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© 1996-2010
æthereal FORGE ™



The MUD Slide


(Homo sapiens sunetos)
Intelligent sages able to manipulate nervous systems.

Avg. Height: M - 5'9" F - 5'5"
Avg. Weight: M - 165# F - 130#

Hair Color: Brown, black, blonde, red
Eye Color: Brown, hazel, blue, green

Blood Pressure: 120/80
Life Expectancy: 75 years

Dist. Marks: Distant eyes, calm demeanor, often bald, frail or obese

Capable of affecting the minds and bodies of others through the manipulation of electrical fields, savants possess powers that almost defy classification.

Originally the product of a fusion between human and Alpha GOTHE genetic material, savants are, in a sense, the oldest "goth" genotype. Because they are direct descendants of the Alphas, they share in some of the same genetic advantages of their brethren, including an advanced central nervous system and a secondary brain stem at the base of their spine. This combination not only gives savants the ability to manipulate the natural electrochemical impulses of their own bodies, and the bodies of others, but it gives them access to almost boundless intellect and wisdom. Though stripped of most of their ancestors' physical prowess, they are typically in good health, and tend to live longer lives than most of their cousins. Indeed, while most of the 22 to 25,000 savants living at the end of the 21st Century are descendants of the "original savants," there are more than a few elders to be found who remember all too vividly the experiences they went through in the mid 21st Century. Bad memories die hard when your mind won't let you forget.

Like all the goth genotypes, savants are blessed with a significantly enhanced central nervous system (CNS), operating at up to 100 times the efficiency of a normal human. In part, this is due to increased levels of myelin, which insulates nerve endings and facilitates electrical flow, and the fact that the nerves relating to touch and muscular sense are up to 10 times wider than ordinary nerves. The combined effect of this is to allow the transmission of signals at beyond the speed of sound (combined with normal nerve impulses, such as pain, temperature and itch, which travel at a comparatively slow 2 to 10 miles per hour). But this is only the start of it, and neither scientists nor medical experts can truly piece together the entire story of how a savant's CNS works; it's perhaps a futile task, since not every savant is built entirely the same way.

The difficulty increases when one studies the brain of the savant, where the presence of billions more neurons and glial cells offers capabilities well above and beyond what a human brain is capable of. Both left and right lobes work much more efficiently than in normal humans, making them living supercomputers, able to process data much more quickly than others, taking countless criteria into account and spitting out results in just a few moments. But the savant brain also extends outside the cranial cavity to some degree, using a spinal column packed with extra white matter to provide a direct link to a secondary "brain stem" located at the base of their spine. Far more than a mere bundle of nerve tissue, this "booster" is more developed in savants than in any other genotype, and actually serves to act in some cases as a second mind, operating independently of the savant's real brain in times of stress or extreme need. Most of the time, this booster acts as more of a filter, allowing the savant to selectively tune into various electrochemical signals from his or her own body and mind, and alter those signals. Savants are also capable of tuning into the same signals in other individuals, and thus they can actually manipulate the minds and bodies of others to some degree.

Getting a savant to explain how this all works usually proves fruitless, since many of them ascribe their abilities to "mystical" or "psychic powers," in some cases because they have grown to believe it and in others because that's what people want to hear. In any case, many of these "questionable" beliefs do, in fact, shed light on their real capabilities. For example, savants are quite aware of their "chakras," and are careful to keep the energy flowing smoothly along that path. These seven chakras, from the root chakra (perhaps indiciative of the savant booster, at the base of the spine) to the crown chakra (located in the brain at the top of the head), all represent points along the spine. A savant who is "centering" is in actuality controlling the flow of electrochemical reactions along this path through their nervous system. By being conscious of this flow of energy, a savant can appear to do things which are truly magical: turning off pain, for instance, or even causing their heart to stop beating, and then restart. In actual fact, it's all just a matter of being conscious of the actual workings of the human body to a seemingly impossible degree.

As mentioned earlier, savants can also manipulate these electrical signals in the nervous systems of other individuals. The savant's "booster" acts as a highly selective filter, "tuning in" to the CNS of a specific person nearby. The "boosting" capability that gives this organ its name then comes into play, ramping up the electrical signal and transmitting it to another, thus allowing the savant to trigger reactions in that other person by initiating the thought in his own system. This is not to say that a savant generates lightning bolts from his or her fingertips--the actual charges involved are incredibly small and almost entirely imperceptible, and while they can certainly be used to kill (by stopping a heart from beating, or interfering with the function of the diaphragm), they cannot be used to shock or electrocute someone. In most cases, the effect is fairly subtle, but effective: causing a muscle twitch to cause a strike to miss its target; giving someone a headache; triggering the release of adrenaline to provoke fear or anger; or even causing muscle cramps or indigestion. Only the most powerful savants would be able to fully control another person's movements, since even standing requires a fine degree of balance that cannot be easily controlled from afar.

While the savant's booster can send and receive signals from a distance, the ability to do so falls off drastically after a matter of mere inches. Particularly in crowded areas like cities when there are so many nerve impulses firing off all around, the process of singling out a specific CNS frequency and tuning it in can be nearly impossible even if someone is just across the room. In almost all cases, the signal can travel much more efficiently if transmitted via touch, since the savant can then physically pass the charge from nerve ending to nerve ending. For this reason, many savants choose to work in professions or otherwise place themselves in situations where they can work hands-on with people. In a hospital, for example, a savant can restart a heart with a thought, or keep a patient breathing by contracting the diaphragm, or numb the sensation of pain during childbirth to eliminate the need for drugs. Working with children or animals is also common among savants for similar reasons. This is not to say that all savants find employment in peaceful pursuits: their highly logical minds make them extremely valuable as military strategists, and that coupled with their ability to perceive and subtly manipulate the reactions of others means that even large corporations try to keep a savant on staff for use in serious business meetings and hostile takeovers.

For the same reasons they are appreciated and respected by most, savants tend to be highly mistrusted by society, mostly because nobody likes the idea of anyone being able to control their body. For this reason, some savants often try to mask their true natures, blending in and joining the rank and file like ordinary humans, often so they can manipulate things behind the scenes. Even then, savants can make others distinctly uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, as they tend to think on a vastly different level than ordinary humans and can come up with some apparently bizarre statements of "truth" that nobody but other savants can understand.

For this reason, many savants choose to gather with others of their kind for fulfillment and moral support, taking on a "gypsy"-like attitude towards life and shirking many modern conveniences and beliefs in favor of a more free-spirited and spiritual attitude towards life. Their overactive imaginations and impulse for creativity leads some to experiment with drugs and other mind-alterants, while others stick to natural food products and merely experiment with their appearance, dressing in wildly colored clothing, wearing tons of jewelry, or trying out interesting hairstyles or baldness "just to see how it feels." This and other "creative" behaviors can lead to a slew of physical problems for the savant, the same that can affect any human who decides to experiment in this way: sickness, disease, and in the case of overeating, severe obesity (which leads some savants to earn the somewhat derogatory nickname of "Buddha").

Of course, this type of behavior makes savants stick out in a crowd, which is exactly what some prefer to avoid in their quest for perfection of self. Some take their focus on the spiritual and mental over the physical in the opposite direction, descending to a dangerous level and isolating themselves from society in bouts of "self-reflection" where they use their ability to control their bodies to go without food or sleep for days or weeks at a time. More than a few decide that they've achieved some sort of enlightenment and decide to simply stop eating, shutting off their pain and hunger centers and slowly starving to death just so they can feel the experience. Others choose a quicker route to a spiritual realm, intentionally dosing themselves with neurotoxins like insecticides, snake venom and snake toxins, which the savant's overactive nervous system cannot tolerate even in small doses. In cases like this, not even another savant can intervene to save them, since the savant's "booster" easily filters out the foreign signal from anyone trying to interfere.

INSPIRATIONAL IDEAS

Music: Dead Can Dance, esp. "Toward the Within"

Stories: "Dune," "Run, Lola, Run"

Quote: "And if ye cannot be saints of knowledge, then be at least its warriors." --Nietzsche

Stats:
* Higher than average Mental Strength & Agility.
* Below average Physical Strength & Endurance.

Pros:
* Savants are typically able to think faster and on more levels than any other genotype.
* Able to consciously alter their nervous system, they are masters of their bodies.

Cons:
* Savants typically ignore physical appearance, and may often become frail, sickly or obese.

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