Psychics

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PLEASE NOTE: The following information is coded Ultra Plus. If you have any doubts as to whether you have permission to look at such material, please report to your nearest police station to find out. As with all information relating to psychic abilities, this data is provided on a strict need-to-know basis. If you are psychic, you probably don’t need to know that, because you know it already.


Overview

Whether in the form of actual supernatural events or heightened perception, psychic occurrences have been reported in popular culture for many centuries. Generally speaking, these are best dismissed as bollocks and, even if true, would be of questionable use (who actually wants bent cutlery, after all?). However, in recent years, the imperial military has shown increasing interest in psychic phenomena, particularly mind-control, because it is well-known that the minds of anything outside the British Space Empire are feeble. Unsurprisingly, the Service, in its unofficial role as the caretaker of crazy ideas, co-ordinates the investigation programme.


It has been suggested that, at a certain level of moral fibre, a human may acquire the ability to psychically impose his will on others. This ability is commonly referred to as the Bearing, and is generally wielded by telling others to stop their nonsense at once. The Bearing is studied and focused through what is known as the Shau Teng style. Certain cultures, such as the Teasmen of Urn, have psychic traditions. Urn’s own tassomancers seek to predict the future through the interpretation of tea leaves, and its Saucerers are often consulted for advice in difficult situations (the answers tend to revolve around putting the kettle on). So it is not surprising that the Space Empire’s main source of psychic research is based on Urn, although it is slightly more surprising that it is disguised as a girls’ school.

Imperial Research Facilities

Urn

St Carmilla’s Academy for the Unnaturally Gifted is situated on the outskirts of Capital City, Urn, and accommodates around 200 young ladies of preternatural talent in charming, fire-resistant surroundings. The facility aims not just to foster individual talent, but to encourage the development of group spirit: the spirit in question being a sort of terrifying flying thing with a scythe. Reports on the actual proceedings within the walls are, unsurprisingly, jealously guarded, but one high-ranking special forces operative is reputed to have described St Carmilla’s as “great on paper, bloody terrifying in reality, like all large gatherings of women. Also, institutions make me twitchy”. Photographic evidence can be obtained by special dispensation.

During the Edenite occupation of Urn, the Edenites decided to close St Carmilla's and kill everyone in it, on the grounds that (after very considerable consideration) it offended them. Luckily, the academy was evacuated in time. During the occupation, the Teasmen militia were joined by the former hockey team of St Carmilla's, known as the Badgers. Led by a brutally enthusiastic centre-forward nicknamed Red Dawn, the Badgers were involved in the furious retaking of the academy grounds. The few surviving Edenites could only mutter about witchcraft and "vixens from Hell" and quiver at the thought of it all.

Other institutions

Other facilities are thought to exist on Cottingley Prime, New Newcastle (whose citizens are said to be psychically impervious to cold), Midwich Secundus (prior to its accidental detonation from orbit) and New Franscisco, where the mind-altering effects of Red Weed have been extensively studied.

Alien Facilities

The legends of the M'Lak imply that several of their number have had unnatural abilities. In particular, the gilled are often credited with mystic abilities, including the capacity to migrate across space and locate things to fight. Given the haphazard enthusiasm of the M'Lak, it is surprising that more of their spacecraft have not crashed into planets or tried to board the sun, so perhaps there is truth in this.

The British Space Empire is known to have attempted to investigate psychic powers. While the Ghasts would do almost anything to win, centuries of brainless obedience have left their capacity for independent thought severely reduced. However, events in the Didcot system suggest that they have attempted to artificially induce psychic abilities in the under-10s.

The Vorl are, of course, almost entirely psychic. It is possible that they have achieved a new state of being, having discarded their former bodies. That said, they clearly have some interest in the corporeal form, given the odd Vorl-human hybrid wandering about.