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    Origins and Nature of Navigator "Deformities"

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    Origins and Nature of Navigator "Deformities"

    Postby SandChigger » 21 Jan 2009 20:18

    OK, so let's think about this in a logical and methodical manner.

    Supposition: Navigators are descended from Jihad-era human stock which was probably fairly normal other than exhibiting an aptitude for higher mathematics and prescient abilities.

    The question then is what are the sources of the physical deformities described for Navigators?

    Because they come along relatively late in the game, when presumably the shielding on ships and orbital or deep space stations has reached a high level of development, I think we'd be pretty safe in ruling out higher exposure to cosmic radiation as a possible source. (Acceptable assumption?)

    That leaves as sources:

    (1) Normal (random) genetic mutations under conditions of non-natural, non-Darwinian selection, accumulating over a period of ten millennia.

    (2) Aberrant ontogenesis due to low-gravity environments. (Non-genetic so not passed on, specific to individuals, but likely paralleled by many)

    (3) Genetic mutations resulting from excessive ingestion of melange spice and overexposure to melange gas, in generations following the introduction of the spice to enhance prescience. I assume such mutations would be expressed as changes in the body of the individual in the same way as a cancer might be. (Acceptable?)

    It is unclear whether Navigators can mate and produce viable offspring after they enter their final stages of (spice-induced) development. But even if they can, it is not certain that the mutations caused by the spice would be transmitted to offspring in the same way they manifest in the father. (Only mutations in germline/reproductive cells would be passed on.)

    So ... that gives us heredity and growth environment and level of spice exposure as the determinants of an individual Navigator's ultimate physical form (with a possibility of some influence of the spice on heredity and the form of the next generation).

    (How's this for a start? ;) )
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 21 Jan 2009 20:24

    Good start, and yes, that's a good assumption with the sheilding.

    I think all three of those are likely ideas, especially 1 and 3 - though I am not clear on whether FH ever really states that there are different stages of Navigators? One book I believe does state that a Navigator can mate and produce viable offspring with a regular human though. I'll see if I can track the quote down.
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    Postby mrpsbrk » 21 Jan 2009 22:18

    And since those Navigator guys are Geriatric-Spice gluttons, intaking huge amounts, any factor that would conduce to deformity would likely be expressed by a long time, making even small factors noticeable.
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    Postby SandChigger » 21 Jan 2009 22:32

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:Good start, and yes, that's a good assumption with the sheilding.

    I think all three of those are likely ideas, especially 1 and 3 - though I am not clear on whether FH ever really states that there are different stages of Navigators? One book I believe does state that a Navigator can mate and produce viable offspring with a regular human though. I'll see if I can track the quote down.

    It was among those passages I quoted the other night in the "Simon sketches" thread:

    FH in Heretics wrote:Guild navigators diverged widely from humankind's more common shape. Born in space and living out their lives in tanks of melange gas, they distorted the original form, elongated and repositioned limbs and organs. But a young navigator in estrus and before entering the tank could breed with a norm. It had been demonstrated. They became non-human but not in the way of the Bene Gesserit.

    Estrus is usually associated with females, though, so that's a bit weird, since we know of no female Navigators.

    And by "stage of development" above, I wasn't specifically thinking of the old Navigator Stages issue, only something more like "stage/period of life". ;)
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    Postby Schu » 21 Jan 2009 22:59

    Estrus is used to mean "most able to reproduce" in this context I think. So maybe when they hit their 30s they are relatively human, and afterwards they start metamorphosing and require tanks. I don't see any reason to presume there aren't any female navigators. We only meet a series of Edrics and the guildsmen in Dune (I'm guessing they're still young enough).
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    Postby SandChigger » 22 Jan 2009 00:37

    I was going along with the general assumption that males have stronger prescient abilities in the Duniverse than females. ;)


    (Where did you find reference to that older(?) meaning of estrus?)
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    Postby Schu » 22 Jan 2009 01:42

    I didn't find any other meaning for estrus, I just figured FH used it one would use it for "in heat" and generalised it to both genders. I didn't mean "used" as in "once upon a time", just as the ...um... present participle?

    I dunno about the male prescience thing. Odrade seems to be the only one in the latter duniverse that has any prescience (other than navigators of course, and Teg who kinda gets it by accident or something). Also, Paul and Alia seemed to have it pretty much equally (though Leto II seemed to be stronger in it than Ghanima).
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    Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 09:49

    SandChigger wrote:
    FH in Heretics wrote:Guild navigators diverged widely from humankind's more common shape. Born in space and living out their lives in tanks of melange gas, they distorted the original form, elongated and repositioned limbs and organs. But a young navigator in estrus and before entering the tank could breed with a norm. It had been demonstrated. They became non-human but not in the way of the Bene Gesserit.


    From that quote it sounds to me like it was something done intentionally to better assist them living in wieghtlessness and spice gas.

    I've never thought of it before but they could have intentionally bred for these mutations and perhaps later had help from the Bene Tleilax.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 10:02

    Baraka Bryan wrote:i can't really see them going to the BT for help like that though. they were jealously protective of their monopoly and having to rely on some other faction or school to support that would be a show of weakness and put them in a more vulnerable position. interesting idea though...


    It still sounds intentional though.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 10:09

    Baraka Bryan wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:
    Baraka Bryan wrote:i can't really see them going to the BT for help like that though. they were jealously protective of their monopoly and having to rely on some other faction or school to support that would be a show of weakness and put them in a more vulnerable position. interesting idea though...


    It still sounds intentional though.


    true.. i agree with you there... i just think they'd come up with a way of doing it themselves being geniuses and all..


    I'm not sure I buy their independance, [their] life itself and their prescient ability to navigate depended on the rarest and most dangerous substance in the universe.
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    Postby SandChigger » 22 Jan 2009 14:48

    I see what you're saying about "they distorted" sounding intentional, but I just took it as a description of the change.

    :?: :wink:
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    Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 14:56

    SandChigger wrote:I see what you're saying about "they distorted" sounding intentional, but I just took it as a description of the change.

    :?: :wink:


    I don't know, FH seemed to choose his words very carefully. Maybe "they" fit the haiku or sonnet it his head better.

    :puke:
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    On naviagots

    Postby Sole Man » 22 Jan 2009 16:59

    when my dad first explained DUNE to me, he said they had been living in Space for so long thier bodies had deteoriated. later, I said this was wrong; it was a result of being immersed in the spice gas to much. He said that your bone density gives out after awhile, rendering you a jelly-like blob. (I think my dad was going with the Lynch version)

    I hate to bring up the hacks, but they had a point in HUNTERS when they described the navigator as "A brain attached to a stem." (Or something like that.) Well, is possible thier minds are so expanded that they have so little need for bodies they're ready to discard them?

    Also, would every navigator look the same? Would some have bodily deformaties others didn't, like an extra arm orthe loss of gentialia, or something? Furthurmore, could there be any gender amognst flly developed navigators? Would they be able to producesperm or eggs, or just an intense concentration of human hormones?
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    Postby GamePlayer » 22 Jan 2009 17:29

    I definitely think 2) has something to do with Navigators. The Frank Herbert quote specifically reads...

    Born in space...


    ...suggesting that ontogeny begins even during their conception and through to their birth. I suppose the passage could also be interpreted to mean "they were born and raised in space, but not necessarily in zero-g", but from the context of the quote, I get the feeling Frank was thinking about low gravity or zero gravity. Or at the very least, the passage hints that removal of the Navigators from a "natural environment" (using this very loosely) and placement into an artificial environment located in space has obvious consequences for the ontogeny of the Navigators.

    But ultimately, I'd have to embrace 3) as the best catch-all explanation. Humans can grow into various sizes, shapes and states of being based upon what we ingest for nutrition. Especially in our current social climate of "healthy eating", there's been a lot of interest in what we eat and it's effects upon the human human body. Since the Spice in Dune possesses so many other amazing qualities when introduced into a bilogical organism, I'd say it makes for good "hand-wavium" when it comes to explaining the Navigators :)
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    Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 17:36

    I've always assumed that they floated in their tanks because they were conditioned to weightlesness.
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 22 Jan 2009 20:34

    Freakzilla wrote:I've always assumed that they floated in their tanks because they were conditioned to weightlesness.

    I don't think anyone's disputing this.
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    Re: On naviagots

    Postby SandChigger » 22 Jan 2009 22:48

    Sole Man wrote:when my dad first explained DUNE to me, he said they had been living in Space for so long thier bodies had deteoriated. later, I said this was wrong; it was a result of being immersed in the spice gas to much. He said that your bone density gives out after awhile, rendering you a jelly-like blob. (I think my dad was going with the Lynch version)

    "Deteriorated" is an evaluation of a natural adaptation reflecting the biases of the planet-bound. "Jelly-like blob" is a bit of an exaggeration; you would lose bone density (calcium is leeched out, IIRC) but never completely, because muscles need the anchor and leverage points that bones provide. Muscles would become weaker because you don't need to fight gravity to move around. After a point, returning to the surface of a planet would kill you.

    I hate to bring up the hacks

    Then DON'T. Seriously, since there is no way to prove whether anything they have written is based in any way on FH's ideas or simply an inferior creation of Kevin's, why even bring them up? Except to bash. :twisted:

    But think about that seriously for a minute. If you are "just a(n expanded) brain" and have no body, how the hell do you live and interact with a physical universe? You're either connected to some kind of machinery (that takes the place of a body) or ... you die from lack of sustenance (brains can't absorb nutrients from the environment; that's why we have bodies with digestive systems) or hang there in a suspensor field and go quietly crazy. You can't do much else without a body, because there's no telekinesis in the Duniverse. (So good-bye, Norma Gene! Your kind was never seen! :roll: )

    Also, would every navigator look the same? Would some have bodily deformaties others didn't

    If the majority of the "deformities" (physical changes) are a result of the overexposure to the spice, there should be individual variation. But there should also be common features, since bodies react in similar ways to the same factors.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 23 Jan 2009 09:50

    EsperandoAGodot wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:I've always assumed that they floated in their tanks because they were conditioned to weightlesness.

    I don't think anyone's disputing this.


    Well, my point is that they don't do that for fun, they have to because, as SC says above, you loose bone density in low-G.
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    on Navigator Spice-Gas

    Postby Sole Man » 23 Jan 2009 16:24

    The Spice gas might just be mass amounts of Navigator farts...which could keep them suspended inside thier tanks.

    (That might be the subject of thier next interquel- "Spice farts of Dune")
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 23 Jan 2009 17:32

    That was actually a major fuckup by the Hack in Sandworms. When a Navigator's tank is smashed, he falls to the ground, no longer being buoyed up by the air pressure.

    What a fucking retard. Does he actually think (or think that fans think) that Navigators are lighter than air and that's what makes them float? IT'S FROM SUSPENSOR FEILDS YOU HACK (or just a lack of gravity on a ship). There is no reason that the Navigator would have fallen to the ground when his chamber was cracked.



    What a fucking idiot.

    Fuck.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 23 Jan 2009 17:40

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:That was actually a major fuckup by the Hack in Sandworms. When a Navigator's tank is smashed, he falls to the ground, no longer being buoyed up by the air pressure.

    What a fucking retard. Does he actually think (or think that fans think) that Navigators are lighter than air and that's what makes them float? IT'S FROM SUSPENSOR FEILDS YOU HACK (or just a lack of gravity on a ship). There is no reason that the Navigator would have fallen to the ground when his chamber was cracked.



    What a fucking idiot.

    Fuck.


    What's even more retarded about is they published and unpublished chapter in RtD where Alia shoots a hole in Edric's tank and that doesn't happen.
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 23 Jan 2009 17:41

    Freakzilla wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:That was actually a major fuckup by the Hack in Sandworms. When a Navigator's tank is smashed, he falls to the ground, no longer being buoyed up by the air pressure.

    What a fucking retard. Does he actually think (or think that fans think) that Navigators are lighter than air and that's what makes them float? IT'S FROM SUSPENSOR FEILDS YOU HACK (or just a lack of gravity on a ship). There is no reason that the Navigator would have fallen to the ground when his chamber was cracked.



    What a fucking idiot.

    Fuck.


    What's even more retarded about is they published and unpublished chapter in RtD where Alia shoots a hole in Edric's tank and that doesn't happen.


    Thanks, I haven't read that. They are indeed idiots. :lol:
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    Postby Freakzilla » 23 Jan 2009 17:42

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:That was actually a major fuckup by the Hack in Sandworms. When a Navigator's tank is smashed, he falls to the ground, no longer being buoyed up by the air pressure.

    What a fucking retard. Does he actually think (or think that fans think) that Navigators are lighter than air and that's what makes them float? IT'S FROM SUSPENSOR FEILDS YOU HACK (or just a lack of gravity on a ship). There is no reason that the Navigator would have fallen to the ground when his chamber was cracked.



    What a fucking idiot.

    Fuck.


    What's even more retarded about is they published and unpublished chapter in RtD where Alia shoots a hole in Edric's tank and that doesn't happen.


    Thanks, I haven't read that. They are indeed idiots. :lol:


    The FH stuff is worth having the book for IMO.

    PM me if you don't mind reading PDFs. :wink:
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 23 Jan 2009 17:44

    I'll probably grab it at a used bookstore, I like having stuff like that on my shelf.

    Thanks for the offer though. :D
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    Postby SandChigger » 23 Jan 2009 19:13

    I guess we can quote them if we're showing they're wrong. ;)

    Panicked, Edrik swam backward in his tank, but he had nowhere to go. The muscular bodyguards did not care that he was inside the container or that exposure to the air would kill him. With thick arms, they swung their heavy sledges and smashed the thick plaz walls.

    Jagged cracks split out in starburst patterns, and concentrated orange spice gas whistled out through the breaches. The guards did not react to the mélange streaming into their faces, though the concentration should have made a normal human reel.

    Their bland-faced leader watched like a man smelling an approaching storm while Edrik's atmosphere drained out.

    When the air pressure was no longer sufficient to buoy him, the Navigator collapsed to the floor of his tank. Weakly, he raised his webbed hands and demanded answers in a voice that was little more than a gasp. The Guildsman and his companions offered no explanations.

    Withering and twitching, Edrik lay on the floor. He extended a rubbery arm and tried to crawl, but with all the spice gas draining away, the air was too thin. He could no longer breathe, could hardly move. Even so, the Navigator was slow to die.

    OK.

    1. Nothing in canon indicates that exposure to air would kill a Navigator. They're human, after all, dammit.

    2. Already mentioned: it wasn't the "air pressure" holding him up; it was suspensors. Obviously they haven't read any of the original Dune books for a while.

    3. Why would Edrik "wither"? If he were under greater air pressure normally, his body should in fact be bloating or expanding, when exposed to lower pressure. D'uhumb!

    4. Gas drained away, can't breathe: the fact that Navigator tanks were filled with spice gas doesn't necessarily mean that they were under greater pressure than the surrounding air. As they are still human, they need to breathe oxygen; surely they have not mutated to the extent that they can use the spice gas instead? Simple exposure to the air should not kill them.

    Apparently the only things they got right here are the rubbery arm bit and Edrik not being able to move if his tank were damaged and the suspensors failed.

    I'm wondering if they aren't just using a pair of simple analogies like Navigators = fish-like humans and spice gas = water. That would make sense, no? When water drains out of a fish bowl, the fish is left flopping helpless on the bottom. Fish gills can't process air, so the fish can't breathe and dies.

    Shit. Can they be that stupid? :shock:
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