[Take with a grain of salt: subjects below are subject to physics of the world building project, not our own.]
Originally Written 2000X: Detail of technology in the Late Shoku Dynasty of the Infinite Solar Empire: Educational Holo-doc.
The Late Solar Empire is a culture of many worlds and ways of life, its populace held to their current luxuries of space travel and leisure by countless centuries of study in the fields of science and the arcane arts.
For the larger part of its interplanetary history however, the solar empire was content to merely rely upon magic to sustain its citizens. It was not until the first interstellar journey that solarites had to face the reality that not all stars possessed a background magic field. As such many pioneers on far away worlds began to focus on empirical scientific inquiry to adapt to life on these worlds. Quantum mechanics, relativistic physics, mechanical engineering and nanotechnology proved the most advanced of these fields of study, elevating culture and technology to the point that magic and science are slowly becoming one and the same.
The following detail some key scientific advances that define civilized life for the solar empire:
- Starbolt Steel. An alloy of hydrogen metallisized at massive temperatures and pressures. On its own it is a modest superconductor with 3/4ths the density of water and a tensile strength comparable to aluminum and a suprisingly high abrasive resistance. However the material itself is extremely volatile, when ignited it gives as much as 35 times as much energy as a liquid hydrogen/oxygen mixture per gram. As such it is often used as an effective rocket fuel, saw former use in superconductive wiring and is used in the formation of advanced alloys like lucidite and Ozymandium
- Advanced Alloy. Advanced Alloy is a metallic compound made by alloying starbolt steel to any number of industrial grade steels. The latter is set in as a hardener to improve mechanical strength, though is not set correctly the alloy will actually make the resulting compound more brittle than before.
It is most often used as an intermediate in the formation of other metallic compounds (much as pig iron was seen as the intermediate material in the industrial production of steel).
- Lucidite A clear metallic glass manufactured from silicon carbide, thermoplastics, boron nitride and advanced alloy.
Clear as glass, light as a feather and orders of magnitude stronger than steel; lucidite is the material of choice for synthetic crystals, transparent armor display screens, spaceship windows and radiation shielding for fission and fusion reators.
- Ozymandium: Metallic stone made from obsidian, osmiridium and advanced metal. Ozymandium provides similar strength and radiation proofing seen by lucidite with the advantage of density required for penetrating kinetic weaponry or abrasive drills.
- Metamaterials: A class of artifical materials designed with microstructure patterns to give properties not normally found in nature. The most common example are gold meta materials designed with a negative refractive index that are used in cloaking devices.
Benefits of nanotechnology
- Artificial synthesis of chemicals within the body.
- Production of neurotransmitters and drugs necessary to alter one's brain chemistry (and by extension, that of others).
- Download of information off the Omega Net, nigh telepathic communication.
- Enhancement of neural signals and muscle contraction strength
- Tissue regeneration
- Mental manipulation of machinery, background magic and utility fog
- Translation capabilities among cultures
- skin hardening (generation of aramid fiber covering over and under skin).
- Nanites: A robot composed of individual molecules whose size ranges from one nanometer to one micrometer. While individual nanites are often nothing more than remotely controlled molecules with simple "on, off" functions, in groups they are able to link together and form more complex structures capable of a variety of actions. A virus would be the closest natural comparison to a nanite as they are able to perform a variety of interactions at a small scale. Artificial nanites however are designed to be able to link together or dissociate, interacting with their environment according to programmed commands by an outside source at the molecular scale.
- Cyborg mind: an essential component of cyborg biochemistry:
The simplest types are simply grafted on surgically to the subject's grey matter (after first having a tissue scaffold grown on the grafting sites. More advanced models require injection of designer seed nanites during fertilization. This cyborg mind acts as a symbiotic mind, an AI that develops with the child, acting as a guardian conscience.
A key element of cyborg mind is a nanite gland: a subsection of the brain devoted to manufacturing and controlling nanites within the body by triggering the release of various neurotransmitters. These then serve to alter the blood chemistry of the cyborg in a way that activates or deactivates various nanite systems within the body, essentially acting as a programming mechanism. The nanites themselves can work to regenerate tissue, enhance neural processing, improve the functioning and strength of artificial muscles as well as to produce various biochemicals within the body and download information from the Omega Net
- Omega Net: The Primary network of communication, transportation and distribution within the solar empire. Virtually every citizen within the Solar empire has some form of access to the Omega Net, in fact, connection is a requirement for citizenship for the sake of surveillance.
- Utility Fog: A suspension of nanites within a medium like air, water or soil that allows one to affect the medium itself. In essence a utility fog atmosphere is one such that a sufficiently advanced AI would be able to program the suspended nanites in such as way as to affect the atmosphere (given a small enough setting like a room or a domed habitat). Citizens used to life in worlds with a powerful thaumic field find utility fog habitats to be the closest science has brought them back to home, while citizens of more mundane worlds see these setting as fantastic settings of power and synthetic magic.
- Background Magic: The principles of thaumic magic involve the manipulation of the thaumic force (the force that holds reality together and allows on to bend it). However much as there are worlds that rotate and worlds that do not, there are also worlds that a small to negligible field of background magic. These are known as mundane worlds. The greater magical affinity a creature has, the more their lifeforce is bound to a thaumic source. Beings that are magical in nature such as fairies, demons, elementals and the like require a source of thaumic energy to live, and as such will grow faint and pass away in settings with weak thaumic fields like the vacuum of space, a mundane world or and anti-magic medium.
Generally magic users and magic based beings are advised to carry an enchanted thaumium artifact or a device infused with thaumic energy when travelling within low thaumic environments.
- Thaumium: Condensed magic in the form of a metallic crystalline compound. Thaumium crystals can often be found growing deep within the crust of magic based worlds and are occasionally dug up at the surface. Thaumium is unique in that it can act as a conductor of thaumic energy as opposed to merely storing electromagnetic energy. Natural Thaumium often possesses a degree of innate thaumic energy that can be used to power spells or enchantments. However in order to use it store store actual magic energy requires the crystal to first be drained of its innate energy, polished to a gem and then enchanted and refined by a process known as the Sachen method. Thaumium mining has become key in powering the various ships, cities and magical devices on which the Solar Empire depends on, making it necessary to seek out magic based worlds in which to mine this valuable material. Thaumic energy stored can usually be obtained either by absorbing the energy of a magic based creature, the energy of the surrounding environment, or by converting chemical energy into magic in a magic based setting by the technique of arcane induction. Perhaps one of the most important qualities of Thaumium is that it does not decay in a mundane setting, and can act as a source of thaumic radiation to allow magic based beings to safely travel and live in areas that lack a background magic field.
- Muggles and Baselines: Muggles are beings from magical settings that lack the magical affinities of their kind while baselines are organic beings from mundane settings that lack any form of biological or mechanical augmentation. There are of course benefits to living as creatures of each type. Muggles suffer negligible withdrawal symptoms on mundane worlds while particularly rural baselines are not physically dependent upon nanites or a connection to the Omega Net to satisfy their base needs. In a world of elemental wizards and cyborg ninjas its still good to know that one can rely on the little guys to pull themselves through at the end of the day.
- Clones: A biological copy of a living being, produced either by test tube cell culturing, or with the aid of regenerative magic. Recent developments have allowed for the cloning of individual elementals and fae by conjuration catalyzed reactions.
- Modified Clones: A clone of a biological creature that has been augmented by genetic modification, pheno-modification, biomechanical implants or in vitro magic infusion.
- Pheno-Modificaiton: Whereas genetic modification merely modified the genetic code of an organism, phenotype augmentation alters the vary protein composition of a living being, upgrading their biological "hardware" so to speak. This can result in humanoids with aramid fiber exoskeletons that give them the hardness of kevlar, or bunnies capable of digesting L-glucose, and any number of other unique changes to an organism's biochemistry.
- Void Drives: The standard jump drive used aboard most interstellar vessels. As faster than light travel is impossible within the bounds of the normal universe, Void drives essentially use a massively powerful thaumic reactor to bend spacetime and cleave a portal into the ethereal plane. Ships are then able to traverse far greater distances within this space between spaces where the effects of relativity and the expansion of the current one become null factors. While void drives can allow spaceships to travel a thousandfold faster than the speed of light, the journey within this plane can be rather... unpleasant. A world 100 light years away would still take even the fastest of starships at least a solid two months of travel within this bizarre layer of reality while a simple trip to the nearest Void Gate could take one from point A to Point B almost instantaneously. This mode of travel is often reserved for close interstellar trips in the absence of a nearby Void Gate or for the purpose of traveling off the grid.
- Void Gates: These massive rings in space are designed to link 2 areas of space together. Their origin is unknown but they are believed to have been left by the Vortumbrae or the Luminaries in the formative days of time. Or perhaps they are the ancient and long lost transporation hubs of another civilization that came before... They are made of an unknown and presumably nigh indestructible material (neutronium being the most likely guess). They have since been adopted to use by the Solar empire for the purpsoe of travel and exploration of the cosmos to distances and far away worlds that would otherwise remain unreachable.
- Fission Reactors: A mundane power source involving the release of nuclear energy from splitting the atoms of unstable transuranic elements. This saw widespread adoption as an early source of energy for space ships after it was learned that the terrestrial fire elementals used in combustion reactions burn out in orbit. As such Fission generators are often used for space shuttle power along with a propellant like metallic hydrogen or a liquid oxygen/hydrogen mix.
- Fusion Reactors: Though the principle of fusion power was known far earlier than the current era, it was not until the stellar era that fusion power would become ubiqituos and scaled down to use in fuel cells. Historically there are two methods for generating the heat necessary to generate fusion power. The first and more costly method involves building massive inertial confinement chambers in orbit around gas giants, stars and other hydrogen rich bodies. The other involves taming fire elementals within those worlds. The latter can often be cheaper and involves less of a captial investment, but is riskier for personnel nonetheless. These escapades involve gathering gunboats and swooping down into the atmospheres of gas giants to search for various kinds of alien fire elementals, demons and the like, before subduing and harnessing them to power reactors. One imagines the whaling expediations and dragon hunts of old when embarking on such quests. Of course there is the fact that the dwarf star or planet in question may merely be one of The Vortumbrae lying dormant, and one does not wish to anger these great powers should they be awakened...
- Beholder Specs: Ocular implants capable of extending vision beyond the visible spectrum and perceiving thaumic radiation (raw magical energy).
- Red Metal: A semi-mundane material made by infusing raw thaumic energy into a ytterbium-boron alloy. The result is a nigh perfect room temperature superconductor whose use has supplanted copper and even metallic hydrogen for wiring and cirucitry in mechanical systems. The benefit of a red metal capacitor is that such devices lose power and voltage only on an immense timescale, and as such can power dormant robots, cryopods or even entire ships for centuries before retrieval.
- Clairvoyance: A common street drug that grants limited cognition enhancement. Side effects include;
- exposure to otherworldly spirits.
- limited uncontrolled manifestation of magical capabilities in muggles.
- Thaumic Oscilliscope: A device used for measuring background magic, often equipped on satellite telescopes to gain readings of background magic from distant worlds. Gauging for a setting with a strong thaumic field is usually a good sign of an inhabited world or one rich in fuels for industrial thaumic magic.
- Holo terminals: Holographic 3-D displays
- Toolbot: An autonomous robot capable of transforming into a basic tool such as bike or a computer. The bot in question can as such become portable on one's back or even wearable upon one's arm if small enough.
- Gunbot: This autonomus robot is capable of transfroming into or from a weapon such as a gun or a blade (or even a gunblade). The bot in question may or may not possess sentience. Older models where merely mechanical constructs and the lacked nanite subsystems necessary for self repair or 3-d printing capabilities to synthesize munitions.
- AI Grades
- Class (1): Computer terminals with little to no deviance from basic programming
- Class (2): Autonomous machines, incapable of speech or expression
- Class (3) Androids: Roughly humanoid intelligence
- Class (4) Turing grade: Comparable to human intelligence
- Class (5) Super intelligent: Easily pass Turing tests, often starship captains and early cyborgs
- Class (6) Hyperturing: Second Singularity: Planetary and system rulers
- Class (7) Transentient: Clandestine rulers of civilized space, Two known in existence. These entities prefer to keep to themselves, devoting a small fraction of their brainpower and resources to manipulating civilized space and the rest towards simulating higher dimensional universes for fun.
- Class (8>) Transfinite: Fourth singularity minds and beyond, composed of multiple intelligences, none known yet.