The Von Neumann Ecophage (VNE) is a parasitic non-organic lifeform. Its most striking feature is that it is drawn to consume complex organic matter, converting it in the process into a substance like itself. In this way it behaves like a von Neumann machine (hence the name).
Most infected individuals are taken by different governments, intelligence agencies, and corporations who are locked in a new kind of arms race.
After months of research, a process was found by which the organism could be made to consume the same food energy as human beings and created the symbiotic strains that led to the Augmented.