Last post in this series, I gave an overview of what hypershards are capable of, at least from the examples of some of the Gods of Terra setting’s iconic characters, the Fractus, the Mirus, and the Magna.
But I also mentioned that their ‘supernormal powers’ were secondary to their original function as communications devices by some ancient, inscrutable design. I’ll get to that in this post, but first, I want to quantify the better-known abilities that these relics grant to their users, to aid in writing them up, doing the number-crunching, for rules sets like SJ Games’ GURPS.
First, the planet-killing possessed by the Magna, and formerly also by the Mirus and the Fractus: This effect destabilizes otherwise ordinary, harmless isotopes of common elements by manipulating the electroweak force, making them into lethal radioisotopes, particularly atoms of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, the effect beginning at a radius of about 100 yards from the source after a minute, and spreading out from that rapidly, engulfing the planet’s atmosphere, crust, and oceans in an hour, this effect generating enough radiation to quickly kill all but the hardiest, most simple forms of life, even those tough little bastards, tardigrades, and anaerobic life far below the surface.
The effect will spread to deep ocean depths in time, killing almost all forms of abyssal life, even extremophiles living near volcanic vents. While this is going on the ‘shard must feed, tapping superforce particles from hyperspace, draining energy from nearly sources by lowering its feeding core to the lowest allowable energetic ground state. It may feed also on the radiation released while protecting its host from the same.
That’s nastier by far than the most lethal mass-extinction on Terra by natural causes, the Great Dying at the end of the Permian era, which is estimated to have killed a a mere 95% of all species! Remember, three of these things have been refitted, co-opted to kill planets, though of course physically blowing them up is beyond their repeatable operating limits, and these relics are very rare and expensive.
But these are primarily, originally, communications devices, and so are capable of various broadcast and beamcast functions that their owners may not be aware of.
This ability involves the relic’s ability to tap into whatever passes for the language-centers of a being’s brain, copying for the ‘shard’s use whatever languages that being knows and storing these, to be accessable to the user when needed, and simulating that language in whatever form it takes, auditory, visual, olfactory, etc, etc, by a member of the target species.
Sometimes this involves the generation of scents for smell-based languages, holograms or other imagery for visually oriented beings, even simulated gestures for non-humanoid forms of sign-based language, and of course, auditory speech, even that based on non-human vocal equipment, perhaps using musical notes for speech.
These are further transmitted, spoken, beamcast, broadcast, etc, by a variety of media, like neutrino, maser, and variations in local electrical potential, for the more unusual ones. These relics can both transmit and receive in a variety of spectra and bandwidths, and this leads up to another near-universality for hypershards…
…their use as sensory instrumentation, on the very same exotic channels they use to communicate…
Hypershards have the curious property of existing in 11 space-time axes, and this gives them very powerful means of extending the senses of the host beyond the usual three, which is why Wavetouched have the most suitable brain-architecture for this use.
Normal human brains can become quickly overwhelmed by the neural feedback caused by perceiving in more than three dimensions, and Wavetouched brains have structures, most of these in the temporal and occipital lobes, but some in the frontal lobes and limbic system, that mesh well with the interface points of the ‘shards in their brains, allowing them to more effectively screen out stimulation, and focus on what they want to notice.
This appears to the ‘shard’s host to be a sort of overlay onto the visual field, a sort of virtual Heads Up Display system, of whatever sensory modality is appropriate and most useful at the time. The overlay allows optionally blocking out excess data that may be distracting, or in some cases, maddening to a human. This gives Wavetouched a sort of augmented reality, as tags, labels, menus, and various indicator symbols of whatever languages are known can be superimposed over the sensory field at will.
When I came up with the Mirus as a character, I wanted to make him more than just a comic book superhero with “mad powerz” who vanquishes his opponents in a blaze of pyrotechnic glory…
He’s a rationalist, but with a dark, terrible past as a killer of worlds. I wanted him to be able to talk to people, to reason with them in ways they can understand no matter the species or culture, not just kill them.
But his past isn’t going to go away. It’s why he terrifies people still, on every world he visits.
Everything else beyond that core of critical thinking and rationalism, over the character’s evolution, has become secondary.
G’day, and Mighty Thor’s day, as I bring you the next set of images from City of Glass 2. I’ve been looking at ways to help myself keep track of my projects online and off, as many with my sort of disorder have difficulty focusing on tasks, and as you well know, I’m no exception.
I’ve found that it’s not so much related to memory as it is with attention and ability to focus, so I’m working to improve that. There’s a book I’m reading by cognitive psychologist Fiona McPherson, ‘Planning to Remember,’ addressing that sort of thing,…
…and while I’m normally very suspicious of anything related to the self-help industry unless it’s based on passably solid research (Science!!), and this seems to be just that. But what’s this got to do with fractals?
I’ve decided that a fun way to improve my focus and the ability to block out distractions when switching between tasks would be to use my fractal hobby — as a small part of a larger programme, to improve the quality of my work through practice to an expert level, and help improve through training the efficiency of my brain’s executive functions.
This week’s images represent a portion of that effort, and like last week, I’m posting below another public domain image…just click to embiggen and feel free to rip!
All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author,created by