Crystal Technology · Solaris Wiki | World Anvil

Crystal Technology

 
Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
About Solaris | Guide to Solaris | Prologue
It started with a bang and continued as a chime. The stars sang sweetly, and the song recorded itself deep in the hearts of the protonic planetoids. Millenia later, it rejoiced to be unearthed, and to us it sang; let us carry you further than you could ever dream. Let us be the bedrock for your wonder. Let us, let us.
  Crystals are the source of the power in ancient relics, and the backbone of modern technology. Discovered independently multiple times, crystalline technology is now widely used in propulsion, energy storage, and as electronics substrates. Crystal strains that are used for propulsion provide momentive force when energy is applied, while data storage crystals preserve energy patterns that are applied to it. Research continues on improving efficiency, lowering costs, and extending the lifespan of crystalline technology.  

by Annie Stein

Properties

A leftover crystal flickered in a dark corner of my table drawer. Its song was so sad, solemn almost. I moved it to the window, and the tiny crystal pulled itself up towards the stars. The song changed. It was clear and triumphant, and the refracted light shone little rainbows across my window sill.
  Crystals are defined by their form and their properties. All crystals naturally absorb radiation, including light, and re-emit the energy as momentum, heat or other forms of radiation. Small crystals have a tendency to hover if unencumbered, and specific strains of crystals are engineered to serve as reactionless propulsion on spacefaring vehicles, taking advantage of the momentum produced. All crystals can slowly regenerate power over time by picking up ambient energy.   Crystalline structures are geometric patterns all the way down to the molecular level. These lattices of perfectly flat facets serve as an ideal base for etching layers of electronic circuits. These circuits enhance the natural abilities of the crystals, or make them capable of storing data or other pattterns.   To a certain extent, all crystals are "trainable," in that they are able to adapt to tasks over time and become more effective at them. While a crystal engineered for propulsion can never become a battery, it can be retrained to work better in bursts or over extended use, or adapted to a new enviroment.   It is widely known that entirely enclosing crystals tends to degrade their effectiveness. Many engineers firmly believe that the crystals themselves operate better when enclosed in beautiful cages of gold, silver, or other precious metals. The latter tendency has been explained by resonance between certain geometric patterns and metals, rather than any kind of aesthetic sense on the part of the crystals.

Colour

Crystals come in all kinds of colours. Astrallite ranges from pink to purple to blue, while Aurorite is typically green. Some rarer variants of Aurorite are blue or red.  

Song

Crystals produce a gentle sound as they work. It is often described as a gentle hum or a chiming. Those who work with crystals call it singing, and swear that sometimes, they can even understand it.  

Localization

The more in tune a crystal is with their location, the better their preformance. Aurorite works best in terrestial spheres, while astrallite is best in space. A crystal can be retrained to work well in new locations, but never quite hit the peaks they might in their natural enviroment.  

Hazards

The Crystals used in engines are radioactive and require well-maintained radiation shields. The crystals used for personal tech are either inert or small enough for the radiation to be negligible.   Even fully charged crystals are otherwise fairly safe to handle, but there is a slight risk of explosion if impacted. A shattered crystal will explode violently.

Relics

Crystals and their potential have been known for as long as history. In ancient times, crystalline technology was the domain of the keystones and her entourage. Crystals were core to the creation of legendary jewelry, weapons, and armour. These artefacts were imbued with incredible powers, from teleportation and flight to ever-sharp blades. Dividing myth from fact is a difficult task, though, and many claims are difficult to substantiate.   Today, most of these relics are lost to history. A few are known remain in private collections, with the largest known collection belonging to the palace of Venus.
Even when these relics have been made available to study, unearthing their secrets is no easy feat. Some rely on what seem to be inate properties of the crystals used, which appear to be neither astrallite or aurorite.   However, these inquiries have born fruit. Replication of the crystal lattices on the Sword of Clouds was instrumental to the creation of the Gateway Portals.
An illustration of the mesh-like astrallite farms over Venus
Veils of Venus (Detail) by Annie Stein
While all planets and moons have astrallite farms of their own, none can rival the plenty produced in Venus. Around the morning star, the farms are dense enough to earn the moniker Veils of Venus.

Harvest

The first crystals were harvested from metorites, but almost all crystals in use today are farmed. Farmed crystals are grown from a seed crystal, creating Aurorite when placed in the auroral zone, and Astrallite in outer space. The growing crystals capture solar winds to synthesize additional material.   Some crystals are grown entirely within laboratories. A seed crystal is placed in a mineral-rich solution and irradiated with a set of wavelengths that simulate the solar wind. Laboratory-grown crystals tend to be far more expensive, but take much less time and tend to be more uniform than astrallite and aurorite.   Crystals can also be found embedded in the crust of planets, moons and asteroids. These crystals are closest to astrallite in terms of properties, and grew in interstellar space before being accreted into the Solar System. With the expansion of mining in the Asteroid Belt, a growing percentage of new astrallite is mined rather than farmed.

Related Articles

Crystal Technology
Spacecraft Kallisti Aerospace ( Sunderer SF-1 · Sunbreaker SF-2 ) · Jupiter Stella ( Aerie O-1 · Cyklopes SSF-9 ) · Heretic GA-7 · Dragonfly Carrier · Airdocks
Telepresence Interlace ( Super Wide Access Network ) · Remote Projection ( Remote Personality Cache/Display )
Other Bosonic Clock · Gateway Portals · Gravity Plates · Personal Computer
Materials Astrallite · Aurorite
Related Materials
Notice: This article is a stub. If you'd like to see this article expanded, please leave a comment!


Cover image: by Annie Stein

Comments

Author's Notes

If you got a sense of deja vu reading this, it might be because parts of this article were taken from the now defunct articles Data Crystals and Crystal Batteries. As I've kept worldbuilding, I've refined what I want the crystals to be, and I didn't like that those two were set as material articles. Hopefully the new additions make this feel worth the reread!


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Oct 25, 2023 19:02 by Chris L

One of the loveliest and most heartfelt explanations of a technology that I've had the pleasure to come across. I love how the crystals yearn for starlight. I imagine them humming happily when absorbing energy and crying to themselves when they're confined. Great work as always!


For your consideration, my submissions for the WorldAnvil Worldbuilding Awards 2024. (I've also included some of my favorites other worldbuilders.)

Oct 25, 2023 19:39 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I like to imagine a mechanic humming away with them. I thought it might be a nice change for the technology to be kind of innately joyful, kind of like technological dogs.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Oct 25, 2023 19:22

Never thought I'd say "awww" to crystals, but here we are. They are adorable.

Oct 25, 2023 19:39 by Annie Stein

Aw, thank you!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Oct 25, 2023 19:55 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love how you have refined these ideas from what they originally were. Really well thought out, and they sound so beautiful.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Oct 25, 2023 20:06 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Nov 25, 2023 18:58

I'm not sure if I've read the original articles, but this article is another successful magical and inspiring read. I love the quotes, little drawings and your new connection to further articles. This fits very well into your world theme without being intrusive.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue´s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.
Nov 25, 2023 19:11 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!