- 1 Overview
- 2 Occupational
- 3 Mechanics
- 4 Biology
- 5 Social
- 6 Culture
- 7 History
- 8 Beyond the Knowledge
- "The Dionae are nothing seen before, somehow both youthful and ancient. And you will never find two exactly the same." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2430
A rather strange, cryptic species in comparison to the rest, Dionae are actually a bipedal fusion of smaller, singular organisms working collectively to create a whole. The smaller organisms are wood-fleshed, cat-sized to large, dog-sized caterpillar-like creatures with a curious, childlike disposition. Nearly every aspect of the species is a mystery; their origins, their behavior, and functions. What is known is that they are capable of great intellectual and biological feats alike... for a price. Biologically, they are as much of an amalgam as their forms, similar to both plant and animal alike and yet not, surviving primarily off of the electromagnetic spectrum with a healthy diet of biological matter to supplement their growth. This has resulted in a weakness to lack of radiation and can lead to death if not exposed to at least proper lighting, and when fused with others can move incredibly slow due to a shared hivemind and the need to make decisions as a group than a single entity.
To become one of the strange, plant-like Dionae, apply here
Dionae can be the following Heads of Staff:
- Research Director
- Chief Engineer
- Chief Medical Officer
Dionae cannot be any of the following positions:
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Access to the specie’s 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 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.
- Does not like wearing many layers of clothes, if any at all to allow them to feed better off of a lower-radiation environment like a station
- "Their variation in color is beautiful. Vibrant yellows from a cluster found on a desert planet, mellow browns from a temperate climate... I've even touched the charred exterior of one that lived in an eliptical orbit that dipped into the atmosphere of a sun." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2432
The Dionae, by virtue of being an unique lifeform, feature an anatomy seen almost nowhere else, and a variation in color and texture that comes from different experiences in life.
Ranging from a petit cat to growing as heavy as one-hundred pounds, the Nymph is a highly adaptable creature, capable living in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmosphere-less, weightless environments. The caterpillar-like shape that most are familiar with is actually a torpedo-shaped body covered in tough tendrils. These tendrils form a collar which fans out to great lengths just 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 typical Gestalt shape that is seen in civilization is the Cyclops, which is a four-limbed biped created out of a fusion of several Nymphs. Merging typically happens by fusing the body or most commonly an eye to another Nymph, sometimes even through tendrils while the rest of the appendages wrap around the other Nymphs and interlock with the other's tendrils to form a tight bond. As tendrils constrict, they harden enough to form a structure to support the rest of the Gestalt. For most Cyclops Gestalts that are integrated into society, the nymphs forming its bipedal body form two arms and two legs, with a central torso trunk. These all fuse to the top Nymph, who is usually the most vocal and the one with the biggest eye, however there are exceptions since every gestalt is different. While merged, each Nymph surprisingly manage to keep their sense of self and individuality as they share their thoughts and communicate between one another as separate entities while acting as one.
A Dionae Gestalt is able to 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 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."
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 of time in such perfect conditions.
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.
The Dionae follow a more plant-like reproduction cycle; they are asexual, and approximately once per year, a gestalt will release a large amount of seeds in it's surroundings (regardless of it's location), which will be carrying by whichever forces are applied upon them (the spores having a configuration that is even adequate to be spread by solar winds).
Once the seeds reach an adequate location, the seed anchors itself and starts developing into a Diona replicant pod - which is, in essence, a Diona egg. The pod absorbs the nutrient it needs - water, oxygen, carbon and other elements - from it's surroundings, when available, to grow and eventually hatch. Once hatched, a pod will produce an almost mature nymph.
Given proper conditions, a pod can fully grow a nymph within half an hour - however, should the pod run out, it will go into dormancy until proper conditions are met - and as such, in particularly barren conditions, it can take centuries for a pod to complete development.
The merging and separation of Nymphs takes 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 preforming 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.
The Dionae, being by its very nature a compound creature, comes in several known and theoretical forms with several characteristics:
Nymph: The default form tackled above. Medium intelligence, extremely curious, extreme learning potential.
Cyclops: The most commonly seen form, this occurs when a minimum of three to six nymphs link together and grow a humanoid body. Highly intelligent.
Argus: A rare form, the Diona Argus is a large network - often upward of a dozen - of nymphs inter-connected, forming a veritable physical and information net. The Skrell are looking into inducing this form and using it as a controlled organic processor for facilities. Very high intelligence, low learning potential.
Colossus: An even rarer form, a Diona Colossus is a large-scale structure - the ones found were made of more than hundreds of nymphs - exhibiting advanced intelligence and isolationist tendencies. One particular example was found growing around a derelict space station - it is also believed that the "Organic Craft" that attached itself to the human cruiser reached at least this state. Extreme intelligence, assumed low learning potential.
Cetus: Only two such forms were ever observed (that being the gestalt above Mralakk, the second being the recent Venter's Cetus), a Diona Cetus is just that - a mass of Diona so immense, in the orders of a million nymphs, that it can be considered a stellar body. The specimen observed seems reluctant to communicate despite showing they are capable, and show a natural (but weak) magnetic field and radiation emission. 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.
Titan: A theoretical form of the Diona - a planet, or even star-sized diona form consisting of maybe more nymphs than is currently known to exist, may be the pinnacle of organic processing and thought. Uncharted intelligence. The Skrell has an order to destroy any Diona structure that could reach, or has reached, this size due to the inherent risk of intelligence singularity and other classified risks.
- "When you hear them chirping, moaning, singing - that's their method of communication. I even learned to speak a poem to them myself with my string instrument after a year of practice. It was beautiful." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2433
While they can understand all languages, if exposed to the genes of a speaker, their physical limitations only allow them to speak a handful; most Dionae that work aboard human facilities only know Common and their language - however they are capable, due to their biological flexibility, to emulate most other languages - Gutter and Tradeband are easily spoken (if a little slow with certain subjects who use only one Nymph to communicate), while Sinta'Unathi is spoken perfectly. Their physical slowness, however, makes it difficult to talk Sik'Maas, the meaning sometimes being lost in the slowness of their "ear" and "tail" limbs when grown.
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.
Dionae are fully capable of learning and speaking most human languages including Solarian Common, Tradeband, and Freespeak. Examples of how they would be acquired is a gestalt raised by a rich Sol family being taught Sol Common, while one cultivated by a Suit in Eridani might know Tradeband or one grown on Mars knowing Freespeak.
Most languages only use a singular Nymph to speak, most often the Nymph taking up the head, while Rootsong specifically uses each and every nymph to create a harmonious sound.
Emotions and Integration
- "Their life seems to truly begin with one pivotal moment: The moment the blood of a sentient is gifted, taken, or found. What this implies is... They need us." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2434
A Nymph feels emotions rather simply at first, beginning its life with the intellect and emotion of a dog or cat, and able to quickly adapt at a moments notice. Once a nymph intakes the blood, or genetic code, of a sentient being, their capacity for knowledge increases and they will begin to understand more complex ideas such as deep emotion, tool-making, society, and language. Other sources of this knowledge could be from merging with a more experienced Diona, shortening the process exponentially.
The most common form of sentient life in the known galaxy are bipedal humanoids, thus making it the most common body for Diona as well, with two legs and two arms. However, the act of a diona changing its form is not exact and often fails to meet the standards to mimic completely, since a Diona cannot exactly change its bark colour or add fingers.
Due to their highly nomadic nature, Dionae do not experience a universal culture outside of certain behaviors that appear to be biologically ingrained and somehow hard-wired into their genetics. Information on individual group cultures can be found in their History.
Diona naming conventions vary heavily based on gestalt, but have one consistency; They do not go by first name, last name, but instead use experiences, emotions, actions, or ideals as their source of identification. These experiences that define them can change just as the individual changes, and can be both literal and metaphorical. Some examples of where these might come from can be from routines in their lives, remembrances of mortals, a particular fascination in an emotion, a unique location where an important moment occurred, or even just a defining feature on their body. As a player, it is up to you to decide what makes an experience, and you have a whole galaxy of cosmically ageless ideas to choose from. Be creative!
Experience Is What Matters
The only time when one Diona is venerated above any other is when a more experienced and therefore more knowledgeable gestalt is present. This more experienced Diona is seen as more valuable due to their vaster stores of knowledge and therefore are protected over less experienced ones in a dangerous situation. A more experienced Diona will often take up the responsibility to educate a new one on their environment- including but not limited to the ways of local alien civilization. This is to simply get the newbie up to speed so they can be quicker on their way to learn more about their particular interests, whatever that may be. More often than not, the older Diona is the more experienced, however this is not always true as a Diona gestalt may have spent its whole immortal life simply floating in a gas giant until it was scooped up into the fuel tank of a starship.
While the species may make incredible artists in civilized space due to their longevity and capacity to learn, another form of visual art exists for Dionae that they practice as a recreational activity known simply as "Forma" and have two versions. Both utilize only their own bodies to make Gestalts in creative and practical ways alike. The first and most popular of the two is the Artem, or Art-Form. These are more for form than function and are used to display a Gestalt's creativity in strange and unique ways. Artem are typically observed being made in the void of space where they are free of the restrictions of gravity and require no rhyme nor reason to their design and exists purely as a hobby.
The second and perhaps most shocking of them is Vita, or Life-Form. Seen most often in some type of environment with gravity, there are two different forms: symbiotic which is done in the presence of other life forms, and competitive, preformed in areas where the concentration of Dionae are high. The symbiotic version is seen every day and is a form of passive mimicry to blend in with their extraterrestrial neighbors whereas the competitive version is a surprising display of violence. One is to increase their chance of survival in an alien landscape, the other used as a strange yet creative form of population control.
Competitive Vita is a theoretical evolution simulator where each Gestalt will merge, often as fantastical forms of creatures, which is then tested with the current environment they are in under different conditions. If present, they will then be tested against other non-sentient life forms before finally each other. Throughout the competition the losing Gestalts are either consumed or absorbed into their forms as additions, the final battle being the most dramatic display of a Gestalt's abilities. While most sapients would find this practice barbaric and contradictory to the species' desire to gain and preserve knowledge, the fallen and their knowledge simply become a part of the victorious.
With being a complex multi-formed and sometimes ever-changing organism such as a Diona, one can imagine that becoming a part of a society can be rather complex. Dionae can be found nearly everywhere except for the coldest and radioactive-free of places. With money meaning little to them, others see them as cheap labor and both seem to be content with this, as Dionae do not need much outside of proper radiation. A clever species, Dionae often take advantage of a solar system's sunlight during the daylight hours and bask before taking a night shift, and during day shifts they will often live together and collectively pay for housing, heating, and light. If others are willing, they will also become housemates with other species and assist in menial tasks and paying rent in exchange for safe shelter.
Dionae are able to obtain citizenship in most nations, although the way they obtain and hold it tends to differ from most other species. Within most nations, they must get each nymph chipped, with the chip containing information about the nymph. They also must defend their citizenship every time a merge or splitting happens within the citizen gestalt.
For more information on their citizenship, you can check it on this page: Dionaea Citizenship
Although Dionae can contain vast amounts of knowledge and possess extreme intelligence, the species still have to obtain the appropriate degrees for the occupation they wish to pursue in their chosen location of residence. This can be accomplished after being registered for citizenship. All newly-registered Dionae must complete and pass the courses required for their field if their degrees from past planetary systems is not recognized in the new location, or they lack one all together. Their education must be defended one year following the awarding of a degree, and then every five years there on out. However, that timer is reset due to the fact that after each merging, Dionae are required to defend their education along with their re-registration for citizenship due to the possibility of accumulation of new knowledge, and possible loss of information depending on the nature of the new merging.
The term “Blood Market” generally refers to the slightly niche market of sellers who sell the blood of people with specific skills or knowledge. Most sellers in the Blood Market sell through the use of the Extranet. Most of those purchasing from the market are Dioane looking to improve their skills in a specialty or someone raising a nymph. Most credible sellers of this market tend to charge a high price, ranging anywhere from 3000-20000 credits to get a large enough sample for a Diona to learn from it. This market is entirely legal so long as the seller has a special license to sell biological materials
The most prominent organization in this market is the “Blood Buddy Organization”, a publicly funded organization spearheaded by researchers and donators from multiple nations including the Jargon Federation, Sol Alliance, and the Republic Of Biesel. The company holds fundraisers and donation events, which a donation event has willing, skillful participants donate some of their blood to later be sold on the market. The organization mostly operates in the Sol Alliance, although they do sell to the Federation and most human nations as well as they have been trying to organize more events in the Republic as of recent. The organization uses the money they gather to fund research into how exactly Dionae are able to learn from DNA the way they do, and ways this could be artificially done to enhance the knowledge of a non-dionae.
The Dionae's history is highly debated - with no significant evidence, xenoarcheological or actual, towards an origin point - most notably due to the tendency of space-bound gestalt's seeds to travel immense distances. The species itself does not have concrete information on this subject - however many people of all species have linked them to mythological being, as it is thought that the species is old enough to have spread to a significant portion of the galaxy, including all of the currently colonized areas, some even being recorded in Vaurca histories, half-way across the galaxy.
Discovery, Part One - The Conglomerate
- "The first discovery was unexpected, and changed my view of the Stars forever..." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2426
The first discovery - the one that proved their existence, in 2320 - was an immense pod-like gestalt. It is theorized to have contained upwards of a thousand nymphs, protected in a thick, haphazard organic shell that took the shape around whatever body it hit and integrated within itself. The entity was put into observation by its Skrell discoverers, being labeled as a simple organic anomaly - the lack of atmosphere and contact making communication not even a thought. Interaction did not happen until nine years later, 2329. Skrell scientists created a device to translate the chirping and popping of the pod, and exchanged greetings. This sent interest through Skrell society, as these Diona were the first sentient beings that the Skrell had met. The Skrell put forward more simple communications, and found out what this pod of life was. The two parties spoke in simple information exchanges, and this led to the Dionae pod explaining how to better communicate with each other - via blood samples.
With this new-found information, the large object - the Original Conglomerate - was finally officially contacted by ambassadors of the Skrell. The contact delivered a wealth of information - about star movement, physics behaviors, material properties, and so on. In the end, the "Original Conglomerate" was towed, with their glee, in orbit of Nralakk, where it remains to this day the main source of Dionae pods, cyclopes, nymphs, and seeds. Diona have gradually gained a better standing in Skrell society, and the Federation began slowly integrating Diona into their workforce in the late 2360's.
Discovery, Part Two - The Organic Craft - "DSS Ophion"
- "This second discovery, funnily titled by the humans as the ship it devoured, was agile and beautiful in the stars. The way it swam reminded me of a child on Homeworld." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2426
The Dionae were found, the second time, in 2426, almost a full hundred years after the first encounter. An anomalous reading tipped off a scout ship - part of a Human-Skrell joint practice operation. A low-intensity yet high-frequency energy signature in the middle of seemingly nowhere, far in deep space. Upon investigation, a large mass - now known to be the result of six hundred nymphs being overgrown - was present. It was definitely organic - yet it showed readings similar to a space craft, including a simple (and empty) supermatter reactor and some sort of rudimentary drive. It seemed inactive.
However, upon approach - the craft took life, quickly dashing towards one of the human frigates, shrugging off the firepower and attaching itself to a ship called the Ophion. It moved like nothing they had ever seen - a captain of the nearby frigate even provided this description: "Like a fish moving as if space was an ocean". It quickly infiltrated the Ophion, bending hull and causing breeches, eventually reaching the ship's own power plant, siphoning power off. The ship saw no further damage - however it was already done, all the engineering decks were breached and the ship no longer had enough power for the engines. Under the orders of the Skrell Fleet Admiral (at least the equivalent of it) and with the approval of the incapacitated ship's captain, the exercise was canceled and the ships returned home, requesting a few science vessels and a rescue shuttle to be sent to them. Unfortunately, when they did arrive roughly a week later, no life was found aboard. The ship was considered derelict - and the vessels returned home, with a warning being placed on both of their star maps about a possibly hostile lifeform there.
This event also caused a rigorous security increase in the observation of the first structure, causing the Dionae to be officially labeled as "potentially hostile to Humans and Skrell". The Fleet returned later with a science ship, and a Dionae ambassador. The ambassador communicated with the colossus surrounding the Ophion, and the Ophion responded, stating it was simply 'Growing'. Of course, with the current status, the question was asked: where is the crew? Correlated with the logs acquired later, the scenario became clear. The Diona's infiltration of the power plant not only caused the engines to fail, but life support. With all the breeches present, it did not take long for the crew to suffocate and die. And once that was done, the Diona (and it is quoted) "simply assimilated their form to learn about your species and conserve matter".
Culture: Jokingly given the nickname "Dionae Space Station Ophion, Keeper of Life", the Ophion Cyclopes are regularly hauled between Ophion and Tau Ceti - as while they are seen as methodical and even cold, there is no denying their scientific methodology. However - all stations whom host one are instructed to keep an eye on them, should they become hostile for whichever reason.
Discovery, Part Three - The Planet of Eden
- "They deserve to experience the Stars as I did." - Weirun Tup's Deathflower journal - 2439
The final time the Dionae were found was in Epsilon Ursae Minoris (EUM) in 2430, discovered by Skrell Captain Weirun Tup who had been exploring stars on the behalf of the Jargon Federation in order to find new habitable planets for expansion. Upon passing through a particular sector, a planet was analyzed from afar to have possibly desirable conditions for life. But upon drawing closer, the planet itself seemed to be alive- the expedition team picked up strange sounds from their equipment, haunting songs being broadcasted on their radios when there should have been the white noise of static. Dumbfounded and excited, the team worked to understand the cause of this anomaly. Unfortunately their equipment was not up to the challenge, leaving the team no choice but to send out a few experimental signals in an attempt to copy and possibly communicate with whatever was creating the sounds, and send an exploratory team to the surface to see if they could locate the cause. Descending with the crew was Captain Weirun Tup, out of excitement and concern for his crew alike.
Upon landing, it was immediately noted that the planet was rich in untouched wilderness. The crew had touched down near a site with a strong signal of the strange sounds and cautiously pushed forth through the alien flora and fauna to happen upon something that was even more alien. It was a large structure made of a living creature, and one that was already a previously discovered oddity. It was a colony of Dionae Colossus, a massive tower constructed out of Nymphs that acted as a radio tower while a village of Argus and Cyclopes worked and moved around it. The team was warmly welcomed and after exchanging genetic samples, communications were established between the crew and a Cyclops that acted as their guide. It was explained that the planet's only sapient creatures were the Dionae that have colonized the entirety of the surface, the species themselves finding the low gravity and thinner ozone to be beneficial to their purposes. They had also deemed to leave the landscape otherwise untouched and leave the local wildlife alone while taking the more uninhabitable areas for themselves, stating that it was "their home", while the Dionae were merely "guests" to the visiting team.
The exploration crew had contacted their main vessel and sent a report back to Jargon of their find. The team members had decided to remain for the duration of their expedition to learn more about this colonized planet and it's inhabitants, finding that the Dionae present contained a vast wealth of information. Working together, the scientists and Dionae managed to create a device capable of deciphering long-distance Rootsong so crew aboard the main vessel may communicate with the Dionae as they studied the planet. A team of researchers were sent to the ground as well, with Captain Weirun Tup often accompanying them to engage in discussion with their hosts. After a short time of consideration, an agreement was made between the Jargon Federation and the Dionae. The colony would supply the Federation with what information they could as well as provide a workforce while the Federation would enrich the Dionae with opportunities to further their interests, supplying both materials (organic and otherwise) as well as the equipment to do so. There was another condition that was mutually agreed upon; the Dionae seemed rather protective of the planet, and while the visitors remained they were to follow the Dionae's example and were to leave the landscape undisturbed for the most part.
When the time came for the expedition to return back to the Jargon Federation, a permanent agent was requested to act as an ambassador between the two species. Having learned more about the Dionae and finding to have a fondness with them as well as wanting to learn more of what they knew, Captain Weirun Tup volunteered to step down from their position of Captain and remain behind. A few other expedition teams visited EUM and the planet the Dionae considered home, nicknaming it Eden for it's wealth in natural resources and wildlife. A small colony of Skrell were established upon Eden to assist the now esteemed researcher and ex-Captain Weirun Tup over the years, and all was well. After nine years however, now Director Weirun Tup had suddenly disappeared after walking off into the nearby forest at night, saying that they wanted a "clearer view of the stars before I sleep" according to his colleagues. By morning, Weirun's affects were returned to the researchers cryptically stating that the man was "well and a part of them, now". When further questioned, the Dionae stated that the man had been suffering a terminal illness and had decided to become a part of the collective. This had left the other Skrell skeptical, as their Director had not been showing signs of said illness.
Despite the mysterious disappearance of their beloved Director in 2439, the man was venerated by other Skrell as the first of their kind to have truly ascended and become a part of something greater, and it is said that one can still speak to the Director through a Gestalt that remains with the Skrellian settlement. Since then, Skrell from the Federation have often made pilgrimages to and from Eden as a spiritual journey- others choosing it as their final resting place through "reincarnation", following Director Weirun Tup's example and becoming a part of the Dionae residents. The process has never been observed before, but friends and families of the "ascended" hold fast in their beliefs that there is undisputed proof that such a thing is real.
Culture: The largest Dionae to have communicated with other sapients, Dionae from EUM have become highly focused on being efficient, having learned and adapted to Skrell culture. Most notably - the system has become notorious for being a checkpoint shipyard as the Dionae there within orbit most often specialize in engineering tasks while those planetside excel in the natural sciences. Of course - the exposition to the Skrell has made them wary of synthetic intelligence. Furthermore, they are the only known group with an unified creation theory - according to them, Dionae have been at home in "the Great Void" - as paraphrased - since the beginning of their existence, and their creation should have been nothing short of impossible.
Venter's Cetus, Reade's Argus, and Other Groups
A recent discovery, Venter's Cetus is one of the few known Cetus-class Dionae. Rather reclusive, they seem to have an immense amount of knowledge in atmospheric systems, having designed a circulatory array within themselves. Slow and meticulous - this group has elected to provide the Sol Alliance with Cyclops bodies in exchange for large amounts of biomass from various species - with supplementary "credit" for sapient specimens. They do not seem to fear extinction at the phase they have found themselves to be in, with "shards" of the gestalt being of almost nil importance.
Discovered in orbit of Reade, there is also an isolated and small group that is sometimes seen on facilities across Tau Ceti. They are reported to be highly social, a Biesel bar even boasting an occasional Dionae bartending experience. This particular gestalt seems rather knowledgeable about the goings of supply and civilian departments- though they are often seen with distrust due to the rumors of Reade. Of course, these are the large known groups. Among these two more recent additions, there is a total of eighty-one known subgroups with various traits - and an unknown amount of yet undiscovered groups. More information will be added when available.
Integration in Society
Their value, however - along with general helpfulness, high curiosity and impressive intelligence, even to the Skrell (who have approved them onto titles as high as Representatives since 2432) - gave the Dionae enough going for them that they were not phased out, and are commonly seen aboard space stations and spacecraft, especially human-owned. The Skrell have, however, started a new program to find and appropriate any other Dionae groups to ensure proper incorporation - or destruction, should the group be too dangerous. This program has already uncovered four dozen gestalts.
Bearing a wood-like appearance, a small bulbous nymph and with the tales of necrophagy, the Dionae have been said to actually have been the species behind several mythical creatures - such as the humans' Green Man and Leshy, and even the Mandragora and Man-Eating Tree. Most notably - it has been linked to a wise, ancient God of Life by some Skrell - the Oernabi (Tree-God), who was said to be benevolent to those seemed worthy. Such a belief spawned the Dienabi religion - the term literally meaning "tree child" - which stipulates that it is possible to ascend to the status of a noble Diona by protecting them with your life - after which they absorb and transform the martyr. Captain Weirun Tup is considered to be the first "ascended" of this kind, earning him almost as much veneration.
Beyond the Knowledge
As seen with reports of Ophion, this species is still mostly unknown - in capabilities, origins and intentions. Many scientific organizations are willing to pay a good price for any useful data on the Dionae.