The Hastra is a species of algae that evolved in the radioactive caverns of the Hadren mountains of Hycra, rich in the element tivfernium. The Hastra attained to sentience in the Galactic Year (GY 14,159) when university student Pawl Hunstar fell into a patch of the Hastra while exploring the mountains for rare minerals for his university course. The experience of bonding was as profound for the Hastra as it was for Hunstar: his was a revelation of God while the Hastra’s was a revelation of its own consciousness.
As it is a brand new consciousness the Hastra does not have many of the qualities one would expect. It has no real desires, apart from survival. It has no political or religious views. It does not have a moral code or even a concept of morals. It does not have intentions in the way that we would understand. It has a self-protective reflex and it knows the minds of its hosts.
At the start of the story it has an awareness of its own self as distinct from the body it is bonded with. Its consciousness is collective. It is composed of many bodies, those of the Bonded, but when we speak of the Hastra we are really only speaking of one individual entity.