Bluespace & Phoron
Discovered within the Romanovich Cloud in 2417 by the NanoTrasen Science Vessel Yosemite, Phoron irrevocably changed the history of the Orion Spur - while initially for the better, in recent times nothing could be further from the truth. Purple and opaque in appearance, the mineral was discovered to be incredibly useful for energy production, alongside uses as a catalyst for creating advanced medications that transformed the field of medicine into what it is known as today.
It is extremely toxic and caustic in all its forms, however, most notably dangerous when in gaseous form, capable of significantly harming those that breathe it in as well as being capable of causing significant damage to anything engulfed within should it be set alight. Sirens blaring due to the caustic gas escaping containment is oftentimes the last sound that many employees will hear before succumbing to its severe toxicity. Phoron is used mostly in energy production, predominately within fusion generators that sustain both Bluespace Drives and Gates due to the excessive amount of power required to commence travel within the anomalous dimensional pocket.
Currently, the only deposits of the mineral have been located within the Republic of Biesel and the Serene Republic of Elyra - with reports from Vaurcae that Sedantis, their homeworld, also had deposits of the mineral. Due to the exhaustive extraction and refining operations that have been conducted since its discovery, there now exists a scarcity that deeply impacts the entirety of the Orion Spur, and continues to worsen as the limited supplies of phoron are used to keep the status quo. The Stellar Corporate Conglomerate, predominately NanoTrasen, continues to search for additional deposits with the SCCV Horizon, with limited success.
“Discovered” multiple times across the millennia that the inhabitants of Orion Spur have traversed the stars, its most notable discovery was by Luo Qiqiang decades before the uncovering of Phoron in 2341. Considered a shrewd scientist, Luo Qiqiang had already significantly advanced the understanding of warp theory within his lifetime and worked as the Head Scientist on Einstein Engines' “Project Ingress” alongside several Federation-endorsed Skrellian Scientists that had come forward with theoretical models regarding enhanced warp travel - notably amongst them was Chancellor Xul Lurq, then a minor Idol due to their many years with the Gliutip'lyaz University.
Einstein Engines' Project Ingress didn't lead to a discovery in warpdrives, but instead to an entirely new way of travelling across the stars. Drawing power from ten different particle accelerators, the prototype warpdrive was activated and created something akin to what is now known as a bluespace portal. It was sustained for approximately twenty seconds, enough for a small drone to be flown through. It then appeared on the edge of the Alpha Centauri System, shattering “warp speed” records. Despite the initial success, Project Ingress experienced a catastrophic meltdown, an electromagnetic pulse was emitted by several of the particle accelerators, destroying Doctor Luo Qiqiang's prosthetic heart. Further continuation of the project was prohibited, and the records regarding it were classified until 2418 after it was leaked by an unknown individual.
Luo Qiqiang's research was used to further understand the potential uses of phoron, and the recreation of Project Ingress' conditions led to the discovery of Bluespace by NanoTrasen Scientist Samantha Tigard and several others - who reported that it was not in fact an advance in warp theory, but instead in an entirely new field that she referred to as “Bluespace” due to its appearance. Further research yielded the modern understanding of Bluespace, a separate anomalous dimension that is connected to the Orion Spur, and likely the greater Milky Way and operates through “folding itself upon itself” as described in Tigard's reports. Bluespace Gates and Drives were eventually developed, replacing and making the prior generation of Warp Gates and Drives obsolete. Beginning construction in 2420, Bluespace Gates found themselves in operation in 2425, bringing forth a new era of exploration and expansion within the Orion Spur.
Despite advancements in the understanding of Bluespace, it is still relatively unknown. It is perceived by nature to be incredibly unstable and in a constant state of flux, only adding to the danger it poses to those attempting to charter it. From out of the corners of the Spur, there are rumours of strange abnormalities that occur when Bluespace is employed carelessly or unusually. However, most of these are chalked up to be simply untrue by the greater scientific community within the Orion Spur.
Due to the configuration of the Bluespace Gates, there is a connection that opens simultaneously, resulting in near-instantaneous travel due to essentially “mirroring” one another and making the use of the Gates considerably quicker than their smaller counterparts located within Bluespace Drives. This is a major difference between the two, where Drives are required open their own connection and traverse Bluespace before “breaching” and creating another connection to leave - which takes time, depending on the distance required to travel. Bluespace Drives commonly use Bluespace Jump Routes, chartered routes within the dimension that are declared safe for travel.
Bluespace Gates, or just “Gates”, are generally used for travel between distant star systems for the mass majority of ships that are not outfitted with a Bluespace Drive. It forms a pseudo-highway of interstellar travel, essentially “slingshotting” ships dozens of light-years in the span of a few minutes thanks to their advanced, complex systems. Taking up a square kilometre, Gates are of a ring-shaped design with projectors facing inwards, overseen by an integrated artificial intelligence. To use a Bluespace Gate, a transmission consisting of several details is required, which are usually checked against existing records and with the local authority of the entity that the Bluespace Gates resides within. It is also considered rather expensive to use, but the advantages is brings are considered too great to ignore by many in the Spur.
Originally Bluespace Gates were built as inferior Warp Gates. While advanced for their time, they were far slower and much more expensive. The construction of these inferior Gates was and remains the most ambitious, far-reaching, and expensive construction project in the Orion Spur. The Solarian Alliance shouldered most of the costs, commencing construction of the Warp Gates shortly after expanding outside of the Sol System. Thus, when NanoTrasen swept in with Bluespace, they were able to monopolize the rights to retrofit the now-defunct Warp Gates after paying off the remaining costs.
Generally reserved for military vessels or those that have the luxury of affording a Bluespace Drive. Limited by the size of any given vessel, Bluespace Drives vary in their abilities depending on their design - with only incredibly powerful ones reserved for flagships of the respective nations within the Orion Spur. They utilize a combination of compacted preprogrammed databanks referred to as “Bluespace Crystals” that empower a Drive to ‘breach' the anomalous dimension and required large amounts of power currently only capable by using phoron. Unlike their larger counterparts, Drives are considered dangerous to use independently of established “Bluespace Jump Routes”, resulting in the creation of commonly travelled routes due to their general safety - with those charting new routes often declared rather adventurous and suicidal.
Those that fail to use Bluespace Jump Routes run the risk of colliding with another object at the “breach” point when exiting the anomalous dimension, oftentimes fatal for the inhabitants of the vessel. Those who either independently charter or are contracted to charter new Jump Routes are often paid incredibly well due to the hazardous nature of their work. Currently, no megacorporation enjoys a monopoly on these Bluespace Jump Routes.
Bluespace Drives project a field around a certain distance around the ship itself, enveloping it into the anomalous dimension, and then proceeds to ‘jump' it to the plotted destination. Typical means of moving do not work within Bluespace, and a Drive is required to do so. Drives can be used to jump to any location within range, but this is incredibly dangerous and ill-advised. 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.
Bluespace Interdiction Nets
Bluespace Interdiction Nets are designed to overload Bluespace Drives, essentially forcing vessels in Bluespace to violently breach, oftentimes straining opposing Drives causing a multitude of issues that not only requires a full reset but maintenance as well if not outright rendering them inoperable. Interdiction nets are popular with pirates who use them on Bluespace Jump Routes, pillaging those they capture in their snare. Interdiction nets are easy to jury-rig and can be produced with inexpensive, modified Warpdrives, resulting in their widespread use by rather infamous groups - however, an advanced understanding of engineering and the internal complexities of warpdrives is needed to do so.
Slimes are gelatinous, jelly-like creatures known to appear in areas with Phoron deposits or odd Bluespace activity. They were first discovered by the Skrell in the aftermath of the Tri-Qyu Incident after an enormous explosion of energies that included Bluespace ones. The Skrell continue to maintain tight control on them in the Nralakk Federation, but slimes have appeared in areas such as Biesel and the Republic of Elyra near their Phoron deposits. These creatures pose a significant threat to anyone unprepared to deal with them. Scientists and Xenobiologists study slimes for their many anomalous properties and the unusual effects their cores can have. They have been seen living symbiotically with golems, who can also be created or summoned through the usage of a specific slime core. Slimes are presently incredibly difficult to work with and dangerous when they manage to escape. But researchers still believe there is some value that could be gained from them, especially if a method of reliably farming slimes was found. Due to slimes' relationship with Tri-Qyu, the Nralakk Federation is known to keep an eye on slime research facilities within the Spur, legally or otherwise.
Referred to as Golems, these humanoid beings are believed to be creatures that inhabit Bluespace - with theories regarding them existing in a different form to what is displayed outside of the anomalous dimension, their corporeal forms oftentimes exhibiting characteristics of natural resources such as wood, uranium or even gold. It is unknown why, but Golems have been observed to only materialize outside of Bluespace for approximately twenty-four hours after appearing, with attempts to track them not successful despite advances in the understanding of the dimension. They have also been discovered in close proximity to naturally occurring colonies of Slimes, for reasons unknown, but with a proposed theory of the irregular characteristics of the slimes creating pockets of “bluespace-like” areas which Golems can appear from.
Considered the most bizarre of Bluespace anomalies "artifacts" is a broad term used to refer to any anomalous items found in areas that have or have had ongoing Bluespace activity. These were first reported in the Romanovich Cloud a few years after the discovery of Phoron when the mining team of the NanoTrasen Mining Vessel Yangtze discovered a 5000-year-old pillar in an asteroid. When they brought it back with them the pillar reacted to the oxygen entering the airlock and immediately began to violently expel flames. The more of these items found the more questions they raise. Some were linked back to the known species of the spur despite being far from their homeworlds and predating their first space flights. The vast majority are of unknown origin. The field of Xenoarcheology exists to work with these artifacts and figure out what they are, what they can do, and how to harness them.