The Rocco II traveling at Flash Speed.
Faster Than Light technology
Flash Drive is the method of Faster Than Light travel used by most races in the Known Universe. Flash Drive works by enveloping a spaceship in a so-called flash field which is then propelled through space at faster than light speeds. It is the most common form of interstellar propulsion known and is what makes interstellar travel, commerce, warfare and exploration possible.
Types of Flash DrivesEdit
The effectiveness of Flash Drives is determined by their design and power input. To this effect, they are grouped into class designations. The higher the Class of the ship's Flash Drive, the faster and more powerful it is. At present, the Classifications are 1-9.
While nearly all Flash Drives are capable of traversing interstellar distances in a reasonable amount of time, only the most advanced backed by a suitably powerful energy source are capable of travelling between galaxies. Intergalactic Drives were first used by the Gods and their Holy Order servants, and after the Cataclysm were largely confined to the Holy Order remnant and the SENTINEL Order. Over time, the technology was gradually disseminated to other powerful states.
Interstellar Flash DrivesEdit
The earliest form known to have been developed, these Flash Drives enable transit between stars in manageable amounts of time. Drives of this type do not generally have the power to take a ship across the vast distances between galaxies. In the modern galaxy only races new to interstellar travel usually use these types of Drives though. Many of the more established races have managed to master the technology for Intergalactic Flash Drives. Interstellar Drives are typically classed 1 - 3.
Intergalactic Flash DrivesEdit
Hypedrives at Class 4 and above are powerful enough to traverse between galaxies. In numbers, the Intergalactic type Flash Drives allowed travelers to traverse a galaxy spanning over 120,000 light years in only a few hours or days, and travel between galaxies in weeks or months. the exact travel time depending on a number of factors including destination, point of origin, route, and class of Flash Drive. While most civilian ships are limited to Class 5 Flash Drives (Outlaws will commonly procure more powerful Flash Drives for their ships), military vessels of the more powerful states typically have Class 8 Flash Drives. The Peacekeeper Battle Ships belonging to SENTINEL have Class 9 Drives.
Flash Speed Travel Edit
Ships with Flash Drive operate in remarkably similar ways. Travel at flash speed requires not only a Drive to create the flash field, but a reliable navigation system and sensor array. Once a destination has been input into the nav computer and a course plotted and chosen, the Flash Drive is activated. At this point the sublight engines are disengaged and the Flash Drive engines flare up. From the perspective of those within the ship, the acceleration seems to cause the stars to stretch into a glowing tunnel of dancing light which explodes into a flash after which the stars appear to rocket past the ship. To outside observers the ship's Flashcoils light up and it seems to undergo a sudden massive burst of speed before it disappears into a twinkle in the far off distance.
As few beings are capable of processing the enormous amount of data required to move through the universe at superluminal speeds for the long duration it takes to tavel between planets and galaxies a ship's autopilot will take over once the Flash Drive is engaged. As the ship is still technically traveling in realspace albeit at impossible speeds, it is important to avoid bodies like planets, stars and black holes. For this reason reliable star maps are necessary, and even these are regularly updated by information received by the ship's sensor array. Plotting a course will usually keep a ship from contact with these bodies, but if something unexpected appears in the ship's immediate path an emergency protocol will drop it out of flash speed automatically.
The appearance of ships dropping out of flash speed resembles the jump to flash speed but in reverse. A twinkle will appear in the distance which the ship will appear to stretch out of. Aboard the ship when it nears the destination, a proximity alert will usually signal for the crew to return to their stations. The navigation system will automatically drop the ship out of flash speed at a safe distance from any spatial body at which point control of the ship is returned to the pilot.
- The Rocco II possesses a Flash Drive scavenged from a downed SENTINEL Cruiser. However, since the Rocco II's systems were not designed to work with such a high power source it is rarely used at full capacity. However, given that the Rocco II itself is far smaller than the ships such a drive would usually be moving through space, it is able to travel intergalactic distances even faster than those ships even if it's using less power.
- Space Pods are highly advanced vessels which are surprisingly capable of intergalactic travel.
- There exists a space faring guild which operates a fleet of ferries which are used to take vessels that lack intergalactic drives across great distances. According to the Watchers, the vessels used by this guild are old Holy Order ships from the Heroic Age that have been found and repurposed.- While Thrust Drives are incapable of faster than light travel, Flash Drives can ONLY travel at translight speeds. Trying to get one to go slower than light will cause a failure of the Flash Field, whereupon the vessel will be dumped to normal speed.