katha'sat was referred to as "it." However, concepts of motherhood either existed in hestv biology and culture or were understood as referents, as Katha'sat claimed its mother taught it the foul language Kirk jokingly suggested would be offensive to Katha'sat's mother.

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