Psionics

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Powers: Psionics
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Psionics (also psionic energy) is the application of a specific frequency of energy analogous to, but not part of, the electromagnetic spectrum. This energy has a unique characteristic in that it is generated and controlled by mental impulses from a living organism, and cannot be replicated mechanically. Psionic energy can be harnessed for a number of uses, most notably through mutant power manifestations. Mutants who exhibit psionic powers are referred to generally as psis, or according to their specific manifestation.


Manifestations

Telepathy

from the Greek tele- (meaning at a distance) and -pathy (meaning feeling or perception)

Telepathy is most simply described as a link between two sentient minds. A common analogy for telepathy is that of two computers on a network, able to read files form the other, depending on the configuration of the link.

The first and most common expression of telepathy is communication via thought. A telepath may establish a communication link with one or more minds, depending on skill and power level. Even without a direct link, it is possible for a sensitive telepath to pick up on surface thoughts of nearby minds, or become aware of a non-telepath attempting to contact them.

A counter-application of this form of telepathy can be used to affect the senses of others, to broadcast sensory information along a link, or to alter or dull another's senses.

Another application of telepathy is that of locating a specific mind at a distance. This ability is amplified by the use of devices such as Cerebro. Use of telepathy in this manner may facilitate communication over great distances.

Telepathy can also be used violently, disrupting the operation of a target's brain to cause a temporary fugue state, or trigger pain sensations, paralysis, or other debilitating psychosomatic effects. Betsy Braddock has perfected a stunt where she focuses her telepathy into a short-range offensive weapon, symbolized by a "psychic knife".

Telepathy may also be used to project the telepath's self-image into the mind of another, creating a psi-scape, a sort of shared consensual hallucination almost indistinguishable from reality. This use of telepathy is common in various forms of therapy and deep communication.

Many telepaths form semi-permanent links with one or more minds, referred to as a psi-link. This results in all parties on the link sharing some degree of thought, emotion, and occasionally sensation. Severing of a psi-link can often be psychologically and occasionally physically traumatic.

Telepaths in X-Project

Phase 1

  • Hope Abbott (only telepathic 'speaking' while projecting)
  • Jane Doe (limited to only in her cloud form)


Phase 2

  • Hope Abbott (only telepathic 'speaking' while projecting)

Telekinesis

from the Greek tele- (meaning at a distance) and -kinesis (meaning motion)

Telekinesis is the ability to use psionic energy to exert force at a distance. Telekinetics are often able to lift objects with their mind, of masses ranging from molecules in a DNA strand to massive multiple-ton aircraft.

Some of the varied uses of telekinesis include:

  • Exerting force on an object to move it or hold it in place.
  • Flight, either by lifting the telekinetic or providing raw thrust.
  • Exerting force in a specific area, creating a virtual 'shield' of force.
  • Separating a solution into its component parts, if the telekinetic has the ability to distinguish those components.
  • Altering the phase state of matter: from solid to liquid, or from an amorphous form to a crystalline form.

One of the unique aspects of telekinesis is that there is not necessarily an equal and opposite reaction to telekinetic force being exerted on an object. For example, a telekinetic lifting a car is not affected by an equal downward force. The reason for this has not yet been determined.

Telekinetics in X-Project

Phase 1

Phase 2


Precognition

from the Latin pre- (meaning before) and -cognition (meaning knowledge)

Precognition is the ability to perceive events that have not yet occurred, often referred to as "seeing the future". Quite possibly the most inexact of all psionic powers, there are a number of theories about precognition, centering around the nature of time and concepts such as multiple realities, causality, and the Uncertainty Principle.

Most precognitives have little control over their ability, having 'visions' or 'hunches' strike almost at random, or triggered by specific phenomena. Anecdotal evidence links chemicals such as phenylalanine can bring on precognitive flashes, resulting in odd interactions with foods like chocolate and some artificial sweeteners.

One of the common theories surrounding precognition is that a viewed future is potentially changed by having knowledge of it ahead of time, following the scientific "observer principle" that illustrates the theory that observing an object changes it in some manner. In many cases a precognitive vision is not fully understood until the predicted event has occurred. In others, changing actions that would lead to the predicted event can change the outcome or prevent it entirely.

Precognitives in X-Project

Phase 1

Phase 2

Empathy

Empathy, often referred to as neuropathy, is a limited form of telepathy acting solely on emotional states. By psionically triggering specific neural responses, an empath can sense or manipulate the emotional state of a subject.

Empathy differs from telepathy in that full conscious thought cannot be affected, although psychologically the link between conscious thought and subconscious emotion can allow an empath to influence, although not directly control, the behavior of a subject. A subject's emotional state may also be linked to their physical responses (breathing, heart rate, etc), and empathic manipulation can be used by a talented empath to alter a subject's physical responses in a form of assisted biofeedback. In additon, empathy has been shown to be useful in mnemonic therapy, helping to release or suppress memory.

Forms of emotional manipulation not involving psionics are not considered to be empathy, for example: deducing a subject's emotional state through scent, or influencing it via drugs or pheromones.


Empaths in X-Project

Phase 1

Phase 2

Other Manifestations

Some mutants are able to use psionic energy to create visual images. Artie Maddicks uses such images to communicate, while Danielle Moonstar used a form of empathy to make a subject's worst fear visible. Marie-Ange Colbert, in addition to her precognitive powers, can create solid ectoplasmic forms based off two-dimensional images.

Jamie Madrox manifested duplicates of himself, composed of ectoplasm and semi-autonomous, even though he displays no other psionic abilities.

Jonothon Starsmore had a unique mutation where his entire body is composed of psionic energy, contained in an approximation of a biological form.

Some mutants have the ability to telepathically communicate with non-human objects, such as plants (chloropathy) or technological devices (technopathy).


'Other' Psis in X-Project

Phase 2

  • Amanda Sefton ('mental' link with cities as a function of her energy absorption)
  • Box (technopath and technokinetic)
  • Suzanne Chan (retrocognitive projection - projection of past events)

Phase 2

  • Amanda Sefton ('mental' link with cities as a function of her energy absorption)


The astral plane

The so-called "astral plane" is thought to be a manner of viewing psionic energy, much in the same manner some energy manipulators can view the world in relation to electromagnetic energy. However, the astral plane also exhibits properties of physical space. An odd form of matter, termed ectoplasm can be brought from the astral plane into physical space, often as a side-effect of psionic power or to form physical constructs animated by psionic force. While no conclusive studies have been made on ectoplasm, it appears to be indistinguishable from matter native to the physical plane. Ectoplasmic matter appears to violate the theory that matter may neither be created or destroyed, although this paradox can be explained by the transporation of ectoplasmic matter to and from the astral plane.

The astral plane is generally only 'visible' to telepaths, although other psis may have methods of sensing it, such as Manuel de la Rocha's visualization of emotions as colors.


Psionic energy and technology

While not specifically part of the electromagnetic spectrum, psionic energy has been shown to be affected by certain frequencies and intensities of electromagnetic radiation. This discovery was instrumental in the creation of The Box, a "psi-proof" room located in the medical complex of the mansion.

The theory has also been used to create devices, often termed " psi-bafflers" that interfere with psionic energy. These devices, although exceedingly rare and prohibitively expensive, can either interfere with or totally block psionic energy, similar to how different types of matter will block specific frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. To date, it has not been possible to mechanically replicate, store, or control psionic energy aside from providing the aforementioned technological interference.

Non-psis and Shielding

Non-psis can be taught to shield against casual psionic contact and not broadcast their thoughts, and with more intensive training (such as that received in intelligence agencies and with the X-Men from Charles) be able to block a telepathic probe for a short period of time, be that seconds or minutes depending on a) the strength of the telepath and b) the particular structure of the non-psi's mind. One's ability to shield is very much determined by the strength of will, the training they receive and their particular mindset.

Shielding traditionally occurs in three stages:

1) Learning to actively quiet one's own psionic signature. The mental version of quieting and controlling your breathing, in a way. Instead of broadcasting your thoughts, you learn to internalize those processes, to turn down the volume.

2) How to actively identify a foreign mental presence, get a feel for the levels of potential scanning and active use on the mind.

[Traditionally, Xavier's students are taught these first two stages as part of their normal powers training, to varying levels of competence depending on the student.]

3) Creating the actual shields. In some cases, these might be imagined 'walls', keeping out the other's thoughts, in others they can be repeated phrases or meditative mantras. For others, it might be projecting certain unpleasant memories or thoughts in an effort to drive the telepath away, or a combination of several techniques.

A non-psi would not be able to hold off a determined probe from a telepath, no matter what their training, unless they had a link with a telepath who was helping them, such as Scott getting help from Charles in Not So Plain Jane. In those circumstances, the non-psi may be able to distract the invading telepath by focussing on a particular memory or piece of information, however this is mostly a stop-gap type of measure against a truly determined telepath.

Some non-psis are established as having powers interactions that make them difficult or impossible to scan, such as Remy or Wanda (when she's using her powers), however, this does not mean they can withstand a telepathic probe from a determined high-level telepath.

It is possible for a psi to wipe traces of a psionic invasion from the mind, either by altering memories or implanting suggestions. In some cases, it might be possible to slip those suggestions past a person's defences without them being aware. It is generally the case that those who have been taught to shield would be sufficiently aware to detect an unwanted psionic presence.


Shielding theories taken from this thread on XPP.

Natural Immunity to Psionics

There are a number of characters whose powers or mental structure make casual scanning next to impossible, and active probing extremely difficult, although a determined telepath would be able to eventually manage it, likely causing damage in the process. Those characters are:

Naturally Immune Characters in X-Project

Phase 1

  • Doug Ramsey (stimulus overload from his language decoding)
  • Jane Doe (when using her powers - diffusion of mind)
  • Magneto (due to the helmet he wears and magnetises, causing an EM disruption)
  • Marius Laverne (passive absorption of powers used against him creates feedback)
  • Matt Murdock (stimulus overload from his enhanced sensory input)
  • Vanessa Carlysle (when wearing a mimic with a psi imprint she is undetectable as anyone but that person)
  • Wanda Maximoff (when using her powers - chaos elements create psionic 'static')


Phase 2

  • Amadeus Cho (stimulus overload from his accelerated intellect)
  • Amanda Sefton (not immune, but the changed structure of her mind due to her city link is difficult for psis to process)
  • Doug Ramsey (stimulus overload from his language decoding)
  • Magneto (due to the helmet he wears and magnetises, causing an EM disruption)
  • Marius Laverne (passive absorption of powers used against him creates feedback)
  • Matt Murdock (stimulus overload from his enhanced sensory input)
  • Wanda Maximoff (when using her powers - chaos elements create psionic 'static')