By Gregg Giles
The Psionic Projectors
Of the known psionic projectors held by the Zhodani, the most revealing was the first to have been found, called Biaq (al of the projectors found have their own names.) Biaq has been able to project a path nearly 8,000 parsecs long towards the Core. However, the project falls short of the “true Core” (the exact center of the galaxy) by nearly 2,100 parsecs.
To make up for the missing parsecs, the Zhodani have been building deep space observatories and orbital platforms to help probe the remaining distance for a clear path to use. Several minor routes have been established, but it has been difficult to connect them to each other and retain a feasible route length. Upon scanning the space within 500 parsecs of the true Core, instrumentation becomes useless due to the blinding brilliance of the hub (even the best filters can’t phase out the light of millions of stars) and erratic magnetic fields.
Using Biaq (or any other artifact) will enhance a psionic’s abilities when coming closer to the Core. No exact bounds have been discovered, but per 1,000 parsecs a character’s total Psi score is boosted by 0.5 to 1.0 points. This may vary from person to person, with lesser psionics receiving smaller “bonuses”. Kriavr occasionally slips into a temporary psionically-induced coma-like state due to his high Psi rating.
The Biaq artifact is kept on the Prazar flagship, and there are four other artifacts (called Biaqiash, plural for all psionic map artifacts) on the expedition. Their names are Vim, Chtiezh, Poql and Anch. These projectors are spread throughout the armada for safety, and their locations are kept a strict secret. The real locations are: Anch is on the 5th Strike Fleet flagship, Vim is on the 33rd Support Fleet flagship, Chtiezh is on the 95th Survey Fleet flagship, and Poql is on the 103rd Support Fleet flagship. Only commanding officers of the armada (Kriavr’s staff) are allowed to use or possess the projectors.
The psionic projectors all vary in design and size. Biaq is of an average size for a projector (60cm long by 21cm maximum diameter, weighing 1.759 kg), but the design is totally unique. It is held properly (at least its past users think it is the proper way) by gripping one end by the small sphere, and holding the other end at the base of the “needle”. By turning the “tuning ring” (which all projectors have) in either direction, one can move through the holographic corridor map retained in the projector. By sliding it up and down along the needle, one will “move” forward and back along the corridor map.
Current theory (it’s only a theory since endless batteries of tests have yielded no solid facts) is that the holographic map is transmitted into the mind via the sphere, which is in turn picked up by the holder’s hand, and then sent to the brain. Furthermore, the same theory works in reverse, explaining how the projector might be recording its users’ visions.
Note everyone has success in using the projector. Only the psionically talented are able to view the map, and only one in thousands will experience a vision. Exactly how the project is able to tap into one’s psionic abilities and subconscious is still not known.
The physical construction of the projectors varies slightly. All are composed of a metallic-like substance called “stellarite” (“atomite” to Imperials) by the Zhodani. The tuning ring and sphere are also of the same material. Tests cannot determine what is underneath the skin of the projector, if anything at all. Each projector is able to withstand aggressive and hostile environments. Acids, lasers, weight, vacuums, and explosives all have failed to blemish the projectors. The materials in the artifact also refuse to reveal their true atomic structure.
The projectors are, in the truest sense of the word, indestructible.