Traveling the Void in Vazdimet | World Anvil

Traveling the Void

<Have Navigations cancel the jump. We'll try again tomorrow, once he's recovered.>   This late into the jump the AI's magic reserves were bound to be severely depleted, the efforts to gather the entire ship and its crew into his spell for the jump expending the bulk of the power required for the maneuver.   <I'm sorry, Sir.> The Communications AI stood firm. <The Grand Navarch left orders not to cancel the jump for any reason once you'd given the order.> There was a pause. <And Navigations asked me to tell you to hold still. He doesn't want to leave you behind, but he can't get a lock on you if you keep pacing like that.>   "Hyperjump in one minute."   Dropping the link, Jake glanced at Lira before quickly sitting on the floor where he stood, wrapping his arms around his knees as Navigations counted down to zero.   Reality shifted.   For a moment, everything felt cold and wrong, as though she was surrounded by a swarm of frozen butterflies. For a moment, she didn’t feel real.   Then it was over, like surfacing from a dark cold lake.   Lira gasped involuntarily, taking a moment to reorient herself.   Janikk.
Hands of Destinee, Book 1: A Date with Destinee
  As technology has advanced, so too has each faction's relationship with the Void. Despite common roots in the early days of Vazdimet, travel methods vary as much as the cultures who use them. Resources, beliefs, technical capabilities and limitations, and even the personal preferences of those in power all play a role.  

History

In the wake of the War for Enlightenment came the call of the stars. The secret knowledge liberated from the confines of the Golding Library provided keys to many former technological limitations, while shifts in Portal Magic in particular pushed an incentive to reunite with formerly accessible planes, now far out of reach.  

Early Void Travel

The year 32 EVT saw the first successful flight into the Void, an uncrewed vessel sent into orbit around Fillimet before a uneventful return. The first crewed mission launched a year later, ushering in the space age of Vazdimet.   By 70 EVT, with the use of telekintic drives and cryonics, a small outpost was founded on a nearby planet. While the colony was never able to achieve self-sufficiency, it did prove the capability of technologies in reaching other potentially habitable territories. Void travel and research quickly rose to prominence, setting their sights on colonizing far off planets, reuniting the planes lost during the Great Separation, and other such lofty goals.   Life would never be the same.  

Modern Void Travel

Since then, the Sophont Species of Fillimet have spread across the universe, rediscovering new ways to use Magic and technology as they reunite with lost planes and vie for their own place of power within the stars. Necromancy has joined Portal Magic as an important magic for transportation, while Telekinesis has found new strengths and new limitations in its role as both propulsion and gravity for those within the Void.   Imperium remains the primary limitation on speed and distance traveled, determining how many Hyperjump spells a Void necromancer can cast in one day, and how long a ship must pause before re-engaging the portal drive.
 

Related Technologies
Afterlife Intelligence
Necromancy
portal drive
Portal Magic
Portal Transit System
Portal Travel
Telekinesis
telekintic drive
tyrellium crystal

Mordena Dawn Book 1: In Spite of the Inevitable

Mordena Dawn, Book 1



The past isn't the only thing that won't stay dead.




 

Technology

Void travel within Vazdimet can happen in moments, at least the perspective of a ships' passengers. Even the longest commuter trips can last as little as hours depending upon the stops made along the way. Time and distance are no longer a factor, with each crew's available magic reserves instead determine the speed of travel, with some variations depending upon the selected route and final destination.
 

Hyperjump

"The big advantage of Necromancy, though, is across distance," he continued. "The Void is infinite. And more dimensions makes it even bigger. But they also mean the distances matter less."   Kai looked up thoughtfully. "That's how we jump?"   "Exactly!" The necromancer nodded, holding out one hand again, palm up, thumb extended. "If you only had two dimensions, it would be a long trip from my thumb tip to my fingers. But add another dimension..." He folded his fingers up to touch his thumb. "No distance at all."
Hands of Destinee, Book 3: The Path of Destinee
  The most powerful of all modes of transportation, the Hyperjump spell allows travelers to arrive at their destination in mere moments, regardless of its location. At least, as far as the untrained observer is concerned.   Hyperjump-capable ships employ at least one Void necromancer, a highly specialized mage capable of elevating the entire ship and its contents - crew included - into the Afterlife before folding the mortal plane around them. The ship is then allowed to return to the mortal plane once more, in its brand new location.  

Hyperjump Limitations

The spell requires a considerable amount of Imperium, not to mention concentration. This means only Void mages are able to cast the spell solo, since it requires more magical power than one individual can safely or even conceivably hold within themselves at any given time.  
Imperium Cost
Imperium is toxic at high levels. The more powerful the mage, the higher their tolerance, but there are always limits. This means a necromancer using Hyperjump to relocate a capital ship will have to borrow additional power from the stars to cover the difference, a skill only available to Void mages.   Magic borrowed from the stars must be repaid, which sets additional limits on the casting of this spell. The most powerful Void necromancers are often able to cast the spell twice within a single day, provided they are Hyperjumping a familiar and well-disciplined capital ship of average size. Larger Hydell Order ships must use a different Void necromancer for each jump, while the Sanctorum Dreadnought requires three joint-casting with Apotheturgy per single jump.   Exceeding these limitations carries a high penalty, often leading to the death and subsequent cosmic burnout of the casting mage. Void necromancers who approach their limits are therefore required to rest for several days, allowing them the opportunity to both replenish their own Imperium and repay the Void for their borrowed magic. Anything less would risk the future capabilities of a powerful and expensive asset.  
Casting Time
"Back in the SAF, I had to be able to focus on my task no matter the distractions. Jumping a ship into or out of combat was no easy feat, and mistakes meant people got left behind."
Hands of Destinee, Book 3: The Path of Destinee
  While the travel itself is near instantaneous, Hyperjump takes time to cast. Large ships with newer Void necromancers often require hours, while a half hour is considered the gold standard for experienced mages.   Casters must meditate on the ship they wish to Hyperjump, then stretch their awareness to include everything and everyone within. This takes time and concentration, not to mention a strong sense of spacial awareness.   The selected destination must remain clear of obstacles and debris, as well, since the Hyperjump spell does not push anything aside when the ship re-emerges from the Afterlife. Emerging in an already occupied location will result in both objects occupying the same space at the same time, with often disastrous results. Necromantic Shielding is therefore critical to the protection of spacecraft, as this prevents ships and other objects from attempting to emerge in the same location.  
Necromantic Hardpoints
In addition to the use of necromantic Shielding, it is possible to block the use of the Hyperjump spell, or at least limit its range. The Sparnell Confederation maintains an extensive Necromantic Hardpoint Array throughout their territory, tying the mortal plane at each array to a specific location within the Afterlife. This limits how much the mortal plan can be folded, thus restricting ease of Hyperjump travel within Confederation space.   In this way, Hyperjump travel is limited to ships within the Sparnell Armed Forces, who must first request a jump window prior to travel. The needed array points will then be deactivated during the assigned window along the filed travel pathway. Those who miss their jump window will need to file for a new one.   Jumps from Sparnell to the edge of Confederation space require two Hyperjumps in most cases, raising the cost of travel while reducing the chance of an enemy taking advantage of the temporary window of vulnerability. Jumps within Confederation space, or from the outer reaches of Confederation space into enemy territory, only require one.  

Void Necromancers

"You can't jump the Relentless!" The protest carried a hollow ring.   "Been a while since I jumped a ship," Shane agreed, his words almost playful. He'd already won. All that remained was to provide the Relentless' Navigations AI with a graceful way out to retain some semblance of his dignity, but not enough that this would happen again. "I was always taught to hyperjump empty the first time, but we've got a full crew today. Hopefully I don't leave anyone behind. That would be... unfortunate."   "You crazy bastard..." Admiration replaced the AI's surly temperament. "I'll jump. I'll jump. You win."
    Void necromancers are highly valued for their skills and the risks they take while performing their job. As a direct result of the costs and time required for training, most Void necromancers are found within military organizations, or possess a military background. The Confederation carries the heaviest requirements, offering the spell in exchange for a fifty year Soul Oath to the Sparnell Armed Forces, thus extending their service long past the required ten year Conscription.   In the civilian sector, Void necromancers are paid extremely well and, once recognized as competent and reliable, can often demand their own salary and compensation. If one potential employer won't pay, another will. The time savings and convenience alone are worth the expense.   Courtesy of the high-concentration and high-Imperium nature of their jobs, not to mention the days required to recover afterward, Void necromancers are generally permitted to occupy themselves however they desire during their ample downtime. This extends even to those serving in the military, often earning them the reputation of lazy or egocentric.   Few would dare say this directly to a Void necromancer, of course. Particularly when serving on the same ship. The nature of the Hyperjump spell requires the casting necromancer to remember to bring each and every occupant of the ship along with the jump, and nobody wants to risk getting left behind "by accident".  

Portal Drives

Those who cannot afford or wish to avoid the use of Hyperjump rely instead on portal drives. While much cheaper, these drives are slower, and carry their own dangers.  

Portal Operation

Portal drives allow for a much lower range compared to necromancy, but with a much faster spool up time. Rather than waiting for a necromancer to meditate upon the ship and its contents, spacecraft traveling by portal merely need to select their destination, engage the drive, and go. The array of complicated calculations required for the hop are handled by the drive itself. Upon arrival, the drive is deactivated and allowed to recharge prior to jumping again.  

Portal Drive Limitations

The speed at which the drive recharges depends on the size of the drive and the craft, as well as the technology levels used in its manufacture. A ship's size is capped by the capabilities of its portal drive, meaning most portal hoppers carry a limited capacity. The Space Defense Legion is the only faction to have fully committed to large-scale portal drives capable of transporting a capital ship.  
Telekinetic Incompatability
Telekintic drives remain the most cost effective method of propulsion within The Void. The lack of moving parts reduces upkeep to mere Runework maintenance, while the Imperium required to fuel them is readily available from the ships' crew, typically those supporting Maneuvering. The spell is relatively easy to scale up, and can even be done in the field simply by making adjustments to the Runework and providing a larger Imperium pool.   But Telekinesis is not compatible with Portal Travel.   Telekinesis operates in part through the manipulation of gravity fields. These often change drastically from one side of a portal to the other, in both strength and direction, and many a space-based tragedy has occurred while attempting to traverse a portal with a Telekinesis spell active. For this reason, telekinetic drives and Telekinesis-based artificial gravity are disabled for the duration of portal transit. Shielding Magic is often extended to include the portal, as well, in an effort to prevent others from using Telekinesis to interfere with the portal, although this only provides protection on the originating side unless another entity is guarding the portal exit.  
Engine Speed
Portal drives therefore rely upon more mechanical drives in order to propel the ship forward. These drives often have moving parts and always require some form of fuel, requiring both fuel storage and fuel protections in the traveling ship, since most fuels are flammable or explosive. This is manageable for smaller ships like shuttles or high end fighters, which often also forego gravity completely in the interest of safety, instead requiring passengers and cargo to strap in and remain still for the duration of transit.   More powerful engines require more and larger moving parts, as well as more fuel. This quickly imposes limitations and challenges when attempting to scale engines for larger capital ships, a limitation only the Space Defense Legion has managed to overcome. Other capital ships may choose to install a portal drive as a backup, but these are rarely used outside of non-combat emergencies, as ships are already vulnerable when traversing a portal. An unfortunately-placed telekinetic spell could disrupt the ship's path or even interrupt the portal itself, with catastrophic results to any ships within.  

Other Features

In addition to methods of propulsion, ships in Vazdimet carry some shared requirements for additional technologies for the safety and comfort of those choosing to travel between the stars.  

Life Support

Life support remains a key requirement. Smaller ships such as long-distance portal hoppers generally carry minimal life support compared to the larger cruise ships or military capital ships, but they still maintain systems for refreshing and cycling the air within the spacecraft. Even cargo ships maintain an air supply for their crew, although in this case they may choose not to pressurize all compartments.  

Afterlife Intelligence

Depending upon the faction, some ships will include an Afterlife Intelligence or several, to augment the skills and capabilities of the living crew. AI are especially useful on longer journeys where the primary bridge crew will require shift breaks, as the AI's lack of sleep allows them to easily cover the often-vulnerable moments between shift changes, when the current crew is nearing their limits and the relieving crew is not yet up to speed on the ship's current status. Those spacecraft flying through Hydell Order space, however, will avoid this convenience, or risk running afoul of the Natural Order.  

Provisions

Most ships carry storage for provisions, including long-term emergency rations, although most only need to worry about the food required for consumption by their crew. Passenger ships will often provide snacks or a meal for their passengers, depending upon the length and duration of flight, as well as the costs of tickets.  

Shielding

Shielding Magic remains important across factions, particularly for larger ships. Not only does the magic protect against potential damage to passengers and cargo from solar radiation and other space-based threats, it also protects the ship against accidents and collisions with other ships or space debris.   Shielding is a cheap and effective protection against the many hazards of the Void.  

Docking

Each ship's docking sequences depend upon the ship itself as well as the destination planet. Busier planets often maintain a space station or several where travelers land before making their way planetside using the station's own transportation options. Other planets requite all ships to land directly planetside, or provide a shuttle capable of doing so. Larger ships will often maintain their own portal mage, casting a Portal to an officially designated location on the planet's surface.
 

Factional Variance

While the basic options available are similar for all, each faction has found their own way to apply them to suit their own needs.  

Sparnell Confederation

The Sparnell Confederation relies on Magic for everything, and space travel is no exception. Their fleets of ships are streamlined for war, and include all the magical advantages they can conjure. Their ships use Afterlife Intelligences whenever and wherever possible.   The Sparnell Armed Forces often fund exploratory missions, sending their biologists to hunt for new, potentially useful Alchemy components as their escorting battle mages analyze each world for potential colonization or exploitation.   Surprisingly, the bulk of the Confederation's attention to Void travel is focused on defense, with their Necromantic Hardpoint Array denying access to Confederation space, at least to those reliant upon the Hyperjump spell.

Mordena

In part due to their origins as a splinter group from the Confederation, the Mordena have adopted the same heavy usage of magic within their ships, taken to even further extremes. Their diverse background, due to the adoption and recruitment across the factions, have added additional variance within their ships as well.   They are flamboyant in their use of resources, including magic. Their homeworld of Janikk has provided them with a level of comfort and stability in their home base which has only encouraged their playful recklessness elsewhere, especially since their Resurrection Center is available to all, both mercenary and civilian.   Their fleets are entirely military minded, with the possible exceptions of the HMJ Ambition and Janikk Station, although they are known to freely lend their military resources to civilian pursuits within the Jannadael. They aren't known for exploration, unless contracted by a client.   The Mordena also have a healthy appreciation for Logistics, with their Void necromancers often transporting cargo directly to their fleet from Janikk Station rather than sending a portal hopper on a supply run, like most factions.

Hydell Order

Within their own territories, the Hydell Order has developed an extensive and effective Orbital Fareway System involving static portal fixtures at each system of interest. Large hooks and pulleys are sent through the portal to haul each ship to the other side, thus avoiding the requirement for regular Hyperjumps. Once a ship is sufficiently far enough through the portal, their front telekinetic engines can be safely engaged to pull them through the rest of the way. Military ships are also fully equipped for Hyperjumping in case of emergencies.   Militant Order of Descendants ships are constructed with an eye toward intimidation and subjugation. The Ascended Conclave is wealthy due to the upward flow of religious tithes and civil taxes, and they're not afraid to flaunt this fact. Many of their ships are therefore larger than practical, with no Afterlife Intelligences - although the Ordained Ascended will sometimes take on similar roles. Some of their larger military ships, most notably the Sanctorum Dreadnought, are capable of launching whole asteroids. This feature is not used often, due to the high magic cost and the stresses it places on the ship's frame, but often the mere threat is sufficient deterrent.   Civilian ships are less ostentatious, but those belonging to successful corporations are still easily recognizable as such. Success within the Order is to be flaunted openly and proudly, provided a sufficient tithe is presented to the Conclave to maintain favor. Civilian travel planetside from the Void is often accomplished through telekinetic space elevators, although some instead imitate their military, using portals directly from orbiting ships.   The Order is not known for their exploration, with most expeditions aimed instead at pursuits more in line with their holy war against Afterlife Intelligence.

Space Defense Legion

The Legion is highly practical, conserving their available Imperium through a focus on more mechanical technologies. A direct successor to the Human Defense League, rebranded after the War for Enlightenment, the Legion began its existence with the lowest access to magic of the other major factions. They turned their attention inward, with a heavy focus on infrastructure and education, until the Confederation forced a renewed focus on self defense.   As part of this pursuit, the Space Defense Legion has mastered the portal drive, allowing their capital ships transit through portals at impressive speeds. They have used this to their advantage in their war against the Confederation, harrying the defending fleets by wearing out their Void necromancers before finally portaling to their intended target, with only the smaller ships able to follow them.   The constant state of war has ensured the Legion cannot afford to overlook useful Magic without a more effective mechanical replacement. As a result, Shielding Magic and Portal Magic still feature prominently throughout Legion technology.   The Legion is also the most adventurous of all factions when it comes to space exploration. Many of their resources are spent scouting new systems for resources and knowledge, to further their own understanding of the universe and strengthen their defenses and position in the stars.

Freeholds

Void travel within The Freeholds depends upon the planet funding the expedition. Transportation between planets is common, especially now with the Freehold Coalition encouraging peace and mutual defense.   Most planets rely upon portal hoppers, although some of the wealthier planets - particularly those who managed to escape the Confederation or Order relatively unscathed - have been known to use the Hyperjump instead. Most transit, including exploration, is privately funded although they also maintain personal defense fleets, often augmented by a contract with the Mordena.

Vardan

The Vardan rely upon the resources they are able to scrape together through their travels and trades. Their neutral status allows them to couple portal drives with larger, slower ships, as any who harm a Vardan trader quickly find themselves cut off from further trade.   While some Kin, most notably the Ferrik Clan, have Hyperjump-capable Voidclaimed, these skills are labeled trade secrets and jealously guarded.
 

Pirates

The term pirate refers to anyone without a factional allegiance. These outlaws and refugees scrape by with whatever resources they can manage, regardless of legality. Exploration, trade, theft, and smuggling of goods or information are all common practices among those forced to live at the edges of legality, until they're able to find a home of their own. And since beggars can't be choosers, they'll fly anything they can find - whether or not it belongs to them.   This tends to reinforce their reputation as opportunists and outlaws, thus perpetuating their difficulty finding acceptance within the other factions. One's moral code tends to shift when grappling the ethics of sheer survival, after all.
 


Cover image: Planet Moon Solar by LoganArt

Comments

Author's Notes

Many thanks to Ademal for asking me questions to get me to finally write this all down.


Please Login in order to comment!
Jun 19, 2023 02:35 by Gabrielle Decker

Love it! Ademal is such a gem for getting your creative juices flowing. Such a great mind, both of you.

Jun 19, 2023 05:16 by Morgan Biscup

Thank you!   And yes, Ademal asked great questions. I knew the information already, but she really helped me hone in on what bits would be interesting for someone else to read. Which helped so much!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Powered by World Anvil