I’ll admit, this one was totally inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion, AKIRA and Ghost in the Shell.
While I was building up the background of the Alien Relations Unit, I was struck by the idea: is there a system or program that is able to take spirit readings, so to speak, on the same level of humans and Meraladians with the same psionic abilities? Sure, nearly all of the ARU agents have some kind of ability they’re able to use in their job. There are even special agents that are hired for their specific strengths; some have an exceptionally strong clairsentience (soulsensing by touch), clairaudience (strong use of innerspeak), maybe even claircognizance (reality seers). Caren Johnson, for instance, reads at a high level of clairsentience, and has used it multiple times in A Division of Souls.
But what about those agents in the ARU and the B-Town Police Department and elsewhere? How else would an agent like Nick Slater, who has little to no psionic ability at all, be a functioning part of this system?
That’s where the joint human/Meraladian techware company Edwin-Akandia comes in. Working with the Provincial Governor’s Council, the Crimson-Null Foundation and Bridgetown itself, the company created a device that is able to read and process the energy waves of all sentient beings. [Think of it along the lines of scientists that are able to read and measure the energies that are kicked out from the Sun and even distant stars. Same theory, just enhanced and narrowed down to human level.] The EASD scans the subject and then compares the readings to a vast database and provides a list of possible actions that subject may take, and reports their current location.
Its center of operations is in the Mirades Tower, and the system itself is in a geoscyhronous orbital satellite (Tigua Bay Station) above Bridgetown. The operations are set up so that it cannot be controlled by a single unit; for example, the Alien Relations Unit has the clearance to use it only within its jurisdiction. Any changes to the EASD system must go through the Provincial Governor’s Council as well as the Crimson-Null Foundation.
It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s quite reliable. Some feel that Bridgetown’s community agencies rely on it far more than necessary. There are also those who feel the use of the EASD is an invasion of privacy, though it has never successfully been proven. There is no actual personal information in EASD’s database, and it is heavily regulated by the PGC and the CNF.
[Note: for those playing along, ‘Edwin’ is indeed a Tuckerization. It’s named after Colin Edwin, bass player for Porcupine Tree, whose Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, Stars Die: the Delerium Years and In Absentia albums were on endless repeat during my writing sessions.]