FTL travel is unknown to all the Babel's space civilizations, they all use
wormholes for travelling between stellar systems.
Wormholes are anomalies (that doesn't contradict Einstein's General Relativity
theory) in space wich allow starships to make instantaneous
transits over interstellar distances. There are many sub-types of wormholes
but all are formed by the interaction of stellar gravity wells and share
certain common traits:
More massive stars generally have higher numbers of wormholes. Sometimes
wormholes are associated to starless area, they are called 'Dead end'
Only physical objects can transit through wormholes.
Objects wich pass through a wormhole simultaneously have a great chance
of being destroyed at their return to normal space,since two objects cannot
exist in the same space.
Wormholes are little black holes and exerce gravity whirlpools whose
"grav surge" will destroy most small objects (like fighters,missiles...).
For security reasons it's better to be protected by a force field.
Sensitive electronics suffer temporary incapacitation or degradation, and
travellers also suffer from temporary confusion and incapability to
Wormholes transits don't produce any detectable radiation, so the only
means of detecting them is to be at scanner range at the moment of the transit.
Wormholes are hard to detect.
A wormhole connects only two nearest stellar systems, so don't expect
to move to an another galaxy while entering it. But some scholars (foolish
ones?) theorize that some wormholes could bound two very distant systems.
The known maximum distance separating two linked systems is 4 parsecs.
Some theorists think that this distance is varying depending on the
location in the galaxy. At its center, it should be very small as the
stellar systems are very close, but at the edge it could be 10 parsecs
The size of the two wormholes exits could be different (in general they
If an object is too big for entering or exiting, it's destroyed!
The majority of Babel's races use reactionless drives for space propulsion.
Instead of classic action-reaction engines, reactionless drives generate a
force field about themselves and eject a stream of pure force astern.
Starships incorporate inertial compensators and gravity generators for
protecting the crew during violent maneuvers. A ship with reactionless drives
could go from 0 to 10% of light-speed in just 30 seconds, or can stop
immediatly its movement.
The major drawback of reactionless drives is their massive energy signature
when used. In addition, interruption of the drive (whether intentionally or
accidentally) causes a ship to stop dead. Actually the maximum known speed for
any reactionless-drive ship larger than a fighter is 10 % of light speed.
% Light speed
As no FTL travel exists,the faster means of communication is tight-focused
beams who travel at light speed.As only physical objects can pass through
wormholes,starship or courier drones must be used too.
So the best interstellar communication network is the combinaison of radio
or laser communications relays and starship or courier drones.
Courier drones are small,unmanned spacecraft slightly larger than fighters.
They have powerful drives and sophisticated computers wich permit them to
make wormhole transits but require navigational beacons at each wormhole
end to reorient themselves after transit. Drones have a maximum speed of 12.
Sometimes space stations are placed at each wormhole end, they serve as
communication relays and courier drones launcher platforms at the same time.
Wormholes and strategy:
As starships leave star systems through wormholes, these become vital
strategic positions. The best defense for a system is to have battle stations
near wormholes as only one starship can pass through it at one and the same
time.Assaulting a system is very hazardous when you don't know what's behind
the wormhole end, it could be mines,battle stations,a huge fleet or nothing.
Sometimes an assault is carefully prepared for several weeks to discover that
there's nothing in the system, not even an inhabited world. And when a
wormhole assault is successful, the system pacification is another problem.
Starships aren't fast and surveying a system for wormholes or hidden ships
could take weeks.
With the starships slowness and wormhole assaults problems, interstellar
wars looks like trench wars. System are lost and taken several times. If the
two belligerents have an equivalent military power, it could be certain that
in a full year of war, the winner will conquer only a dozen star systems.
The other effect of wormholes is the space travel safety. With wormholes
protected by battle stations or patrol-ships, outside piracy threats are
Wormholes size are classified in three categories: [S]mall (100 Hull spaces),
[M]edium (300 Hull spaces) and [L]arge (500 Hull spaces).
In the different stellar system surveys, the distance is the distance between
the wormhole and the primary star in A.U. For convenience, we assume that astral
bodies doesn't rotate around stars and that the distance of a wormhole to a planet
is a simple subtraction between the distance to the primary star and the planet orbit
radius. For multiple systems, add also the companion star orbit to the result if you
want to calculate the distance for a planet orbiting a companion star.
Wormholes and Reactionless drives were inspired by the interstellar
wargame Starfire and by the Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's novel
'The mote in God's eye'.
Starfire is a copyright of Task Force Games.
See Computer technology
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