Technology in Gilgamesh
The technology of Gilgamesh is the technology of a pessimistic future. All of the Four Races are expert in space travel, and have been gifted technology which allows them faster-than-light travel by ancient and unknowable benefactors. However, with this single exception, most technology can be extrapolated from our own.
- With the exception of the Custodian, there is no Artificial Intelligence among any of the known races. Computers might run advanced expert systems but they cannot think for themselves. Accordingly there has been no “Singularity.”
- There is no matter transportation.
- Medicine is advanced, but not so much as to appear magical. The Teth have impressive anti-aging medication but the Seeder races, by and large, die before 120 years of age. If a limb is broken there is still a period of immobility before it may be used. Limbs cannot be vat-grown, neither can clones.
- A side-effect of Jump Technology was the discovery of artificial gravity. Most space-going vessels that carry more than ten people are fitted with artificial gravity generators though most fighters are not.
The Jump Engines are a miracle. To a civilisation without the technology they are practically magical in design, and designed by the Builders to be easy to wed to almost any other device. Out of all of the known races that use Jump technology, only the Sol humans have managed to make amendments to it. No known race is capable of developing it. Even now, with the aid of the Custodian and a number of decades to learn the techniques, Four Systems scientists are unable to completely understand how a Jump Engine works.
Jump Engines warp space around a particular object which the engine is physically attached to. The physical attachment must be significant (that is to say the engine must comprise part of the object being transported) and there is a not-insignificant power requirement to power the engine itself. Complex calculations are required to “target” the engine, and the new science of astrogation has developed in order to teach these calculations. A course cannot be plotted into a Jump Engine by someone without the right training – the results might be disastrous, though it’s true to say that in 99% of cases a bad course programmed into a Jump engine will result in nothing happening.
A Jump Engine’s “range” is not entirely linear – it appears to depend on a number of factors related to the specific gravity of objects between the source and the destination. This has led some scientists to conclude that the Jump engine works by distorting space using gravity, but this is at this time just a theory. The Jump process also robs a vessel of any of its kinetic energy – a vessel is at rest when it emerges from Jump. This is one reason why Jump is frequently only used in space, since planets rotate, and a “still” JumpShip could come into fatal contact with something moving.
A JumpShip cannot “tow” another vessel through a Jump. A capital ship with Jump capability cannot bring fighters or shuttlecraft with it when it Jumps unless those smaller vessels are stored inside it.
There is a certain amount of residual radiation remaining when a JumpShip Jumps along with distortions in local space. These distortions can be detected with the right equipment and used along with information gleaned from the radiation spoor to learn where the JumpShip has gone. In the days of the Families this was both an art and a science and there were conflicting methods discussed among astrogators who had learned methods of “Jump tracking” through experience. In more recent times the equipment to perform this task is common on JumpShips of all types, and all it takes is a moderately-skilled astrogator.
Perhaps because the Jump Engine was invented by the Builders, they never suffered scarcity. There were always enough Jump Engines to go around, whereas the races that were “gifted” Jump Engines by the Builders were only ever gifted eight. In the Four Systems these were handed out arbitrarily and the result was the Families. The Sol Unity chose a different approach, and were technologically advanced enough to make slight alterations to Jump Technology.
Jump Engines transport themselves and whatever they are attached to to some new destination. Exo-Jump facilities jump arbitrary objects to a faraway place, but they always remain in the same location. Where a Jump Engine must therefore be fitted to some space-going vessel, Exo-Jump facilities can transport a small fleet of non-Jump-capable spaceships in the blink of an eye, or – as the Sol Unity have proved on multiple occasions – Jump a planet-killer sized asteroid perilously close to an enemy target.
The Sol Unity’s exo-Jump facility is situated in the Sol system’s asteroid belt and uses asteroids both as ammunition and as raw materials to power itself.
Slugthrowers vs. beam weapons
The Four Systems races use “slugthrower” weapons almost exclusively for personal ranged combat. Beam weapons exist and are used in spaceship combat, but require too much energy to be practical for personal use. On board spaceships it is frequent to see sidearms used, and these sidearms are rated for use on board a pressurised vessel. On a planet’s surface, more powerful weapons can be used that are less likely to puncture the hull of a vessel.
There is no “standard” weapons clip design for the Four Systems. Rather, different military groups and weapons manufacturers use differing designs with all the advantages and disadvantages that this choice brings.
What Four Systems Race is Most Advanced?
In the Four Systems, the races are almost on a par but with minor differences. The Krayce were the first to develop space travel, for example, but they stagnated after discovering it and didn’t develop anything unique afterwards. The other races, though, are unique in that they have some technological edge that the other races don’t possess.
The Humans of Sol are a lot more advanced than all of the Four Systems races. Their children – the Humans of Hamak are colonists, and travelled aboard the colony ship that would become Hoboville. In theory, this colonisation technology is available to the Humans but not to the other races. It was this individual fact – a visible race who had some significant technological edge over the Teth – that started the Teth-Human war. However, the Hamak colonists have not colonised, and do not intend to colonise another world.
Among the Teth, medical science and xenobiology is far ahead of the other three races. Teth anti-aging medicine in particular is highly advanced and used for keeping famed Teth tribe leaders alive beyond their expected years. The same technology was used on Web Family members Lync Hosh and Foss Grav in exchange for Jump technology secrets, allowing them to reach well over 150 years apiece. Theories suggest they may have lasted longer but for the hedonistic lifestyles both led.
The Tarn, famously inscrutable, may have different technology that they do not show to outsiders for their own reasons, but they have allowed one example of their own brand of super-science to “leak” to the rest of the Four Systems: a communication device that operates faster than light. With it, one can communicate with someone else across enormous distance with none of the delay associated with distance. These devices, which first cropped up some fifty years ago are in extremely short supply among civilian populations, but have been used to create a communications relay inside the Four Systems, further knitting the community of worlds together.