Starships use large gravity generators and polarizers to pull themselves through space. The polarizer controls the effects of the gravity field, and directs all of its force only to the movement of the ship. Ships underway can thus come quite close to on another without worry.
Most ships have two large nacelles on either side or top and bottom. Each nacelle creates a polarized impeller that pulls the ship. Adjusting these fields allows the ship to maneuver quickly. Internal polarizers and generators compensate for any effects.
Hyperspace is a parallel dimension accessed through use of a Hyperspace or Qimat drive (Q-drive). Both drive types force the ships to a superluminal speed. Ships in hyperspace must remain under constant drive effects, or they will drop back into normal space.
Hyperspace drives are Q-drives that project a reflection shield, guarding the passengers in the ship from untoward quantum effects of hyperspace. Straight Q-drives exist on missiles and ships that predate The Judgment.
Hyperspace can only be entered outside a gravity well. Large masses will stop ships from entering hyperspace. Electromagnetic fields can also create disruptions to entering hyperspace. This means moving well away from planets is necessary before jumping to hyperspace.
Normal Space Weapons
A nuclear laser uses a small radioactive ‘shell’. When the laser fires, the material drops to a lower atomic state (i.e. the material becomes the next element in its decay chain at a faster rate than its normal half-life). This energy goes out in pulse or raw power. While the laser needs minimal power to fire, internal nuclear batteries can supply this. The rest of the power comes from the transition state change.
Normal space missiles use gravity drives to catch targets. They may have an explosive warhead (thermonuclear or anti-matter), mount a one shot nuclear laser, or use an impact gravity field to disrupt the drive field of the target. Missiles are hare to use in normal space because ships have powerful missile defenses that can knock them down at substantial ranges (see Point Defense, below).
Using the main drives, a ship can project an offensive gravity polarization field that degrades the effectiveness of another ship’s drive. Large ships, with power generators can eliminate the thrust generated by smaller vessels. If a target is unable to generate its own fields, the Graviton Disruptors act as crude tractor beams.
Energy weapons degrade at a much higher rate in hyperspace than normal space making them almost useless. Lasers simply have no range once they leave the Q-field around the vehicle. This means energy point defense is also useless.
Hyperspace combat revolves around the use of Qimat Impulse Missiles, generally called Q-missiles, or “QIM” (pronounced ‘kim’). QIM carry their own Q-fields, and have high-energy drives that allow them to accelerate to their targets in Hyperspace. Armed with nuclear or antimatter warheads, they detonate close to their targets. It is fortunate that the nature of hyperspace inhibits energy transmissions, since shields do not operate in hyperspace.
QIM can be fired from ships sitting in normal space to attack hyperspace targets. The advantages of this are obvious. A ship in hyperspace can fire missiles against a normal space target that has the full range of point defense and shields. Meanwhile, it must rely on very limited defenses.
All ships with gravity polarizers can generate quantum shields. Quantum shields are much like particle “foam” of quantum states that must be breached before energy or matter can reach the target. The particles are forced into subspace states, between normal and hyperspace. Because of the polarized nature of the shield, energy and objects can travel outward from the ship, while still maintaining the defense.
The quantum “foam” is ablative in nature. As they are stuck, energy is diverted into moving the shield particles into a normal state. With each quantum bubble “popped”, the shields lose some defensive value.
It takes most military ships about 5 minutes to fully build up its shields using its main drives. During this time, no other drive activity is possible, despite the energy being poured into the drives. Once raised, shields require ongoing maintenance energy.
Shields cannot be repaired “on the fly” by the ship generating because shields are built from the outside in (with the outer shell first), and damaged in the same direction. Thus, shields cannot be repaired without being dropped. It is possible, however, for an allied ship to repair the shields of another ship. Both ships must stop thrusting and be in close proximity.
Point defense comes in three flavors:
Laser: The lasers are small nuclear lasers that fire at targets at distance. Some systems can even fire at targets closer to their launch site than the defending ship.
Missile: Missiles are used to counter other missiles, often in hyperspace, where laser and projectile point defense does not operate.
Projectile: Rail guns are the last resort to stop an incoming target.
PLANETARY WEAPONS AND DEFENCES
Planets have the same range of weapons and defenses as ships, but with some disadvantages. Nuclear lasers are forced to accommodate atmosphere, and missiles have to climb out of gravity wells. Based cannot move, and their can be no nearby ship to rebuild shields. However, being at the bottom of a gravity well has its uses.
Graviton Amplification Stimulation Polarization And Reflection (GASPAR)
A GASPAR uses gravity polarizers to focus a wide area of gravity into a powerful weapon. The stronger the gravity well, the more powerful the GASPAR. GASPARs gravity fields use a vast amount of volume, and they cannot be placed in close proximity to one another. Because of the nature of their projectors, they are able to fire indirect shots over a 180-degree hemisphere. GASPARs present a strong danger to attacking ships. They can drop shields in a single shot, and pulverize kinetic bombardment projectiles into harmless dust.
Qimat Integration Capture Energy Shield
The “Q-ICE” Shield is another technology available only in a gravity well the size of a world. Using the planet’s gravity well to amplify its effect, the Q-ICE shield creates non-polarized “frozen foam”. Unlike normal shields, the Q-ICE shields take no damage, transmitting 100% of the energy absorbed into hyperspace. Unfortunately, these shields are brittle. If they are struck with too much energy, they entire shield will shatter, as 100% of its particles return to their normal quantum states. The good news is the Q-ICE shields are very strong, and they can be raised much faster than a normal shield.
Most weapons cannot be fired out of a Q-ICE shield, but energy weapons that are perfectly synchronized with the shield can still be fired through. Q-ICE shields present the last defense of major cities on developed planets. Only one shield is possible in a city-sized area.
SENSORS AND COUNTERMEASURES
All ships and bases use a variety of sensors to gain information:
Faster than Light
GEDAR (Gravity Emissions Detection and Ranging)
QSAR (Qimat Sensing and Ranging)
GEDAR allows for the detection of gravity fields, which detects real time gravity distortions of hyperspace. QSAR detects objects in hyperspace. This can be from normal space or by a ship in hyperspace. Both GEDAR and QSAR are fully functional in hyperspace, where Radar and LIDAR are ineffective over any significant distance.
With their advanced shield technologies, all ships can absorb incoming the nominal electromagnetic energy of radar or even ambient light. It is also relatively easy for ships to emit a screen of light mimicking the background. Thus, to basic light speed detection methods, ships are invisible.
However, masking a gravity signature is quite difficult. Gravity polarizers prevent “leakage” of signals in normal space, but GEDAR detectors are quite sensitive. The faster a ship is moving, the more likely detection becomes. Stealth systems act to mimic the signature put out by the drives and shields.
Ships also can put out static energy to confuse enemy targeting systems. These create ghost images, confusing attackers as to the real location of the ship. These systems are considered “noisy” and using them reveals the presence of the ship and thus are usually used when battles are engaged.
The hardest countermeasures are against QSAR. Movement through hyperspace leaves a detectable wake of collapsed quantum waves. These are easy to detect. Some smaller ships have systems to dampen their wakes, which can be effective at lower speeds. Because of the ease of detection, attacking fleets usually drop from high levels of hyperspace, and move at close to light speed as they approach their targets.
Within a solar system, FTL communications are possible using graviton emitters for transmission, with GEDAR receivers. The range will cover almost any solar system, but will not work over interstellar distances.
Communication within, into, or out of hyperspace uses qimat detection. Objects in hyperspace can modulate their wake, while reading the qimat fluctuations produced by the other end of the conversation.