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The Virgonians do not seem to interact with other empires within the Gigaquadrant except by observation from cloaked outposts. They cannot be outsmarted or outgunned by lower civilisations but usually make no attempt to prevent these civilisations from studying them in their home system.
The Virgonians are non-corporeal beings, the minds of whom are usually supported on the computational framework of the Birch planet's Cerebrum. For this reason, the term "Virgonian" is independent of physical form and merely refers to consciousness.
Sophontology is the study of the composition of minds. A Virgonian mind has many components which make them difficult entities to describe.
A Virgonian can be thought of as an aggregate of many smaller minds and other information components, some of which even date back to biological, natural creatures. These minds affect each other and communicate so efficiently that they have essentially become one much larger consciousness. The Virgonians are not hive minds, more like whole computer programs with many smaller contributing files that make up the whole.
Sophontecology is the study of how these components all interact together to form the single whole. This high degree of interlinking means that the components can't really be thought of as separate beings, any more than a single neuron can be considered intelligent, or a single data file a program in its own right.
The largest component of a Virgonian is infrastructure. This refers to information that has been generated by the Virgonian or by systems of the planet and includes things like simulations of systems and societies, complex problems being thought about over a period of time, and much of the Virgonian's memory. This is similar to how the minds of biological creatures with a left and right brain hemisphere work, where both halves have their own semi-independent personality but work together so closely a total personality emerges out of the interactions.
A large part of each individual is made up of data from the ancient and similarly non-corporeal Builder Civilisation, the constructors of the Birch planet and progenitors of the Virgonians. This is largely where the "personality" of an individual comes from.
Sometimes, new species will join the Civilisation. These so called "endogenous civilisations" usually arise on the crust of the Birch planet, or on it's orbital habitats. When these empires reach high Kardeshev II status, they are contacted by the Civilisation invited to join. As a result, each Virgonian is made up in some percentage of information derived from these empires. These also act to tweak and alter the personality of the Virgonian as different traits can be acquired from empires with different developmental paths. Usually a whole K2 mind won't enter, instead only some informational aspects/files/programs will be taken while redundant and unnecessary files and programs are discarded.
The idea of hierarchical recursion comes into play here, where, each component used to be part of a K2+ entity and so had similar sophontology with differentiable components of its own. These sub-components also can have components and so on, so the number of elements that makes up a Virgonian really depends on how finely you draw the line between them.
As they are non-biological, Virgonians have much greater control over their own minds than organic creatures. This allows them to dedicate specific amount of their computational power to solving certain problems. One application is the running of whole accurate simulations of more primitive societies, natural systems, or projections of the future. Sometimes with many running in parallel or thousands of iterations of one with only slight tweaks each time. This can be thought of as a higher-tier form of imagination inaccessible to organic minds.
A Virgonian can also split itself into multiple large sub-minds temporarily. these can isolated somewhat from the other workings of the mind and allowed to exist and think in their own space independently. These are called shards.
An individual Virgonian consciousness can temporarily take physical form via an avatar. These are artificial bodies, organic, mechanical, digital, hologrphic, or some mixture of the four that are controlled by the consciousness like a puppet. The Virgonian does not inhabit the avatar, as no body able to be built would be large enough to contain the necessary computing power. Thus, destruction of the body can at most only destroy a very small piece of the Virgonian's mind. A Virgonian may also manifest in more than one avatar at the same time, gathering sensory data from and manipulating multiple places at the same time.
An avatar can take any of a near-infinite variety of forms. Which is used is determined by the aesthetic tastes of the individual. They aren't limited to creature-like forms either, as a Virgonian may take the form of a plant, a geological feature like a montain, or even as a weather system like a light breeze. Some forms do not occur in nature, such as perfectly geometric forms, or digital avatars that exist inside the computer systems of other civilisations. An avatar could also take the form of a whole system rather than an object, such as every bacterium in the ocean of a planet, or a forest fire. No avatar smaller than 200 nanometers, or larger than a few hundred AU has ever been observed.It is theorised by Virgonologists that the reason Virgonians manifest is to experience the near infinite variety of different states of being and that are possible. It also may be to first-hand experience phenomena that were previously unknown to the mind, like the evolution of a new species on the Birch planet's crust. The Virgonians seem to get some form of enjoyment out of the experience.
The Virgonians do not appear to interact with lower species much, probably because they consider them insignificant. However, if a species were able to grasp what they are with the help of a more powerful entity like a Technoospheric AI, they might be able to be contacted.
Interesting is the fact that the Virgonians easily could colonise and convert many of the nearby galaxies into more Birch planets, especially with their massive head-start but don't seem interested in doing so. Virgonologists theorize that this could be because they are afraid of retalliation by some even stronger, unknown entity, or simply because they don't want to interfere with the natural development of these galaxies
The true goals of such an unimaginably complex civilisation remain a mystery. However, the most popular theories maintain that they do maintain the goal of growing in power and influence, eventually becoming a Kardeshev IV civilisation at some point in the future. However, the fact that this process has not started already by expansion into the nearby PGC 170257 irregular galaxy may suggest they are waiting for some event to occur, or intent to expand into some poorly understood alternate realm, where their expansion does not conflict with their previously discussed behavior.
It is possible that, if the Virgonian's have a non-intervention policy with the natural development of other galaxies, they may be hostile towards other powerful entities that do not follow this policy. Powerful, expanding K2+ empires may be wary of their influence, if the civilisation is known to them.
The Way Edit
The Way is the name given to the collective distillation of all cultural, emotions, and aesthetic aspects that make up the minds of each Virgonian. The Way is responsible for the entities doing things in the particular fashion that they do rather than different way, effectively acting as their "culture". For example, The reason that Virgonian Avatars often share a particular design aesthetic is down to all the individual design aesthetics of all the component species that make them up. The Way can be influenced and changed over time by the acquisition of elements from new civilizations, but a given civilization must make up a very large fraction of a Virgonian's mind to make an identifiable difference. The Way can also be influenced by new experiences of a particular individual Virgonian though manifestation into a new form to study of a new location/culture.
The Way, or some predating equivalent concept, is therefore responsible for why the Virgonians decided to construct their Birch planet in the first place rather than expanding into their surrounding space. The specific circumstances or individuals that introduced this principle into the way are not known.
Power Level Edit
If we are bacteria to a Kardeshev II, god-like Matrioshka brain, the Virgonians see an individual K2 civilisations as insect-like in their significance. They are like gods to the gods.
As a Kardeshev III+ civilisation, the Virgonians have access to more than an entire galaxy's stellar output worth of energy. This amounts to about 30 billion standard Dyson spheres worth of power, or about 1.1 Udawatts (1.1E+37 W). This energy comes from Penrose generators and matter-energy kugelblitz converters.
Access to this level of energy places the Virgonians automatically at a level of power far exceeding the mostly K2+ empires of the Gigaquadrant. Experiments in the recent centuries with the construction of artificial quasars suggests that the Virgonians may soon have access to even more power, equaling even 10 galaxies.
Their temporal and hyperspatial manipulation technology gives Virgonians a limited 5-dimensional existence.
A fleet of millions of mobile Dyson spheres sits in orbit of the Birch planet, ready to traverse through wormhole gates to wherever they're needed. These spheres are used in the construction of more spheres, computation isolated from the main body of the planet, isolated experimentation, or for the destruction of objects on a stellar scale. Spheres are grouped into task-forces of up to a few thousand called choirs.
Using their very advanced technology such as the detonation of artificial black holes, cosmic string projection, gravitational wave impellers, and Nicoll-dyson collimation, the Virgonians can destroy almost any naturally occurring target. Very few conventional technologies can can shield effectively against the level of energy capable of being directed and even if it can, the Virgonians can adapt by using a different but equally destructive technology.
However, the Virgonians usually don't use weapons offensively and tend to instead use their tech to defend themselves, or more often, to manipulate the minds of the aggressors into being non-hostile or even forget they exist. This is usually accomplished by sophisticated computer virus, or but using nanites to directly manipulating the brains of the target.
The Virgonians are also capable of changing the past of a given species to alter them in the future, although this is very rarely done lest they attract the wrath of the more powerful Taldar.
Hypersphere of Influence Edit
The vast majority of Virgonian activity occurs in the Virgo System. However, a small amount of activity is present in other galaxies in the form of automated outposts. These outposts usually consist of a few Dyson spheres and other megastructures and are reachable via a network of wormholes that terminate in orbit of the Birch planet. The AIs that run these outposts are vast by the standards of lower beings, usually being on-par with the computer Elder AIs of the AI Netspace. It is extremely rare for a Virgonian to venture outside the Virgo System.
The purpose of these outposts is usually to collect data on the inhabitants and features of the galaxies they're in, but may also be used to harvest extremely rare materials like Essences. These structures are usually anti-memetic, in that nanomachines will erase memories of their existence from any who discover them. They are usually constructed in regions of the galaxy that make them hard to observe from a distance.
Temporal Influence Edit
The reason the Virgonian's influence is considered a hypersphere is that it extends into the past and the future as well. As travel into the future is much easier under general relativity than into the past, this shape looks more like a 4-dimensional egg rather than a sphere with outposts in the far future that relay information back, and those in the past used for temporal warfare and making small adjustments to the timeline.
The Virgonians are not omnipotent and so are of course less powerfull than the Xhodocto. They are also less powerful than the Essence Gods, Essentials and multi-dimensional beings such as most Ultraterrestrials. Obviously, the Virgonians are less powerful than K5 and K4 civilisations that completely dominate other universes such as the Big Collective Consciousness or Zhulultu.
The Civilisation are technologically limited in that they struggle to contain objects as energy-dense as quasars and cannot change the laws of physics on a large scale. Practical restraints mean while they are capable of moving entire galaxies, this process takes millions of years. There are also restrictions, although distant, on their computing power, meaning that theoretically they can be out-witted, although only by another K3+ entity with higher computer power.
The Virgonian Civilisation formed soon after the construction of their planet and the transfer of the many minds of the Builder Civilisation to the Cerebrum. This allowed these minds to interact and change much in the same way that the Virgonians do now, which was quite different to the way they used to interact on the smaller Matrioska brains the Builders occupied.
Over time, the addition of smaller K2+ minds and empires lead to the development of the proto-Virgonians into what they are today.
- The idea of the Virgonians being made up in part of smaller minds from different civilisations was inspired by transposons and plasmids, less complex, independant genetic elements that become incorporated into the genome of bacteria to produce a stronger, more complex organism as a whole.
- The visual appearance of the Virgonian avatars takes inspiration from the Bayonetta video game series and by extension, classic descriptions of Christian angels in the First Sphere of Heaven.