Friday, April 20, 2012

There and Back Again: Hyperspace Dives, Alcubere IP Drives, and Interstellar Communication

Warning: Hyperlinks to any webpage to have been scientifically and clinically known to cause massive time loss in the browsing of its contents. you have been warned.

As many fans of sci-fi know, both of classical rocketpunk and modern Space Opera alike, the centerpiece of many speculative fiction set amongst the stars are the spacecraft, and the central technology that many fans have heard about in one form or another is the propulsion system used to allow humanity and similar sapient extrasolar species to escape the isolated island that is the Sol System and spread out amongst the universe.

The saga that is the Crongus Wars, as a space opera, is no stranger to the trappings of FTL travel and communications in the form of the Hyperspace Warp Dive System, the interplanetary Mittespacetime Metric Manipulation Warp Drive, Quantum Entanglement Tele-Transportation Relay Network, and the Interstellar Aetherspacetime Resonance Communication System throughout all of human settled space. Each has its strength and weaknesses, its contributions and limitations to human civilization as a whole and this blog entry addresses the general description and usage of what has allowed humanity to reach the stars.

Hyperspacetime Warp Dive System (HWDS)

Late in the Twenty-Second Century of the Common Era Calendar, before the maelstrom of chaos and brutality that was the Great  Global War, the humans of the Golden Age discovered that in addition to the spacetime that has been known to science since the age of Albert Einstein, there were two other parallel yet alternate spacetimes that coexist with what was known in antiquity as Normal Space but rechristened as Mittespacetime in later eras: Aetherspacetime and Hyperspacetime.

Aetherspacetime was a quagmire of primordial energies that existed since the dawn of time. In fact, there exists only two primordial forces that could be detected by humanity: Gravity and a Superforce comprised of Electromagnetism, the Strong and Weak Nuclear Forces. Even up to the the age of the Crongus Wars, only energy had ever ventured into the realm of Aetherspacetime.Some cosmologists have theorized that Aetherspacetime is more of a four dimensional spacetime rather than the normal five dimensional spacetime of Mittespacetime and Hyperspacetime.

Hyperspacetime was the holy grail of interstellar travel in that it was then theorized that it would allow faster-than-light travel without violating the core law of Special Relativity. As the name implies, Hyperspacetime has Non-Euclidean dimensions that cannot be easily transcribed with Mittespacetime locations, yet it is essential to allow humanity to settle the stars. From what data could gather, the general environment of Hyperspacetime had a rather interesting parallel to the end of the universe as physics knows it.

In fact, these data of the parallel spacetimes seem to resemble the lifespan of the universe: The Big Bang as represented by Aetherspacetime, the modern era that is Mittespacetime, and the Heat Death symbolized by Hyperspacetime. Though they are separate and independent, all three spacetimes interact with one another through the primordial force of gravity though there have been evidence to suggest another primordial form of energy that link the parallel spacetimes together. How for either processes had been a mystery but several theoretical scientists have suggested and then later proven through experimentation that in between the spacetime is a kind of barrier that was known simply as subspace which caused the gravitational link. The warping of spacetime by gravity is translated through to the other spacetimes by the displacement of subspace.

There have been attempts to study subspace to understand its nature, however it reacted violently. The only saving grace was that all subspace vortexes are inherently unstable and that the only thing that kept them stable long enough for scientific observation is the equipment that drew subspace out in the first place: Turn the machinery off and the subspace vortex closes.

As for the unknown energy, many theoretical physicists are divided into the purpose of the strange force, though they are united from data and observations that the energy flowed from the high-energy plane of Aetherspacetime into the low-energy of Hyperspacetime, which as per the Law of Conservation of Energy, either contributes or causes the expansion of the universe as a whole.

The HWDS Drive was accidentally discovered by the Alliance of Nations during the Great Global War that dominated much of the Twenty-Third Century during their research into an orbital weapon that would take out Anti-Satellite Batteries and other strategic assets and targets of the Coalition of Nations from their military fortresses upon the lunar territories.

Yeah, I know what you're saying. The notation of an Alliance of Nations and a Coalition of Nation sounds suspiciously familiar with the faction of a certain videogame.....

Let's put it on record that my history idea predated it. That and due to the difficulty of interplanetary travel by that point in history, the Great Global War is limited to the Hill Sphere of the Earth. Especially with the technological limitations of the Survivor States compared to the supranational states of the Golden Age. Alright then, let's continue.

When the proposed weapon was first used upon lunar proving grounds owned by the Alliance of Nations, its first target was a derelict circumpolar lunar satellite. Upon the activation of the weapon, the vortex of subspace occurred upon the weapon itself while a singularity appeared at the location of the derelict satellite. Once the dust settled, it was found that instead of the unfortunate demise of both the satellite and the then incorrectly termed Hyperspace Vortex Cannon, they simply switched places: The flash, though mostly subspace, was actually the compensation of the weapon's mass compared to the satellite along with the difference in velocities between the two by the capture of ambient cosmic and solar radiation that occurs naturally within space.
Though the Alliance of Nations soon refined the Hyperspace Vortex Cannon to the point that it could strike targets upon the Earth's surface, though limited to strategic assets: conventional arms and grunts were used to capture and occupy territories and all that implies, it wasn't long before the foundation of humanity's FTL drive was conceived.

Surviving corporations on both sides of the conflict were able to refine the concepts of what would be called the HWDS Drive in later centuries in parallel to mass construction of the Hyperspace Vortex Cannon. These designs were then secretly sold the equipment to desperate refugees who feared that the war would spread to the scientific outpost and shantytown colonies scattered throughout the Sol System and wanted to get as far as possible. This event became known at the time and by historians and scholars as the Hyperspacetime Drive Enigma since it has not been known exactly how these companies were able to sell the HWDS drive under the auspices of the Alliance of Nations and Coalition of Nations. It started with a few ad hoc starcrafts, then makeshift constellations and finally the famed Exodus Fleets, with the two largest that would ultimately become the militant, xenophobic and expansionist nation-states of the United People’s Democratic Socialist Confederation of Marx-Shaw and ImperialIslamic Union of Extrasolar Emirates that had left in the year 2272 of the Common Era calendar when they dove out from the Sol-Earth Lagrangian Points 1 and 2 that mark the boundary of Earth’s Hill Sphere. It was at this time did the leadership of both the Alliance of Nations and the Coalition of Nations realize that there was a significantdecrease in available personnel to fight the Great Global War.

Many of the old guard of both belligerent parties feared that the Great Global War might lead to the extinction of the human species as a whole, especially since they have heard reports of the deteriorating condition of the refugee “shantytowns” that literally besieged the scientific outposts of Mercury, Mars, and Callisto. Thus they conspired to launch interplanetary colonization constellations to both Venus and Mars with enough genetic diversity, equipment, and supplies to ensure humanity’s continued existence if the Great Global War did end in omnicide on Earth; The red planet was allotted to the settlers of the Alliance while the sulfuric clouds of Venus would be populated by the Coalition to join up with the other sky laboratory outposts founded during the Golden Age. The new blood of both the Coalition and the Alliance saw this project as treachery and had subsequently executed these general and flag officers before they gathered the remains of their respective constellations of combat spacecraft to halt and possibly draft the refugees from what would have been the largest singular Exodus Fleet in history. 

This action caused a terrible massacre infamously known as the Exodus Scattering and had directly leaded to the last orbital battle of the Great Global War. A great majority of historians and scholars have agreed that the battle in 2273 marked the end of the Great Global War and the start of the Terran Dark Ages, marred by the remnant forces and militia of both the Alliance of Nations and Coalition of Nations whom battled each other and unfortunate survivors who attempted to rebuild civilization that was smashed apart by the conflict. These remnant forces would also, in later generations, found the many Post-Apocalyptic Civilizations upon the Earth.

At its fundamental core, the HWDS Drive requires the presence of a strong gravitational well such as those produced by stellar massed objects like stars or a Jovian planet. The closer an HWDS Drive equipped starcraft is to the center of the gravity well, the more efficient the performance. Due to this requirement, many Dive-In Vortexes are made at the rotational poles of departure celestial bodies. Though strangely enough the Dive-Out Vortex emerge along the equatorial plane of the destination celestial body in question, since mathematically the Dive-Out Vortex should appear at the rotational pole opposite of the departure star’s rotation pole. However at the same time period, the starcraft’s mass and velocity must be exchanged with stellar plasma and ambient radiation at the destination star in order to preserve the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Meaning that the Dive-Out Vortex appears as a black hole or singularity, or more accurately the theoretical event horizon of a wormhole, and the Dive-In Vortex appears to be a directional coronal mass ejection.

Yet, there are gravitational quirks that expand the number of Dive-In points within any stellar planetary system: Barycenters and Lagrangian points.

As the term implies, the Barycenter are points of gravitational balance between two or more celestial bodies in rotation. However the ideal and sought after barycenters are those of a multiple star planetary system in which the barycenter itself is of a comfortable distance outside the photosphere of either host star. Such stellar planetary systems have immeasurable strategic and economic value due to the fact that barycenters typically do not have the hazard of stellar plasma or planetary surfaces to contend with and have also made such starsystems the hub of many interstellar nation-states. Not only that, but the two orbital stars also grants a boost of a stellar massed object equal to the sum of the two stars, which also means that the HWDS dive can be deeper and allow for a farther reach for starcraft. Yet, for traffic control purposes, the rotational poles of the barycenter are designated the Dive-In Only zones.

Lagrangian points have their usefulness in HWDS Dive-In zones as well, with the Dive-In routes perpendicular to its orbit. However, due to the miniscule gravity well compared to even jovian planets, Lagrangian points are limited to only interplanetary distances and are not an ideal competitor to M3WD systems in terms of travel time. Yet militarily, Lagrangian dives have two major advantages over M3WD equipped interplanetary spacecraft: HWDS Drive equipped combat starcraft cannot be fired upon en route and the destination is not known with absolute, mathematical certainty. Still, such HWDS Drives engineered to perform Lagrangian Point Dive-Ins or even drives that are sensitive enough to perform such actions are outside the budget of stellar defense forces, rather they are the monetary domain of interstellar expeditionary forces and even then a Lagrangian Dive-In is mostly performed in emergencies when a starcraft or constellation must dive towards the nearest host star. Also, in emergencies, the HWDS Drive equipped starcraft may perform an interstellar dive if enough electrical energy is placed into the HWDS at the point of entry.

However such a task is ill-advised since the extra electrical input would cause an electromagnetic field phenomenon known as Hyperspacetime Dive Time Distortion (HDTD) which creates a kind of temporal “drag”. Normally, when a starcraft dives through hyperspace time it would only appear to occur in a matter of moments or even a few minutes at best while in the timeframe of mittespacetime the entire trip took a span of days, or even weeks. If and when HDTD occurs, the ratio between hyperspacetime travel time and mittespacetime travel time increases exponentially, a lesson learned by many early interstellar Exodus Fleets such as the United People’s Democratic Socialist Confederation of Marx-Shaw and Imperial Islamic Union of Extrasolar Emirates who experienced lengthy HDTD due to a long range dive of over a thousand parsecs; the former having dove through hyperspacetime in 3600 standard seconds whereas in mittespace time the voyage was at least hundred standard earth years (about 3,155,846,400 standard seconds), the latter traversed a dive of 4800 standard seconds through hyperspacetime and discovered that in mittespacetime the actual voyage was over a hundred and twenty standard earth years (approximately 3,787,015,680 standard seconds).

Yet, there is more to the operation of the HWDS Drive than simply the location of a Dive-In point. There are numerous variables that must be accounted for to allow a starcraft to not only arrive at the desired destination, but also to arrive promptly. As previously mentioned, excess electrical energy into the HWDS would cause electromagnetic drag upon the Hyperspacetime Dive Conduit that increases HDTD exponentially. Additionally, the angle of the dive at the point of entry must be as close to parallel to the alignment of both the destination star and departure star in order to minimize HDTD. The starcraft must also attain escape velocity, or at least orbital velocity, of the superior star in terms of gravitational force and mass or else the crew of a starcraft would find that the Dive-Out vortex had opened into the exact center of the star. The starcraft’s mass must also be accounted for to the performance of the onboard HWDS Drive and its maximum possible payload while in transit through the Dive Warp Conduit, the hyperspacetime equivalent to mass ratio with classical rocketry. Naturally, an HWDS Drive that shuttles a payload less than its maximum tolerance would be able to dive deeper and father. However, if the payload is higher than the HWDS Drive’s tolerance, the Dive-In vortex simply does not materialize and in such cases the starcraft experiences an unpleasant, fiery end via stellar plasma.

As if that were not problematic enough, the position of both the departure star and destination star must be calculated enough to allow the Dive-Out vortex to be captured by the destination star at the time of arrival in both Linear Time and Radial Time. If not, then the vortex would open into interstellar space and the starcraft is essentially stranded. Even the onboard payload of the spacecraft, which is the cargo, crew, and passengers, must be completely immobilized due to the violent transit through hyperspace time. Many have described it as a violent roller coaster from hell and thus require extensive recovery period to many who are not accustomed to such violent and sudden G-forces.

Thankfully, though it depends upon one’s viewpoint, HDTD can be detected by the “wobble” or transit of the Dive-Out Vortex itself, though the exact amount of HDTD calculated from the wobble alone is extremely difficult to find. However, in the early eras of interstellar HWDS commerce and travel, exclusion orbits were set up by the government or governments who sponsor funding and materiel to stellar defense in accordance to local ordinances against unauthorized dive-outs. This stems mainly from the implied threat and subsequent fear of hostile spacecraft that were most vulnerable at the exact moment after a hyperspacetime dive-out. Unsurprisingly, many legitimate and innocent starcraft were destroyed simply because the onboard HWDS navigator, either sapient or artificial, made an error.

This all changed with the innovation that was the Vortex Gate, which helps anchor Dive-Out Vortexes and minimize Vortex wobble. The Vortex Gate has also allowed a kind of leeway for HWDS astrogators due to the very nature and technology of the gate so that the absolute calculated minimum could be performed without fear of either the starcraft destroyed by stellar defense stations or diving out and into stellar plasma. The Vortex Gate has also allowed for a discrimination of diving-out starcraft since any hostile starcraft would easily bypass the gate under ideal circumstances, which would also easily identify them as an invader and just as quickly made into an open target by stellar defense forces stationed near the destination star. However it was not unusual for stellar defense stations to be built around a Vortex Gate and the Tannhäuser-style arrangement had become the most popular design for Vortex Gate stellar defense stations as of the era of the Crongus Wars.

Yet this did not mean that just anyone could go to any starsystem if they can purchase a boarding pass. HWDS operation is only economic when the primary payload is freight and cargo. Life support for an extended passengers, or extended crews in some cases, is very expensive in payload allowance alone. Thus HWDS-based interstellar travel is akin to trans-Atlantic travel  during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of the Common Era Calendar: Only the rich and affluent can afford casual interstellar transport, all other passengers are migrants. The exemption to this rule are government officials of extrasolar nation-states and their associated military forces.

As for the question of “FTL equals Time Travel”, well I can simply state that it’s not possible. Even if the HWDS Drive is able to harness such power to attempt such a maneuver, time travel is typically fatal for the crew and/or passengers in that the forces that guard causality would rip them apart on the quantum level. And even if it was possible, the HWDS Drive would only time travel via radial time and cannot travel backwards or forwards in linear time that would allow a paradox in causality. In short, those that do survive an HWDS-based Radial Time Travel were simply shunted into an alternate continuity and are effectively in temporal exile for the rest of their existence.

Thanks goes out to Luke, Citizenjoe, and Ferrel in helping refine my HWDS Drive idea.

Mittespacetime Metric Manipulation Warp Drive (M3WD)

The technology that would become the M3WD was a technical curiosity engineered by the supranational powers of the Golden Age from studies of the multi-spacetime planes and based upon the theories of one Dr. Miguel Alcubierre for his Metric Warp Drive. It was hoped to be the FTL drive that would allow humanity to explore and colonize the stars. Its performance compared to even the Warp Drives of the Vulcrow Intelligence to its electrical input was horrendous as an interstellar engine and thus abandoned. Centuries later with the founding of the Federal Earth Union of Colonial Settlements and Nations, more commonly known as the United Colonies of Earth or UCE, was the M3WD system refined after more enlightened studies of the multi-spacetime planes and the HWDS Drive and its effects were made. Later models of the M3WD would have considerable technological aid from the Vulcrow Intelligence, yet its purpose as an interstellar drive would not be fulfilled in that even with the most powerful Anti-Matter Engines it would take an M3WD-equipted starcraft 31,558,464,000 standard seconds (or a thousand Earth years) to cross a single parsec from the point of view of the onboard crew and passengers.

Instead, the M3WD served as an augmentation to traditional interplanetary reaction drives such as fusion torch drives that decreases travel time throughout interplanetary space through the compression of mittespacetime that lie upon the interplanetary spacecraft’s trajectory and within range of the M3WD’s projected bubble. The total travel time of an M3WD augmented torch drive was exponentially shorter in comparison to an unaugment reaction drive of the same caliber.

At its fundamental core, the M3WD creates a field of warped mittespacetime fabric in which the area ahead of the spacecraft is compressed and the area behind is expanded. The spacecraft, even with the M3WD bubble activated, must traversed the compressed corridor of spacetime with traditional reaction engines. However, a spacecraft equipped with the M3WD system cannot be utilized within twenty diameters of any celestial body that could produce a signifigant gravity field due to its disruptive nature it would have against an already unstable warp field bubble.

The M3WD warp field bubble is not on constantly, rather it fluctuates on and off not unlike a florescent light bulb so that it would give the illusion of constant travel to any onboard crew or passengers which also provides acceleration-generated gravity. Though there is a minor health note for those with conditions sensitive to sudden, jarring acceleration and such individuals either must make due with slower interplanetary transit or placed in hypersleep. Additionally, it is also because the warp field bubble of the M3WD fluctuates that the spacecraft in the center of the field can be influenced by gravity of a host star and thus travel orbits, though these orbits are noticeably more shallow than standard Brachistochrone orbit. Not only that, but the spacecraft does not need to tumble into the gravitational capture phase (i.e. deceleration) at the midpoint of the orbit since technically its net velocity is noticeably low enough for entry into planetary orbit once the M3WD is deactivated.

However, not all M3WD systems are equal in that they must have a particular performance envelope based upon the mass of the payload and the diameter of the warp field bubble and many manufacturers have developed a class system that usually range from Alpha to Omega. Unfortunately each company and corporation that develops and constructs, and especially those with an involvement in interplanetary economics let alone interstellar, do not have a unified Class System for the M3WD despite attempts by numerous extrasolar settlement nation-states.

Even so, the minimum and maximum tolerances of the M3WD are easily quantified. All Alpha class M3WD can perform the minimum performance of a 5 Megagram payload with a bubble diameter of fifty meters. All Omega class M3WD are only able to have a bubble diameter of three megameters, due to the stability and integrity due to the gravitational effects of any nearby star, and able to loft a maximum of 50 Gigagrams or for comparison a single Orbital Settlement Cylinder.

What prevents the use of M3WD Cruise Missiles for interplanetary combat, or even guided relativistic projectiles is simple: The M3WD doesn’t increase velocity and the cost of a torch drive alone does not justify it to be mounted upon a disposable weapon, add in the M3WD system along with the power core to supply it energy and the costs increases exponentially.

However, there are “economical” M3WD for such a purpose that is utilized for both anti-capitalcraft missiles and Star Fighters and Guncrafts which utilize “Fuel Charges” per Warp Field Bubble trajectory. The “distance” each Fuel Charge supplies to the economy M3WD varies with manufacturer, but is no less than interplanetary deltaVs. The real difference between the two economical M3WD systems is that missile drives only have enough Fuel Charges for two trajectory changes at most whereas combat vehicles have numerous “Fuel Charges” for flanking maneuvers of the initial attack run before returning to the carrier mothercraft.

The M3WD System avoids the downsides of metric warp travel due to two parts: The M3WD equipped spacecraft only has an interplanetary range and due to its warp field bubble fluctuations it is not active long enough to receive the cons of similar alcubierre-esque drives. Even the Vulcrow Intelligence have found technological solutions to their own FTL drives and even taken a useful aspect to its obvious militaristic advantage against hostile targets.

Meaning that it doesn’t normally hurt to have such a dramatic entry in hostile starsystems….

Thanks to CitizenJoe and Ferrel for refinement aid with my little IP Warp Drive idea by the way.

Quantum Entanglement Tele-Transportation Relay Network (QTRN)

In the early eras of HWDS-based interstellar communication and commerce, news and information was limited to courier craft equipped with a powerful radio antennae to broadcast its announcement that it was a courier craft and that it should not be destroyed lest its important data be lost. Such a tradition continues as an emergency and often cheaper form of interstellar communications. Yet in the Golden Age, scientists of the superanational-states struggled to utilize the quantum mechanics phenomenon known as Quantum Entanglement or “Spooky Action” for interplanetary and ultimately interstellar communications. Though much of the original data was lost, with what records were salvaged the Federal Earth Union of Colonial Settlements and Nations were able to create a new interstellar communications system that would ultimately evolve into the QTRN.

However, like the HWDS Drive, the QTRN was actually utilized for a radically different civil project: The Dyson Photovoltaic Broadcast Grid (DPBG). The DPBG, at its core, was the solar energy farm that orbited close to the host star in question and transmitted its photovoltaic energy to remote corners of a star system. At first it utilized beamed energy not unlike classical solar power satellites on polar oribts and transmitted its energy via Masers to receiver stations, or rectennas, on a planet’s surface. However, such an arrangement had certain limitations, mostly due to interplanetary range and many involved in the DPBG slaved to create a Tesla-type energy transmission when records of the suprantational-states’ own Quantum Entanglement notes were brought to surface.

Though the DPBG and planetary scale micro-versions were implemented with equipment that is able to broadcast and receive the energy such as the Power Transfer Conduit Array (PTCA), an accident occurred which showcased the DPBG’s ability to transfer communication and data across a vast distance, potentially interstellar.

It all started with the ill-fated prototype and its inability to broadcast photovoltaic energy through Quantum Entanglement. Adjustments and repairs were performed upon the solar orbital satellite time and time again which, over time, caused a few wires to be crossed incorrectly. In one of the final trials of the prototype, the quantum receiver array produced a strange fluctuation in addition to the usual static. Upon closer examination it was revealed that the strange fluctuations were actually the echo of the same broadcast commands given to the satellite. After several more experimentation such as isolating the variable of the broadcast and receiver’s orbital distance from the sun, a new and revolutionary interstellar communication system was born.

However, the system isn’t completely reliable in that it has a minimum range of broadcast effect; the minimal transmission radius for the QTRN was 30 AU from the nearest stellar object for broadcasts without heavy stellar radiation interference (aka static), while the minimal transmission radius for any possible transmission without being lost to stellar radiation static is 15 AU and is usually limited to Morse code under the best of conditions. Binary transmissions would still ideally work within the range, but it would take considerable amount of time to decode into a legible message if the broadcast itself was notably lengthy or data-dense such as a video file.

As such, binary coded messages are typically brief and cryptic with brevity codes and other such short-hand jargon, something that is operationally “doable” for military forces even if it was a nightmare for emergency scenarios. In fact several stellar defense forces have drafted an emergency binary QTRN into its network-centric infrastructure. Such systems for interstellar expeditionary forces, however, are exclusively to Galactic Superpowers such as the Federal Earth Union of Colonial Settlements and Nations, United People’s Democratic Socialist Confederation of Marx-Shaw, Imperial Islamic Union of Extrasolar Emirates, and the Averon Alliance of Federated Settlement Nations, and even then are only found upon designated Command and Control Starcrafts to which Battle Constellations are organized around. Theoretically the Command and Control Starcraft could generate enough electrical energy through the QTRN receiver array that it could operate within 15 AU from a stellar object; however it would leave the starcraft and its crew vulnerable to hazards both natural and artificial.

The actual QTRN broadcast stations are massive affairs due to the equipment and systems needed that simply cannot be micronized with advanced technology, their dimensions are measured in megameters at the very least and are almost de facto orbital colonies onto themselves, which would be almost required considering the distances these stations are from the host star. Yet even the QTRN has its own natural limitations in the form of the curvature of Mittespacetime, or rather a kind of natural horizon upon the quantum world. Meaning that the maximum radius a QTRN could broadcast a message without it being lost to the ambient radiation of interstellar space was a little over six parsecs. Such a limitation has also dictated the size of subnational entities of various interstellar nation-states that would dominate for decades until a far reaching interstellar communications network was created.

As for the prototype DPBG? Needless to say the initial designs based upon Quantum Entanglement were scrapped due to further complication to wireless electrical transmission. However, with the then latest research and information of Aetherspacetime, a new DPBG broadcast electrical transmission system was created which uses Aetherspacetime as a medium. Or rather, the majority of the photovoltaic electrical energy produced is shunted into Aetherspacetime and creating a kind imbalance to which the excess energy is point-collimated at receiver stations such as the PTCA (Unfortunately, this is the best description of the phenomenon I could do….) not unlike water finding a crack to leak through.

Thanks again to CitizenJoe for his Power Transfer Conduit idea to add as inspiration to the DPBG.

Aetherspacetime Resonance Communication System (ARCS)

With a greater understanding of the mulit-spacetime planes in later eras due to refinements of various technologies both recovered and renovated such as the HWDS Drive, multiple attempts were made into the creation of an interstellar communications network beyond the courier craft. From what data were recovered of the research done by the superanational states of the Golden Age on Aetherspacetime, the ARCS were created.

Many would argue that the ancestor technology of the ARCS wasn’t the QTRN, but rather the Aetherspacetime-based DPBG. It simply began with the question relating to the basic operation of current DPBGs: If energy could be shunted and then point-collimated to and from Aetherspacetime, then the phenomenon should be repeatable through communication and data transmissions for interstellar distances.

Though the theory was sound, the execution required a different form of thinking. That is, Aetherspacetime-based communications and data broadcast were fundamentally less like the DPBG and more akin to Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio Signal bouncing off Ionosphere before satellite communication. That is to say, the ARCS was somewhat directional and location-centric in that data doesn’t just point-collimate automatically to a receiving array, but rather the calculated resonance must match up with the special and temporal dimensions of the receiving array or else it is lost. And due to the broadband nature of the ARCS, the receiver arrays alone were measured in megameters and thus difficult to alter their orbits.

Even so, Aetherspacetime Resonance had an exponentially greater range than Aetherspacetime Shunting, reaching into interstellar ranges far beyond what was theoretically possible with the QTRN and measured in decaparsecs. The only limitation was their minimal transmission ranges, again due to stellar radiation interference: 0.01 parsecs from the nearest stellar object for transmissions without heavy static and 40 AU from the nearest stellar object for any possible transmission. However, this meant that the QTRN were perfectly complimented to the ARCS rather than a full replacement as many would have believed at the time. Thus the two interstellar systems work in concert, though due to the need to utilize radio for interplanetary transmissions there are no such thing as a “live” broadcast, only the timestamp of a pre-recorded video to account for time lag between star systems.

On a minor note, I had a more expansive explanation for the HWDS and M3WD ideas, but I was ill informed of bloggers inability to store saved blog entry drafts overnight.... However, I made due and done as much as I could. 

Then again, I doubt any of you would have liked to see my poor attempts at mathematical equation design so its all good.

Anyway, discuss below and please, try to be civil in your responses. And speaking of responses, I would respond more easily if you display your screen name in your comments.

EDIT 5/6/2016: Thanks to archive, I am able to have a quantifiable mass of an O'Neil-style Island 3 Colony or at least a single cylinder.

Get your Portable ID!


  1. You have a lot of material here, possibly too much for one post. (I say this while looking at my own wall of text I'm working on.)

    If your story is about the technology, then starting with an explanation of how it works will then explain your setting. If your story is about the setting, you're really backing into the technology that fits the story you want to tell. You want kids trained up in war in an orbital Battle School to direct a war fleet sent out a generation ago to fight the bug menace? STL drives, FTL communications. The particulars of the wibbly-wobbly don't really matter. If you want FTL to keep the story moving at a good clip but want to preserve a pre-radio sense of isolation where the captain is God and the only thing holding civilization together on the ship, FTL drives but no FTL coms.

    I'm having trouble getting a sense of what fleet operations would look like in this setting.

    1. Well my reasoning for the multiple walls of text is mostly to explain the abilities and limitations of each means of interstellar (and with the M3WD, interplanetary) travel and communications but also establish an internal logic that characters within the setting (once I finally get around to it) would have to work with in order to succeed.

      Though then again, in retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea to split each tech into its own little blog entry. I guess that's the downside of having a particular theme for a blog entry.

      As for the tech influencing the setting and vice versa, well though FTL communications does exist on an interstellar scale in this setting of mine, it's not exactly the kind that is prevalent in most science fantasy and space opera settings. Even if FTL comms do somehow deliver messages from the future, the speed of radio waves kind of negates such an advantage.

      I was also warned, from where I have no idea, that FTL communications at its core would actually omit the need for starcraft constellation since it would allow interstellar telepresence. Thus I sought to try (key word being "try") to put limitations so as to justify the existence of interstellar starcrafts.

      And speaking of FTL comms, though I already stated that stellar radiation interferes with its operation, I kinda wonder if it could be midigated if at least the receiver array could be shielded by the umbra of a celestial body. Paygrade isn't really high enough to know for certain if this would really work or not. Planetary radiation belts on the other hand....

      In the interstellar FTL tech I've set up with in this setting as it pertains to military operations, the Stellar Defense Forces (of interstellar nation-states to be exact) act like more the defensive milita who operate mainly from orbital bases and mostly use interplanetary spacecraft for patrol and logistical missions. Yet when a threat does somehow find its way past the first lines of defense, the local stellar forces would have to make due with what they have available at hand at each settlement (planet, moon, station, whatever) and must last long enough for relief forces to arrive.

      The expeditionary forces of an interstellar nation-state are an analogue to blue water navy if only because the spacers and espaciers practically live on the starcrafts. They go into any starsystem to fulfill whatever mission is given to them but if there is any trouble with interstellar communications (such as the nonexistance of one) they're practically blind. The Admirals, for lack of a better term, are able to receive orders via FTL transmissions from High Command but certain limitations means not only that they can't report back until the situation clears, but it also means that such orders must be open to a particular interpretation by the front line commanders since the usual command and control of contemporary times is practically impossible in an interstellar sense and harken to the days of Horatio Nelson (in psychology and intellect rather than strategic thinking and tactics. Space is not an Ocean and all). Not exactly "god" in a sense that s/he does have their own higher ups, but as far as stellar military and diplomatic issues are a concern, the buck stops there.

      As for the exact details of fleet operations... *shrugs* I'm sure it'll come to me in time. I'm not exactly a Naval expert (Yes I know, Space is not an Ocean) when it comes to strategic deployment. First of all, I still need to refine the basic layout of a combat starcraft. I got ideas, but I still need to draw 'em out so that others could at least get an idea of what I'm talking about. Mostly.

  2. I think the best approach to use when designing forces for your story is "what makes for an interesting story?" I like the analysis on tropes, competitive balance.

    Your lightning bruiser is what everyone wants -- speed, endurance, firepower. If you can build something like that, why would you build anything else? Limited resources. You have a fixed budget and a given mission and you have to pick the best mix of forces that allow you to satisfy them all.

    Those factors will affect how your fleet is constructed.

  3. Ohhhhhh! So that's what you meant by "fleet operations", spacecraft classes. Though now that I think of it, would it really be appropriate to have spacecraft "classes" like the ol' blue water navy?

    Anywho, your example sounds awfully alot like Atomic Rocket's own little graph idea, though I think that there should be more than just three variables when it comes to warcraft classifications.

    Additionally, I have made mention to (at least) humanity's treaty agreed classification of combat spacecraft and combat starcraft classes in my blog entry on my design rough draft. I had numbers for each of those classes, but I subsequently lost them....

    Oh well, it'll come to be eventually, though I imagine that, as per Ken Burnside's thoughts on the matter, I would imagine that the Expeditionary Starcrafts would have a noticeably larger endurance rating compared to the Stellar Defense Forces, though I also have a feeling that the Stellar Defense Forces would have higher defense and weapons ratings compared to Expeditionary Starcrafts. Not sure about the propulsion rating though.....

    And that's not going into the independent patrol combat spacecraft classes like the classical blue water cruisers. Though now that I think about it (again, I know. It a curse), I wonder if the Expeditionary Forces should be organized around the main battle constellation and the Stellar Defense Forces more like Independent Patrol operating from orbital bases and the like, or should it be the other way around?

  4. Huhh pretty long article.
    Personally i like better the jump in very low G constraint, making black holes as best jump points seems awkward to me, and deep space is really boring void, that can be skipped from a story.
    Otherwise it is nice to see, you care about science. :)

    " Even if FTL comms do somehow deliver messages from the future"

    You can see they arrive before they were sent, but i doubt it is really a paradox.
    Of course it can be bad, if you can remote control everything from Earth... maybe it requires very much energy, precise synchronizing and things like that, it is rather like old telegraphs than modern radios.

    1. Yeah, one of the downsides to having a particular theme to connect articles within a blog entry....

      Though I'll have to correct you in that the HWDS-equipted starcrafts can't perform interstellar dives with a blackhole as a Dive-In point. As stated in the article above, the rocket engines of said starcraft must be powerful enough to achieve at least orbital velocity, if not escape velocity, of that particular gravity field. The escape velocity of a black hole's event horizon is the speed of light and there is no known rocket engine that could achieve FTL velocities.

      Ergo, the starcraft and its payload of crew and/or passengers are stuck in the singularity of the black hole. Not a pretty prospect I assure you. Long story short, the HWDS's method of interstellar travel is simply one way to distinguish the setting from all other similar sounding universes in addition to another difference between those of the Milky Way Galaxy and the extragalactic powers beyond the rim. To be honest, I was mostly inspired by the Jump Drive of the Wing Commander Franchise. Well, before I was able to research the science of its operation online....

      And I know enough about science to try and attempt to respect it within my own setting to minimize the amount of Hand Waving as possible. The key words being "try" and "attempt", mind you.

      Well, it's one thing to detect an extrasolar transmission before it is sent, it's a whole other beast when the contents and data of said transmission could be read before it is sent when Causality and Paradoxes are involved. Sufficient to say, beyond stating that it can't, it's best to make the possibility of time traveling transmissions as close to null as possible with whatever variables one can think of to counter the old phrase "FTL equals time travel".

      And speaking of old telegraphs, from how I've painted the technological limitations of humanity so far, it appears that when it comes to constellation deployment, strategy, and warcraft tactics to a certain degree, it's starting to sound a bit similar to naval warfare from the Crimea War to World War One with notable accents of Age-of-Sale Horatio Nelson dashed into it. I'm pretty sure David Webber and his fictional character Honor Harrington would have approved of the setup.

  5. "As stated in the article above, the rocket engines of said starcraft must be powerful enough to achieve at least orbital velocity, if not escape velocity, of that particular gravity field."

    Ok, i think i like it. :)

    "to counter the old phrase "FTL equals time travel"."

    Maybe it is old, but still nonsense i think, that would mean radio messages arrive instantly.

    (Lorentz transformations to light, you get delta-t = 0, you can see they arrive the same time they were sent)

    Otherwise, yes i understand, hard decisions should be made on spot. :)

    1. Oh, it gets worse with FTL transmissions that have no dissembler time delay over interstellar distances. It'll be more like a negative DeltaT value. And if one takes into account the usual speeds of FTL communications in most other sci-fi and space operas that feature them, the DeltaT value would be the equivalent of receiving the FTL transmission before the sender's grandfather was even conceived.

      And it also helps on the "hard decisions made on the spot by a living crew" argument if the onboard computer systems have particular hurdles that precludes pure automated warcrafts. I simply chose the Legal Route as the primary reason since it's not heavily reliant upon either physics or advancements in computing to explain.

      Laws have been known to turn simple subjects into complicated messes from time to time and makes for a perfect cop-out if used properly in sci-fi.

  6. Sending a message from Alpha Centaury with 1000c still means its arrive a day after it was sent.

    By the way, i think, jump in low grav has also another advantage : occupy planets.
    They can launch entire swarms of missiles, and in an operatic setting, the gravity well doesnt mean that much advantage.
    If the ship cant warp away from them, then capturing a hostile planet will be pretty impossible.
    With warp, it is still quite heavy, since the planet can house megacannons protected by megashields and strong defence fire.

  7. Still, the annoyance of the phrase "FTL equals time travel" has given me enough Nifflheim that to not touch the subject just invites headaches from the hard sci-fi readers about how my setting should work as it should because of how likely it is for future messages to be sent into the past and just trying to find ways to decrease the chance of time traveling communications gives me multitude of headaches.

    In short, I curse the day I learned the details of FTL and time travel as per the laws of Special Relativity.

    As for warping away from danger, even if the low grav restriction is involved, well that's just a can of worms I'd rather stay away from. Beyond the fact that It'll make any interplanetary/interstellar war MAD short and thus make the idea of planetary "occupation" and in a similar vein planetary "defense" absolutely worthless in strategic sense let alone tactical, it leaves a kind of "Why bother" when it comes to spacecraft combat. Or rather, why should spacecraft even risk their lives in the honorable Starcraft Duel when they can just warp away from danger or worse, warp around the defenders and strike at the objective directly. This is where having an FTL drive that has such jump points as a requirement: They create choke points that both sides must use and forcefully initiate battles. Its all fine and dandy for a setting that focuses on Space Opera levels of interstellar exploration for the ol' "Jump anywhere, Go anywhere" type of FTL Drive, but when it comes to the military glory and horror that is Space Battles, people will inevitably go "why bother?"

    And I think I kinda fulfilled that little area of low gravity restriction onto the M3WD System when it comes to "Tactical Retreat". It's not exactly interstellar, but it does allow a similar feel and heightened tension for the race to get the Nifflheim outta Dodge. The HWDS isn't the end-all, be-all technology that is so often featured in other sci-fi. Rather its little more than a plot device that just so happens to have a very good reason why you want it to be reliable when you need it to work.

    Of course, there are other extrasolar civilizations among the Milky Way that utilize Warp Drive-esque means of interstellar travel such as the member species of the Interstellar Commonwealth of Civilized Worlds. They're just few and far in between. However, there is another reason why the Milky Way civilizations utilize gravity assisted interstellar FTL travel and that is to further distinguish them from the extragalactic empires that invaded the galaxy such as the titular Crongus. It also allows for a rather interesting battlefield that should, the key word being "should", allow many of the favorite cliches to be plausible: The Gas Giants and their multitude of ring systems and moons.

    As for the whole Anti-Satellite Artillery from planetside, that's what onboard Point Defenses and Force Walls for warcrafts are for.

  8. I dont say warp in strong grav is a bad constraint, i'm thinking about its pros and cons. :)
    Well, in SW i could only see orbital combat, but jumping can have stronger constraints, for example in Space Battleship Yamato, BSG, they could only jump for a limited distance, and after the jump, they couldnt just jump again, or use their most powerful weapons, but without warping, Gamilus PDF would have eaten them...

    But again, strong grav jumps also good constraints, but it means, you need very very big forces for invasion.

    "In short, I curse the day I learned the details of FTL and time travel as per the laws of Special Relativity."

    And i curse the day when someone found out, that seeing the message arriving before it was sent means time travel, it clearly misses the point, that absolute time = distance / speed, it is different from local time.

    1. Well you'll need very large numbers for planetary invasion either way just take a look at these blog entries and see how hard it just is without FTL technology. Only difference is the distance and measure of time it takes to reach that escape distance with the appropriate charge and cool time reached.

      And yes, even though basic math states otherwise, due to the Theory of Special Relativity websites such as Atomic Rockets and Rocketpunk Manifesto will still state that FTL equals time travel, no matter how one would try to state otherwise.

      "But a message/starship traveling at twice the speed of light would have a delay of only two years-"

      "Doesn't matter, FTL equals time travel."

      "But there is no solid connection between the two locations like a wormhole so-"

      "Doesn't matter, FTL equals time travel."

      "But isn't time dilation relevant to the point of view of the-"

      "Doesn't matter, FTL equals time travel."

      "But still-"

      "FTL equals time travel."

      "Yet then-"

      "FTL equals time travel."

      "What about-"

      "FTL equals time travel."


      "FTL equals time travel."


      "FTL equals time travel."

      It's like I'm haunted by the number 23.....