Dionae

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The cold, desolate void of space, the only home Dionae have always known.

Overview

Enigmatic witnesses to various events through the centuries, the Dionae are an inquisitive species with a pacifistic disposition after gaining sentience. Their origins, behaviour and functions are never alike - with each being as unique as the next. The Dionae are capable of great intellectual, biological and physical feats going above and beyond what was considered possible for millennia. Dionae are similar to both plant and animal, however, they primarily survive off of the electromagnetic spectrum coinciding with a diet of biological matter to supplement their growth. Their lack of ability to adapt to lack of radiation can lead to death, if not exposed to at least efficient lighting. Dionae have been seen across the Orion Spur, each with a unique history and personality.

Dionae
D. Primis
Dionae410x320.png
Native Language(s): Rootsong
Faction(s): Mult.
Location(s): Mult.

Occupational

Dionae can explore numerous employment opportunities, even that of Command Staff in the ranks of NanoTrasen. Although they are limited, Dionae can be found as Research Directors, Chief Engineers and Chief Medical Officers. They, however, cannot be Emergency Medical Technicians nor Paramedics due to their severe slowness, risking the life of the patient.

Mechanics

  • Access to the species' unique language, Rootsong with,q prefix.
  • Lives off of light and radiation, dies without either for a long period of time.
  • Heals damage while in light or radiation.
  • Heals from radiation chemicals, gains damage from anti-radiation and weedkillers.
  • Not affected by lack of atmosphere or pressure.
  • Moves slower than most other species, even slower when in darkness. Speed increases when in good light or irradiated.
  • Can split a nymph from their gestalt and control it. Can also switch between the split nymph and original gestalt at will.
  • Can split completely into several nymphs, as well as reform into a gestalt with enough biomass.
  • Can regrow limbs with enough nutrients and while exposed to light or radiation, faster with radiation.
  • Can *chirp and *chirp_song.
  • Can devour certain creatures by grabbing them, aiming for the mouth, and clicking yourself.
  • Can use the Create Structure verb to form their biological mass into a wall, floor, or glowing bulb.

Biology

Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. The Dionae, by virtue of being a unique lifeform, features an anatomy seen almost nowhere else, and a variation in colour and texture that comes from different experiences in life. Each Dionae is unique to the next, none being alike.

Physiology

Dionae come in a myriad of forms, all different in terms of their sizes. Nymphs are highly adaptable and are capable of living in various environments deemed uninhabitable for other species. Their worm-like appearance that many are familiar with is shaped by many tough tendrils, beneath the large, singular eye, near which two long, thinner tendrils act as delicate sensory organs. These tendrils tightly wrap themselves around the body to cocoon it in a thick, protective layer, using six thick, shorter tendrils for locomotion. The most common sighted form of Dionae is a Cyclops, which is a four-limbed bipedal created by the fusion of several nymphs. Merging consists of wrapping or forming a symbiotic relationship with other Nymphs, and as the tendrils constrict they harden to almost stone - which further allows them to support the rest of the gestalt.

Nymphs that form the bipedal body typically use the standard construct of two arms, two legs and a central abdomen from which these sprout from. They are all connected to the top Nymph, who is usually the most vocal but also more commonly the one with the most experiences. Whilst merged, each Nymph surprisingly manages to keep their sense of self and individuality as they share their thoughts and communicate with one another as separate entities while acting as one.

Dionae have also been known to form organs to assist in adapting to new environments. Typically they form Neural Stratas, Gas Bladders, Polyp Segments and Anchoring Ligaments. Neural Stratas are considered the ‘arteries’ of a Dionae - linking each Nymph to one another directly. It is said the Neural Strata is one of the first organs formed, and is considered the flow of information between each nymph, and severing it unexpectedly can force Dionae to go catatonic.

Gas Bladders are small pouches of growth, similar to a human lung, that allows gaseous exchange to occur - mostly being in that it turns only large amounts of various gases to use for biomass growth. Polyp Segments are one of the last organs to form - mostly along the Dionae’s Gas Bladder - but also the most likely to get infected. When infected, the Polyp Segments secrete large amounts of mucous which then is dispelled by the top nymph, which then goes on to infect more. Polyp infections are considered extremely dangerous to Dionae, and entire gestalts can perish as it spreads throughout them. Anchoring Ligaments are some of the last organs to form, and generally are formed on the ‘legs’ of a Dionae, which in turn assist in balancing. The ligaments can get inflamed, which is normally treated with various periods of rest. The condition is only noted in gestalts over a century old.

Self Preservation

Dionae feel pain uniquely. When damage is inflicted upon a certain part of a gestalt, it would be incredibly painful for the nymphs affected and so they cry out in pain, however, it would be an intense throbbing to the other members of the gestalt. Discomfort would originate from the injured section across to the entirety of the gestalt.

Dionae also have a sense of fear, however, mostly related to that of losing experiences due to splitting. Splitting is the act of a gestalt fracturing due to continuously sustained damage, and is to be avoided. They would inherently fear environments deemed dangerous, as the risk of losing experiences is akin to that of death.

Although physiologically plant-based, Dionae behaviour is more animal than plant. Radiation, specifically in the form of light, is extremely vital to Dionae, and without it will begin to wither. Dionae have three innate behaviours throughout their lifespan, no matter what samples are collected. Dionae see light as their main priority, and environments without such are deemed hazardous and are to be avoided at all costs, at risk of losing memories and knowledge.

Nymph Splitting

A Dionae Gestalt can split a nymph from itself and move semi-independently. This process is done by the two “singing” to each other on a frequency only they can understand. Since individual nymphs hold individual experiences, removing a nymph from a gestalt will cause minor amnesia while they're apart. This can mean that the gestalt might forget languages or ideas on nymph separation until the nymph returns to the physical body.

To best explain the idea, the Dionae philosophers in The Overgrowth of Xrim cluster describe the feeling as ... "Thoughts are liquid, winding as a river does. When the river splits, they are different beings with different experiences. When they return to each other, they share both experiences of both paths."

Metabolism

Dionae are capable of taking just about any matter from their surroundings and able to metabolize it into nutrition for themselves, being opportunistic feeders. Soil, fluids, biological matter, even particles from the air- biomatter being the most beneficial in the form of matter-to-energy conversion. If something is consumed and cannot be digested, the material is ejected through the process of regurgitation as the species appear to only have one orifice, their rather effective digestive system not producing waste, unlike most other organics. However, their main source of energy comes from the electromagnetic spectrum in the form of radiation, the most common being ultraviolet. While they can go without nutritious matter, being in the presence of radiation- ultraviolet being the minimum tolerated- is a necessity at all times. Without it, Dionae are soon to wither, enter a comatose state, and shortly die within the span of a few hours. A powerful source of radiation is highly beneficial to the species, and when provided biomatter can heal themselves at an accelerated rate; reproduction and growth is also done in exponentially short periods in such perfect conditions.

This comes at a great cost -- Their metabolism, while an incredible feat of Biology, is coupled with the Nymph undergoing a process which forces them to be almost sedentary. Their speed and activity decreasing as they age - with many becoming completely unable to move after a few centuries due to increasing weight, formation of thorns and hardening of joints after which they are often forced to root into a greater gestalt at this point, or risk slowing the younger Nymphs that they merge with to a halt and in the worst cases being left to die in relative isolation.

Means of neutralizing energy found on the electromagnetic spectrum would be disorienting to Dionae, but because they have evolved with radiation as their primary form of sustenance and must be exposed to the energy source at all times, substances that neutralize it, in particular, are toxic to the species.

Reproduction

Dionae follow an asexual reproduction cycle, similarly observed in plants. Gestalts will release a plume of seeds approximately once every ten years, typically after having travelled to their place of origin (similarly to Salmon). The reasoning for such is to best ensure that experiences occur, as many cite their best experiences come from their origin point, however, If it is either impossible to return to such a point, or it is simply wished to spread their seeds elsewhere, many Dionae will attempt to find environments that are optimal for pod growth.

Xenobotanists have noted that the spores released from Dionae are configured to be capable of spreading via solar winds - and many study the journey of it, allowing for solar wind trails to be noted and investigated. This has also led to various clusters to form far from civilised corners of the known universe. It is also believed that the spores are capable of surviving atmospheric entry thanks to a hardened form of ambergris covering the seed, which becomes fertilizer within the soil after germination occurs.

When the seeds reach a location (preferably optimal) they sink themselves within the ground, many have noted once they have rooted themselves it becomes increasingly more hard to remove them. The Dionae seed then begins to germinate and develops into a Diona Replicant Pod - which is, in essence, a Diona egg. The pod then absorbs much of the nutrients surrounding itself, but also feeds on the ambergris coating that had once upon a time protected it.

In optimal condition, a pod can grow relatively quickly - however, should required nutrients not be available the pod enters a state of hibernation until such nutrients are provided. It can sometimes take centuries for a pod to fully develop. Pods grown without Ambergris tend to find the nymphs produced to wither soon after being disgorged.

Social

Language

These cryptic creatures are capable of comprehending hundreds of languages if exposed to the correct amount of genes, however, their physical limitations restrict them to only being able to speak a handful. The typical Dionae will likely speak Tau Ceti Basic and Rootsong - but can emulate other languages such as Freespeak and Tradeband, albeit slowly to annunciate the words correctly. Sinta'Unathi is also amongst the languages easily emulated, but Dionae will tend to fall flat when speaking Siik'Maas as the translation is sometimes lost due to their inability to do imitate the same gestures as the Tajaran.

Rootsong

Their language, named "Rootsong" (as translated), uses various limbs and membranes to imitate what most would see as "natural" sounds - leaves whisking in the wind, branches rubbing - and even some instrumental sounds, at times (flute-like sounds and drumming being common). However, to those who can discern it - Rootsong is a true orchestra of language. Syntax and grammar are simply part of the song, reflected in tempo and beats, while emotions are conveyed through pitch and the imitation of weather effects, such as wind and moisture. Most interestingly - the sound itself is only a byproduct of their body structure, as some humans have successfully learned Rootsong (without the emotional intonations) through violin and calliope organs. Xenohistorians often use the Rootsong as evidence that the Dionae evolved in conditions involving an atmosphere.

Communication

While Dionae gestalts can utilize a myriad of ways to communicate with other lifeforms, the majority will speak either slowly, pausing between some words, or speak quickly, extending their words.

Dionae who speak slowly will generally only use one nymph to communicate, having to pause to decide amongst the gestalt what to say next (an example being “We… are a… dionae”). These Dionae will generally be much older and contain a larger amount of nymphs in their gestalt. The speaker in this instance is usually seen as an elected leader, trusted to speak only what the gestalt agrees upon.

Dionae who speak quickly are generally using multiple nymphs to communicate, their words seemingly extending as multiple are speaking (an example being “Wee aarre aa dioonaee.”). These dionae will generally be much younger and contain a small number of nymphs in their gestalt. A majority of the nymphs will speak at once, rather than just utilize one nymph. The nymphs will still generally agree upon what to say, sometimes causing pauses similar to the other method.

Note that while these two methods are generally the way dionae will communicate, it does not mean the only ways they will. You're free to make up your own ways and reasons. You’re free to contact the Dionae loredev team with questions

Psychology and Emotions

Dionae differ incredibly to other species in terms of their emotions and psychology; primarily in how it affects each nymph and how it would be displayed in a gestalt. Dionae feel a myriad of diverging reactions to certain issues - which is what set them apart from others. When a Nymph first becomes sentient, and the ability to grasp more intricate and complicated ideas becomes easier, there is a rare chance for complications to arise which are deemed ‘Cognitive Obstacles’ and can easily be seen as mental disorders.

‘Cognitive Obstacles’ parallel mental illnesses that frequently find themselves rooted within other species across the Orion Spur. These ‘Cognitive Obstacles’ affect Dionae uniquely in the sense that each nymph can experience these differently to another. Dionae can form ‘Cognitive Obstacles’ similar to that of PTSD, Anxiety and Tourettes. It can be expected that Dionae that fall into this category of ‘Cognitive Obstacles’ will have bursts of unintended chirps, additionally coinciding with spasms. Some have noted that they have intense bouts of paranoia, and periods where they will experience an existential crisis.

Dionae can also form ‘Cognitive Obstacles’ similar to that of various depressive disorders. These are often seen as a mortal danger - where if an individual nymph begins to feel symptoms similar to the depressive disorders, such as intense periods of feeling impending doom or simply feeling lifeless, will eventually spread these thoughts through a gestalt which will eventually perish. Nymphs that are deemed ‘a hazard to the entire gestalt’ are cast and left to find treatment or will perish if they do not.

Splitting Disorder is a temporary disorder which occurs in gestalts that have split off into smaller forms, usually for work purposes (an Argus splitting into Cyclops forms to work in an office). The disorder is characterised by increased anxiety within the Dionae at being apart from each other and an intense fear that harm might befall one of the split forms, getting worse the longer the gestalt is split. This fear of danger varies for gestalt to gestalt, with some split forms being “braver” than others. Splitting Disorder can temporarily be relieved by brief re-merging via physical contact. This usually appears to other species as close hugs or hand-holding followed by happy chirping of the nymphs within the gestalt. It can be permanently cured by a full re-merging or after a long period of separation through long periods of separation can instead turn into a Depressive Disorder. The death or injury of a split partner tends to be extremely traumatising for the other partners, with the level and manner of the trauma dependent on each nymph, with some being “braver” than others.