Ether is short for Especial Theory of Rudimentary. It consists of a very wide range of abilities which are similar to magic but based upon purely scientific reasoning which to some degree is similar to alchemy. Some Ether use nanomachines that many Xenosaga characters can use.
Some characters have the ability to tap into the nano abilities for medical and attack purposes, and they will usually say something like "Open Ether Circuit!" or "Ether drive!" when using Ether. In a way, Ether is almost a mechanical form of the Force from Star Wars, and does not seem to be related to the scientific version of Ether. However, it is also possible that the nanomachines have Ether ability, as well. Some Ether abilities include the Medica series (uses nanomachines to heal), attack Ethers (similar to Magic in other RPGs), and countless others.
There appear to be many versions of Ether, hence the generalized name. While most characters and NPCs appear to use nanomachine based Ether (even recovery items appear to be nanomedkits), some characters rely on different sources. Several characters exhibit energy emission and manipulation powers as well as psychic powers and physiological abilities beyond the human norm which can either be explained by contact with Zohar, U-DO, some form of mutation, vague skills or through transference technology. A few characters prominently exhibit the ability to summon equipment via teleportation. This is likely done through the U.M.N. however biological beings are noted at being unable to cross space this way without detrimental effects. In Episode II, combination Ethers were used by the characters both inside and outside of their E.S. Notably Episode I featured unique character Ether based upon their professions or species. Gnosis and other humans are also known to use similar effects. Although U.R.T.V. units like Albedo and Rubedo can regenerate or 'preserve' themselves in that order, this may or may not fall within the Ether classification. chaos, Jin and several others may have powers based on more traditional notions of oriental magic.
Ether in Xenogears Edit
Ether previously appeared in Xenogears. In it, it is explained the Zohar Modifier is the source of all the Ether power that the inhabitants of the planet utilize. This may be because everyone on the planet is a descendant of Myyah Hawwa, a creation of the Zohar/Kadomony.
The summary of Xenogears Episode IV in Perfect Works implies that humans only obtained the ability to use Ether around the year 9500, around the time of the Shevat-Solaris War. It is unknown if Ether was used before this.
Myyah believed those with Ether ability would be very desirable as parts for Deus. The Diabolos Collapse in 9501, which eliminated the majority of humanity, was done in order to see those with high Ether abilities survive and serve as the basis for the next wave of humanity.
Phenomenon Phase Shift Edit
In Perfect Works, it is explained that the Zohar's power is called Phenomenon Phase Shift - in short, it allows the Zohar to hear requests for desired outcomes, and manipulate reality so that those outcomes happen. The greater one's connection with Zohar, the greater their ability to affect reality as they wish.
Of the many representations of this ability, Ether is the most common. While the average Ether-user can only do things like "set this enemy on fire" or "heal my wounds", the greater one's connection with the Zohar is, the greater their ability to use Ether becomes. In the case of strong individuals like Citan Uzuki or the average Elements candidate, wide-area, highly destructive or restorative effects are possible. The Contact and the Antitype, as well as the Complement (Myyah Hawwa) all have theoretically infinite connectivity with the Zohar, but such power only manifests when they awaken.
Known methods of awakening include taking Drive in a highly traumatic situation, as well as witnessing the deaths of loved ones, but awakenings in such circumstances are temporary and generally berserk. In order to truly awaken, direct contact with the Zohar is required.
According to Perfect Works, even the martial arts techniques of Fei Fong Wong, which in-game are called Chi, are ultimately just Ether as well, as are Citan's Arcane Arts.
It is said that Lacan, prior to his death, used the full power of an awakened Contact to rain destruction using Deus's various defense systems, and personally killed the Gazel Ministry. He lost much of that power when he became Grahf, causing him to pursue Fei in an attempt to recover it. Despite being a ghost of his former self, Grahf still exhibits tremendous amounts of powers that only Id can equal.
Amplification and Artificial Use Edit
While most Gears are compatible with the use of Ether, more advanced models, such as Solarian Gears and Omnigears, sport higher Ether Response, amplifying the capabilities of their pilots. Basic Ether Engines simply supersize Ether abilities, such as turning a lightning bolt or energy beam into a Gear-sized lightning bolt or energy beam. More advanced Ether Amplifiers make those abilities more dangerous.
AERODS are a form of Ether Amplifier, turning a pilot's Ether abilities into the ability to control drones and ships with their thoughts alone, as well as fuel those drones with Ether energy to fire beams and lasers. It's stated that only the most powerful Ether users can control AERODS. Of the characters in the game, Elehayym Van Houten, Myyah Hawwa, Emeralda Kasim and Dominia Yizkor all use AERODS.
Ether may come from the word "aether," which is the Greek personification of the sky/heaven, from Aether, the substance that supposedly fills all of space and was often considered a fifth element in science and philosophy. Aether was also the substance which was breathed by the Olympian gods (as opposed to the aer, or air, breathed by humans).
Episode I database Edit
Short for "Especial Theory of Rudimentary."
A generic term to denote various types of special powers. It encompasses everything from paranormal abilities, to medical treatments using nanomachines, as well as the ability to control spatial dimensions using transference technology.
The Ether skills used by Shion, KOS-MOS, Ziggy, and MOMO can be categorized into two types: those using applied transference technology, or special skills which use nanomachines.
In real life, "ether" is a hypothetical medium with special light-conductive characteristics which is believed to fill air and space.