Bluespace is a form of pocket dimension that was discovered in 2341 by Doctor Samantha Tigard and an anonymous Skrellian research team, who at the time was conducting a theoretical physics experiment to test the probability of a resonance cascade scenario, in which a portal to an alternate dimension would be opened. Tigard's experiments, when coupled with some theoretical models contributed by the Skrell, discovered Bluespace. She later went on to pioneer the first Enhanced Warp-Bluespace Drive. Powering the drive proved difficult until the discovery of phoron in 2417, which could easily power a bluespace crystal compared to more traditional power sources.
The first drone sent into Bluespace was constructed by the Einstein Engines corporation, and traveled to the edge of the Alpha Centauri system in less than ten minutes. However, using Doctor Tigard's experimental 'drive' system would not work for traditional travel, as it could not be focused and it was only large enough for objects smaller than the average human. Selling her designs for a record 234,000,000 standard Credits to the Einstein Engines corporation, the first Bluespace Gate began construction in 2420. Finished in 2425, the first Bluespace Gate, orbiting Mars, spanned the size of fifty meters, and had seven fusion reactors built into it. The existing, inefficient Warp Gates were quickly converted into Bluespace Gates, allowing them to be powered much more efficiently.
How it works
Bluespace is a very strange form of pocket dimension, that is largely unpredictable and completely unexplored. While there is speculation about the possibility of celestial bodies existing in Bluespace, it is highly unlikely. Travelling in the Bluespace dimension without a proper gate or Bluespace drive has thus far been proven to be incredibly dangerous, with probes either appearing in unintended locations or never returning at all. Travelling in the Bluespace dimension, depending on the power of the gate entered or the drive used, varies considerably. As of 2457, there are two methods of utilizing bluespace for galactic travel: Bluespace Gates, and Bluespace Drives.
Bluespace Gates (or just "Gates") are generally used for travel between distant star systems for the mass majority of ships which don't have their own Bluespace Drives. They form the 'highway' of galactic travel, and are the basis of FTL transportation, as they allow fast travel to any other Gate regardless of its distance. Gates are generally 1 km by 1 km and are ring-shaped with projectors facing inwards. Gates are completely automated, and activated with a transmission to the gate's communication system. In this communication, you must include your ship ID, faction, and intended location. Gates will refuse to open for wanted persons, and will alert the closest authority if an attempt at access is made. Gates will do the same for unregistered ships.
Gates are used by virtually all ships without their own bluespace drives. Due to the size of gates and how much they are used, incoming ships enter the gate on the right side, causing them to 'exit' on the left in the mirrored gate, making gate travel much like a drive on Earth. Most Gates are constructed by NanoTrasen, who charge a small fee for each use of a Gate; 20 standard credits.
Originally bluespace gates were built as inferior warp gates. While advanced for their time, they were far slower and much more expensive than current bluespace travel. The warp gate project was and remains the most ambitious, far reaching, and expensive construction project in the known galaxy. The debt from this project is still being paid off to this day by the Sol Alliance, who shouldered most of the cost. Thus, when NanoTrasen swept in with Bluespace, they were able to monopolize the rights to retrofit the now-defunct Warp Gates almost immediately after the mega-project was finished.
Bluespace drives are generally reserved for military ships, or for civilian ships that have the luxury of affording a drive. Bluespace drives are limited by the size of any given vessel, and require Bluespace Crystals to function, as well as enough phoron to power the crystal. Each bluespace Crystal provides a certain amount of 'jumps' per type of drive. It is NOT recommended to use a Bluespace drive to jump to any place not sustained by a Bluespace Gate or Jump Beacon (such as those utilized by the NSS Aurora for incoming and outgoing shuttles). Travelling in the Bluespace dimension, depending on the power of the bluespace drive, varies from 10x the speed of light, to 1000x the speed of light. Ships that fail to jump to the appropriate points or fail to log a jump flight path with a traffic controller run the risk of colliding with another object at the exit point. On rare occasions, two objects become 'entangled' upon exiting bluespace at the same location, causing the two bodies to meld in bizarre ways - which has thus far always been fatal for the inhabitants of the vessels.
Bluespace Drives project a field around a certain meter distance around the ship itself, enveloping it into the bluespace dimension, and then 'jumps' it to the plotted destination. Drives can be used to jump to any location within range, but this is incredibly dangerous. High Quality drives are more efficient in plotting exit coordinates and can be used for virtually any place to travel with minimal risk, but these drives remain incredibly expensive and used almost exclusively by the militaries of the major factions, or the adventurous wealthy.
Bluespace Interdiction Drive
Interdiction drives are designed to overload bluespace drives and force vessels to drop out of a bluespace jump. Operating alongside bluespace targeting systems, the interdiction drives lock onto vessels in the midst of a jump and interfere with their ability to produce bluespace fields, degrading and eventually "bursting" them, forcing the vessel violently out of a jump. The strain the interdiction drives place on opposing drives almost always causes them to overheat and require not only a full reset but maintenance as well if not outright rendering them inoperable. There is only one way for a vessel caught in an interdiction system to break the interdiction and that is to dive deeper into bluespace. Most ships are incapable of doing this as they operate on pre-plotted co-ordinates. Those that have the capacity to "tweak" jumps in real time are able to move deeper into the bluespace dimension, strengthening their bluespace field and increasing their speed allowing them to potentially outrun their pursuers.
Diving deeper into bluespace carries its own risks. Vessels navigate "light bluespace", a region in which material travel is increased. Going too far into "light bluespace" may cause a vessel to enter "deep bluespace". Little is known of the region but for one truth - vessels do not return from it. It's common for ships caught in the throes of an interdiction system to skim deeper into bluespace briefly, and then move further towards realspace. This repetition allows the victims bluespace field to regenerate and its bluespace drive to cool down. The sudden jarring increase and decrease in speed can cause extreme fatigue to a ships superstructure and the crew within.
All known interdiction drives are larger in comparison to the bluespace drive it is trying to overcome, usually in a 2-1 ratio. It is rare for a small shuttle to carry an interdiction drive though some pirates may strip out their own ships interiors to install one. Larger capital ships are all but immune to interdiction drives due to their mass and gigantic bluespace drives.
Capital Interdiction Drives
Extremely rare and extremely expensive and power hungry. Capital interdiction drives are the only known sentient-made object that is capable of pulling capital space ships out of a blue space jump. Their size means they require a tremendous amount of energy and to this end have space stations built around them. The only known capital interdiction drive in human space is located in a defensive platform orbiting Unity Station - the Sol Alliance capital.
Usually a setting available on a standard interdiction drive but sometimes stand alone, interdiction nets are wide projections intended to capture objects travelling through bluespace in its scanning zone. When a vessel utilising bluespace passes through a net it is immediately struck with a high powered interdiction system. Stronger than a standard interdiction system, any ship caught is brought straight out of a jump more often than not. This is a common addition to space stations to avoid accidental collisions caused by ships dropping out of bluespace and utilising standard propulsion too close or to prevent/soften direct attack from bluespace weapons such as bluespace artillery. Interdiction nets are popular with pirates who use them to cover shipping lanes, literally using them as one would use a fishing net in a stream. An attack on travellers around Biesel was believed to have been carried out using these devices. The NSS Odin utilises three overlapping interdiction nets.
Carried out by most vessels, beacon pinging is that act of sending a bluespace communication to a beacon one is planning on travelling to and waiting for a response signal from the beacon. It is especially useful in picking up suspicious activity as interdiction nets, whilst not blocking normal communication, will block a beacon ping. If a ping doesn't bounce back, the beacon is either not operating for whatever reason or pirates are "fishing" nearby.
Mysteries of Bluespace
A small segment of the scientific community have become increasingly alarmed at how fast the known galaxy have invested in bringing Bluespace into society, while there are still several major mysteries surrounding this new dimension and its interactions with our own. Since the discovery of bluespace, humanity has managed to discover several strange artifacts and lifeforms not known to follow the laws of our reality, including slimes, which were originally discovered in areas along with artifacts.
These new discoveries - which often ended in tragedy as the artifacts hold mysterious, dangerous powers - has prompted Nanotrasen to create an entirely new field of study: Xenoarchaeology. The leading station for this field is the NSS Aurora, where a research outpost was created on an asteroid filled with xeno fossils and artifacts.
Two leading theories have emerged from initial speculation: Either an advanced race exists in bluespace and they have made moves into our own in the past, leaving these artifacts behind, or the second theory that the bluespace mysteries and fossils are entirely separate, and that the "precursors" are not related to the strange, exotic mysteries surrounding bluespace.
One of the most startling discoveries from Xenobiology was the accidental discovery of what are now known as Adamantine Golems. The bipedal creatures are actually made of the gelatin slime substance solidified completely until it has the resilience of iron. It is theorized that they are in the same family as slimes, and are used to accomplish tasks too complex for the regular slimes.
Currently golems exist for 24 hours after creation, after which, the golems spontaneously teleport away in a brief bluespace anomaly. Many attempts have been made to tag golems in order to track them. Only 12% of golems have managed to be recovered, with the other ones being lost the moment they bluespace away, the tracker becomes unresponsive. Recovered golems are almost unanimously found near bluespace artifacts or slime colonies. After bluespacing away, the golems exist for another 48 hours before suddenly expiring.
Due to being mostly harmless and possessing limited intelligence but a desire to work and please their creator, golems have recently been granted allowance to work very basic civilian or assistant roles under supervision on NanoTrasen research stations.