The definition of Paragangian is complicated by the fact that there is a biological race and an Empire. A person can be biologically Paragangian and yet not a member of the empire, and a person can join the empire and not be fully biologically Paragangian, though one must have some genetic capacity to receive an Implant and become culturally Paragangian.
The primary characteristic Identifying a biological Paragangian is the black skin. However, some people bred by Kai'zen Rhoiso on the planet Moonlight Oasis look just like Biological Paragangians but have atypical skills such as telepathy and shape shifting. Half Rhoisoan half Paragangian shape shifters such as Sunshine Typically have one basic form which appears to be purely Paragangian, and can easily pass for a pure Paragangian. except for these unnatural genetic alterations, the black skin only appears in Genetically pure Paragangians.
Other than the black skin, typical traits include.
Large stature, adults generally ranging from 6'5-7 feet tall
The ability to share dreams. Paragangians typically Dream Bond with their children at their births, some parents Dream Bond with children before birth. Dreaming is considered sacred in Paragangian culture and they are very careful to keep their dreaming culture hidden from Non-Paragangians.
Fur covering all of body except face and hands
Eyes which "shatter" when the person is severely hurt or stressed. Basically when the pupils contract fully the Iris separates revealing many tiny grey lines, which causes the color of the iris to fog.
Anyone who is linked to the Community Mind through a Memory Implant is considered a part of the community.
People exiled for minor offenses do not have their implant removed [because that is basically a death sentence] but their implants are locked out of the Community Mind . Theretically minor exiles might still be able to wear an external link, as Terrans do when visiting in Paragangian Communities. They also could be restored to membership by having their internal links reactivated.
Not everyone can become Paragangian. A person must have the genetic structure which leads to dreaming skills to receive an implant because the technology is a technological extension of Shared Dreaming. The Rhoisoan telepathy and shape shifting are an alternative manifestation of this gene, so telepaths and shifters can receive implants, but the implant suppresses their telepathy and perhaps also their shifting. Thus if Sunshine were to choose to become Paragangian to marry Leon , she would probably lose her preferred cat-girl form. [I don't think she will choose that right away] although It might theoretically be possible for Sen'tran [or whoever takes over his medical role, since he dies before Sunshine returns to Paragangia] to come up with a way to allow implanted shifters to still shift.
Non-biologically Paragangian Negotiators employed by Paragangian do NOT receive implants but are considered part of the community [Paragangian Negotiators, as in Negotiators representing Paragangia] Darcy and Jason would both be Paragangian in this sense]