This time, the OtherSpace apocalypse happened offscreen.
We’ve toppled the sand castles here before, with crises like the Kretonian Invasion and the reality-shredding rifts, in which our real-time participants in the thick of it all had to deal with the chaos around them as it happened.
Although certainly momentous occasions, they also had the at times unappreciated effect of wrecking a player’s expectations. Maybe the player didn’t want their character to lose that favorite tavern on Ungstir. Maybe they didn’t want to leave behind the colony world they helped build. Maybe they simply didn’t want the guy running things to railroad them into a new vision of the MUSH.
Well, I can’t guarantee that won’t ever happen again. Change is important, and sometimes we need to shake up the story to keep it fresh. But, this time around, the thematic shakeup is happening when most of the OtherSpace playerbase is dormant.
And what, exactly, is happening?
The iteration of OtherSpace that we ran on Slack took place in the classic era, circa 2650. Initially, as I pondered which way to go with the MUSH if we revived it, I considered taking the story to the turn of the 28th Century – 2699.
And then I thought: well, that’s hardly novel at all. It’s barely a blip on the timeline. Not even a half-measure. After all, we’d once taken the story in the first decade of the 31st Century and beyond.
If we’re going to do this, I figured, let’s REALLY do this.
So now, as OtherSpace starts anew, we’re in the year 4999, on the brink of the 51st Century – and all the old familiar regions of the Orion Arm are in ruins. Sometime during the 28th Century, an alliance of scientists from the Parallax and Consortium developed teleportation technology intended to make it possible to haul people and cargo from star system to star system without spacecraft. During a test of the new device on a platform near Castor, the rip in space-time known as the Quantic Breach opened. From the breach erupted creatures – some bigger than the largest starships, some about the size of a human – that mindlessly and without mercy swarmed the known worlds.
A survivor fleeing the system toward the deepest reaches of the Orion Arm – Dr. Camila Ochoa – recalled cataclysmic creatures from her ancient Mexican culture: the tzitzimimes. Over time, most people just took to calling them the Zims.
In the centuries since the Breach and the coming of the Zims, space travel and subspace communications are hazardous prospects, too often drawing the attention of the demons among the stars. Descendants of survivors from the old worlds like Earth, Nalhom, and Vollista now hunker down on the Hekayti colony planet Ashkodt (site of a one-off OtherSpace plot some years back).
Factions have formed around four major settlements along the Kurv River, in the Strauck Plains, and in the volcanic ridge known as the Sur.
The Luminate: Headquartered in Corona University, near where the Kurv opens into the Omfa Sea, this faction attracts those who are motivated to explore, to learn and evolve, and to promote advances in technology (with a care to avoid drawing the Zims to Ashkodt).
Reckoners: Headquartered in the hunting lodge compound of Hemingway on the Strauck Plains, this faction is appealing to those who want to live off the land and conquer even those things that seek to destroy them. Someday, they want to go back to the Orion Arm core worlds, destroy the Zims, and take back what was lost.
The Verance: Headquartered in the steampunk-ish town of Prudence not far from the origins of the Kurv River, this faction is extremely worried about how far the Luminate might go with technology. They’re not total Luddites, but they see little value in space travel and do what they can to infiltrate the Luminate and, if necessary, sabotage efforts that are deemed too likely to bring the wrath of the Zim to their world.
Demonium: Headquartered in the sulfurous hellscape of the Sur, northeast of Hemingway, this faction sort of admires the bloodthirsty focus of the Zims and thinks that, perhaps, what started with the Quantic Breach should be finished on Ashkodt. They are, more or less, a doomsday cult. If they can get their hands on the right technology (such as a subspace transmitter), they could attract the Zims to scourge Ashkodt and hurry the demon followers off to the glorious Halls of Hades.
As our story begins, these factions are cool to each other, but no outright conflict rages.
That could, of course, change in time – depending on choices the players make as the story progresses.