The Basics of Dust in Colors

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Colors of Remnant
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A World of Dust

Dust, going by its canon definition, is a naturally occurring energetic mineral that can be activated by the Aura of Humans and Faunus. It is not an exaggeration to state that Dust was the great equalizer which allowed Mankind’s survival in the face of the Grimm. Were it not for the discovery of Dust, the kingdoms of Remnant would not be standing today, and civilization as a whole would be nothing more than relics and ruins. Although much of what Mankind has achieved on Remnant is due in large part to their utilization of Dust, its origins are still far from being understood. How it is formed and what Dust actually is are questions yet to be answered. Whether it is for profit or for the sake of knowledge, Mankind has little qualm with exploiting this mysterious substance that permeates every aspect of life.

Dust's natural form emits a distinct "shimmering" sound and comes in the four basic types of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. These basic elements can be combined through natural and artificial means to form new Dust types with different effects. Yet, regardless of which elemental classification it can be, all Dust is reactive to Aura. The curious nature of Dust and its compounds become more apparent when considering that not much at all is known about it despite being mined from the ground and used for centuries. Research made into the subject, most notably the studies conducted by Atlas, has achieved headway in synthesizing Dust types not commonly found in nature. Despite the insights they have given into its nature, there have yet to be any solid conclusions drawn concerning the genesis and composition of Dust. One certainty Mankind has established is the fact that Dust is rendered completely inert outside of Remnant’s atmosphere, making the prospect of Dust-powered space flight impossible for Mankind.

Technology and Uses

Dust today serves as a power source for a vast majority of Remnant’s technologies, the sole source of energy that civilization relies upon barring some alternative technologies not widely utilized. This limited resource manifests as crystals, its raw and most stable form. Its crystalline structure provides it with a rigid composition able to withstand abuse up to the point of structural damage. Breaking the bonds within itself releases the elemental energy from its physical form, expelling it in an explosion. Crystals can, however, possess imperfections in their structure that affect the overall quality of the elemental reaction. The refinement process that converts Dust into powder form removes these imperfections, resolving that issue altogether.

The two distinct forms of Dust, whether crystal or powder, are both highly explosive, but powder form Dust is much more volatile and requires greater caution when handling for its own reasons. The large surface area of the powder compared to its mass makes it easier to set off and expend itself much faster compared to what can be achieved with crystal without a loss in energy. Many pieces of technology, especially weapons, use this property to their advantage, as the potency of powdered Dust serves to facilitate a much more energetic or violent reaction. Combustion Dust for use in motor vehicles, or the powder within Dust ammunition are the best examples of this difference in action.

While Dust can be wielded as crystals or in powder form as a weapon, proper discipline must be exercised or else the effects of its power will escape the user's control. The use of kinetic force or physical damage is enough to set off a stockpile of Dust, however Aura provides the best chance of actually controlling the resulting explosive power. Swinging around a flaming sword won't help someone win a fight if the fire can hurt them, too. Through Aura and proper training, a warrior is able to control the power of Dust, shaping it to their will and creating a much more effective weapon. Any sufficiently energetic disturbance can accidentally set off Dust and damage the surroundings, but effectively using Dust in combat takes a great deal of training in discipline and focus in order to obtain full mastery of the art.

Note: Since RWBY's canon material does not elaborate on certain aspects of Dust, we've decided to outline some characteristics of powdered and crystal Dust for the setting of Colors to give our members a foundation on which to base their individual concepts and make it less likely that any two individuals will contradict one another with their interpretation of the properties of powdered or crystal Dust forms.

Semblances, as they stem from Aura, can also receive additional effects from the use of Dust. Due to how Semblances differ in abilities from person to person, it is not always clear how Dust will interact with them, making experimentation a necessity for the wielder to best learn the most effective ways it can be used in tandem with their Aura techniques.

The most notable Dust practices involve its use in ammunition, as many rounds of varying Dust types are produced with many different situations in mind, allowing warriors to simply choose the right cartridge for the task at hand. Another way in which Dust is incorporated into equipment is the process of imbuing it into the material of the weapon, or creating systems that allow Dust to be channeled through the weapon.

More archaic forms of Dust manipulation exist, such as the weaving of Dust textiles for use in clothing. This technique is a branch of imbuing Dust that focuses on the infusion of the material with elemental energy before being made into clothing. The process varies, but the basic concept is similar to how Dust is channeled through a weapon or one’s body. The clothing acts simply as the medium through which the wearer focuses their Aura in order to activate the Dust and enact its elemental effects. It is an art form in and of itself.

Physical infusions of Dust, such as injections, have proven to be an effective, albeit unorthodox, method that enhances the body’s physical abilities beyond what Aura alone can grant. There is a limit to the amount of raw Dust a person can metabolize at a time before the elemental energy causes the body harm. This technique and others like it are incredibly dangerous without the protection offered by technology or the user’s Semblance or other similar means.

Note: The exact uses of Dust are limited only by imagination. This article was not created to impose exact uses of Dust on to others. Instead, it is here to give you an idea of the various canonical uses of Dust. The specific uses of Dust will be left to personal creativity and detailed on an individual basis for your specific character.

As a Power Source

The power of Dust is proportional to the quantity in use. Two Fire Dust crystals are more explosive than one, for example, if used together in the same reaction. Dust stored as powder can be utilized in more measured quantities, with weapons or technology drawing from them slowly or quickly depending upon need until the stores are depleted. Certain types of Dust are viable as fuel with numerous modes of transport running on some form of Dust, either directly or indirectly. In example, the Argus Limited train makes use of a Gravity Dust lining on its rails to achieve levitation for high speed traversal and most electronics on Remnant derive electrical power from the current generated by Lightning Dust.

Although Dust can be used as a power source, an appropriate system must be utilized in order to make use of that power. Dust converts from its physical form into pure elemental energy, the process generally being a release of energy in all directions, uncontrollable unless directed through a medium. Lightning Dust, as a widely used source of energy, requires wiring and related mechanisms in order to safely convert the raw electrical discharge into a usable form of current, for example.

The Four Basic Dust Types:

Fire/Burn Dust – Red in color and of the fire element. It is capable of creating fire in all its various forms, including fireballs and walls of fire.

Water Dust – Blue in color and of the water element. This Dust creates water, capable of forming into small and large bodies, from droplets to waves.

Rock/Earth Dust – Dark orange in color and of the earth element. Everything from stone pillars to large boulders are possible with this type of Dust.

Wind/Air Dust – White in color and of the air element. Can create anything from a small breeze to a gale with destructive potential.

Additional Dust Types:

Combustion Dust – This bright orange Dust is a derivative of Burn Dust commonly used as a source of fuel in combustion engine technologies, such as sports vehicles or some types of airships.

Lightning Dust – This Dust is yellow in color and generates bolts of lightning and electrical currents.

Magnetic Dust – Metallic or silver in color, a mixture of Gravity and Lightning Dust that creates an electromagnetic field.

Gravity Dust – Purple to black in color, this is a unique Dust type usually found at high altitudes. This Dust type allows the manipulation of gravitational fields. Projectiles and thrown weapons can be both launched or recalled with its use, it can be used to both push or pull.

Hard-Light Dust – This is an artificial Dust type created by Atlas that possesses a cyan color. Using this Dust type, one can create solid objects out of light energy. The most common example of this is its use in barrier technology. Many modern conveniences make use of this Dust type from Scroll screens to holographic displays. There is only a limited supply of it outside of Atlas where it's produced, making it quite the commodity for civilians in other parts of the world.

Ice Dust – Light blue in color and of the ice element. The user can create many forms of ice such as sleet, blizzards, or even icebergs using this Dust type. It is made from a combination of Water and Air Dust.

Steam Dust – This bluish-grey Dust is a combination of Burn and Water Dust that generates clouds of steam. This Dust was conventionally used in many pieces of older transportation technology including airships and trains in the past.

Plant Dust – Green in color and associated with plants. Effects are as of yet unknown.
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