The universe's arcane power is ascribed to a unique class of quanta that comprise the psi force, allowing organic life to tamper with the machinations of the other four forces at the fair price of metabolism. Magic, properly spelled magiq
, is the manipulation of the natural world through apparently paranatural means (driven by the "psi" force). Magiq is actually an acronym which stands for M
anipulation of A
nductive energy, and Q
uantum phenomena. Magiq is called a number of other names, though "magus" is the most common.
Physics of Magus
The psi force appears to be an addition to the fundamental forces of nature, able to manipulate the other four forces (but still ultimately at the mercy of the scalar Higgs field). Because of this, the psi force –and therefore mages– are able to influence gravity, light, electricity, magnetism, nuclear and chemical reactions, and the very concentration of atomic nuclei (though it cannot directly affect mass values, inertia, or kinetics). Despite the apparently limited number of physical aspects that magus directly influences, mages do have control over a vast range of the natural world. By manipulating gravity, electrons, and thermal photons, for example, one can condense and supercool air into a semi-crystalline nitrate solid which can be shaped into a variety of tools or weapons or detonated with a magical spark (nitrate is a volatile oxidizer).
Like the other fundamental forces, the psi force manifests subatomically as a specific class of vector bosons. These psi force carriers, called psions
, have 17 different forms, each dedicated specifically to carry information about one type of elementary particle: 5 for gauge bosons and 12 for elementary fermions. The psion is a vector boson because it has defined velocity, and it carries information about other non-scalar particles. The psion uses the vacuum energy of quantum flux to alter the values of gauge bosons and fermions. Psions, like the bosons of the weak nuclear force, are particles born of vacuum energy which can exist for a limited amount of time until they are forced to vanish again to conserve mass-energy.
When a psion intercepts a particle, such as a photon in transit (Figure P1), it actually entangles itself with the particle to impart the information it carries, and then annihilates itself to conserve mass-energy. The merge of information causes the affected particle to change its state and/or energy according to the information borne by the psion; in this diagram the photon is redshifted by the interaction. As stated before, the psi force can influence all aspects of other particles except mass values and therefore intrinsic kinetics. Because of its nature, however, there are cosmological problems like the accuracy of redshift/blueshift and gravitational lensing measurements taken by astronomers. The general accuracy of these measurements are accepted as concurrent with the Principle of Inevitable Cosmic Defaulting.
Though magus is naturally-occurring in the universe, its defining feature is that it is used by living things as a macro-interacting quantum tool, like light or nuclear decay. With the right cellular structures, psions can be generated and directed by organisms. How this process works exactly is still rather nebulous, but the generally accepted view of cellular magic functions is the psiocyte theory. In essence, specialized muscle cells called psiocytes
(discovered by cellular biologist Mardell Hobson) utilize certain molecular processes powered by metabolism to generate psions.
The internal structure and workings of psiocytes are not very well understood yet, but there are two major organelle structures which have been demonstrated to play major parts in psionic functions. The first structure, the energized spiral modus, generates a polarized vacuum suitable to generate virtual particles. When the psiocyte receives direction from its adjacent neuron, the spiral modus introduces a electric or chromatic charge to encode virtual psions with information about particular nonscalar particles, thus specializing their psion type. The psions are then separated from their antipsion by the focal modus of the psiocyte to create a psionically-charged field around the organism, which is directed by varying the psionic field's localized strength.
Because of this metabolic dependence, the more magus one wields, the deeper one must breathe and the more often one must eat. Psion-generation efficiency does improve with experience and practice, but there is a limit to efficiency. Too much magical exertion without timely replenishment of metabolic resources can result in unconsciousness or death by exhaustion, lactic acid buildup, or anoxia. Mages do tend to be relatively lean despite how much they eat because they burn a lot of calories between physical activity and magic, but fasting is suicide for a mage and nutritional asceticism is outright banned from all magical organizations.
Almost all organisms in the universe use magus in some capacity, but only certain species use it to a notable extent. Phoenixes
, for example, use magic to spark their fiery displays. But of course, the most magically powerful and versatile organisms in the known universe are sophonts. Magic is rather difficult to use consciously. It takes years of training to master even mildly complex magical feats because of the precision that mages need to use when performing them.
Classifications of Magus
The practice of magus -termed "arcanics" by most- is divided into two major phyla: teletics and alchemy. Teletics is the discipline of control over the environment through manipulation of bosons, and the alchemical magics deal in what can be summarized as nuclear chemistry (the manipulation of fermions). These two phyla overlap in various focused disciplines, but the distinction between them is obvious and important. Teletics is the direct manipulation of energy (active), whereas alchemy is the direct manipulation of matter (passive). There is a bit of trade-off between teletics and alchemy: teletic magics usually do not involve the weak nuclear force, but alchemy requires it; meanwhile alchemy primarily deals with nucleons and captured electrons, so teletics picks up the use of free leptons in its disciplines.
Teletics is the branch of magic that allows users to transfer and transform energy by way of boson interactions. It is considered by most scholars to be the active phylum of magic, as its effects are more directly linked to the user than those of its sister phylum. The teletic phylum is so named because the majority of its disciplines involve mental manipulation of the energies around oneself, including those of gravity and magnetics (telekinesis) and electromagnetic impulses in others’ minds (telepathy). Also included in the teletic phylum are the myriad types of kinesis, illusiotics, and the highly potent chronomagic.
Alchemy is, in the simplest terms, the magic of stuff. In a sense one could describe it as magical chemistry; it influences the composition of elements and compounds to change the identity and properties of substances. It is generally regarded as the passive counterpart to its active sister phylum, as it deals with the manipulation of mass particles and therefore its effects are more indirectly connected to the user than those of teletic magics. The alchemical phylum is named for alchemy, but also contains arcane disciplines such as transmutation, bio-arcana, enchantment, and the various mantic arts.