Diona in the Federation

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Overview

Dionae are the second oldest species to be officially a part of the Federation as citizens, having joined in the early 23rd century, and being fully integrated in 2240. Despite this, however, they still experience heavy monitoring and more stringent rules placed against them as citizens. On the other hand, they are provided many comforts, such as free housing in the form of Spiral Gardens, and they are not as limited in terms of growth as they are in many parts of human space. The vast majority of Dionae living in the Federation come from the Conglomerated Choir of Nralakk, the first cluster to be discovered by the Skrell. There are also Dionae that come from wild clusters discovered since the Conglomerated Choir's discovery, as well as a minor immigrant population that wish to join the Federation thanks to its treatment of Dionae in comparison to the rest of the Orion Spur.

Overall, Diona from the Federation may feel privileged to be from the Federation as they are given more freedoms, and are more or less treated as equals by their Skrellian peers. Diona who are unable to maintain their social credit score, however, may find themselves experiencing the crueller side of the Federation; with restrictions on growth and being given the bare minimum to survive, it’s not uncommon for many tertiary Diona to emigrate to places like Tau Ceti.

Dionae at Each Lifestage

Coeus (Nymphs)

When a nymph is first born, it will have one of two upbringings: it will either be raised by a Skrell quya, where it will be taught the ideals of the Federation and how to be an upstanding citizen (see the adoption section below), or it will be entrusted to a gestalt for tutoring. The gestalt in question must have:

  • A high social credit score of at least 6.35,
  • Of a mind type that best represents the Federations collective ideals,
  • A clean record since gaining their citizenship with the Federation.

At this stage in life, the nymph is cared for like a child; its needs being met by their primary caregiver and is usually attended to at all times to ensure a stable upbringing.

Coeus (Gestalts)

Once the nymph has formed a gestalt and gained citizenship, they will be given a job by local officials which best matches their aptitude and disposition as determined by their citizenship exam. The more common jobs suggested by the Federation include botanical, mining, and logistical roles, with other roles being available depending on mind type. Gestalts who accept roles suggested to them tend to have a higher social credit score than their peers in the same field.

Coeus at this stage are monitored by the Government carefully, more so than Geras, to ensure that they remain productive members of Federation society. This monitoring is relaxed as they grow older and more set in their ways.

Geras

As a gestalt ages, opportunities arise which allow them to further expand their knowledge. The Federation highly encourages gestalts to seek out traditional learning at one of their universities. Combined with consenting blood samples, the Diona either specialises in their assigned field or begin learning in a new field of study. It’s common for a Diona to be just as educated as a Skrell of a similar age, if not exceeding them in some cases.

Penumas

Once the gestalt reaches the Penumas stage of the Diona lifecycle, they will be interred in one of the many Spiral Gardens dotted across the Federation. Here, they will be cared for by both Skrellian and Dionae caretakers, with the latter being highly specialised phytologists who are also tasked with monitoring the Dionae population as they interact with each other.

Spiral Gardens and Dionae Living Spaces

‘Spiral Garden’ is the name of a common closed ecological structure found across the Federation that houses the majority of its Dionae population. The size varies, but the general layout is the same: a large dome with several spires dotting it, with various native flora and fauna making their home there.

These spires are initially made out of man-made material, but in some cases can eventually be either reinforced or expanded by the Penumas living inside the Garden. Due to the rarity of Penumas Dionae however, there are many Spiral Gardens that do not have this specific feature. The spires act as living spaces for the Diona, and if the Garden houses a Penumas, is usually expanded upon and connected to other nearby spires.

Monitoring of Dionae

As mentioned previously, the Skrellian caretakers are also botanical scientists given the task of researching the Dionae species. As such, Dionae are given quite a bit of freedom inside the Spiral Gardens to facilitate this research. However, this only extends so far, meaning a gestalts size and the number of nymphs it’s allowed to contain are still regulated. Unsanctioned splitting, merging, or reforming is still frowned upon. The observations made inside the Spiral Gardens are all passive, with recording equipment constantly streaming data for the scientists to analyze and study. Dionae, including the caretakers, are not made aware of this monitoring in order to prevent the scientific data collected from being affected.

Living conditions can differ greatly between planets, but is mostly dependent on the gestalts Social Credit Score. Those with a good score will be given more access to technology such as weather simulators to provide ideal conditions in their living space, and personal holographic projectors such as nralak projectors or stelloscopes that showcase planets, systems, and constellations of interest for education and entertainment. Gestalts with a lower social credit score are only given the bare essentials in their living space to allow their survival, with access to radiation limited to further prevent their growth.

Other Living Spaces

Dionae may also find themselves taking residence inside one of the Federations underwater cities. These cities offer similar comforts as your average space station for Dionae; artificial lights are enough to sustain dionae, and warmth and radiation are both provided by the hydrothermal vents typically located near these cities. The conditions here are similar to those given to tertiary numericals in the Spiral Gardens: they allow for a gestalt to live comfortably, but not thrive. Most gestalts who decide to live in the depths are tertiary numericals because of this.

Government Interactions

While Dionae are generally treated well in the Federation, they are in a unique situation: Dionae have no presence in the Nlom nor the ability to enter the Srom, meaning they have difficulty interacting with the many psionic aspects of Skrell life. The Federation gives the species many freedoms, but actively monitors their behaviour and keeps a firm grip on their day-to-day life to ensure that they do not become a security risk.

Social Credit System and Dionae

The species was subjected to a similar but separate social credit system to Skrellian citizens of the Federation soon after first contact. This system came with harsh limitations such as a hard cap on their social credit score, travel bans for all registered gestalts, and stricter regulations on gestalt sizes. This system was gradually replaced, with Diona transitioning into the main social credit system after full integration of the species in 2240.

Dionae are now beholden to the same social credit system as Skrell, with similar inductive/deductive behaviours, with a few additional policies:

Inductive Behaviours include being raised by a Skrellian quya from birth or being tutored by a respected gestalt, following the Orthodox Eternal faith, and going into careers as suggested by the Federation.

Deductive Behaviours include following the Blood Eternal faith, unsanctioned splitting/merging, non-consensual/unsanctioned blood sampling, refusing suggested career paths, growing new nymphs without permission, being born illegally/outside of the Federation, and failing to register all nymphs that are part of the gestalt.

How Dionae Interact with the Social Credit System

Most Diona in the Federation are secondary numericals, with an aggregate score of around 5.72. While rare, there are a few Dionae over the centuries that have been able to reach idol status as a primary numerical. Social credit score is tied to the gestalt, as opposed to each nymph having its own score. Due to the Diona lifespan, it is noticeably harder for a gestalt to increase their score in comparison to Skrell. This has lead to a strange phenomenon: members of a gestalt will stick together, even when there is strong animosity between them, in order to prevent complications arising from splitting and the likelihood of it affecting their social credit score even if sanctioned. Dionae that perform an unsanctioned splitting outside of emergency situations will take a heavy hit to their social credit score, with penalties being harsher depending on time between the splitting and it being reported to the authorities. Splits performed in an emergency should still be reported.

Difference in the Dionae and Skrell Experience within the System

While a Skrell may find themselves becoming more famous, experiencing relaxed travel and reproductive restrictions, and greater access to state resources, the unique situation of the Dionae means they are rewarded (or punished) in an entirely different way.

Diona with a higher social credit score will find themselves being modelled as the ideal citizen to other gestalts, given praise for their actions as well as having higher expectations of them by the state. Along with this, gestalts of a high score will be given lesser restrictions on the number of nymphs allowed (up to the maximum of twenty), more education opportunities, and greater freedom of travel. Compared what Skrell receive, Dionae benefits focus more on the ability to grow, learn, and proliferate, with less emphasis on comfort.

Gestalts with a high credit score will also find themselves in a unique position amongst dionae; their opinion will have more weight behind it when considered by other gestalts despite their age, overriding the general view of ‘experience is what matters’ typically held by the species.

Restrictions on Dionae-specific Actions

It should be noted that gestalts with a good social credit score are the only ones who are able to take blood samples from Skrell, and even then with extremely strict rules; Skrell with a high security clearance, specifically Government officials and members of state military and intelligence organisations of any rank are disbarred from providing blood samples. Skrell that meet these criteria that are in an intimate relationship with a Diona are also banned from having their remains absorbed by the gestalt.

Dionae with an SCS of 6.35 or above are the only ones allowed by the state to absorb a deceased Skrell, something that is considered an honour to perform and deeply intimate. More on this practice is discussed below under the relationship section.

Dionae who become tertiary numericals are treated much in the same way as Skrell; they are shunned by the state and their fellow citizens, refused access to state resources, receive a blanket ban on their reproductive rights, and the harshest restrictions on travel possible.

Splitting as a Form of Re-education

Due to physiological differences making typical Federation re-education methods either ineffective or entirely impossible, a gestalt may instead be forced to split and their nymphs absorbed by multiple loyal gestalts for re-education. This usually involves the loyal gestalt using their combined voice to effectively condition the nymph into conforming to Federation ideals. Once it’s confirmed that each nymph has been re-educated successfully, they are allowed to remerge into the original gestalt, with their social credit score reset to five.

Expulsion of Penumas

Penumas gestalts that find their social credit score falling into the tertiary bracket will find themselves ejected from the Spiral Gardens, being allowed to float in the void of space while being closely monitored by an assigned research vessel.

Adoption

Due to the lack of presence in the Wake, the Federation takes more active measures to ensure that the species conforms to its ideals. The most widespread and accepted way of doing this is through ‘adoption’. While there’s no official adoption agency, Skrell are encouraged to take in newborn nymphs and raise them as part of their family unit. Over the course of several years, it’s the duty of the quya to instil the same ideals and positive qualities the Federation looks for in its citizens into the Dionae they’ve adopted. No two cases are the same, but it’s typically agreed that once the nymph has become a gestalt, and is able to complete its citizenship test and find employment, they are ready to join the Federation as an independent citizen rather than seen as dependents of their quya (or as some outside observers have mentioned, as pets).

Xrim and 'The First Consciousness'

Adoption is also the Federations preferred method of dealing with the Dionae from Xrim that worship ‘The First Consciousness’. Typically taken in by older Skrell who lived during the time of Glorsh-Omega. The gestalts are encouraged to take blood samples from their host family in order to experience what happened centuries before, and are slowly taught the truth behind their ‘deity’. Not many older Skrell who lived through this era are willing to relive their past and assist in this endeavour, but those that do take the duty seriously.

Citizenship

Dionae do not receive citizenship at birth. Instead, they are given the equivalent of residency, and they must apply for citizenship once they have reached what is considered ‘maturity’ in the Federation. This usually means they have spent a few years under the care of a Skrellian quya or a respected gestalt, and have outwardly shown strong loyalties to the Federation.

The Citizenship Test

The Dionae citizenship process is relatively easy compared to the process for other species and can be split up into two sections:

The first section is a health exam. The gestalt is tested mostly for their physical and mental skills, and is usually the deciding factor when suggesting jobs for a gestalt.

The second section is a disposition test. The gestalt is given a series of hypotheticals, where they must answer to the best of their ability. Diona behavioural specialists determine the mind archetype of the Diona in question, with mind types that are more in line with the Federations collectivist ideals being preferred. Mind types that allow members of the gestalt to coordinate well together are favoured over more anarchist ones.

Mind Types and Social Structure

Gestalts with both a harmonious social structure and a favoured mind type will be given a higher social credit score than other gestalts, as well as receive a wider range of initial employment opportunities to choose from.

Gestalts of a more anarchic social structure and unapproved mind type may find themselves under a glass ceiling, unable to progress in the social credit system. They may also find themselves unable to change careers as easily, or even at all, as well as experiencing harsher restrictions on travel and gestalt growth.

Nymph Tagging

After they gain their citizenship, the gestalts associated nymphs are all tagged in two ways. The first is a similar chip system to the one used in the Republic of Biesel, introduced in response to Bill 41-2C to facilitate emmigration to the Republic by Federation gestalts. The second system is solely an internal system that’s been in place since the start of the species’ integration. Each nymph is provided with the equivalent of a ‘passport’ in the form of a barcoded token. The barcode when scanned will show the name, DNA marker, and recent incidents related to the nymph. These tokens are kept close at all times, and can often be seen joined together on a chain worn around the gestalts neck.

Dionae in the Military

Up until recently Dionae served alongside Vaurcae in the Lukala, a subsection of the Qukala, functioning as auxiliary soldiers in the Federation Navy. The Lukala were given simple roles such as border patrols and pirate hunting operations. Due to the species’ pacifistic views, most Dionae were given positions in logistics, medical, and engineering fields. It is not uncommon to see a gestalt in a combat or combat-adjacent position, with Coeus, in particular, being given roles as scouts or field medics.

Today, the Lukala has been dissolved and Dionae are now finding themselves to be equals to their Skrellian counterparts. They are now expected to handle the same responsibilities and are no longer relegated to what was considered by many in the Qukala to be ‘unimportant affairs’. Even with this progressive change Dionae are still excluded from certain positions due to their views on pacifism, and in some cases are simply unable to interact with certain equipment needed for the role due to physiological differences.

Dionae in the Government

While there are no explicit regulations regarding Dionae in Government positions locally, it can be difficult for a gestalt to get into an elected position. Contrary to this though, planets with a sizeable Diona population will commonly find themselves with gestalts in both elected and assigned roles in the planets Government hierarchy. Gestalts could find themselves in a variety of roles, from town mayors or clerks, to judges or even deputy Governorships. Federally however, there is a strict ‘no Diona’ policy in place for most positions. Instead, Diona who wish to interact at the Federal level usually find themselves employed as assistants or deputies to Skrellian officials.

The only exception to this policy is the consulship of the planet Xrim, which is almost entirely populated by Dionae. The primary directive given to the Consul is to facilitate the rehabilitation of gestalts who worship ‘The First Consciousness’, and to take steps to prevent its proliferation on the planet through cooperation with the Triumverate that heads the local Government.

Requirements

Gestalts who show interest in politics must be of a certain mind type and be able to coordinate and act as one. Gestalts that are able to speak with one unified voice are preferred, but due to their position, this ability must not be tyrannical; it could be seen as unsightly during foreign or domestic assignments.

The First Diplomats

The first Dionae to have been given political positions within the Federation were those who were utilised during the early days of the species discovery, facilitating contact with clusters around Federation space. As time went on, the role was slowly becoming less in demand, and these gestalts were reassigned to low-level governmental and diplomatic assignments. In comparison to modern times, these positions were more honorary, with no real powers given to the diona.

Dionae Consulars

Dionae who find themselves in the position of consular have very strict regulations that they have to follow, including:

  • A minimum age of 180, where the age is of the gestalt as a whole. Nymphs younger than 180 that were not born from the gestalt will disqualify the gestalt from holding this position.
  • A minimum SCS of 7.58, including a spotless record since the gestalts inception.
  • No splitting, merging, or absorption in any capacity while assigned outside of Federation space, the only exception being in the direst of circumstances.

Along with these regulations, a Diona consular will be heavily monitored, and assigned a Skrell handler who is a senior diplomat, and whose attache the Diona is typically a member of. Despite all of this, they are given the same responsibilities as a Skrellian consular with the implication that their position is only as secure as their quality of work.

Diona Relationships

A particularly alien concept for most to conceive of is the idea of Dionae romance. Of course, through the perspective of a singular mind romance is far easier to imagine and to conceptualise, even more so as a species that needs another being to reproduce instead of asexually as Dionae do.

Uniquely among biotic sentient species in the Spur, Dionae have no biological need to reproduce. This means that they have no unique political, social or genetic need to have developed any form of romance or traditional attraction. Thus their form of romance is distinctly alien in all forms, making it unpopular in most areas of space.

Diona and Skrell

For xenophiles, dating a gestalt consciousness requires a lot of hard work. Dionae ‘romance’ as it were, has only been officially witnessed with Skrell citizens. It is often described as the gestalt unanimously, over decades, finding that they would be missing something from their life without the person - and that said person holds significance to them that few others do. This is distinctly an entirely emotional dependency over a long period of time, culminating in all nymphs in the gestalt feeling an emotional bond towards the person. This relationship requires all nymphs in a gestalt to share the same feelings in order to sustain the relationship in any meaningful way.

Death and its Effects

It is uncommon for such relationships to not have a component of the Dionae experiencing the world through the person they view as particularly significant to themselves through tasting their blood. If the person they have viewed as so significant and have spent their collective time being with for so long finally passes, it is not uncommon for said person to ask the gestalt to carry on their legacy through absorbing the deceased’s body. Said gestalt would take in every memory and every experience of their partner. The experience gained would be more than deeply melancholic; it could be seen as the truest form of grief, experiencing everything they had ever done with their partner, and their entire life story.

It may take the Dionae years to fully process all that they have absorbed, and even longer to come to terms with the great grief of the person that they bonded with passing. Often, such gestalts will spend a large amount of their lifespan carrying on the memories of such a person, adopting a name that represents their collective mourning as they do something that said person truly enjoyed or was passionate about.

Mind Types

A majority of gestalts who are in relationships are Singular Sound due to the fact that you do not need to win over multiple sentient minds and instead more of an abstract gestalt consciousness between them all. However, this then becomes even more complicated when all become sentient through the merging with their partner post-death. It is not common for any Skrell to donate their bodies to gestalts post-death unless they have a close connection.

There is a unique mind type only created from these unique couplings when taking their significant other. It is defined as Mourning Mass, and is seen as an unfortunate byproduct of an immortal being truly falling for something that will never attain such a state. Not all Dionae who merge with their partner will have this mind type, but it is the only known way it has been generated.