Warp Technology / Science in The Void Between | World Anvil
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The Cosmic Treadmill

Doors Sealing
Power diversion successful
Hull integrity - Holding

Navigation: Offline
Weapons: Offline
Engines: Offline
Life Support: Offline

Imagine this, if you will, and all the horror it implies: you hear the electrical hum reverberate throughout the vessel. The lights dim, the flickering screen before you presents its information dutifully, and all you can do is watch. You read each notification with a sense of dread. you know what's coming, and nothing you know of helps make it any easier to handle.

The humming gets louder. The lights flicker, then lose power, the screen goes black, and the last thing illuminating this vessel you call home is the sight of the hull warping under the strain of unfathomable forces at play. Shrouded in darkness, your vessel remains still and silent, the universe, itself, passing you by.

This is not an attack. It isn't the work of a super weapon, or some strange cosmic anomaly. This experience is the natural consequence of changing the rules, of forcing reality to bend to the indomitable will of energy in excess. This is the horrifying truth of warp travel. You can't see where you're going, can't control the situation, and even if you could, you can't even manuever the ship to avoid a potentially fatal incident.

Warp drives

Put simply, warp travel is a form of faster-than-light travel that is only possible through the use of warp drives. A warp drive allows one to bend space-time. By expanding the "fabric" of space-time behind a vessel, and compressing the fabric in front of the vessel, a ship can be pulled through the void, reaching its destination far sooner than previously possible.   Technically, the vessel isn't even moving. It's completely stationary, only giving the illusion of travel due to its ever-changing position. It's as if the universe moves around the vessel, completely indifferent to the vessel's existence. Not only does it give the illusion of travel, but it also technically shrinks the distance between a vessel and its destination. The value of the technology is unparalleled. In a universe filled with so much empty space, a means to close the gap is essential.   There are some drawbacks to using the technology. In order to operate a warp drive, one must be capable of supplying an enormous amount of power consistently over a period of time. Fusion technology provides a means of doing so, however, it doesn't provide the power needed for other systems on a vessel during operation. This means all systems must be powered down during a warp drive's operation, limiting the amount of time one can use it before life support needs to be turned back on.      


Hyperlanes are needed to use warp technology with the highest level of safety. They come in two forms, depending on where you are. They are either heavily patrolled sections of space between two destinations, or the space between two massive rings left behind by a long dead civilization. The rings do the work themselves, but without the rings, hyperlanes must be routinely cleared of any debris and constantly surveyed to ensure celestial bodies don't interfere with incoming vessels. I imagine it's quite uncomfortable to warp through a star.   Generally speaking, hyperlanes without a ring are temporary, the math being done constantly to predict exactly when it's no longer safe to use. Hyperlane rings can't be used with warp travel, as in many ways, they function as external warp drives themselves, altering the fabric of space-time to allow for faster travel. Warp drives circumvent the need for hyperlane rings, and allow for more flexible hyperlanes that can shift depending on your destination.   It's a give an take. The pros and cons are plentiful. When it comes to which technology to use, it's up to a ship's designer. Retrofitting a warp drive is ill-advised, as a ship must be reinforced to withstand the strain on the hull. If one is not careful, their ship can be torn apart, the wreckage scattered across several hundred lightyears of space.


Warp travel can be extremely uncomfortable. Many report a sensation like restless leg syndrome, but felt across their entire body. The massive changes present in the environment are likely to blame. This is made worse when you consider how warp travel is only possible if done in complete darkness. The entire ship will be pitch black, and you will be flying blind as the sensors will be offline as well.   This makes Interdiction the most dangerous threat to a ship in warp. Interdiction is easy with warp drives. By cancelling out the changes in spacetime, a ship at warp will be completely stationary, and worse, they will be completely unaware of that fact. Many ships will be destroyed without ever realizing they were under attack.   Numerous countermeasures have been put in place to prevent this, such as battery operated sensors that act independently of the ship. Regardless, it takes a crew with incredible skill and discipline to restore a ship's functionality after being interdicted.

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Cover image: by Paweł Czerwiński


Author's Notes

Some research I did-

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Jan 14, 2021 21:30 by Catoblepon

This is so well described! I can imagine myself being in that situation (which scares me a lot, ngl). Great job, I love it.

Jan 14, 2021 21:36 by R. Dylon Elder

Thank ya cato!

Jan 16, 2021 04:28 by Jacob Billings

Ooh yay. It's been a while. Shall we start at the beginning?   First thing I noticed is that the style changed from the first three lines to the last three lines. Is there a reason for this? From what I can tell, they're the same type of information so you could easily make them match. Or at least make those that are the same match a little more. Anyway, the formatting there seems a little off in any case.   "You read each notification with a sense of dread. you know what's coming, and nothing you know of helps make it any easier to handle."
There are a few wording things here. Firstly, I would suggest using the phrase "a growing sense of dread." Secondly, the 'y' in "you" should be capitalized since it's a new sentence. The last thing I have to say is that changing the "and" in the last sentence to "but" could make it seem more impactful.   "The lights flicker, then lose power"
You should end the sentence there. It falls more in line with the pattern of 2 clauses per sentence you've kind of established. It flows a bit smoother and I read it that way anyway. Not to mention this creates a large number of clauses and the "then" means the following half of the sentence becomes a run-on.   "universe, itself,"
The commas aren't needed. The "itself" becomes part of the subject and ¡voila! a finished sentence.   "weapon, or"
Comma not needed as the "or" works the same as lists with "and" wherein you only need the comma for multiple objects or for breaking apart full independent clauses.   "situation, and even"
Opposite problem from the last time. Though it looks strange, you should have a comma before and after the "and."   "illusion of travel"
The use of this phrase twice in a row seems a bit odd. You should try and vary the opening of the second time you mention it a bit. There're better ways to specify the continuation of a previous idea   You really lost me on hyperlanes. Firstly, you don't really specify why the area needs to be clear nor do you open with the fact hyperlanes function differently to warp drives--also, it takes a while before you specify warp technology/drives are different. Re-ordering that would be helpful for the rings bit as well. Speaking of the rings, do they need a clear path or what? It's a bit unclear.   " the math being done constantly to predict exactly when it's no longer safe to use. "
That's a weird sentence as it mixes tense a bit. You should probably rephrase it.   "Hyperlane rings can't be used with warp travel,"
Are they not forms of warp travel? I'm very lost here.   "a give an take"
It should be and   "as a means of achievement more effectively faster-than-light communication."
Huh? I kind of get what you mean, but I also don't. The phrasing is super weird. As a means of achieving or what?   --   No idea if I'm just on a grammar kick today, but there were just a bunch of really small things that need slight edits to be correct. Beyond that, I really liked the article. How ominous and fitting for the setting.

Jan 20, 2021 21:08 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooo lovely comment here good sir. Thank you. I'll be sure to address them. Sorry it took so long to get back to ya. Been sick for a cool minute. Ok so here goes     I think the style change is referencing the quite, and I agree. I'll fix those. Lots of awesome bits of advice here.   I kind of threw this up after some light passes. That's about when I started not feeling well. So sorry you had to endure it XD. Thanks so much man!

Jan 16, 2021 20:59 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Space is terrifying. This does not help. Great article! :D

Jan 20, 2021 21:03 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks so much!

Jan 19, 2021 02:31

How effective might an interdiction field be if it was retrofitted to fling objects into deep space? Since an object isn't technically moving, would it just pop out of the other end with barely any momentum at all? Perhaps it's momentum relative to the rest of the universe would fling it past the speed of light, thereby causing it to time-compress enough to cease to exist or become a perpetual projectile through space. physics are weird. What happens if you push a pole so it has one end on each side of the interdiction field?

Jan 19, 2021 18:35 by R. Dylon Elder

Hmmmm definitely interesting questions there. So retrofitting an interdiction field in this scenario wouldn't work for applying momentum needed to send an asteroid flinging into space. Technically. It doesnt apply force to the object at all. All it does is cancel our the effects of the warp drive, which would continue to run with those onboard likely runaway of the interdiction. Now applying the field to a section of an object, while sections of the object exists outside of it? Hmmm. That's tricky. Probably nothing but "space drag," making the object move slower as part of it lies outside the field. Good questions! I've been busy, then sick, then busy again for weeks now. Im sorry I've been slacking on reading as of late. I havnt forgotten the articles of yours needing to be read, my friend. I'll be getting to it soon.

Feb 18, 2021 21:05 by Time Bender

I see you've done quite a bit of research, and I find this article fascinating! Well done. The idea of traveling faster than the speed of light, it's mind-boggling, for lack of a better phrase, and the idea of faster than light communication would be amazingly useful to communicate with the furthest reaches of the universe!

Aug 4, 2021 16:39 by Ava S. Jones

This is an interesting application of FTL travel.

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