Every citizen of the galaxy relies on technical wonders that are taken for granted every day. Listed below are the major technologies familiar to the characters.
On Personal Weapons
The galaxy is a dangerous place and almost every individual carries one or more weapons on their person. While firearms are common, they are impractical aboard space-going vessels as they pose the danger of damaging or destroying vital systems or worse, rupturing the hull. For that reason, melee weapon training is common and most beings carry one or more melee weapons in addition to their sidearm.
On Starship Design
Power generation, drive system, hyperwave transceiver array, and energy weapon technology is all incredibly complex and occupies the majority of space on any vessel. Starships are large affairs but most crews for those ships are small or moderate in number. The ratio of interior space for equipment to crew is generally about 3:1. Slow moving passenger or pleasure craft with fewer defensive systems run about 1:1 on interior space.
Most spacecraft and stations are equipped with a gravity generator. This device generates graviton fields that can be channeled into deck plating and walls to create artificial gravity and compensate for many of the inertial effects of motion. While the plating is tied into the propulsion direction and thrust computers for inertial compensation, objects or weapons that strike the craft will rarely be detected or compensated for.
Likewise, graviton repulsion, or congrav, is possible to create lift for hovering or flying vehicle. This technology has made spaceflight incredibly cheap and commonplace. Even the largest payloads can be lifted into orbit from a planet for a negligible cost. Congrav has also revolutionized the amusement industry with numerous applications in consumer entertainment.
Cloning is possible and replacement limbs and organs can be generated in a matter of months from tissue samples. Full body cloning is much more difficult, and while medical labs can produce a cloned individual infant in a matter of 9 months to a year, only the fixers of Spinx can create fully-grown backups clones.
The kinetic deflector is an essential system on any starship or station. They project a directed energy shield or an encompassing energy field that provides protection not only from most weapons fire, both personal and ship scale, but from meteoroid impacts and heat shielding for planetary reentry as well. Every starship and large defensive vehicle is equipped with a kinetic deflector array.
Directional Control Impellers (DCI)
DCIs are small unidirectional graviton impellers that serve as a reaction control system. While a vessel’s main graviton impellers provide heavy propulsion, these provide a finer level of control for directional maneuvering. They can be found in an array of small clusters along the hull of most ships.
Many forms of propulsion exist but the graviton impeller is the most popular and efficient. The impeller creates and distorts artificial gravity wells for use as a propulsive force. It works in deep space as well as generating congrav lift during atmospheric flight.
The impeller is generally a circular or torus-shaped cyclotron-like device set into a ringed armature arrangement allowing it to swivel in any direction to project or repel gravitons.
The galaxy has a multitude of sources for power generation but none is as efficient as the horizon reactor. The reactor is fueled by normal matter – primarily hydrogen, but waste products or any other matter can be used – that is fed into a contained and stabilized artificial quantum singularity. The resulting stream of protons and neutrinos generate electrical energy via a plasmon wave-transfer rotor. Excess particles are vented to space. The wave-transfer rotor also serves a dual purpose by generating a strong magnetic field outside of a ship that protects it from radiation.
If the reactor’s containment fails, in most cases the singularity dissipates harmlessly. In a failure where the reactor’s graviton projectors do not disengage, the result is a catastrophic explosion. The singularity devours the reactor, finally releasing all of its potential energy at once when the projectors are finally disabled or destroyed.
While other forms of faster-than-light travel exist, the hyperdrive is the safest and therefore most popular type of FTL in the galaxy. The hyperdrive enables a ship to travel through hyperspace, a compacted sub-dimensional echo of space-time. It does this by channeling vast amounts of stored energy to a shunt that creates a gravitic warp in the quantum fabric of space-time allowing the ship to slide into and out of a hyperspace corridor.
While ships in hyperspace do not interact with normal matter, gravity wells in normal space-time cast shadows in hyperspace. These gravity shadows can tear a ship from hyperspace, causing severe damage if not simply destroying the vessel. The drive is rarely initiated within any practical range of the major bodies in a star system. Hyperdrive equipped craft make for the edge of a system before they jump. Transit time in-system varies depending on the type of normal propulsion with which the ship is equipped.
Capacitors for the drive take time to charge but the process of jumping to hyperspace is nearly instantaneous. To the outside observer there is a flash of blue light as the ship vanishes and a flash of red as it reappears. The passengers aboard the ship suffer a slight disorientation at the jump but otherwise notice nothing.
Travel times vary slightly from drive to drive depending on the manufacturer, but generally, hyperdrive-equipped vessels can cross one parsec of space (3.26 light-years) per second. This means a vessel could, if could it withstand the radiation and chaotic gravity wells of the galactic core, travel from one edge of the galaxy to the other in a little over eight and a half hours.
Hyperwave transmissions use hyperspace as their medium allowing for FTL communications. A hyperwave transceiver array can send and receive hyperwave signals. While interstellar hyperwave communications experience a lag of about 1 second per 20 parsecs, in-system communications are instantaneous. Hyperwave requires a lot of power so is not particularly portable. However, the smallest transceivers can be carried aboard a starship.
The hyperweb is the primary hyperwave communications network in the galaxy. It is the equivalent of 21st century internet, cable television, and phone service combined. While PHINs use normal, albeit powerful, radio waves for sending and receiving communications, they connect to the hyperweb via local hyperwave transceiver arrays or starship hyperwave transceivers to do it. Encrypted messages can be sent via the hyperweb, but there is no guarantee of security.
The greatest danger in hyperspace travel is navigation. One misstep during a jump can destroy a ship and its crew. Up to date star charts as well as knowing planetary positions in both the system of origin and the destination are necessary. The navchip industry is a booming business, legitimate interstellar cartography is expensive but life saving. Navchip data is usually reliable for one to two weeks after purchase. After that period, the drift data cannot be fully trusted. Any navchip older than a month could lead a starship crew into disaster. Con men will gladly take advantage of naïve or thrifty crews willing to save money on charts that may or may not be accurate.
Small Craft & Fighter Drones
Shuttles, large and small, are a common sight ferrying people or cargo around any star system. Single pilot fighter craft are practically unheard of. Remotely piloted or more commonly, A.I. piloted drones generally do the work of a fighter and are rarely more than a smart torpedo armed with guns to soften a target before impact.
The variety of spacecraft weaponry is endless. Particle cannons, quantum disintegrator cannons, and A.I. guided fusion and antimatter torpedoes are common.