Technosophia contains information about Federation technology, including things 21st century readers may call "magic" (i.e. psychokinesis, psychism in general, and the warp). All completed entries are indexed below; click on any item of interest to jump to its full entry.
The Venture - Like other courier corvettes, the Venture combines size and cargo capacity with maneuverability and defense, making it something of a hybrid between the conventional roles of a defensive corvette platform and a cargo-towing frigate. While limited to a smaller payload per trip, the courier corvette platform boasts a greatly accelerated timetable for warp transit compared to its cargo frigate cousins, in addition to greater resistance to standard piracy. Corvettes have greater range for warp jumps than more massive ships, meaning there are less opportunities to ambush corvettes during warp drive recharge in conventional reality; moreover, the smaller target means less potential for reward from a plunderer’s perspective, while simultaneously making the corvette harder to disable without outright destroying it, and its cargo along with it. Some pirates will still try their luck, of course, and for this reason, the Venture is equipped with numerous mobile weapon platforms. Like other corvettes, those platforms can adjust their position on the hull as well as their angle of fire as needed to achieve maximum coverage and precision of fire. Additionally, many courier corvettes (like the Venture) are capable of transatmospheric flight, a feat that no frigate in the Federation has ever achieved.
For these reasons, courier corvettes may be highly preferred in a number of personnel and shipping situations – particularly those that require haste, discretion, and protection from prying eyes. There is a general suspicion that such corvettes are frequently associated with criminal elements, and while this is not exclusively true, it is not exclusively false, either. Siri Joranson, the captain of the Venture, is widely known to walk the line of legality aboard Astralana and in any other system where she or her crew have worked.
The Venture is equipped with several anti-personnel cannons for use as deterrent against boarding efforts, along with four missile tubes (two dorsal and two ventral) and three laser batteries (one dorsal and two ventral). The missile tubes are named after constellations not included in the traditional Earth Western Zodiac (“Pleiades,” “Andromeda,” “Cassiopeia,” and “Draco”) while the laser batteries are named after constellations that are included in that Zodiac (“Capricorn,” “Aries,” and “Taurus” – “Capricorn,” mounted dorsally, is more powerful than its counterparts).
The End of The World - Formerly the Temperance from when it acted as the flagship of General Sendel of the Terran Astral Guard, this ship served as Siri Joranson’s primary command post during the Joranson Uprising. While officially designated a heavy cruiser of the Epitome-class, extensive modifications and specifications in both its original commission and subsequent refits led it to act as a unique entity, and it was more commonly referred to as one of the Astral Guard’s dreadnaughts. After its rebirth in the Dark Heart navy, The End of The World was best known as a planet destroyer, as its primary armament – a super-heavy maser array – could generate enough localized heat to ignite human-breathable atmosphere. In this way, the name of the ship served as a portent for what awaited worlds in the path of the uprising (see the Historica entry on the Joranson Uprising).
The End of The World rarely engaged in direct combat with other ships due to its lack of maneuverability, despite the impressive capacities of its armament. Instead, it acted as a secure command base and a means of intimidation against settlements, whether they were terrestrial or in orbit. It is also widely theorized that its massive engineering bay was refitted to support Eris in converting soldiers to her brood, a key element in Joranson’s battle plan. Little is known about Eris, or what mechanisms she used within The End of The World to achieve this conversion; after the end of the Joranson Uprising, the ship was decommissioned, and the engineers responsible for scrapping it were not given sufficient time to study the modifications.
Ansibles – Any of a wide variety of practical forms of instantaneous communication, ansibles are a technology that, much like warp drives, singularly catalyzed a revolution in the way the Federation conducted itself. (See Historica entry on Pentemillenial Bloom.) The first ansible’s invention is credited to the Albion scientist Desgander Sinkoset, who, together with their team of associate researchers in 5238 FSY, took the principle of quantum entanglement and combined it with standing perturbations in the warp to create a functional communication device for sentient minds. Due to this distinction, machines are not generally able to communicate with one another via ansible without the support of organic minds as intermediaries. (However, there have been some exceptions to this – see Historica entry on “The Silvermare Experiment”)
Since the invention of the first ansible type – often called the Sinkoset Ansible, after its chief creator – many other species have contributed to the cannon of functional ansible communication. Improvements have taken the form of reducing energy needs, enhancing range, improving security features, and streamlining the user interface. The last of these has been particularly noteworthy; the ansible works in many ways like a tight-banded psychic projection, which many users found uncomfortable in the early days of its development. Since then, technologies that would ultimately serve as the precursor to the warp drive have made the process much more closely resemble a standard vid call.
The primary function of the ansible is to use the perturbations in the warp to establish a resonance between two readers of entangled particles. The warp connection, it is worth noting, is not entirely instantaneous; however, due to the limited density of content (the warp is only being used to connect the intent to form a shared communication, as opposed to, for instance, a ship full of living bodies and minds), it is able to transmit the information near-instantly. Once the connection has been established, the two machines are able to simultaneously read the collapses of a pair of superpositioned entangled particles. With the assistance of the warp, the receiving machine is able to detect each collapse as it happens in response to a collapse initiated by the sending machine. This forms a sort of binary code system, wherein the presence of a collapse reads as a “1” and the absence reads as a “0,” allowing the machine reader to translate the collapses into computer data.
Warp cores – A technology that, in one form or another, had been standard use in the Federation since the dawn of warp flight around 4500 FSY (see the Historica entries on The Ancients and Warp Flight; see also the Constituents entry on Urgites). Warp cores allowed the psychic emanations of particular strains of sentient beings, who came to be known as Navigators, to actually direct extensions of the warp into positional existence in the conventional physical realm. By wrapping the warp around a ship, the ship effectively disappears from physical reality and begins traveling through a correlate reality within the warp. The reality in question exists only as a means of conveyance from one point in conventional reality to another, meaning that it does not normally interact with any other aspects of the warp, including other travelers.
To conserve momentum and energy in the conventional universe, the wrapped warp space – called a warp field – leaves behind a “warp shadow” as it transfers its contents into the warp. The warp shadow is composed of virtual particles sufficient to match the mass and velocity of the ship it replaces. Once the ship returns to conventional reality, the warp shadow returns to the warp, and the ship appears in its new destination with the same relative velocity as before the jump. For this reason, it is usually advised that ships reach a delta-v consistent with the frame of reference of their destination before entering a warp jump. Accelerating in transit is non-functional due to the fact that conventional delta-v has no meaning within the warp.
It is frequently theorized that the creation of the warp shadow is the part of warp jumping that causes pain for the Navigator, but experiments remain inconclusive, and are unlikely to be completed now that warp drives are commonplace.
Before arriving at the warp drive, the Federation had seen warp cores go through many successive iterations. The goals of warp core research typically centered on improving specs - such as range, cooldown, speed, and precision - or on comfortability for the Navigator. While advancements in the former category had been relatively universal once engineered, enhancing Navigator comfort proved to be significantly less compatible across species lines, and nearly impossible to begin with. A notable exception exists in the Kismodia, whose Navigators have been using warp cores with perfect comfort and ease since the inception of the technology. There is no widely excepted explanation for the difference, as Kismodians do not possess an intrinsically superior capacity for psychism, but the most popular theory considers it to be an outgrowth of the work of the Kismodia Conclave (see entry in Historica for more information).
Aside from the Kismodia, however, every species in the Federation, including the Mechanists, has embraced the use of warp drives to replace warp cores.
Warp drives – The prototype for these revolutionary drives was first invented by human scientists working on the Grana colony in 6407 FSY (see the Historica entry on Grana). After the prototype was acquired by the Terran Astral Guard, it was developed into a working military model, an adaptation of which debuted for commercial use in 6416 FSY. This early stage of the warp drive was plagued by numerous design flaws – most notably the warp field injects, projections of the warp field that would insinuate themselves within the body of a ship, distorting or even outright annihilating whatever matter they encountered – but was still considered a staggering triumph. This is in large part due to the greater capacity of the warp drive to initiate multiple warp jumps with significantly less recharge time, along with the not insignificant fact of it rendering Navigators obsolete. Therefore, despite their inherent risks, warp drives changed the face of the Federation almost overnight, ushering in a new era of unbridled interstellar navigation.
In 6436 FSY, the work of an Astralana science team, led by Albion professor Brigid Veila, led to the stabilization of the warp field injects.
Warp drives operate on the same principles as warp cores, but do so through machine regulation instead of psychic Navigators. The use of a machine regulator instead of an organic one allows for the greater precision and shorter cool down times associated with warp drives.