- Field Transition
- Reference Notes
Field-Transition (also referred to as 'Field-Shifting') is the generic term associated with travelling in and out of the Heavenfield - from one state of reality to another. The most familiar method is when a body's physical structure is exposed to an Upper-Order Resonant Particle Cascade within a sufficiently powerful Particle Accelerator Array, until the so-called 'Standing-Point' is achieved.
At this point the body's excited energy field 'shifts' into the reality commonly termed the 'Heavenfield'.
There is still much scientific conjecture as to the 'physical' process undergone, as indeed there is still debate over the validity of referring to the Heavenfield as 'reality'. [see The Heavenfield - Atmospheric Composition]
In fact, some scientists (and philosophers) hypothesize that the scientific process merely acts as a catalyst to allow, not a physical change in our state, but an opening-up of our perceptual and cognitive ability to create a shared, 'perceived' reality. This theory, although unproven and vehemently disputed by some sides of the scientific community, would negate the need for any physical intervention (an Accelerator Array) at all, and goes some way to explain rumours and stories told by Exile veterans of encounters within the Field of people believed to be fellow travellers, but from cultures too primitive to have access to Standing-Point technology, or even claims of meeting people from different times, past or future. None of these claims have been corroborated, but they certainly add fuel to speculation over the process of Field-Shifting.
Principles of Field-Shifting - prof. G. Starling
The following extracts are taken from 'The Principles of Field-Shifting', a document created by Professor Gary Starling as a general introduction to the unfamiliar and often bizarre world of the Heavenfield, and issued to all new personnel, Military, Scientific and Civilian as part of their introduction to the Maunsworth Research Facility. The document itself achieved almost legendary status after it was leaked in its entirety into the public domain at the beginning of the Final War, causing a sensational political scandal.
"...A sentient being generally requires their particle state to undergo excitation by some device (for example a Standing-Point Accelerator) in order to shift into the Heavenfield spectrum - though there are recorded exceptions [see The Heavenfield - Field Contamination].
Also, a temporary transition into the base state of the Field may be achieved [see Temporary Field Transitions below]. Other forms of matter, organic and inorganic behave differently, though this is not a topic of this section.
The Process of Transition
When a subject is exposed to a focused resonant field within the Standing-Point cascade, their excited particle state is transitioned into the base layer of the Field. A new, higher resonance is perceived within the subject, and this can only be stepped down to the 'normal' level by application of a negative resonance precipitated by the same or similar Accelerator Array system.
Temporary shifts can be achieved using a resonance-inhibiting device, but the effects are short-lived, and though the subject may be able to shift completely back into the 'everyday' world for a few moments, they will quickly acquire resonance once more and be transported back into the Standing-Point field.
Entry Five - Transition
Note: A remote operator can dynamically alter the collapsing resonance-inhibiting field, in order to manipulate the rate of degradation, though this is a highly-skilled task. A good Field-Shift Operator can appreciably slow the rate of insertion into the everyday world, as well as prolonging the duration of stay. But there are still physical limitations to these methods, and maximum duration of Field-Shift has proved to be no greater than 7-10 minutes.
The process of temporary transition into and out of the Standing-Point Field has well-documented risks, including Field Contamination and possible physical and mental injury. These side effects are collectively termed the 'bends' by practical exponents, in reference to the similarities of the deep-sea diving condition.
The first major contributing factor to Transition Trauma (also referred to as Shift-Trauma) is the speed with which the subject undergoes transition to and from resonant states. A sudden change in particle states can cause severe soft-tissue and nerve damage, resulting in injuries ranging from burst blood capillaries, swollen and painful joints, hair and tooth loss, haemorrhaging of the internal organs, blindness and even death.
A slow and steady transition between resonant states is crucial in minimizing injury, and that is why the mortality rate of the so-called Exile 'grab units' was so severe. The reckless process of near-instantaneous transition from out of the Field in order to gain the element of surprise is almost legendary. However, the attrition rates of those units was shocking, with the Exiles paying a terrible price for the use of such tactics. Many troopers who survived were left crippled or blind by extended missions aimed at neutralising high-impact political and military targets during the early stages of the Final War.
These symptoms of Sudden-Shift Trauma are shared with (or similar to) the victims of sudden exposures to the Field's atmosphere, usually encountered with a suit breach [see The Heavenfield - Field Exposure]. Often though, a suit breach can cause much more unpredictable and violent physical anomalies.
Another contributing factor to Shift-Trauma is long-term exposure to the process. The damage done can be more insidious and difficult to detect in comparison to the bends, but the injuries are often no-less severe. So-called 'Field Sickness' often manifests itself through progressive psychological damage, with subjects at first showing signs of irritability and a detached outlook. Many become prone to headaches, affected vision, and often spontaneous outbursts of anger or self-harm.
Physical injuries have been known to manifest among subjects while back in the everyday world, some time after returning from the Heavenfield. These injuries however are more often than not distressing manifestations of dark psychological sufferings. Examples of physical symptoms can include elongation of the fingers and nails, suggesting the appearance of claws, as well as the mutation of skin tissue to form unnatural skin discolourations. Teeth may appear elongated as gums withdraw, and eyes frequently lose all colour, or turn completely black. Often all these symptoms go hand-in-hand with psychological trauma, so they become convinced that they themselves are precipitating their own physical mutations, and typically report schizophrenic themes such as demonic possession or hauntings.
Subjects left in this state with no treatment will invariably last no more than a couple of weeks after physical symptoms become apparent (although mental trauma may manifest for long periods before any physical symptoms appear). The only known treatment at present is complete isolation from the Standing-Point Field which appears to allow an as-yet unexplained natural tolerance or immunity to build up. Some argue though that this could also be explained as a natural recuperation from the psychological traumas acquired in the Field.
Whatever the reasoning's, the solution implemented (originally by Exile medical staff, and later adopted by all factions) is to place the patient in a Standing-Point environment suite for extended periods of convalescence. Even though the patients are still inhabiting the everyday world, the suits' isolating effect appears to be an effective treatment against early-onset Shift-Traumas. The required period of convalescence is dependant upon the level of exposure suffered, ranging from a few days to several months.
Note: although effective against low levels of exposure, once a patient is exhibiting physical signs of mutation, there is at present no known course of effective treatment available.
Temporary Field Transitions
Although we have talked about inhibiting a resonant body from an already-excited particle state (in order to shift a subject from the Field into the 'everyday' world), it must also be noted that 'normal' matter - organic and inorganic can be shifted into the base level of the Standing-Point Field merely by proximity to an excited-state body. In general terms, this means that objects animate and inanimate can be brought back into the Field by a subject performing a Field-Shift. This is most frighteningly exemplified by the dark days of the so-called Exile 'grab-units', where troops would shift out of the Field, take hold of their chosen target, and then transport them instantly back into the Field, where the victim would suffer massive physical trauma, and (more often than not) death as the result of such an unprotected and sudden transition.
But shifting so-called 'dormant' beings and objects without injury is also possible, although the results for the animate and inanimate are somewhat different. It was discovered by early Exile explorers that they could shift inanimate objects (even liquids and organic foodstuffs) back into the Field by means of specially-lined and sealed cases. In this way they could be virtually self-sufficient in the Field - once they had entered via a Standing-Pint Array they could temporarily shift back to the everyday world to appropriate supplies and then disappear again. In fact there are many rumours of Exiles gone rogue, who have been living alone and unnoticed in the Field for years, even decades. Coupled with a reported dwindling necessity for sustenance [see Field Exposure], there is no reason to believe that this could not theoretically be the case (though judging by the extreme nature that the Standing-Point Field manifests, such an existence would no-doubt prove to be undesirable to say the least).
Shifting of animate objects such as humans or animals has slightly different results. While people can be brought into the Field using a similar sealed container unit, this protective system will eventually degrade and fail, seemingly due to the subject's presence impinging upon the surroundings in some way (often the case will be corroded from the inside out). This can happen surprisingly quickly - sometimes a matter of minutes, and the subject must be moved as a matter of urgency to another sealed environment, such as a building or vehicle, suitably protected against the Field. Even then, the subject will stay in a resonant state usually for no more than a couple of hours, before they 'fall back' into the 'normal' reality. This of course has all the violent, and terminal reaction as of any unprotected Field-shift, and the only way for the subject to survive the transition is to be placed within another sealed container and transitioned manually by proximity effect.
Although complex and hazardous, this process was often used by the Exiles to kidnap targets, shifting them into the Field, then moving them some distance in a vehicle to a designated location, and then shifting them back into the everyday world where a second team of 'reality-based' Exiles would be waiting to transport the target via more conventional means. Several agents, trapped (or imprisoned) in difficult situations have been rescued via the Field in a similar manner.
Although we have dwelled so-far on predominantly the negative aspects of Field contamination, reference must also be made to the handful of sufferers who have experienced a very different set of symptoms.
Joyous, euphoric feelings of connection have been reported, as well as altered states of perception (typically cases of group visions of luminous, ethereal shapes, which observers all claim exhibit signs of movement and interaction that would suggest sentience). None of the physical injuries or mutations have been reported within this small, select group - in fact quite the opposite - all subjects were shown to have been in perfect health (and in some cases, illnesses or injury have spontaneously disappeared).
This is an exciting avenue of research, and much has been speculated on the positive aspects of the Heavenfield atmosphere, but unfortunately, as yet there have been so few cases of positive contamination there is little available documentation on the subject.