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The Pre-Maghiz Darrian Prototype Hyperdrive Write-up

This is a details thread concerning the prototype Hyperdrive that Artemis Group found in Caliburn (Spinward Marches 1430) smuggled aboard the Far Trader that was sabotaged by pirates meaning to reclaim the very Hyperdrive they had stolen from the pre-Maghiz, Darrian Outpost ruins on Epsilon Moon, Bowman (Spinward Marches 1132).  This thread is not exhaustive.  More details may surface and the thread may serve as a notes repository for later discoveries concerning the three modules.  After completing the required, chained 100 Effect of months of research and language translation, here is what Artemis knows about the Hyperdrive: The Hyperdrive comes in three modules that are connectable with some updated adapters.  It is found as a Hyperspace Map, the Hyperdrive itself and the Electronics Module that coordinates between the drive, the map and its host ship's computer. The Hyperdrive seems to be TL 16, though this may be wrong in that it is a breakthrough technology even for the Darrians of that era.  Artemis knows now that it is indeed a prototype  and as such may exceed TL 16 that the pre-Maghiz Darrians would have thought of as a breakthrough.  Its Tech Level maybe higher. The Hyperdrive alone is 20 displacement tons, twice the size of a Jumpdrive of the same rating, (A). The involvement of the pirates that Artemis let escape in their in-system smallcraft might mean that the same band might come looking for the three modules even if they do not know as much as Artemis does after the research was conducted. Artemis Group has learned that in order to install the Hyperspace Map inside a ship that is TL 15 or less means that the host vessel will have to remove its Library/0 data.  The information in the Hyperspace Map precludes the presence of Library in terms of vast memory and storage requirements to access map data. The Hyperspace Map contains truncated spacial maps of subsectors:  Fessor, Querion, Villis, Reidain, Darrian, Sword Worlds, Urnian, Five Sisters,and District 268.  It is possible to save into memory new hyperspace routes, one 'jump' at a time by each successful arrival. The three modules have pre-Maghiz Darrian script on their various components which is a dead giveaway, even if not yet translated, that this prototype is indeed Darrian origin.  There were no manuals, texts or instructions that were found with the three modules nor on the searched Far Trader.  It may be possible that the pirates who sold the three modules to the captain of the Far Trader purposely omitted any texts, knowing their operation was to recover the modules through sabotage. The Hyperdrive is capable of opening a portal large enough to allow passage of a single vessel up to 200 displacement tons into hyperspace  and later to exit hyperspace. The Hyperdrive can be initiated once per day.  It cannot be used to open a second portal for another 24 hours afterward.  This means that the vessel must travel at least one parsec (hex) before it has "cooled down" to permit hyperspace exit. The Hyperdrive is subject to gravity wells of stars, rogue planets, dense nebulae, black holes and other spacial anomalies that can normally cause a ship to emerge from jumpspace. The Electronics module, when properly fitted allows the coordination between the ship, the Map and the Drive.  If incorrectly calibrated can lead to 'misjumps', too small portals, portals that close off too soon - sawing the ship in half and other nastiness - and generally bad stuff. Once in hyperspace, the vessel travels on its Maneuver Drive a number of hexes per day (or less if desired) equal to the Thrust Rating (its Gs in MegaTraveller terminology). Once a vector is chosen through Astrogation, (a penalized Formidable -6DM Task taking 10-60 minutes extendable up to two time bands of careful calculations and cross-checks), a portal can be opened into hyperspace . The Hyperspace Map is just a map.  It cannot confirm the current accuracy of a chosen vector.  Thus, Hyerspace Astrogation is an uncertain  Task.  The Astrogator player rolls one of the dice and adds and subtracts modifiers.  The Referee secretly throws the other die.  Based on the results of the visible, modified die result, the Astrogator must make a decision whether to authorize the ship's Jump Engineer to initiate the Hyperdrive and open a portal on that vector.  The computer (tr: the Referee and at Referee discretion) may hint to the Astrogator whether the vector is on target with a Green, Yellow or Red Light depending how bad the Uncertain Die results.  The ship will never know until the ship exits hyperspace  if they were truly on course from start to finish, a characteristic of the prototype  descriptor. A vessel may voluntarily come within 100 Diameters of a gravity well on purpose in order to 'bleed' out of hyperspace , but they will have no idea what is in normal space (N-space), that the well represents.  There is also an Engineering roll to help maintain hull integrity as the ship slips down the well to the object creating such a gravity well.  A dangerous maneuver only to be undertaken when the Hyperdrive fails and cannot open a exit portal. A vessel in hyperspace  may re-vector at any time but cannot calculate a new vector there.  Thus a ship can turn 180 degrees and go back to the starting point and open a portal at the starting parsec (hex), but not until 24 'cooldown' hours have passed.  This is also a dangerous maneuver because the ship cannot see where its new vector will take them. Hyperspace  is truncated.  The stars all appear to be very close to each other and all is a foggy, hazy red-shifted crimson outside the viewing ports and scopes.  Comms do not function into, during or out of hyperspace .  Sensors are instantly overloaded if they are employed in hyperspace , causing a need to be re-calibrated if active before exit. The Electronics Module will not alert the vessel of destination arrival.  An Astrogator must estimate when to halt the Maneuver Drives and divert power to open an exit portal from hyperspace . A Jump Drive Engineering roll is needed to initiate the Hyperdrive to open any portal into or exiting from hyperspace.   Because Jump Drive Engineering skill is attuned to Jump Drive theory, there is a Difficult -4DM penalty to the action.  Diversion of power to the Hyperdrive is an Average -0DM Task requiring only 10-60 seconds as the Hyperdrive accepts power from a Power Plant and charges, spooling the portal generator. A Hit to the Hyperdrive acts as such:  First Hit:  Hyperspace Map Offline.  A portal may be opened but has zero accuracy.  Second Hit:  Electronics Module de-calibrated and may cause a 'misjump', (see above).  Third Hit: Hyperdrive Offline.  The ship may not open portals into or out of hyperspace until repaired.  A ship in hyperspace may still re-vector to a gravity well to 'bleed' out, but at risk of whatever is causing the well. Repairs to the TL16+ modules require twice as many spare parts and full repairs are at a penalty of -2DM per TL level difference of the shipyard and the module . The Hyperdrive is twice the size of a Jumpdrive, requires only operations power and movement through hyperspace  is by Maneuver Drive or other technology drive, (HePlaR, combustion rockets, etc.) at the cost of that drive's fuel consumption. A vessel can halt its hyperspace transit, but can be pulled to to N-space by large moving bodies that wander within 100 Diameters of the ship's current  hyperspace locus, e.g. rogue planets, large planetoids, worldlets, dense comets, travelling collapsars, supernova, and other mobile gravity wells. In order to store a new route in the Hyperspace Map, an Astrogation roll of Difficult -4DM must be made in conjunction with a Computers roll, normally Average for TL16 computers but at a -1DM per Tech Level difference between the Hyperspace Map and the ship's current computer TL.  Both rolls must succeed and while extra time bands may be taken in the task, it can only be attempted once per successful hyperspace  transit. In hyperspace , the ship is beyond all sensors, weapons reach, cannot be targeted or interdicted by other N-space ships' masses.  Another ship in hyperspace transit can detect the first ship if they come within a parsec of each other.   Hyperspace  combat is only possible if both ships mutually halt their transit to exchange fire. Psionics is not possible into or out of hyperspace .  Teleportation attempted while in hyperspace results in instant death as the Psion's mass is smeared over parsecs of space.  If a transiting ship in hyperspace halts its progress, Teleportation is possible but leaves the Psion in hyperspace  outside the vessel and quite possibly stranded there should the ship continue its transit.  Should a strande Psion encounter a gravity well while stranded in hyperspace , they are ripped from it and in to N-space and die gruesome deaths.  Psionic Astrogation through a Hyperdrive is possible but at the same penalties Astrogation suffers. A new skill, Hypernav, is possible to develop which gradually normalizes Astrogation penalties over time. A new skill, Hyperdrive Engineering, is possible to develop which gradually normalized Jump Drive Engineering penalties over time. The three modules are beyond researching to duplicate save through TL16+ facilities, plants or workshops.  Mass production is prone to errors and is supremely avoided. The Darrian Confederation would dearly love anything pre-Maghiz  returned to them, even a prototype Hyperdrive that has never been tested.  Convincing them that the Hyperdrive is bonafide and truly such might be a Task of Sciences skills, Diplomacy and some convincing Persuasion as to how best be compensated for the relic of Epsilon Moon. The Imperium Research Station Zeta on Pashus ( Spinward Marches 1432) would also be interested in the Darrian contraption for the same set of Tasks if they knew such a relic existed. Pirates who unearthed the stolen relic Hyperdrive would obviously be interested to get their stolen modules back, by hook or by crook.  Whether they have alerted anyone else to the loss of the three modules is an unknown.
Nits: Hyperspace is still a form of space ; as such, you have to calculate a trajectory through it to get from point A to point B. And if a sophont can calculate it, so can a computer . I see no practical reason why, given raw coordinate data of the planetary systems in question, the trajectory cannot be computed , rather than being required to calculate it by hand... other than that software simply not having been developed, which we would, because sophonts doing unnecessary math is always a bad idea; Darrians included. While in Hyperspace, the computer tracks its position through simple dead reckoning... a reasonable estimate of current position based on the applied thrust and velocity during travel through Hyperspace. So long as the ship travels along the intended trajectory, its position is known, within a computable margin of error; of course, if it drifts from that path due to non-ideal ship performance, then that margin of error increases insidiously, with potentially disastrous consequences. Carefully executing a change in trajectory while in Hyperspace should be possible, so long as the ship is sufficiently on track... but additional penalties should accumulate based on the distance of the new target, because of that unknowable; maybe an additional -2 per parsec to a Hyperspace Astrogation Int roll, on top of the original Hyperspace Astrogation Int roll? Of course, if the ship can just exit Hyperspace anywhere, it can get a reading of the star field and eliminate those penalties outright. Which is something you didn’t mention... can the Hyperspace drive exit anywhere, or just within gravity wells? Now, the positions of the star systems and their planets in 3D space are known quantities, even from several parsecs away. But the Jump Map is a sort of perversion of those values... Does the Hyperspace Map at all correspond to the Jump Map, or is it completely different ? Because... it could easily have a completely different mathematical relationship to the original 3D space values ! Let’s assume that we have a cube with X, Y, and Z coordinates, and the Jump Map is flattened along the Z axis; the Hyperspace Map, if flattened at all , could well be flattened on the Y axis instead! Compared to the Jump Map, the Hyperspace Map could shorten some long-distance trips at the expense of making some short-distance trips radically far away! Is there any reason that a properly built ship couldn’t have both a Jump Drive and a Hyperspace Drive, so long as sufficient space is allocated? If we’re going to run a Hyperspace Drive on a “test mule” ship like we did with the crystal, we’re going to want a “Plan B” for getting home if things don’t work out...
Traveler and its conflicting info. Did i read that Gravitic drives don't work if you are more than 400 diameters.
VIC e. said: Traveler and its conflicting info. Did i read that Gravitic drives don't work if you are more than 400 diameters. From what I've read there are two types of Gravitic propulsion. Reactive grav modules that work by pushing of the gravitational field they are currently in, and non reactive grav drives that are used by starships. As far as I understand the starship grave plates don't need a gravitational field to push off the way reactive drives do.  This means things like G-Carriers and Grav Belts don't work when you're out in deep space. To get around in space you really need the non-reactive gear. It's the non-reactive grav drives that accelerate the non-jump capable colony ships across the rift. It takes months of constant acceleration to get up to the crazy speed they need to go which implies that their grav maneuver drives work long after they leave the gravitational pull of nearby stars and planets.
We actually decided not to test the prototype hyperdrive, remember. Too much risk for with nothing to really gain. Especially since we know that our mysterious visitor back on Lunion tampered with the thing.