Exodus: The Space Tech
Tech drives the tactics in the series, and tactics drive the strategy. So tech is very important in Exodus. The human race had to abandone its homeworld due to meeting an aggressive species with much more advanced tech, as well as being an enormous Empire that dwarfed the small territory that humanity had occupied. Now the humans have established an Empire of their own, and grown as a technological species. I try to introduce the tech on bits and pieces during the flow of the story, though some is important enough to be remarked on it great depth during the telling. For all the rest, there is this page.
Grabbers: Also known as Ether Paddles. It was discovered in the twenty-second century that space actually has a physical structure resulting from the energy of the Quantum Foam. In the early twenty third human kind found a way to actually use this structure to grab with energized material and pull spacecraft along with reactionless drives. Of course there was still acceleration to deal with, and early ships could do no more that four or five gravities. Later, in conjunction with inertial compensators more powerful grabbers were developed, using one of the supermetals that exist in an island of stability. Atmospheric craft can still use the less powerful version of the grabbers that do not need such supermetals. Grabbers can be used to propel missiles at five to ten thousand gravities and turn them into relativistic over distance.
Inertial Compensators: The crushing force of gravity caused by acceleration is the true limiting factor of acceleration in the time of the Exodus novels. Inertia is the problem, and devices had been developed that turn that inertia into heat. High level inertial compensators utilize Meta-platinum, the same substance used in Grabbers, to convert inertia to heat within the compensator's field. Some of this heat is converted by magnetothermodynamics into electricity to power other systems. The great majority is shunted into hyperspace by a form of interdimensional radiation. And much of it is radiated into normal space, making the ships appear on heat sensors like minor stars.
Supermetals: were developed within the second century of the founding of the New Terran Empire. There are several of the metals well up the periodic chart. A first they could only be manufactured in small quantities, until the development of entire industrial planets that could churn them out by the tons. Each planet is on the outer reaches of a habitable system, where the cold of space can be used to absorb the tremendous heat of the process. Only truly advanced and powerful industrial civilizations can make the metals, others must buy what they can get, usually as part of some alliance or other. Meta-platinum is used in the creation of grabber units. The metal is slightly radioactive, with a half life of twenty thousand years. Meta-lead is used for the insulation of space habitats against radiation. It is also slightly radioactive, and has a half life of three hundred thousand years. Meta-Steel is used in alloys for structural compenants and armor, what are called superhard materials. An alloy of steel, chromium and thirty percent meta-steel has fifty times the tensil strength of carbon nano-fibers. Meta-steel is the longest lived of all the supermetals, with a half life in the millions of years.
Antimatter: The greatest of stored power sources, antimatter is created on either enormous structures, some encircling entire stars, that convert hydrogen to anti-hydrogen through magnetic flipping. Some antimatter is created in factory complexes using fusion power on lifeless moons. Modern techniques allow for an over ninety percent efficiency of energy usage in the conversion process. Large quantities of antimatter are rarely allowed near habitable planets. Antimatter is used to power the hyperdrives of ships and in military warheads, as well as in some civilian demolition applications.
Crystal Matrix Power Storage: The search for a better battery continued through the centuries, until in the twenty-third century it was found that certain matrixes of crystal could store energy a thousand times more efficiently than any chemical battery. They were refined over the centuries, and four levels of matrixes are used in the beginning of the second millenia of the Empire. Level One, which holds about a kilos worth of pure energy (from matter-antimatter conversion) per ton is used in household devices that are not attached to power leads. Level One is extremely stable, and there is no risk of accidental catastrophic discharge. Level Two, holding about twenty kilos equivalent per ton, are used in vehicles and more important machinery that requires long term use. Level Three holds about forty kilos equivalent per ton and are used in waships and weapons systems. It is still fairly stable, and unlikely to detonate. Level Four, with sixty kilos equivalent, is the most powerful of the crystal matrixes, and also highly unstable. It is used in small warheads such as those used by infantry and small vehicle weapons.
Electromagnetic Shields and Plasma Shields: After many centuries of research it became apparent that there were no other hidden forces of nature that could be used to make impenetrable force fields. There were in fact other properties of the forces that were developed into new technologies, but force fields, no luck. But electromagnetic fields were developed to the point where they could bend light, rendering vessels both invisible and impervious to most electromagnetic radiation, with the exception of very powerful lasers. Charged particles could also be deflected, as well and metallic particles. Adding cold plasma to the mix made the shields even more effective, especially as the plasma could absorb heat and then be released from the field to take the heat away from the proximity of the ship.
Multifrequency Light Amp: Warships carry their lasers either in multidirectional rings, in the case of human vessels, or laser domes for most other species. Laser light is pumped into the structure and stored. At time of use the ring's permeability to light is change and the beam is fired. Frequencies can be changed at the whim of the ship, to deal with the reflective skins of other ships. Light amp can also be used in ground combat weapons and vehicles, and lasers are a very powerful infantry weapon that is not suitable for all situations, but is very effective in vacuum.
Particle Beam Weapons: Used for both ship mounted and ground combat uses. Antimatter particle beams are the most deadly, combining as they do the high velocity of charged particles and the destructive effects of antimatter. Charged particle beams are used mostly for ground combat, and a strong beam can incinerate a human mass target. Uncharged particle beams, in which the charge is stripped from the atoms on leaving the projector, are used in space applications due to the ineffectiveness of electromag shields in stopping them.
Battlearmor: First thought of by Robert Heinlein in Starship Troopers, no idea in science fiction is more enduring and more used. I believed it is used so much because it is such a necessary component of any conceivable future. In a time when weapons can basically turn an unprotected body to ash, some kind of protection is needed. Everyone in the military in Human Space has some kind of armor. Spacemen wear an armor which protects them from radiation and most projectiles, as well as acting as a spacesuit and giving them added strength to deal with shipboard emergencies. Marines have both a basic armor for shipboard and some ground applications, and a heavy (1 ton) battle armor for landings and ground combat. The Army has three levels of battle armor, light (somewhat less protection and strength than Marine basic), medium (about the same as Marine basic, massing two hundred kilos), and heavy (about the same as Marine Heavy and massing just over a ton).
Nanotechnology: Nanotech is one of the bread and butter techs of future civilization. Every intelligent being, and many not so intelligent, in human space carries bio-nanites, biological versions of nanobots that boost the immune system, speed healing, and allw the inhabitants of alien environments to digest most of the proteins and carbs they find. Nanotech is used to great effect in manufacturing, and in the upgrading of electronic devices. Ships systems are kept in perfect working order and repairs are made during battle by the ubiquitous nanoscale robots. Nanometals sandwiched within hull remains liquid until need to fill damage that pierces the armor of the vessel, in which case it moves into place and hardens. Ship openings, hatches and ports seal into a solid piece with no weak points, as do the seams on the battle armor worn by crew and soldiers. And the hull itself is a masterpiece of nanotech, able to change its reflectivity to meet the attack of light amp weapons, while making the hull the ultimate sending and receiving sensory platform.
Robotics: Robots are involved in most industrial, maintenance and farming applications within human space. They can of course do things that no human can accomplished with greater strength and control. However, due to the machine revolt that left a dozen planets burned out cinders several centuries before, robots must be supervised by human control. The Man In The Loop Accords specify that all robots with the ability to cause harm to humans must be supervised, two robots to a human. This leads to employment for the great majority of humans in the Empire.
Subspace: Discovered by humanity in the late Twenty-first Century, Subspace seemed to open the dream of interstellar travel to a territory hungry race. Subspace is another dimension, separate from the four that we are familiar with, and intertwined with the seventeen Planck Dimensions that our own space is integrated with. Subspace corresponds with our own space at a 12:1 ratio, meaning for every kilometer traversed in Subspace, twelve kilometers is traveled in normal space. Meaning that an object traveling at point nine light speed in Subspace will travel at a pseudo speed of 10.8 times the speed of light, giving mankind what is effectively faster than light travel. It takes energy to enter and leave Subspace, but none to stay. Acceleration and Deceleration is the same in Subspace as in normal space. It takes time to get to near light speed, and time to come to a stop, and Sublight can only be entered or left by vessels traveling at point two light or less. Subspace is both cheaper to build and cheaper to use than Hyperspace, and still enjoys some limited applications within the Empire. There is a Subspace barrier around gravity wells like stars and planets, about half that for Hyper I.
Hyperspace: Hyperspace was first used against the human race, then became the major means of transportation for the species, as it is for most space faring races within the galaxy. Hyperspace takes energy to enter, to leave, and to remain in. Material objects that are not enclosed by a hyper field are catastrophically ejected from hyper, in most cases totally destroyed, while in a small percentage of case the ship might survive. There are eight known levels of hyperspace. Level one corresponds 9.11:1 with normal space (and no one is sure why, since the others levels are of a different progression). This progression in 4.49 higher than each level below it (see chart below). It takes more energy to enter each level and to stay there, five times more energy for each level than the one below it. Most ships can only enter hyper at point one light speed, while warships can enter at point two, with point three being the practical limit. There is a hyper limit around gravity wells, the higher the level of hyper the further the limit. Any object in hyper entering this limit will be catastrophically ejected into normal space. Objects in hyper send a resonance of gravity waves that can be detected at distance by an listening vessel. The higher the level of hyper, the further this distance. And translating in and out of hyper sends a signal of even greater distance than simply traveling in it. Point nine light speed is the practical limit to velocity within hyper, and only electromagnetic waves, so far, can travel in Hyper VIII. Most commercial vessels travel in V, warships and better class commercial at VI, and scout vessels at VII, though there is a push within the New Terran Empire to convert the battle fleet to Hyper VIII entirely. Hyperdrive can also be used to send instantaneous messages over a several light day distance through the use of pulsed gravity waves, such as those used to open hyper in the first place. These gravity waves travel through what has been described as a Hyper IX dimension that has so far eluded any other attempts at detection.
Hyper Level Real Space Correspondence Apparent Velocity (c) Maximum Detection
0.7c 0.8c 0.9c 6 LH
I 9.11:1 6.377 7.29 8.2 21 LH
II 40.9:1 25.51 29.15 32.8 3.06 LD
III 163.55:1 102.3 116.61 131.2 10.72 LD
IV 654.2:1 408.13 466.4 524.74 37.52 LD
V 2,616.9:1 1,632.5 1,865.73 2,098.9 131.3 LD
VI 10,466.7:1 6,530.05 7,462.9 8,395.8 1.26 LY
VII 41,866.84:1 26,120.2 29,851.6 33,583.1 4.4 LY
VIII (com only) 167,467.38:1 104,480.87 119,406.6 134,332.4
Energy Expenditures (Joules)
Hyper Level To Translate/Kg Maintenance/Kg
I 150 J 0.2 J
II 750 J 1 J
III 3,750 J 5 J
IV 18,750 J 25 J
V 93,750 J 125 J
VI 468,750 J 625 J
VII 2,343,750 J 3,125 J
VIII (com antennae) 11,718,750 J 15,625 J
Hyper Limits of Selected Stars
FO(1.6) GO(1.1) Sol(1.0) KO(0.6) MO(0.2) Black Hole(60)
Subspace 3.78 LH 3.13 LH 2.99 LH 2.3 LH 1.33 LH 23.16 LH
Hyp I 5.82 LH 4.82 LH 4.6 LH 3.56 LH 2.05 LH 35.63 LH
Hyp II 7.57 LH 6.27 LH 5.98 LH 4.62 LH 2.67 LH 42.76 LH
Hyp III 9.84 LH 6.94 LH 7.8 LH 5.12 LH 3.46 LH 46.3 LH
Hyp IV 12.79 LH 8.15 LH 10.1 LH 6.0 LH 4.5 LH 60.2 LH
Hyp V 16.62 LH 10.6 LH 13.1 LH 7.8 LH 5.85 LH 78.3 LH
Hyp VI 21.6 LH 13.8 LH 17.1 LH 10.2 LH 7.6 LH 101.8 LH
Hyp VII 28.09 LH 17.9 LH 22.2 LH 13.2 LH 9.9 LH 132.3 LH
Example of least time trip out of gravity well of a Sol sized star, at point one c translation limit. Jump into Hyper I, (1.35 c equivalent), 44.45 minutes to Hyper II limit. Hyper II at 12.87 minutes to Hyper III limit. Hyper III at 4.18 minutes to Hyper IV, then 1.36 minutes to Hyper V, then 26.53 seconds to Hyper VII, and finally 8.62 seconds to Hyper VII. Since most ships have to spend some time between jumps, depending on how much energy it takes (each Hyper Level takes more that the one beneath it to translate, this least time solution is not possible for any ship, but less than two hours to go through all the levels is very possible. Of course, a Hyper VII ship across the Hyper VII limit can just jump diore
Vessels of the Empire
Superbattleship: The titan of the Imperial Fleet, the Superbattleship is twenty million tons of warship without a match in human space. A relatively new development, mostly used as flagships for fleets, although they may be found in Home Fleet in squadrons, much as the smaller battleships. Only Hyper VI thus far. 6,500 naval crew and 750 marines. Length 2,800M by width 950M.
Battleship: The standard heavy warship of the Empire, massing fifteen million tons. Length 2,500M X a width of 800M. Normally deployed in squadrons of three. 5,100 naval crew and 620 marines. And are some Hyper VII battleships, sacrificing twenty percent of their armament for larger Hyperfield generators.
Battle Cruiser: The heavy scout ship of the Empire which can fill in as a ship of the line in a pinch. Masses eight million tons, with a length of 2,350M and a width of 600M. Deployed in squadrons of four, or in scout forces with light cruisers. There are some Hyper VII battle cruisers in the Fleet with more coming. 3,100 naval crew and 450 marines.
Fleet Carrier: Carriers of fighters and attack fighters, with over 190 of the craft on board, these 10 million ton ships. Though possessing some combat power of their own, their main function is to carry the smaller non-hyper ships. 4,200 naval crew and 2,100 flight crew, along with 180 marines, can carry up to two hundred thousand tons of fighters.
Light Carrier: A smaller version of the Fleet Carrier at 7 million tons. 2,400 naval crew, 1,400 flight crew and 140 marines, carrying about 100 fighters and attack fighters.
Heavy Cruiser: At 1.6 million tons it is almost a miniature battleship. Almost. Deployed in squadrons of six, with a length of 1,650M and a width of 400M. Most are Hyper VI, though some Hyper VII are joining the Fleet. 940 naval crew and 220 marines.
Transfer Carrier: Based on a light cruiser hull, carrying 40 fighters or attack fighters. Mostly used to carry squadrons for deployment in star systems, but can also be deployed for raids.
Light Cruiser: 700 thousand ton scout cruiser, deployed in squadrons of eight, and sometimes teamed with battle cruisers to form scout teams of 1 BC and 2 LC. 1,325M in length by 370M in width, more and more Hyper VII LCs are coming into the fleet. 710 naval crew and 180 marines. Also deployed extensively on anti-pirate patrols.
Destroyer Leader. Lead flag ship of the twelve ship destroyer squadrons, massing 300 thousand tons. 480 naval crew and 80 marines.
Destroyer: Deployed in twelve ship squadrons, mostly with DLs as the flag. 200 thousand tons of escort and scout vessel, 1,020M in length by 240 M in width. 330 naval crew and 50 marines.
Frigates: The smallest of the hyper capable warships in the fleet. Deployed in squadrons of twelve, the 90 thousand ton ships are 650M in length and 200M in width. 210 naval crew and 10 marines.
Messenger Packets: 10 thousand ton Hyper VII ships used to carry dispatches through the Fleet, and in civilian use mail and small packages. 10 crewmen.
Fast Attack Craft: Built on the same hull as the Messenger Packets, but without Hyperdrive. Carries 8 normal space missiles, and is operated by a crew 14.
Fighter: 600 ton small craft with a five man crew. Can accelerate at up to one thousand gravities and is used to deliver missiles on anti-ship attacks as well as system escorts.
Attack Fighter: 1,000 ton small craft with a six man crew. Can accelerate up to nine hundred gravities and carries a larger class of missile that the fighters.
Superfreighters: 25 million tons of merchant ship capable of carrying fifteen million tons of product at Hyper VI.
Click here to go to page with line drawings of the ships