Friday, March 21, 2014

FREAKY FRIDAY: The Psychics of Stone Soldiers

Everything isn’t magical in Stone Soldiers. There’s also the psychic side of things. And like any good pulp, Stone Soldiers’ psychics can be over-the-top and encompass a wide variety of powers and abilities. Here’s a quick list of the powers seen, and to-be-seen in the series.

The old fiction standard, where a psychic has the ability to “read” the minds of others, hearing their thoughts or even their memories. Or maybe even taking over their minds.

An unnamed FBI agent in Mythical interrogated witnesses trying to locate Colonel Kenslir when he went missing. He was able to put three teenagers to sleep, then sift through their memories. Later, this same Agent took over Jimmy Kane and controlled him like a psychic ventriloqist, using Kane to speak to the Colonel from a safe distance.

Billy Dyer, Code-Name ECHO, was a former member of the Detachment, and could not only read minds but also control them, removing civilians from a roadside motel by controlling their sleeping bodies. When Dyer was killed by the shapeshifter Ketzkahtel, the monster absorbed his power and was able to use it to take over the bodies of others, even while they remained awake and conscious of what their bodies were doing.

Back at Argon Tower, Detachment 1039’s base of operations, we’ve seen more telepaths. PJ, the red-headed wannabe ladies man had the ability to read minds and communicate over distances. His power was even stronger when in physical contact with subjects—reading Josie Winter’s mind when she slapped him to get his attention. PJ was later replaced by Gloria, a woman with a line-of-sight limitation to her ability to read the conscious thoughts of others. Like PJ, Gloria assisted Ghost Walkers in maintaining communication with base during Astral Projections.

Capable of astrally projecting, these rare psychics can leave their bodies behind, travelling around the world to scout out hostile locations. Daisy was a 1960s-era Walker who was killed in her astral form by the shapeshifter Tezcahtlip in Mexico (Blood and Stone), suggesting that Walkers have at least a partial presence in the physical world.

Before her death, Daisy was telepathically joined to Josie Winters, allowing the young girl to accompany her on a scouting mission. Josie didn’t leave her body, but rather saw through Daisy’s eyes as she scouted a site far away.

Ghost Walker Forrest assisted the Detachment in Book 7, SevenDeadly Sons, spying on the uberwolves in Florida. Forrest was a former Army recruit who’s latent ability was discovered in Basic Training.

This class of psychic uses their mind to physically affect the environment. Like magicians, they use etheric energy, projecting it to manipulate matter.

Josie Winters is a thermokinetic, able to affect the kinetic state of matter, causing it to heat (pyrokinesis) or cool (cryokinesis). Starting out as an empath, Josie's gorwing abilities suggest that unlocking her latent Fellish abilities may have triggered a change that may never stop. Thermokinesis may just be one of many powers the girl develops as the series continues. 

The shapeshifter Tezcahtlip devoured an inmate at Alcatraz in Book 3, Blood and Stone, granting him powerful telekinetic abilities—allowing him to physically move objects. Tezcahtlip and Josie revealed to readers that psychokinetics need to recharge their own internal energies. Their very lifeforce is turned to the enigmatic etheric energy often cited in the series, with which they are able to manipulate the environment around them.

Both Josie and Tezcahtlip appeared to be limited to affecting objects within a line of sight.

Simply put, clairvoyants can “see” without their eyes. Their psychic ability grants them a perception of the physical world, seeing through matter if they so choose. Both Clinton Kerrick and the shapeshifter Tezcahtlip possessed this ability, and Colonel Kenslir suggested that ghosts also rely on clairvoyance to see the physical world.

Not yet seen in the series, clairaudience is similar to clairvoyance, and is the ability to hear the physical world without relying on sound. Some fiction lumps these two abilities together under the name clairvoyance, but in Stone Soldiers, the distinction will be made.\

Similar to clairvoyance or clairaudience and even telepathy, empaths sense, but only in general terms. Josie Winters gained the empathic ability to sense the presence of the prehistoric shapeshifters Ketzkahtel and Tezcahtlip, but could not read their minds. Fiction is full of empaths capable of feeling emotions, detecting lies or even diagnosing injuries, but without the ability to discern specific thoughts or memories. 

The ability to see the future is a big part of Stone Soldiers. The NSA of that universe uses “Oracles”, precogs capable of seeing terrible future events. These psychics can only sense the future when it is terrible enough to echo beyond the limitation of time—when enough people experience an event.

Oracle Andre Warner was introduced in Book 4, Shadesof War, as an Oracle who’s dreams place her in the lives of others, experiencing disasters first-hand. Mention has been made in multiple books that the Oracles’ intelligence reports have averted a number of potentially world-changing events, such as the assassination of world leaders.

Kenji Nakayama, introduced in Book 6, ArmageddonZ, was a different kind of precog, one who could only see his own future, experiencing it as vividly as if it were real. Kenji lived his entire life bouncing back and forth, repeating events over and over until they changed. With his help, the Detachment averted the end of humanity when an insane Elemental unleashed an enchanted bio weapon capable of resurrecting the dead.

Like Oracles, postcogs can glimpse another time. In the case of Victor Hornbeck, touching physical objects allows him to see into the past of that object, experiencing past events to discover what has really happened. Introduced in Book 2, Brothers in Stone, Hornbeck’s abilities continued on, even after he was petrified and made into a stone soldier himself.

One of the most basic of psychic abilities, second sight allows a psychic to see past illusions or to even see into the astral plane, detecting entities with more than just their physical senses. A true psychic in the traditional term, someone with second sight is able to detect what others cannot, often with a elements of the other powers mentioned above. For book 9, Pale Horseman, readers will meet a doctor able to instantly diagnose illnesses in patients, merely by looking at the. And Colonel Kenslir has revealed that people who have died often develop a second sight, gaining the ability to sense spirits or see past mental and magical illusions. 

Know of a psychic ability we've missed? Comment below and see if it's a part of the Stone Soldiers universe.

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