Bonobians are a prominent faction of Puzzlebox, with a focus on developing physical and aesthetic pleasure in concert with one another using organic modification as a medium.
Bonobians are the self-professed epitome of the Bottomwarp philosophy: to find pleasure in all things. However, Bonobians have taken this sentiment almost literally.
In most organic beings, there are two dominating spheres of perceived 'pleasure';
- The pleasures of the body, including touch, sensation, and orgasm.
- The pleasures of the mind, including beauty, aesthetics, and elegance.
The former sensations are achieved quite easily through physical congress. The latter, however, are more elusive. These feelings are elicited when one perceives a profoundly moving piece of artwork or music. To a mathematician, an equation or proof can be described as 'elegant' or 'beautiful'. Fractal patterns are expressions of algorithms, but produce fantastic patterns when rendered visually.
Bonobians' founding members carefully studied this phenomena, seeking to understand the root of it rather than merely pursue it. Their efforts yielded a confluence of technologies, developed together and deployed as the Bonobian 'gland', an artificial organ with a number of properties. When implanted into a subject, a number of structural changes in the brain and body occur, the net result of which being that the senses of aesthetic and physical pleasure become closely linked to one another.
Something such as a beautiful piece of artwork or music can thus produce a physical response (not necessarily an orgasm, but a feeling of intense ecstasy not unlike it), and contrariwise, physical pleasure can elicit the same sort of intense, emotionally moving experience normally associated with artwork, music or other media. These sensations can easily become overwhelming, so Bonobian faction members use technology to 'tune' the Bonobian gland, amplifying or lessening its effects so that they can function on a day to day basis without being overwhelmed by the sensations it evokes.
The gland also produces a number of ancillary effects, not the least of which is a degree of hypertrophy. Enhanced sexual characteristics and drive are an unavoidable side effect of implantation with a Bonobian gland. The resulting practice of beneficiaries of the gland routinely engaging in sexual congress, seemingly at the drop of a hat and even as a means of greeting, led to them being nicknamed 'Bonobians' in jest by other Bottomwarp residents, after the similar practices of the ancient Bonobo pygmy chimpanzee. Rather than shun the comparison, the Bonobians enthusiastically adopted and retained the nickname for their own.
Bonobians are a tightly knit group, as implantation of the gland tends to produce a significant alteration in the subject's perceptions of the world around them, perceptions which are uniquely shared by other Bonobians. This shared, unconscious vocabulary for viewing the world leads to a degree of separation from the normal Bottomwarp populous, who, while hedonistic, sometimes view the Bonobians' methods as either too narrowly focused or too niche.
That said, the population of the Bonobian clave tends to fluctuate considerably, comprising anywhere between thousands and hundreds as the transitory whims of the curious dictate; Bonobians are happy to supply the gland to any who wish it, implantation and removal is a simple process that takes only a few minutes either way. That said, there is a slowly but consistently growing core population of a few hundred that adopt the Bonobian lifestyle completely.
This core population has a wide and varied talent pool, as Bonobians attract many individuals from diverse fields. As many seek to augment their interest in their chosen talents as develop their talents subsequent to their introduction to the Bonobian gland as their interests evolve. In many cases, individuals find new dimensions of interest in their work, and new connections in the brain elicit alternate approaches to problems that they may not have considered prior. The result is that the core population of the Bonobian faction is made up of individuals with experience in everything from mathematics to sculpture, design to musical composition, genetic engineering to cosmology, and these individuals often draw on each other for inspiration and expertise in their projects.
Discovered in the outer reaches of the Mess, the Orion serves as the home complex for the Bonobian faction. An immense, derelict vessel, the Orion is physically lodged in a multi-million kilometre long strand of Puzzlebox's outer superstructure. It is theorized that it is powered by a small singularity, and since Puzzlebox (as a sentient entity) does not permit threats to itself within its operational envelope (and singularities are viewed as high priority potential threats), Orion was 'quarantined' on the periphery of the Mess as a means of control.
The vessel is approximately 1,400m in length, and is shaped roughly akin to a flying delta wing that has been rear-ended and halfway subsumed by a blunt, rectilinear volume, each roughly equal in length to each other. Further details are difficult to discern, as the Puzzlebox superstructure has enveloped a significant portion of the ship, like a white blood cell might envelop a virus, and more than two thirds of the ship is hidden from view.
Inside, only a fraction of the vessel's habitable volume is accessible, and that is after considerable work by Bonobian members to make the vessel operational. Basic life support is functioning on only a few decks, including a launch bay located in the port side delta wing, the Forward Observation Dome, a large cylindrical volume in the nose of the ship capped by a field-reinforced diamond window, a large corridor running the length of the ship's central spine, and a few ancillary workspaces and crew quarters.
The interior was found spotless, with all major pieces of equipment removed or stripped down to their basic parts, suggesting an orderly evacuation, but no trace remained of any records or objects that describe the ship's crew or mission. Since its discovery, Orion has served as the base of operations for the Bonobian faction, allowing its members to develop and install workshops, computer labs, and other spaces as needed to explore their diverse talents while maintaining a degree of seclusion from the chaos and overstimulation of Bottomwarp proper.
Orion is linked to the Mess primarily via an n-space compression gate (functionally little more than a frame of superconductor to sustain the event horizon of a spatial fold), and secondarily, a trio of small spacecraft (singleships) with limited faster-than-light capability.
Because of their diverse core population, and that population's penchant for creating new technologies and evolving their talents (rather than accepting the Mess's myriad functions as given, or purchasing black box technologies from others), Bonobians employ a mishmash of different 'hard' technologies developed in-house, many of which other factions and warps would not even consider utilizing.
Indeed, the Bonobian gland itself is a product of incredibly delicate (and many would say, very messily organic) genetic and medical engineering. The success of that technology has spurred the faction to retain its focus on developing and bartering or selling technology; difficult technical challenges are viewed as opportunities to explore and develop new, increasingly elegant solutions that are their own intrinsic reward.
Notable products include flexible semi-liquid memory plastics and shapealloys, DNA-based computers, biochemical products such as matchsticks (single-use cannabis vaporizers with many tailored blends), n-space compression (used in the gates linking Orion to the Mess), and the Bonobian gland itself.