Burst Drive Technology / Science in Age of Defiance | World Anvil
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Burst Drive

Enterprise would eat its dust...   When the first Thunthen explorers arrived in the Redali System and parleyed with the denizens of Redal IX, the Redals gifted them with data banks pointing the way to unlocking a method of faster-than-light travel. However the Thunthen would have to figure out the rest on their own. While burst drives are common among other races in "High Space"-civilized space-, the Thunthen, for all their advancements, have never been able to crack this puzzle. Much recently, Sur Daggur attempted to resurrect the project. Any attempts ended in failure with prototypes being captured by the mysterious being known as the Phantom of the Outer Rim.

Utility

Because of the enormous drain on energy, burst drives are used as a "get out of Dodge" resort for a quick exit or quick arrival. It is not advisable to use at the beginning of combat as the power drain can hamper engagements for a large fleet. Had Sur Daggur been able to complete his project, he would've had the Vyerrdeklagn on Earth's doorstep years ago.  
 
The surface of the Blue Isis shimmered and the ship itself seemed to waver. Light rippled along the hull before the ship jolted forward, seeming to squeeze at the bow before vanishing entirely with a loud echoing *POP!* Raurgoth dove down underneath Argonauth, missing tackling the Blue Isis by seconds. He roared indignantly.   Tuv and Vud’s jaws dropped, their beards nearly touching their consoles. They exchanged shocked glances before looking back at the main screen. “Th-they just executed a jump burst!”   “Well go after them!” Ryo snapped and flicked his wrist at the screen.   “No, Ryo, you don’t understand! That was a jump burst! We can’t even do that! We Thunthen have always had to rely on the Transgalactic Gates to traverse large distances!” Ryo’s expression softened when he saw the panic in Tuv’s eyes. “They could be anywhere in the galaxy and we have no idea of knowing where!”
— Cataclysm War Ch. 6

Social Impact

Burst drives have helped facilitate contact with species on the upper end of the Younger Races. On the lower end, Thangiens either have no interest or no use for the tech while Human ships would be like fitting a jet engine to a bottle rocket.   The mysterious being called the "Phantom of the Outer Rim" seems obsessed with confiscating advanced technology, having targeted Thunthen prototypes in the recent past and far more recently attempting to abduct the prototype Raider craft. The being Avitor-a former human pilot from World War II empowered and transfigured by a powerful alien influence- insists he acts to protect Younger Races from destruction. He is ultimately defeated, and the fleet he created to carry out his will abandoned.   It is revealed much later that Avitor was a creation of Phitdaitiarona, Thanged's Goddess of Wickedness. While she recently allied with Mal Daggur and provided him assistance, it can be surmised she played both sides, with Avitor's actions indirectly saving Earth and thwarting Sur Daggur's ambitions.   With Avitor's death, it is entirely possible the Thunthen can at last finish their research and develop fully-functioning burst drives.  
 
Caroline could see the strain on Dais’ face as his lip quivered over his teeth and his brow furrowed. The mechanical probe outside seemed as if it started to lose interest, but Dais didn’t look like he could last much longer. “get us out of here...” Caroline whispered in a tiny voice. Hirrdik hurriedly tapped keys on the console and Blue Isis swung about and fired up its burst drives. Before the probe had a chance to turn back around, the Blue Isis had popped out of range.   Caroline let out a ragged sigh of relief and Dais jolted himself out of his trance and staggered back a step, clutching onto the base of the Captain’s command chair to catch his balance. “We’re in the clear. Curators can’t follow a burst jump,” Hirrdik assured.
— Cataclysm War Ch. 7
Inventor(s)
Unknown
Access & Availability
Burst drives are relatively common amongst advanced species. Gage Wendell was able to purchase the Blue Isis already fitted with a burst drive. Younger races such as Human, Thangien, and Thunthen have quite a lot of "catching up to do".
Complexity
Burst drives are capable of instantaneous point-to-point transport, squeezing a craft through space/time. The downside is successive jumps place enormous strain on the drives and a cooling down period is required. A ship can very well jump out of the frying pan and into a fire. Burst drives require a priming period before a jump can be executed. A vessel under attack must buy time either with clever diversions or quick wits.
Discovery
According to records from the Anazhar Clan, the denizens of Redal IX-or "Nines"- were themselves gifted with this technology piecemeal. Their gifting it to the Thunthen was their way of "paying it forward".
“We have yet to successfully adapt burst drives for our current ships. Any attempt that comes remotely close has ended in failure thus far,” Bak admitted.   “What about that Highlord guy? We couldn’t ask him to get in touch with the Captain?” Ryo asked.   “One does not ask the Highlord ‘favors’… Besides, according to him, no one contacts the ‘Good Mother Pirate’. She contacts them. He did say the Captain planned on returning to Sol soon...”   “So she could be on her way back then?” Ryo said hopefully.   “A burst jump is instantaneous. For all we know they could have already arrived...”
— Cataclysm War Ch. 8
“It’d be cramped quarters, but everyone could fit in the Blue Isis. One of those stars up there must lead back to Earth. I don’t suppose you guys have been able to successfully reverse-engineer burst drives, have you?” Captain Wendell asked the Thunthen, who exchanged awkward looks. “I thought so…"
— Spacequake Ch. 2


Cover image: Age Of Defiance Header by Mardrena

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