FTL

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Science Explained
Technology
Name:FTL Drive
Origin:Poqmori
Availibility:Military / Rare
Basic Cost:260 Million Yen+
Most Common In:Space
Status:Approved for Special Use

"How fast can you go? When dealing with interstellar travel, even the fastest conventional drives fall short. Generation ships are adequate for colonization, but true travel requires something more. The speed of light needs to be exceeded. This task force shall find a way to break this barrier with the best and brightest of Ginsing's University with your support, Council." -- Kris Fourstar to The Council, History of Space Travel

Need for Speed

Space is big. With normal measurement conventions, it is impossible to truly make note of how big it really is. Distances are measured in the constant of Light Years (9,460,730,472,580.8 km or about 9.461 Pm) which is the distance light can travel in absolute vacuum in one year. Unfortunately, a ray of light is considered the fastest particle type out there. Numerous experiments were done to try and reach the speed of light, but as you approach the speed of light the cost to accelerate becomes nearly infinite. Even with the cooperation of a large group of electric types, there is never enough power to make that critical step to 1c. Conventional drives were able to get to .2c through this research, but it was not enough for anything more then generation ships to be useful out in the Black.

Old Theories were once more brought to bear in another attempt at fixing the problem, everything from a more advanced power plant and more efficient engines, to adapting specific pokemon powers to the task at hand. Some of these are listed below.

Abra-Kadabra, We're There

The Abra line has always maintained an ability to teleport when in danger. After some negotiation with a family of these psychic 'mon, experiments were set in motion to see if this ability could be adapted to work with large, non-living structures. Using large vacuum chambers separating two points in space, the Abra's teleportation speed was compared with that of the Kadabra's. Unfortunately the result of this experiment was of limited use; the speed they could achieve with psychic matter transmission was limited to only .8c. After some endurance tests and one sad fatality, it was determined that the teleportation could only be maintained for a total of 5 minutes. Although this netted the impressive distance of 630,715,364,838.72 km it would not be useful for anything outside of the solar system (1AU is equivalent to approximately 149,597,870 km.)

The Kadabra has the well known trait of using spoons even in the wild. This is non living matter transmission, and would be used to test the maximum transmission capacity of a Kadabra teleport. The experiment was simple, starting with 1kg and working up from it, taking rests whenever the volunteer got tired. Two things were learned from this experiment: A Kadabra did not have a limit on what it could take based on its own bodymass or physical strength. The most powerful Kadabra could move a total of 8475 kg, or about 4.5 tonnes. Anymore than this and the teleport would simply leave behind the lightest single object until the resulting teleport was under this limit. Being able to move a SUV sized vehicle was not a small feat by any stretch, but was insufficient for any long term exploration to occur.

Rips in Space-Time

Wormholes have always held a certain attraction for use as a method or traveling great distances. All the mathematical theories have put the end of wormholes in our own dimension, at a pre-determined point in space, without going through the intervening time. For a time, there was such a wormhole at the edge of the Poqmori system. The first successful use of a wormhole was by a hardened probe inhabited by a brave Porygon volunteer. Transmissions ceased as soon as the probe entered the event horizon, and the probe itself was lost from all forms of contact shortly thereafter.

The probe returned through the same wormhole 7 days later. The outer hull had been sheared away, but the hardened probe took it as superficial damage. The report was dissapointing however; the porygon had ended up in a barren area between solar systems. Because there was no way to 'aim' a wormhole, the data was interesting but ultimately useless.

A second scout ship was sent using cryo-stasis. It never returned. The theory based on the last recorded transmission was that the ship lost all hull integrity once hitting the event horizon. Given the size difference between the hardened probe and the scout ship, it makes wormholes a minor interest at best.

Successful Faster-Than-Light Travel

It took a breakthrough by a single rather eclectiec mathematician to find a way through the light speed barrier, and even then he didn't realize it. The math involved was for magnetic theory, which predicted more dimensions were accessible when one used enough magnetic force to propel one's self. This theory was primarily used to accurately predict the size of subatomic particles with frightening results.

The Council's Organization for Space Travel and Protection (The Proctorate) found the research in an archive after the worm hole experiment. Giving the somewhat disjointed math to their top researchers, they demanded some sort of result... which was met with blank stares for the most part.

Two major lucky breaks occurred that finally made the breakthrough. The first was that the subcontractor that designed the first magnetic FTL field generator had skimped on several of the parts, causing insulation to be thin both in the generator and in the control panel. The second was that the controller, a Pichu researcher, spilled her coffee at the end of the countdown. The panel shorted out, and several components melted together. Voltage back-fed into the controller, amplified, and was sent to the generator, which had a similer overload as circuits overloaded and fused together.

The entire field generator vanished from our reality, and reappeared exactly 5 minutes later in a quickie mart down the street. The quickie mart did not survive this appearance, but the unit did. The damage was reverse engineered, as was the voltage feedback from the electric type. A second unit was built in a small scout craft and tested out in space itself.

The results were rather good. The craft partially altered dimensions, and reached a maximum speed of 2c, before a micrometeorite hit one of the main plasma power junctions and caused the craft to explode. The third generation of this unit was the precursor to current FTL drives.

Practical Thoery

The FTL drive as we know it today relies on slipping the ship sideways across dimensions. Every dimension is a binary multiplication of its top speed, with the first dimension span being 2c. Because it does this using magnetics, it can also enhance the in-system speed of normal engines up to .6c. The speed settings do not come in partial numbers, which has been a running joke of the researchers. The drive is capable of 2c, 4c, 8c, 16c etc, but not 1.2c, 3c, 6c, or even 1c.

The drive does not care about mass, but the physical SIZE of the ship matters. The larger the surface area, and the more dimensions its spread across, the greater chance of hitting a big enough hunk of debris to break through the magnetic envelope and cause a catastrophic failure in the ship. The pilot training required also increases with size.

Drive Speeds

Within solar systems, the FTL drive system rarely sees any use. The maximum safe speed set by the Proctorate is 2c, although the FTL drive system can bring the ship to sublight speeds of up to .6c for 'maneuvering' within a solar system without harm. There is simply too many things in a solar system to account for, and not even the best Porygon2 can calculate out safe travel at any faster a speed.

Outside the solar system, however, the FTL drive can be opened up to its full potential. The current standard size for space ships that can be afforded by space traveling agencies is the 128x. This engine costs 225 million yen with the license to operate, and can achieve 128c between system. The publicaly available fast drive is a 256x drive, with a price tag of 260 million yen.

The advanced prototype being employed by the Proctorate for interception vessels is a 512x, with rumors of a 1024x drive being worked on down the pipe.

Prices

256x FTL = 260M Yen
128x FTL = 225M Yen
 64x FTL = 11.4M Yen
 32x FTL = 2.4M Yen
 16x FTL = 1.09M Yen
  8x FTL = 739K Yen
  4x FTL = 607K Yen
  2x FTL = 551K Yen
  1x FTL = 525K Yen