This page describes the general state of technology across human controlled space, for specific GHA and UEN technology and social status, see their faction pages.
Communication and data transfer
Subspace communication is possible when dealing with great distances. Both continuous and burst subspace transmission is available. When communication is initiated a “tunnel” is opened in subspace by the transmitting side. This initial burst requires high power output by the transmitting satellite. Once the tunneling signal is received by the target satellite, a two-way connection is established and data is shared.
Galaxy wide networking is made possible thanks to a system of satellites, usually one of the first things placed in a system once colonization begins. There are three layers of the faction-wide internet:
- The local, planetary and system layer, which typically is seamless or next to seamless, instant communication and lagless gaming/interaction is possible in this layer.
- A cluster wide layer, which is considered the “standard” layer for most locals – while latency dependent services like gaming are not possible and communication carries a visible lag to it, most of day to day information exchange takes place on this layer – most faction-wide services have their local servers functioning on the middle layer of each cluster. Subspace communication is the norm here, both burst and continuous. Scheduled, burst streams are typically used for mail (also that sent to a third layer relay station), updates for websites that do not use the more expensive permanent uplink and other services. Data streams are typically scheduled to run every standard hour, but it depends on the satellite used (some minor outposts see little traffic, so they send and receive data once a day). Continuous subspace links tend to be used by larger companies that provide their bandwidth for calls and other connectivity. They typically are relatively expensive and as such are restricted to either “phone” companies or bigger corporations using them to keep their databases synced at all times.
- The last layer is a faction wide network. Data is transferred by big chunks via “primary” subspace channels, typically managed by major communication stations in the hearts of clusters. Only one-way communication is possible, since the messages sent are received with several hour delays. Special communication space ships are used by the military to stay in contact with primary channels when in deep space or hostile missions.
Life Comfort and Entertainment
Movie, video game and e-book/classical book industries exist in both factions. Export via official channels is nonexistent, since the UEN effectively embargoes all trade with the GHA by very restrictive taxation and bureaucratic policies that make all trade not worth ii. A robust underground market for entertainment goods exists, with piracy being very prominent in the Border Sectors and from there, both bootleg sales and further file sharing spreading across the factional networks. While they are typically monitored by both governments, piracy is usually tolerated by both sides, the GHA does not mind the cultural exchange, while the UEN likes to keep an eye on the cultural developments of their perceived adversary.
Due to widespread use of machines, a lot of physical work no longer requires human element. The worker class has been virtually eliminated as far as manufacturing and maintenance goes, however especially on starships, physical engineering work is still valued. The specific economic systems of both factions are described in their appropriate chapters, however both enjoy a relatively high standard of living and comfort in their core colonies, while fringe life has more of a frontier feel to it. The Border Systems on the other hand tend to be the poorest, mostly due to plenty of “rogue” colonies littering the planets there.
Despite advancement sin audio and visual presentations, regular screens remain the prime source of entertainment and information. Voice and motion recondition systems are a norm utilized how much or how little one chooses, but both the GHA and UEN consider hand input the standard.
Space – ships, installations, etc.
The standard civilian space ship is typically manned by 2 – 3 people. A pilot and an engineer/navigator is a must. The third person is typically a gunner or a supplementary engineer. One person ships are used mostly by the military of both organizations and are considered impractical for anything other than short term engagements. The smallest civilian ship can typically easily carry 10 people and necessary supplies for comfortable living for more than a month. If civilians use fighter ships, they are typically part of a larger mercenary, police or pirate organization.
In general, both factions recognize the following ship classifications:
- Passenger Ships – typically referred to as “Civilian” ships, these are small and medium (usually up to 20-30 people including crew) ships that are widespread and are a common means of inter-colony transportation. Usually not equipped for long range runs and carry little to no weapon systems, some ships of this class are modified with custom weapons by mercenaries or pirates to be more destructive or able to withstand damage while making a boarding run.
- Transport Ships – medium to large (some can carry up to 1000 people or an equivalent in cargo) ships usually used to transport people or cargo across clusters. Typically accompanied by fighter class ships, but usually also carrying small to medium powered weapons on board as well.
- Fighter Ships – small to medium sized ships (usually no more than 5 people manning the ships, the bigger ship sizes forced by the power drain and ammunition storage for high caliber cannons or, in rare cases, laser systems) that are used in all combat roles. Planet police and security forces usually use 1-2 manned ships, the bigger ones are utilized in cross system operations. While both factions use a standardized fleets, in the private sector, ships of this class tend to be the most varied due to thousands of possible modifications and aftermarket parts available. This is especially prominent in the Border Colonies, where finding two ships with the same configuration is next to impossible.
- Capital Ships – A general term used to describe most medium to large ships used by the military and colonization efforts of both factions. Ships within this category can provide many functions, they can be colonization or exploration ships, large carriers that transport troops and have their own fleet of fighter ships (not used by the GHA), and large scale offensive ships used in planetary sieges. The specific ship groups that each faction uses are mentioned in their respective descriptions.
Space installations are typically made out of prefabricated blocks, carried by capital ships and assembled together on site. Most major solar systems usually have at least one communication station and each planet typically utilizes at least one orbital station, which is a transfer point for cargo and human traffic between the planets themselves and larger ships. Fringe and smaller colonies do not have such luxuries and drop ships are required to land by the bigger ships. Apart from these too, installations in space can have variety of shapes and form – due to their block like construction there is no standard for space installations and similar to Fighter ships, small and large scale modifications are possible. Once established, maintaining a space station requires a constant human presence.
Subspace is considered a separate dimension, one where faster-than-light speeds are possible. Subspace travel is made possible by literally opening up a “gateway” to subspace and traveling in a straight or slightly curved line to the destination point. Several rules are observed when planning a subspace jump:
- Small planet size or bigger obstacles leave their trace in subspace, which can be collided with.
- Ships traveling through subspace have to be shielded from “subspace particles” that otherwise tear the ship’s hull. Special shields are utilized for this but they need to be recharged between each jump (some ships utilize re-loadable power cores for the purpose of fast cross system travel)
- Subspace travel is easily detectable by sensors that are attuned to it – since a physical object in subspace literally leaves a slowly closing “rift” in subspace, special sensors can pick up those rifts and calculate the path a ship travels. Both factions utilize such sensors heavily on their borders, however they usually need to be enclosed within larger space installations due to their power drain, which means that the Border Systems and fringe colonies typically have huge holes in detection coverage, allowing piracy.
- Physical objects not shielded from subspace particles disintegrate, even if not moving.
Even the smallest ship can enter subspace, although some 1 man fighters do not use a subspace drive due to space constraints.
Weapons and Combat
On the ground, projective weapons reign supreme. Lightweight firearms range from personal pistols to assault rifles, the civilian sector typically has access to the same weapons the military does, although most colonies outlaw any fully automatic weapons for uses other then law enforcement and military. Heavy weapons include flamethrowers (they tend to be utilized during ship boarding to clear out rooms and hallways) and high explosive launcher. Heavy machine guns are sometimes implemented in both ground and on ship warfare, but they are typically outclassed by decent assault rifles, unless they are mounted stationary machine guns.
Personal laser systems are available, but not widely utilized. During assaults, they can be used to weld through doors, but not terribly practical as an anti-personnel or stationary defense weapon – explosive projectile weapons get the job done quicker.
Ground vehicles tend to favor mobility over armor capability, tank like vehicles are typically only store as garrisons of the larger colonies and not used during assaults – they tend to be prime targets for orbital and fighter ship attacks during planetary raids, hence smaller caliber, but more mobile vehicles are preferred, especially if they are dropped by drop ships onto a planet. Tank warfare was last seen during the Sigma War and is an almost forgotten art.
Ship to ship combat utilizes projectile weapons as well, fighter ships use small and medium caliber rounds, capital ships and special fighter craft use special missiles against other capital ships. One of the primary role of one man fighter ships during space engagements is the interception and destruction of such missiles and other fighter ships who carry them (ships doing that are typically called “interceptors”). Laser weapons are utilized by some bigger capital ships against other cap ships as well. These high powered guns, sometimes called siege cannons, are most useful against immobilized, or fixed rotation space stations. Since aiming with such devices requires precision (they must stay focused on one point for a prolonged amount of time to do considerable damage) they are usually not considered practical in ship to ship engagements. Lasers are popular on miner ships however.
The most common way of taking down capital ships is via damage from the inside. Most ship to ship encounters end with one of the ships withdrawing when it is unable to continue combat via a “leapfrog” subspace jump (meaning a short distance, emergency jump), however if one of the sides manages to take down a ships power core, this is not possible. Power cores typically are housed deep inside the ship’s hull, so the best way to achieve that is via direct insertion of sabotage troops into the ship. While considered a dangerous mission, if successful such an attack has a high payoff. If the ship is not captured, then it is completely destroyed, costing the opposing side a much heavier loss.
Most common diseases and aliments can be healed. Organ cloning is widely practiced by both factions and providing one can pay for it, lost limbs can be replaced with fully functional prosthesis or, in extreme cases, cloned organs.
Human cloning is banned in both factions. While the technology to achieve it would not be hard to develop at this point, any attempt to do so is considered a crime in both factions. There are rumors that some human clones exist, but no widely confirmed examples have ever been published.
Nanobot technology is used to cure most serious viral and bacterial infections, developed by the GHA the technology quickly spread (via both cultural exchange and theft before the Sigma Wars) to the UEN. The average human lifespan has been extended to around 100. Some wealthy humans who can afford organ replacement have lived to 150 and beyond, but those are very rare (and typically very eccentric) cases.
Combat injuries are treated by spot painkiller and nanobot infusions, several options from “classic” bandages to special paste are utilized to prevent blood loss from wounds once the emergency infusion is made which is typically enough to stabilize most battlefield patients. Combat medics typically need to properly interpret nanobot readings and issue orders for them in order to stabilize patients so they are typically at least somewhat tech savvy.