Sword of the Stars

Human Technology

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Subspace Edit

The discovery of the so–called "subspace" dimension has allowed Human propulsion engineers to take advantage of the gravitational stress fractures of the universe. The principle at work is simple: four–dimensional space time appears to have a crystalline structure, and massive bodies such as stars and black holes create distortions in the space–time continuum. These distortions are connected by breaches of space–time known as "subspace". In essence, subspace is an interstitial dimension, which connects one gravitational distortion to another.

Connections between massive bodies in subspace are formed by means of similar "resonance" frequencies between the two gravitic "nodes". The causes of this "resonance" cannot be fully explained without resorting to the esoteric extremes of Starstring Theory, but the practical result is that the distance between any two nodes in subspace is highly compressed, relative to the positions these two Nodes might occupy in ordinary space–time.

A Human vessel equipped with a Node drive can enter and leave subspace at will, and thus traverse the compressed distance between nodes very rapidly. (Details on Human node drive sections featured in the game can be found here.) When the vessel emerges from subspace again, it will have traversed a great distance in a short period of time, thus effectively achieving superluminal speed. This "faster–than–light" travel is possible between any two points which are connected by a fracture line.

Chains of nodal connection between stars are sometimes referred to as "starstreams", a term coined by the first subspace traveler, Blasky Yao Hsiang. However, the phrase "starstream" can be somewhat misleading. Although the Node connections between stars do form a sort of chain, if plotted through ordinary space–time, a Human ship traveling in subspace will not be crossing those regions of space as a physical object. The only evidence of the ship's passage in ordinary space–time is a series of gravitational pulses, which indicate the presence of the vessel in subspace. Although a sufficiently sensitive scanner might be able to determine the mass of a Human fleet in motion or the number of vessels traveling together, those vessels cannot be contacted or intercepted in ordinary space–time.

Subspace Influence Edit

People who have not yet seen nodespace seem to think that it closely resembles normal space–time. It does not. Several laws of physics operate differently within these cracks in the universe — light and matter tend to accelerate and bend in unexpected ways. People and particles can both behave oddly, the effects of nodespace are not predictable.

A majority of Human spacers would do almost anything rather than exit through a hatch while in transit through nodespace. Most portals are darkened or shuttered during nodespace journeys. There's a reason for that. Because if you exit the ship in nodespace, you don't know if you'll come back in.

Everyone has heard the stories. The guy who saw something. The gal who heard something. And those stories aside, there are the irrefutable facts: sometimes when people spend too long looking out into nodespace, they develop a well–nigh irresistible urge to leave the ship.

And if they go outside...sometimes they stay outside. And never come back in.

If you can restrain the person until you exit nodespace, the urge to exit the ship appears to depart. However, the malady is insidious, and those who have succumbed to it are rarely trusted again.

Node Drives Edit

The Node Drive is based on the "gravitic" principle. The four–dimensional fabric of the universe is distorted by objects with mass — we call this distortion gravity. In the SotS universe, massive objects not only distort space–time but can actually fracture it, creating unpredictable but naturally occurring fault–lines in the space–time continuum. In these fault–lines, there is an interstitial dimension in which slightly different physical laws prevail — we call this region "node space".

The Node Drive of today has two functions: it generates raw thrust for maneuvering and propulsion on the one hand, and on the other it provides a tuning fork by which the fracture lines of the universe can be detected, opened, entered and exited by an object with a significant mass of its own. The node ring was originally designed to be a scanning array, and it still achieves the Node Effect by focusing on the nearest star and producing the same "scanning wave" in a controlled fashion. When the Node Drive is engaged, the ship itself briefly acquires the properties of the stellar body being scanned — for a moment the universe is "tricked" into believing that the ship itself is a tiny star, and a minute mini–fracture opens, allowing the ship to enter node space.

Effectively, the breaches in space–time become visible and accessible. This takes a significant expenditure of energy, of course, and there is no guarantee that the engine will be able generate enough thrust for even a heavily foreshortened jaunt across space time — if the distance between nodes is too long, the ship might well find itself stranded.

It is always possible to exit nodespace — stars and planets per se do not exist within the interstitial dimension — so if you needed one to get out, every ticket to nodespace would be one–way. It is finding points of entry and pathways within nodespace that can be a problem.

All forward and maneuvering thrust aboard a Human vessel is otherwise created by simple mass–to–energy conversion, the principles of which are understood by all star–faring races.

In general, all of the other races have a similar attitude toward Human FTL drive tech, which is something to the effect of:

"Where did you go, you little — !? Why I oughta...Damn it, just smash everything in sight until you find the damn monkeys!"

Cybernetic Interfaces Edit

A cybernetic enhancement for data management, like Cai Rui's, is very common among SolForce officers above a certain rank. It is much more rare to see such a device among civilians and lower–ranking servicemen. If you see someone "wired" in civilian life, it is almost always because he or she is ex–military of the officer class or very wealthy and well–connected.

Spinal shunts for the operation of mechanical equipment are more common among enlisted men and women. Getting a "boost" is considered a career–enhancing modification, as it allows a soldier to work in the engineering and gunnery sections of a ship, as well as being able to operate heavy loaders, brawler suits and remotely controlled devices like grappling hooks with more finesse. "Boosters" are easily fitted with cybernetic replacements for lost limbs and organs as well, and they find it easy to find work in various industries if they cashier out of the service. Some of them put their cybernetic enhancements to work in the merchant marine or use them to make their own colonial ventures easier.

As for genetic engineering — it is not a terribly glamorous science among Humans. The vast majority of Humans have an unreasoning love of their own DNA and tend to pass it on to their offspring without modification. Most of the work done on the general population has been to eliminate a number of heritable disorders, like Tay–Sachs syndrome, from the population. On highly developed worlds like Terra itself, other types of genetic disorders and birth defects are eliminated during the fetal stages, and so have become virtually unknown. In places where medical care is less advanced, it is more common to see a child with something like Trisomy 18 live to adulthood.

This being said, there are rumors that some military research facilities are actually working on "improved" Humans. But as always, most people dismiss these rumors as conspiracy theory, including the majority of SolForce personnel...

Pages in category "Human Technology"

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