Around 3000 BC, an astonishingly advanced civilization arose in the Mediterranean. They created one of the earliest phonetic writing systems, possessed advanced shipbuilding methods, advanced agricultural techniques, and even an advanced understanding of a number of scientific fields such as geology and astronomy. The seat of their power was on the island of Crete. They spread throughout the region, influencing the Egyptians, Turks, and even Chinese. Then, a little after 2000 BC, they seemed to vanish, practically overnight. The remaining fragments of their civilization would eventually become part of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, with the people of Crete to become known as the Minoans before they were invaded and displaced by the Greeks around 1500 BC.
What happened to this pre-Minoan empire is a complete mystery, but they did leave an enduring legacy. Beyond the echoes of their prowess in science and engineering, the pre-Minoans had created or discovered a series of “alchemical formulas”, as they knew it, that could grant people tremendous powers of mind and body. All together, there were three of these formulas: the mentalist serum, the telepath serum, and the physical adept serum. The mentalist serum unlocked the tremendous potential of the human mind, granting the capability to perform tremendous leaps of logic and intuition. The telepath serum granted the ability to sense and even manipulate the thoughts and emotions of people around you. The physical adept serum heightened the senses, granted incredible control over one’s body, and enabled amazing feats of strength and agility.
After the collapse of the pre-Minoan empire, these formulas were hidden away by the few who knew of them, and eventually they were lost altogether. This is how the situation remained until the year 1900, when an archaeological expedition on Crete revealed traces of the ancient pre-Minoan civilization. 3 years later, on a follow up expedition, Conrad Archer accidentally encountered and absorbed some of the physical adept serum. He became the first psion in 2000 years and set off a secret race to acquire the rest of the serums that continues to this day.
In describing the Psion Serums, Alchemical Formula may be as appropriate as anything else. Physically they are viscous liquids in shades of pale blue. On a molecular level, the serums are a self replicating organic compound, not unlike DNA. Given raw material in the environment, a sample of serum will self replicate up to a maximum volume of about 10 milliliters. This growth occurs at a rate of about doubling the volume every 2 days. Despite many thousands of hours of work by the best and brightest the conspiracy has to offer, no amount of any serum has ever been synthesized, and all samples in existence are the result of growing cultures taken from a larger sample. After a period of several months of inactivity, the serums will spontaneously begin to dehydrate and enter a kind of dormant state in which they will no longer self replicate. However it can easily be restored just by adding water.
When a serum enters a human blood stream, it begins to invade cells and modify certain segments of DNA that do not seem to encode to proteins. This continues until it has occurred throughout the entire body. The rate at which it occurs depends on how much was absorbed initially, taking at the least a few days and at most a few months. Once this has completed, the subject begins to manifest psionic abilities. The method by which this happens is completely unknown as the changes to the subjects DNA do not have any other observed effect. The modified DNA has an extremely high probability of being passed on to subsequent generations. Every member of the Archer family has expressed adept abilities since Raymond, and this pattern is not unusual in other psions.
Curiously, exposure to a psion serum does not seem to be necessary to induce psionic ability in people. Certain people have spontaneously manifested psionic abilities after merely being in prolonged contact with other psions. The mechanism behind this phenomenon is similarly not understood. However, psions that are awakened in this manner are generally, but not universally, less powerful and have a narrower scope of powers. They are also a great deal less likely to pass it on to their children, likely because there is no genetic component involved.