Magic is the common term for energy and powers which exact nature is not readily explained. There are plenty of theories and studies that try to uncover “the secret”, but they have only just scratched the surface.
Magic and Science
Though neuroscience has ascended to impressive pinnacles, the brain remains a place that is complicated, not fully understood, and thoroughly messy. Nevertheless, scientists believe that it is in the brain that the power to wield magic is found. The main reason for this is that individuals who have access to magic generate a modulated brainwave pattern that is extremely difficult to detect. Human scientists have come to refer to these asynchronous brainwaves as “psi waves,” fitting both with the Greek letter designation of other brainwaves (alpha, beta, delta, gamma, theta), as well as with the term “psi” – coined by the human biologist Bertold P. Wiesner, as an umbrella term used to describe a number of so-called “psychic” abilities and other speculative paranormal phenomena. Likewise, affected individuals are sometimes known as and referred to as “asyncs” in scientific circles.
The asynchronous brainwaves can often be measured right after birth, but the power to wield magic and manipulate matter does not manifest until sometime during puberty. However, it might not manifest at all; most commonly the power only manifest by itself in individuals with the strongest brainwaves, while those with weak brainwaves need guidance and teaching before they can wield magic. Additionally, those that only show weak asynchronous brainwaves, might never be able to use magic, no matter how much guidance they receive.
There are different theories that try to explain, why some individuals have these brainwaves and others don’t. The most supported theory is, that it is simply a matter of normal evolutionary mutation, that for some species – like humans – is relatively new, while it for others – like lashuntas – has been a part of everyday life for all recorded history.
Exploration of the explicit causal factors behind the magic/psi waves remains uncertain. Theories regarding extraordinary mental processes with the ability to change quantum states have been explored but remain frustratingly inconclusive, as do attempts to duplicate these features in normal brains. The numerous dead ends have prompted many researchers to postulate that the mechanics underlying magic are simply too strange and too far beyond any known species’ understanding of physical sciences.
Magic and Religion
The most common religious view on magic is that it is “divine power” – a gift granted to the few. The proper way to use this gift very much depends on the religion, but it all boils down to, that from their point view you should show your faith in the divine being that bestowed you the powers, follow it and its priests’ teachings, use your gift to further that particular religion and so on. If you don’t do this the religions say that it will have bad consequences – the actual severity depending on the religion.
The second-most common view on magic and these supernatural powers from a religious standpoint, is the – some would say archaic – view that these powers are blasphemous and heretic, and individuals with these powers should be locked up or burned on the stake.
How common is Magic?
Magic is not uncommon, but it is not common either; approximately 1 in 1,000 individuals have the asynchronous brainwaves, but only 1 in 10,000 actually wield magic. Additionally, these numbers differ between species.
Magic and Society
The vast majority of people have no talent for magic, which means they often times look on those who do with some combination of fascination and mistrust. In general, the larger a community an individual have grown up in/lived in, the greater is the chance, that this individual is less suspicious of and/or in awe of magic and magic-users. Of course, as can be seen in the table above, the number of times you’ve encountered magic – and thereby have gotten more used to it – also depends on the species composition in the city.
If you are a magic user you are required by law to list the fact on your ID, and you need a license to practice magic. Of course, these things can be faked like normal IDs and licenses for for instance guns or being allowed to drive a car. Likewise, fines and repercussion for not having these, and getting caught, is much the same, as for getting caught without a license or ID in more mundane circumstances.
Mystics vs. Technomancers
Magic users or mages usually fall into one of two categories: Mystic or Technomancer. Mystics take a more intuitive and natural approach to using their magic, while technomancers are much more theoretical and technical.
The values, beliefs and faith found in religions can be easily aligned to the world-view of many mystics, and there therefore is a greater number of mystics within organized religion than there is technomancers. This might lead to the misconception that mystics are always related to religion or vice versa and technomancers are not. However, this is not true, a technomancer might just as well be connected to a religion and adhere to the belief that his magic is divine power granted to him by a deity, as a mystic might not and could believe the opposite.
Learning facilities for both categories can be found in many places in known space. However, seldom combined in one. Here older and more experienced mages guide and teach the younger.
Magic-influential Substances and Materials
Among known materials that intensify magic, the most potent is mana-crystals that grow on the colossal Oma, often called “space whales,” that travel endlessly through the inky void. Via the crystals they magically project electromagnetic fields that shield them from the effects of the vacuum as well as from the particulate rings and dense atmospheres of the gas giants in which they usually feed, extracting energy and nutrients with their energy baleen.
The most potent among known mitigating materials is null-iron. This is a rare metal that has so far only been found in black hole sun systems – systems where planets orbit a black hole instead of a star. Null-iron have been found deep beneath the crust of the planets orbiting closest to the black hole. Why this material is present in these systems is not clear, but it is evident that black holes have something to do with it.