SFJAG Psionics Handbook

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Psionics Handbook


Introduction

Science fiction has always had its own magic; psionics, or psychic powers, or ESP have always been a staple of science fiction and Star Trek is no exception.From the very beginning, even the estimable Mr Spock was a touch telepath.Since then, Star Trek has had Dr Miranda Jones, Medusans, Betazoids, the Q, any number of races using paranormal abilities. Because the ASR role-play universe is designed to reflect and emulate the universe of Star Trek, that means the inclusion of races, characters, and abilities that fit under the broad envelope of ‘paranormal’, ‘psychic’ or ‘psionic’.

This guidebook is designed to give players in the ALT.STARFLEET.RPG (ASR) universe a comprehensive overview of psionics and paranormal abilities as they pertain to and work within that universe.This guidebook will explain how those abilities work within the ASR universe, including what is allowed to Player-Characters (PCs), what is allowed to Non-Player Characters (NPCs), what is NOT allowed under any circumstances, and what the gray area is.But most importantly, this guidebook will establish the moral and ethical stances Starfleet takes on the use of psionic abilities – and therefore the standard PCs are held to in role-play.

The rules and information contained herein do not necessarily reflect current real-life scientific studies done on psychic abilities, and nor do they represent any religious/spiritual viewpoint held or supported by ALT.STARFLEET.RPG. The information contained in this manual is designed to be used as resource and reference for ASR players only.

This guidebook falls under the auspices of the Starfleet Judge Advocate General because in terms of role-play, they are the Branch of ASR that would be in charge of handling and adjudicating a psionic character’s alleged misconduct.Also, SFJAG is the branch of Starfleet that explains and defines the Starfleet moral code, distilling it from the numerous rules and regulations.

If you have any questions concerning Psionics in ASR, please contact Alan M Rogers, your unit CO, or any member of ASR Senior Administration.


Defining the Situation

Put simply, Psionics are traditional ESP, psychic powers, and ‘magick’ all rolled into one.In ASR terms, Psionics is the talent to control abilities derived from the manipulation of forces or mental processes outside the possibilities defined by traditional natural or scientific laws.This includes such things as astral projection, clairvoyance, clairaudience, foretelling and fortune telling, telekinesis to Vulcan Katras and rites such as fal-tor-pan, which can restore the dead to life to Betazoid telepathy, non-corporeal beings and the powers of races such as the Melkot.

But there is one cardinal rule to remember: Psionics are not magic. Psionics are natural, scientifically explainable, quantifiable, and can and do fall under moral, ethical and legal constraint, the same as any other power.

Starfleet (and ASR) do not consider psionics to be ‘powers’ (although a character may think of psionics any way the player sees fit, as long as that PC adheres to the rules of ASR).Instead, psionics is considered to be an ability, just the same as a Klingon’s superior strength, a Hamalki’s ability to spin a crystalline web, or a Sivaoan’s claws and tail.Certain people and species have psionic ability, and through training and study, those with the ability can learn to use and master certain skills and disciplines.


How do Psionics Work?

Psionics work by affecting the quantum and sub-quantum strata of the universe; neurologically speaking, individuals with psionic ability possess neurotransmitters and synapses that operate with quantum energy as opposed to electricity. This quantum energy can be converted into more conventional forms of energy to affect the physical world when abilities such as psychokinetics. Although it may appear psionic abilities break natural and scientific laws, the ability is affecting a more fundamental and primal level of the universe than is apparent to the non-psionically adept.


Psychometry

Psychometry, the science of measuring and quantifying psionics, is equal parts quantum physics, neurology, and metascience. By determining the types and amounts of the various psionically capable neurotransmitters and synapses, a psychometrist can determine the type and level of the psionic abilities an individual may possess. By determining the threshold levels of an individual’s brain and/or body for a certain type and/or frequency of specific kinds of quantum energy, a psychometrist can also determine the ‘power level’[1] of a specific psionic ability possessed by that individual.

Most innately psionic species have been studying Psychometry for centuries, or even millennia, but Psychometry as a Federation science is fairly new – only since the end of the Dominion war and the return of the USS Voyager from the Delta quadrant has Psychometry gained recognition Federation-wide as a legitimate science.


Role-Play

In terms of play, all fleet doctors and science officers are capable of minor psychometric study, including the detection of psionic ability and the suppression thereof. The exact level of knowledge possessed by a PC is determined by the unit CO and the player. The information considered ASR canon in terms of knowledge of psionics and the use thereof is contained within this guide. Any significant changes or advanced made in Psychometry should be reported to Alan M Rogers for inclusion in future revisions of this document.


Starfleet Regulations

The following are the official Starfleet regulations concerning the use of psionics. Violation of any of these regulations can result in official reprimands and possible investigation by the Federation Security and Investigative Services and possible prosecution by the Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s Office. These regulations are listed in order of precedence.


First Statement of Psionic Rights (The Psionic Prime Directive)

"The right of every sentient being to the sanctity and privacy of their own thoughts and mind is considered sacred. Starfleet personnel cannot intrude upon that sanctity and privacy except under specifically designated cirumstances defined and protected by interstellar law. No information or knowledge obtained through the use of psionics in violation of the aforementioned rights is considered ethical or admissable or useable in legal proceedings or Starfleet operations of any kind."


Second Statement of Psionic Rights (corollary to the Psionic Prime Directive)

"Psionic ability is hereby acknowledged as a natural phenomena and is to be considered the same as any other natural sense or ability, the free exercise of which cannot be regulated or prohibited under law except where the free exercise thereof interferes with the soverigne rights of other sentient beings. It is also hereby acknowledged, that although bound by the First Statement of Psionic rights, psionically able individuals cannot avoid sensing thoughts, emotions, intentions etc of other sentient beings any more than they can prevent input from tactile, auditory, olfactory, or visual senses. The use of information obtained through the use of psionic senses without violation of the First Statement of Psionic Rights is considered ethical and legally and operationall admissable."


Starfleet Psionic Directive I

No member of Starfleet can be compelled to submit to psionic invastion of their mind without one or more of the following conditions having been met:

  • The information being sought is necessary to the prevention of imienent permanent physical or mental harm up to and including death to one or more sentient beings under the protection and jurisdiction of Starfleet.
  • To quantitaively confirm or deny the existence of psychological and/or psionic tampering or possession by outside agencies.
    • Corollary: the removal of confirmed tampering and/or possession may or may not be an elective procedure, depending on the nature of said tampering and/or possession. Commanding officers and/or psionically able Starfleet personnel are encouraged to use the Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s Office as a reference for the legality of such procedures.
  • During the process of a criminal investigation when the accused refuses to divulge information pertaining to the safety and/or health and well being of another sentient being under the protection and jurisdiction of Starfleet.
  • When an individual is incapable of recalling or unwilling to recall information vital to Starfleet Operations where the sanctity, safety and security of the Federation as a whole or Federation citizens is threatened by an external or internal threat.
  • When an individual beholden to Starfleet (ie Starfleet personnel or civillian personnel serving aboard Starfleet vessel) or an individual under the protection and/or jurisdiction of Starfleet is incapacitated to the point of being unable choose to or not to yeild information vital to the prevention of immienent permanent physical or mental harm to another individual or individuals under the protectionr and/or jurisdiction of Starfleet, the Starfleet Commanding Officer present and/or the presiding or present representative of the Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s Office may decide to authorize the use of psionics to obtain said information, under the stated condition that said incapacitated individual will not be harmed and that only the pertinent information will be obtained and/or used.


Starfleet Psionic Directive II

"No Starfleet personnel are required to reveal whether or not they are psionically able nor can any Starfleet personnel be compelled to use any psionic ability, reveal the use of psionic abilities, or reveal information obtained through the use of psionic abilities."

Exception to Starfleet Psionic Directive II: A counselor in Starfleet possessing and using psionic ability is required to disclose said abilities in their entirety to a patient.

The First Statement of Psionic Rights is self-explanatory; every sentient being has a right to their own mind – no one has the right to invade another person’s mind. The Second Statement of Psionic Rights is one often forgotten when it comes to defining the ethics of psionics. These people can’t help who they are or what they can do. Although it is remotely possible a person underwent a procedure of some kind to gain psionic ability, most psioncists do not choose to be psionically able or choose to have the abilities they do. Some empaths and telepaths cannot avoid receiving thoughts and emotions from other beings; and to ask them not to act on that information under most normal circumstances is the same as asking a person not to react to what they hear, smell, taste, feel or see. However, like applying information gained from those five standard senses, there are certain social rules and conventions governing interpersonal interaction, such as discretion, respect, etc. However, as no ASR PC should make a habit of violating these rules to the annoyance and/or detriment of the other players, there should be nothing to worry about in this respect.

The two Starfleet Directives are also fairly self-explanatory. When a person joins Starfleet, they voluntarily surrender certain rights and privileges that non Starfleet personnel enjoy because they accept responsibility most normal citizens do not. Thus, the listed exceptions to the First Statement of Psionic Rights apply only to Starfleet officers unless a civilian court were to state otherwise.

The second Starfleet Directive applies to the Second Statement of Psionic Rights. The use of many psionic abilities carry a price for the psionicist as well as the person the abilities are used on. In terms of ethics, to force a psionicist to use their abilities against their will or to violate what they feel is a trust between themselves and the person from which the obtained information is the same as forcing a doctor or scientist to provide research to a biological weapons program or to compel and/or expect a Starfleet officer to obey what they believe to be an unlawful or unethical order. The only reason for the single exception is the First Statement of Psionic Rights; a patient of a counselor has the right to be aware that their counselor is using such abilities on them for their therapy.


Footnotes

[1] This is the one and only case in which the word ‘power’ will be used in reference to psionics. However, in this case, the word ‘power’ is not referencing a supernatural, magical, or paranormal ability, but a measurement.


Credits

This document was created by Alan M. Rogers, with minor editing from Scott Lusby.