Transmission & Vectors
Overflow is a non-transmissible mental fugue state, though the sight of assembly-workers breaking down from Overflow likely impacts the chances of others breaking down in succession.
Overflow can be considered the mental equivalent of Power-related Ataxia, a repetitive-action condition that damages the body. In the case of Overflow, it is the mental drudgery of repetitive action over an extended period of time (can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to over a full season) that triggers the condition. This is highly dependent on the person - not everyone who spends their endless shifts rotating and aligning pressure cams goes mad. Notably, this is specific to manufactory work. Repetitive labor on the farms (as seen in the old system of Skapetry Serfdom) seemed to provoke no cases of Overflow among the farmers.
Sufferers of Overflow pantomime their work activity uncontrollably, with the first symptoms manifesting while the person is asleep - their hands will begin to repeat the task of their job, while they are asleep. Worse cases of Overflow have the victims doing this pantomime while awake, seemingly incapable of consciously stopping it (and some not even being aware of the actions of their hands and arms), while the most severe cases result in the person becoming largely catatonic, unable to do anything *except* imitate their work tasks. In terms of 'overall seriousness', Overflow pales in comparison to such conditions as Needlefish Poisoning or dependency on Clarity, and successful treatments exist. However, Overflow and its symptoms are uniquely concerning to all who work on the manufactory assemblage lines, as many see it as a descent from a person active in the Progress of the Principality of Etoile into being quite literally little more than a machine themselves.
Overflow is a condition that requires no special treatment; merely an extended stay at a sanitarium, away from the drudgery of work. Victims that are still conscious lose their physical tics after roughly a season, though most are strongly advised to not resume the same line of work as they held prior. Overflow victims in catatonia require both physical support (hand feeding) as well as mental stimulation (exposure to diverse sights and sounds), in order to revive the senses and restore their consciousness. The troublesome cases are those victims of Overflow that are unaware of their arm motions; they will loudly insist that they are fine and don't have Overflow, despite their condition being obvious. Many of these cases are instead handled with their Shift Supervisor, Principal simply firing them for their own health - the Overflow tic fades as they find another line of work.
The vast majority of Overflow victims recover from their breakdown within a season, with less than ten Overflow diagnoses in long-term support and hospice care at the Patino branch of the Healer's Covenant.
All supervisors of manufactory assembly lines are trained to watch for and prevent Overflow cases. The main method of prevention is rotating workers between tasks on a regular basis, to limit the number of times they perform the same repetitive motions. While this results in slightly lower 'efficiency', since there's always a set of workers doing something they're not immediately familiar with, cases of Overflow are extremely harmful to morale, and the Labor-Chief of a manufactory will press to ensure that none under their care become Overflow victims.
Overflow is another 'modern' disease of the Principality of Etoile, with the first cases arising after the first manufactories were built in Nasse, building weapons for the First Princeps' war effort in The War of Unification. The lack of knowledge surrounding the condition caused a number of severe cases of Overflow in those very first manufactories - the triple-shifts of the war effort in production of Power-Wagons and launcher turrets caused many workers to break down completely. Best practices were established when Patino, the Machine City was founded. Workers were strictly confined to their eight hour shifts (no more double shifts unless in exceptional circumstance) and the tell-tale signs of repetitive motion while off the assembly line were to be identified and the worker rotated off the task as soon as possible. Overflow cases, while still appearing in poorly run enterprises, have declined markedly since the early days of Power manufacturing. Patino records roughly a thousand cases of Overflow a year - while a high number, it is only a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands manning manufactory lines in the city, and constantly declining on a per capita basis.
Overflow has had a sizeable impact on early Etoilean society. In those heady early days, nearly everyone knew someone who had suffered an Overflow related breakdown, as the majority of work shifted to manufactory production and assembly lines. While the condition is not nearly as widespread today, Overflow remains a common topic of journal articles (How to watch for signs of Overflow being a perennial subject), artistic productions, literary serials, and so forth. While the condition was feared in the early days of the Principality of Etoile, its good prognosis of treatment means it is not subject to the same fear in the modern era, being simply a manifestation of overwork or poor management.
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild