Sorcery Amongst the Stars
Named after noted scientist and philosopher, Dr. Valentinus Stygia, who first discovered the principles that would go on to underpin modern Stygian Rings. Though it would be his student Servius who would develop the first prototype Stygian Gate.
These fascinating pieces of technology enable faster than light travel by creating a portal to Between Space, an alternate dimension that mirrors our own only where the normal rules hold no meaning. and time acts differently. The fastest starships could travel the length of the Milky Way, roughly 100,000 light-years or 30, 000 parsecs, in less than an hour.
Unfortunately, know one but the highest echelon of NRE shipwrights know the interworkings of the technology. Controlling FTL travel has remained the NRE’s greatest method of control. Without it even travelling inside a system can takes weeks.
Scientists tell us that Between is a mirror dimension to our own, where planets and even entire solar systems have their own counterparts, allowing easy navigation. Except time is telescoped and space is contracted by huge magnitudes, allowing rapid travel across space.
That’s the science at least, you need only look out a viewing window to see that Between Space is not our dimension. There is space isn’t black so much as… gray, though at time even that rule is not followed. As radio signals can also travel through Between Space, it’s not uncommon for the ship to pick up rogue transmissions. Traveler superstition states that bringing an ancient radio with you can pick up the whisper of the dead. This rumors likely came from the common sight of ghost-like holograms that appear outside the ship due to the warping of light.
Despite the NRE’s assurance that Between Space is perfectly safe, any experienced FTL traveler will tell there are strange side-effects to FTL travel. Nightmares and hallucinations are the most common, and everyone knows that prolonged travel begins to make travelers listless and even result in depression. This usually isn’t a problem when traveling inter-system, but pilots navigating the inter-galactic routes, or even exploring deep space drop in an out of Between Space at twenty-four hour periods (a technique colloquially known as Waving).
Pirates, and other on-NRE crews, often talk about the 10% Rule, which states that something strange is going to happen once every ten trips. According to the 10% Rule the Waving technique only exacerbates the chance of weirdness. Still few people attempt a week long journey through Between Space more than once.
The earliest travel into Between Space always required a Gate. From Servius’ earliest room-to-room based prototype to the first Prime Gate established in orbit around Mars the general principle remains the same. Each gates establishes a connection between “normal” space and Between Space and entering is as simple as opening a door. Almost literally as entering a Stygian Gate requires physical effort, usually on the part of the pilot, simply imagine opening a two-story door made of cast iron.
However traveling two points using these method requires gate placed at both point, which had to be established in :“normal” space, the process wasn’t useful for inter-galactic travel. It wasn’t until the development of the Stygian Ring that the NRE could truly start exploring the cosmos and reconnecting humanity.
Gates are still utilised in the modern era, since Rings can’t be attached to too large ship- three dots of Size or below- and not everyone can recieve permission to equip Rings. Every major system, point of interest, and mining colony has it’s own Gate to move people and resources. And more domestic ships are equipped with Rings, of course they are closely watched for the criminal element, which isn’t you… right?
Stygian Rings are circular devices installed around a ship and connected to the hull with copper cables. Though much smaller than a Gate each ring is still impressively large as it has to be larger in radius than the ship it is connected to. The Rings utlise the same technology to stablise a Gate, only much more refined. Everytime the pilot wants to enter Between Space, energy is charged up in the Ring until it hits the required threshold, this energy is then sent directly into the hull of the ship via the cables. Since the hull acts like a faraday cage the Stygian energy safely encircles the ship in it’s entirety essentially turning the ship into a portable gate.
Using this entering and exiting Between Space is as simple as flipping a switch.
Though the interworkings of a Ring are secret, and explosively protected against tampering, Rings are built to modular. Easily connected and removed from ships so an NRE Approached Garage can perform necessary maintence. Of course not all crew can afford, or even recieve the necessary officiation to use a Stygian Ring. Which includes such byzantine rules as regular inspections and mainting at least once NRE affliated military officer on ship’s crew. To fill this black-market opportunity, pirates and rogues have learned to use high precision laser to cut the Rings without triggering the explosive fail-safes. The most famous of these black-markets is Shangri-La which is rumoured to have somehow stolen their own Stygian Gate.
Magic & Between Space
How can anyone believe the NRE propaganda, there are fucking ghosts orbitting the ship right now. They can call it “Between Space” all they want we all know the New Roman Empire has harnashed the forsaken Underworld as their cosmic highway. It’s no surprise time and space don’t work the same here, this universe isn’t underpinned by normal scientific concept, and honestly it isn’t underpinned by normal magical concepts either.
Why then does the magical community still utilise the Stygian Rings to travel. Honestly a lot of the more paranoid don’t, anyone who can circumstance the NRE’s control of FTL by magical means has a valuable reasonce on their hands, such as powerful Space mages or the Doll’s Heart Driveshaft (don’t ask) used by Changelings. However the simple truth is that these are out the reach of most even most mages; at least at first. Stygian Rings are simply more convenient, and more plentiful if you’re willing to deal with the blackmarket.