Dionae Forms

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Forms

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:

Nymph

Nymph
The humble beginnings for all Dionae, the Nymph stage.

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

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 Nralakk Federation.

Cyclops
Bipedal in form, the Cyclops are the most common gestalts to be seen across the Orion Spur.

Cyclops

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.

Argus

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

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

Cetus
One of few Cetus' captured by Skrell technology when discovered over Kelo'Hen

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 three have been observed, those being the gestalt above Nralakk, The Conglomerated Choir of Nralakk, Peaceful Static In Endless Waves, also known as Venter's Cetus, and the more recently discovered Wandering Chorale of the Spur. 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.

More informatin on each of the Cetus's can be found, here.

Titan

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.

Dionae Life Cycle

The Dionae life cycle is categorized in Basic by the old Greek words of Coeus, Geras, and Penuma.

All Dionae either form within a spored pod, or grown internally within a larger gestalt over time. Those who are formed from the former act almost entirely on instinct from their more limited thinking capacity, those who form via the latter are much more like a neuron that improves the whole until exposed to blood of a sentient species.

Age bracket for Coeus officially being classified as a Geras
- Default Bark (temperate/spacestation grown) Lighter Bark (warm planets) Darker bark (cold planets/space)
Natural 50-90 years old 80-120 years old 30-70 years old
With treatments 120-140 years old 150-180 years old 80-100 years old

Coeus

Classified in Basic is Coeus, to mean “youth” in a rough translation. Those who are classified as Coeus are within a rather large age bracket, and have very little bark growth. All Coeus know instinctively if grown from, or are part of a larger gestalt that their purpose is to find experiences in their youth, and provide for the whole.

Without their protective bark, gestalts with a majority of Coeushave what is known as an ‘echo chamber' by skrell scientists. Their pain echoes violently through the rest of the gestalt, and the others will amplify the pain to a degree also. It is highly unusual for Coeus to ever adapt to the ‘echo chamber' phenomenon before their transition to Geras due to the sheer intensity.

This phenomenon is also what Solarian scientists posited lead to their pacifistic tendencies, that are far more pronounced in the Coeus of their species. In fact they cannot understand why anyone would inflict pain on another living being, more often than not, due to their capacity for empathy and how severe it is for themselves. It is not uncommon for them to attempt to talk down someone being violent, or using their speed to run away instead. Given their intense fear of the ‘echo chamber' effect, they will try to avoid fighting until it is the very last resort. This idealistic and intensely pacifistic viewpoint means that they are unwilling and would likely never be employed in any army, security or PMC group until becoming Geras. Due to their high-degree of pacifism, Coeus who join a military will only do so if they can be assigned a non-combat position such as logistics or as a medic.

Providing for Geras and Penuma is part of their biological imperative, and it is not uncommon for Coeus to enter employment in order to provide funds in the modern era to allow their greater Gestalt to be housed, or given appropriate living conditions to not just be living in a box soaking sunlight. Often this supersedes their innate desire to explore and understand the universe, depending on how crucial the support is for their linked gestalt.

Coeus may often be affectionately called Saplings or Sprouts by Geras, and often will refer to Geras as Elders in return.

Geras

Geras, or Elders, are older Dionae who have a decent amount of bark grown. As a result of their thick bark, Geras are less mobile, although the bark also offers them an extra layer of protection from most damage. In addition they have finally evolved to negate the ‘echo chamber' phenomenon, and will likely remember it for a large portion of their life.

Geras are generally looked up to by their younger, less experienced counterparts, viewing them as more experienced. While not as immobile as a Penuma, Coeus still frequently try to aid Geras in tasks their lesser mobility doesn't permit. Due to their more experienced nature, Geras will more frequently serve as leaders or diplomats compared to their Coeus counterparts, such as the fact that the majority of Dionae translators are Geras.

Skrellian scientists have noted that Geras are quite protective of both Coeus and Penuma respectively, seeing the former as ‘their future'. It is not uncommon for Geras to help Coeus in social disputes, or to stand up for them if there is a perceived injustice. In addition, any Geras who live in proximity to a Penuma are extremely protective of anything that tries to approach them, due to their immobile and largely vulnerable state.

It is known that Geras see themselves as the ‘shepards' of sorts of all Dionae gestalts, and see it as their duty and imperative to guide the Coeus and protect the Penuma. Unless a Coeus is exceptionally experienced for their age, it is rare to see any in a position of power trying to influence the greater whole of the group. Interestingly they will universally listen and attempt to follow when a Penuma gives advice, even if they disagree on the interpretations among themselves quickly.

Geras approaching their final life stages will often be focused on spawning new Coeus gestalts, and finding an appropriate place to spend eternity. Most often they will return to a similar environment to the one they were first grown from, the most common resting place to drift in space for eternity.

As a result of age, Geras are generally less pacifistic than Coeus. While conflict is still a last resort, Geras are more willing to defend themselves and are more willing to protect others even if it means coming into conflict with another. Negotiations and an attempt to de-escalate a situation are still preferred, and Geras working in a non-security or military field will usually not join into a conflict when there are better-suited individuals around to handle it.

Penuma

Categorized as Penuma, Skrellian scientists had no idea that these structures were sentient or even responsive upon their first contact with the Dionae. The reason for this is their bark has grown to such an extent that it cripples them and warps them into strange and alien shapes, the thickness of the bark in addition, almost entirely prevents UV radiation from being absorbed by the entombed nymphs. This leads to an outer casing of tendrils over the thick bark that look almost like a strange form of Ivy.

The biological purpose of those tendrils are to link to nymphs on the outside or eventually form a form of ‘moss' over the immobilized Dionae in order to absorb the outside environment. It is noted that this process is woefully inefficient, so Penuma end up creating large amounts of mundane growths that can be burned as nutrients during periods of starvation.

Penuma were regarded as actual plantlife until neural activity was detected inside them through invasive probing. It was calculated that they were still fully cognizant of the outside world but were simply deciding to not respond, however due to the invasive probes, the subject Penuma responded by digesting the probes and pulling in the nearby Skrellian before they had a chance to respond, digested on the exterior by a grown sack. Geras explained after the incident that Penuma have no visual way to understand their exterior without linked nymphs, and that as a stress response they are capable of defending themselves by burning their biomass reserves, and that breaching the bark was seen as an attack instinctively.

In the modern understanding of Penuma, Geras explain that while they have the greatest experience and knowledge of them all. The eons of seeing the same things has made them disinterested in the outside world, quite literally thinking for years on end on philosophical or esoteric concepts simply to stave off being bored.

Penuma are seen as the spirits of the Dionae people, the foundation of their knowledge and their past. However due to their responsiveness being quite lackluster, they will offer guidance usually at complete random, leaving the Geras to their own devices unless absolutely necessary.

There has been no documented reports on the memory accuracy of a Penuma when it speaks about the past, and it is very possible that they are beyond the foundational limits of memory for a Dionae, given their size.

While there is little actual data on the pacifism of Pneuma, it is not unheard of for them to protect themselves through calling for nearby gestalts, or if the threat is adjacent as a stress response to entangle it in biomass and digest it remotely. Solarian alarmists see this as a reason that Dionae cannot be trusted, as in their final stages they seem to have no qualms with defending themselves quite lethally.

There is one exception to Penuma's immobility and lack of response, and that is of course those who drift in the void for their final stages. Moving at sunlight speeds and using internal gas bladders to make orbital adjustments, they often will orbit a star for unknown periods of time. These are the only known Penuma with independence, but due to their nature are mistaken as asteroids or space debris. Any attempts to formally contact them thus far have failed, and official funding for projects such as these are hard to find.

Nymph Limbs

Potential Captains and Commanders with nymph limbs are not hired until they agree to replace them with mechanical prosthetics or other alternatives, due to security concerns.

A rather rare occurrence is when a living creature lives in direct symbiosis with a Dionae, however it is most common in the version of a prosthetic limb. The nymph attaches to a willing host's stump, their neural strata growing into the host's nervous system and stretching their form to the size of a full limb. The nymph will use genetic memory from the host to create manipulable biomass in the shape of fingers from their body, and fill out the rough shape.

The method of the connection is truly symbiotic, the host gaining something that they had thought they lost forever, whereas the nymph gains access to a constant source of blood and knowledge from their host. The amount of experiences such a nymph gains is quite substantial, and can end up having a copy of every memory in the host's DNA.

They are capable of communicating to their host verbally or sending a vague ‘confirmation and affirmation' of ideas by making the arm feel hot or cold, or similar sensory manipulations. Although they would never fake pain to the host, as that breaches their pacifistic beliefs and would also be cruel. They do not explicitly speak up against violence, often being partially dormant as they live through their host's memories. (aka the host doesn't feel like rping their arms) Although if they wake up and realise they have been used for murder they may be quite upset.

The symbiosis has a unique modularity in that it can be ceased at any time, the singular nymph could detach or the host could just pull the arm off, and put it back on just as easily!

Haptic feedback from the arm is slightly alien, in that it is first processed by the nymph and then translated into something the host can then understand. This leads to sensations being dulled, like wearing a thick leather glove. However pain is quite notable, as the nymph screams into your nervous system like a wildfire. If you fail to listen, the nymph's fragile body will crack, their tendrils no longer actively wrapped into your nervous system, and it will just fall off, dead.

Unathi

Unathi reasons for taking prosthetic: It is not unheard of for Unathi to take a Diona prosthetic, almost always for spiritual reasons. Diona occasionally wander the radiation-laden barrens of the Wasteland, and so certain groups of Wastelanders have developed a reverence for these multi-souled organisms. Unathi who have lost limbs due to warfare or exposure see these limbs as augments for their soul, enhancers to the connection to the spirit realm— rarer, though, is the purposeful dismemberment of one's body for the sole purpose of soul-melding with a Diona.

Unathi normality of prosthetic: For most Unathi, this practice is an alternative to getting a dreaded prosthetic. While a Dionae can never truly replace a limb, they are considered natural creatures and thus aren't damaging the soul when used in this manner. Dionae are, by and large, a rarity outside of the Wasteland, so an unfortunate reality becomes apparent: not everyone who wants a limb like this can achieve it. Wherever it is available, it is typically regulated by a medicinal guild.

Skrell

Skrell reasons for taking prosthetics: Medical Science within the Federation is superb, with most cases of missing limbs being rectified with cloning a copy of the missing appendage. Though, the further one gets from the Core, the less reliable one's access to Federation medical facilities becomes. It's not uncommon for Diona in the traverse to spore a new nymph to replace a Skrell's limb in emergencies. Additionally, desperate Skrell whose low credit score denies them access to replacement limbs may take up nymph replacements.

Skrell Normality of prosthetic: Possessing a nymph limb as a Skrell is usually a taken as a sign the Skrell has a poor credit score, it's not uncommon for Skrell to replace their nymph prosthetics the moment their score allows it to escape the social stigma.