It was an instant success, the effect in workers' health and moral was beyond expectations, it was as if the spark of life was rekindled in the hearts of these men, for some of them lived every night in the middle-earth playing with hobbits and seeking for Gandalf, some lived each of the Arabian nights many times, enjoying the harem and the extravagance, some dreamed at being Jedi knights, samurai warlords, doctors, lawyers, politicians, people of conviction and significance.
After the initial success, a new rule was forged: "The length of the dream was to be determined by how hard and efficient one worked." The effect was dramatic and pretty much instant, the quality of labor quadrupled overnight. Workers worked with vengeance! Who would not work his heart out for an extra hour in heaven? Or even an extra hour between the arms of Calypso?
The dramatic success drew the advent attention of the Union, which decided to put more funds into the running research, as the whole case presented the potential to be successfully replicated on many other industrial facilities. The research resulted into many discoveries about human dreams and the different ways to control and supervise them. Among the great discoveries of that research, were the very impressive experiments about joint-dreaming, in which they were able to let two people -and later even more- share the same dream, not as in watching a movie together, but as in acting in a play together, so they co-dreamed, not just had the same dream. In which case one of the dreamers acted as the host, and was responsible for initiating the dream and setting up the scene, and the other dreamer(s) could then attend to his dream world and interact. This discovery was greatly hyped as one possible form for high efficiency communication, that can be utilized in the near future. This form of joint dreams was not however used with the red factory workers, for fear of strikes or organized rebellions. For as long as each of the workers dreamed separately in his own dreamworld, there was no foreseen danger to come of those dreams and therefore needn't be controlled or supervised (which was of course not without expense). The joint-dreaming was used instead to entertain the richest industrialists and guild-masters of the three colonies, and it met great commercial success.
But then, in a few years, the red factory met a problem that dangered the whole experiment. The workers simply couldn't dream anymore. In fact they dreamed, but their dreams became more and more convoluted and disturbed, and hence were less and less effective. The research team frantically investigated the almost epidemic problem, only to discover that it was almost unavoidable. Workers that spent years on the red planet naturally found it increasingly hard to dream of rivers or forests, they gradually forgot how such things looked like, felt like, smelled like. Photographs, video scenes and multimedia sessions didn't help much, and the option of giving them periodical vacations was simply too expensive (remember how dangerously new space-travel was at those days and how relatively precious energy was).
Now Frank -the youngest member of the research team- proposed a very daring remedy to the catastrophic situation (and it was very catastrophic indeed to the research team that was about to lose its funding and shut down). Frank thought that using the joint-dreaming (later called group-dreaming or co-dreaming) the problem can be solved, basing his theory on the fact that joint-dreaming was telepathic in nature, and therefore was not limited by conventional time-space rules and was out of the shackles of energy-matter physics. The idea was to have the host (the one who constructs the dreamworld) on a very different planet, and let the workers join his world experience the stimuli and effects that he can so fully and vividly reconstruct, after having personally and actually experienced just few hours ago. Taking the Idea further, there can of course be several hosts on several planets enjoying the marvelous nature of magnificent worlds, and not having anything to do but sleep and dream for 8 hours a day, that would be their work, besides maybe reading a fantastic novel or watching a nice movie now and then.
Now as strange and ridiculous as his solution might sound (and it was indeed met with skepticism and ridicule from his fellow researchers), it was quite inexpensive, and avoided space-travel as much as possible. The Union loved it! And as they saw it as the last hope for rescuing a huge venture, they pushed more money into the required research, and put Frank on the head of it all, neglecting the the envy of his seniors, and the heated scientific debate about the possibility of the experiment at all.
Frank's thesis stated that telepathy (and hence joint-dreaming) was unlimited by space as it was unlimited by time, that it was instantaneous! And thus the dreaming co-dreaming group can be thousands of light years away, without it affecting their capacity to co-dream or communicate, if proven right, Frank would have made a great leap, not only in the field on group-dreaming, but also in the field of cross-galactic-communications.
To be maybe continued ...