“Yeltzy, I swear to you, that house was not here yesterday. That look like something we’d build? Wha-no, don’t go in there you asshole!” -From a Raptors comm-chatter log, found in the deeper Wavelands. Operative’s voice does not match any contemporary MIA profiles.
A question not often approached by Earth scientists because of some quibbles about “empiricism” and how “that’s stupid”: what if a planet had psychological issues? It should be abundantly clear that if any planet could, it would be one like Savar. It’s a given that where there are humans, there will be war. On Savar, however, the concept of “peacetime” proves even more ephemeral than usual. For want of a cooler phrase, “thin-skinned misanthropy” is chillingly common in Savarran talks. It’s far too violent and far too common to blame on something as simple as being stranded on an atrocious brown dust-ball. Tarsian researchers spent years looking for hints in the planet’s gas makeup, water chemistry, plant life, bacteria and even color scheme. They found mountains of hard evidence (literally at times, as in one bizarre case from the Defederated Association) for a nearly 600% increase in psychopathy, bloodlust and overall awful conduct. Only Tarse itself was spared, with roughly Earth-normal levels of crazy.
They could not, however, find any explanation why. They certainly found a few hotspots for hallucinogens, rage-inducing chemicals and other quite-Savarran issues. But these hotspots are isolated, number about a hundred and produce only a fraction of the effects seen in the psychiatric studies. The question remains: What is Savar’s fucking problem, then? The researchers themselves provided the closest thing to an answer. The further they went from Tarse, the more irritable they felt. Team members were less willing to compromise, and much quicker to strangle that fucker Martinez you bitch those are my chips… et cetera. After some extremely careful studies (large amounts of sedatives were involved), they found that even computer equipment behaved bizarrely once they reached the wavelands.
Several Tarsian pilots reported that their flight computers began drawing “very accurate” genitals around the margins of the course. A few took to more drastic shenanigans, like renaming towns and landmarks, depicting landscapes that didn’t exist, and even showing phantom approach warnings. One pilot claims to have actually been buzzed by a black-plated fighter with a four-point star insignia. He was able to reproduce the insignia from memory, resulting in a two-tone design. The eight faces of the star were concave, forming a hollow between each pair of point, and a white outline about half again the size of the inner portion completed the picture. How he saw the star so clearly in that split-second he couldn’t explain, and analysis of his flight footage found no trace of the aircraft. His flight computer did, however, register another false contact at the exact instant he claimed the unknown craft passed him.
Further studies have shown that the best way to counter the Wrath Phenomenon is to decide not to be angry. Against all expectations, simply telling oneself “I will be normal today,” almost totally nullified the anger issues where drugs, reconditioning and pain barely affected it. It did absolutely nothing to stop the weird shit. The “Wavelands Erratic System Reading Effect” (WESRE, which is about to be the name of a main character in someone’s fantasy novel) turned out to be a fairly weak example. If you can think of a strange thing, it’s probably happened at least once somewhere on Savar. Time dilation, “hiccups” in the laws of physics, apparitions, alien abductions. Several people claim to have met an ancient god, and all give the same description: a hunched reptilian with a mix of carapace and scales, a mix of dark green, black and olive in color, always weeping. The “deity” speaks to them without opening her mouth (for they agree it’s female) or ceasing her tears.
There are hundreds who claim to have met the Grim Reaper.
Most versions of the story say that this “Reaper” takes everything except hair and fingernails. No one can explain why. The stories come from people who saw the being take their friends (or enemies) in the split second before they ran. The Reaper travels in a cloud of nothing. When asked if this means that it’s surrounded by blackness or pure white light or incoherent color, they simple say, “No! I mean it’s surrounded by nothing!”
Tarsian science does not have an answer for these things. If it did, it might not be science anymore.