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Communication within a system is not an issue as tightbeam(laser) tech allows for minimal latency meaning you can talk in real time with a person at the edge of the solar system, but not beyond. Intersystem communication works much like it did in the age of sail. You record your message in text or video format then send it off with postage. Any ship heading towards the system downloads a bulk of these encrypted messages and then unloads them as soon as they arrive. It is near impossible to hijack a message among the bulk and even if one could identify it cracking the encryption would require immense processing power that is simply uneconomical.
With each planet sporting their own data protocols and no incentive to standardize this throughout the sector, travellers must pay expensive licencing fees to access the network of a particular world. Some planets simply deny access while others offer it freely though one must wonder why it is that they do that. It is possible to deploy a comm-server which provides a personal network in a 500km radius but the damn thing is huge and expensive so most travellers simply pay the fine or find less legal means of getting the protocols just so they could use a planet's internet and interface with their computers.
Not every planet has recovered equaly, some found themselves unable to do so due to lack of knowledge or resources and remain stunded technologically.
Tech Levels are a generalized rough nomenclature used to refer to technological progress that a certain planet can utilize. Note that a planet could house advanced tech but have no resources or knowledge to use it. It goes from zero to five and when logic fails to explain it common folk say that something is of Tech level six to avoid using the term 'magic' lightly. Abbreviated it is referred to as a TL followed by a number. As such
- TL0 represents neolith-level technology
- TL1-Medieval Age
- TL2-Industrial Age
- TL3-Twenty-First Century
Ah yes, I see the confusion, Pos and Pre refer to the Scream, anything originating from before the Scream is referred to as Pretech and everything recovered from after the Scream is Postech. Obviously, the recovered tech is serviceable and usable but lacks the edge that Pretech, made during the Golden age of mankind, had. Postech gun may fire a laser but a Pretech gun will fire it twice as hot for half the energy and might even be able to fire around corners.
Maltech, a catch-all term used to refer primarily to technology or research that is likely to result in severe harm or destruction to humanity, Malicious Technology-Maltech. There are three rules that the Mandate instituted regarding Maltech.
Thou shalt not make tools of humankind. Forbids any research or attempt to subvert the will and intellect of human minds through genetic manipulation
Thou shalt not create unbraked minds. States that if one happens to develop a fully functioning AI they must immediately apply the proper "brakes" or intentional flaws in their programming before the AI develops immeasurable intellect and escapes all human control.
Thou shalt not create devices of planetary destruction. Due to conventional gravitic breakers and nuke snuffers, it has become incredibly burdensome and difficult to develop and utilize planet killer weaponry. There are of course various ways to get around this problem and all are considered highly illegal by most if not all civilized worlds.
Space Travel and Spike Drive
To travel from system to system there are certain conditions to be met. First one must have a functioning Spike Drive. This 'engine' is what powers the ship's movement not through thrust but by making it move across space by utilizing metadimensional forces. If it all sounds too complex that's because it is and no one knows how exactly it works except maybe the madman who first invented it. What you do need to know is that in order to travel to and from a system a strong enough gravitational constant is needed like a sun or a black hole. To leave a system you need only pilot to ship to the edge of the gravitational pull and plot a course to another one. Similarly one only enters the system from its edges, never within. This makes it easy to create ambushes and security checkpoints.
Space travel, in the absence of proper charts and routes, is often more art than science. It takes six days to travel to the closest neighbouring system and half as long if the Spike Drive is of an upgraded rating, even shorter if it has been upgraded once more. Additionally higher rated spike drives are capable of travelling multiple units in one jump though the time is not halved in this case. Regardless of the Spike Drive or any added peripheral assistance, the most important aspect of space travel is the Pilot. When they take the helm and plot a course they choose between arriving where you should at half the time or popping out somewhere else with the entire ship blown up. From that point on the Spike Drive will shield the ship in a 'bubble' of sorts and ascend it into a metadimensional plane where chaotic currents will whisk it away. During this time the crew is free to interact on the ship but it is ill-advised to venture outside. Someone will have to oversee the navigational computer during the ride, often taking shifts, even a fool could do this so long as they don't panic and instead call the Pilot if something goes wrong.
Telekinesis - The simplest and least extreme of the Psychic disciplines and as such is the one that is widely accepted without leers. As it is Telekinesis is often obvious to its use due to the shimmering and rarely colourful if translucent effect following it. There are limits as to how many independent objects a Psychic can manipulate simultaneously, often no more than four even for the best. That doesn't, however, stop the creative minds from being fiendish and using telekinesis to cause things to spontaneously combust, to puppeteer other folks or to provide themselves with armour and their companions with cover to hide behind. There is one caveat and that is an inability to simply crush the bodies of humans and other intelligent life forms such as VI and AI. It seems that sentience generates a form of barrier that certain powers cannot breach.
Teleportation - It is hard to find a good teleporter, even harder to trap and catch them. Strongest teleporters can move between orbiting ships and any point on the planet's surface, provided they have an Anchor imbued with a bit of their effort aboard the ship. Weakest of them can move about 10 meters at best and only to areas they can see unaided or have visited previously. Teleporters can choose to leave parts of their gear and clothing behind though usually they take it along, this however makes it even harder to bind one down as they can simply teleport out of their handcuffs if they have the proper training. It becomes even more dangerous when they are able to sense open spaces without seeing them and teleport within ships and buildings blindly or when they can teleport others as well. Best teleporters can move up to 12 other people and their gear as well as teleport so fast that they avoid being shot or in turn move between their target and back before they victim has the time to react.
Telepathy - The weakest of them can merely scratch the surface of a person's mind, they can only gleam into their current emotional state, but the best of them are so subtle there is a reason they are either exterminated with extreme prejudice or enlisted into black ops service. They can take deep dives to dig out information from unwilling victims, cause their minds to slow down their cognition, missing details in the process and so much more. The worst of them can alter a person's memories, up to 24hrs worth can be added, removed or changed. When all subtlety fails they can simply assault the person's mind and cause it to shut down and go out cold for an hour.
Biopsionics - Another acceptable ability for Psychics to use, Biopsionics allow one to coerce the cells and body of the injured to heal faster. This unnatural healing is a lot like that gained from Stims and this cannot be done infinitely to any one body without natural rest in between. Strong Biopsions can purge bodies of toxins, cure illnesses and heal any injury even go so far as to revive a person who had their head blown off so long as they make it to them soon after they're killed. This ability can even regenerate limbs and cure nearly any physical defect. At their worst Biopsions can use their abilities in a negative way causing cancerous growths or altering and mutating themselves with natural weaponry, gills and other dangerous mutations. With DNA samples they can recreate a person's entire biometric signature passing any security as if they were the original. There have even been reports of Master Biopsions coming back to life about a month after had been killed and buried.
Precognition - A bit of a mixed blessing, the ability to see the events to come might seem like something you cannot go wrong with but the truth is a bit more fluid. Something that was revealed soon after Precogs started showing up is that the future is not set in stone and that indeed the more you specify how a certain event is going to happen easier it becomes to derail it. All it takes is one domino and the whole future changes to another. For this reason, Precogs tend not to look too far or too specific. They get general info that helps them with their purposes and then they move on. Under fire Precogs do exhibit uncanny abilities to alter outcomes, when certain of a negative one a Precog simply looks to all the possibilities and tries to find one where the negative consequences do not happen. It does not work all the time, however. Somehow probability seems to have an odd meaning around a Precog, at a simplest level one can cheat at cards, but at the greatest entire prophecies can be told and fulfilled and the weirdest most uncanny coincidences can line up to give the Precog a favourable outcome.
Metapsionics - A discipline that is absolutely invaluable when working with Psychics, this is what allows mentors to tutor young Psychics and let them experiment with their abilities without burning a hole in their skull. That, however, is not where their powers stop, most abilities are incapable of affecting machines such as VI or AI, it is hard to read a mind when it thinks in ones and zeroes, but metapsions seem to bridge that gap no problem. Not only that, but they are able to deflect, dampen and downright turn off other Psychic powers in their vicinity which makes them incredibly effective bodyguards. It is a discipline often used in conjunction with another to bring out its fullest potential.