Field Reports: Colorado Springs
• Sense Life
The most basic principles of Life Science involve the study of living Patterns and their motions. The agent starts by learning to intuit the flow of energy through living things. From that point, the agent can sense injury or sickness, and he can feel the potency of vibrant health. Given experience, the agent can easily learn to sense nearby living creatures, to determine their nature, health, sex and age, and to sense any tears or imperfections in her own Pattern.
With the other Pattern Spheres, Life senses allow an agent to tell not only if there are people nearby, but what they wear or carry and whether the forces and objects around them cause injury. Entropy with Life tells whether they will suffer from disease or mischance and what form it will take. Time and Correspondence applications let the agent sense the living Patterns of far-away individuals or people in the past or future. With Prime, the agent can actually see the stream of Primal Energy that bonds all living things to the resonance of the Big Bang.
• • Alter Simple Patterns; Heal Self
An agent’s manipulation of living Patterns begins with the most rudimentary ones, and with the ones most familiar to her. The budding Life Scientist learns to affect sessile Patterns and ones that make up very simple creatures. She also learns to recognize her own innate Pattern’s form, to help it in the process of restoring itself. A novice of Life magic can heal herself, restoring her Pattern to its original form and closing wounds or removing alterations. She cannot actually transform herself into new forms or change her Pattern from its original base nature yet, but she can at least defend herself if others do so. She can determine if her Pattern has been affected in some way, sensing disease or imbalance long before any symptoms manifest.
With control over simple Life Patterns, the agent can also influence rudimentary life forms like bacteria and plants. Any plant, invertebrate, algae or fungus is within her purview, and the agent can harm or change them as she desires, perhaps shaping them to grow in certain ways or striking offending creatures dead. The agent can’t totally transform them yet. Such Patterns must retain their original nature, but they can be coaxed into moving, growing and changing in certain ways.
In conjunction with other Pattern Spheres, the agent can imbue herself or a living being with resistance to certain objects or forces, or she can cause such other Patterns to influence the growth and development of simple creatures. She can set up Effects to heal herself upon the receipt of injury (with Time Science) or use Correspondence to sense and alter life anywhere in the world.
• • • Alter Self; Transform Simple Patterns
By the time the agent reaches a significant understanding of Life, she unlocks the keys to transformation: the means to turn a life Pattern away from its original nature and into something different. She can change her own Pattern in startling ways, and she can exert mastery over simple living things. To more complex creatures, she can exert change, causing the entity to grow or change as she desires. By working with her own Pattern, the agent can take on new qualities or change old ones, perhaps giving herself unusual features. She can grow claws or suspend briefly her need to breathe. She must remain fundamentally human, but she can stretch the limits of her own capabilities and surpass her normal limits of mortal flesh.
With total mastery of simple Patterns, the agent can transform them into new shapes, turning a crawfish into a cedar tree (albeit a very, very small one) or reweaving a simple bacterium into a deadly killer. Her understanding is sufficient to create and destroy such Patterns utterly, and to cause them to grow, change or die as she sees fit. By using simple Pattern-transformation in conjunction with other Spheres, the agent can create simple living things out of nothingness, or turn nonliving matter or forces into living creatures, although such creations have no minds of their own unless the agent uses the Mind Sphere. She can also alter creatures across a distance or push or pull such beings into other places, even other dimensions, with the proper Spheres. She can cause a change that will not affect a creature for some time, such as causing an apple tree to suddenly blossom in the middle of winter some years later, or she can render plants and simple animals safe from disease and injury.
• • • • Alter Complex Patterns; Transform Self
The Patterns of all living things are accessible to the Adept of Life. The agent can not only rewrite her own Pattern as she desires, but she can shift and change the Patterns of nearly any other creature, including sentient beings. She can heal with a touch, gift someone with great strength, cause wounds or make a being manifest robust youth and vitality. With self-transformation, the agent can reshape her Pattern in any form that she desires. She can take on new characteristics, become an entirely different creature of the same rough size and mass and even bolster her natural capabilities beyond human levels. However, such gross manipulations often lead to difficulties. It may take some time to get used to a new form, and the form itself may not have the capacity to store the agent’s human knowledge and intellect. Other forms often come with instincts as well, and the agent risks losing her identity over time. The Pattern itself usually has a tendency to grow back into its natural shape, too, so an agent who alters her own Pattern too radically may suffer injury as her Pattern fights against the confining Effect.
By altering complex Patterns, an agent can heal people or animals and perform small manipulations to them. She cannot yet create duplicates of them or totally change their true nature, but she can guarantee health or instill weakness or injury. In conjunction with other Pattern Effects, the Adept of Life can assume various hypertech properties: becoming a fire-breathing mutant or eating metal, for instance. She can make wounds that will not heal or set transformations that will revert at a set time, or even stretch out to heal or harm people that she cannot see.