A couple of posts ago I discussed the Sanity Drive idea. What I posted was raw and right off the top of my head. The next day I sat down and did some serious thinking about the concept. That involved the post about Space Weird and I wrote out a bit more of a fleshed out version of the idea. Certainly not complete, it will give you a much better idea of where the idea is coming from and where I am going with it. So here it is – the expanded idea that involves Sci-fi and Lovecraftian horror.
The Far Future
Humanity has taken to the stars. We expanded broadly, across many galaxies without any issues beyond what may be expected. Organisations sprung up to boldly take humanity where it had never been before. Nearly all of these organizations profited greatly in the expansion.
Eventually, the organizations began to receive troubling feedback from their missions. It seemed the findings of these missions began to disprove set scientific methodologies. Some scientific truths that had held for centuries seemed to begin to turn on their head. These irregularities though existed only beyond what appeared to be a haphazard boundary.
Missions beyond this boundary began to fail and disappear. Others would arrive in the targeted location adrift and crewless. Sometimes drives simply failed to move the ship once it had arrived. Nothing would be wrong with them from a mechanical or design perspective. They just would not operate.
Other ships that had gone beyond the boundary and returned had strange effects surround them in normal space. The crew would all succumb to madness, or a plague would spread among the system they returned to. Even stranger things have been recorded, though none proved beyond all doubt. The systems this occurred to would then fall into disarray and where things were once normal, they would collapse and act as if they had been beyond this boundary all along. Whole colonies started to disappear after these changes embedded themselves in a system.
Humanity’s greatest minds chartered scientific missions. They sought to push beyond this boundary and find the truth to these anomalies. They had never once considered that what lay beyond the boundary may actually be the truth of existence as opposed to the exception to it. Most of these missions were never heard from again. Only the vessel Navire d’Amour returned whole. The crew were no longer recognizable as the brave souls that had embarked on their mission. Instead, it was crewed by extra-dimensional beings consisting only of swirling colour.
Through the vessels logs, the following was pieced together. The colony that the vessel had been received by, Lande Foudroyée, succumbed to the most horrendous torture. The logs were complete with the name of each of the 473 colonists that were known to be on site at the time of docking. Each name had a complete description of events, some recorded video in instances, of how they were destroyed. Some colonists went mad and killed others. Others were dissected, tortured and all manner of horrific events by the creatures of the ship. Those that escaped the more horrific causes of death contracted a wasting disease that was ultimately fatal. The final act of these beings, before seemingly vanishing, was to beam the contents of the ships logs directly to Earth in a tight beamed laser communication.
Nobody is certain if this was a threat, a warning or some completely alien proclamation. It certainly did not stop the exploration of space beyond the boundary. It accelerated it.
The acceleration was focussed on finding the exact boundaries of altered space. Ships would place a “reality” marker in a system that was safe and then jump to the next system. If it was beyond the boundary the reality marker would remain active otherwise the captain would activate a new one and send a communication to the previous beacon to deactivate it.
Engineers and scientists worked in close concert to create a new system that was attached to their faster than light drives. These systems would activate if the sensors picked up anomalies from altered space. The system then creates a bubble of “normal” space around the ship allowing it to operate as expected. This could take up to a week to occur and became known colloquially as sanity drives. On more than one occasion these drives returned the crew to a sane state after having been immersed in madness for a time.
Despite the effectiveness of these drives, they are not perfect. Being returned to sanity and finding the depravities that had already committed was enough to send some back into madness. Also, the further into the “Weird” space the ship finds itself, the longer the bubble of reality takes to create. Many ships with these drives attached to them are simply still never heard from again after crossing the boundary. Beyond that boundary there are creatures, planets, beings, moons, your own allies and all other manner of things that can simply change state. Physics holds no truths beyond the boundaries that can be depended on – even mathematics has been known to fail there.
Those in the central systems of regular space live without fear of these happenings. It would take a century at least for its effects to be on their doorstep. Those that live in the mid to outer reaches live in absolute terror of the space beyond the boundary. Humankind has stepped beyond their limits and found that the Universe holds more than they could have ever imagined. Despite the terror from beyond the boundary, there is money to be made in finding it, and some of the alien discoveries beyond the veil also. Will it see the end of humanity, or will we change and adapt to that which is unknown?