Throughout much of human history, the notion of extrasensory or "psychic" abilities has been both doubted and ridiculed throughout western civilization. However, in the past few centuries, discoveries both great and small have lead to a higher understanding of the nature of these abilities, as well as providing irrefutable evidence of their existence.
- E0 -- No detectable empathic ability.
- E1 -- Strong sympathetic ability, especially in physical contact with the other person.
- E2 -- True ability to sense and identify the emotions of nearby people without touching or even seeing them.
- E3 -- Greater range of sensitivity and the ability to project emotions, to calm or stimulate people for example.
- E4 -- More powerful than E3's. They can get a true psychological profile of anyone and impose an emotion or vague sensation on another. Can form permanent bonds with people which have no known range limit.
- E5 -- Exceptional control, range and ability. Can project true physical sensations. Non-verbal communication. Much valued in the field of psychiatry.
Chakats range from E3 to E5.
- T0 -- No detectable telepathic ability.
- T1 -- Dectectable talent, confined mostly to hunches and ease of non-verbal communication.
- T2 -- First level of real talent. Minimal ability to communicate words, phrases or intentions to another telepath.
- T3 -- Full ability to converse and convey images to another telepath up to a range of roughly 2000km. Partial ability to communicate with nearby non-telepaths.
- T4 -- Full ability to communicate with both telepaths and non-telepaths anywhere on the world.
- T5 -- Greater power and subtlety than T4. T5's can "read minds", extracting knowledge that hasn't been voluntarily given. Range extends to at least all of the solar system.
Skunktaur telepaths range from T3 to T5.
NOTE: Telepathic speech is only capable when both parties have a common frame of reference. Telepathy cannot translate languages¤, nor can it interpret a truly alien mind.
¤ In combination with a strong Empath, this liability can be overcome somewhat because they can give a "feel" for a word.
- K0 -- No detectable telekinetic ability.
- K1 -- Detectable talent, mostly trivial, barely able to influence small objects.
- K2 -- True ability to manipulate small objects.
- K3 -- Able to exert as much force as through manual manipulation. Can produce heat by exciting molecules.
- K4 -- Able to exert considerably more force than through manual means. Has a clear perception of where an object is without having to see it.
- K5 -- Exceptional control, range and ability. Can deduce the nature of materials merely by mental touch.
Skunktaur telekinetics range from K3 to K5.
- A0 -- No astral projection ability.
- A1 -- Detectable talent, usually uncontrollable.
- A2 -- True ability to project one's perceptual abilities away from one's body to observe remotely. Range is limited to several metres only.
- A3 -- Range jumps dramatically to many kilometres. Able to perceive finer details.
- A4 -- Able to range anywhere on a planet. Can perceive any detail as if physically there.
- A5 -- Exceptional control, range and ability. Range can extend to almost anywhere in a star system. Can also project a ghostlike image of themselves that can guide someone else by non-verbal or non-telepathic means, but only at a more limited range.
Skunktaur astral projectors range from A3 to A5.
- P0 -- No teleportation ability.
- P1 -- Minimum Talent, can only teleport small objects very limited distances.
- P2 -- Able to teleport objects of at least 50kg mass to a distance of at least 100km.
- P3 -- First level where person can teleport self. Mass limit 200kg approximately. Range: blind teleporting at least 800km; 'porting to a familiar site anywhere on the planet.
- P4 -- Range increases to entire solar system, but precision suffers badly unless the person has previously been to the destination in person or receives a telepathic 'fix'.
- P5 -- Range potentially unlimited, but actual range is highly variable. Able to make interstellar 'ports with a 'fix' or previous personal visit.
Teleporters are extremely rare, but have been known to occur in many unrelated species, including chakats.
NOTE: All Talent levels are the minimum to qualify for that level. For example: a T5 can converse mentally with anyone at least anywhere within the solar system. A Telepath who can mentally reach across the width of a galaxy might be classed as a T5.6
Pure-breed skunktaurs only ever have one of three special abilities, and a gene-linked paw-shaped fur marking on their right breast shows which Red for telepathy, Blue for telekinesis, and Black for astral projection. However, skunktaurs can share or reinforce their abilities, so several working in a team can accomplish amazing things.
Chakats are all empathic to some degree. Although this is normally their only Talent, occasionally one will be born with one of the other Talents also. However, any chakat can form a link with a skunktaur to share hys abilties just as they do amongst themselves. A crossbreed child of a chakat and a skunktaur can inherit both parents' abilities.
Chakats and skunktaurs are the only species where all members have a Talent, but most other species have the occasional Talent pop up.
There exist other Talents, but they are actually unique combinations of the ones mentioned already. One such Talent is called Technomancy. This combines aspects of Telepathy, Telekinesis and Astral Travel to achieve things none of those abilities can do alone. It gives the practitioner particular affinity with machines. Some do better with mechanical systems, some with electronics. Their abilities are much prized, since they can track down and diagnose subtle problems in complex systems that evade normal troubleshooting procedures. Unfortunately, as they grow in skill, technomancers tend to retreat into communion with their machines, eschewing contact with people. Some of them also propose that "artificial intelligence" is not inherently distinguishable from the natural kind, that computer-based expert systems are "alive" just as an organic mind would be. Technomancers are most often Blue or Blackpaw hybrid Skunktaurs. To distinguish themselves from these groups they dye their pawprints silver.
Figure 1: Dates from Talent research
Name Date Empathy officially discovered after much research 2178 Telepathy, Telekinesis, Astral Projection discovered 2220 First published study of Teleportation 2228 "Sympathetic" Talents discovered 2239
The discovery of the Talents has been a long and twisting path, notably for the difficulty of understanding the underlying mechanisms behind these abilities, and the fact that many early discoveries were discounted as something else. The first recorded incidence of the Talents occurred with the creation of the chakat species by the Turners (See: Introduction to Chakats). It was only after a series of tests that it was shown that the chakats did indeed have the Talent. The chakats were a major breakthrough for researchers, as it was the first time a reliable, consistent study could be carried out.
While the first results were met with disbelief, the weight of evidence soon caused many a scientist and layman to accept the existence of extrasensory abilities. However, it was originally thought that there was only one (empathy) as more talents began being discovered, it became clear that not only were Talents reasonably common, they also directly influenced our understanding and interaction with the world around us.
The most startling and extreme examples of Talents, namely Teleportation, have only been discovered relatively recently, and remain the most mysterious of all the Talents.
For Important dates, please consult figure 1.
Although much research has been done into the exact nature of extrasensory abilities, no compelling theory has been advanced thus far to explain how they work.
As far as it is known, Talents seem to be centered around the limbic system of the brain, namely in an area located medial of the hypothalamus, named the Medial Anomalous Gyrus Complex, or the MAGC. (Some Talent researchers fondly refer to it as MAGIC) The MAGC only appears in individuals who have Talents, and each MAGC is semi unique to the individual, as the Complex differs in shape and size depending on Talent strength and nature of talents. However, even after years of research, how it functions it poorly understood. The neurons of the area seem to have a complex redundant series of connections, as well as a series of non-connected soma. Strangely, these cell bodies will begin an impulse as if it has received information, but no information can be observed entering the system.
Types of Talents
Value Description Ψ0 No Talent detectable Ψ1 Very weak abilities Ψ2 First true level of clear demonstration of Talent Ψ3 Medium level of skill and power Ψ4 High level of skill and power Ψ5 Extraordinary Talent capabilities.
There are four "main" types of Talents: Empathy, Telepathy, Telekinesis, and Astral Projection. However, these are only the main types as they are the most common, and are found in any chakat or skunktaur. All Talents can be ranked according to the Federation Institute of Psionic Investigations (FIPI)'s Talent categorization rubric. This system ranks Talents on a six value axis, from 0 to 5 with a Talent indication symbol prefixing it, and this ranking is reasonably universal. However, in popular culture, and in layman's tongue, there are also a sixth (and higher) rating. Further, some researchers have proposed the inclusion of a "negative" rating, to represent certain individuals that cannot be read by empathy or telepathy. However, this view is not generally accepted. Please refer to Figure 2.
Empathy was the first Talent to be scientifically recognized, originating primarily in chakats. Any sentient lifeform (to the knowledge of science) can have the Empathic Talent. As a Talent, Empathy is a nonverbal, nonphysical transmission of emotions, and certain physical sensations. Empaths can both receive and project emotions and physical sensations, making them a key part of therapy. Receiving emotions is easier than receiving sensations, and projecting emotions is more difficult than receiving sensations, but easier than projecting sensations. However, most empathic projections are by their very nature blunt, and only the most skilled can project emotions in a manner that isn't obvious.
An interesting oddity of Empathy is the ability to create bonds. These bonds typically form between two people who are intimate and spend a great deal of proximity with one another. Interestingly, while more powerful empaths seem to be able to form the strongest bonds most easily, one's normal empathic strength is no indicator of the ability to form strong bonds. Some researchers have proposed that bonding is actually a separate talent, one that many individuals have. The argument is that, since non-empaths can form bonds, it must be a non-empathic talent at work. However, most evidence seems to point to an empath of some skill being in the relationship, suggesting that it is indeed the same talent.
These bonds seemingly transmit information at Faster-Than-Light speeds, and over almost any distance.
The most basic manifestation of empathy is in the form of touch empathy, followed by non-connected empathy, emotion projection, and finally sensation projection. Each skill increases with level, and touch empathy will always remain the most potent skill.
Telepathy is one of the more archetypical psychic talents, and at its heart is the nonverbal, nonphysical transmission of thoughts, and other mental information. Unlike empathy, Telepathy is primarily a projecting Talent, and indeed many Telepaths, save for the most powerful, have difficulty pulling information out of another being's mind against their will. Further, unlike empaths, Telepaths have serious difficulty projecting thoughts, ideas, or images to non-telepaths. Further limiting this Talent is seemingly a language barrier; that is, no Telepath can understand the thoughts of another being, unless that telepath would be able to understand those thoughts as if they were spoken. I.E. a French telepath cannot understand an English Telepath, without first knowing English.
Despite these limitations, many of which are over come by the most powerful telepaths, Telepathy is one of the most useful talents known to modern science, due to the fact that information can be sent at FTL speeds. Before the advent of subspace communications, the most powerful telepaths would find themselves stationed on ships as communications officers, and even in the modern world, it is not odd to see new colonies hiring a telepath of these levels to perform that function until a communications array can be built. However, the greater the distance, the less skilled the user is, and even the most powerful Telepaths have difficulty retrieving intelligent information beyond sight. However, the more familiar a telepath is with a mind, the better able they are to communicate, even outside the Telepath's range
The most basic manifestation of telepathy is in the form of touch Telepathy, followed by telepath-to-telepath transmission (degree and nature of information sent increasing overtime), Telepath-to-non-telepath transmission, and finally "Mind reading". Each skill increases with level, and touch Telepathy will always remain the most potent skill.
However, unlike empaths who take comfort in the emotional background of others, many telepaths find the background to be frustrating and irriating. It is not abnormal to find some telepaths going off to distant colonies and becoming hermits.
Unlike the previous two talents, Telekinesis is primarily involved with the movement of objects in a nonphysical fashion. At the most basic levels, the talent allows the manipulation of small objects, but at it's most powerful levels, telekinetics can manipulate objects several times the weight they'd be able to lift on their own, and induce heat, divine elements, and other useful actions. Much less discussed, but still a potent part of the Telekinesis Talent, are its passive effects. Many Telekinetics have extremely good spatial navigational abilities. Even blindfolded and deafened, Telekinetics can navigate a crowded room with ease. Telekinetics make excellent pilots, for example. However, an interesting side effect of this passive use of talent is that the Telekinetics have underdeveloped skills at trusting their other senses. If their talent is blocked or otherwise disabled, Tekekinetics find themselves becoming disoriented, sometimes losing balance and running into things that a non-talented individual would avoid with ease. Telekinetics are notorious for being extremely poor at video games that require such skills, as well as flight simulators and other pilot training exercises.
Like most Talented people, Telekinetics are extremely uncomfortable with holodecks. Unlike other talented people, some Telekinetics will outright refuse to use holographic technology altogether. Much research is being done to see if there is a way to trick telekinesis into feeling objects that are not there.
As Telekinesis is limited to the movement of objects, Telekinesis has a more limited skill set. Generally, as the Talent levels increase, the amount of mass that can be manipulated increases, as does the degree of refined control. Around T3 the refinement of control is refined to a micrometer or nanometer (between 5μm to 75nm) and barely increases after this point. Highly skilled Telekinetics can produce electricity, but only at a poor conversion rate. Other than this, there is also the matter of limited interaction. Untrained Telekinetics cannot do more than one task at once with their talent, and the hard limit for trained telekinetics, no matter how powerful, differs from species to species. Most bipedal species such as humans or morphs are limited to only two or three tasks, whereas some taur species like chakats typically can do four or five. It is suspected that this is due to the MAGC's connections to the motor cortices. Interestingly, due to Skunktaurs' lack of handpaws and specialized tail, they have a soft limit of three or four because they less motor areas in their brain; however a skunktaur who starts training early enough can reach a similar limit as chakat.
Astral Projection is one of the least understood of the talents, despite being extremely common. Astral projection involves the projection of the user's mind outside the body, allowing them to investigate areas that they are not physically in. The nature and degree of this projection ranges from an uncanny awareness, to a full bodied "ghost" of the individual being projected. As such, it is a very odd talent to study. Some theories suggest that Astral Projection may be merely a grab bag of other talents that are poorly understood and documented.
Interestingly, Astral projection appears to be tied in with the senses that the individual is limited to. An Astral Projector who is born with a sight impairment cannot see any better than if they were there physically. However, an Astral projector who has normal sight can perceive the world visually when projecting, but at a level of clarity commensurate with their level of skill. The most powerful can see with perfect vision, while the lesser Talents may be limited to black and white, or hazy shapes. Cybernetic implants appear to make no difference to this. On the other hand, an Astral Projector who is physically blinded in an accident can still "see" by the use of their Talent. Clairvoyance is considered a subset of Astral Projection.
Astral Projectors are valued as scouts and their ability to investigate areas that they, and no one else, can travel to physically.
Astral Projection has only two real skills, appearing in this order: Remote observation (Details ranging from weak to excellent), projection of a mental ghost (A5). The latter has the advantage of being able to convey information by means of gestures (Charades, anyone?), or lip-reading if someone with that ability is on hand.
Teleportation is the instantaneous movement of one object from point A to point B, without physically moving the object. While the object is not physically moved in any fashion, objects being teleported take on the relative motion. That is to say, if you teleported an object from one space craft to another going in a different direction and speed, the object wouldn't slam into the wall. Teleporters seemingly require anchors, or places that they know well, to move between.
Teleportation is of great interest to science, and has a wide range of uses. Sadly, due to the fact that Teleportation is an extremely rare Talent, it is poorly understood and most of the applications Teleporters might find work at do not exist due to the need to study these individuals.As its name would suggest, like Telekinesis, Teleportation only has two skills; the ability to teleport objects, and the ability to teleport themselves. Teleportation seems to lack a fine degree of control, and rather acts almost like a giant hand scooping the target up. That is to say, it is not possible for a teleporter to 'port off an unsuspecting victim's clothing. Further, it seems that there a degree of self preservation; no teleporter can teleport themselves into a wall, or any other persons they might be teleporting. Any attempt to teleport anything into a solid object results in the thing bouncing back to its origin if the target is too hard, or bulging or shattering the object if it's sufficiently soft. Any attempt to 'port anything into a solid object has a significant mental cost.
The strongest theory on how teleportation works is that the teleporter seems to be able to rotate objects or themselves about another physical dimension, pushing them into a parallel universe where it is hypothesised that the different physical laws mean that every point is congruent to every other point in that universe, so movement to the point in that universe that corresponds to the target in our universe takes virtually no time. The subject then rotates back into our universe. This theory accounts for why distance does not seem to have any bearing whatsoever on the energy toll put on the Teleporter. However, the amount of mass that the Teleporter moves does have a bearing. The more mass, the harder it is, and seems to be one of the two limiting factors of the Teleportation ability. Nevertheless, a T5 can seem to handle at least a tonne comfortably, but the upper limit has yet to be determined due to the acute shortage of test subjects. The other limiting factor is the need to get some sort of lock on their target, otherwise a blind teleport may miss by metres or even kilometers.
Sympathetic or harmonic talents are, in short, a composite Talent made up of two or more Talents working together in a single fashion. This is not to be confused with an individual having two (or more) separate Talents, such as a chakat with Telepathy and Empathy. Rather, the Sympathic Talent is a Talent that is the use of multiple talents, at once, towards a single purpose, on an untrained and unconscious level. If stressed, the individual can display each Talent in turn, but cannot do so under normal conditions. The best known form of this is that of Technomancy (Telepathy, Telekinesis, Astral Projection), but other forms exist, such as the Babel Talent (Empathy and Telepathy).
While well known and heavily documented, very little information is known, and little research into these Sympathic Talents is done. This is is because, not unlike Teleportation, Sympathetic Talents are very rare.
The total population of Talented individuals within the Federation is a matter of controversy. This is primarily because chakats and skunktaurs both have Talents to some degree and as such throw the stats off. However, not including them causes it to appear that Talented individuals are far more rarer than they are. As such, multiple charts have been included below detailing the population distribution.
Talents and You
Talented individuals are all around us. As such, this section will attempt to address several key questions one might have about Talents, so to promote a better understanding of these amazing people!
How are Talents discovered in individuals?
At a young age, one can use brain-scanning technology to examine the brain of an individual, and from this information estimate the type, and degree of the talent. However, this is rarely completely accurate, and it is hard to test for more complex Talents like Sympathetic Talents. Further limiting this is that some Talents (like Empathy and Telepathy) look very similar on a scanner, and can only be told apart by a more powerful scanner. However, the more powerful scanner has a slight damaging potential, and is unlikely to be done on a child before the age of seventeen without an emergency situation.
How am I protected against the Talented?
There is no need to fear the Talented! However, as these concerns can, in some cases, be valid, there are several technologies that disrupt the ability of Talents to function. High security and Government offices always have these installed. Further more, serving members of Star Fleet and Star Corps, as well as some other professions, are issued ID cards with the nature and degree of their Talents included, if there is any need to check. An example is of this card is shown on the right.
Is there any way of changing a Talented Individual's FIPI rating?
Yes! Like any skill, Talents can be improved through practice, after all, practice makes perfect! This improvement is between 1.3 and 1.75 times their original Talent levels.
Copyright © Bernard Doove
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