Aug 262012

Experimental induction capsule in subspace modeling chamber looks like a toy silver "rocket" in a reflective tunnel.  Distortion around the tranmission rod appears as a "plume."Early History of Space Travel

It must be remembered that at the dawn of its Interstellar Migration period, Terra Prima had mastered only the most primitive form of transit, a proto-subspace drive that enabled supralight travel and allowed only the most elementary three-dimensional navigation. In addition, practically nothing was known about the shape and fabric of space itself. Our Terran ancestors hypothesized the temporal distortion of interstellar distances on a linear model. But they knew that it would be a one-way trip for the initial colony ships. Over a dozen were sent out, that we know of—possibly many more. Records from the era are fragmentary at best, even on Terra Prima itself.

The log of the second human colony ship Destiny, the oldest remaining extant document of early space travel, demonstrated one of the principal problems related to the proto-supralight drives and primitive navigation of the era:   The fragmentary log remaining from the voyage showed a relative time (RT) lapse of three years in sublight drive and nineteen years for the subspace transit. What it did not show, because at that time there was no technology capable of tracking it, was the subspace distortion—likely some variety of parabolic current—that redirected the Destiny’s trajectory and flung it far from its original course.

When the ship surfaced, there was indeed a “landmark” double star in the approximate range expected. There were variations in spectral type and rotation, and the secondary was further than expected from the primary, but the colonists had no way of knowing the actual relative elapsed time (RET) of their transit, and they ignored the variations. They were concentrating on finding the nearby yellow-spectrum star they expected to have planets, and terraforming the world they sought.

It was not until RT 384 that the Procyon engineers, seeking ever more efficient power sources, discovered the properties of stable transuranic minerals. Thus followed the first great wave of Colonial technology, enabling the development of the first truly efficient subspace drive systems and the discovery of the generators which could exploit the principles of soft-transit waves.

Concurrently, the scientists of Altair were working on mapping what they could grasp of subspace, and testing the hypotheses that would result in the Temporal Prediction Equations. They had no way to harness the knowledge, for although they had developed incremental improvements on their own primitive subspace drive technology, they lacked a power source that would enable them to apply what they had learned.

Not until the return voyage of the Homefall 4 to Procyon from Terra Prime with the surviving crew members of Altair’s Xing Hikobo did the two technologies unite to make possible viable “space travel.”

Current Space Travel Technology

Current space travel relies on several technologies:

  • Insystem sublight drives that can carry ships beyond the gravitic distortions of star systems and other navigational hazards;
  • Modified Tavis field generators that encapsulate matter (ships) and link it to the induction field that actually accomplishes the task of “translating” the ship into subspace dimensions;
  • TPE beacon navigators that enable the ship to direct its path through subspace using “wave ping” feedback loops and TPE beacon “ticks”; and
  • Induction-field drives:  The induction field is generated by a cryston lattice charged in a transuranic reaction-fuel chamber.  The field transmission rods “unpack” dimensional space to translate the encapsulated ship into subspace, then bleed off the reaction power as the subspace equivalent of Delta-v

The true limiting factor inherent in space travel as the Hub knows it, is the challenging nature of investigating subspace.  Normal-space instrumentation does not function in subspace conditions, and even the “wave ping” effect that enables navigation, though an observable phenomenon, is neither recordable by any current instrumentation technology, nor replicable by any current theoretical model.

We know that the “shape” of subspace is in a constant state of change, affecting the nature of navigation and the speed of subspace transit, which is why all interstellar transit times are given in approximate terms.  We also know that normal-space distance has a rough analog to the shape of subspace, but that there are curious anomalies–  For example, the transit between the Nira-Hoy cluster in the downeast node, and Salvados in the Ophiuchi Circuit generally runs between 300-400 hours RET, although the actual normal-space distance is nearly twice that between Salvados and the Procyon C cluster, stable at 430 hours +/- 12 RET.  These anomalies have been dubbed “wormholes” in popular conception, but bear no actual relation to the still-theoretical wormholes of normal-space physics.

Recent developments in induction-field physics have also offered clues to the nature of subspace:  The kerstan sublim field generators have opened up new lines of investigation.  Documented efficiencies in Delta-v production based on field resonance frequencies have produced an array of new hypothetical models being investigated throughout the University League.

Aug 232012

Six atoms flouresced purple with a blue beam connected to one, on a black background.Relative Time was established by the University League when it was first founded, and League historians and temporal engineers collaborated to create a timeline of human history that would make sense of the far-flung human adventure.

Terrestrial history was all but irrelevant. The Hub Civilization that emerged in the wake of the Colonial Wars is certainly a descendent of the human cultures that originated on Terra Prima, but the long detour via the Altair and Procyon colonies broke the continuity of human relationships with Terran cultures. The relationships between the various human ethnocultural groups that formed the matrix of the Hub, and their Terran forbears, are of interest only to dim historical and anthropological scholars toiling on Markadam and Allskander.

Relative Time is naturally complicated by the vagaries of planetary experience. Even in the (comparatively) closely-clustered worlds that make up the Hub, interstellar distances and the imperfect technologies that bridge them inject great ambiguity to temporal concepts. The highly-tuned mathematical models and navigation calculators that enable interstellar ships to use beacon technology to arrive more or less when they should at a given destination aren’t well-suited to describing the march of history.

Still, the historians had to have a reference point. They chose the founding of the first known viable human colony: Altair III.

It must be remembered that at the dawn of its Interstellar Migration period, Terra Prima had mastered only the most primitive form of transit, a proto-subspace drive that enabled supralight travel and allowed only the most elementary three-dimensional navigation. In addition, practically nothing was known about the shape and fabric of space itself. Our Terran ancestors hypothesized the temporal distortion of interstellar distances on a linear model. But they knew that it would be a one-way trip for the initial colony ships. Over a dozen were sent out, that we know of—possibly many more. Records from the era are fragmentary at best, even on Terra Prima itself.

Relative Time is used mainly for scholarly and historical recording purposes.  For common reckoning, a number of systems predominate in the Hub, with the most widely-used being the SD (Standard Dating) system.   As temporal distortion makes date reconciliation among member worlds challenging (to say the least,) most dates are appended with an additional prefix to identify major colony nodes that share a generally accepted dating structure.

For navigational purposes, where greater precision is required both relative to a reference point and to elapsed time, the standard hour is universally used.  This usage has spread to many common applications, particularly in the transport sector, where all transit times are estimated in hours.

Most colonies also have a local referent system of dating, usually pegged to their Charter date.

Establishment of the Hub: Timeline

Aug 232012

Illustration of half-dome warren transit area, with panels showing HVAC & technical access.The type-3 terraforming of the new Klaros—Klaros II—concentrated on the planet’s viable near-polar zones, establishing two loosely-organized rings of warren/dome habitats with spurs extending (in the northern zone) to the polar ice cap for water mining, and (in the southern zone) to the largest lode of transuranic ores easily accessible to extant mining technology.

The Oligarchs also contracted independently with Rilm Habitat Systems for an administrative cluster adjacent to the northern ring, and another cluster on the planet’s primary satellite.  Over some objections from influential elements in the colony’s economic sector, the government opted for the more expensive thousand-year terraforming, committing both present and future colony assets to a major long-term obligation.


Southring is the more populous of the planet’s two habitation axes. It included nine major complexes of the standard warren/dome type, linked by high-speed gravprop tubes.

The largest, Gattrek Major, formed the colony’s main industrial hub, focused around the polis of Kos Gattrek, a city of 15 million or so inhabitants. Kos Gattrek included the colony’s largest (although not the most important) STG port and shipyard, and was the major Southring station for the AB shuttle that linked the two rings. (There were also less important Southring stations at Doxan Pab, Jethrik, and Oquanax.)

Nearby Gattrek Minor formed a high-amenity, high-end residential and recreation area for the elite of Kos Gattrek, and included many cultural and artistic facilities. Gattrek Minor had its own exclusive small-traffic STG port, as well as a free-surface reservoir lake with extensive “natural” terraforming around it.

Proceeding westward around Southring from the Gattrek complexes, the next major habitat was Hirst Niepach, a large agronic production and processing center. The polis of Demira (about 2,000,000) was also a destination for religious tourism, based on the life of Warter Manjek, a Prelate at the time of the Transfer who was credited with saving an entire shipload of colonists and believed to be an “Avatar,” a saintlike figure in Duo-Latteran Hamartic theology. Although Manjek was not officially accorded Avatar status until nearly a century after the transfer, pilgrimages to the Holy Shield Monastery where he lived and died began almost immediately after his death.

A long way further west (the Southy gravprop, or GP tube, had to be blasted through a major geological formation,) the habitation ring resumed with the Zenlis Complex, including the small but influential polis of Oquanax. The Zenlis Complex, though not heavily populated in itself, linked several offshoot complexes including the Ampart Maxicells processing facilities (Ampart Central,) the Pon-Trevis Research Complex, Wendlach Mining, and a small military base, South Gamma.

Fard Karachik, the next Complex in the Southring, had no major polis but several smaller ones, including Limnak, Purvap, Doxan Pab, and Reschek. The Fard Karachik domes and warrens were widely dispersed to take advantage of a cluster of rare ore nodes and most of the communities are mining-oriented. Many were nearly wholly-owned subsidiaries of the half-dozen Democratic Companies dominating Klaros’ extractive sector.

The large Home Legion training base was the center of Morj Alpha Complex, which also included extensive residential complexes and some high-end domes and warrens outlying the smaller of the Complex’s two polises, Alpha Nex. The larger, Mag Alpha, was a city of about three million that is oriented around military and military contractors’ activities. A substantial military STG field/base was the northernmost node of the Complex. The Home Legion military academy, Kortallis Dome, was the southernmost.

The next Complex, Martabal Bwes, was loosely-dispersed among one of the more salubrious areas of the planet’s surface, a valley among long-dead volcanic ranges that has the planet’s last remaining free surface watercourse. Vestiges of the native xenons could be found among the sparse stands of vegetation, and several “exotic tour” vacation resorts and tourist facilities made the major polis, Jethrik (pop. about a million), a popular destination. There was also a scattering of industrial complexes and the Karvich University’s research complex.

Tikparran Complex was home to several facilities developing and producing communications equipment, components, and consumer goods, as well as some major military contractors. It was the home of Keval Ust University and the Corporate Headquarters of Chagarth Fabrik, the colony’s second most influential Democratic Company. The only sizable polis, Metarad, was a modernistic city of half a million or so high-status emp-class, exec-class, and owner-class enclaves, surrounded by suburban domes housing the smaller communities of emp-class and cit-class workers who fulfilled the menial functions of Metarad.

South Ust Complex was the eastern neighbor of Gattrek Major, a sprawling network of cheaper habitats housing light manufacturing and low-status housing. The largest polis, Ardill, was home to about three million Klarosians but noted for being very high in violent crime and possibly under the control of criminal elements. A valiant civic leadership was constantly working to overcome this perception and vitalize the polis (and the Complex) with new development, but the outcome of the struggle was always in doubt.



Less populous, but more influential, the ten habitat complexes of Northring were home to many of administrative headquarters of the colony’s governing institutions.

Northring was dominated by Center, the largest habitat complex on the planet and home to the colonial capital, Kos Centrum. A polis of nearly thirty million, Kos Centrum also formed the nexus for Klaros’ financial industries and services. Adjacent to Center, the Admin Central complex formed the civadmin’s major facilities. Center was home to the planet’s most important STG port, Centrum Bek, and had been extended several times to incorporate smaller polis and industrial domes and warrens.

West of Center, the complex of Jait Hurst was the largest concentration of military facilities on the planet, including the Shirch Prime military academy, Legion Hospital, the heavily-fortified Supreme Command Center, Tarvich Fleet Base, and the Miranat Testing Complex adjacent to the south. The major polis, Port Andall, was a nexus for military families and retirees, and several smaller communities included extensive recreational facilities.

Devlit Complex to the west of Jait Hurst was a small cluster of prestigious residential and very high-tech research and development facilities, many exclusive enclaves of military contractors among the Democratic Companies. Three communities, Pentrad, Xellek, and Chart Deb, formed the main central nexus of warrens, clustered around a small patch of xenic biome sustained by underground watercourses from the northern polar cap. Several Boardsman families had domes in the biome.

Tof Oqualat, the next westernmost Complex, was the location of the colony’s major watermining collection and processing facility, the North Oasham Plant. A string of adjacent dome and habitat clusters extended to the north, to house pipelines operated by the Segeth Vanus Company, the prime contractor to the colonial government for water production and distribution. Several free-surface reservoir lakes centered prime high-end residential real estate especially for retired exec-class and wealthy emp-class individuals, and a large hospital and medical services complex served their needs as well as being home to the Bride’s Mercy Medical Academy, the Church’s most prestigious medical education facility.

Kos Parkel, the next Complex, was an almost wholly-owned enclave of the colony’s most powerful Boardsman family, who controlled Parkel Multigen, the prime contractor to the colonial government for power production and distribution. In addition to the massive industrial domes and the planet’s deepest-delved warren spaces housing the largest power generators on the planet, adjacent to the north a smaller cluster known as Parkel Quast housed the Quast Vallek campus of Center University, the colony’s most advanced engineering school. Stenzak, the planet’s largest single-dome polis (sited between the two complexes,) was home to nearly six million Klarosians.

Veztarran Major, almost directly opposite Center on the Northring axis, was a sprawling mixed habitat of light industrial, manufacturing, and financial interests, including the Ulgarast Port facility, the colony’s third-largest but highest-volume STG Port. Most of the colony’s major merchant shipping interests had headquarters and shipyard facilities there. It was regarded as a center of immorality and possibly even heresy by the Church, which tried in vain to control the various “sin industries” common in the res-class and cit-class habitats clustered around the port areas.

Veztarran Minor, very close (almost adjacent) to Major in the Northring, was a considerable contrast to its larger neighbor, being the home of the famous Sword of Eternity Monastery and the Warrior’s Rest Basilica, as well as numerous small colleges training teachers, medical workers, and proctors. It included a number of retirement facilities for the Church’s lower-echelons, pensies, stipies, and eesies, as well as some very luxurious and exclusive facilities for administrators. A large tourist industry and some “family recreational” complexes were clustered around Palatis (population about 3 million,) the major polis.

Tang Matris, a mixed complex of industrial, military, and financial sectors, was almost adjacent to Vezterran Minor, and included the Legion’s Quental Academy and a good many Second Legion bases and facilities, as well as the Hellgate Training Base, at the far western end of the Complex, whose facilities extended into the large area of usable but harsh planetary surface environment that formed a high, extensive plateau between Tang Matris and Storrest Bek. The major polis in Tang Matris was Garravet, population about half a million. A loose cluster of residential habitats extended south of the Complex, housing a number of smaller communities and military families.

Fendal Points was a long way west of Tang Matris, with the GP tube snaking across Hell’s Plateau to reach the cluster of educational, research, engineering, and light manufacturing facilities dominated by Kervik Dome, the tallest dome on the planet and the headquarters of Kerant Cryston. Regarded as an exclusive, Boardsman’s recreational area, the adjacent Vardry Cluster provided high-end recreational and entertainment facilities. Fendal Points was also home to the Klarosian entertainment industry and its main polis, Istarak, boasted many celebrity homes and a flourishing arts community.

Piskal Haret, Center’s eastern neighbor, was a smallish cluster of habitats holding a mix of commercial and communications interests, as well as the Church’s Extant Stand cluster of warrens housing the bulk of the Church bureaucracy and the Bride’s Gift theological seminary. Although the spiritual “center” of the colony was at the Glorious Revelations Basilica in Center, where the Supreme Prelacy was headquartered, Extant Stand was the real “guts” of the Church. The rest of Piskal Haret’s habitats were heavily influenced by Church-related activities, but it was also the center for distribution of entertainment media (being conveniently close to the Shining Truth Proctory so that media could be reviewed for “appropriateness to the public good”) and the headquarters of some large entertainment industry companies. Adjacent to Piskal Haret and extending far to the South was the colony’s largest Reformatory, the Compassionate Bride, which held nearly a million and a half penitents along with proctors and stipies, and a small Home Legion unit, who provided security.


Aug 222012

A circular door more than 5 meters tall stands open between two tunnels, a man standing at the base looks very small.

Most of the images on this site are from U.S. Government free image archives.  Some have been Photoshopped more or less extensively.  There are some amazing free images available from the U.S. Government, which can’t copyright them, so they are free to everyone to use.  Your tax dollars at work, and a good thing, too.

Here’s a few of the best sources:

NASA Image Gallery

US Geological Survey EROS project

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery

NIST Image Gallery

Aug 222012

Vividly colored stars clustered together in space.We all want to build worlds.  Or galaxies.  Or universes.

The Hub is mine.

This project is a lifelong imagining of something between a world and a galaxy:  The Hub, wheel-shaped cluster of stars explored and settled by humanity thousands of years into the future.  Or possibly thousands of years in the past.  Although there is a timeline in the Reference section, it must be stated that the Hub exists in a conceptual multiverse, and the Fourth Dimension flows like an overlapping spiral among the layers.

Like everything connected with humanity, the Hub is complex:  Human cultures on literally thousands of worlds over millenia have sprouted in myriad directions, embracing a wide variety of values systems, social organization, economic structures, and every other institution.

But humans remain essentially the same.  A few thousand years is a drop on the ocean of evolutionary time.  The constant struggle between altruism and self-interest still shapes us.  We retain the capacity to be heroes and villains, nonentities and extraordinary, lovers and killers, fearsome and fearful, all in the same lifespan.

The project began as a simple single story arc, a good-versus-evil space opera with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Along the way it kept sprouting offshoots.  The bad guys weren’t so bad, the good guys weren’t so good. Protagonists went mute, minor characters hijacked scenes, and there were constant stops and side-journeys to discover the more about where and how everyone lives.

It’s not the final frontier, and the mission has gone on much longer than five years.  The first descriptions and attempts at “chapters”  started in 1997.  But we are definitely exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations.

On the other hand, we are definitely not boldly going where no one has gone before.  The last time the multiverse forked it, James H. Schmitz drew back the curtain. The current fork has changed– we’ve lost the fabulous psionic machines, and there’s no benevolent Psychology Service.  And no intelligent aliens.  No matter, we have humanity, which keeps things plenty lively.


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