((Metri and the crystal memorial))
A single massive diamond-shaped crystal mounted on four pillars and pulsating with iridescence stood between Metri and the meeting he was heading to in the Halls of Governance. Many learners chose to skirt the courtyard and enter the building through one of the many side-entrances, but not Metri. Slowly and with careful determination, he approached the monument and prepared himself for the experience that reminded him the importance of the work that he did and strengthened the link he felt amongst the entirety of his race, the Yhabbayar.
Metri’s gaze fell upon the core of the crystal and attuned himself to the resonance of the light pulsating within. With focus, the rhythmic kaleidoscope of colors began to take shape and form within the learner’s mind. The experience took but a moment of concentration, but etched within his mind the grooves of history that had transformed their peoples. He felt the familiarity as he successfully attuned himself and the flash of psychic imagery that flooded his mind.
Yhabbayar Memorial History wrote:Over the years, the frivolous nature of war amongst a people with such refined psychic ability that they could feel each other’s pain, instead created a culture of internal reflection, meditation and peace. The Yhabbayar co-existed with each other and increasingly with the world that they lived on. But did so with increasing isolation. Days, weeks, months would pass in quiet reflection as many Yhabbayar filled their time meditating on the enlightenment of the mind that many of their elders obtained. More and more, the Yhabbayar people came to accept life as it is, as the only way it could be. And with such acceptance, the daily repetition of life became solemn in its routine pursuit. And progress stagnated.
From the Yhabbayar’s point of view, they had created a bit of a utopia on their world and did not trouble themselves with external questions of what was beyond their experience. The concept of a universe greater than their world was one postulated centuries ago, but long forgotten in the pursuit of inner perfection.
The Great Storm changed that.
Serenity and peaceful meditation was violated when distant thunder announced its arrival. For many, the divergence from the expected startled them out of their meditations. Distracted from their inner thoughts, they instead stared upwards at the sky as it began to split. As if their reality were some sort of fabric and the weight of the incoming storm was so massive that it stretched the fabric, cracks and crevasses began to appear… everywhere. Each crack began small, perhaps only inches in size. Instead of seeing what should be seen… the blue sky, a shaded tree, the wrinkles on one’s arms, there was a sliver of inky blackness. At the seams where the blackness and reality met, fibrils of coursing blue lightning darted to and fro. As the storm approached, the rips in reality grew larger and more numerous. The blue energy stitching seemingly giving way to the unstoppable juggernaut that was The Great Storm. Interacting with the rips was impossible. Waving one’s hand across a rip was painless and observed simply as a discontinuity ‘skipped over’ when the hand jumped from existing reality on one side to the other.
Pressure on their reality continued to build as the expanding rips began to intersect, causing massive gashes. The Yhabbayar collectively stood in mute astonishment, as their world appeared to be splintering and threatened to shatter into nonexistence.
Luckily, as quickly as The Great Storm came, so also did it pass. Departure of The Great Storm was marked by the numerous rips across their reality slowly self-sealing. It was as if the pressure was relieved and the natural elasticity of the fabric of their reality reformed itself back into its original state. But the days after would show that though their world was not obliterated, The Great Storm had left a scar.
Some of the greatest thinkers of the Yhabbayar, those who were considered most ‘enlightened’ in their pursuit of inner perfection, and thousands of other Yhabbayar, were simply missing. ((transported to Psyscape via ley line storm because they were in the astral plane at the time))
It is in memory of those great Yhabbayar that this monument stands. Only through the pursuit of our lost brethren has the Yhabbayar been inspired to look outwards and managed to begin to unravel the mysteries of the Megaverse.
Their disappearance triggered a global effort to investigate the means by which their body and essence were relocated. It was concluded that the astral plane could serve as a medium through which the body could be pulled. Traditional astral projection limits the user to the duration of meditation and distance traveled away from the body core, tethered by the user's thread. Yhabbayar have developed bubble-travel technology, enabling users of astral projection to explore the astral plane free of restrictions.
The user channels their projection onto the astral plane through an amulet worn on their body that serves as an anchor and allows for tether-free travel. When the user reaches their destination, their astral form pops the bubble encased in the amulet, causing the anchored physical body to be hurtled through space to re-incorporate at the astral form. Through bubble-travel technology, Yhabbayar have discovered nodes in the astral plane that serve as conduits between dimensions. This discovery has necessitated the formation of two organizations: the Exploration Corps, consisting of frontiersmen willing to expand the boundaries of known astral space, setting up pylons at nodes stabilizing inter-dimensional travel... and the Ambassador Corps, consisting of Yhabbayar who make first contact with alien species, maintain delicate inter-dimensional relationships and troubleshoot geopolitical disputes.
Though the missing Yhabbayar have yet to be found, the search continues and as the horizons of known space continue to expand, it is simply a matter of time before they are reunited. Thanks to the many brave men and women of the Exploration and Ambassador Corps.
As a learner within the Ambassador Corps nearing completion of his training, Metri found it refreshing to be reminded of their core mission. Feeling a tranquil inner peace deep within the core of his being, he continues on his way to his mission briefing.
((On mission, the loss of Master Arha))We are very far from home...
Metri thought to himself as the current count of pylons they had passed had reached thirteen. He looked to Master Arha's astral form and then that of Master Cartographer Yuopi just ahead of him. The three of them were traveling through astral space at breakneck speeds, guided by Master Cartographer Yuopi's familiarity with the region and tasked with making first contact with a species recently discovered by the Exploration Corps.
According to the briefing material, Yuopi's most recent pylon anchored at some sort of research facility floating in the vacuum of space. Many races co-existed within the facility. And based on Yuopi's telepathic scans, they collectively thought of themselves as "Argosy".That's the final pylon...
Yuopi's telepathic voice spoke, bringing Metri's attention back to the travel, I had a feeling almost immediately that this space was richly populated. It took a bit of time, but I found them. Come. Our journey will soon be at an end.
Metri followed Yuopi and Master Arha with renewed vigor.
After a little while, the nature of the astral space they traversed suddenly changed. Small wisp-like entities began to fill the space. Are these our contacts?
Metri asked eagerly, only to be quickly countered by Master Arha, Unless Master Cartographer Yuopi was negligent in his briefing report.... which he never is... I do not believe so learner... think on the report... this phenomenon was not in it.
The three came to a stop amidst the field of wisps and as the three forms conferenced, Yuopi confirmed Master Arha's assessment, Master Arha is correct young Metri... I do not know what these pulsing things are. They were not here when I last came.
Unafraid, Yuopi reached out to touch one of the wisps with his hand. It recoiled from his touch before all the wisps in proximity to Yuopi suddenly adhered themselves to the cartographer's astral form and a massive rumbling permeated astral space.
Massive tentacles extended from the ether of nothingness, entangled the cartographer and yanked him away from the two ambassadors. Oh no.
Master Arha thought-uttered as he leaped to action, a weapon crackling with mental energy quickly readied in his skilled hands. Instinctively, learner Metri readied his weapon also, though it took him a moment longer to realize that their foe was the enormously- large mountain of tentacles manifesting before them.
In the pit of his stomach, Metri felt the familiar pang of fear threatening to overwhelm him. But instead of succumbing to it, he relied on his training and fought back the crippling emotion. During that same time, Master Arha had already engaged the beast, moving quickly and slashing at tentacles that held Yuopi captive. As quick as Master Arha was, Yuopi disappeared into the mass of tentacles even faster. His nerves steadied, Metri headed into the fray, intent on trying to harry the monster as best he could so Master Arha could strike lethal blows.
Rapidly approaching striking range, Metri suddenly felt his mind concussed and was disoriented as he was sent hurtling away in astral space. The voice of Master Arha's parting words lingering in his mind, This fight is not one that can be won. Your training is complete Metri. Trust your instincts. You must go on without me.
((NOTE: the monster was a Nexus Maw that was in the process of attacking somewhere in the material plane via rift from its pocket dimension. And the wisps were its 'eyes and ears' in astral space))
Realizing that Master Arha had just sacrificed himself for him, Metri was immediately assaulted with a plethora of emotions. Despite his extensive training, the young learner succumbed to his base urges and howled in frustration. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily for him, he was quite disoriented from Master Arha's shove and found himself isolated in a vast sea of nothingness.
Not trained as an explorer and with no markers to guide him, Metri wandered the void of the local astral plane for an indeterminable amount of time, alone and very lost. He meditatively rested when he could, but tried to continue moving forward. Without any features or changes in the landscape, Metri's greatest struggle became his sense of identity and psychological stability. He knew that while his astral form was in the empty vacuum of space, he could not pop the bubble amulet because his body would materialize there and he would instantly die. Whereas some might take this form suicide, Metri's mind was strong and his sense of duty stronger.
At one point in time, Metri 'awoke' from one of his recuperative meditations to a strange feeling. He felt sluggish and his disorientation was orders of magnitude greater than on a typical... 'day'. Knowing that something was wrong, he immediately began to try to diagnose his current state. Metri found, attached at the base of the neck of his astral form, some sort of parasite, sapping his mental energies. Faced with a difficult decision, Metri excised the parasite and destroyed it.
It was not until Metri finally managed to return to civilization and the material plane that he discovered what his actions had wrought.
((Aboard a colony ship traveling through the Three Galaxies... where Metri materialized after popping his bubble-travel amulet))
Metri stared in exhausted elation at a young boy who returned his gaze with an equal amount of astonishment. Free! I've managed to return to the material plane!
Metri exclaimed to himself as the two exchanged silent blinks of the eye. I am still within the same pylon range, so cannot be far from our targeted first contact. If I can gain my bearings, perhaps I can find a way home... eventually."Mister, you, uhm. Just appeared on my sleeping cot. Are you okay?"
the young boy asked after breaking the silent staring contest through his own bravery."S..Uh.. F.."
Metri's brows furrow as he struggled to say what he wanted to say. My voice! Why can I not say what I want to say?! Calm... calm yourself. There is a way, find the path of least resistance...
Metri inhaled slowly, finding his center before slowly pushing the words out again. This time, they came out... jumbled, but more easily, "For disturbing your cot little boy, I am sorry. My intention that was not. Hmmmmm."
Recognizing the disjointed manner of speech being irregular, Metri winced, but the boy seemed to understand him and replied, "It's okay Mister. You just surprised me is all. I haven't seen you in this sector before, were you transferred here because you did something wrong? Mommy always says that if I don't behave, I'll get transferred to the rat sector."
Responding to the boy's friendly anecdote, Metri smiled warmly before shaking his head and saying, "Traveled a long time to get here, I have. Very far from home, I am. We... where are? Hmm?"
The Yhabbayar's face scrunched up as he struggled to ask such a simple question and feared that he would not be understood. However, the boy merely stared for a few extra seconds, blinking as he reconstructed the strange manner of speaking in his head before his face lit up in understanding and he replied happily, "Oh! We are on the colony ship Impressa, headed toward our new home!"