Slip-Stream Travel

Quick Facts:

  • Slipstream Is a Unique form of travel for the vast distances between Galaxies
  • Ship Size is Limited to small vessels under 100 Meters or 500MT of mass.
    (Exception for Slipgates, read below)
  • Slip drives are very small, and can be retrofitted into many existing hull types and vessels
  • Your may ‘accidently’ enter slipspace via other FTL means of travel, and will generally end up at a Slip Nexus after a bit of a rough ride.

 

Though many technologies exist for intra-galactic travel such as FTL jump drives, warp drive, and jump gate technology , the vast distances between galaxies preclude the use of these technologies. While star systems average between 4.5 and 3.5 light years apart on average, the distances between galaxies is 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 light years. The only known way to transit this vast distance, is via the slipstream.

Slipstream, also known as Streaming and “Raiding the rails” is the only know way of traveling the expanse between galaxies. It is the sole technology that every intergalactic race depends upon for transglagtic trade.  Slipstream is an extension of our reality, an additional dimension that’s integrally intertwined with our own. The slipstream is a place where quantum connections are visible as cords, especially the large and strong connections like those between huge concentrations of matter such as planets or suns.

A spaceship that enters the slipstream can harness the energy of these cords and ride them from one star system to another. One interesting thing about moving through the slipstream is that travel time between points has very little to do with the distance actually traveled. If a pilot is lucky, and the stream unfolds just right, the ship could transit between galaxies in minutes. But put an unlucky pilot at the helm and the same trip could take weeks or even months.

Luckily for the cause of interstellar commerce and communication, the more a certain path is frequently traveled, the faster, easier and more predictable the journey becomes. As a result, frequently-traveled routes between major transit points are safe and convenient.

Another unusual aspect of slipstream is the requirement of an organic pilot to guide a starship through the slipstream. At an intersection of pathways in slipstream space, both paths manifest the potentiality of being correct and incorrect. It’s only when the pilot chooses a specific direction that this potentiality collapses and one path becomes right, and the other wrong. For reasons still not completely understood, organic beings tend to choose the correct paths, or more precisely, the very act of choosing makes the path they have chosen the correct one. But strangely, are incapable of this reality-altering guesswork.

Shuttle making the jump to slipspace.

Shuttle making the jump to slipspace.


LIMITS OF SLIPSTREAM

Due to the complex nature of slipstream probability and difficulty in mapping slipstream, only biological entities are capable of successfully navigating it. Exiting slipstream in the vast void between galaxies or in certain regions of space could be dangerous because it is difficult to find a slippoint in these areas. If a slippoint cannot be found, or a slipstream drive is damaged, the ship is stranded and limited to normal FTL speed.

Slipstream also has “decision points,” which are basically intersections or natural branching of the quantum strings that are ridden. Speed in slipstream, although relative can be used to judge how fast one is going compared to the median times.
Usually one has to enter and exit slipstream several times before reaching their final destination.

Slipstream travel almost always results in very little or no time dilation.

Unlike other FTL technologies, the limitations of slipstream drives relegates their use to small vessels, with limited mass. Currently slip capable ships are limited in size and mass to 100 meters in any dimension, and 500 Metric Tons, or about the size of a Firefly or YT-1300 Class Transport.  This limitation precludes bulk transport of materials between galaxies, and limits intergalactic warfare.  The economics of slipstream trade rely on small ships, carrying high demand cargo and beings.

The mass limitation can be partially overcome by the use of an advanced technology used in ‘slipgates’. In some ways, similar to Mass Drivers, or Massive Star Gates, SlipGates can be used in pairs, to propel large vessels to a limited number of worlds with a compatible, open receiving gate. Very few worlds have SlipGates and the knowledge of the construction has been lost to the ages. As such, most travel is by smaller slip capable vessels.

Solid objects can be release in slipstream, where they behave as if they were in hard vacuum.

If the gravity is high enough, a slipstream cannot be opened because a GFG lens cannot compete with the stronger gravities and rip open a hole in spacetime.
The Slipstream is an extension of our reality, an additional dimension that’s integrally intertwined with our own. According to an application of quantum physics called string theory, everything in our Universe is connected to everything else. And the Slipstream is a place where those connections are visible.

In the Slipstream, small and weak connections (those linking small and weak concentrations of matter, such as the link between you and your jelly donut) look like strings, gauzy bits of cotton candy fluff. But large and complex and strong connections, like those between huge concentrations of matter, say planets or suns, form gigantic, pulsing ropes, writhing monstrous tendrils with the diameter of a skyscraper and the length of the universe. If you enter the Slipstream, you can harness the energy of these cords and ride them from one star system to another, like the Universe’s largest and most unbelievably convenient rollercoaster.

The only problem is that the strings are in constant motion, crossing and recrossing each other in a hundred different places. So to get from one star to another, the pilot of a ship in Slipstream has to constantly choose between divergent paths in the stream. And the right path changes from moment to moment. Faced with such randomness, all a pilot can really do when it’s time to choose is guess.

So, here’s what happens when a pilot reaches an intersection. Before the pilot chooses, according to the physicist Erwin Shrödinger (you can skip this part if you want, we’ll meet up in a few sentences), both paths are simultaneously right and wrong. In other words, they both manifest the potentiality of being correct and incorrect. It’s only when the pilot chooses a specific direction that this potentiality collapses and one path becomes right, and the other wrong. But the cool thing about being an observer in a quantum reality like the Slipstream is that THE ACT OF MAKING A DECISION ALTERS REALITY. So when you guess that a certain path is right, in Slipstream space, 99.9% of the time, you guess correctly.

A slippoint opening above Highport at Dokk Refurinn.

A slippoint opening above Highport at Dokk Refurinn.

In other words (start back here if you skipped that last part), human (or other biological sentient) pilots in Slipstream have to guess where they’re going, but because of the nature of Slipstream space, they’re mostly always right. Of course, some pilots are more intuitive to the weave of the strings, and thus their trips take more less time to travel these distances than others.  As the weave of these paths become more complex, they become more difficult to travel. Thus, travel between star systems in the relatively densely packed galaxies is far more dangerous and complex than travel between the widely spaced galaxies themselves. Worlds drifting between galaxies often have multiple slippaths leading to them forming a Nexus, with strong paths between them.

Okay, nice theory, but what does it look like? Good question. What we see when we travel through Slipstream is this: You ship reaches a point in normal space where the Slipstream is accessible (as far from gravitational sources like suns as possible, often the Nadir and Zenith gravity wells of a star system). Then your ship shifts, distorts, and suddenly it’s someplace else, riding along a bunch of gigantic glowing ropes like an out-of-control roller coaster on a rail. When the ropes twist and wind, the ship rotates and spins on its axis. When it reaches an intersection, it whips off at wild angles along new tracks, whizzing along to its destination. Finally, thanks to a series of monumentally lucky guesses by your pilot, the ship arrives at its destination and shifts back into normal space. It’s like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride on fast forward.

One interesting thing about moving through the Slipstream is that travel time has almost nothing to do with the distance between stars. If you’re lucky and the Stream unfolds just right, you could get from here to the next galaxy in minutes. But if you’re not lucky, and things get hairy, the same trip could take weeks or even months. About the only rule is that the more frequently a certain path is traveled, the easier and more predictable the journey becomes. Most of the time. Unless it’s not. As the stream unfolds for each pilot individually, keeping multiple vessels together as they travel is near impossible and only the most gifted or experienced slip pilots and navigators have any chance of traveling together, as even small groups of vessels are unlikely to arrive at their destination together.

Administrator Cassi watches from HighPort's landing deck as a vessel arrives from a nearby slippoint.

Administrator Cassi watches from HighPort’s landing deck as a vessel arrives from a nearby slippoint.


 

SlipWrecking

Occasionally, vessels utilizing other FTL technologies encounter an unusal Space-Time abnormality and enter SlipSpace. This is generally called SlipWrecking, as the vessel is in for a rough ride as it bounces though the stream and ‘off the rails’ until it manages to transition back to normal space. Often these vessels find themselves at the closest Slip Nexus, as objects ‘adrift’ in the stream naturally flow to these locations. These voyages make for sometimes interesting first contact between Slip Faring and non slip faring races.


The Slip Stream and the Protectorate

Most Protectorate worlds sits at a nexus of slipstream pathways, or a “slipknot”. This advantageous Spatial-geography is largely responsible of the settlement of such systems. Colonies such as Botany Bay and Dokk Refurinn cater to the unique needs of intergalactic travelers and trade, and provide assistance to Slipwrecked vessels which happen upon their doorsteps.

Several Protectorate worlds host rare SlipGates, enabling the limited travel of capital classed vessels and stations across the cosmos, another benefit.

With multiple slippoints, access to many well-traveled slippaths worlds located at Slip Nexuses are busy hubs of trans galactic travel, seeing visitors from many nearby galaxies, and hundreds if not thousands of worlds. Those that can control these worlds, control the routes.

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