Unspace Holes, Nightshade, and Anastasia
As told by Mich Saginaw to Jack
When we found the Anastasia, part of the Jump drive system was a
"converter" designed by Professor Farol that "converted" regular matter
to anti-matter. It only "converted" small amounts at a time, and
reacted matter and anti-matter to form energy. This energy was
buffered by the zuchai crystals and then consumed by the jump drive.
Professor Farol found that the converter didn't always convert the
matter exactly, so he fed the result back into the converter until it
did give him what he expected. This caused fluctuations in the
power output, which is why it had to be buffered by the zuchai crystals.
Professor Farol's design had fairly large fluctuations in power
output. The large fluctuations caused rapid aging of various
components, and a high level of maintenance was required to keep it
working optimally. I modified Professor Farol's design by
converting matter at a slower rate and using multiple converters in
parallel. This reduced the power fluctuations because multiple
converts have less chance of having the same fluctuation all at the
same time. The converters still required a lot of maintenance,
but tolerances were lessened because the power fluctuations would
rarely happen at the same time. We also monitored the converters
and could take one off-line and replace it while the other converters
were handling the load.
There was still room for improvement. On Digitis, Jane Southcombe
worked out a modification to the converters that used what she called
an "un-space hole" to buffer the matter stream and provide a perfect
anti-matter match for the matter stream. It worked very well,
with an extremely smooth power output, almost too smooth...
We soon found a problem with the new design. One converter would
start sourcing an incredible amount of energy, while another would
start drawing an incredible amount. They would self-destruct once
we came out of jump. This lead to failures in the jump drive
power supply and mis-jumps. After much research and investigative
work, I developed a better understanding of the "unspace holes", and
traced our problem to how we are using them.
What's an "unspace hole" anyway? Well, we've known for a long
time about black holes. Astrophysicists tell us that black holes
crush matter and some energy escapes as X-rays and gamma rays.
They also say that not enough energy escapes, and that there must be a
"white hole" somewhere. Now and then there are rumors of "white
holes", but not enough of them to account for the missing energy.
Actually, part of a black hole is a naturally-occurring unspace
hole. That extra energy and some bits of matter are sucked out of
our universe and into "unspace". Unspace is the interstitial
space between all of the parallel universes. If there are an
infinite number of parallel universes, there has to be something that
keeps us from passing between the universes. This is
"unspace". It's not in our universe, but it's not in any other
universe, either. An "unspace hole" is then a hole in our
universe into "unspace". All that energy and matter that was
sucked out of our universe by black holes is spit out in another
universe by it's "white hole" equivalent, which again contains an
"unspace hole". The balance across all the universes is
maintained this way.
It turns out that Professor Farol's "converter" wasn't really a
converter. He had created an "unspace hole" and was putting
matter into it, and taking other particles out. Most times it was
anti-matter, but sometimes it didn't match up with what he put
in. Jane Southcombe's modifications helped greatly, stabilizing
the "unspace hole". However, the "unspace hole" was
unlinked. When two "unspace holes" are linked, whatever goes in
one hole comes out the other with out any losses. You know
exactly what type of matter or energy is going to be coming out.
When they are not linked, you're drawing the particles or energy from
"unspace" itself, and not from another "unspace hole". The
particles could be from any parallel universe, and not from the one you
had in mind.
Unlinked "unspace holes" don't like to stay unlinked. They will
spontaneously link with another unlinked "unspace hole" if the holes
are in close proximity. That's what happened with the converters
Jane Southcombe modified. Their "unspace holes" spontaneously
linked, which caused all the energy produced by one converter to be
consumed by the other, until one was at absolute zero and the other was
emitting hard radiation. Coming out of jump space caused their
"unspace holes" to become unlinked, catastrophically releasing their
energy. The new converter design goes through a step to link the
"unspace hole" with another hole in a parallel universe.
The Nightshade doesn't use a converter to create anti-matter, it draws
energy directly from a black hole. The "unspace hole" in its
power cube is linked directly to an "unspace hole" in a black
hole. We connect batteries to the power cube and charge it
up. Once it is charged up, it opens it's "unspace hole" and
extracts the energy it needs to keep the "unspace hole" open and to
power the rest of Nightshade's systems. Our stealth system is
billions of linked "unspace holes" from one side of the ship to the
other. Energy goes in one side, through "unspace", and then out
the other side. Since they are all linked, nothing is lost, and
the Nightshade disappears. The hard part is creating enough of
the holes oriented in the correct direction. The sensor array and
computer system handle that.
-- Mich Saginaw, to Jack