Early experiments on Mars in with the uses of technology in augmenting consciousness and intelligence led to some very interesting results, which prompted experimentation allowing the participant's implants to communicate — triggering the event known as the Transenlightenment, and the beginnings of the Mother Nest and of the Conjoiners.
After numerous disputes with the Coalition for Neural Purity and the Rationalist League over what they had wrought and evangelism by the Conjoiners, the Conjoiners were among the first to leave the Solar System – right on the heels of the Rationalists. For centuries no one heard from them and assumed either that all was well and they no longer desired contact with the bulk of humanity, or that they had died out.
They eventually re-emerged, but much changed. The Conjoiners can now be described as a civilization of group minds. They also optimized their physiology for their improved processing power with sagital crests and frills to help cool their brains. Their souped up brains also consume a large amount of their resources, which means there are no fat Conjoiners, even though a typical one eats like one famished.
Conjoiners use their technology to create a localized group mind. Individual identities are retained, but the group generally functions as a single unit working harmoniously toward its goals. Conjoiners have a modified neural mesh that mimic their host's brain structure and thus augment the host's neural capabilities. Conjoiners can communicate neurally through fields generated by their implants, which may or may not be amplified by background systems depending on the situation. Most Conjoiners use only neural communication with other Conjoiners and do not physically speak.
Conjoiners are used to being part of a group mind, and most experience disquiet, or worse, if cut off from other Conjoiners. The few who are capable of operating by themselves are viewed with some suspicion by the rest.
Although Conjoiners seem monolithic and even like a hive mind to outsiders, some unusual circumstances can lead to deep division and struggle among them - which as a prerequisite requires them to mask their thoughts from each other without letting on that they are doing so, a difficult feat. This typically makes their dissidents among the exceptional members of their society, and those that can function in isolation. Each Conjoiner is in fact different and has a different mind as all humans do; normal humans simply cannot see it.
When the Conjoiners re-emerged in human society, they had used their enhanced intelligence to better understand the universe, seeking to better understand how it works. This allowed them to make substantial improvements and refinements on the physics model and theories. This came about from their expanded intellects, as well as their altered senses. They also applied it very, very well earning a reputation as good engineers, shipwrights and weapon smiths.
All Conjoiners are born of biological parents know them, with long term relationships with them. Neural meshes are implanted early on, with the intelligence augmentation turned on in stages as the children pass tests and interviews by their elders.
As a society, the Conjoiners prefer free-fall or low gravity environments. This means that they either settle low gravity worlds or in space stations that are mostly in free-fall. Their architecture is very organic seeming, flowing and branching, and incredibly confusing for anyone without a mesh to navigate.
They don't care very much about clothing, wearing whatever the job and environment requires. They do make great use of jewelry though – their designs are sought after by many civilizations. This is ironic since their jewelry started as a means to camouflage additional communications gear and devices.
The Conjoiners are considered a bit creepy by most other civilizations, being a civilization of group minds. The Stardwellers get along well with them though. The Union is an implacable foe, and the Logicians don't trust them at all.
Not many societies exist within the Conjoiner civilization, with the Hospitalers and Organized Crime being the exceptions. None of the additional societies can be found among the Conjoined.
Common Name: Conjoiners
Benefit: Conjoiner group minds are able to coordinate their members extraordinarily well. They also receive the Programming Profession at level 4 and can improve it.
Inspector Status: Equivalent to a FBI agent or customs inspector.
Core Values: Unity and Understanding
The strength and survival of the Conjoiners comes their Unity – they instinctively understand that their strength comes from working together.
Understanding is what they seek – to understand the universe better.