The Organization for Psionic Research, Education and Development, or OPRED, is a non-Starfleet, non-government agency dedicated to understanding psionic talents. It plays an important role within the Federation for protecting those with talents and educating the greater public.
We are dedicated to working with planetary governments and the Federation Health Organization to create programs that further the understanding of psionic abilities. Our research intends to inform legislators as well as private citizens as to how we can create a universe safe for all individuals, regardless of their psi-status. Our primary goal is to help the psionically gifted identify their needs and learn how to use their talents for the benefit of a free and private society. We believe this goal can be achieved through accurate assessments of talents, early identification, and legislation that protects all sentient beings in the Federation.
In 2317, Melena Gertz lost her daughter to the heinous work of Betazoid serial killer Quellan Sarta. Sarta, whose highly-advanced telepathy was attributed as the cause of his criminal psychoses, murdered seventy-three people before he was killed in an altercation with Federation law enforcement. Determined to turn her grief into something productive, she allied with doctors, psychologists, and researchers from across the Federation, and put her energy behind the creation of the Organization for Psionic Research, Education, and Development -- OPRED.
Officially formed in 2319, OPRED is a non-government agency dedicated to studying psionic talents and educating both the gifted and the general public about those talents. Gertz's intentions were two fold. The first, primary goal was to ensure that all individuals had access to programs that would help them to safely and effectively develop their natural psionic abilities. She believed that through early identification, early training, and complete understanding of these talents, horrific events like those displayed by Sarta could be prevented. Her second intention was to create a fail-safe by forming a political lobby focusing on creating a series of laws monitoring and responding to instances of extreme telepathy.
To assist legislative bodies, a team of twenty researchers spent ten years developing the psi-scale: a twelve-point measure intended to quantify psionic talents. Originally published in 2328, it was the result of over ten thousand case studies draw from telepaths of all races and levels. The 2500 page document was distributed to planetary governments as well as the Federation Council to demonstrate the various threats and benefits posed by those with psionic abilities across racial lines.
The Political LobbyEdit
Gertz and OPRED originally lobbied for the Federation Council to institute a mandatory registration of all telepaths. It was struck down, primarily because of the power of worlds with natural psionic abilities. However, Betazed chose to explore a registration requirement, and in 2334 passed a law requiring the registration of all individuals that fit a P9 rating or higher. An amendment passed in 2335 allowing doctors to test children they believed might have early onset telepathy and requiring the institutionalisation of any children positively identified so proper training could be administered. This law was again amended in 2337 to include individuals with a rating of P2 or lower (far below the species standard).
After Betazed, most of the planetary governments (with the notable exceptions of New Vulcan and Andor) passed similar measures by 2345. By the next decade, more than half required registration on behalf of both citizens and temporary visitors. In 2360, Mars took legislation to another level by requiring that any telepathy P10 or higher take telepathic inhibitors while on planet. Although most other governments remain reluctant to adopt this "extremism," by 2365, most require that all registered telepaths wear an identifying badge while on planet. This badge was adopted from the OPRED logo: two hands joining over a triangle (the three points representing mind, body, and soul) in the center of a circle. Although these measures have been challenged in court, all have thus far been sustained, though the issue of Mars' inhibitor requirement is (as of 2384) pending a hearing by the Federation Supreme Court.
Despite this lobbying success, the Federation Council has continued to stall the passing of universalised legislation citing that this should be conducted on the planetary level given the unique needs of each world. The movement for legislation has, however, picked up steam since the Section 31 revelations of 2385, and the lobbying wing of OPRED remains hopeful that more can be achieved.
Education and OutreachEdit
(From the OPRED site) But legislation is only a small part of what OPRED has to offer. At its heart, we are focused on knowledge. We believe that in order to ensure a universe safe for all, the general public and the psionically gifted must be educated about these abilities. If we teach how these abilities can be identified, developed, managed, and used to the betterment of society, we can prevent atrocities both on the personal and large-scale level.
OPRED is proud to have outreach centers on most member worlds and colonies across the Federation. In the past two years we have only expanded, opening new locations on Bajor and Deep Space Nine, the new Starbase 1, and the Telkan Colony.
Our outreach centers boast competent staffs comprised of counselors, doctors, researchers, educators, and career advisors. Our doctors can provide diagnostic services, and our counselors are trained to offer advice to the identified as well as to family and friends of gifted individuals. They can assist in making decisions regarding education or institutionalization, as well as discuss other options such as inhibitors. We are also offer proud to offer career counseling. We have many exciting placement opportunities for qualified psionics interested in serving as liaisons, negotiators, or as counselors both in OPRED and in other organizations across the Federation.
But our outreach centers are not only intended for those with psionic talents. We are also present for the general public: to teach the realities of telepathy, to break down the barriers, and debunk myths. Our intention is to unite, not divide, and to demonstrate that regardless of how our minds work, we are all Citizens of the Federation.
(From OPRED official pamphlet: Understanding the Psi-Scale) Thanks to the research advances done by OPRED, its counselors and experts, those with psionic talents (1) are identified and ranked on a twelve point "psi-scale," developed in 2330 by the FHC (Federation Health Council) and OPRED (Organization for Psionic Research, Education, and Development).
Whilst many species within the Federation naturally possess psionic abilities, the degree to which they manifest often varies. The FHC and OPRED developed the psi-scale as a method to assess psionics of any species and to assist OPRED when providing training in how to manage and develop recognized talents. Despite numerous proposals in the Federation Assembly, this service is not lawfully required and each individual is free to choose the course they take in the psionic development. OPRED remains a private organization, though it does work with some planetary governments.(2)
This psi-scale initiative has two primary objectives. First, by accurately assessing talents, a psionically gifted individual of any race can be assisted in determining where they might be suited. Through OPRED, the psionically talented can learn important skills and develop their abilities to serve various functions: from negotiations on commercial, governmental, or military levels, to telepathic counseling programs, to criminal rehabilitation. Second, early identification and assisted development aides those with heightened talents to lead productive lives whereas they might otherwise develop psychoses dangerous to themselves and others.
Some general qualities defining each mark on the "psi-scale" can be found below. There are three degrees for each psi-rating. A psionic specialist is trained to make these determinations base on an extensive set of criteria.
PLEASE NOTE that this pamphlet is for educational purposes only and is NOT intended to be a diagnostic tool. Self-diagnosis is dangerous. If you believe you or someone close to you is manifesting unspecified psionic talents, please contact an OPRED outreach clinic or the nearest Federation or Starfleet medical center. We are here to help. Remember: an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward control.
(1) The psi-scale focuses primarily on telepathic and empathic skills; telekinetic abilities, while considered, are not included as they may manifest in non-telepathic individuals as well as those with high psi-ratings. We are still trying to understand the causes of telekinesis and how it fits with other psionic talents.
(2) The Federation Assembly has thus far resisted movements to legislate psionic health. This is due to ethical questions regarding accuracy of cross-species assessment and the policing of this system to prevent abuse. However, the Federation Assembly has also resisted legislating on the ability of planetary governments to address the issue, and most have chosen to do so. Governments of both naturally psionic species (Betazed) and unusually psionic species (Earth, Mars, Alpha-Centauri) have adopted methodologies to identify and work with individuals whose abilities are such as to be inhibiting or dangerous on a societal or individual level. With few exceptions, psi-testing has been integrated into government health screenings. Many schools and other programs require psi-testing for enrollment. Those who fall within or below their species standard are not cataloged, though they receive personal paperwork to prevent testing at a later date. Those who fall above their species standard are often strongly encouraged to seek OPRED intervention and assistance. Without exception, all planetary governments have laws that require the registration of those assessed at a psi-rating P9 or higher. Most are encouraged to accept telepathic inhibitors to aid in the control of their talents, and are required to submit to yearly assessments. Betazed also has laws in place requiring the same of those with unusually low psi-ratings given the prevalence of emotional development issues.
P1: Also called "latent telepathy," it is often described as a sense of heightened intuition. One may anticipate the actions of others, be more affected by the emotions of those around them, and will be aware of other telepath's scans. Oftentimes, P1s have an empathic bond with their mother or a close sibling. Many species with natural telepathy will begin life as a latent telepath, but their talents will progress as the age and will stabilize at a mid-level rating toward late puberty.
P2: Another level of "latent telepathy," with all the qualities of a P1 though slightly amplified. A P2 will also develop natural "blocks" to other telepaths. A strong P2 will occasionally have dreams featuring the contemporary actions or thoughts of those around them; this happens most often in close quarters like starships, houses, or apartment buildings.
P3: A P3 is primarily empathic. They are extra sensitive to the emotions of those around them, sometime to the point of being adversely affected. They may be able to communicate telepathically over a short distance with another, stronger telepath, particularly if it is a relative. Half-Betazoid children are customarily rated some degree at P3. Touch telepaths like Vulcanoids are almost always considered P3 as they most commonly require skin contact to initiate telepathy. Touch telepaths will often have a "dual" psi-rating: P3 as their baseline, and then a supplemental rating based upon their talents once contact has been made.
After P3, empathic abilities may or may not be present; the presence of these abilities differentiates low and mid-levels from high-level
P4: They may or may not have empathic qualities; high level P4s will have a strong empathic sense. There will be a sense as to the "loud" thoughts of others that can often be supplemented by physical contact regardless of whether one is traditionally a touch telepath. They are far more sensitive to the presence of telepathic probing and can develop defenses to these probes.
P5: They are able to conduct telepathic communication with related individuals and higher-level telepaths. They can easily hear surface thoughts and may be able to experience memories should another individual not have blocks on this portion of their mind. Can perform small "mind bursts," though they cause no damage and merely catch the attention of another telepath. Can block their own surface thoughts from other telepaths.
P6: Able to transmit telepathic communication to others regardless of their species, and can communicate with other telepaths of similar or higher psi-level across distances. Will be able to bypass the blocks of lower level telepaths, probe into memories, determine lies, and perform deeper brain scans. Will be able to determine motivations and desires of others.
Nine of ten telepaths will be P6-rated or lower; approximately 95% of the remaining fall within the P7 or P8 scale -- these individuals are highly sought for telepathic counseling on planets across the Federation as well as within Starfleet. If you have been officially recognized as a P7 or P8 level telepath, please contact OPRED to learn about exciting career opportunities
P7: Will be able to communicate with other telepaths across distances and species. Have strong telepathic blockers, can conduct deep brain scans, and would be able to aide in the retrieval of suppressed memories. They will almost always have empathic abilities, though those abilities may not be very strong. P7s will often experience the dreams of others in their proximity, and can occasionally have "pre-cognitive" flashes. They will be able to conduct low-level scans of multiple individuals. With training, they are able to assist other telepaths by installing stronger mental blocks, or by temporarily lending strength toward those blocks.
P8: They are able to transmit telepathic communication to others regardless of their species and across distances. P8s are extra sensitive to the thoughts of others, and even one's more private thoughts are loud to them when a non-telepathic or latently-telepathic individual is in close proximity. They have the ability to install memory blocks in others as well as being able to dismantle those blocks, and can willingly eavesdrop on the unconscious experiences of others. They can be trained to eavesdrop on the conscious experiences of others so long as the other individual possesses no telepathic skills. They are also able to conduct mid-level scans of multiple individuals at once, sometimes as many of five or six different people, and low-level scans of upwards of a dozen. They are quite adapt in assisting other telepaths with the development of mental blocks, and often prove resistant to mind-storms and telepathic attack. They can intentionally lend their strengths to others—even some non-telepathic individuals—in certain circumstances, with training. P8s are always empathically sensitive. In later life, however, they are prone to mental health concerns, and should seek treatments including inhibitors.
According to the laws of most planetary governments, those with a psi-rating of P9 or higher are required to register when on planet; these laws frequently include citizens as well as planetary visitors regardless of species or species norm. This site includes information about registration; further assistance is offered at OPRED centers
P9: P9s are relatively rare in most Federation species, and in most cases, they are considered the ceiling for functioning telepathy. They have all the qualities of a P8, though are amplified. For example: they can eavesdrop on the conscious experiences of others at approximately P4 or lower, literally seeing events through their eyes. They can bypass the mental defenses of most individuals with ease, and with proper training some P9 individuals may learn how to install permanent telepathic defenses in the minds of others at a P3 rank or lower, including non-telepaths. In many cases they are able to conceal telepathic scans even from mid-level telepaths. They can easily conduct scans of an average-sized conference room, and theoretically are rarely limited to the number of "loud thoughts" they can hear at any given moment. P9s do, in a 1 in 2 frequency, have difficulty developing effective blocks to the daily telepathic noise; when this is diagnosed, an individual is encouraged (and by some governments required) to take telepathic inhibitors to assist with daily life. This is especially true starting in later life. P9s who also have empathic abilities are more likely to have mental health concerns as they are more open to and affected by the emotional chaos of others.
P10: In most species, and with very few exceptions, P10 rated individuals are unstable and prone to madness. Although there are no exact numbers, OPRED estimates indicate that of slightly more than fifty-thousand registered P10s, approximately 95% of them are receiving regular treatments for psionically related mental illnesses, most within institutions and/or prisons. Of the remaining 3500, approximately 500 are unaccounted for; the rest manage to live and operate in normal society primarily because of early-onset and the consequent early identification of their abilities, which has resulted in opportunities to effectively train those individuals to manage their skills. On top of the skills sets of P9s, P10s usually exhibit some telekinetic abilities, are very open to the thoughts and emotions of others regardless of training, and often have trouble distinguishing between their thoughts and those of others. A well-trained P10 is able to access nearly all portions of a humanoid mind, including deep thoughts, personality, future intentions, and emotional development/transmissions. Some report the "power of suggestion" over those with weak minds and mental resolve, although this has been difficult to measure and confirm.
P11/12: The numbers of individuals who are naturally rated P11/12 are very low. There have been reports of illegal genetic modifications that have installed this level of psionic ability, but the modifications are always tempered with stronger natural "blocks" and other fail-safes, and also are often done with individuals whose species do not naturally possess psionic talents. In instances of natural occurrence, specialists with OPRED and FHC believe it to be the result of gene abnormalities and this is often treated as a dangerous and chronic disease. Few live long or productive lives. A large percentage are driven toward suicide soon after the full onset of their abilities (for most species, this is toward puberty), and many more fall into a tortured "comatose" state. Those that are still functioning are often one extreme or another: some are able to exude a sense of calm and normalcy while others are irrational, violent and unstable. Most of the time, the openness of the P11/12 telepathic mind will cause the rest of the mind to more or less shut down, but some are able to learn to control this and to focus their talents. While there is little proof of abilities beyond those reported by P10 ranks, there has been discussion amongst specialists regarding extreme and frightening possibilities, from the "power of suggestion" to the ability to perform mind-wipes and personality reformations, to a method for harnessing telepathic energies to kill. There are all completely speculative, and in many instances based on cultural mythologies or unusual phenomenon.