Gateway Late Night
Hitchhiker’s Guide Entry
Very little is known about this enigmatic people, who hail from the system colloquially known as Foundation. Their technology is rumored to be by far the most advanced in the cluster, but as their system is strictly forbidden to the uninvited, these rumors remain just that.
The Omega are rarely seen by outsiders. Apart from their representative on the Gateway Council, no Omega is known to live outside of Foundation. Very little is known about their appearance, biology or social structure; only one is ever seen, and that one is never seen outside of its encounter suit.
The Omega are a faction of humans who have mastered nanotech. They have, in fact, left their humanity behind almost entirely, their bodies transformed into clouds of nanites and their consciousness transferred to the gestalt of tiny machines.
Foundation Proper is nothing more than a grey-goo ball of nanites in orbit around its primary, a homogenized soup of tiny, tiny robots that contains the consciousness of every Omega that chose to Convert. Their ships, likewise, are clouds of nanites wrapped around gravity drives. The Omega have no fear of hard vacuum or radiation; the ship and its crew are therefore virtually indistinguishable from one another.
An Omega on field detail typically comprises twenty or so kilograms of nanites, though no more than a kilogram is needed to store sufficient consciousness and memory for a complete, functioning identity. This nanite “body” can arrange itself into any shape, though forms larger than a big human start to lose solidity. If the Omega wishes to assume a “smaller” form, it simply dissipates its remaining nanite mass into a cloud fine enough to avoid notice by all but the most sophisticated sensors. Omega are effectively uninhibited by gravity and their individual nanites are capable of passing through solid matter, albeit slowly. They are also able to rearrange matter on the molecular level, creating solid objects out of thin air or dissipating solids into a cloud of gas.
All of this, of course, requires an enormous expenditure of energy. This is provided through the Omega’s mastery of zero-point energy; each individual nanite has a near-limitless supply of power and can operate indefinitely without recharge. However, when acting in concert, such as through maintaining a solid “body,” the power demands do exceed the nanites’ capacity to self-recharge; therefore, an Omega must remain in an encounter suit or dissipate back into its cloud form every twenty hours or so.
The Omega are, effectively, a single gestalt consciousness, and there are simultaneously one Omega and many. An individual Omega encountered away from Foundation will have only a tiny fraction of the knowledge and consciousness of the collective, but even this is far more than an individual from a lower-tech culture might have.