Life was not easy for “mages” in 21st century. At first, it was the novelty of such phenomena as Psychic Reality Manipulation. Any human that exhibited such trait was detained for study and experimentation, often with their basic human rights violated and discarded. This led to a lot of friction between Psychics and general populace, even with some terrorist acts and murder sprees. This continued for a while, until PRM was thoroughly studied. When cause for it was identified and it was known as the next step of human evolution, conflict began to die down and psychics were accepted by normal humans.
A mere decade later, the overabundance of people with PRM was the problem. In 2025, the percentage of people on path of Ascension was as high as 40 percent. It was not enough to be considered a majority, but still, 4.5 billion people with highly specialized sets of skills was a lot. The problem was that as “mages” began to be a more common occurrence, majority of them were taught to eventually become workers of government agencies. Combat, intelligence acquisition and manipulation were the most common career paths for them. Only a handful of people were allowed to study in normal schools and to do their own thing. As time went on, such specialization was considered a family trait to be followed.
In 2033, when people on path of Ascension became a majority with 51 percent of global population, competition for same job placement was insane, as tens or even hundreds of people had to fight for a position where they could utilize their PRM talents to the fullest, or otherwise they had to settle for a job that didn’t require proper education. The majority of people really struggled at the time, unless they had some unique talents. Matthew Fullrow was one of the lucky few with such a talent.
Very few people knew anything of his past, and even fewer knew the full story. If anyone learned something about him in purpose or by sheer luck, they were often never seen again. Only his sister and his childhood friend were allowed such knowledge.
Matt had a truly unique job of magical masseur. More specifically, he performed massage with assistance of psychokinesis. It may not seem like a grand feat, but unless you had extensive knowledge on PRM, you could not appreciate his skill.
If one tried to analyze Matt and his work, first you would notice his perfect memory. Truly, the first sign that a person was on path of Ascension was the so called photographic memory. The accusation of total recollection of one’s entire life was the first step to PRM.
Matt always remembered every client, their preferences and every minor detail of their lives. He could easily continue the conversation he had with you in previous session. He also knew many different techniques of massage and relaxation, whether he learned them through practice or by reading.
Next, you would notice his deeper thought process and how easily he could multitask. This was due to great development of his conscious and subconscious, which eventually led to separation of his inner psyche into two separate structures. It was not true separation, as they still were very closely intertwined, but it was more like two beings in one body. If you were somehow able to penetrate his outer aura shell, burrow through his very dense aura and bypass his mental defense, you could hear two distinct voices having conversation. Both voices belonged to Matt, and words never were really necessary for his two inner selves to converse, but if one grew bored, having argument with oneself became a possibility to kill time.
Such a development in inner structure allowed one with PRM to separate conscious processes in his mind from subconscious processes of controlling ones body entirely. This allowed for greater capacity and control for both mental and physical tasks. In Matt’s case, he could easily hold a meaningful conversation, think about his finances and observe his client, while automatically doing his work as masseur.
Next came the aura manifestation. It was known to many that every person had some kind of energy that extended beyond one’s body and could reveal some information about a person, given that you had apparatus needed to see it. But only with the separation of inner structure did conscious mind gain enough resources for said aura to begin to affect reality. Once the mental portion of one’s psyche reached certain threshold in its capacity and strength, the aura of that person underwent certain changes and evolved.
There are many various factors that established how potent one is in performing “magic” or PRM, but majority of people regard only three as important: hardness to the aura’s outer shell, distance to that shell and density of one’s aura within.
It is true that aura extended meters beyond the body, but the range at which reality manipulation was possible was defined but the outer shell. Anything within was considered an extension of the body and could be manipulated with the psyche, anything outside was considered just a bleed-out of a person’s thoughts and emotion, virtually useless unless you could read and analyze it, in which case it could be considered a poor man’s telepathy.
Matt had excellent control over his aura, no doubt due to some training in military or some similar agency. If needed, he could completely cut off the aura beyond his outer shell or even create a faux aura to confuse the enemy, if there was one. Such skill was extremely rare.
For a beginner psychic, outer shell rarely extended further that few centimeters beyond the skin and was often easy to penetrate. This could be developed and increased through training and conscious effort.
The range to the outer shell directly benefited any manipulation effects in neutral environment, like psychokinesis or astral projection. With conscious effort, the outer shell can be extended tenfold or more in certain direction beyond the passive range. If a person with passive aura of a meter were to focus, he could move an object ten meters away. Certain people could undergo training to increase passive and active range of the aura by a lot more. Great experts in espionage of that age could learn information from hundreds of kilometers away, although with great effort.
The hardness of the outer shell proved to be important when dealing with another PRM practitioner. Effectively, it determined who’s aura would be penetrated if two shells were to clash. Passively, two shells would average out at some point between two people and not enter the body of another even in a tight embrace. With conscious thought outer shell can be willed to overpower another and enter the body for purpose of manipulation. Telepathy could not be performed on another RPM user if they tried to resist with strong enough shell. Although with normal people, hardness of the outer shell had no meaning as they had no way of resisting.
The density of the aura within the outer shell showed how easily one can manipulate reality within the aura, be it pyrokinesis or any other skill regarded by common folk as magic. Distinction could be made between strength and scale of manipulation, but it is often disregarded.
Matt had a good handle on all three. His outer shell was strong enough to aid his massage with majority of his clientele, especially with help of special aromas, relaxing music and simple hand movements. He could help his client relax enough for their defense to weaken, so he could properly analyze and work on one’s body. The distance to his shell was often limited to one meter, so he could divert energy to other more important tasks. One meter was enough to see within his client’s body to feel any tension and other problems, in reality the passive distance was way beyond that. And the density of his aura was rather high, he could easily manipulate muscles and bones, and he had enough control to affect single nerves if need arose.
If one were to analyze all of the knowledge about Matt through observation of his work, you could learn that he is not a simple beginner “mage”, in fact he was very proficient. But not many people wanted to spend their time thinking about unnecessary things while in the hands of such excellent masseur. His techniques were impeccable perhaps even “magical”, some of which he developed himself. So his excellent skills often were overlooked.
Matt’s price list had many entries, from basic massage, to “magic massage”, to deep tissue scan and treatment and even various healing techniques akin to reiki. He was not in very high demand due to above average price, and he was often regarded as a wannabe mage with below average skill, but knowing people gladly employed his services. He had more than enough money in his name and he could probably live the rest of his life relatively happy, hoping that his past stays buried and his present unchanging. If only life was that easy.