The Chigs are fully human.That's the real secret that the Aero-Tech company man alluded to when interrogating the last survivor of the Tellus attack when he said the survivor was "not the farthest man from home". The "gills" and green goo seen in the pilot and the gnarly hands, etc., are just part of their multi-layered armor. The "alien face" is a breathing mask.
- Those features could possibly be mutations from radiation, either from a colony ship that didn't protect its crew or from a previously unknown radiation on the world they settled.
The Humans and Chigs rely on a number of different FTL methodsReferences are made to (naturally occurring?) wormholes, "Hawking Drives" as well as relativistic travel, but it's never really made clear how people in the 'Verse travel faster-than-light, though they clearly must in order to wage an interstellar war with troops and ships moving between star systems week after week. References to FTL travel in-verse make it sound rather opportunistic, with "windows" of time during which particular journeys can be made (this probably references wormhole travel, which could be used as much as possible to save power).
This series is the prequel to FireflyA colony ship fell through a one-way wormhole and ended up in the system that Firefly takes place in. After 500 years, the truth has been garbled due to the issues of getting set up from scratch or possibly for political reasons.