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|Culture and Society||Dionae Culture · Notable Dionae · Dionae & Genetic Learning|
The merging and separation of Nymphs take much time and energy to complete, sometimes days or even weeks on much larger structures. For smaller collections such as Cyclopes, it typically only takes an hour or so before they are ready to function. This is due to the Nymph bodies fusing together and creating a sturdy body that will be able to reasonably support itself and move, adapting it to the current environment. Before performing a change, Nymphs and Gestalts will gorge themselves on biomatter in preparation. Separation is only ever done in life-or-death emergencies or special situations such as growing a larger Gestalt as it can often be traumatic to Nymphs if done in a hurry, causing the knowledge gathered to be improperly stored in each individual or even lost without the correct precautions taken. With each change, the new form will always take up a new name to represent the new information and experiences collaborated.
Note that Nanotrasen only hires Cyclops forms to work on the Aurora. All crew characters must be one.
Dionae, being in its very nature a compound creature, comes in several known and theoretical forms with several characteristics:
Nymphs are the base form of a Dionae, often born separate from gestalts. They begin their life with an intelligence similar to that of the average dog, their cognitive abilities exponentially increase when they merge with other Nymphs, giving them a biological prerogative to merge with one another in order to survive and comprehend the world around them. If exposed to sentient blood and absorbed, they will grow to the intelligence of very young human children.
Cerberus are Dionae gestalts who make up more than one nymph, but not enough to be considered a Cyclops form, comprising roughly two to four nymphs. Their intelligence is comparable to the average sentient creature, and are largely unremarkable. It can be difficult for a Cerberus form to find work, as their general size can make it difficult for them to find the equipment they can use unless specialized specifically for them. The majority of long-term Cerberus forms can be found within the Jargon Federation.
The most common form of Dionae gestalts in the galaxy, cyclops-forms, sometimes referred to as “worker forms" are Dionae gestalts who are made up of roughly five to nine nymphs. Most Cyclops resemble other intelligent species, usually having two legs and two arms, although this can differ based on the number of nymphs that are a part of the gestalt. Their intelligence follows the growth of intelligence of lesser forms, comparable to highly intelligent sentient life. They can grasp highly abstract concepts, such as quantum theory, and vastly outstrip the sum of their parts by orders of magnitude. Dionae Cyclops tend to stand anywhere as low as three feet to as tall as eight feet, some even taller. Typically, the majority of the Cyclops will stand at a rough five to six feet.
One of the rarer forms of Dionae, Argus are Dionae made from anywhere from ten nymphs, to a hundred. Due to the sheer size of most Argus forms, work can be extremely tough to find in most unskilled jobs and many find work within specialized jobs, largely with Research or even as Engineers, considering many of them would spend their time on the exterior side of the ships and stations, allowing for the soaking up of radiation and light.
Colossus forms are Dionae gestalts that are made up of as little as one-hundred-and-one nymphs to upwards of five-hundred-thousand. Colossus forms are split into two sub-categories, "Trireme", who are gestalts that move through space, and “Echions”, gestalts that tend to stay in one area/system. Most newly discovered gestalts in space are considered a Trireme Colossi. Due to the sheer size of a Colossus, it is incredibly rare if not impossible for one to find work or a purpose. As such most will break up into a myriad of new gestalts to see new and better opportunities.
Cetus forms are a mass of Dionae so immense, in the orders of a million nymphs, that it can be considered a stellar body. Currently, only two have been observed, those being the gestalt above Nralakk, the second being the recent Venter's Cetus. Unknown capabilities - theorized to be more intelligent than most other forms of intelligence, organic or synthetic. It is suspected that the original Dionae gestalt, where it may be, is at least this form if not the form below.
A theoretical form of the Dionae - a planet, or even star-sized Diona form consisting of maybe more nymphs than is currently known to exist, maybe the pinnacle of organic processing and thought. Uncharted intelligence. The Skrell has an order to destroy any Dionae structure that could reach or has reached, this size due to the inherent risk of intelligence singularity and other classified risks.
It is erroneously believed that the only format that Dionae can gain sentience- and therefore knowledge- is through the blood of sentient creatures. However this is quite false, and often the shortsighted view of those who are unfortunately subject to ‘anklebiters’. Sapience is instead something that is achieved due to the instinctive behaviour of nymphs to gather together. What they cannot achieve alone or through external DNA, they manage to achieve as a collective, becoming fully sapient and sentient. What is however debated is if they are actually individually sentient or only the greater being, although such collectives will argue it doesn’t matter.
The memories of any individual Diona are linked specifically to their neural strata, and due to how it is imprinted cannot be imparted across neural links to the others in their gestalt. This leads to an unfortunate eventuality in that if a nymph leaves a gestalt, the information it held is gone forever. When one wishes to leave formally, there is a known process known simply as ‘departing’. Where the collective will go to a safe place that they can be assured they will not need to move or be at risk of starvation. During this time the nymph will sing vocally a song of their experiences, of their knowledge and training. In this way they can imprint their knowledge in an abstract way across their collective or even much larger ones. It is not uncommon to go on pilgrimages when the departing is in process, and those who are at witness to it note how varied the emotion in such songs are depending on the histories of such nymphs. There is also a darker method of obtaining the memories of other nymphs, to devour their neural strata allows the physical repurposing and absorbing of fragments of their memories. This is of course never done to another living nymph, as it would be incredibly traumatic to internalize being eaten alive. The strangest part of forceful integration is that their memories are an absolute void of emotion, when thinking about them or recalling them in any fashion there is never any emotional connotation. This can be incredibly strange and uncomfortable, and can never be reversed once absorbed. There are experimental unbinding surgeries to remove absorbed neural strata to get those experiences out, however the success rate is very minute as the exacts of nymph neurology are largely unexplored.
Dionae do not choose how their internal mind structures work, such things will happen due to circumstances, personalities and environments around them that will cause various structures to develop. The below encompasses some of the myriad of potential structures that exist, and is by no means a conclusive list. Think of these as inspiration and feel free to make your own, although be logical with if your gestalt’s unique mind would be fitting for the job NT has hired them for.
Station characters still need to be reasonable, NT wouldn't hire someone who can't work or acts insane. Keep in mind that some of the mind types are restricted to certain roles/may not be allowed to be a station character at all
The gestalt has very little individuality within each nymph, with each being akin to a large cluster of neurons working symbiotically.There is little in the terms of an internal dialog within these collectives, usually all acting as relays for their unified consciousness. These are usually from nymphs that have merged without ever consuming blood. The loss of a singular nymph is catastrophically damaging to this kind of network, akin to suffering major brain damage. - They may speak all at once or only use one to preserve neural load, depending on their opinion. These are suggested for those new to Dionae or those who aren’t as interested in roleplaying the more complicated mind types.
All skilled nymphs within the collective are in charge of their respective areas, the social nymph does not need to confer with the others and thus speaks with completely normal inflection without any large gaps. However may end up pausing if the collective has pressing issues they want the social nymph to present. This is most often with specialized collectives with utilitarian views. No individual nymph is more important than the others if they are all the same level of skill.
This kind of collective is unusual, stemming from a nymph with extreme ideologies or absolute indoctrination with a dogmatic view point. Usually the social nymph will take an authoritarian role over the other nymphs within the collective, and they all act together out of the unity of the singular personality than anything else. The loss of the Overseer nymph itself will utterly cripple this collective, causing a power struggle and internal conflict for quite some time afterwards. Such collectives will not usually have difficulty with speech unless the Overseer is not the social nymph.
Within this often complicated and socially conflicted Gestalt is a pure democratic rule, every action it takes will be voted upon internally. This results in gaps in speech either with long silences or a short pause between every word as they decide exactly what the majority of them wish to do. They might mention ‘majority’ frequently when referencing if they voted on something, or ‘minority’ when mentioning freedom of speech. Something frequent within these gestalts is that when returning to a greater such as an Argus they may have new ones replace older ones who cannot successfully get votes to their opinion. No singular nymph is more valuable than another, and the social nymph may be distributed to multiple throughout depending on the collective.
A collection of nymphs who are together merely out of the benefit and added safety of numbers. They may speak all at once, interrupt one another and generally not be particularly easy to listen to. The nymphs could be prone to argue, or they may be quite content with saying what they feel. These collectives are usually quite young and have not settled into a structure that makes it easier for all of them to feel appreciated. (This mind type is restricted to Janitors, Gardeners and Cargo Technicians. Be reasonable with this one, we don’t want to have to remove it.)
These are one of the most common with more ancient collectives that come from the void and space whales. The opinions within them matter most entirely dependent on age, the more bark that has accumulated on your body the more complicated your song must be. These are likely to have traditions, be religious or have other viewpoints that are relayed by the elder. For a cyclops on station this could mean the head is entirely covered with bark to the point that it is immobile from age, as an example. They will often reference songs and the most traumatic loss is the destruction of the eldest among them. Such collectives will have entirely unique structures based around whatever the Elder deems best, but will always submit to the wisdom of the oldest among them. The Eldest will near universally be the social nymph to best represent them.
An extreme variant of the Singular Sound, they are nymphs who have achieved sentience quite similarly to the Singular Sound. However they have become increasingly opinionated against the idea of drinking blood, to the point that they reject anything that could shed blood. Such collectives are considered radicals due to their intense pacifistic approach, rejecting the utilitarian views on conflict entirely. Such collectives usually believe that drinking blood could fundamentally change who they are, and will often not join into an Argus for fear one of them may have drunk blood and could expose them. Their outright refusal to imbibe blood also means that they lose a critical quantity of information that will take potentially decades to relearn because they cannot fast track it. (This mind type is restricted from security roles due to the fact that lethality is something they have to be prepared to do.)
Uniquely these never are formed from fresh cyclops but split from Argus and upwards. Specifically it is a trained gestalt that alternates one or two young nymphs on a regular basis, the others exist to let the young nymphs safely experience the outside world, working to provide funds for the greater gestalt, social norms, and get blood samples to help them experience the world around them. Such gestalts are usually run by the older nymphs but following on the whims of the younger ones to let them experience things with the safety net of those with more wisdom. The loss of the younger nymphs is more tragic to such a collective than the older ones, to a usual collective they will mourn the fact they failed to protect the very ones they were supposed to protect. (This mind type is restricted from Security roles due to the potential risk of killing the young nymphs.)
The most alien of all the gestalts even to other Dionae, are those known as the Voided, those who are unified in purpose to absorb knowledge of the dead. They speak almost purely in poetic notions and have near to no internal dialog. What is so bizarre about these collectives is their obsession with death, offering to take on even the memories of other species post mortem despite the traumatic experiences. The amount of disjointed knowledge, memories and thoughts have long since made it impossible to tell what is from original minds or what their many memories are. Such collectives experience near to no real emotion due to the expanse of emotionless memories they contain, however, when exposed to grief from losing one of their nymphs, it may be overwhelming over the lack of emotion they have had for so long. Common notions of theirs is that nobody should ever be forgotten to time, or that they can give a form of immortality in themselves to those they can “save”. (This mind type is restricted from station roles entirely.)
These are a unique gestalt that have formed more in the modern era of Dionae xenos relations. What makes them particularly interesting to the observer is near to all of the nymphs are social nymphs, with expertly trained skills in specific areas of social nuance. This gives them an almost eerie essence when they pick up even your most subtle facial movements and deduce your emotional state. They are renowned for their social skills and patience, however due to the quantity of social nymphs are quite incapable of complex physical tasks. (This mind type is restricted to, Liaison/Rep, Psychologist(includes alt titles), Investigator, Chaplain, Librarian and visitor.)