No discussion on hyperspace can be take place without first discussing the nature of the normal universe or N-Space. For centuries it was accepted that the universe was made up of three dimensions, length, width, and depth, later many agreed that a fourth dimension of time also existed, though the veracity of its existence as dimension has always been debated. The emergence of superstring theory led theoretical physicists to consider the existence of up to seventeen dimensions. While the exact number of dimensions in normal space has never been concretely determined of agreed upon, it is universally accepted that there are at least three at a minimum with a maximum finite number N. Therefore normal space is referred to as N-space by the majority of peoples and the scientific community.
N-space is governed by the laws of quantum, inertial, and relativistic physics. These three forms of physics have determined the design of nearly every space craft and system ever built but have also created an upper limit on a ship’ performance, in particular their top speed. Relativity set an upper limit on how fast any object with mass could travel, the speed of light. It also states that the closer an object with mass comes to the speed of light the more energy it requires, with an upper limit of infinite energy required to reach light speed. Relativity and experimentation also showed that there was no way for any object to exceed the speed of light unless it always existed above light speed, like tachyons.
Prior to the big bang and the formation of the known universe(s) the universe existed as a perfect multidimensional singularity (the exact number of dimensions has never been agreed upon or determined but current theory places an upper limit of 100.) The pre-expansion singularity universe is often referred to as the S-dot or S-Space. The existence of the S-dot and the number of dimensions that made it up places the upper limit on the number of universes created after the Big Bang, and the number of dimensions that each is composed of. It is therefore theoretically possible that another universe of N-dimensions exists, but whether or not it is governed by the same physical laws and the exact nature of its make up have yet to be determined.
What is known is that at least two universes were created with the Big Bang, our universe of N-space, and the minimum of N+1 dimensional universe of hyperspace or simply N+ Space. While the two known universes of N and N+ Space are separate they are still shown to be effected by one another. The extent to which the two universes effect one another is not entirely known however it is known that gravity from both universes effects the other.
The effect of hyperspacial gravitation on N-space has never been fully determined, but is apparent as it contributes to the expansion of N-Space. The existence of some form of mass in hyperspace helps account for the mass missing from N-space not accounted for by Dark Matter. In hyperspace, the effect of N-space gravitation is more apparent as hyperspace voids form in the volumes of space in which large enough gravitational masses are present. This does not appear to be a hard and fast rule however as will be discussed later.
The exact nature of hyperspace and the physics that govern it have never been realized, though numerous theories abound. What is known is that the speed of light in hyperspace appears to be infinite and can be reached at relatively minimal power in comparison to the infinite energy required in N-space. Hyperspace is also known to have drifts and currents that flow throughout it; the composition of the hyperspace ether is unknown, as is the source of the drift flow. It is also apparent that the distance between two points in hyperspace is not the same as in N-space, though there is no accurate way in which to measure this since hyperspace is almost completely featureless. The best way to demonstrate this is to use the classic 2-D to 3-D paper model.
Before that however it is necessary to show why hyperspace is the only practical manner of Faster Than Light travel available by disproving the fallacy of transwarp drive. To illustrate this take a piece of paper and mark a point on either end of the sheet, the shortest distance between these two points is a straight line the length of the paper. To illustrate space warping roll the paper back upon itself placing the two points much closer together then they were before. The new shortest distance will still be a straight line, but by compressing space in this way the distance in between is much shorter then the unwarped two-dimensional distance.
This might seem to be a simple process, but the reality of warping space time is not so simple and while it might be easy to fold a piece of paper in half, the energy required to warp space time is far more intensive. This amount of energy must of course also be maintained throughout the use of the warp drive, and be provided by the craft using the warp drive. Experimental measurement of space-time warping around planets and stars has found that the amount of warping is minimal despite the presence of huge amounts of gravitational and nuclear forces. It is therefore inconceivable that any spacecraft could generate enough energy to warp space-time to the degree necessary to make long large FTL space travel possible.
With those insurmountable energy requirements in mind it then comes down to the realization that in order to travel faster then light one must leave N-Space altogether. In order to do that however one must cross the dimensional barrier that separates the two universes, the problem there becomes how to do so without causing permanent damage to the fabric of space-time. Just as in space warping though no ship would be able to generate enough energy to break the space-time barrier that separates the two universes, so they make no attempt to.
In this case take the paper model, and crush it up into a tight ball, this is how N-space appears to hyperspace. Now anything outside of the paper is hyperspace with the two points representing two tears into and out of hyperspace. Even though the paper is crunched up to the hyperspace observer the paper space observer still has to take the long straight line distance between the two points but the hyperspace traveler has numerous routes available. In the case where the two points are touching the distance between them in hyperspace is zero, or infinite requiring the navigator to go Around the Universe and Back Again (AUBA). The paper is not static however it is constantly shifting to the hyperspace observer, changing the hyperspatial positions of the tears.
The nature of the existence of the tears means that no energy needs to be expended on the part of the traveler to open the tears. The energy needed to open the tears was already expended long before during their initial formation during the universes expansion. There is also no need to close the tear, nor is their any risk of the tear closing on its own, the law of entropy prevents a tear from closing without massive amounts of energy pouring into it. In the paper example, energy was expended to draw the dot, and energy would need to be expended again to erase them, therefore, so long as no more energy is added or removed the tears will remain open.
Structures and Formation:
The creation of tear requires a massive amount of energy an amount of energy that cannot be generated by artificial means. During the formation and expansion of the universe billions of stars were, and still are, being formed and destroyed. As these massive celestial bodies raced through the universe they would come close to one another and as they raced past at high speeds and rotational velocities their gravitational, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces tore at each other. In some cases the two stars would start to orbit one another, but in most the momentum of the spinning stars was too great to overcome and the stars raced past each other. That expended energy, while unable to draw the stars into each other, was not wasted however and ripped at space-time itself, ripping open holes or tears in the fabric of space time. These tears became the bridges between N-space and hyperspace that are essential to FTL travel. During the formation and continued expansion of the universe uncountable tears were, and continued to be formed throughout the universe.
Tears are not the only spatial anomaly formed when stars pass by one another however. The directions the stars travel in relation to one another as well as their spin cause another phenomenon to form instead, bubbles. Bubbles are different from tears at a very fundamental level, instead of creating a bridge between the two universes they are a pocket of hyperspace. These anomalies form in cases where the passing stars do not have enough energy to tear space-time but instead fold it over onto itself creating a pocket of hyperspace within N-space. The very nature of hyperspace as an N+ dimensional universe means that while to an N-space observer they might appear separate from hyperspace they are in fact very much a part of the larger whole. If one were able to enter a bubble without bursting it they would be immediately connected to the rest of hyperspace. In cosmic terms bubbles are short lived, existing for a far shorter period of time then tears, from only a few micropulses to a period of millions of annura as opposed to tears which for all intents and purposes might exist until the end of the universe.
Bubbles are a far more common occurrence then tears, but for the longest time were not recognized as being a form of hyperspace. The amount of energy required to open a tear is so great that it is believed that only the interaction of massive stellar bodies can ever form them, though there are experiments to try and form artificial tears. For bubbles this not so, the energy required to generate even a small bubble low enough that it can be generated by artificial means. Small bubbles can even be formed inside the strong gravitational field of a planetary body, the presence of the gravitational field however destabilizes these bubbles causing them to rapidly collapse. Naturally occurring bubbles inside of planetary gravity field are often formed during electrical storms and for centuries were misunderstood, and accounted for some cases of ball lightening, ELFs, and Blue Sprites (phenomenon that occur above cloud during lightening storms).
The tears and bubbles did not stay static space however and as the universe expanded they drifted along with it. Carried along by the gravitational fields and solar winds of their companion stars the tears and bubbles drifted throughout the universe. As they drifted through the universe matter of sufficient relative velocity enter the open tears. As N-space matter slipped into the hyperspatial ether, it interacted destructively, resulting in the release of tremendous amounts of energy that began to close them. Though the tears drifted from their original positions in the universe, they did not tend to drift far from their companion stars and took up orbits around them. This proximity to the local stars however caused a great many tears to close during the great universal expansion as matter in the local star system fell into them. Most of those that survived did so by drifting into volumes of space where gravity was either extremely weak or non-existent.
Null zones exist in two forms: The first is out beyond the strong gravitational pull of a solar system and its companion satellites, or in some cases, in deep space far between planets. The others are the true gravitational null zones that were created as planets formed around their birthing stars. These null zones exist where the gravitational pull of celestial bodies come together and cancel each other out. These maintain stable orbits around their local stars and or planets. The lack of gravity in these areas make them ideal for tears and has prolonged their existence as it keeps matter from drifting through them.
Wormholes are another special case of hyperspace, and exist when two tears in hyperspace are joined together in hyperspace with no measurable separation between them. What this means in a practical sense, is that any ship entering a wormhole can travel through it, and in effect hyperspace, with no form of protection since it never actually enters hyperspace. Since hyperspace, like N-Space, is in constant flux the tears can and do eventually separate, resulting in open of two possible outcomes: First and more commonly, they revert back to normal tears forever drifting through hyperspace. The second, rarer, option allows for tears that separate over a long period of time, in universal terms, to create a tunnel of N-Space through hyperspace. A touching tear wormhole is extremely stable and will exist as long, if not longer then a normal tear would, assuming the two tears remain in contact. Tunneling wormholes weaken over time due the constant interaction between the N-space matter in the tunnel sheath and the hyperspatial ether. This results in the destabilization of the wormhole which results in not only the collapse of the wormhole but the possible closure of the two tears as well.
The number of dimensions inherent in a universe are what determine that universes physical laws. Everything that exists in the universe, , from the most basic of elemental particles to the largest and most complex star, is an N-dimensional object of mass, where N is a finite number. There are however exceptions to this rule, N- dimensional “objects”. These objects exist everywhere, have no mass and are produced by any object with mass that interacts with light, shadows. Shadows are regarded as the absence of light, and like light have no mass, and it is because of this fact that they are able to exist in N-Space.
Mass is therefore the key to how any matter, no matter how many dimensions more or less then N interacts with N-dimensional mater. It is this understanding of the mass effect that is critical to travel in hyperspace; an N+ dimensional universe. When matter of different dimensions comes into each other’s field of influence their own personal gravity will repel each other. This repulsive force inevitably reduces the energy level of the matter. When that energy level falls below the level at which the matter can continue to repel one another, the higher dimensional matter has the potential to absorb the lower dimensional. In effect, particles of mass from N-Space repel and or absorb matter from any universe of N-minus dimensions. The same can be said of hyperspace, which will absorb or repel any matter that interacts with its own matter of fewer than N+ dimensions.
Protection and Propulsion:
The value of hyperspace to beings that live in N-space should be obvious at this point, rapid, if not instantaneous, travel between star systems light-years apart. As discussed in the previous section however any N-dimensional matter that enters hyperspace is at first repelled and eventually absorbed by the hyperspatial ether, destroying it. Therefore, a means of protecting a starship that enters hyperspace had to be devised that got around the key of mass. Only massless particles, i.e. light and radiation, prove immune to destruction in hyperspace. Therefore by sheathing a craft in massless particles a ship should prove able to traverse hyperspace.
There are multiple methods by which to protect a ship from hyperspace all of them rely on sheathing the ship in massless particles, and the most readily available massless particles are in the form of EM Radiation. The earliest hyperspace explorers protected their ships by covering them with massive light emitting panels, but these light panels had to be built and integrated in such a way that they did not create interference patterns which would create “holes” in the light barrier. These holes would allow the hyperspace ether to penetrate the light shield and the consequences were often disastrous as the ether would engulf and consume the ship. Once nano-sheet became available in large enough quantities it became possible to use IR radiation as a shield by shunting waste heat into the skin of the ship so that it emitted massive amounts of IR radiation from all across the hull. In this way interference zones were not a problem but this method was impractical for covert and combat ships as it created an immediate target for enemy sensors.
The advent of EMT (Electro-Magnetic Torus) fields convinced many that an effective hyperspace shield had been developed. The opposite proved true and any ship attempting to enter hyperspace using an EMT field was destroyed due to the very nature of the field creating periodic gaps around the ship.
The true boon to hyperspace shielding came in the form of the Gravitational Deflector Field (GDF). It had long been known that gravitational waves could be used to repel the hyperspace ether but no one had been able to use them to protect a ship because of the massive power requirements and the interference zones created by the plate type GDFs used aboard capital ships. Experimentation revealed that GDF did not have to be high powered in order to protect a ship from hyperspace, but all the emitters had to be attuned to avoid the interference zones that spelt disaster to earlier light based shields. This attenuation ended up requiring massive amounts of power and in some cases additional integrated shield generators.
Propulsion in hyperspace now becomes a concern as any drive system must not interfere with the shield and must be made to be effective in N+ dimensional space. As the laws of inertial physics seem to apply within hyperspace, a standard N-Space reaction drive would seem ideal, so long as it does not interfere with the protecting field.
As discussed, when N-space matter first comes into the sphere of influence of matter within hyperspace the two repel each other. The repulsion process drains all of the N-space matter’s energy to the point where it can be captured and absorbed by the N+ dimensional matter. The amount of energy the matter initially possessed when the absorption began process dictates how much energy it will discharge in the absorption process, from a benign emission to a massive release. It is this repulsive force that keeps the majority of N-Space matter that happens upon a tear from ever even entering hyperspace. This same process results in any matter ejected from a ship to be forced back towards their emission source. This same repulsive force provides the thrust needed to maneuver about in hyperspace.
Therefore a dedicated hyperdrive need not be necessary, so long as the ship’s N-space drive does not interfere with the hyperspace shield. Reactionless drives also appear to function in hyperspace. To what degree is up for debate, as few races use reactionless drives. They appear slower in hyperspace, though true measurement of speed in currently impossible.
The question now becomes what does hyperspace look like and how does one navigate through it. The answer to the first question is simple, hyperspace is invisible to an N-Space observer but N-space is still visible through the tears. So what an observer sees is the tears, an uncountable number of tears and nothing else. Once in hyperspace every tear in the universe becomes visible. The light of nearly every star in the universe fills hyperspace with almost blinding light.
The reason for this is simple. The physiology of N-Space beings prevents them from being able to anything from a higher dimension. While hyperspace may be filled with uncounted marvels to gaze upon, they are invisible and thus hyperspace itself looks like nothing but a great absence of color.
Some objects within hyperspace are visible to an N-dimensional observer however and the nature of these objects convinces many scientists that hyperspace is only an N+1 dimensional universe. These objects appear N-dimensional but have no detectable mass, they are the shadows of matter that exists within N+1 hyperspace. Just as two-dimensional shadows in N-space are not necessarily accurate representations of an N-dimensional objects appearance, the N-dimensional mass shadows are not usable to represent the N+1 dimensional matter that produces them.
Mass shadows pose a serious hazard to navigation as has been proven by ships traveling through hyperspace crashing into something of great mass in hyperspace that destroys the ship. The crews realized that something was present because of the mass shadow, but with no idea of the light source they cannot determine the actual location of object so great care is always taken around mass shadows, big and small.
In principal navigation through hyperspace ought to be simple enough. Point one’s ship towards the tear one wishes to exit and fly towards it. The reality however is not so simple as perception problems soon arrive within the eyes and brains of N-space beings traveling through N+ hyperspace. There is no accurate way to measure distances in hyperspace, attempts to do so never yield the same results and the perspective faults generated in the brain create curious visual anomalies for the traveler.
The presence of mass shadows also effects the perception of the viewer. The masses of these objects often enough bend even N-dimensional light to a degree that will distort the apparent position of an object. A viewer can see the tear they wish to journey through straight ahead of their ship, but as they near, they might discover that the need to take a more roundabout route. This can be for a number of reasons, but is most often due to the presence of a hyperspatial mass. Other anomalies make it appear like the tear a ship is searching for is directly in front of the ship, when the reality is that is located behind another tear, gravitational lensing distorting its apparent position.
The constant state of flux induced on hyperspace by its erratic ether makes transiting through hyperspace even more difficult as it causes tears to drift. During one trip a tear can be immediately adjacent to the target tear. Drift could send it to an entirely different N+ relative position later.
The solution to this is the navigation buoys that straddle the tears transmitting their location in N-Space back into hyperspace for the traveling ship to discover and home in on. The buoys transmit coded information into hyperspace using specific radio frequencies as well as light signals to identify their positions in N-space and hyperspace. Scanners also transmit data about surrounding tears to the receiving ship in order to better aide in navigation.
Specially keyed and protected computers aboard hyperspace capable ships maintain massive data libraries on these buoys and decode their unique signatures in order to provide the crew with the navigational information for each buoy. The frequencies on which a buoy operates are tightly controlled and monitored. This is to prevent interference with or use by as yet undiscovered races and governments whose own buoys work upon similar principals.
The nature of hyperspace as N+ space makes the measurement of anything difficult and the measurement of time is no exception. The exact way in which time flux occurs in hyperspace has never been determined. It appears however that passing through particularly strong ether streams can result in even greater time fluctuations. Experimental evidence has shown that ships traveling through hyperspace experience a reverse of relativistic time dilation. They will appear to be gone in hyperspace for only a matter of pulses when to the hyperspace observer they were in hyperspace for several hects. The reverse is also true but this phenomenon is rarely seen in hyperspace and is usually only seen in N-space when encountering bubbles.
On several occasions ships have run into bubbles and disappeared, caught half in and half out of hyperspace, but did not burst the bubble. The bubble will eventually bounce the intruding craft back into N-space. While the crew may have only experienced a few centi-pulses, if they perceive any time at all, the ship may have disappear for annura to an N-space observer. These cases of lost time and long term disappearance of individuals and ships are well documented and are seen not only in deep space but inside planetary gravitational fields. Also unlike hyperspace time distortion effects, it is possible to determine the amount of time a ship will disappear inside a bubble as well as the amount of time the crew will experience. These figures can be determined based on the ship’s mass, entry velocity upon impact, strength of the local gravitational fields, and size of the bubble.