Starlust Condition in Solar Dominion | World Anvil
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Humans did not evolve to deal with space. Everything from how to behave in microgravity to orbital mechanics has to be learned and a huge portion of that is unlearning behaviours that are perfectly reasonable on a planet but will get you killed in space. Almost everyone adapts to life in space, given enough time and most of the time it is clear enough when a person has learned enough to safely give them more access and responsibilities.   A tiny proportion of people however suffer from a condition known as Starlust. Sometimes otherwise well-adjusted individuals will put on a pressure suit, grab a manoeuvring pack, step out of an airlock and jet off in the direction of another station, planet or even in rare circumstances another star. Other times, they might sign out a small skiff or shuttle and pick a similarly unreachable destination. If questioned, most will give only vague answers as if they are aware of the absurdity of their intentions but it is generally accepted that by this point a kind of psychosis has taken hold and the subject is no longer thinking clearly.   In many cases the psychosis wears off before the individual reaches the point of no return, and in a thankfully large number of cases the individual is reported missing, found and returned before they are lost. Whilst space is empty, and in theory any warm object is visible against the dark background of space, spotting a single shuttle or spacesuit in a crowded region of space such as near a space station is nearly impossible, doubly so if it is not broadcasting a transponder signal. Individuals recovered in this way are often dazed or confused, but generally don’t resist being returned. However, in too many cases, this doesn’t happen and the individual merely disappears into the black and is only found weeks or months later after their supplies have run out.   Individuals who have been recovered, or stopped before they could leave, tend to recover to something resembling their pre-psychosis mental state within a few days. Following an initial episode, almost ninety percent of subjects will relapse within ten years. In some limited cases, medication has helped limit the risk of relapse but evidence towards broader application of such treatments is minimal.   The easiest way to ensure that an individual who has suffered from an incident of starlust is to prevent them from accessing spacesuits or shuttles. It is recognised that for may sufferers, this is a significant change to their lives and many will resist this as it would mean the end of their careers. However, unrestricted, the average sufferer of starlust can expect to survive five years from the date of their first episode unless remedial actions are taken. As a result, there can be some reluctance for sufferers who have been stopped or have, in rare circumstances stopped themselves, from letting the proper authorities know. In addition, there is a significant social stigma against starlust sufferers in the spacefaring community. It is felt that they are a danger to those around them, despite the fact that there are no recorded incidences of a starlust episode causing harm to anyone except the sufferer.   Despite concerns that if one limits the access of a sufferer but still leaves the sufferer with access to space that they might just vent themselves into space unprotected. However, there are no records of individuals suffering from starlust ever venting themselves from airlocks or hangars without a suit. Ignoring their disregard for planning of long-term missions, they retain all their usual desire to preserve their own life and, in several cases have been known to abort their missions where a suit or shuttle has malfunctioned. Additionally, in most cases where an individual is unable to procure a suit or ship through means they would consider reasonable in their day to day lives this also ends their desire. For example, if they would not usually consider stealing a spacesuit, they would not steal a spacesuit during an episode.
Chronic, Acquired

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