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Julius Meloy, “The Australian Crow”It is sometimes claimed that we can explore space using instruments and automatic probes. Such probes have revealed the volcanoes on Io, the seas of Europe, the centre of the Milky Way and the ends of the universe. They have shown us mysteries such as the Horologium Phenomenon and the stellar interior structure. But space is more than astrophysics. One cannot live in theory, one has to embrace practice. Space is a place, the place where mankind is destined to live. We will go outwards ever more boldly. We will dare the distances and master the forces of the void. We will make it our home for as long as the stars will burn. Together in peace we will live celestially.

-- Bei Lange, Speech to ESA

A few facts remain certain: the nova eruptions did follow a trend, with a few rare and relatively weak novas erupting in the 90’s. Going through databases and news reports led to the discovery of several cases of failed eruptions and a few minor novas. The second wave appeared February-November 2003, with noticeably stronger novas. Since then new eruptions have been relatively spotty and produce third wave novas of equivalent power to second wave novas.

No explanation of these waves is known. A popular theory is that some form of quantum effect passed by the Earth (gravity waves from a black hole? Cosmic torsion? A resonance in the galactic magnetic field?) and triggered the waves – new waves might appear, or these will be all the novas that ever erupted.

While discounted scientifically it is not uncommon to hear people consider novas to be “the next step in evolution”, either a race bound to replace humans or that all humans will evolve into novas. Perhaps this occurs because of psychic development, the Age of Aquarius, helpful (or malign) aliens or the imminent Armageddon as various esotericists claim. The inability of traditional science of explaining novas (despite the minimal time it has had to study the phenomenon) has shaken many people’s faith in science. Superstition and religion are on the rise.

Novas are physiologically normal humans (unless their powers cause them to change). Much of the superior physical abilities are not due to biological changes but strange physical phenomena in the body producing (say) super-strength or extreme speed. A few genetic markers appear to be more common among novas than the average human, but none are a strong predictor of eruptions, powers or power level. Nova bodies show slightly heightened metabolism and unusual brainwaves when the nova uses their power, but it is nothing extreme. Novas usually need normal amounts of sleep.

While novas in general show good health they can get sick. At least one case of nova cancer has been reported, although it is possible that the cancer begun before the eruption. Very old novas appear to become healthier but still remain biologically old.

Methods of detecting novas are under development. While little has been published in the declassified literature, it is known that certain nuclear processes are affected by the presence of novas and that sensitive detectors using changes in nuclear decay rates are under experimental development by at least the US military and an ENA research team at CERN. There also exist a plethora of pseudoscience “novameters” sold to various governments and people by unscrupulous or self-deluded engineers.

Less well known is that novas are sensitive to microtubuli disruption; colchicine, vincristine and taxol reduce or disrupt nova powers at lower concentrations than give toxic effects in ordinary humans, at least when injected into the central nervous system. This was discovered by accident as the Argentinean nova “Iman” was treated for his cancer: when given the cytostatic his very noticeable magnetic field vanished, returning once the poison had left the body. Among nova researchers the “tubulin theory” is one of the hottest leads to how nova powers work: the network of microtubuli within all cells acts as some form of quantum waveguide (not unlike the widely disbelieved quantum cognition theories of Hameroff and Penrose). These waveguides in some unknown way enables the nova to affect fields and particles. The implications are fascinating, and most cutting edge nova research is trying to explore this possibility and prove/disprove the tubulin theory.

Experiments with culturing nova tissue have been unsuccessful in reproducing powers. The tissue merely develops as normal tissue.

Nova Risks

Failed eruptions (“Going Penman”) are distressingly common. When an eruption occurs there is at least 30% chance that the nova loses control over their powers. This is often deadly to the nova, as they have no way of escaping or controlling the situation. Bystanders are also frequently hurt. The Mbabane Disaster is just the largest eruption disaster, and many governments are very interested in ways of predicting or handling failed eruptions.

It is believed that novas develop their powers quietly, being latent until a triggering experience causes the eruption. This suggests that if novas can be detected while latent they could be moved to a safe place before they erupt.

Another risk is mental breakdown, which is also more common than is generally admitted. Neurotic or psychotic novas are enormously dangerous and do occur from time to time. The Phnom Penh amnesia spree was just the tip of the iceberg. In some cases the causes clearly are the stresses of developing superhuman powers and the changes in lifestyle, but in others the cause seems to be intrinsic to the novahood: Atypical Nova Psychosis, ANP. ANP is sometimes a progressive decline, sometimes a sudden collapse. It is associated with hallucinations, delusions of thought control or other schizophrenia-like psychotic symptoms as well as wild mood swings and mania.

Another condition is a severe ambition to extend one’s powers and “become greater”, Nova Narcissistic Syndrome (NNS). It is believed to be due to the expectations and myths created by other people around the nova that reinforce an inflated self-image and reward power-seeking behaviour. In addition to this many novas report disturbed sleep patterns and nightmares.

Novas have been known to lose power, at least the “first wave” novas. The best-documented case was the Las Vegas strongman and entertainer Denver Golojuch who had developed extraordinary strength and showed all signs of being an active nova when he in 2002 suddenly became normal (and later killed himself when he no longer could repeat his feats). There is no apparent pattern to the phenomenon

Despite rumours, no evidence that novas cause harmful effects in baseline humans near them has been documented.

Nova Problems and Everyday Life

Novas usually have trouble flying. Most airlines and airport security organisations are leery of allowing novas onboard.

This means they either go by private or military air, or travel by train, boat or car (unless they can fly, in which case airports want continuous radio contact).