The collaborative story-telling world of Ornithopter that Greg and I have created is not Dune. But it is mighty similar. One of the things we discovered in the last session was that Glaucus, Oracle Spice, is the stuff that makes interstellar travel possible. Much like Melange. What does this mean?
Space travel must have predated the discovery of Glaucus because it exists on only two planets in the galaxy, as far as anyone knows. Humans must have travelled to these locations to find it in the first place.
Dune lists the Hotzman field as being the key discovery that allows space travel. The field is also used in a number of other devices, including the popular personal shield. However the calculations required to navigate ‘hyperspace’ are hideously complex. So complex that in the Dune universe it was virtually impossible because they had no ‘thinking machines’ as a result of the Butlerian Jihad. Presumably the early explorers jumped about almost at random till they discovered the powers of Melange.
In Ornithopter we have had no anti-AI event. Instead, AI and VR are considered beyond human technical capability.
Here’s my take on the matter, and if it is too close to Dune then too bad. Or perhaps good. I’m not sure.
There is a field effect, name unknown as at 20060227, that can shield a body with mass and move it through a hyperspace dimension in order to disappear from one 3D location and reappear in another 3D location. Time elapsed = zero. However, like the Infinite Improbability Drive of Hitchhiker’s Guide, the mass passes through every point in the universe simultaneously as it does so. The trick in this process is to select from the infinite number of locations the exact one in which you want to reappear.
Psychics of a certain kind, name unknown as at 20090227, can visualise these infinite locations. They do it by foreseeing all of the possible places where they could be in the future and then selecting the future that they want. And that is where they, and the ship they navigate, reappears.
This can be done by advanced psychics as a matter of course but it is difficult, dangerous and subject to a high probability of error. In the early days it was good enough to explore, but the cost in lives and property was high.
Then Glaucus was found. This substance enhances those psychic powers of foresight, amongst others, and suddenly made space travel safer, and therefore cheaper, and therefore the most valuable commodity in the galaxy.
And the rest of this story must be found through play, I’m thinking.