1. Jarrett
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    Jarrett New Member

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    Psychic Military Training?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Jarrett, Feb 13, 2014.

    So my Lightning War series is about a secret branch of the US military called the USPCF, or United States Paranormal Combat Force for people (mostly teenagers) with psychic/telekinetic abilities that gets into a war with the Illuminati, set from 2008 to 2012. Members are discovered by USPCF agents who meet them in secret and invite them to leave society by going missing and never being recovered to join this extremely secretive branch of the army for people with their abilities, living on a base far away from civilization. Telekinesis in The Lightning War series works better on some materials than others, and as for what that material is and how broad it is depends on the person; so everybody can control nearly everything with their mind, but there are going to be certain ones that they are more comfortable with and will use more often. The USPCF fights much more hand-to-hand than other armies do, as telekinesis that works well on fire (pyrokinesis) or metal (metakinesis) can mess up firearms of any kind (though in the fourth and fifth books which are the actual war, two of the Illuminati's five syndicates use them), so high-energy technology is rare.

    My main characters (four in the first book, five in the second onward) live on the Carolina base, a large secret facility built out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by miles upon miles of pine forest. The base is surrounded by a dangerous double-layer electric fence plastered with signs telling outsiders to go away. Much of the land inside the perimeter of the fence is wooded, and everybody lives in groups of three to five, called trios, quartets, or quintets, in small cabins with bunk beds and a few other small amenities. At the center of the base is a large building, in rustic architecture like everything else on the base, called The Lodge where all of the agents eat meals and do other day-to-day activities. It extends deep into the ground to access a high-speed subway system that can transport passengers to other bases deep underground. My main characters in Volume I are said to be significant because their abilities are all highly reactive with a broad range of materials and because all four of them knew each other before leaving to go to the base.

    Training plays a huge part in my first and second books, and a bit in the third. The person in charge of training is Corporal Hughes, the base commander for the base who calls all the shots in that particular facility. It consists of four days of telekinetic training in the four cardinal material categories, geokinesis (earth), hydrokinesis (water), pyrokinesis (fire), and aerokinesis (air), a day of weapons, and two days of ranking.

    On the first day, they go to a pool on base to learn hydrokinesis and its subskills (glaiakinesis which is ice, sangakinesis which is the blood inside a person's body, ect.). On the second day, they do pyrokinesis and its subskills (sulfakinesis which is lava is the only one mentioned in the series) in the same pool for safety reasons, on the third day they go to a pit of river rocks for geokinesis and its subskills (metakinesis which is metal, florakinesis which is plant life and straddles the categories between hydrokinesis and geokinesis), and on the third day they go to a tall observation tower to learn aerokinesis and its subskills (atmokinesis which is weather patterns and straddles hydrokinesis, plays a HUGE part in Volume II). They also learn to fly a skysail, a hang glider pushed forward and steered with raw telekinesis that can be armed with bladed wingtips, machine guns, or incendiary weapons, a tactic not used by the USPCF for lack of a convenient and safe way to land your sail and reload (this comes into play in Volume V, when the Nevada base is taken by the Chinese Illuminati and they get ahold of the airships being developed there and gain the ability to wage skysail warfare). On the fifth day they go to a complex called Survivor Lodge where they can experiment with weapons and select one that they like, which will become theirs and their uniform sash will be modified to hold the weaponry of their choice.

    On the final two days, they are ranked through an event called a Gathering. It used to be a game of psychic flag football where your goal was to gather as many flags off of your opponents as possible, a method long outdated that lives on through a name that stuck. Now, agents are stuck with three devices called indicators that stick into their chest, back, and neck through three hypodermic needles designed to hold them in there. The indicators contain glass bubbles of blue gel above a thick steel disk, and inside, they contain a reservoir of sedatives. First, a twist is introduced at the start of each Gathering to keep anybody from gaining experience to pass on to new recruits. It starts by a gate opening at the front, giving them access to the pine forest, and a shed called the forage where they can get supplies that they will need for the 48 hours out there. The goal is to run into a wooded section of the base and break as many indicators as possible. Once an indicator is broken, the person is knocked out, a helicopter comes to pick them up, and on the tracker board at the front, their picture is faded out and the picture of their assailant is displayed in the corner. The winner of the Gathering is the general of the training group- called a clan, and anybody eliminated in the bottom half that skipped any of training has to retake the entire process. It is just a game but with everybody backstabbing their own friends from their cabin to get that coveted general title, Dale (my main character) says it feels not only like real combat, but like a nightmare.

    TRAINING IN VOLUME I:
    Dale's friend and cabinmate Alina from home got to the base and immediately started hanging out with Bernard, another agent who has failed training three times and is said to be a troublemaker by Corporal Hughes. They skip two days of training to mess around on base and Dale doesn't like how she gets to a base to be a USPCF agent and goes off with some guy. The twist is the ability for each agent to take their desired weapon in with them and not have to get it at the forage. Before the Gathering starts, Alina asks Dale if he'd like to be an ally to him in the Gathering. He accepts not because he feels she's decent and hardworking, but to hopefully rub off on her a bit and show her what hard work gets her. However, once it starts, she immediately runs back to Bernard and double crosses Dale. That night, they go back to their camps, Dale's made of some kevlar and clamps from a skysail in the forage stretched between two springy branches to make a makeshift treehouse. Alina and Bernard camp out in a location where Dale can see them from up high, but they don't find him. On the first night, they are attacked by an agent with blow darts that disorient and confuse the victim, and she manages to hit both Dale and Alina, but not in their indicators. On the second night, she comes back for both parties, and manages to dart Alina in the indicator, causing the blue gel to drip out and slowly knock her out. After this happens, Bernard picks up his stuff and yells around for everybody to hear that he's moving to the pond and that he knows Dale did it and wants to fight him over it. Dale goes to the pond and is bested by Bernard, but in the end, Kalley, the girl with the darts, manages to stealthily take Bernard out, winning it for her. This puts Dale third in line to be general, and when it is revealed Bernard works for Zozo (Volume I's antagonist) and Kalley is killed on the Zozo kill mission, Dale ends Volume I as general.

    TRAINING IN VOLUME II:
    Dale serves as a training assistant for a group of forty mixed recruits, meaning they go to different clans to replenish all the people killed at the end of Volume I. One of them is Raine, a very short girl who just showed up at the fence outside of base one night that doesn't know her age, her origins, or her last name. The only reason she was let in was because some people felt like she had abilities and because Corporal Hughes felt the need to help her. She spends all of training just sitting there not doing anything. However, this isn't because she's lazy, she just doesn't feel comfortable trying any of it. On the fifth day, due to cutters, Dale partners with Raine and helps her find a weapon. She picks up on knife throwing immediately, throwing with an unnaturally accurate arm at breakneck speed. During the Gathering, the twist is the ability for each contestant to wear a radio in their ear and hear advice from an advisor watching the cameras outside the gates where the stands are. Raine picks Dale to be her advisor because he's the only person she feels comfortable talking to. When it starts, all of the fighting that breaks out around the forage (not a normal occurance but it sometimes happens) stuns her and she doesn't set foot past the gate line. Dale screams at her to go, scared something will happen to her, to just run into the woods and worry about it when she's somewhere safe. Instead, she runs to the forage, uses her small size to her advantage to crawl past everything, get some supplies and a box of knives, and stand far away from the initial fighting, taking out five indicators with four knives. Once she's in the woods, she builds a shelter in a tree with a hammock, similar to Dale's. Once there, she is approached by Rod, Angela, and Maya, three former boarding school students that had been getting delight out of picking on people since they showed up, Raine included. Maya had been an avid dancer before her USPCF days started and Rod was a football player, so while climbing the tree and getting her should be easy, they decide she throws her knives too well to get close to her, so they cut her a break. That night, a very unusual storm forms, concentrated on the Gathering area. Raine went to bed, but Dale was still up, watching thick mist roll into the area. At the first sign of cloud-to-cloud lightning, he yells at Raine to get down before she gets hit, only to learn she turned her earpiece off to sleep. He screams, concerned for her safety, but no response. When the storm reaches its apex, violent cloud-to-ground lightning surges through the Gathering, using the fog as a conductor, and ultimately, the lightning spreads around enough to hit eleven people, burning lightning patterns into their skin. This sticks the loading icon over the pictures of the eleven eliminated on the tracker board, and an announcement is made saying that the attack was definitely a work of atmokinesis on a huge scale, and they were going to look at brain wave data from indicators to see who gets the eliminations. Ten minutes later, it is revealed that Raine had caused that to happen and she is up to sixteen people eliminated. The next day, Maya splits from her friends and decides to join up with Raine, sick of seeing them eliminate others through brutality. However, she still acts like she's loyal to Angela. Later, Rod metakinetically hogties Raine with a metal bar and Angela tries to beat her up, but Maya steps in, yells at Angela for beating up somebody so much smaller than her, and smashes her indicator. The event ends with Raine and Maya double-taking Rod, and then Maya cornering Raine, and Raine knifing Maya's indicator, rendering the little quiet girl that didn't know how old she was as the winner. This goes to prove that something unusual was definitely going on with her, with her name matching her abilities and just "happening" to know how to unleash such a violent atmokinetic process.

    And don't worry, something's up with her but she's not a bad person. ;)

    Issues I might have with this training process:
    *You probably noticed this, but after I wrote the first book, I read Hunger Games, and noticed a few similarities with my Gathering process, particularly with the forage and their location on the tracking board reflecting how they did in training. How could I change this up to keep it the same type of thing that doesn't seem too similar?
    *There are other abilities in the series that are not in the cardinal material groups, such as quantokinesis (chemical makeup of items), electrokinesis (electricity), and biokinesis (quantokinesis done to DNA, allows them to manipulate theirs or somebody else's DNA structure).
    *It seems long in Volume I and I feel like it's boring, but if I abbreviate it, it won't seem like enough.

    Sorry this is so long (I'm new here, do people usually make these posts long?) but any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Too much detail and your questions, apart from the tracking board one, are not clear. No one is going to plow through that mass without knowing what is relevant to what you want to know.

    As for the "tracking board" question, I have not read or watched Hunger Games, but I would assume any modern/future organisation will have computer logistics systems, so the display can be anything you like and can imagine.

    Alternatively you can for the Mentat route. Have someone with a variant telepathic power oversee the entire training ground and all the trainees and then constantly "remould" a model of the training facility with indicators of progress of your choice.

    On the gripping hand, you could have genetically modified bees observing the training and producing a display from their combined bodies. :)
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    The U.S. government did actually have a psychic branch of the government called 'Project Stargate.' The movie The Men Who Stare at Goats,' was actually a parody about the real thing.
     
  4. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't doubt that at all. I'm sure the goats were terrified.
     
  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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  6. Jarrett
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    Jarrett New Member

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    Sorry, I'm really bad at wording questions and answers. I'm a horrible test taker in school. :p But yeah, I can rephrase that.
    *There are abilities that some people specialize in that are classified as "unaligned," in that they aren't subskills of hydro, geo, aero, or pyrokinesis. Should they get a day too?
    *Does the training process seem to be the appropriate length for a book?

    The Men Who Stare At Goats served partially as inspiration for Lightning War. I saw the movie and thought it was interesting and looked up Project Stargate and the backstory for the USPCF became heavily based on it, but with telekinesis instead of remote viewing (though remote viewing exists in Lightning War), the time period in which it was started was a little different, and obviously, it succeeded. A majority of my research was in pseudoscience surrounding psychic abilities and Project Stargate, with some in various wars and battles.
     

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