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April 8th, 2009

Description and History of Jumpspace

Hyperspace, or more commonly "jumpspace" is a parallel dimension of exotic matter states reachable using a "jump drive." Jumpspace appears to be a layered universe, the physical laws of which are inimical to matter from our universe. Unprotected lifeforms perish instantly when exposed to raw jumpspace and even the mere sight of jumpspace's unique geometry has a deleterious effect on the human psyche. Even with the protection of a starship with appropriate "storm shutters" in place the act of precipitating a vessel into jumpspace can trigger negative effects, most notably jump induced stress syndrome.

Jumpspace seems to consist of multiple "layers", each one requiring a different alignment of drive elements to reach successfully.
Pilots consider entering the "faster" levels of jumpspce to be going "deeper" into jumpspace. Only four levels of jumpspace can be reached using current levels of technology. Level One (the "shoals") was first breached in 1922, this level is effectively useless for travel purposes as it intersects our universe almost completely; superimposed as it were on what we know as the material universe. Discovery of the shoals was predicated on the construction of the Tillinghast Resonator (named for its creator, Crawford Tillinghast) which led later researchers to create the science which led to Tillinghast Resonance Drive Technology. Entering the shoals provides visual and auditory distortion up to and including hallucinations, feelings of lost time or disorientation and with prolonged exposure paranoia, schizophrenia and death; attempts to exploit  or weaponize this effect have failed as results are neither consistent or controllable. A ship achieves level one simply by activating a Tillinghast Resonator; odd visual effects and noises are often cited.

Level two of jumpspace is considered the first level of jumpspace that can be exploited by TRDT; it was this level which allowed for early Skip-Jump drive development as well as later Hop-Jump technology which opened up first the solar system and later nearby solar systems. Skip-Jumps or Micro-Jumps can be performed at this level provided a vessel has moved far enough away from major gravity wells to prevent premature jump precipitation; distance is typically measured in light seconds. Hop-Jumps or Long-Jumps allow typically jumps in one light year increments; both types of jumps require the same commitment of time as more modern jumps.

The third level of jumpspace was not discovered until the invention of what has come to be known as the One Parsec Jump Drive (J-1 Drive); this allowed for a vessel to travel anywhere between one to three parsecs in a single jump; the technology used a larger mass of exotic matter to allow the vessel to dive deeper into jumpspace. Level three is far more turbulent and dangerous than the previous two levels, requiring greater skill on the part of the ship's navigator to plot a safe path through the area.

When Harriman developed an alternate configuration for the standard jump drive core, he unwittingly allowed for drive harmonics which dig even deeper into hyperspace, resulting in the discovery of the fourth layer of jumpspace and the designation of Harriman's rig as the Two Parsec Jump Drive (J-2 Drive). Level four is even harder on both the vessel and the occupants than level three, requiring vessels to be even more diligent in maintenance and precautions before entering jump.

Speculation that other, even deeper levels exist has provided fodder for jumpspace theorists and researchers for decades; hyperspace "soundings" have detected what appears to be deeper levels, but attempts to redline a working drive to achieve deeper penetration have typically ended disastrously.

Attempts in the early 20th and 21st centuries to exploit the Tillinghast Resonator as a stealth device proved unfeasible due to the unstable nature of jumpspace. The most (in)famous of these attempts was the so-called Philadelphia Experiment by the United States Navy and its successor Project Rainbow who used a combination of VCrawford Tillinghast's early designs as well as refinements by Nikola Tesla. However the Soviet Union also toyed with hyperspace during the Cold War with far less success despite having secured Nikola Tesla's prototypes. 

Tesla was the first to posit, in conversations with certain members of the United States government, of the possibilities of hyperspace.
 His redesign of the Tillinghast Resonator resulted in the unforeseen effects experienced by the crew of the U.S.S. Eldridge during the trials. 

Sadam Hussein's purchase of an intact Tillinghast Resonator (as well as certain archaic religious texts) from the Russian Mafiya in 2000 resulted in a costly cover up to prevent an unmitigated disaster and forced many world leaders to suddenly take hyperspace research seriously. 

It was not until the discovery of exotic matter by researchers in the mid-twentieth first century that the true secrets of hyperspace emerged.
 A working Tillinghast Resonator creates short-lived particles of exotic matter which stresses the dimensional boundaries as it seeks escape. Tesla's improvements to the device forced exotic matter accretion which caused a rudimentary Exotic Matter Spheroid to form within the device. Obviously this was extremely unstable outside of modern containment systems and precipitated the Eldridge's cataclysmic plunge through hyperspace. 

The Soviet Union's Scalar Ring Hyperspace Device spun Tesla's spheroid using a magnetic field, opening a rudimentary (and incredibly unstable) stargate as it were.
 The difficulties posed by the bath of exotic radiations which resulted from activation of the Soviet device was never solved and tidal stresses tore apart any object passing through the event horizon at the wrong angle. 

No one is certain what Sadam Hussein's device would have done if activated, and no one wanted to find out. The device was destroyed in situ by American military forces and the parts were crated up and shipped to an undisclosed location in the United States.