Featured Phenomenon: Wormholes
Every human schoolchild knows that wormholes are the phenomena which allow the Imperial Combine to control almost three spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy.
Humanity knew that wormholes were mathematically possible long before they travelled to the stars, but it was not until many centuries later that the technology caught up with the maths. In the early days of wormhole travel, voyages to other star systems were inefficient, horrifyingly expensive, and fraught with danger.
The main issue with early wormholes was that they were all 'unbound', meaning that although the point of origin was more or less anchored in space, the destination end was free to wander. This meant that a ship travelling through the wormhole would experience increasing turbulence, and even if it survived transit it might not arrive exactly where the crew expected it to. It was not until humanity encountered the Lem Bataan that this problem was solved.
When humans first made contact with the Lem Bataan Confederation, they were extremely pleased to be offered access to academic information on the formation and manipulation of vastly more stable wormholes. The proposed methods relied on two separate but related technologies: Gravity Needle Generators, and a Gate Network.
Gravity Needle Generators (GNGs) project a highly focused, acutely asymptotic gravitational distortion out into space. This distortion is known as a 'zero thread', and can best be imagined as a two-dimensional singularity, contradiction-in-terms though it may be. The zero thread extrudes the space between origin and destination points into a usable wormhole. It is the harmonic motion of a zero thread which constrains a wormhole and prevents it from wandering.
GNGs were a blessing to the intrepid explorers of humanity's early forays into the galaxy. The system allowed a relatively stable wormhole to be plucked from normal space, using far less energy than any previously tested technologies. While still unbound, wormholes created by GNGs had far more inherent stability than any previous human attempts, and tended to wander less at the destination end.
The use of a Gate — as a terminus which could either project an outgoing wormhole, or attract and stabilise an incoming wormhole — also revolutionised interstellar travel. Using a gate at either end of a wormhole made it safer, more accurate, and more reliable. Wormholes strung between two gates were termed 'bound' wormholes.
It should be noted that those two technologies did come with a cost: they invited an unavoidable reliance on the ability to produce large quantities of xtryllium, one of the most precious synthetic materials known to exist. That reliance continues to this day.
The establishment of the entire gate network took more than a century, but few would argue that that was time wasted. By projecting short, unbound wormholes with GNGs, and sending construction vessels to the other side, it was possible to gradually leap-frog the resources needed for the completion of destination gates between distant star systems.
Also See: Universe > Technology > Wormholes and Gates
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