Quantum Orb

The Quantum orb is an artifact from the Quantums, a multi-universal race that previously inhabited part of the Milky Way but has since gone extinct. Its original purpose is uncertain; it perhaps served as a gateway between universes, as noted by Kai'isha in Mission 2. While active, it draws biological life towards it; it seems to have no difficulty with telepathic persuasion regardless of whether or not it has encountered a particular species. Upon initial physical interaction, the affected individual loses consciousness, and the Orb implants a multidimensional device in the user's brain. How this does not impair normal brain function is as yet unknown.

Appearance

The Orb's pedestal is roughly 1.25 meters tall from base to tip, and mostly comprised of a non-anomalous alien alloy that seems to be largely aluminum, iron, and carbon. The base itself is ornate, with many odd controls and dials; it is suggested that it may also be a field accelerator for particulates of some sort, due to the way it is designed with a single sturdy column in the center. With the orb deactivated, it is easier to see the structuring at the top; the pedestal forms a series of metal "claws" around where the orb is intended to form.

The orb itself is noted to have several unusual properties. Firstly, its internal composition seems to constantly shift at random; the algorithms behind its pattern have yet to be worked out. At times parts of the globe appear translucent or transparent, but the room beyond is distorted (or in some cases, altered). In other portions of the internal structure, a true void is visible. Meanwhile, bands of light - typically white, pink, or purple - spin about the outside in alternating directions. These may merge, shift, expand or contract, possibly due to environmental factors. Their purpose is as yet undetermined, but it should be noted that they give off a considerable amount of heat.

Human Interaction

The effects of the orb on humans are first noticeable within 15 meters: subjects report a mild desire to approach and touch the orb, but are uncertain where it comes from. Most humans are able to resist at this distance, and say it feels like nothing more than a gentle suggestion in their minds. Within five meters, the effects are quite different: subjects report a very intense desire to touch the orb. Individuals with stronger willpower are able to resist for a time, provided they do not linger and stay occupied. Subjects report hearing some kind of wordless, voiceless whisper in their head that they can clearly attribute to being a manifestation of the orb itself; this tends to dull the subject's mind and leave them more susceptible to the orb's influence.

Within two meters, the effects are identical on all humans yet observed: the person is incapable of resisting the orb's influence and find themselves pulled closer and closer; some individuals report losing control of one or more limbs, as though the orb itself were controlling them. Their mind fogs almost to nothingness except a vague awareness of the orb itself. At this point no individual ever has doubt that the orb itself is influencing them, using phrases such as "it is my thoughts" and "its will is mine" to describe the experience. Some individuals have reported hearing alien voices speaking in an unknown language.

Upon contact with the orb, the person's muscles lock and they are rendered incapable of movement for several seconds. During these, rivulets of a dark material - possibly nanobots - typically climb up the individual's extended appendages and into their face; subjects do not report this as being uncomfortable, but instead say they feel numb. The rivulets are also apparently capable of making holes in non-biological material and replacing the removed matter after they pass through, so as to leave the material unharmed; their method of accomplishing this is unknown. It is noted that no suit yet discovered is capable of holding them out.

After a few seconds, the rivulets cease to form, and the host falls unconscious, typically crumpling to the ground. Some people seem to retain conscious thought despite having no control or input over or from their body. If their mind remains active in such a manner, they often report experiencing "visions", with the exact cause, reasoning, and pattern behind these also as yet unknown.

Purpose

Unknown. We do not yet have enough data to know why exactly the Quantums created these devices. There is as yet much we still have to learn.

Relevant Quotes

What has your attention the most, of course, is the mysterious orb. With the purple-white flashes of wispy lightning that weave their way around it, and the detail on the intricate pedestal it seems to blossom from, it looks like some kind of arcane relic. And there's something strange about it - something you can't quite put your finger on - a distant whisper, a humming, a buzzing in your mind… some part of you feels consciously drawn to touch it. ~ Dinosawer first sees the orb

The moment your hand enters the swirling vortex, you realize that something terribly unnatural is happening - something so far beyond your realm of experience that you can't even put words into it. You feel your consciousness stripped from your body - from your very soul, were such things real - and thrown into that blackened void. As the room trembles, shakes, and turns in upon itself, you see rivulets like black beads streaming quickly up your arm like an army of ants in thin, straight lines - your vision blurs with a sizzling, steamy sound, and you find yourself in darkness. ~ Dinosawer touches the orb

"We're different now… we're not all human." She looks down at her hands, and then back towards the shifting, swirling globe. "Can you see it, Andrew?" the girl asks. You say nothing, and she goes on, "I can see an entire universe within the sphere… it's not ours. We're reaching through and touching another universe - a multitude of universes - universes that are so unlike our own that we could never exist there except as thoughts." ~ Kai'isha describes her vision

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