Written by Timepool

Remember that this power is not entirely your own, it is— at its very core— an exchange. This is symbiosis.
— Saronere
  Dust refers to a genus of microscopic organisms which are attracted to energy— electrical signals, especially. All living beings contain similar signals— and thus, this leads the creatures to swarm within them. In the space between beings, too, homeless dust can be found— though in much smaller concentrations. Machines can attract the creatures, though they are not wont to remain by their side for long. Only for those who emit a particularly desirable electrical signal, will the creatures grant power for which they are revered.  

Power From Within

Color & Appearance

Interestingly, the color of dust varies from duster to duster. For all, however, it appears as a fantastical, glowing collection of tiny particles.   Akin to dust— hence the name.   This appearance can vary notably from species to species, however. For example— gauhr'ol swarms appear to be made of finer particles than others, while rox are visibly larger, and translucent.
While every living being within the Heliox galaxy is host to some amount of dust— very few are able to utilize it. For reasons yet to be understood by even the galaxy's greatest minds, the creatures prefer those whose bodies emit a particular signal, known as the Rae'sh Signal— which can be detected by scientists, but only one has ever managed to recreate it. Only sapient beings have been known to possess the elusive signal, and those who do are born with it.
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by Garrett Lewis
This will lie dormant within them until a moment of great fear or anger activates it— followed shortly by the voice of Saronere, which teaches them how to control the dust within them. Those with this ability are known as Dusters— and can be found throughout the galaxy as revered heroes, hated villains, and even as outcasts.   How, exactly, one's power can manifest varies wildly from duster to duster, typically being limited to a singular ability. This ability can be versatile, however. For example, one duster may be able to create "bubbles" from dust— allowing them to create barriers, float into the air, or fix handholds onto a flat surface— allowing them to climb it. Another duster could possess the ability to create a dust "magnet" which uses tendrils of dust to collect and tie together objects.   Regardless of a duster's particular ability— they require a focus to use it in any great capacity— a mechanical apparatus that quite literally focuses dust through it. These are often custom-made for each duster, as each controls and expels dust through different parts of their body. Beyond their initial ability, dusters can also manipulate dust in a limited fashion, basic movements, solidifying or loosening, and heating. This manipulation can be used to pilot special-made machinery, ranging from instruments and tools to ships and mecha.  
It's as if I'm moving my own body— I think to move my arm, and the dust within the machine's great arm contracts through a dizzying series of tubes— moving the arm as I would my own.
— An awe-struck duster


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by Garrett Lewis
As the dust within one's body is limited— and the creatures cannot procreate at an extraordinarily fast speed— there is a limit to how much any duster is able to do in a single day. Each ability requires a different amount of dust, and can be used at variable sizes— so each duster must become well accustomed to their own limits. Thankfully, one cannot easily remove all the dust from their body, as at least a small swarm— known as the "core"— will still reside in their brains.   It is this core that allows one to control dust to begin with, acting as a translation center of sorts that takes commands from the duster's brain signals and passes them along to the rest of the swarm. In particularly desperate cases, the core can still be coaxed out and controlled with extra concentration, but doing so will leave the duster dead within minutes— as cores tend to intertwine themselves with their hosts' grey matter.   Recovery varies on the amount of dust used, and it can take anywhere from minutes to days for a duster to replenish their dust. New dust is not grown within them, rather, new swarms find their way into a duster's body— some returning from previous use. Dusters can still exert control over dust outside of their bodies, and in moments of desperation, can force dust into themselves— though this often leads to notable scarring and in extreme cases, fatal injuries.  
Dust is found in many places, but only one is forbidden. That coming from living beings. This is not because dust gives life— for how could there have been civilization before their arrival if this was true? No, dust swarms around energy. To extract it is a violent, terrible act— one which pulls the creatures through a victim's body with more than enough force to kill. Thousands of tiny holes litter their bodies, now macabre meshes of flesh and blood.   A steady hand will maim their victims at best— leaving twisted scars in their wake if not deadly complications.

A Million Voices

Saronere is an entity met by all dusters, typically at the moment of their activation. Saronere is not seen, they are rather heard, and felt. Only dusters can hear them, as Saronere cannot be met secondhand. They seldom speak, but when they do— they do so with a million voices at once, as if every past duster spoke through them.   They are a guide to each duster, teaching them how to use their powers— and of the danger on the horizon. The Ferajx, ancient beings who feed upon dust, great wheels of purple flame that scour the universe as their prey flees their burning hunt. Dusters are a defense mechanism, a new evolution for the dust genus, a bid to survive beyond the hunt— and perhaps end it.  
  More often that being heard, however, Saronere can be felt— warning dusters of incoming danger with an unmistakable burning within their bodies. Due to this, some believe Saronere to be a deific being— and worship them.

Dust Species

There are a variety of dust species— each with different properties, that manifest in certain classes of duster abilities. Exactly which species resides within any particular duster depends on that of their core— simply put, the first to find a home within their bodies will determine those they can control. There are noted cases of mixed species, but these are few and far between— most dusters will be host to one of the following:  
Trugana: Tough outer shells allow dusters to create hard, protective surfaces.   Rox: The largest species, barely visible to the naked eye, their thick translucent shells allow users to create dense objects.
Zzolin: Vibrations allow their dusters greater control and range of temperature.   Heo: Lightweight physiology allows dusters to control light yet hardy swarms, often allowing flight.
A'ilo: Flexible interlocking bodies allow dusters to control tough thread-like swarms.   Gauhr'ol: The smallest species, able to fit closely together, allowing their users to control liquid-like abilities.


Author's Notes

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