I've been developing a species of fungus which creates a variety of drugs with hallucinogenic and increased suggestibility properties. The most useful strain of this particular fungi species can be used to 'control' individuals for a short period of time, a couple of hours at each exposure. Essentially Users do what and go where you tell them to do or go. Obviously this has the potential to take over any story-scenario it is used in, especially once its use spreads to other planets.
I need help explaining why a naturally occurring powerful drug doesn't dominate my universe.
TL:DR Basically I gave it a short shelf-life and restricted its growth to one planet.
- The drug is going to be used as one of several story-devices to help limit the impact of my various power groups, which would otherwise be overpowered.
- I developed the drug-device to explain why my power users had a slower-rise-to-power early history than was otherwise warranted. It gives them time to learn how things work, before developing a resistance/tolerance and becoming The Main Power.
- Once they have a developed powerhold, the drug can still be used to keep rogue/untrained elements in check, as well as make them cautious in certain situations.
- It gives the little guy the opportunity to control an unexpecting power player...for a short time...if they are brave and stupid enough.
- I don't want entire populations held under its sway by any Big Bad (follow link at own risk).
- Not looking to stop the drug-trade, just a particular story-device from dominating my universe.
- It is used in various time-periods.
- Not dependent on technology/knowledge level to produce, part of the basic plant-design.
- Easy to administer, to unexpecting Users.
- Currently working on natural spores or ground-up plant matter using natural methods of transportation. e.g. blown into an Users face or ingested etc.
To limit the drug's own story impact I needed to set some limitations on it:
- The most powerful and desired strain is difficult to cultivate in large quantities.
- It has a short shelf-life.
- You cannot stockpile large amounts of it for very long.
- Users can develop a tolerance, if used continually (for many months).
- I don't think it's addictive.
- Users themselves don't create demand.
- Those wishing to control the Users create the demand.
When the story is set on one planet with limited technology, power structures and travel times, I feel that this could be sufficient to ensure it doesn't become too overpowering.
However, when my one planet joins the larger Interstellar Community, I do not know if this would still be enough. I do not want any super-powerful Evil Corp or Big Bad to find this new drug, realise its potential, mass produce it and subjugate large numbers of their populations, or enemies. I do not want it freely available in large amounts in the wider universe, but at the same time I don't want to prevent its use off-world altogether.
- Interstellar Travel takes between weeks and months, it is not instantaneous.
Obviously I can get my home-world to try police the drug but once it gets out into the wider universe that becomes increasingly impossible. I do realise that there is no way to completely prevent its misuse by any Big Bad. I just want to make it realistically restricted in the sense that it doesn't become the answer to every problem. "...Just use those fungus-spores on him to get what you want!"
So I further limited the drug:
- Several planet-specific factors combine so that the fungus can only be grown and produced, with any proper potency, on the home-planet.
- Any Big Bads that manage, and afford, to artificially replicate the conditions of production are still limited by:
- The short shelf-life.
- Mass-produced fungus grown in lab conditions has less potency than natural fungus.
QUESTION: Is this enough, or too much, to realistically limit the funguses drug impact on my wider universe; What else can be incorporated into the basic fungus plant-design that could limit the drugs story-power?