Trope-a-Day: Telepathy

Telepathy: Telepathy (or rather, techlepathy) is a somewhat limited faculty, as described under Psychic Powers.  Being essentially a way to transmit neural gestalt information over WiFi, it is an excellent messaging system, complete with the ability to transmit images, emotions, information constructs, and other non-verbal information, and communicate broadcast/narrowcast, local/distant, private/conference, etc., etc., and even to synch up well enough to form a conflux (see: Mental Fusion).

It doesn’t, however, let you overhear people’s thoughts (unless they’re sloppy and accidentally broadcasting, which does sometimes happen), go in and pull thoughts out of their heads (you want a SQUID for that, or a mind-state reader of one sort or another), control minds (although you can inject the same memes as you can over any communication channel), or enable the rest of the assorted magical aids and attachments (dream travel, astral projection, and so on and so forth).  It’s also, being EM based, limited to the speed of light.

Since it’s harder to fake all the sidebands, a telepath can sometimes be something of a Living Lie Detector, but reliability in this role still isn’t great, and you are almost certainly better off with a regular mechanical alethiometer (which uses a SQUID).

Trope-a-Day: Pstandard Psychic Pstance

Pstandard Psychic Pstance: The psychokinetic kind exists, as does the one-handed gesture version when using techlepathy.  In neither case does it have any actual power-related function whatsoever, and you can use either without doing the gesturing.  The former (see: Magical Gesture), is done purely for the sake of flamboyance, or possibly because if you’re – for example – summoning your drink from the other side of the room, you need to hold out your hand to summon it to.  The latter is slightly more practical – people do it as a way of indicating the techlepathic equivalent of “hang on a minute, I’m on the ‘phone”.

(So, as we said before – use all the rope and wrestling grips and paralytic drugs you like, your trachea is still gonna be crushed.)

Trope-a-Day: Poke in the Third Eye

(While I’m posting – I’m going to be on holiday for the coming week or so, and specifically in transit for most of tomorrow, so posting here will be somewhat irregular. There will be things posted over the next week, for certain – never did quite figure out that “time off” thing – but expect the usual schedule to be scrambled all to heck and back.

See y’all later!)

Poke in the Third Eye: Given how telepathy works (i.e., WiFi), a simple set of radio jamming equipment set to the appropriate frequencies will do just fine.

Trope-a-Day: Conveniently Coherent Thoughts

Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Subverted; the reason you can get some coherent thoughts and images through the techlepathy part of the Psychic Powers is because they require you to produce specifically focused thoughts and images in order to engage the transmitter, in a similar way to a voice-activated microphone.

If they just transmitted your regular thoughts as they happened, the telepathic bands would be filled with not merely a rambling narrative thread of consciousness, but pure neural hash from the thousands of different threads in your mind all talking at once.

Trope-a-Day: Psychic Powers

Psychic Powers: Of course, there is absolutely no such thing as psychic powers.  Don’t exist.  No place in a rationally organized universe, like any relatively firm-to-hard SF universe.  Can’t seriously believe otherwise.

But that said…

Telepathy/Empathy: Do you believe in wireless networking?  Evidently the Precursors did, and they really hated waiting while runners were sent or shouting was done, because they built this one right in to the brains of their favored manufactured race.  If you want to detect telepathy, you’ll find it in those weird screebly neural-gestalt signals hanging about in the high microwave part of the EM spectrum.

Precognition: Do you believe in clionomy?  (On the large scale, the gentle art of computing statistical predictions concerning the future of organizations and societies.)  And very advanced predictive algorithms?  (Because with a computer in your head and advanced enough body-reading, simulation and prediction software – and maybe a little SQUID use – you can read people and predict their future actions in a downright spooky manner.  Especially when done in combat.)

Psychokinesis: Do you believe in implanted vector-control effectors?  Another fun now-reverse-engineered Precursor leftover tech, these tiny nervous-system-integrated nanopicosomes are all you need to toss gravomagnetics around, fetch yourself drinks without standing up, indulge in wuxia wire-fu, and kill people with your brain to your heart’s content.

All available in stores for the usual enhancement prices, should you be unlucky enough not to be born with them built in…