Skilled Codex Powers III: Tempus Techniques

The oldest star of our Galaxy: HE 1523-0901

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Past the instinctive and basic uses of the three Codex skills – Phasing, Shifting, and Tempus – there are a variety of more advanced powers that are only available to those with monotalents or actual Codex skills.

The manipulation of the user’s personal timerate is not so complex in itself – but the interface with the rest of the world is incredibly complex. A character using hypertime at a mere ten-to-one ratio should find himself or herself trapped in a world with an effective temperature of one-tenth normal as measured from absolute zero – minus 273 degrees Celsius, or minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit. To the rest of the world, he or she should now have an effective surface temperature of around five thousand degrees. The user should freeze to death in moments. He or she should be unable to see – or find the world impossibly dim. The inertia of his surroundings should seem vast. If he or she accelerates a pocket of air around him or her, it should rush away – it’s vast relative temperature giving it a huge effective pressure. Temperature, Mass and Inertia, Radiation Frequency… so many MANY things are dependent on time, and can so easily kill.

Such things do happen. Knowing or not, unskilled attempts to use hypertime beyond those minor warps which occur naturally when people are under great pressure, deliberate attempts to achieve a Codex breakthrough, and otherwise meddling with the “natural” flow of time, are all too likely to lead to catastrophe. People mysteriously burned to ash, or frozen to death, dead in mysterious fires, found starved to death in their rooms, somehow irradiated, or suddenly aged, are all signs of Tempus handled poorly – without the instinctive control of the interface that wards the people who do successfully break through.

Worse, thanks to the consensual nature of time, a runaway hypertime effect can easily involve those in the area, especially if they’re an isolated population – bringing catastrophe upon entire asteroid colonies and other settlements. Given stress and isolation, many such colonies do fail eventually, lost to accidents with Tempus or Phasing.

Large-scale Phasing accidents are rare, and typically involve simple disappearances, but incidents involving Tempus often become large-scale mysteries. Thus the preference for planetary colonies and large-scale ships; the greater the numbers involved – and thus the stronger the force – the less vulnerable to large-scale codex accidents a group becomes.

On a small scale, of course, Tempus provides a substantial edge to a single talented pilot with a craft small enough to be affected by his or her personal timerate. In space, and behind even the lightest sort of radiation shielding, many of the interface-related problems vanish. Thus the best pilots can outrun pursuit, maneuver more quickly, fire with greater accuracy, and weave through fields of fire that are specifically designed to be impossible to escape thanks to unconsciously tapping into traces of Codex potential – with no risk of falling to the dark side by attempting to use the force to help them kill.

Thus, while unfriendly physics and logic says that space colonies should dominate the universe, leaving planets to a minor role, and that space-fighters are a rather silly and impractical idea, in  Star Wars it is the planets that dominate, the space colonies that are rare, and the fighters which keep bringing victory DESPITE the tendency to build far-larger-than-practical ships.

Skilled hypertime techniques revolve around control of the consensual time / hypertime interface.

  • Force Suppression is the simplest skilled use of Tempus. The force is deeply entwined with time, which is why precognitive dreams, visions of what might-have-been, and sourceless intuitions are among its most common untrained manifestations. To sever the threads of time is to become invisible to direct sensing through the force – and to any effects which depend partially on being sensed through the force. The user vanishes from precognition, clairvoyance, and similar senses. While a clever force user can potentially locate the user at short range by looking for holes in his or her perceptions, that’s a technique with very limited uses; it takes a LOT of time to scan any significant area. Of course, drifting along in your own private timestream that is nonetheless in lockstep with consensual time accomplishes nothing else, save to make you more vulnerable to certain indirect effects and to accidently winding up in a secondary (or even dead end) timeline – but such problems are quite rare. Many people drift along, isolated from others, in a private world of their own quite a lot of the time anyway.
  • Hyperstrike involves the manipulation of the inertial aspects of the interface  – allowing the user to pull off tricks like NOT bringing water touching him into his or her timestream, allowing it to act like a solid for him or her to walk over – or to withstand the pressure of enormous depths like it was a heavy mist in slowed time. He or she can flick pebbles and have them assume bulletlike speeds as they pass through the interface, slow incoming projectiles, or exert enormous forces in an instant by turning several minutes worth of effort on their part into a moments exertion (from an outside prospective). Of course if you slip up a bit in your control of the interface, you can easily injure yourself – potentially quite badly if, say, you accidentally amplify the impact of a stomp on yourself rather than on the intended target.
  • Multiaction simply allows the user to act very very quicly. While this is limited by the fact that interacting with others tends to once again entangle your timerate with theirs (thus limiting its use in combat to using Tempus dice to counteract multi-action penalties). If you avoid interacting with others much, multiaction can be used for high-speed travel (although it cannot accelerate hyperspace travel), making rapid repairs, and otherwise getting enormous amounts of work done – if you care to put up with the way it burns up your lifespan.
  • Re-Experience allows the user to essentially relive moments of the past. While the past cannot be changed, it is unwise to give into the temptation to try to do so; it runs a slight risk of splitting off a private, small-scale, timeline just for the user – and of causing him or her to simply vanish. It is also possible to use the technique to simply skip forward in time – from an external point of view simply ceasing to exist for the interval – but this is dangerous; if you skip past a decision-point vital enough to fork your timeline, you will only materialize in one of them. Wise users simply stick with looking back to review the past, rather than meddling with the larger structure of time.
  • Sensory Shift allows the user to adjust the frequency and intensity of electromagnetic radiation passing through the interface – using strange frequencies to see with or upgrading the effects of your energy weapons, creating tremendous bursts of light, and pulling similar tricks. Sadly, this sort of thing risks accidently dosing yourself with massive amounts of radiation – or emitting it. Of course, compared to many of the other risks of using the Codex, that’s a relatively trivial danger.
  • Thermal Control allows the user to adjust the effective temperature of the interface – using heat to melt through obstacles or weld doors shut with an accelerated pass of a hand, freezing liquids, turning fires into cooling breezes, or projecting gouts of flame. With a carefully unbalanced interface, it’s even possible to produce a classical ramjet-style reaction drive. Unfortunately, such stunts take a great deal of fine control unless the user wishes to risk roasting or freezing himself or herself in a few instants.

2 Responses

  1. […] Skilled Tempus Techniques: Describes the various uses of the Codex Tempus Skill (Opposed to Sense) […]

  2. […] Skilled Tempus Techniques: Describes the various uses of the Codex Tempus Skill (Opposed to Sense) […]

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