Beyond the Stars
Biotics are a poorly understood pheonomenon, even with Federation-wide advances in science. In some ways, they almost seem like ancient understandings of “magic”, which for some it may as well be.
Biotics refers to a range of extrasensory powers, which may or may not be related. Most sapient cultures make reference to supposed supernatural powers; some even have elaborate works of fiction based upon these powers. However, most species do not seem to have any measureable, scientific confirmation of these power until after they have become spacebound. One of the more popular theories is that greater exposure to radiation has resulted in somewhat consistant mutations across sapient beings’ genetic codes. Another theory is that hyperspace travel somehow causes biological alterations, again at the genetic level, which can then be passed down. Others claim that these powers have always been there, but that only upon achieving sufficiently advanced technology can cultures even being to interpret what seem to be violations of phyiscal laws. Those are just some of the more legitimate theories; what the legitimate and crackpot theories have in common is that they are made up of almost pure speculation as scientific research on biotics have proven frustratingly difficult. This level of unknown about their origin has led to some level of anti-biotic sentiment across the galaxy, and the Federation does require all biotics to register themselves as being so under penalty of law.
Despite the lack of experimental understanding of the phenomenon, some companies and agencies have developed “booster” cybernetics that magnify abilities or increase their range. These boosters seem to work for some users, but not for others. They amplify and channel electrical current inside the body, particularly through the nervous system. This tends to cause users to experience incredibly painful, long-lasting headaches and has been tied to a statistically significant increased risk of stroke and aneurysm. The lifespan of beings using these boosters is statistically shorter as well. For this reason, the Galactic Federation regulates boosters and issues few permits for their use, mostly to federal agents and large corporations who are required to carry certain insurances to employ boosted biotics. However, because of the possible power increases that can come with the use of a booster, many biotics employed by criminal organizations sport these implants as well.
Whatever their source, there seem to be a two common varients of these powers:
Empathy: Some beings have the ability to understand the emotional state of those they come in contact with. It is not “mind-reading” in the sense that the exact contact of a being’s thoughts cannot be sensed. What beings with this power sense is the general emotional state of a subject. This power does cross species barriers, but it does seem the more different the species are in terms of biology and culture the harder it is for the empath to interpret the content of thse emotions. Empaths are also occasionally employed by large corporations or law enforcement agencies to determine whether a subject is being truthful or not; again, the empath can only sense whether the subject believes they are lying, not what the truth is.
The flip side of this is the much rarer power to send their own thoughts into others through touch. Unlike empaths, it seems these telepaths are able to send exact words as well as emotional states. Telepaths also seem to have a higher change to be able to broadcast their thoughts and feelings over distance instead of requiring touch. Many telepaths also exhibit empath skills, leading some to believe they are just different manifestations of the same power.
Telekinesis: Some beings have shown an ability to physically manipulate objects around them with nothing more than a thought. The best theory on this power is that somehow the mind is able to negate gravity and Newtonian laws of motion, causing the telekinetic to be able to “lift” objects. It seems the necessary field and strength size increases with the mass of the object, making it far easier for telekinetics to manipulate small objects. The other difficult thing to do is to stop rapidly-moving objects, even small ones; it seems the mental energy needed to slow or stop a fast-moving object is very large and beyond most telekinetics.
There is a rare subcategory of telekinetics that are able to manipulate objects on a molecular level, causing enough friction to set objects on fire. These pyrokinetics seem to require immense concentration to cause this effect, and objects that are more likely to be flammable are far easier to set ablaze than objects that are generally non-flammable. There is a great deal of fear regarding pyrokinetics, and there have been incidents of violence and even murder against suspected pyrokinetics. Both for their own protection and for the protection of those around them, the Galactic Federation requires all known pyrokinetics to register as such and regularly report to FJA agents on their activites.