|Dionae Lore Pages|
|Fundamentals||Dionae · Dionae Forms · Dionae Mindtypes · Dionae Biology · Dionae History · Dionae Intergration · Dionae Out-Of-Character|
|Planets and Factions||Epsilon Ursae Minoris · Xrim · Minor Dionae Factions · Notable Dionae Locations · Eternal Gardens|
|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.
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.
|-||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|
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, 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.
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.
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.)
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.)
An entirely unique generation of mind types, who make up an extreme minority of Dionae in the Spur. There is only one known way to generate such a gestalt consciousness, and it is the absorption of the one person that the Consensus had viewed as significant.
Not all Dionae who do this will become a Mourning Mass, but only those who do can become one. Such gestalts are characterised by their complete dedication to the life of their former partner, and the memories that they cherish. They can vary from completely dejected, holding the greatest burden they could imagine to melancholic joy at being able to spend reality with them forever.
Their internal dialog is entirely variant on what their original mind type was, however typically different nymphs will have different parts of the person that they memorialise. This means such gestalts have the greatest loss of all, if their gestalt loses even a fragment of such knowledge, and thus would never allow a nymph to die at any cost. The loss of a nymph would be a loss of such magnitude that it’s rare such a collective would be able to cope.
Typically they may take on a name that has or involves their now merged other, something as simple as ‘Joy of Exploring The Endless Cosmos Together’ to ‘The Eternal and Unending Care for [partner name]’ could be examples of such. But as every relationship is unique, as are most Mourning Mass, and their name will most likely symbolize something deeply important to them.
Mourning Masses mostly will take on an employment that they and their partner enjoyed together, or perhaps something entirely around their interests instead. They are not actively restricted from any employment but are instead required to have 5 years to process their grief before positions of stress such as medical work, command, and security. This of course also includes a psychological evaluation after the required time period, to assure they are competent.
For reading of what a Mourning Mass looks like in Jargon/Skrell relations, look here.
Non Station Mind Types
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. It may be jobs not originating on the Aurora and is also restricted from merchant. They may additionally be antagonists.)
Something that gives cause to alarm is the plague that is known as the Scarlet Score, a plague that can overtake gestalts with no known cause. Any nymph who joins with one afflicted with his horrific disease will be irrevocably damaged. The disease causes them to become incredibly hostile, lashing out and desiring blood.
It is completely unknown how Scarlet Score thinks internally, they may be exactly like any other mind type but driven to absolute madness. Even how the madness is represented is unclear. All stellar organisations recognise that these are a complete lost cause and either must be contained for research or terminated. There is no saving them, and all Dionae are at risk if they are exposed to the plague.
There are examples of Scarlet Score who have imbibed so much blood that they have become Voided Vocals, and no longer hostile. Although they are not accepted by Dionae gestalts for fear they carry the dormant virus, they are not actively exterminated. (Antagonist and event related only).
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 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 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.