Field Reports: Colorado Springs
• Read Surface Thoughts; Empower Self
Although Mind Science is not really an elemental Sphere, mental constructs do seem to fall into ephemeral categories. A trained agent becomes sensitive to moods and thoughts around herself, and she learns to recognize the base impulses of other minds while taking control of her own. With a simple look, an agent can get a gut feeling or empathic hunch, determining someone’s emotional state or telling whether a particular object has a powerful emotional Resonance attached to it. The agent can’t read specifics, like whether an emotion is strongly directed at someone in particular or the intricacies of a plan in someone’s mind. However, she can tell if someone is giving off positive or negative emotions and determine if an object, place or piece of Tass has “good vibes” or “bad vibes.” She can even read basic, strong emotional contexts attached to such objects, so that she can pick put a knife used for a murder from a group of otherwise identical knives.
Since the Initiate also learns to control and order her own thoughts, she can perform a number of prodigious, but usually coincidental, mental feats. With preparation, she can make a rudimentary defense against mental intrusion. She can also render her mental signature obscured and unable to be sensed. Furthermore, her discipline allows her to use any number of simple Effects to improve her computational skills, memory and concentration.
• • Read Surface Thoughts; Mental Impulse
As an agent moves beyond the organization of her own thoughts, she learns to reach out to other minds. The agent can read not only surface thoughts, but she can sense memories associated with objects and scan for specific emotions. Her own thoughts are ordered and disciplined enough to defend against most outside intrusion and to mislead those who attempt to plumb her mind. Surface thoughts flit across the consciousness of people in garbled, half-formed images that can be easily picked up by the agent. Indeed, different people have different thinking processes and “flavors” of thought that the agent can understand. The agent cannot yet invade a mind and tear out its secrets, but much can be learned just from the casual thoughts of others. The agent can also associate thoughts with specific items, determining particular forms of Resonance that a material or place might have and drawing out strong memories attached to it. At this level of skill, such impressions are still vague, but the agent can often sense general events and ideas with a strong content of emotions.
If the agent forges a communication with another open mind, she can send emotional impressions. Subjects may get a sudden sense of the agent’s emotions, or she may leave the source unspecified, leaving the subject wondering whence a certain impulse came. Subconscious suggestions can lead a subject to perform actions without even knowing or questioning why, although the agent’s projections are limited in their strength and strong-willed minds may shake these suggestions off. With her strong mental control, the agent can not only shield her mind from intrusion, but she can build false fronts, disguises and surface ruses. Mental intruders may not recognize the agent’s true skills and powers, or may find her mind completely empty. She can even alter the appearance of her mental signature, so that onlookers note a different emotional state than would normally be visible. Her discipline allows her to sense most attackers who enter her mind without great skill, and she retains a level of control over her mental processes at nearly all times, even when sleeping or splitting her concentration.
• • • Mental Link; Dreamwalk
The agent’s powerful mind cuts through interference and irrelevance to form a strong link to other thoughts. She can indulge in telepathic communication, experience someone else’s senses, control her own dreams and pierce the veil of understanding to read the true meaning behind a concept, symbol or idea. It’s a simple matter for a skilled agent to set up direct mental communication. She can read ideas directly from the subject’s mind, without even the need for language, and send her own thoughts thus. Such communication can make for a silent and perfect exchange of ideas, or it can be used to project illusions, false thoughts and psychic assaults. The agent can also read through the subconscious impulses of the victim, gaining insight to the subject’s drives and experiences. Memory is laid bare to the agent’s scrutiny, colored as the subject saw it.
Language is, at its heart, just a symbolic way of communicating concepts. At this level, the agent can cut through the symbol to the root concept. Doing so allows the agent to understand nearly any written, spoken or symbolic language that has some human basis. The agent can make her words understood to those who hear her and understand nearly any language. She can translate writings with ease and understand symbols automatically without any cultural context. Things that are outside of the agent’s conceptual experience or that are magically defended might still remain mysterious, though. Regulation of mental power even in the agent’s subconscious mind allows the agent to control her thoughts during sleep and dreams, to contact other dream minds and to enter the collective unconscious. She can influence the dreamscapes there, but the strangeness or entities that reside in some dreams can affect her as well. The agent could enter dreams telepathically while she remains awake, although splitting her consciousness thus is usually more trouble than it’s worth. More usefully, the agent’s control over her dreams means that unless her psyche is somehow trapped, she can always fall asleep or awaken as desired, immediately.
• • • • Control Conscious Mind; Astral Projection
By the time an agent is an Adept of Mind, her thoughts are so potent that not only can she project them, she can override the processes of other thoughts. She can send her consciousness out to experience distant places or to control minds directly. At this level of power, the agent can invade a victim’s mind and lay it bare, dragging out secrets, taking direct control of the victim’s thoughts or even thrashing the victim’s psyche into a catatonic state. She can alter memories, erase experiences, implant suggestions or even make the victim perform any number of unpleasant and potentially harmful tasks. Unless the victim also uses Mind Science or some sort of mental defense, his only resistance is Willpower — and any mind can be eroded, given time.
An agent who wishes to extend her powers can also defend others with her mental strength. She can shield people from mental invasion just like she shields her own mind, or she may conceal or alter the mental signatures of others for a time. From the reflection of the collective unconscious in other dimensions, the agent can also extend her perceptions to dimensions of pure thought. There she can flit for a brief period in a plane composed of pure thought, perhaps in search of lost ideas or new concepts. Such travel is dangerous, and the Adept cannot divorce mind and body completely, so the duration of such trips is perforce limited.