Savants were the descendants of the original human colonists of the Sol system, after mutations entered their genome because of the Space Syndrome. These Savants had mutated special extra-normal abilities and characteristics.
By the mid-23rd century these abilities were recognised and entered the lingo of the colonists. The varieties of Savants ranged from useful to odd and were simply considered skilled individuals or geniuses. By the end of the century they were so common that the Recruitment divisions hired Savants for specific tasks.
- Zappers quickly located electrical or physical breakdowns in the station's systems.
- Chipheads engineered flawless hardware designs faster than the best computer systems, to the micro-level.
- Toolkits were preternaturally able to fix things with whatever supplies (even unlikely ones) were at hand.
- Crunchers handled complex mathematical calculations in their minds.
- Rabbitfoots were believed to bring luck to missions (although there is no empirical evidence to that).
- Compasses had an astonishing sense of direction. Even inside a station with artificially gravity, they knew instantly where the nearest planet or star, or any nearby astronomical objects were located. Because of intermarriage between the Pilgrim Savants, by the end of the 24th century Compasses developed three specific talents:
- Visionaries determined which systems would prove most valuable to expansion
- Explorers could navigate a slo-ship safely through unknown and possibly treacherous environments; and were responsible for the holo-cartography of new territories.
- Navigators expertly navigated any territory which had been explored, even without the use of traditional computational or cartographic aid. This can be attributed to Parallel Tonality.
As Lang Tanaka speculated, as the Neptune station was the farthest station from Sol, had perhaps the highest occurences of Space Syndrome Mutation, and therefore a highest concentration of Savants per capita. When Ivar Chu McDaniel preached his vision and his exploratory quest, at least a few of his followers would have the Compass ability. The McDanielists began to openly refer to Savants (specifically the Compasses) as "the Graced", were openly interested in recruiting them and encouraged them to intermarry and procreate.
After this, projects were funded to begin research on the Savants, although they were limited to chem-scans and brain-wave analyses which did not indicate any abnormalities. Rumors begun that the Pilgrims originated the method of gene-screening. Savants emigrated or went underground not allowing conclusive results. It was thanks to the Compasses that the Pilgrims gradually came to believe that they were "graced" by the universe, destined to expand to space.
The scientists of Earth funded a series of research which lasted over a period of more than 200 years. They discovered that the brains of most savants (particularly those born in the farthest reaches of space), had an unusual pattern of unevenly distributed convolutions with deeper and more intricately folded layers of tissue, notably near the brain stem and the left frontal lobe. Although these do not seem to respond to stimuli. But there was no advancement of the theory. A variety of reports was been made public only in the 27th century.
It was proven that Explorers could perceive distortions by the varying layers of dead dimensions stretched across them. These were triggered by various events in outer space that stretched different dimensions in different ways. Eventually, after much research and financial resources, Terran navigational computers could detect such distortions.