LL and I were back at it with some more Microscope tonight, exploring the sci-fi history we started last week. Last session we defined the big picture, historical bookends, palette, and took a first pass at history and then a turn with me as the lens. The focus I chose to start us off was “psionics”, left deliberately vague so we could go wherever we wanted. LL finished off my lens turn by picking a legacy and adding a scene about that legacy, then she became the lens and chose the focus “The Retreat”.
Here’s what we learned about our history during this session:
- The psionicist who destroyed the Neu Essen colony emitted a psionic “scream” that was heard by many human psis for a great distance. It was also heard by alien psis from the race encountered during the Jump Point War. In a close-up scene, we see an alien psi, still shaken by the outburst, conferring with his nest-mates over the feeling-memory of the “scream”. He-she-it shared what he-she-it thought-felt-heard, and they likened it to an almost-death-time-feeling.
- A peace conference was held some time after the initial psionic dialog between humans and aliens resulted in a cease-fire between the combatants in the Jump Point War. The discussion was mediated by psi delegations from both sides. Among the results of that conference was a decision to create a place where psis from all races could gather to communicate knowledge and ideas and new psis could learn to use their gifts. This haven, which later became known as the “Retreat”, would be located off of the jump point network and be psionically shielded to isolate it from the outside universe.
- The aliens fought by humans during the Jump Point War are called those-who-survive-by-going (TWSBG, the nearest translation the psis could render) and are an r-selection creature from a harsh homeworld. They breed prolifically and have colonized the space within a wide range of their original world. Their thoughts make for odd translations when rendered into English. In addition to humans, they have met and befriended another race, called the Amoth.
- The site for the Retreat was found by extensive scouting missions. It would be built inside of a moon-sized planetoid with a high concentration of what the TWSBG call white-empty-curtain, a substance that shields against psionic transmission. In addition to the material composition of the planetoid, other factors that lead to its selection were the fact that its system was currently unsettled and it lay approximately two weeks travel from any known jump point. Its system is low-value commercially and strategically.
- During construction of the Retreat, aliens and humans worked together quite closely. There developed a slang-language-understanding between the participants that transcended psi-understanding-feeling. This might be the first step toward losing human distinctiveness in some sort of hybrid group culture.
- Following the peace conference and prior to the location of the Retreat site, Fleet Admiral Omar Nakamura convened a secret meeting of top security advisors and experts to discuss the possibility of a future “psionic threat” to human security interests. The conference discussed the substance known as white-blank-curtain, henceforth referred to by these parties as the “Omega Compound”, and determined that acquiring and studying this material, and eventually laying in a stockpile of it, was an operational priority. Nakamura issued an eyes-only document called the Omega Order, detailing for senior naval personnel the standard operating procedures governing the Omega Compound.
LL and I really riffed off of each other this session. She came up with the Retreat concept and I went back to the peace conference to find its genesis and made it into a shielded psi haven. She came up with the special mineral and I made the humans nervous about psis and want to go get some of that for themselves. LL also, in her flashback to the psi’s memory-feel of the Neu Essen event, introduced some of the character of the aliens, which helped me imagine them as fast-breeding brood-raisers who have expanded quickly throughout their local space. She essentially created their weird speech…but I grokked it right away and jumped into that game with her. We don’t know jack about the Amoth…just made that up on the fly so we’d have another pawn on the table.
So. Yeah. Microscope sorta rocks!
NB: Check out what we pass around to keep track of who is the current lens. Yeah. We’re geeks…but I bet you are too!