Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 15:49:28 -0800
From: "Jason T. Barnabas"
Subject: Re: Some thoughts on a Dark Imperium type TU
From: Bruce Johnson"
> Jason T. Barnabas wrote:
>> I have been following the DITU threads and have a couple of
>> thoughts and some past history to add to the discussion.
>> There are four major areas that I noted during previous
>> posts: darker ancients; dark secret organizations; mythical
>> elements and star gates. As to the first two, I have no
>> opinions or suggestions to offer.
> Wow, some nice ideas in there...definitely into the TML keeper file...
Thanks Bruce. One of the things I liked most about the JumpGates I described is that they do not violate canon. Those JumpGates have been there all along, but who does anything out beyond 1,000 A.U. where they live, huh?
Even if there were ops out that far, and even if you were in a system with 6 JumpGates in it, and even if they were all in the same plane (the one depicted in all those canon flat maps of known space so that you knew where that plane was) there would still be over 157e9 km [EDITOR: 157,000,000,000 km; about 1050 AU, or about 1/200th of a parsec - thanks Leonard!] between them. Further, even if the JumpGate was 150 meters in diameter, they would only have an apparent arc of c. 3.28312e–8 seconds. So what are the chances of accidentally finding one? Astronomical!
While I was writing my original post in this thread, I tried to figure out how you could stumble across one of these. I thought, you can't really see them, I mean they are basically something that isn't there. Oh, yes, they have a ring of matter that surrounds them, but it's smaller than a 2,000 Td ship, even if you include the empty space inside. So how are you going to find one?
As you will note, in my original post, I didn't offer any suggestions. However; since that post I have started reading Contact by Carl Sagan. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured for $0.50 (US), what have I got to loose?
Anyway, I got a copy at a local thrift store and started reading it. It is about SETI and what happens when it is successful.
I was inspired by that book with a method of finding a JumpGate. An astronomer might stumble across one while observing a star that crosses behind the JumpGate. When it reappears, they will have an idea of where the object is, but not what.
Scientists being the curious creatures that they are, they might be more fascinated by what happened than what they were originally researching. Or maybe they would just pass the data on and another scientist (or group of scientists) would follow up on it. The first and second scientist(s) might even be separated by centuries of time. You know, some brash young astrophysicist runs across a mention in a dusty old journal and decides to try to figure out what could have caused it.
Anyway, that is one method that their existence might come to light. A patron (the scientist or a scientific society or a government) could then hire the PCs to find just what is causing the phenomena. With this scenario, the PCs would know exactly where the object is located. All they have to do is go and investigate it. Or if you have PCs who like to dig into old data for possible sources of income (or reasons of their own), you could have them find the data.
Oh, don't worry, if they keep it a secret, it won't be long before someone figures out they have an edge and ask them to share. If they still won't share a MegaCorp will just follow their ship at a distance and find it for themselves. What with corporate intrigue being what it is, it won't be long until everyone knows about them.
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 17:32:51 -0700
From: Bruce Johnson
Subject: Re: Some thoughts on a Dark Imperium type TU
Jason T. Barnabas wrote:
> Thanks Bruce. One of the things I liked most about the > JumpGates I described is that they do not violate canon.
> Those JumpGates have been there all along, but who does
> anything out beyond 1,000 A.U. where they live, huh?
> So what are
> the chances of accidentally finding one? Astronomical!
Accidentally finding them would be very difficult, but >1000 AU is in the Oort cloud region. There has been some speculation in the past that that region might be useful for some sort of rare asteroid mining ops. In such systems these spaces are going to be pretty thoroughly examined with some high powered sensors. They may well pop up then.
Another scenario. The Oort cloud is where comets come from. Comets are dinokillers...if you have a society with a high enough tech level, they'll be monitored and mapped to some extent, at least as far as knowing where the major bodies are, as a matter of prudence. Again, this involves some serious sensors work that'll possibly turn the things up.
Misjumps, particularly in a TNE universe that depends on fuel for thrust, will cause stranded people to look really hard for icy bodies out there that they can use to get themselves home. This would be the likeliest scenario to run some PC's into a gate.
Of course, in the OTU, as Ancient Artifacts they'll be redzoned immediately; an appropriate cover story, such as deepspace astronomical and astrophysical work will be put out.
It even makes sense, in a way. Regular jump drives have a problem at <100 diameters. It wouldn't be at all far fetched that Imperial researchers would be playing around with stuff waaaaay out, in case it unlocks things like Jump 7 or 10. This, BTW, isn't at all ruled out by canon.
It may simply be that since thrusters don't work out there, and using HePlaR to drive in to where thrusters do work is prohibitively expensive in terms of fuel tankage, means that research into the behavior of jump drives in significantly 'flatter' areas of space is going to be quite limited, especially since the common assumption is "jump fuel = 10% of the volume per number". Jump 7+ is considered impractical anyway, since so little of the ship is left to hold everything else.
What if, waaay out there, you need less fuel to jump farther...this could be a great macguffin for a group of PC's or patrons.
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