Astral Rifts Physical / Metaphysical Law in Milky Way | World Anvil

Astral Rifts

Astral rifts are tears in the fabric of realspace that permit access to alternate dimensions and universes. They have extremely anomalous and hazardous conditions, and can only be explored by dedicated 'rift spheres', physically tethered to science ships. The exact conditions necessary to generate an astral rift are unknown, but it is believed they begin as 'astral scars': spatial and temporal anomalies which can eventually become rifts. Rifts can also be created artificially, either through the application of large amounts of 'astral thread', a byproduct of rifts, or by detonating ordnance within an astral scar to destabilise it.

Without proper precautions, astral rifts can be extremely dangerous. Improper scanning can result in significant disruptions in space-time, causing objects from alternate universes to spontaneously appear, or altering the flow of time in a limited region. Regular spacecraft are incapable of fully penetrating an astral rift, due to 'friction' caused by the instabilities in space-time. As such, specialised 'rift spheres', spherical ships with perfectly smooth frontal sections, are used to breach rifts and explore them. Rift spheres are 'shot' from a science ship, usually with a magnetic accelerator, into a rift at high speed. Their speed is controlled by a tether connected to the science ship, which can also be used to reel the sphere back in the event of an emergency. Rift spheres possess limited maneuverability due to the requirements imposed by the sheer smooth surface on the front. Inside, they have room for a full science crew, a small lab, and storage for equipment and supplies.

One of the most famous rifts is the Wrynne Rift, in orbit of the Certeran homeworld. It was the first rift to be explored, and the expedition revealed that the Certerans had originated in a different universe. Under attack by powerful invaders, they sent a rift sphere to this universe to colonise a new world and ensure the safety of their species. That colony sphere was the descendants of the modern Certeran Covenant.


On the visual spectrum, astral rifts appear to be a deep white within the rift, and shades of pink and purple emananting from the middle. When examined with gravitic or temporal scanners, they exhibit extremely anomalous readings, owing to the presence of astral thread and emanations from the universe it is connected to.


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