The process of slowing or stopping metabolic processes in living beings, allowing them to be restarted at some time in the future. Two basic forms of cryogenic suspension are available in the Imperium; hibernation and freezing. Hibernation lowers metabolic rates to minimal levels, while freezing stops them altogether.
Hibernation can be active or passive. Active hibernation involves a special container for the occupant - the chill berth. This induces and maintains the hibernation state. Passive hibernation involves the use of fast drug . This slows personal metabolism down to a ratio of approximately 60 to 1.
Freezing is always an active method of cryogenic suspension, involving the use of a cold berth. Similar to a chill berth, a cold berth can freeze and thaw occupants. These were originally developed in the 300s, and used extensively by migrants. The Long Night had left trillions in miserable conditions, and many were desperate enough to risk their lives for a chance of escape. The third-class nature of this form of passage, plus its low cost, led to the cold berth becoming known popularly as the "low berth".
The early brute-force freezing techniques have been replaced by methods which freeze through the use of gravitic modulators. Today, the cold berth is a much safer device, often standard equipment aboard starships and in medical facilities.
(BOOK-2, 1107; DIGEST-21, 1125)
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