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Shipminds are yellow oozes engineered on Dominion of the Black fleshfarms to interface with and control their partially organic spaceships. While they follow orders from creatures of superior rank, shipminds remain independent thinkers; some lose their intense faith in the Dominion and go rogue, killing their crew or flinging their ship into a black hole.1
Shipminds are oozes made from a liquid charged with toxic alien psychic energy. They need to exist within a specifically designed, half-organic container which serves as the shipmind's 'skin'; outside this container, their body starts to dissolve.1
A shipmind is bound to its ship; it is connected to it via various forms of physical interface, it oversees the ship's health, and has control over every aspect of the ship's function. Shipminds usually follow the orders of superiors but sometimes have to be coaxed, due to their rigid, fanatical devotion to the Dominion's inscrutable "religion". Ageing shipminds become pedantic and uncontrollable, especially if their demands remain unfulfilled, like their requests for small offerings, or for sacrifices, or for disabling ship systems that they consider unnecessary or impure. After at most a thousand years, the shipmind is recycled as nutrients to cultivate a replacement. Fragments of the previous shipmind's intellect, skills, memory, and knowledge carry over into the new one and persist through time.1
If a shipmind is not recycled in time, either because the crew forgot to do so or because the ship has landed on a planet and been abandoned, it will deteriorate and slowly go insane while still remaining in its container. Most deteriorating shipminds last for less than a decade as the ship decays long before then.1