{ main | about | contribute }   { canon | political | races | tech | universe }


Canon Index




String Drive (Tech 5)
Black Box, Slider Drive

String theory has been debated, debunked, resurrected, reworked, and revised for generations. Like any good physical theory, it remains unproven but still manages to spin off a good number of useful technologies. The String Drive is a notable example of this, the base theories of operation being developed by Hal Nargorest of the Kharkosanth Imperial Design Corps and subsequently "acquired" by the Core Commonwealth and some industrial interests therein. The first working drive in the Prodigal Void was developed by a team of scientists lead by C.J. Escher in a combined effort of San Jorge Industries, the Lexicon Group, and Elegant Particles Laboratories. The principles and workings of the drives are still highly guarded and drives are only available in "black box" form... "no user serviceable parts inside". The most advanced drive designs are currently produced and highly controlled by the IDC, who maintain the technology strictly for military and government starships, and by San Jorge Industries, who sell the drive throughout the Prodigal Void. Azatlath Advanced Construction has also developed a competing model that is less effective and somewhat unstable but relatively cheaper and available under less stringent control. 

The inner workings of a string drive are a guarded secret, both in terms of manufacturers not releasing intellectual property and in terms of the drives only being available in sealed, tamper-proof "black box" form. Manufacturers will provide trained service technicians that are available on-call or to be assigned as staff on the starship.

To the best of public knowledge, the string-drive takes advantage of modern physics and the universe's 13-dimensional nature. As the marketing literature will tell you, the drive "spins the ship on a dimensional axis to take convenient shortcuts through the other 9 dimensions". It should be noted that this is not believed to be "magic" technology that will drop your ship into mysterious parallel universes or "hyperspace", at least not per se. The 13 dimensions are a fundamental part of our existence, they're there every day and as part of every object and integral to the workings of such fundamental forces as gravity. We, as 4-dimensional beings, just don't perceive them or consciously utilize them. Functionally, the string drive feeds huge quantities of rotated particles into a starship's Blind dimension while manipulating its other Vague dimensions with a quantum field. Manufacturer literature and leaks imply that the result is that the starship is coaxed into traveling through a combination of the Tangible and Elegant dimensions, providing a circuitous shortcut to the final destination. The technology has been around long enough now that independent sensor scans and scientific research indicate that this is hogwash. There do not appear to be any major manipulations to the starship itself, with the space around the starship seemingly being the focus of the String Drive's quantum manipulations.

The string drive is huge, expensive, and very high-tech. It requires a long stationary prep time before being engaged while massive biocomputers calculate 13-dimensional trajectories utilizing variables engineers call "symmetry", "spin" and "axial phase conversion" before travel actually begins. The prep time varies from minutes to hours, based on the distance and complexity of the travel. The computer will give pilots an estimated time to engage, though even this can be off and vary from location to location. This technology is good for traveling large interstellar distances quickly but is basically useless in-system as massive objects and gravity fields make the necessary 13-dimensional calculations prohibitively complex. It is simply faster to get there with more conventional technologies.