Distemporal people (DT-person for short; also referred to as human distemporality) are foreign human inhabitants of the Universe coming to life via resurrection after death. Such people are originated from other alternate, otherwise inaccessible alternate worlds with varying degree of divergence from baseline history.
The most notable quality of distemporal people is that they are unaffected by aging and their death by any other means results in their reincarnation in a previous, healthier form. (see below) In context of the galaxy, every distemporal inhabitant entered via resurrection and all their reincarnations occurs within its boundaries.
As of 7901.R.D., distemporal people make up for 1% of the entire human population of the galaxy.
The name originates from the early days of human explorations, when it was assumed this is a largely temporal phenomena. Since then, scientists have discovered even Ethereal Energy manipulation is incapable of time manipulation; how exactly distemporality is achieved or related to Ethereal Energy is still unknown, though. What’s known for sure is that distemporal people are more capable and efficient psyptors.
It should be noted that inanimate (exclusively Shaper-made) objects do exist that also possess distemporality; the purpose for it, however, is unknown.
The most important aspect of a distemporal person is the complete lack of aging; the exact mechanism behind this phenomena is unknown.
Such people have the exact biological age of their age at the time of their death - radiocarbon dating, wrist scanning, standard physiology measurement and any other known medical techniques aer perfectly able to accurately verify it. This implies that for all intents and purposes, distemporal people are as old as they are biologically.
In certain cases, such a person is slightly younger than the time span they have actually lived through; statistically this correlates with health-affecting circumstances in previous life (illnesses, low standards of living, lost body parts, torturing, etc.), implying there’s a “peak fitness” such people are returning into. Despite this, many distemporals are known to be very young or very old; the youngest DT-human known is 10 years old even biologically, while the oldest is 85. There seems to be a natural normal distribution over the age range of the galactic DT population.
Aside of aging, distemporal people are all regular baseline human specimens. They are all affected by congenital defects, have varying physiological parameters based on genetic inheritance and prior lifestyle; can have any sort of skin, hair and eye colors; are capable of gaining or losing weight, up to and including muscle and body fat; can contact and spread contagious diseases; and in general have the same requirements as regular people.
Distemporal people can also sustain injuries, even permanent ones, including the loss or organs or body parts. (these medical conditions are not carried over reincarnations - see Incarnation.) In fact, DT-people can also exist in permanent vegetative state practically indefinitely. Until the point of brain death, supernatural quality of a DT-human does not go beyond simply not aging - and a handful of derivative side effects, see below.
On a microbiological level, cellular senescence (the permanent cessation of cell division) is not occurring in distemporal individuals - this includes any transplanted cells from regular people. On the other hand, cells transplanted from a DT-person to a regular one have the same limits and aging as expectable of an individual of the age of the donor.
Cell division also seems to be abnormally perfect in DT-human cells; there’s virtually no DNA damage ever found this way. As a side effect of it, DT-people are perfectly immune to mutation and any form of cancer; they are susceptible to exposure to ionizing radiation, though, the same way as regular people.
It should be noted that distemporal people are all universally sterile: while otherwise unaffected in organ structures, males don’t produce sperm cells and female ova are infertile. Distemporal women never have periods; in spite of current understanding, there’s no medical complication arising from this fact. They also cannot be impregnated, not even via in vitro processes.
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A distemporal person never dies permanently; in the moment of brain death, they become temporarily dead in the form of the beginning of an Incarnation Event. By consensus notation, a DT-human’s first Incarnation, the arrival is called a Resurrection Event or Resurrection for short, and all subsequent ones are Reincarnation Events or reincarnations.
An Incarnation Event happens in two locations: at the location of the DT-person’s body as a Departure Point and in a semi-random Arrival Point somewhere on the surface of a habitable planet. During the events, the following sequence of events occurs simultaneously:
At the Departure Point, the corpse of now-dead person goes through a rapid but imperfect particle breakdown - body matter is disintegrating and the energy released is converted into light, heat, sound, radiation, and Ethereal Energy. The conversion has seemingly random distribution among these forms, but visible light is the more frequent by far. As this energy release is constant but intensive, it rarely generates shockwave but still can cause significant structural damage in man-made constructions.
Meanwhile at the Arrival Point, a very small and weak singularity is formed that starts attracting any nearby matter until the body mass at the previous “peak health” of the affected individual is reached. Afterwards, more matter is attracted and converted into energy (usually Ethereal Energy or radiation) that slowly converts the base of body mass into living human tissue, clothing, neural activity and everything else required to reconstruct the “deceased”. At the end of this process, the affect person regains consciousness in perfect continuation - usually laying in the middle of a crater as a result of conversion.
There is no known limit for the number of Incarnations a distemporal human can go through - legends say a select few individuals went through it over a thousand times.
The most confusing aspect of Incarnation is the issue of “inheritance”: what features are carried over across each event.
An incarnated DT-human has no amnesia: every memory up to the point of brain death is still present when they regain consciousness. Since it usually includes memories of death and the pain leading up to it, Incarnation is most often a traumatizing act for a human. Evidence shows certain distemporals can get used to it over time, yet the majority has a natural aversion for repeated reincarnation.
In terms of physical attributes, physiological changes (such as gained weight), as well as superficial ones (for example, tattoos or painting) and permanent injuries (missing limbs, organs) are brought over Incarnations; for augmentations, however, the results are inconclusive.
Neural implants, eye replacements, and most performance-enhancing transplants are carried over; when an implant is substituting missing organs or other bodily functions, it’s replaced by whatever organ, or organ implant was in its place at the time of the initial Resurrection. Artificial limbs are inherited; unless such limb was destroyed, removed, or damaged to uselessness.
As a rule of thumb, post-Incarnation bodily functions follow an equilibrium between “peak health stability” before the previous Reincarnation and the initial Resurrection.
Unlike after repeated Reincarnations, the state of the body and the mind after the initial Resurrection always falls close to what the affected would consider his personal peak health and stability before his death. This way, even those exposed to prolonged torture are not reborn in the Universe as handicapped, or mentally damaged.
The nature of Incarnation implies the existence of some intelligent design behind distemporality; no evidence for any of this exists as of yet, though.
One of the many anomalies produced by Beacon World is a force field preventing distemporal people resurrecting within its area of effect to reincarnate outside of it. As a side effect, the closer the time is for an activation event the stronger the force field, attracting resurrection events to the galaxy. As such, as time goes on, there are more distemporal people in the galaxy; this explains why there’s no sign of human life from before colonization.
The idea of life after death is a fundamental point of interest in major religions and cultures across human history - for many, the phenomena of distemporal people bears the implications the TNU fulfills some sort of otherworld role.
Due to limited view from out the Cosmic Disk, it’s not known, whether the outside world works by the same rules and scales of astronomy, or it’s a different, more suitable, presumably controlled place for distemporal people.
In Arderist Christianity, the galaxy is considered a corner of purgatory provided by God for humanity. DT-people are either believers or lost souls who need to go through cleansing before gaining access to Heaven or being condemned to Hell; Arderists consider the establishment of a livable society for these people their uttermost priority and the primary duty God gave to humanity. Conversely, fulfilling this duty contributes to the cleansing claimed to be critical for a happy afterlife.