Psionics on Rise

                Have you ever thought about someone only to have that person call you on your holophone? Have you ever had the sense of deja vu? Ever look at the listings for a horserace and have the name of the winning horse jump out at you? You might have what some people refer to as a “psychic twinkle,” a touch of psychic energy that you manage to harness for a brief moment.

                It has long been known that certain people in Valhalla have harnessed this power for years. Most notably, the Iclavian aliens are naturally imbued with these powers. They can have entire conversations without ever opening their mouths. They are capable of many other displays of mind over matter as well. Other creatures, mostly human, have also become adept at harnessing these powers.

                Indeed, as a recent study by the INSL has shown, the number of non-Iclavian psionic users throughout Valhalla has tripled over the last twenty years. Where is all of this knowledge coming from, and what does it mean to the people of Valhalla?

               “Remarkably, very little,” explains Izblat Chzkan, one of the Iclavian emissaries to the INSL. “Psionic power is an aspect of what your kind often refers to as ‘magic.’ As such it is regulated by the Technology and Magical Equalization Treaty. The same restriction that stops an elf from calling a tornado down in the middle of Megalopolis also inhibits psionics. The fact that more people of other races are starting to utilize these powers is not so remarkable.”

               This opinion, however, is not one that all people share. Some have become gravely concerned over the increased use of these “powers of the mind” and hope to stop their rise. One such person is Governor Harold Phelps from the American sector of the Republic of Nations. “The fact that more people are being indoctrinated in the powers of the Iclavian race is proof that they are focused on the subjugation of all other creatures on this planet. Their powers are of the mind. They are able and willing to invade your thoughts, manipulate your mind, and bend your will to their own. How can we trust creatures that can do such things? I do not trust these creatures. I do not trust people that have come under their sway. Every contact with creatures of their hive-like race runs the risk of mental domination.”

               While Governor Phelps’ commentary might seem extreme to some, others believe that there is evidence to back up this claim. A prime example is the fact that nearly eighty percent of the people who have learned Psionics have done so within a hundred miles of the Iclavian border. The majority of these have been in the Kuan Ti Territories, followed closely by Brahmaloka. In fact, both nations have multiple schools of Psionics within their territories. This does not include the growing number of people, mostly humans and elves, who are traveling to Yod-Zok to learn from the Iclavians first-hand.

               “It is not unusual for this to happen,” insists Izblat Chzkan. “Where else would people interested in the arts of the mind go to study them? Many of the peoples of Kuan Ti and Brahmaloka are also naturally predisposed to Psionic focus. Many of their traditions including martial arts, yoga, meditation, and Tai-Chi are doorways to unlocking the powers of the mind. They have the keys in their hands already. We simply help them to unlock it. ”

               “Pandora had a locked box,” Governor Phelps opines. “See what happened when she opened it? It is not the Iclavians I fear, but their capacity for mental manipulation. When a group such as this has the power to subjugate and control the minds of another, nobody is safe. The devious arts of the Iclavian race must be contained!”

               Izblat Chzkan disagrees, however, pointing to the prevalence of Magic throughout Valhalla. “It is no different than the humans who learn to harness the powers of the Elements from the Elves, or the priests who call upon the powers of the divine. It is simply another way to harness the untapped power of the universe.”

               “My God and my side-arm,” Insists Governor Phelps, “are the only powers I recognize!”

Artist Foils Assassination

                Xue Tzeng Gong, a dignitary from the Kuan Ti Territories, was enjoying an art exhibition yesterday when he was ambushed by two ninja. Xue Tzeng Gong, who is Duke of Wei principality in the Kuan-Ti Territories, was in town to speak to an INSL sub-committee. There have been a number of border skirmishes occurring between the Wei people and their neighbors, the Qin. His mission was to bring these matters to the attention of the INSL.

               While on a break from the proceedings, the young duke decided to visit the nearby World Art Exhibition. The exhibit is an annual, invitation-only event that brings the best artwork from all the cultures and countries of Valhalla. It has been a cultural high-point since its inception eight years ago.  

               The duke was walking along the open-air galleria when the assassins attacked. Both assailants were moving among the rooftops of neighboring buildings when they drew their poisoned arrows and took aim.

               “Dude, it all happened so quick!” explained a glass-blower named “Smoke,” who bore witness to the event. “I ain’t seen nothin’ like it. I was jazzed, dude! Totally whamped!”

               Another exhibitor, a Native American by the name of Washee, happened to spot the two ninja as they made their way along the rooftops. Seeing them nock and draw their bows, Washee leapt into action.

               “Some chick was there asking about one of his carvings,” Smoke continues. “She was hot as summer sand. Old Dude’s not even looking at her, though, just sort of through her, you know. Next thing I know he’s got two blades in his hands. I thought he was going to go all creeper-reaper on her. I was about to freak! She was too!

               “Next thing I know, he’s winging this knife way over her head. I’m thinking man, this dude’s got shitty aim. Then he takes the other knife and pitches that away too! Finally, I see something doing topside. There’s this dude up there all dressed up like a ninja, and he’s got a knife sticking out of his throat. He crumples down and falls off the side of the building! Totally whamped!”

               Washee’s heroics did not stop there though, nor was he the only one to show true heroism that day.

               “We heard someone scream in the crowd,” confirms an anonymous source from Xue Tzeng Gong’s entourage. “Immediately a bodyguard, Chang Fan, saw two ninja. One was taking aim at the Honorable Gong while the other tumbled off the roof. Chang Fan selflessly threw himself in harm’s way and took the poisoned arrow for his venerable master. We wasted no time moving Xue Tzeng Gong to a safe location. ”

               “Dude moved like a tiger, man!” Smoke elaborates about what he saw Washee do next. “He didn’t even wait to see if his second blade hit before he was charging. He climbed the wall like they was stairs! I ain’t never seen nobody move like that!”

               After climbing to the top of the one story building, Washee began to pursue the fleeing ninja. Fortunately Washee’s second blade had rung true and struck the ninja’s leg. Though given a head start, Washee was easily able to track his quarry as he fled across the rooftops. While the Shawnee warrior gave chase, the ninja paused to fire multiple arrows. None found their mark.

               The pursuit lasted four city blocks before INSL forces blocked the ninja’s escape. Left with no alternative, he turned on Washee and engaged in close combat. The ninja, armed with two kama, was unable to strike the Shawnee warrior before the Native American killed him with a single blow of his tomahawk.

               The identity of the two ninja has not been determined, nor has it been confirmed why they attempted to assassinate Xue Tzeng Gong. Suspicion has rested completely on the embittered Qin, who maintains their ignorance of the event. During the proceedings of the INSL subcommittee the Qin representative even went so far as to say, “Xue Tzeng Gong and the Wei have made many enemies. They have killed peasants and generals alike in their lust for power. It is no wonder that there are those who want them dead. The Qin, however, did not sanction this event. I would look to Xue Tzeng Gong’s conscience and study the black stains there to see who might want him dead.”

               Until evidence surfaces that can prove guilt, it is doubtful that anyone will be prosecuted. What is certain, however, is that the artist Washee is being hailed as a hero. While he has met with Xue Tzeng Gong to accept his thanks, the reclusive Shawnee has refused all interviews with the media. The only statement he has offered about the incident was made shortly after the event. He said, “I have counted much coup today. Tonight I will sing to the spirits.”