Talents are a group of extrasensory abilities (or "psychic powers"), displayed by a variety of species in the Chakat Universe.
Talents are most commonly exhibited in Terran morphs, and especially in the chakatkin group: Chakats and Skunktaurs (and, in some definitions, the group includes Stellar Foxtaurs as well). Talents are far more rare in non-chakatkin species.
Talents remain only marginally understood by science, and there are many unsolved mysteries regarding exactly how they work.
There are five major classifications for Talents... but this is a spectrum, and there are a few rare individuals that display abilities that are exceptionally difficult to categorize on the standard charts. Occasionally two or more Talents may be blended to the point where they are inseparable, giving rise to interesting "Sympathetic Talents".
Talents are rated by the Federation Institute of Psionic Investigations (FIPI)'s Talent categorization rubric: a rough five/six-point scale, with a letter to indicate the type of Talent, and increasing numbers meaning greater power and control and range. However, such scales represent a range, and they are flexible. Some individuals may display abilities that rate they high on a scale, but other abilities that would rate them lower. Many individuals display abilities that fall between numbers on the scale, so fractional points are employed (as in an E3.5 empath). Rarely, an individual may display abilities far beyond the upper limits of the scale.
- Ψ0: no detectable Talent.
- Ψ1: very weak abilities, probably unconsciously controlled.
- Ψ2: weak but clear ability, consciously controlled.
- Ψ3: medium level of skill and power.
- Ψ4: high level of skill and power, with extended range.
- Ψ5: extraordinary level of skill and power, possibly unlimited range.
- Ψ6: extraordinary skill and power, beyond the scope of the scale, possibly manifesting additional abilities.
Empathy is defined as "the ability to sense emotions by extrasensory perception": the nonverbal, nonphysical transmission of emotions, and certain physical sensations. It is considered a mild form of telepathy.
Empathy was first scientifically documented in 2178, nearly 50 years after the first chakats were born.
Today, all chakats display some level of this Talent... occasionally E2 or E5, but usually in the low E3 to upper E4 range.
Empathy manifests as several distinct skills, sorted in order from most- to least-strong:
- "touch empathy" — requires tactile contact to sense emotions and sensations
- "non-connected empathy" — remote sensing of emotions and sensations
- "emotion projection" — can send emotions as well as receive them
- "sensation projection" — can send physical sensations
All empaths have these skills, though they may not be truly aware of the more advanced skills.
Under extreme emotional influence (such as love or hate), many empaths can form a "bond" with the person their emotion is directed toward. The bonds are permanent, last a lifetime, and can only be severed by (a) the death of one of the pair, (b) blocking forcefields of some sort, or (c) cryogenic hibernation or stasis technology. Only death can permanently sever such a bond.
Empaths with roughly an E3 to E4 ability and higher have been known to forge bonds in moments, and the connection remains stable across many light-years (possibly unlimited range), and displays FTL properties. The exact mechanism for such strong bonding remains uncertain, but it might involve the quantum entanglement of a group of neurons within the brain, or a key portion of those cells.
"Bonding" is very common among chakatkin, to the point where it plays a major role in the way they choose mates, and why they have multiple mates and don't break up easily.
Since non-empaths can also occasionally form bonds, the bonding mechanism may actually be a completely separate and undiscovered Talent, much more common than empathy (and perhaps universal to sapient life). It is certainly very poorly understood.
Territorial Attachment SyndromeEdit
Affects foxtaurs (usually vixens), causing them to become bonded to a particular location. Separation from this location, even for a matter of hours, causes extreme homesickness. The result is that those afflicted are unable to leave their clan's territory.
Telepathy is defined as "the ability to sense thoughts by extrasensory perception". White related to empathy, telepathy is more specific: a telepathic individual can "hear" the internal monologue of others, but not directly sense their emotional state or physical sensations. However, a very powerful telepath may be capable of picking up physical sensations.
Only a few skunktaurs have ever displayed what could be classified as a T6 level of Talent. These individuals are capable of not only reading minds (conscious, unconscious, or in a coma), but can also perceive the motor controls of others, and can directly assume physical motor-control over the bodies of others. Most of these abilities are only possible through direct physical contact. Queznal is one such individual, and hy puts hys unique talent to work as a physical rehabilitation therapist.