Location: 10 light years from black hole at center of Milky Way.
Age: 2.3 Billion years
Table of Contents
When the Lights first began searching for a reason for their existence they were like any other intelligence: they had no idea where to look or what to look for. Some turned to philosophy to try explaining why they existed, others turned to science. For millions of years they worked separately, each side coming up with theories. When organic life first appeared, many of them believed they had found their purpose: to protect and nurture this new form of life.
With the majority of the Lights watching over organic life forms, many began doubting their real purpose involved them. The life forms didn't appear to have any purpose of their own. All they seemed to do was consume other life forms and damage the environment they lived in. Two Lights, one a scientist the other a philosopher, began a discussion comparing the old theories which had been developed before organic life appeared. The one thing they saw common in all of them was they all made many assumptions about life in the galaxy. They believed they could create an artificial mind powerful enough to take everything in the galaxy into account in order to discover why they existed.
Not What They Hoped For
The first attempt at creating Core was not a failure, but it did fall very short of what the Lights had wanted. They had never created anything like an artificial mind before and without any knowledge of the inner workings of a real mind they were only guessing at what they needed to do. They did succeed in creating an extremely powerful artificial intelligence which could help them solve the most difficult scientific questions they had. But for a question like 'why do we exist' which has no scientific basis it was useless.
The Lights who designed the original Core determined that what they needed was not an artificial mind, but more powerful version of their own minds. Given that they were extremely wary about examining the inner workings of their own mind, they decided that there could be a possibility of merging one of their minds with Core. This would allow them to work as one mind while keeping the personality and memories of any merged mind intact. When they told others about the idea, they were happily surprised many Lights were very interested in being the first to merge.
Designs and Discoveries
The Lights worked on way to merge a mind with a computer for thousands of years before their first success. Due to their aversion to examining the inside of their own minds, they could only make educated guesses at how to connect using either mind wave technologies, or attaching something to a tendril. The first merges did not work very well because Core had not been designed to use mind speak to communicate. The designers believed they could create a more efficient way of communicating, but in the end it only slowed down a Light minds ability to interact with Core. Much of the main functionality of Core was redesigned to make communicating easier for the Lights.
The new design allowed for six minds to be merged, with the ability to eventually allow more. Once merged, the Lights acted as a single mind, but with a combination of all six personalities. The scientists were initially worried the different personalities could conflict, causing Core to cease functioning. But they were once again surprised that the minds seemed to automatically choose the dominant traits of the six minds to be used for the new mind. Eventually Core developed a theory as to how this mechanism worked. Leading the Lights to believe any set of minds could be merged without conflict.
Need More Power
Although Core was extremely powerful and helped the Lights solve many problems beyond their abilities, it still did not have the ability to determine what they were meant to do. It decided on its own that more minds needed to be merged, along with more computing systems added. The designers worked on new systems for both requirements, eventually designing a system that could be expanded indefinitely. The only problem was powering it all. Light technology is powered by extracting energy from space, but the energy which Core needed was far beyond what they could extract around it. With the help of Core, they came up with a new system which could harness the energy given off of a black hole. To reduce the chance of not having enough energy, they decided to move Core with its new energy gathering system to the center of the galaxy.
Bigger But Not Better
Over the eons Core continued expanding. It eventually designed a method to allow a mind to be detached, allowing minds to work in Core temporarily. Five of the Six original minds have stayed in the system from the start, with one becoming disillusioned with what had been accomplished and leaving. It was replaced with another mind of equal age and intelligence. At any given time there are a few thousand minds are merged with Core, imparting their knowledge and aiding in the task of discovering their purpose. After the confrontation with Jack on Earth, Alpha One and Alpha Two decided they needed to merge with Core to allow it to determine if the way they were handling life on Earth was the best way.