Psionics did not appear in Mevwan prior to the Zaee landing. 9 professional psions, and 16 people with measurable psionic power but no career ambitions in that direction (including 3 children), were among the survivors of the crash. The natural incidence of psionics in Zaee is not quite 4%, but only half of these individuals have enough control and power to make use of the ability in applications of interesting scale. Control factors are weakly trainable; strength less so, although not zero. Individual factors composing one's strength or control are correlated, but some psions have good control/strength in one aspect of their discipline and poor control in another. For example, a perturber might be able to move very large objects, but only slowly. Human Mevwani children conceived after the crash, concentrated on the island (although sheer geographical proximity to Zaee seems not to be a factor), exhibit only a 2% rate of psionic power, but nearly all of these turn out to be as powerful as the more powerful half of Zaee psions. Psionic powers come in four types, which appear independently and may appear in combination. It is not unheard of for extremely high-control psions to be able to develop an additional type "via" a type one is born with, but this is uncommon in the extreme, and apart from one perturber-turned-telepath on the original colony ship, has not been documented in Mevwan. The types are these:
Or, telekinesis. The ranged movement of objects. There is variance in power (maximum size of objects movable, and the maximum speed and force with which they can be moved) and control (minimum size of objects movable, whether objects must be moved in their entirety or can be adjusted piecemeal, minimum speed and force with which they can be moved). Most pertubers can move living things, and this carries no special risks, but is more likely to cause hurt feelings if one's control is inadequate to the task of keeping the moved thing intact, so low-control high-power perturbers are advised not to make the attempt. Some perturbers cannot achieve the feat of making living objects move at all; the cause of this deficit is unknown.
Mental communication. There is variance in power (maximum range, maximum "volume"/obtrusiveness of communication; range and volume may differ for sending and receiving) and control (varies person to person - in general, the more control one has, the more modes of communication one can use, but a given low-control telepath might be restricted to words, meanings, mental images, emotions, memories, etc. Control is also considered to cover one's tendency to "leak" communiqués or perform non-deliberate reading, either without intending to use telepathy at all or without intending to broadcast to/read everyone in range.) Most telepaths can only work with people, but there are no cases of a telepath who can work with only humans or only Zaee but not both. Some telepaths can work with non-sentient animals at a reduced degree of precision; this ability is not correlated with strength but is more common in telepaths with greater control. AIs which have special crystalline peripherals installed (in chassis or in stationary computers) can duplicate some telepathic feats and be acted on by living telepaths almost as though they were human or Zaee minds.
Energy manipulation. There is variance in power (volume of energy one can create or dissipate; whether one needs a "seed" energy source to start with; which energy types [light, heat, electrical charge] one has affinity for) and control (ability to precisely guide energy along desired channels without letting it get out of hand; tendency to inadvertently cause energy spikes in one's vicinity when one is trying to accomplish something else or not trying to do anything at all). Mythically, astrapitors are rumored to be able to manipulate the energy of souls and move from place to place without their bodies (and re-inhabit their bodies at will), but this has not occurred in recorded history. High-power low-control astrapitors are extremely dangerous - unlike high-power low-control perturbers they may use their abilities by accident; unlike anticipaths the harm they can do is not confined to themselves; and unlike telepaths their harm is not merely annoying.
Precognition. There is variance in power (temporal range, detail, accuracy) and control (ability to hedge out involuntary visions and solicit desired ones, and ability to see "conditional" visions, e.g. what would happen given some specified circumstance). No anticipath has perfectly reliable visions - in fact, one that did would be less useful, as his or her visions would not be avertable given warning. Despite the common word "visions" to describe their anticipations, different anticipaths experience their impressions of the future through different senses, often synaesthetically. (Synaesthesia in non-vision contexts is extremely common in anticipaths.) Low-control anticipaths are often overwhelmed by involuntary visions and, if training fails to improve their control, may need lifelong care.
Last edited by Alicorn
on Thu May 26, 2011 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.