Name: Kara Pace, PhD
Much of Kara’s existence is now spent in an intangible state as an astral projection; appearing translucent, ghostly and unburdened by gravity. Despite her initial resemblance to that of a ghost or spirit, Kara Pace remains an astral projection bound to a living body and as such has a deep-rooted need to return to an organic body even when her native body is inaccessible to her. The physical features of her intrinsic body are represented in her spectral visage, revealing her to be of Mediterranean descent; tall and slender with dark hair and a pleasant face. Under the right circumstances she can inhabit the body of another, but the difficulty of such an undertaking is directly correlated to the similarity between her original body and that of her host. So while the appearance of her assumed anchor body varies, she can generally be counted upon to assume the body of women with builds resembling that of her original form. Each possession poses a set of risks to herself and the host so she relegates this action to a grim necessity and abstains whenever possible.
Kara Pace (pronounced CAR-uh PAH-chay) was born on May 26, 1986 to Cesare & Karlotta Pace in Sassari, Sardinia an island nation off the west coast of Italy. Cesare, her Italian father, was a radiologist in University of Sassari’s clinic and inspired her to look for the unseen when attempting to explain the course of the physical body’s health and ailments. Her mother Karlotta was unmistakably French and much of her extended family resides on the neighboring island of Corsica. As a local architect, Kara’s mother helped design many of the resorts peppered along the Sardinian coast of what had become a tourist mecca of the Mediterranean. From a young age Kara showed a fascination with both her parents’ work. Her father simplified the actual functions of his profession by telling her he looked at what was inside people that others could not see and used that information to heal them. Her mother described at great length and detail the process of designing an entire structure from the inside out, culminating in a beautiful facade that accentuated its specific purpose while hiding the true workings of the building.
This eventually led Kara to pursue the social sciences. She attended University of Milan where she majored in Psychology with a minor in Linguistics. She spoke multiple languages, but they all stemmed from familial and geographic connections in her own life so her pursuit of linguistics was relegated to a hobby after 3 years at university. Her resolute passion remained psychology which she viewed in much the same way her father had described his own work. But where he focused on the body she would focus on the mind which she viewed as an equally important function to caring for the whole person.
Kara had largely chosen to focus her career in this direction due to its close alignment with a natural talent of her own that first manifested, albeit briefly, during childhood. She eventually learned that she could project herself onto the astral plane, but as a child she mistakenly simplified it as the power of flight and in her teen years she inaccurately deemed it lucid dreaming. There were years at a time when the power or gift seemed to be gone entirely, but it was not particularly missed as she found the experience unsettling. During her twenties when she was finishing her masters degree in Rome she rediscovered the ability and began to explore it with a more clinical mind. Over the years she came to identify this talent as astral projection, though she assumed more than she actually knew in those years. Sadly, her father passed away shortly before she received her PhD and in her grief her mother could no longer bring herself to remain in Sassari. Upon receiving her doctorate Kara and her mother both relocated to Michigan’s Motor City; her mother commissioned to design a new museum while Kara was offered a position as a research assistant. The position, for which she was entirely overqualified, got her to America and kept her near to her mother so she trudged on, but Illusions of grandeur were quickly dispelled by reality as she found most of her work conducted in hospitals, schools and workplaces for the first year. When the opportunity to set up her own research project was extended she impulsively maneuvered it towards the prominent inclusion of hypnosis on which she had also written her dissertation.
The events of “D-Day” were still many years off and during this time Kara Pace found herself settling in to the comfortable life of a successful psychologist in Motor City where she was specializing in therapeutic psychoanalysis. The majority of her efforts involved clinical research rather than putting in hours at a professional practice, but she always worked closely with patients. Education and training prepared her to view therapy as a series a small breakthroughs. Afterall, there could be no proverbial cure because mental illness, negative beliefs and maladaptive behaviors were not diseases. She’d been warned against anticipating or relying on the allusive eureka moment in treatment where the patient overcame their issues with one big cry. So it did not escape Kara’s notice when she began to achieve enduring success with patients whose treatment incorporated various forms of hypnosis. While her colleagues often gave her a hard time for embracing what they considered pseudo scientific techniques, they just as often congratulated her achievement afterwards. When their conventional cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT] floundered, she refined her methods and grew more bold with each eureka.
Astral projection or astral travel is an out-of-body experience (OBE), where the spirit of a being separates itself from the physical body and often the entire physical plane. In this state the traveler typically occupies the astral plane, though other planes of existence can be reached if one has the nerve and is of a mind to do so. When detached from the earthbound body the astral projection is able to circumvent some or all physical limitations and Kara was increasingly preoccupied with the notion that this detour around the physical restraints of the mind would prove game changing in the field of mental health. What this projection actually was has been a subject of some debate. Was it the soul? Did it reside invisibly inside the body at all times until released during astral projection or was the astral self only manifested at the time it was called upon to leave the body. Kara Pace found it difficult at times to draw a distinct line between the clinical and the theological viewpoints, but chose to identify it as the mind’s essence or psyche; the seat of feeling, thought, memory and moral judgement. And she stopped considering the brain and it’s neural activity as the sole source of our mental faculties. Thought, emotion and sense of self did not seem to be explicitly bound to the body or any of its organic components. Our physical bodies were glorious vessels for something even more glorious.
In the year leading up to D-Day, her ability to control the detachment of incorporeal intelligence and reunification with body increased and she was able to do so at will, even in moments of stress. She chose to go astral with increasing frequency, finding it offered her alternative perspectives on each of her interactions; be they with patient, professional colleagues or private suitors. As she spent more time quite literally detached from the problems and concerns of those around her in a manner entirely beyond whatever her training had demanded, she experienced a cognitive shift that left her caring less and less for the individual impact on patients and their personal relationships, and more focused on the impact of each person’s actions on the world at large. She experienced a version of the overview effect which was often described by astronauts after viewing the earth from orbit. An online journal described the overview effect thusly:
“It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.”
As you may well imagine, this level of detachment was not inherently harmonious with the goals and expectations of a mental health provider. She grew dissatisfied with her work, finding that the struggles of most of her patients would be greatly reduced if they’d put aside their self-focused, narcissistic ways to see the broader picture. Psychotherapy and psychological treatment are typically private processes, bound by the unique relationship between client and therapist, and by strict rules of confidentiality. But there was a growing realisation in therapy circles that the community may have a critical role to play in making people better people.
While each of the revelations confessed to or drawn out by Kara during these sessions showed the nature of the patient’s trouble, she struggled to find a way to help them without also encouraging them to adopt her more detached view of the world and themselves.
At its core, in its pure form, hypnosis is not a dangerous procedure, but has always been limited by the patient’s desire and willingness to allow the process to occur. Under hypnosis the patient was susceptible to suggestion and gently steered towards specific events or feelings from their past. But when that individual was unwilling to take such an introspective journey hypnosis was a powerless tactic. After dealing with such individuals and failed attempts to guide them towards any level of lasting behavioural resolution, Kara began using the hypnotic sessions to coax their essense out and into a guided journey via astral travel. Her own initial experiences with astral travel as a child were not all-together pleasant so she strove to shield her patients from that aspect of the experience. By preparing them in advance and gently compelling their astral forms free of their tranquil bodies, Kara was able to travel alongside the individual and guide them through the process. If her first few attempts with those troubled individuals had failed or been met with resistance she may very well have given up on the idea completely and the lives of many would have turned out quite differently, none more so than her own. Unfortunately the sessions went surprisingly well and she found that by guiding troubled individuals out of their bodies they too began to embrace the idea of the world as a single community and how they may best benefit from it’s protection and advancement. There takeaway from these experiences was not always exactly what Kara had intended, but the resulting individual showed definite improvements in dealing with their respective impairments. She refined her methods and grew more bold with each eureka.
Clients want to feel like their treatment is going to lead to breakthroughs, and therapists have the same hope for their clients. During one session with a particularly difficult client whom she had struggled for years to connect with, she suggested astral projection and this patient reluctantly agreed. Approaching astral projection reluctantly should have diverted Kara from that course, but she was eager to see results. Halfway through the process this man changed his mind and began to resist her efforts. She should have withdrawn and consented to the man’s wishes, but instead she urged him out of his body more fervently and in the end quite literally expelled his psyche. This man had been informed in advance of what to expect so as his astral self floated above his body he knew exactly what Kara had done. He was terrified and panicked; his astral form fled the room, the city and beyond. Kara had already gone astral, but she immediately knew what she’d done was wrong and regretted it. So she gave chase to reel him in and at least get him back into his body, but as it turned out there would be no time for that.
The hyperspace engine Plex Alternative’s scientists were working on elsewhere in the city had been activated and set up the unheard of events that came to be known as D-Day. Sensing her body was in peril, Kara gave up the pursuit and tried to reconcile with her flesh, but the closer she got to her body the further the distance between them seemed to grow. Everything shimmered before imploding in a deafening rush of sound and searing energy. This was the sole instance of physical sensation she’d experienced in her Astral form. She could not say if any time had actually transpired, but she had the impression of a great distance traversed; all the while being dragged along by a sinking mass. Chunks of her reality erupted into existence in a wild forest of unknown age. Entire sections of Motor City were deposited among the tops of ancient trees. Some remained relatively intact while others were already crumbling down to the lush green detritus below. Debris and people were everywhere and the chaos was like something out of a blockbuster film. There was screaming and shouting and fire and fear. The reddened sky slowly turned a familiar blue and she looked about to get her bearings, but instinctively knew this was no Earth forest. The fauna and trees were similar enough and the people running about were breathing the air, but somehow she knew they were no longer on Earth, at least not the Earth they had left. Already individuals had risen among the survivors to gather them together into small but growing groups. The shouting had diminished and she could hear voices issuing commands and taking stock of the situation. Kara floated around from group to group, noticing the bodies of several dead with others huddled over them in mourning. At first no one paid any heed to Kara and she had indeed grown used to this as she’d long ago discovered that none could see or hear the astral traveler, but stranded in this strange place, she found the rules were changed.
The people nearest her began to stir uncomfortably and gave her a wide berth. It took a moment for her to realize they were looking at her, some with fear in their eyes, a few with awe. She drifted among them until a small child reached out to her. “You can see me?” was all Kara could think to ask. The child’s mother pushed the arm down and guided her young one behind her protectively, but she nodded in response.
In those early days Kara found very little trust among the survivors and whatever hospitality they were able to offer between themselves was not extended to her. Funeral services had been held for those who did not survive their initial injuries and it was generally considered that all survivors who would be located had been. Still, none really knew what to make of Kara. Despite her objections and claims to the contrary, most of the survivors viewed her as some sort of ghost and only after many months among them did they relent and agree that she may be a living spirit. This was small comfort to Kara, but being thought of as a ghost was worse as it meant she was dead. She was unable to physically manipulate matter and had not discovered any basic needs such as food or water, but she was just as scared as the rest and lonely above all else. As time went on the survivors took pity on Kara and involved her in their ongoing efforts to settle in. They grew more organized and set up makeshift camps.There were over two thousand survivors and each camp was only able to host roughly a hundred. Kara tried to be helpful by relaying messages among the sites and the people began to find her ability to blink in and out from one location to the next quite handy.
Kara offered assistance as she was able, but the hard work of building any sort of life here truly was the accomplishment of others. When the indigenous life among the forest floor began to encroach she guided the survivors upwards to the trees and there they built a more lasting camp spread out among the branches and connected to each by crude rope ladders. Many of the partial structures that had initially appeared among the treetops had now settled into a relatively safe arrangement and she used what architectural knowledge she’d learned from her mother to incorporate these formations into the expanding “city” among the treetops. The months rolled on and life in the forest slowly began to feel routine. The creatures below continued to clash violently with the scavenging parties, but Kara did her best to scout ahead and show them the safest routes. It was in talking with the people and getting to know them that she offered her real contribution. Many of them were still grieving the loss of loved ones, many were suffering from despair of their isolation and all of them were scared for their futures. She gave them some sense of hope and direction. They sought her advise as an impartial member of their group and paid her a level of respect her youth did not warrant. What began as whispered ideas was taken up as openly proclaimed certitudes; that Kara had become their guardian spirit.
Her professional training in psychology allows her to encourage people towards calm behaviour and enhances her ability to accurately ascertain their true feelings or motivations. Kara is fluent in English, Italian, French, Spanish and Latin.
Throughout Kara’s life she’d grown more comfortable with Astral travel, but she’d always limited her OBE to relatively brief periods of time. These experiences had increased in frequency over the last few years, but she never pushed the boundaries of time or distance. Having an ability and being comfortable using that ability were not synonymous and Kara preferred to maintain a rough proximity to her body. She now found herself separated from her body, family, home & apparently, dimension. The mechanics and limitations of this process are unclear to her even when they work and she certainly does not understand them when they are malfunctioning. At any rate she has been stuck in a ghostly, specter fashion since the strange affairs during Science City’s D-Day. She has no need for sleep in the traditional sense, but she does enter a trancelike state to revitalize her thoughts and restore a sense of substantiality to her spectral image. She still finds herself awake and lonely during the long nights. She can disappear completely into the Astral plane for periods of rapid travel or stealth, but she struggles to return from this purely Astral state. Kara chooses instead the less laborious approach, manifesting visually to observers as a translucent, ethereal apparition. As such she remains visible to the human eye, but undetectable by modern sensors and equipment. In this intangible state she can traverse vertical and horizontal distance with the same ease. She can pass harmlessly through solid objects or phase through people and machines. In her astral form she is impervious to physical attacks, but remains susceptible to psionic damage and effects. Her ability to interact with the world around her is limited to sight and sound.