The vbyifabid are an avian species possessed of a unique ability to send and recieve signals through natural bioluminescence in the radio spectrum. This can take place on a conscious or subconscious level, but the important part about this phenomena is that, while any given individual vbyifabid of any subspecies retains his or her own independent mind, all vbyifabid a region are also connected to one another through a collective consciousness known as the Flockmind.


The Flockmind can be percieved by outsiders as an intense field of radio static surrounding any sufficiently dense vbyifabid population centers. For the vbyifabid themselves, the Flockmind is similar in quality to a conversation heard at a distance - albeit one where everyone is the most eloquent and moving speaker they can be, as the clumsiness of physical speech is removed from the equation and most messages are sent in absolute earnestness. On a deeper level, the subconsciousnesses of each member of the Flockmind influences the subconsciousnesses of all others and, by extension, the state of the system as a whole.   When a vby dies, some small part of their own conscousness persists in the Flockmind in the influence they exerted on those around them. Artificial relays (see below) - especially powerful ones affixed to orbital stations for inter-planetary communications - amplify this effect by creating 'echoes' of the deceased throughout the surrounding subunits, with lightspeed lag being a major factor in this effect. Systems of literature, recording, and later artificial emulations of minds amplified the effect even further, to the extent that many vbyifabid consider the Flockmind to offer a form of immortality for those who participate in it.   The Flockmind can be said to have a will of its own, and it frequently demonstrates a unique ability to draw upon seemingly unrelated events to inform the decisions of its members. The collective knowledge, instinct, and 'common sense' found with the Flockmind allows it to inspire its members to act in the best possible way for the benefit of the whole. This aspect of the Flockmind is an occasional source of mistrust for outside species, but more because it has a tendency to upend some long-maintained status quo than because of any malicious intent on the part of the collective. For example, an otherwise peaceable vby on Valleybridge might spontaneously get up and attack a diplomat from another species and profess no understanding of why he did it - only for it to come out that the Flockmind had detected dangerous attributes in the diplomat that might lead to the outbreak of interstellar hostilities.


The Flockmind exists anywhere where more than one vbyifabid can be found, with groups of vbyifabid gradually attuning to the same 'frequency' amongst themselves. Subunits of the Flockmind can be found in isolated population centers, but these subunits can also be made to communicate with one another through the system of artificial relays that constitutes the 'Vbynet.' The Vbynet is at once a telephone system, brain-computer remote interface network, and an extension of the Flockmind's collective unconsciousness.   Strong pulses of radio-freqency electromagnetic radiation can temporarily disrupt the Flockmind in a region and cause injury, or even death, in the effected vbyifabid. Protective helmets (often derisively dubbed 'tinfoil hats' by foreign species) fieldproofed structures, and signal attenuator antenna towers provide a modicum of protection from both intentional attacks and any nearby natural phenomena that might cause interference (i.e. pulsars). For the vbyifabid, this degree of caution is, in part, a collective traumatic response the Mind Cataclysm, a catastrophe that befell the cybernetically-networked arcopel and took the lives of many vbyifabid who happened to be close to the affected arcopel at the time.

Metaphysical, Psychic

Corrupted Subminds

A small subunit of the Flockmind that has been isolated from the rest for long periods of time can, like the vbyifabid who generate it, begin to stray from the norms of its peers in the broader vbyifabid sphere of influence. Others are created in environments ill-conducive to healthy though processes, such as sanitariums. These are deemed 'corrupted' when they take on traits that vbyifabid elsewhere deem too pericious to immediately reintegrate into the greater Flockmind, including malice, greed, delusion, and wrath.   Attempts are often made to capture the members of groups under the sway of a corrupted Flockmind and treat them individually for the underlying psychosocial pathologies, but sometimes a corrupted Flockmind is to strong and dangerous to be allowed back into the fold despite these efforts. These are often left marooned in their backwaters to let nature take its course, as vbyifabid are naturally have empathy for anything that demonstrates the ability to think - especially their own kin.   Unfortunately, the most dangerous of corrupted Flockminds are not content to be left to their fates, becoming agressive and expansionist in nature. In these cases military intervention on the part of the Vbyifabid Family-Flock and allied forces (such as the Cobalt Protectorate) becomes the only option to stem the spread of the corruption. Throughout the millenia-long history of the Vbyifabid Family-Flock, numerous brushfire wars have started and ended with the flash of purifying atomic fire over the growing war factories of corrupted subminds.  

In Comparison to Other Group Intelligences

Though biological in origin, when taken as a whole along with all the cybernetic and infrastructural work applied to its development, the Flockmind can be considered on par with Wurth Harkin's matrioshka brain in terms of raw intelligence. The Flockmind is more flexible, creative, and long-lasting than any fully artificial system created thus far in the Sealed Kingdoms region, but it is not as fast or efficient as the Matrioshka Multiverse at certain specific tasks, such as modelling the physics of the universe based on empirical observation.

Cover image: by Beat Schuler (edited by BCGR_Wurth)


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