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Trinity RPG - The Holt Files

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<H1>The Holt Files</H1>

<H2>A look at the rare phenomenon of Prometheus Effect dysfunction</H2><H3><A HREF="mailto: sesdale@redden.on.ca">By Stephen Esdale</A></H3>

<HR>Date: 01:13:55 12.29.2120

From: Harmon Collens, Aeon Trinity Neptune Division

To: James Lee, Holt Center, Communications

Subject: The Holt Incident

Security: DSE

Transmission Type: textfile

As you requested, here is the final communiquÈ between Dr. Vivian Malloy, Research Auditor at the Holt Center for Noetic Studies and Ms. Cori Heisler at MMI. I admit I was skeptical when you contacted me about a potential breech in security at the Center. The facility has always had more than adequate security to deal with threats from without and within. So, to hear that one of our members was treasonous, especially an esteemed individual as Ms. Malloy was a little hard to swallow. Despite my skepticism, we sent in a Proteus Investigations Team into the Center's databases and discovered both the attached message in her personal files and a communications array hidden in her room.

Well, all I can say is that you were right. While I still think you are paranoid, in this case your paranoia was justified.

Just so you know, Ms. Malloy has been relieved of her duties and has been put into "custody." The Aeon Trinity is naturally quite divided on how to deal with the Center incident. To allow the good doctor her freedom means that the media will surely learn of the Center and its secrets. This would considerably damage the Psion's reputation we have carefully crafted these many years and could push back our timetable by decades. However, to have the Trinity deal with Ms. Malloy is equally as dangerous. If it ever got out that the Trinity was involved in the...sanctioning of a free citizen our status and esteem within the world governments and general citizenry would be permanently damaged.

Thus, I have recommended that the Trinity leave her fate in the hands of the Orders themselves, who have had experience dealing with similar matters in the past. While Proxy Del Fuego has suggested Malloy be "drawn and quartered," it's most likely that the Ministry will telepathically wipe the knowledge from her brain. The secret and isolated nature of the doctors work will allow the Neptune Division to create a convincing history to account for her three years with the Center. I will personally deal with Ms. Heisler at MMI. Despite the freedom MMI have given her to investigate the Psi Orders, Neptune Division has many friends within the metamed. Ms. Heisler will drop the story, or I suspect she will soon be covering the conflict in the Shatter by the end of the month.

As always, I thank you for your diligence in monitoring Trinity comminations. Your hard work has prevented a serious breach in security. You've earned that year-end bonus.

Hope Sacrifice Unity...and Vigilance

Harmon Collens

Aeon Trinity, Neptune Division

<FONT COLOR=FF0000>>>> ATTACHED FILE BEGINS <<<</FONT>

Greetings Ms. Heisler,

Well, I guess this is it. The whole story. What you will read from know on is the dirty little secret that the Orders and the "benevolent" Aeon Trinity don't want you to hear. That the wondrous Prometheus Chamber destroys lives as well as enhances them.

You are asking yourself right now "what exactly is the Prometheus Chamber". Sorry to disappoint you, Ms. Heisler, but I'm not privy to that information. Just a select few Psions have even seen the chambers after their activation, and only the Proxies know how they operate. What I do know is, the Prometheus Effect doesn't evolve human to the next step or release the hidden talents within the Latent's mind. I've seen the brain scans of Psions before and after the Effect. The Prometheus Chamber rewires their brains!

I've heard the same lies you've been told a thousand times. That becoming a Psion is a great and wonderful privilege. The difference is that I have glimpsed the truth behind those lies; shown that Prometheus can sunder as well as augment. Now you and MMI will know what I know.

Dr. Vivian Malloy

Research Auditor

Holt Center for Noetic Studies</font>

<FONT FACE="Avant Garde,Century Gothic,Verdana,Helvetica,Arial"></font><font FACE="Arial">

The Holt Center for Noetic Studies</font>

<font FACE="Arial"></b></font><font FACE="Arial"> To the public, the Center is one of many stations dedicated to the understanding and development of Psi abilities and Noetic Science. In the Noetic community, it has a reputation for gathering the best minds in Noetics to develop cutting edge technologies and theories in a sequestered environment.

For the Orders and the Aeon Trinity, the Holt Centre is also the home for Project: Orpheus. What is Orpheus? It is partly a Psion treatment center and partly a Noetic dumping ground. You see, when a Psion doesn't turn out as expected, or somehow goes "wrong", the Orders ship them off to Holt. That way they not only give their personnel needed treatment and gain a greater understanding about Noetics, they also keep Order's "mistakes" from the public eye. We can't have all those Latents knowing that the Prometheus Effect could turn them into a sociopathic killer as well as one of humanity's deliverers.

Here at the Holt Centre we try to find out what's wrong with them and how to cure them. Barring that, we hold them in solitary confinement until the Orders can get around to dealing with the Psion personally. Our main funding comes from the Aeon Trinity, but all the Orders donate money, personnel, and equipment.

We currently house eighty-two afflicted Psions. The majority of internees have relatively minor ailments and are placed in our treatment wards. They are generally given freedom to move about and socialize but cannot access outside communications equipment, for obvious reasons. The rest of our patients are housed in isolated rooms or in our "maximum lockdown" facilities. Sadly, there are a few Psions with problems so severe that for our safety need not only to be isolated, but severely sedated as well. Barring some cure, these unfortunate individuals will likely spend their entire stay at Holt in a comatose state.

To show you the perils which Psions could face by going through the Prometheus Effect, I have chosen some examples of the many disorders that the Holt Center has treated over the years. This is by no means a complete list; I suspect that there are hundreds of dysfunctional Psions that have yet to have their maladies diagnosed. The Æsculapians are still trying to convince us that some their vitakinetics in Haiti that require "treatment."

<HR SIZE=4>

<b>Aberrant's Touch

Lt. Chambers came to Holt after murdering his second-in-command while on exercises in Europe. A powerful psychokinetic, began to gather to follower of "worshippers" from the local towns and villages. The scary thing was that Chambers believed he was actually some sort of deity. When one of the villages questioned his god-hood, the Legionnaire used his Pyrokinetic abilities to engulf the poor man in flames. When Sgt. Mathers attempted to stop him and had his neck snapped for his trouble. Not long after the killing, a team of Legion troopers captured the Lieutenant and brought him here for treatment.

Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do with him. Despite the paranoia among some in the Trinity that the Psions are going the way of the Aberrants (even so much to say that those who are afflicted have been corrupted by the "Aberrant's Touch"), Lt. Chambers affliction is purely psychological. Power is something that all of us crave, but few of us can handle. When someone has the power to do what few others are capable of, it often goes to his or her head. Most often, it manifests itself in snobbish or elitist behavior but in extreme cases one can develop megalomaniac tendencies. Chambers' quick use of his powers to severely "punish" those who he perceives to have wronged him indicates that he may have had some prior mental problems. However, the extreme stresses of becoming a Psion and dealing with the great power associated with Psi abilities could well have greatly contributed to his psychosis.

The only other explanation is that the Trinity is right. Perhaps Psions are destined to go the way of the Aberrants. It's thoughts like these that remind me why I have ulcers.

Aptitude: Any

System: No specific game rules govern Aberrant's Touch. Those afflicted are definitely insane, believing them to be greater than human. Some even believe they are gods or other entities, beyond the rules and regulations of mortal men. Their reactions to others, Neutrals in particular, ranges from condescending to outright contempt. Only Psions are worthy of respect and equitable treatment. Assuming the Storyteller allows players to be afflicted by such a disorder, the character MUST act the part. Even if the character isn't as extreme as Lt. Chambers, his behavior may lead to a short life. Neutrals, especially those in government do not want to see another "Aberrant Problem" arise and my well hunt down the character to prevent that eventuality. Its more like that the Orders and the Aeon Trinity would "deal" (read sanction) the Psion in order to preserve the image that Psions are Aberrants and that Noetic-endowed individuals are not a threat to humanity.

<HR>

Extreme Personality Readjustment

The Orders will readily admit that the Prometheus Effect alters the personalities of the Latents that experience it. Neptune division has done an exquisite job of convincing everyone that such personality shifts lead to bolder, more confident Psions. Rubbish.

While it is true that the majority of personality shifts do lead to more confident Psions but they also result in some startling personality changes. Almost a dozen of our internees are suffering from what I term Extreme Personality Readjustment. While auditing several of these cases, I had the opportunity to interview members of the patient's family. While all listed very different symptoms, all of them said that their loved ones were like a new people after emerging from the Prometheus Chamber.

There can be subtle effects such as changes in food preferences to serious effects such as different handedness, altered temperament, and complete personality reversal (the "evil twin" syndrome). I have even heard rumors of even more extreme afflictions such as Multiple Personalities, but the Holt Center has yet to encounter Psions afflicted so severely.

Aptitudes: Any

System: There are no particular game rules that apply in this case. Those that knew the Character prior to being immersed in the Prometheus Chamber may notice his or her "strange behavior". Depending on the individuals involved and the nature of the Personality Adjustment, this may foster confusion, anxiety and/or suspicion. Players of Psions suffering from Extreme Personality Readjustment should tell the Storyteller what changes have occured in the Character's personality since undergoing the Prometheus Effect.

<HR>

Neutral Regression Disorder (Psi-Neuts)

Perhaps the strangest problem I've seen amongst Psions during my tenure here as research auditor is the "Psionic Neutral", those suffering from Neutral Regression Disorder. I have to admit I'm less informed about such a condition, as I would like to be. We've only had one case of N.R.D. and she stayed at Holt for only a few weeks before the Ministry, her "caretakers", moved her back to China for undisclosed treatments.

From what I gather, the afflicted Psion cannot accept the new reality of his or her situation. Perhaps they have come to believe, through religious or old-style rationalist conversion, that their new powers are "evil" or "impossible". Some have simply chosen to deny their Psi nature because they could not control their powers or feared what those powers could do. In any case, Psi-Neuts have consciously and subconsciously repressed their Noetic abilities to a point where for all intensive purposes, they are in a Neutral state. They cannot activate their Aptitudes, nor can they detect Psionic use through Attunement.

What is scary is that most have repressed the whole Prometheus Effect and even the Latent testing. Most have no conscious idea that they were Psions, Latents, or even that such powers exist. To confront them with the reality simply causes them to disregard what you have said; their subconscious mind seemingly filtering out input which threatens their manufactured reality.

Aptitudes: Any

System: Characters suffering from such afflictions create characters using Trinity rules, including choosing an Aptitude and Modes. However, the character is unable to use any Psi powers. This includes activating modes and detecting the use of other Psi powers using Attunement. While he or she can format Bio Apps, the Psion is unable to use the formatted powers that Bio Apps possesses. Extensive therapy (or extreme emotional and physical stress) might eventually allow the character to become a full Psion, but until then, they believe they are Neutrals. A Psi-Neut emerging from her "Neutral State" might be an interesting sub-plot for a character during a Trinity Series.

<HR>

Psion Attention Deficiency ("Pads")

P.A.D. is as much a psychological problem as it is a Noetic affliction. Becoming a Clear or a Telepath opens the Psion to whole new sensory experience. Seeing far away places, envisioning future events, hearing every whisper and thought from those around you has a profound effect on the Psion both mind and body. In the case of a Pads sufferer, the Psion is either unable or unwilling to fully shut off his aptitude. I've been told by some of my Noetic-capable colleagues that ignoring psionic input (such as Telepathy and Clairsentience) is like refusing to scratch an itch. While it may only be a small annoyance at first, it's not long until it consumes your every thought.

The low-level stream of Noetic input to the brain vies for the attention of the Psion, making it hard for them to concentrate on tasks for long periods and leading to long periods of "zoning out" while they pay attention to the Psionic signals which he or she is receiving.

Aptitudes: Clairsentients and Telepaths

System: While capable of mundane tasks, Pads sufferers have a great deal of trouble focusing on items that require attention for anything beyond a few moments. To concentrate on a particular task for a scene requires a Willpower roll. Even then, the character will seem slightly distracted.

<HR>

Sociopathy

I saw your expos&eacut; on the Æsculapians last month. I found it very enteraining and quite appropriate in light of the recent scandals on Luna. I took note of section on Algesis and its "links" to sociopathic behavior in past and present members of Black Company. Despite the sensationalism and circumstantial evidence of your report, you made some convincing arguments. Those arguments are not only accurate but are but small part of the frightening truth. Those who specialize in one Mode (say for instance, Algesis) well above the others can develop certain mental disorders, called Psionic Dysfunction. In the case of Algesis, that dysfunction is indeed Sociopathic behavior.

What you don't know is that Sociopathy is not limited to Psionic Dysfunction, Algesis, or even the sculapians. I've processed a half-dozen cases which deal with Psions with sociopathic behavior, representing three of the Psi Orders. Convicted of horrible crimes, only one of these sociopaths had any links to the Æsculapians and none of them were Vitakinetics.

How can I explain this? I can't. Well, I can explain the neurological factors that lead to such deviant behavior, but I have no idea how they occurred. I have had little access to patient histories prior to their tenures in the Orders. Therefore, there is no way for me to determine if the disorders were present before the Prometheus Effect, were directly caused by the Chamber transformation process, or were the result of some inability to deal with their new Noetic nature. What I do know is that Sociopathy is more prevalent than anyone in the Orders is willing to admit, even in private. I have six guests in the Maximum Security Wing that prove my point.

Aptitudes: Any (?)

System: There are no particular game rules which apply in this case, but if players insist on playing a sociopathic Psion, the Storyteller should force the character to play it to its fullest. For instance, the Psion must not make decisions based on ethics, morals, or societal values. Actions instead should be based on wants, needs, and self-interest, even if that breaks regulations, laws, or other standards. "Friends" and "loved ones" (if such terms mean anything to a Sociopath) exist purely to service the needs of the Character and once those individuals have nothing to give, they are often tossed away. Insults, rejection, or other attacks against a Sociopath is very risky, since the Character will deal severe retribution to the offender no matter who gets harmed or destroyed in the process. Further research on Sociopathy may be required on the part of the Player and the Storyteller. Good luck.

<HR>

Subconscious Psionic Expression (Proxy's Syndrome)

The Proxies. The most powerful Psions that humanity has produced. I've personally met Proxy Zweidler on a number of occasions have personally seen the legendary Noetic capabilities that the Proxies are known for. Beyond the powerful conscious expressions of Psionic talents, the Proxies have been witnessed manipulating Psi particles without cognizance, causing strange Noetic phenomenon. "Herr Doktor" himself sooths those around him through subconscious Mentatis use and I've heard various tales of similar phenomena with the other Proxies. My colleagues have labeled such a display of Psi powers as "Unconscious Psionic Manifestation", but it has become better known among the doctors as Proxy's Syndrome.

Recently, two internees have been admitted to our facility who have exhibited telltale symptoms of Proxy's Syndrome. Manuel, a Biokinetic from the Norça, had subtle changes in his genetic code. In the span of an hour, his skin pigmentation will cycle from albino white to midnight black and back again. When Carol, a soldier from the 1st Legion, enters a room, a gust of wind follows her that is strong enough to blow out candles and rustle papers. Unlike the Proxies, whose manifestations are potent and advantageous, neither Manuel nor Carol's displays are significant enough to anything but distracting.

As usual, while we have megabytes of data regarding the symptoms of Proxy's Syndrome, we have little information regarding its cause. Both our case studies had near-record scores in Latency testing and both have shown to be extraordinary capabilities in their Prometheus-borne Aptitudes. However, there have been other, more powerful and capable Psions that have not developed signs of Proxy's Syndrome. At this point, I could go into a tirade about how we really have no idea how the brain works or how Psi particles are affected by the mind. I could even complain that the Orders, Aeon, and even the doctors at Holt have no business fooling with something we don't fully comprehend. Then again, I don't need to. I think we've both heard that viewpoint far too many times already.

Aptitudes: Any

System: Sufferers of Proxy's Syndrome exhibit slight psionic effects at all times. These effects mimic a particular mode which the Psion possesses at character creation, but at a very low level. Storyteller can make up any effect he or she wishes but keep in mind that Psion-level Proxy's Syndrome is merely an environmental effect and should not give the character any consistent advantage. A few examples include:

Biokinesis: Shifts in skin pigmentation or eye color; strange rippling of the skin; constantly changing skin patterns/tattoos.

Clairsentience: Psions have a compulsive habit of finishing other's sentences; Those who look at the afflicted character get the impression that he or she is "staring through them," or always looking far away.

Electrokinesis: Psion always has static electricity around him, causing his or her clothes to cling around them and giving people they touch slight static shocks (no damage); equipment briefly come to life (motors try to "turn over," monitors and lights flicker, etc.).

Psychokinesis: Gusts of wind; slight (but noticeable) raising or lowering of temperature.

Telepathy: Those around the character hear whispers in their mind. While it appears the whispers are saying something, the volume is too low to make sense of it.

Vitakinesis: Low-level emotional manipulation; those around Psion feel a bit better (pains don't seem quite as bad).

<HR>

Uncontrolled Psionic Manifestation Disorder (U.P.M.D.)

Another lie spread by the Orders is that being a Latent means that your mind is already prepared for the wonders of Psion-hood. What we are is not just determined by the neural blueprint of our brains, but also the events we experience through birth. Suddenly you are granted great powers, available to you with but a thought. You may be able to see things far away, read thoughts, change your shape, or cause the family car to spontaneously combust or freeze. While everyone who becomes a Psion has a period of adjustment to their new abilities, there are some that never adjust.

Uncontrolled Psionic Manifestation Disorder (UPMD) is a name given to a group of psionic disorders that all have the same result: the inability of a Psion to consistently control their powers. By far most common form of UPMD is known as "emotive-trigger disorder". Emotive trigger disorder causes a manifestation of a Psion's Aptitude whenever that Psion experiences a very strong emotion, such as anger and hate, or love, or fear. Normally only a couple of emotions will consistently elicit a Noetic manifestation in a Psion and the Holt Center has never encountered a Psion with UPMD that had all strong emotions as his or her emotive trigger.

Aptitudes: Any

System: The Player and Storyteller will have to work out what strong emotions trigger a Psionic response from the Character. Whenever the Storyteller thinks the character is experiencing that strong emotion, a Psionic power will activate. The power will be chosen by the ST from among the Psion's current Aptitude and Modes. Such incidents of UPMD are handled as if the character was purposely activating his Psi powers, requiring an expenditure of Psi points, etc. A Player not wanting to have his powers activated in this way roll Willpower. No other checks for UPMD can be made for the remainder of the scene.

<FONT COLOR=FF0000>>>> ATTACHED FILE ENDS <<<</FONT></font>

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