Ampoliros is a legendary ghost-starship which existed Before Guild.
Ampoliros was a "starsearcher" spacecraft, in reality a limited-range interplanetary cruiser of class three, power amplitude 7.
In the legend the Ampoliros took on grander proportions, envisioned as a class nine, power amplitude 35, long-range explorer with the military capability of a support fighter. It was captained by Captain Fregonokon and a crew of 14.
It had set off toward the Niushe system in the year 480 BG (a significantly difficult journey in those days before faster-than-light travel) until about 2/3 of the way to their destination they came upon an abandoned cargo ship adrift in space; they examined it and upon returning they resumed their journey.
Two weeks later the entire crew was stricken by what must have been an anticytologic microspore (or by the colossal, crushing loneliness of deep space in other versions) and suffered from high fever, sweating, dizziness and dementia magnum resulting in group paranoia, the rarest form of psychosis. The legend was at times described the crew as suffering real or fanciful symptoms (such as emotional seizures, tremors of the eye muscles, ego hemorrhaging and braincell fusion); and was embellished by details such as having some of the crew die of fever or abandon ship alone in deep space or
In three weeks they became convinced that all of civilization had been destroyed by an invasion force of hideous aliens who attacked with unstoppable weapons from invisible starships. They radioed this information to all receivers using the widest spectrum of emergency bands where they told of their decision to strap themselves to their guns and fly until they ran out of stores, searching for the invisible aliens, hoping to attack and destroy at least some of them before starvation or the aliens killed them. After that, the Ampoliros was never found.
The legend said that the ship was searching the stars in the following millennia ever ready to attack; the time-dilation effect of near-light speed travel made the crew almost immortal. Often the story speaks of the crew engaging in attacks on other friendly vessels, planets, asteroids, and even imaginary targets such as scanner blips and psycho-projections.
It is first recorded as being part of the folk culture of Bela Tegeuse; from there it was carried to most of the planets of the pre-Guild system and during the post-Guild era it spread to scores of other planetary systems including Arrakis, Ix, Kronin, Reenol, Ecaz, Caladan, Bela Tegeuse, Giedi Prime, Gamont and all the planets of Niushe. It was often used to explain to children how allowing themselves to be carried away by imaginary fears could lead to real difficulties. It was also used to suggest to adults that too much idle time was destructive to a well-tuned army or skilled work force.
The legend is said to have been still popular well into the second millennium of Leto II Atreides's reign. But its popularity diminished as space travel came to be less of a factor in the daily lives of most communities.
"Forever prepared and forever unready" was often a phrase used to deride the crew of the Ampoliros and the state of any tactical force that has waited too long to be tested in a real fight.