Clarke Drive

February 11, 2007

Clarke is an extremely interesting substance, commonly found in the cores of large gas giants, dying stars or the remnants of dead stars. After the lengthy extraction and refinement process, clarke can be seen as an extremely low density, gel-like solid of faint blue glow which also exhibits some strange refractive properties, however, this is definitely not the main interest in clarke. What is the main interest, is that when charged, clarke is the only substance that produces a field that can warps space-time in such a way as to cause a continuum distortion that reduces, or ‘pushes back’ the effects of relativity within the field, thus allowing speeds exceeding that of light. The space-time within the field is therefore termed ‘clarkespace’, and the field termed a ‘clarke field’. It follows then, that the stronger the continuum distortion/clarke field, the easier it is to accelerate to the speed of light and beyond and therefore the greater the speed that can be achieved. However, the increase in the strength of the field is not directly proportional to the increase in maximum speed, in fact the relationship between maximum velocity and clarke field strength is exactly the same as that of velocity and energy in normal space-time, in that the field strength required approaches infinity, and becomes infinity at a maximum-maximum speed, a new universal speed limit, of approximately 805 times the speed of light, known as the ‘clarke barrier’. However, even speeds approaching this are unfeasible due to the amount of energy required to create a strong enough field, and even at ‘slow’ speeds a very large amount of energy is required to have a useful effect meaning it is highly unlikely that this barrier will be approached any time soon.

Besides causing the continuum distortion effect, clarke fields have another extremely useful effect, much to the delight of engineers everywhere because, although one could use normal space traveling engines, thanks to clarke fields you don’t have to. This is because anything generating a clarke field behaves as if it were a ‘clarke magnet’ and attracts other ‘clarke magnets’. Therefore if you place a weak clarke field generator, A, within the field of strong clarke field generator, B, then A will experience a strong force of attraction and thus a movement toward B, B will also experience a force of attraction towards A of course, but this will be minute in comparison. To take advantage of this, ships that utilise Clarke Drive will contain a primary clarke field generator, and a much smaller, secondary clarke field generator placed behind it. Since both generators are built into the rigid structure of the ship, they cannot move towards each other and thus the force of attraction pushes the entire ship forward in the direction of the field. This would of course mean that different parts of the ship experience varying amounts time dilation, but this can be minimised to the point where it makes no real difference by having the primary, or better, both generators shaped like rings and placed on the outside of the hull. This is because in the centre of the ring, the field is uniform, but outside the ring, the field drops off rapidly.

The Clarke Drive is the preferred method of travel in the Arctannian Commonwealth because of it’s very high efficiency, in fact it is practically the only method in use in Commonwealth because the navy, as the sole manufacturer of ships uses it, and foreign-bought vessels are subject to extremely rigorous licensing. Clarke Drive is also increasing in popularity in the Tri-National Republic, but is unlikely to replace Hyperspace as the preferred and most popular drive method there in the near future.



February 10, 2007

Dom’Kryo, fourth planet from the star Zvyezda and homeplanet of the Arctannians, was not always a planet of snow and ice, according to natural historians it was once a very warm place, with an average global temperature of around 300K, but at some point in time, approximately five million years ago, a disaster of global proportions occurred that threw the planet into the permanent winter it is now. Studies carried out on samples of polar ice and rock strata, judging by the high concentration of dust, ash, and heavy elements(minute traces of which, to this day, exhibit radioactive decay), indicate that it is likely the planet suffered a collision with some massive asteroid or a small planetoid, triggering significant geological upheaval and tectonic activity, such as volcanoes. All of which contributed to the effect known as ‘Nuclear Winter’, where huge amounts of radioactive dust and ash are ejected into the high atmosphere, blocking out a large proportion of the solar light and energy, causing a global cooling effect and mass extinction. In fact, it is estimated that up 80% of all animal species, and 65% of plant species alive at the time were made extinct by the rapid climate change, and the few fossils that have survived do not posses anywhere near enough organic material to generate a reliable genetic profile. Another effect of the collision and the ensuing Nuclear Winter was a massive reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, one of the reasons for this was the mas extinction of the plant and animal life, so much of which could no longer contribute to the carbon cycle, locking it away in the rocks, sediment and what is known as fossil fuel. This effectively wrecked the green house effect which had previously kept the planet so warm.


It was also around the time of the nuclear winter that archaeologists discovered the first signs of proto-Arctannians in the equator regions, since no recent precursor species have yet to be discovered and the fossil evidence is so thin, this has lead to debate among evolutionary biologists as to whether Arctannians first developed in the equator, becoming intelligent because of the highly competitive and densely packed environment the equator became, or the more popular theory that, as indicated by the bone structure of the few examinable remains, they first developed around climes far north or south of the equator, which at the time were mild throughout the year, but where driven to the equator by cold. A very small minority of scientists, and a great deal of conspiracy theorists, think that the lack of fossil evidence, sudden emergence, similar appearance to many alien species, and the fact that the closest genetic match on the planet is only 63%, indicates that our species is actually alien to the planet of Dom’Kryo. They do not of course, present any theories as to how ‘we aliens’ got here in the first place. The first traces of what can be considered modern Arctannians appeared approximately five-hundred-thousand years ago