A Core is an augmented human that expands the capabilities of a Void ship in the Nameless section of the D-Verse.
Like much in the Collective, the concept of the Core can be generally attributed to Unu Nilium. Knowing that some part of the human spirit was unreproducible by technological means, Mr. Nilium bent his energies toward harnessing the power of human emotion and putting it to work. From this research came the original Core: a human volunteer, linked by cybernetic implants to the Void reactor and other systems of the XSVG-006 Gestalt, a small experimental science vessel.
For inadequately explained reasons, the Core's presence corrected the reactor's inherent instability and was able to increase its output to levels previously thought impossible to sustain, both events that Mr. Nilium had predicted (though not entirely accurately). Using the link to access sensory systems likewise extended their range and reliability. The Core himself reported a feeling of "completeness and harmony" with the ship, so much so that the eventual disconnect was an emotional letdown; he also took the ship's name as his own from then on, creating a tradition generally followed by all subsequent Cores.
Further experimentation with larger ships resulted in the refinement of the regenerative self-repair systems, and Cores were able to form an even closer bond with their host ships.
Only certain individuals have the potential to become a Core. The first and most important attribute is willingness; per doctrine and regulations, no individual should ever be forced to become a Core, regardless of need. An unwilling Core, regardless of capability, would be detrimental to their assigned ship and to themselves as well.
Beyond willingness, a certain amount of aetheric sensitivity is desirable. Too little and the Core will be unaware of some things; too much and they will be overwhelmed by the sheer weight of information forced upon them at all times. However, both conditions can be ameliorated somewhat by appropriate amplifiers and attenuators.
A potential Core is ideally at least 20 standard years of age; though Cores have been selected as young as 16 on occasion with no major drawbacks, they are the exception rather than the rule. Emotional maturity, or at least stability, is necessary to bear the burden of running a Void ship and all that comes along with it.
Personality is usually not a factor, though some personality types are more suitable for certain ship types than others. This is assessed during the training portion of the Core creation process.
Obtaining a new Core is a fairly lengthy process, involving selection, surgery, training, and assignment.
Selection generally happens in one of two ways, by volunteering and application or by recommendation. In either case, the candidates go through a screening process - not necessarily in person - to determine whether they will be able to perform adequately. This includes an assessment of aetheric sensitivity, which must fall within a certain range to allow amplification and attenuation as required. The closer to midrange a candidate falls, the less corrective engineering is required. Oversensitivity is far easier to correct than undersensitivity, however.
Once a candidate is confirmed suitable for becoming a Core, they are then offered the choice one last time before the next phase begins, to ensure their participation is entirely voluntary.