Here you’ll find an explanation of more of the complex details of the Fear of Flying setting. This page will continue to update as new concepts are introduced to the protagonist.
Aether – A quantum, possibly extra-dimensional, force that has been “leaking” into Earth starting in late 1995 and is now an expected phenomenon and considered a part of normal life worldwide. Aether is intangible, but affects physical reality around it while it is present. Any changes that Aether makes to local reality are reversed when the Aether is dispersed. Aether drifts like dust with air and water flow, and can coagulate into manifestations (see Aether manifestations). Aether can also be absorbed into the human body – people have different capacity and tolerance for aether’s presence in their systems (see Aether sickness). Aether’s presence in our world has resulted in a generally more magical world-view, as many people consider it to be “magic” or “energy from a higher dimension”. There are several religions based around Aether sickness hallucinations and experiences with Aether manifestation entities, and a pervasive worldwide belief in worlds beyond our own.
Aether manifestations – Colloquially known as ghosts or shadows. Aether manifestations occur when a sufficient density of Aether is achieved in a relatively small, usually enclosed, area. These can appear as a shadow person (by absorbing light), a human-shaped distortion in the air (by bending light), or a white vaporous person (by shaping moisture/mist). Darkened areas such as abandoned buildings, sewers, subways, woodlands, and caverns are common settings for reported sightings, leading to the unproven theory that Aether reacts negatively to sunlight. Manifestations react to the human collective unconscious and will take on a form or behavior that relates to the past history of a location, general attitudes towards a place, or emotions of humans nearby.
Aether sickness – Formally diagnosed as Acute Aether Psychosis, and colloquially called possession, this condition occurs when there is an Aether manifestation inside the human body; this usually happens due to prolonged exposure to high densities of Aether, or direct contact with existing manifestations. Because Aether cannot be measured, this is only diagnosed in extreme cases, and a true diagnosis often results in a big media storm and government involvement. Many doctors are discouraged from diagnosing this condition in favor of suggesting lifestyle changes that encourage Aether to naturally dissipate. In many cases, the victim is charged with trespassing, as it is suggested that the volumes of Aether required for developing “true” Aether sickness can only be encountered in abandoned or barricaded locations outside of public access.
Symptoms include hallucinations of the flow of Aether in the air (described as similar to Van Gogh’s “Starry Starry Night”), hallucinations of human-like figures watching/following from a distance, auditory hallucinations of voices and sounds “from the past” or from deceased loved ones, and sensations of being touched by ghostly human hands.
Treatment – beyond lifestyle changes like going for nature walks, exercising, and counseling/therapy – includes controlled exposure to an Aether attraction device, which entices or pulls the Aether out of the human body. Aether attraction devices only exist in a few facilities across the U.S. and their use is strictly controlled and monitored by the CAIP (see Center for Aether Influence on the Public).
Aethometer – A device that attempts to measure Aether density/flow in the immediate area. Because Aether cannot be measured directly, these devices use various methods to measure distortions in electromagnetism, air pressure, and even light to attempt to accurately report the density of Aether.
Center for Aether Influence on the Public (CAIP) – The department of the United States government that monitors and researches Aether, its origins, its effects on health and society, and issues public safety statements. The CAIP states that low-density Aether can cause hallucinations and delusions and that areas with high Aether activity should be avoided as a public safety concern, comparing it to acute radiation poisoning. CAIP does not address concerns around humanoid manifestations, theoretical Aether mutants, and considers those to be conspiracy theories/erroneous beliefs.
Aether mutant/mutation – Strictly refuted by the CAIP (see Center for Aether Influence on the Public), an Aether mutation is a purely theoretical change in the physical human body due to extreme or long-term Aether sickness. Again, there no Aether mutants. People do not turn into monsters and they do not get captured by the government for displaying early onset symptoms. Spreading rumors of Aether mutants is punishable by law as an attempt to incite hysteria. However, please report all Aether sickness symptoms to your doctor immediately or call the CAIP hotline if you notice any of the following symptoms: glowing eyes, unusual changes in weight, height, or muscle mass, unusual ḫ̵͉͎̼̺̪̅̅̊̃̋̔̅̒ą̵͚̙̩̩̏̏i̸̧̡̻͎̳̫͉͇̤͇̠̜̒̉͒͋͂̓̈́͘r̸̯̮͈͙͓̗͆̔̋͑̎͛̓̐͊̑̔͝ͅ,̵̲̘͓̪̤͈̝̇́͆̈̾̋̏̈́̄͊͂̓̕͝ ̸͕̺̥͕̠̞́̓͒̋̈́́̎́̄̽̂̓̕͝t̷̖͙͛͌̂͑̆͑̋̈́̍̎̌͘͠ȩ̵̼̹̲̘͖̯̘̫͎͕̤̯̪̘̔̈́̀́̅͋́́͐͘͝ȩ̵̡̛̺̗̪̤͆̄͌̃̿͌̈́͊̉̔̓̉̄̕t̶̢̨̛͓͕́̂̒͛͜h̸̨̛̙͚̹̳̞̙̣̥̫̀̑̈́̄̓̅̆͘͝͝,̸̧̛̪̯͙̗͚̂̑̈̃̌̉͌̔̕̚͘͠ ̸̛̮̮͖͙̮̲̮͈̳͙͈̟͕̀͋͑̊̂̇͊̊͆͜o̶̪͍̠̱̙̞͉̦̗̤̠̒̂̎̄̏̒̈́͛̎̊͂́̕ŕ̸̛̦̝̘̰̠̗̻͕̰͜ͅͅ ̷̘̟̼͙̫̺̦͓̜͇̪͎̥̓̔̓̏̈́͑̉͋̿͗̚͜f̴̡̖̘̰̣̩̜͓͖̰̱̥̳͋̅̂̇̏̈́̃͒̅̌͠ͅͅȋ̷̧̟̥͓͈͖̟̲̞̱̦͍͊̑͗̅̈̀͜͝n̴̛̠̮̳̤͖̬͈͓̰̻̱͓͉͆͆̽̅͌͑̂̊̄̈́͘g̷̡̡̢͖̹̹͕̲̘̀͑̓͑̈́̕e̷̢̡̧̢̥̮̬̳̭̥͈͙̖̊̓̚̕͘͜͜r̸͖̖̟̜̜̄̂̓̑̂͆̿̇̊͝n̵̠͙̺͙͍̣̺̽̋͋̒̐͊͒͂͗̌̊͠ͅä̸͚̪̤̘̞̱̞̑̄̓i̴̧̞͍̩͖͓̗̋͂l̵̨̼͉͕̬͎͍̩̯͓̠̗̿̌̇ͅ ̷̣̥̍̈́̎̉̄̀́͋̔́̑̿̈́̚͝g̶̛̟̘͓͍͆̇̑̈̈́̓̽͊̾͝͝ŗ̸̨͖̫̝̩̬̤̻͍̦͉̩̹̅̋̆̓̍̊̏͛͐̚̚o̵̡̳̰̥̞̱͚͕̪̙̺̞̲̱̾̉̔̐̽̍̽̈́́͌͘w̵̼͉̦͎̅̓̃͑̈́͑̇͆̌͛̄̕̕͝͝ť̷̢͍͍͉̪̪̰̋̈̀́̈́̚ͅh̵̲͙͇̦́,̵͚̍͛͗̿̈́̎̌̅͛̕ ̵̖̩̤͓͇͙͎̪͇̥̽̋͂͋͆̒͠ͅo̷̯͒̎̇͐́̉̌̋̈͊̋̄ŗ̴̧̫̗̘̬̳͍̤̗͕̝́̌̎͊͆̆̃̂͂́͒͜ ̷̡̛̠̱̤͙̪̝̜͇̬̻͖̊̿̔̾̅̓̃̈́͒͑̀͘͜͠ͅt̴̤̻̣͓͎͙͙̣̖̾̑͂̌̅́͌̒̔́h̸̢̫̱̭̭̭͑̑̒̓̄ȩ̴̳̩͙̙̣̹̺̦̟̤̲̅͂ ̶̘̳̣̞̗͇̜̥͕̪̀͑́̍͜͜ḑ̸͔̹̣̣͇̤̭̘̾͐̋͗̉é̶̞͈͕̭̲̱́̌̔͛͂̈́̏̈̒͝͝s̴̡̨̨̻̣͍̜̦͓͖̆̿̉̂̂͛̈́̓͘ḭ̸̡͈̥̟̻̟̩̖̹̙͈͐̽̋̀̓̌͒͆͑́͆̆͝͠͝r̴̡̛̪̺̟͇̣̩̳̟̼̠͆̒̀̉̎̇ͅe̷̢̨̠̜̹̥͍̰̳̔́̉̉́̊̑̒̈́̚ ̴̧̢̛̹͍̲̾͜͠ţ̴̧̺̘̮͕͎͙̝̫͙͉̺͗̃̚͜o̴̢̫̹̭͖̼̰̅͑̏́͆͋̑̆̀̔̑ ̸̙̭̖͖̓̒͝p̷̧̛̖̟̺̰̻͒r̷̭͓̈́̽̾̍̾̌e̴̢̱͉͍͛̉̌̎y̴̡̡̱͍̳̫̓̾̒̎̍̊͑̂̇ ̶̬̺̤̻͋ű̴̲̝̆̈́̀͗p̸̡͕̞̬̤͓̘͇̠̺̓̓͂̆̅̎̀̎̏̑̐͒̔͆͊ͅọ̴̺͚̅̇̀̉͐͒̒̊́̏̆̈̑̌̚n̵͖̻̺̙̱͎̼̏̿͆͌͆́̓́͂͆̕̚ ̸̘̣̪̣͉̖̞͉̩̦̰̘͊̆́̓̆͆̾̆̈́͌̆͗̐̐h̸̥̳͇̤̏̃͜ų̶̛̭̙͈̳̟͉̜̬͖̺̈́̆̒͑́̌̂͜ͅm̷͈̰̯̖̙̱̺̞͕̹̱̈́a̸̢̭̟͙̜͔̋͂̉̈̇̅̃͒̑͋̊͛͝͠ņ̴̢̛͓̼͓̞̲̩̰͎̎̈́̌̃͒̽͑͒ͅś̷̛̹͕̮̞̊́̏̋͊̔̚͝͝.