• What Do We Know – Titan Spires

    December 25, 2012. Christmas. An annual Terra Firma holiday before the new year.

    But this was not for celebration, religious contemplation, and gifts under a green, twinkling tree in someone’s house. Humans, however, were recovering from the Wave’s devastating, life-altering effects that could get worse by the minute.

    Terrans appeared all over, demonized as living weapons and studied in hopes for a cure. The United States gathered the bodies of the enthralled and plan to refill government offices to retain national security. The European Union races to prevent widespread hysteria against magic. Remote towns and villages were cut off, vying to find meaning in this new world while most of the major cities were damaged by the crystals and their populous, unclear how to rebuild. All the world’s religions were questioned what is truth and what is not after the affirmation that magic and extraterrestrials were real.

    Heavy uncertainty on all human and terran shoulders.

    Outside the Sol system, a much greater discussion took place in secret.

    Councilman Trygo “The Hammer” Denverbay of Creos discussed the planet’s condition with two undisclosed key council members. Almost all of the evidence was shared: pictures of the cities and the crystals, the terran transformation, the amounting Reaper evidence on a PCPA planet from Nova Company, and Jaruka’s crimes. Katie Walsh’s magic demonstrations and Scott Dunne’s accident that saved the rescue party sent resonating feeling through the council members that it led to one major conclusion.

    A dangerous, primitive culture became an overpowered threat.

    Everything spelled GMT. Genetic Magical Transformation. A practice ruthlessly outlawed and forbidden across the government that not only demolishes a species’s natural evolution, but weaponizes them. The Council never forgot the last GMT event, The Goomash Raid, and Denverbay refused to relive that tragedy, not with his first born child. A resolution was set without a second thought.

    The next day, a giant gold satellite exited Slipspace above North America, locked into orbit beyond the planet’s geostationary and graveyard orbit. Several hours later it fired a laser to the surface near a government building for a full minute until it was discovered by professional and amateur telescopes.

    Titan Spires are the ancient and effective space-bound weapon system of the Galactic Council, fabled to have existed since the Republic’s formation. They serve as the Council’s political leverage and last resort weapon if the Royal Navy, battle groups, empires, and armadas fail to stop a threat to the Republic, with the collective power to wipe out fleets and populations. Each spire is nay impossible to destroy, the checks and balances to even deploy and control the weapons comes with heavy responsibility, and furthermore, controversial to how much power the Council really has.

    Each spire has a sleek, minimalist design. The inner structure is built with several strong metal alloys for strength and durability, while the outer shell is layered with dilomite, a rare-crystal-infused metal that is only used on Titan Spires. It’s able to reflect all damage from the sharpest and fastest projectiles, the strongest particle beams, the largest bombs, and the most powerful spells. Size wise, they are over 2km high, nearly 700m wide at the top, and the outside hull curves toward the long, 500m wide barrel.

    The top blooms out to three sections containing Level 1 Dyson spheres powering communications, the main core, operations, ion thrusters, AG thrusters, Goru Slipspace Drive, and the defense energy shield for extra protection.

    Above the cores is the crystal computer. Each spire is not an independent weapon from each other so to keep control over them, they are all linked to the mother A.I. hive mind at the Capitol. This A.I. only listens to the appointed council member’s commands along with the rest of the Council. Unfortunately, their names and homeworlds are kept secret. The A.I. then sends the commands to the spires through the SCN. It evolved over the centuries, but the A.I. carries the same values as the Council.

    But it’s uniqueness comes from the hybrid tech transmutation core in the weapon’s center, highly protected from anybody from crying its construction. To fire, the core needs a lot of energy to generate the spell and laser. When a command is received, it takes minutes for the core to prime to full power, then it fires red and yellow lasers through the rune-lined barrel toward the target. The end can funnel the laser to a meter or 1km in diameter.

    Third, the energy doesn’t incinerate, disintegrate, or vaporize matter to ashes or from existence, but accelerates decomposition.

    Plant matter is rendered to nutrient-rich compost. An entire forest stripped for the next generation of plants, even farmland is stripped of food, eliminating an enemy’s agriculture.

    Animal flesh is stripped of water, drying the muscles and bones. Blood turns to ash. Brain cells shrivel to sand. The body can either fall apart as mineral-rich dust, or fossilized.

    Buildings and crafts rust and crumble to the ground, broken down to the base elements they are made from. If any comparison to a human skyscraper, it becomes dust containing copper, steel, composted wood, stone, and toxic contaminants.

    This is directly correlating to the Galactic Council’s ultimate goal of protecting life, and in doing so with the Titan Spires, it creates protection and resources for life to flourish in the future. For Terra Firma, protection is all that matters.

    By mid-February, the planet is surrounded by 1/68 of the Galactic Republic’s Titan Spires. Over a thousand of them orbiting the planet, aimed directly at the surface. Silent, and waiting. Rumors were spreading more were coming once lab tests on terran mana were released. The PCPA and Red Flagged status still in place, it’s forbidden to install a Slipspace Comm Tower for the A.I. to communicate with the spires. To help the remote and quarantine the situation, a space station was placed with the Royal Navy’s assistance. This installation runs a closed-loop Slipspace comm array that prevents all Terra Firma communications from entering the wormhole, while any Republic communications is filtered out. It has a child A.I., cloned from the main A.I. to control the spires, but the station still needs a manager to oversee control and the contingency plan. Below the station is a waygate for restrictive Slipspace travel; not even the waygate’s coordinates is shared. The station’s other purpose is an information relay station to help gather Terra Firma current events for analysis and send off.

    Yet Terra Firma has no stake in calling this a hostile extinction attempt. This is for the protection of the Republic, but with Scott Dunne and Katie Walsh not being hostile to outside species, this produced a second chance opportunity Denverbay is using, starting with Jaruka Teal.

    The Halcunac mercenary, charged with trespassing and obstructing First Contact rituals, wears a band around his ankle, directly linked to the space station and the A.I.. He can never remove it, not even with an energy sword or spell. This serves as part of the contingency plan against Terra Firma in hopes that they can tolerate other species, as long as these rules are followed.

    Any non-military, non-government citizen can hurt Jaruka, as long as it’s not life-threatening.

    Any military/government member, even militias, touches or arrests or shoots or stabs Jaruka, the spires prime to fire as the A.I. gathers everything about the attacker by hacking the world’s network and threat-fires what he/she loves. The more emotional hold, the better, and no human protection cannot withstand A.I. cyber attacks.

    The first case it fired was the day after Christmas when United States CIA agents arrested Jaruka to contain the political situation and gather more intelligence on the Groom Lake attack. The spire composted a part of the forest northwest of CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA, rendering a quarter mile of land to growing medium as it crept closer to the building. The laser dissipated once Jaruka’s handcuffs were removed. A week later signs of new vegetation were growing.

    Now if and so when Jaruka Teal is killed, by accident or on purpose, the bracelet linked to his heart rate activates the protection protocol.

    Every Titan Spire is primed and fires on the planet. They first target communication centers, power generators, factories, shipyards, airports, train stations, and every nuclear weapon installation. After several minutes of silence, the spires come back to compost and/or fossilize two/thirds of the world’s population, starting with the super powers. The Council retracts the spires and space station home, then send EMP bombs to blanket the planet in EMP blasts to fry all electronic circuits, and drone gravity emitters to push every satellite back to the planet.

    This process is in hopes for the human, or terran, species revert back to pre-Industrial Revolution days and restart the evolution cycle, with the Red Flagged status permanently etched in records, and the Sol system designated forbidden territory.

    The contingency plan was shared with every world leader, and soon the general population. Soon enough, pop culture coined this phrase.

    “Screw Jaruka, and the Spires screw back.”

    Only time and patience would tell if humans and terrans follow the rules.

  • May Update – WDWK, Loss, and Progress

    It has been months since I talked here besides the recent posts about the Mana Pool universe. Hope you all are enjoying them as much as I writing them. The readers insight I get that just makes me giddy with science, especially the comments for this. So yes, hello, let’s catch up.

    Before I go on about writing, I want to share what I haven’t told anyone yet, and it seems it’s time.

    About a few weeks before my vacation in late March, I got a call from Mom at work. My grandmother got sick. She was diagnosed with an atrial fibrillation in her two top heart chambers after what was believed was a viral attack on her body; incoherent, winded out, dizzy. She was about to travel to Jamaica with her daughters (Mom and aunt from New Jersey), like, the day before, so that was canceled. She was weak for a while until her energy came back.

    Well, on March 21st, as I was starting my shift early in the morning, I got a call from Mom, and you never ignore a call from family at 7 in the morning. Grandma passed away that morning, around the time I was getting ready for my commute. I left work to stay by Mom and her half-sister from Texas to corral the accounts, trusts, memorial service, mortuary service, and set about clearing the house, but to be by Mom’s side. Grandma was 90, buried with her husband at Riverside Memorial.

    This happened the day before I left for Alaska.

    For those hearing about me the first time, this is the fourth family member I lost since I moved to Tustin, including my dad to cancer. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom that much loss in that timeframe.

    So Alaska became a sobering experience from the loss. No view of the northern lights all week, even for clear skies no doubt. Not a problem, but I hope to see them one day. You can check my photo album here. Sadly when I came back I couldn’t go to Wondercon. A major head cold forced me to stay in bed all weekend.

    Note to self: do not spend the night in an airport terminal.

    So since then, I’ve been dealing with habit changes, mainly making major sacrifices in my habits to focus better. Keeping myself from going to sleep at 10:30PM rather than 9:00 PM when I have to for work tomorrow. Resisting to tinker with different software than generating story ideas. Convincing myself I don’t get any use from my Netflix and YouTube “Watch Later” lists after the day job. Convince myself to not see going out as to be social every day. The ways I tracked my projects and writing tasks have changed with Trello. Then the biggest was cleaning out my Evernote account and Pocket articles I’ve saved (there were articles I saved out of boredom that brought no insight, and I wonder why I ever saved them).

    Seems like ever since grandma died, my mind suddenly told me, “All this stuff you hoarded in your head and computer? It has got to be cleaned up or trashed or else this mess will never let you write!”

    It’s a struggle to change myself.

    So, now to writing.

    Currently, I have planned to have one more What Do We Know post this month. One more before I hold off more until Ghost Factor is being serialized online. Right around ten to fifteen chapters into the release, I’ll start them up again to cover anything in the novel and in the next Snippet stories.

    So if you still haven’t ready any of my posts about Mana Pool, check them out and leave a comment. And if you still don’t know about Mana Pool, my book is still available.


  • What Do We Know – Slipspace Transportation

    Any sentient species in the galaxy can sum up the major transportation systems by one word: resourceful. When you can’t use one method for space travel, others are available, for a price.

    Simpler species, like the humans of Terra Firma, could assume there is one method just by calculating the vast distances between worlds, their current physics mathematics, their technology, and scores of science fiction stories most species fall asleep over. And stick with it.

    Such narrow-minded reality thinking is not tolerated. It’s best to remind them what’s available, starting with the cheapest.

    Cryogenics is still active, as intravenous fluid engineered to create an artificial state of hibernation, or the cryo tube for full-body deep freeze. Scores of people in one ship traveling in deep space on a designated course. Although this is the cheapest and is limited to traveling between planets, this is frowned upon when associated with alleged smuggling, kidnappings, slavery, non-sanctioned medical practices, and high-level prisons. Not to mention the high loss of time.

    Faster than Light or FTL, Subspace, Warp – whatever comes first, these are called the “bedrock methods.” Most of the time they raise their first contact changes. But not limited to technological means. The crystal-born Soleren species for example master the form of solar sailing, riding the solar winds from one system to another. They are also the most popular in price and convenience, but limited to time as it takes years to cover the Galactic Republic’s jurisdiction.

    Wormholes cover the longer distances. This can be on the same level as Slipspace, but non-Slipspace wormholes and folded space is still limited to our universe’s laws of physics and the magic they’re created from. The loss of time is reduced, but still not as close to being near instantaneous, and sometimes unstable to keep alive. Even for basic way gates and rituals.

    Knowing these methods is useful if you can’t afford a Slipspace crystal for a round trip. If you don’t mind the time loss, that’s okay. But when it comes to the government itself in military, economic, and political power, time is essential. Slipspace crystals are expensive, especially how they are produced.

    Crystals in our universe are either chemically or magically grown in rich mineral deposits, or certain elements combined with high pressure and heat. Days, years, centuries to grow, depending on the ion matrix. Magic crystals have ion matrixes to flow and store magical energies for spells, and that include the crystal-made species.

    Yet Slipspace crystals are magically grown, but grown by force.

    They are grown in special nurseries; several locations among major trade sectors and smaller establishments in lesser traveled sectors. The Gamel Group is the current farmer. The planet-based underground facilities are heavily guarded with military troops and spacecraft, surface defense batteries, drones, and sometimes a Titan Spire, making these establishments as secure as the Council Chambers. It is a maze of corridors, machines, labs, magic, and vessel docks, surrounding a massive open cylinder 1,000km into the planet.

    The cylinder’s top is an advanced black hole generator with a copper ring etched with ancient arcane glyphs. The first set of glyphs are designed to negate the black holes distortion effects of time, space, and gravity. The second set is used to rip the hole’s event horizon. And the third set is Slipspace’s dimensional frequency, injected into the event horizon to create fissures into Slipspace. It’s difficult to keep these fissures open.

    Once active, wizards and witches employed by Gamel Group use an intense magic ritual and psychic power to “pull” the Slipspace energy through the fissures into our universe.

    A second copper ring, energized by a second set of wizards and witches, hovers over the energy where it transmute, crystalize, and clusters the fresh Slipspace crystal into an ever-flowing tube of raw material.

    The magic users can’t continue the process; they must rotate every hour to keep the crystal growing and mitigate health issues. The Gamel Group’s hiring campaigns are an extent of their force, empowering fresh recruits that the work is for the greater good of the Republic. By honest truth, their healthcare program is well funded. The most common injuries is brain fatigue, sometimes damaged if breaks don’t occur. They are employed for one Creos year, and they choose whether to continue or not. Five years is the maximum limit when retirement benefits start.

    And this operation never stops.

    Many have tried to replicate the process in smaller scales, mostly to sell unstable crystals in the market at a cheaper price, but really they are enchanted bombs to the gullible. Cracking down these “dummy crystals” is an unending fight, resulting in immediate execution and destruction.

    The crystal grows down toward the planet’s core. The chamber’s walls are stacked with mining machines to carve the standard sizes for portables and ships, then shipped out across the Republic, heavily tracked to limit black market trade. Revenue is collected to maintain the nurseries, healthcare, and security.

    Entering Slipspace by Drive or waygate is straightforward. It uses separate wormholes, temporarily made with magic barriers, electromagnetic forcefields, and gravity to let our universe’s matter travel through. Without the reinforcement, the matter is vaporized. To create these wormholes, it starts with a cannon attachment to the Slipspace Drive, designed with the same principles as the nursery’s glyphs but without wizards to transmute crystals. The energy is pulled and builds with the necessary protection and entry/exit coordinates until shot out. Then the energy explodes into a wormhole rift toward the destination, where the ship is pulled through by gravity before it closes behind the ship.

    But still, Slipspace travel is not perfect. There is the matter of navigation.

    What people need to realize is that our place in the universe, or a house on the hill, or a single empty spot in space, nothing ever stops moving. And so does Slipspace. For example, when a wormhole is made, where is the exit point in Slipspace? Choosing where to exit without a map will either put you several yards from your entry point, in another system, in another government, or uncharted space, lightyears from civilization.

    The SCN is but a helping hand to Slipspace’s transportation network. Using the communication towers, a millennia of curated star charts, and echolocation and triangulation of tower rifts inside space, cartographers generate coordinates of every place in the Republic, and update those coordinates in the main Slipspace maps database whenever our universes “shift” and have to recalculate them every few hundred years. The goal is to find the entry/exit coordinates with the least amount of travel time at possible chance.

    For example, the entry point outside Creos’s moon’s orbit and exit point between Terra Firma and its single moon have travel times between ten to fifteen minutes, give or take by wormhole path and ship speed.

    With single ship travel that can’t afford crystals, waygates are utilized. These gates use drive arrays to make the massive wormholes for larger ships and ship fleets. This can also reduce the Slipspace crystal use on ships and the cost per ship per use is higher on the long term, but convenient.

    This system has been stable and somewhat reliable for a long time, beyond the Republic’s existence, and does not see any sign of letting up.

  • What Do We Know – Slipspace Communication and UTs

    Throughout the Galactic Republic, Slipspace is rudimentary to the government’s power, the lifeblood to the Milky Way galaxy. But the technology is not a permanent stream; this universe is bound to its limitations. Being simple in design, an artificially grown crystal with a specific ion matrix is used as a fuel source and the true representation of hybrid tech. It is hard to manufacture but incredibly self-reliant for all communications.

    But what is Slipspace?

    This alternate dimension does not mimic our dimension as one would theorize and what not scientists and wizards could explain. It is a dimension made entirely of energy—chaotic, limitless energy—much stronger than solar fusion and as a speck to human nuclear energy. It can literally make human physicists forget they wear underwear before workout out the mathematical formulas. It was discovered long before the Galactic Republic was formed. How or why it was discovered generates conflicted stories. The Archives don’t have the original story, not even the oldest of gods. An accident? A cosmic event found at the right time? A mad titan’s ambition? Economics? Who knows. Understand that others tried refining it as ship fuel and weaponry, but tried and failed like the energy-hungry Sygren people, the energy cannot survive in our universe. So much for the primal need to have limitless energy to power our cities.

    Yet it exists. It has purpose.

    The Goru Slipspace Drive is the machine to make the connection possible. This device is built as three electromagnetic rings encased in a glass globe rotating a crystal. One rear door allows access to install crystals or perform repairs, while two clamps on either side keep the globe tight to a control base. Using a small enough voltage to the rings and rotate at high velocity, the crystal shatters a little to rip a portal between our world and Slipspace. It is then linked with another Drive to create a stable wormhole. And like any fuel, crystals are diminished. Looking through the event horizon, Slipspace is literally “chewing” at the shards until the device shuts down or diminishes the crystal supply, closing the rift.

    Humans would believe the drive designs are from an alien corporation. It could be mistaken for a Vyroken invention. No. The designs are shared to the citizens by the Galactic Republic, by decree as a life right. Businesses and military can build them. Even younglings in science class can build them. The designs date before the formation of the Republic by an extinct species that remain nameless to this day.

    For communications using Slipspace, there is no real form of Slipspace comms like radio or subspace. The nature of the dimension is that of thick sludge. The energy does not generate or carry sine waves. Shoot radio signals into it and they dissipate. But shoot radio waves through a wormhole and are energized by the dimension to reach the other end almost instantly, without loss, static, or latency. This alone is proof to establish a Slipspace mesh network of wormholes that allows all radio technologies, vital for video conferences, remote robotics, live RNN broadcasts, entertainment, military strategy, and much more.

    This network is built upon Slipspace Drive Towers designed to handle vast amounts of information. These are installed in systems, orbiting or on capital worlds. A cylindrical tower houses the antennas covering 360° of coverage, controlled by a server and router network to code, decode, translate, and re-translate the mathematics. Then they are sent down toward the Drive chamber where all communications are transmitted and received in yottahertz(human measure) through the Slipspace rift. A separate computer monitors the Drive from mechanics to energy levels. So for refilling it after a crystal is depleted, three more Drives are in standby mode: the next drive activates, the computer switches them, and the process continues with only a five-second delay, working around the clock. tower crystals are grown large enough to last a hundred years until restocked.

    Of course, every tower is guarded by autonomous sentries capable of ripping enchantments and ship fleets to pieces. Nothing and nobody, not even an iron meteorite, can come close to the towers.

    Now if a system doesn’t need the towers, they can use subspace. It still falls under our universe’s physics so it’s limited to cluster systems and relay stations.

    The Slipspace comm network, or SCN, is impressive, but that doesn’t help with language barriers.

    Also decreed by the Galactic Republic as a life right and spread to all major electronic guilds and corporations specializing in hybrid tech, universal translators are created, or UTs for short.

    They are built as collars, most used design, for users with extendable earpieces that don’t obstruct the user’s natural hearing. Other designs like pins, helmets, or wrist devices with wireless earpieces are built; it’s up to the person or species will.

    One computer, installed with the user’s dictionary, reads off the inscribed glyphs on the casing or band that handle in-air phonetic translation. Whatever the person says, the user hears them through the glyph’s translation in their language. The other way, the user speaks his own language, and the person hears him/her in their language through the device. Two UTs can lower the computer’s processing power but doesn’t cure bad lip sync.

    If personal UTs are not readily available, special techno-enchanted strips and poles networked to language libraries are placed in ships and cities, including hawker markets and government buildings with the most language barriers to hurdle over. There is software available for translating words and glyphs for all mechanical and magical computer systems.

    But the main goal for these two feats of communication from the Council is that they must lower misunderstanding across multiple species. They want everybody to talk, without restrictions or boundaries, and not alienate each other. Take that away, and there will be war.

    Now we could go on about communication technologies, but that will need to be discussed some other time.