Tachyon

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In Solar Storms, tachyons are not particles, or at least, not particles in the conventional sense. Their effects are many and varied, but there are essential difference between them and normal particles. A 'standard' particle exists for a length of time defined by its half-life, and has an approximate size - sometimes even point-like. A tachyon, on the other hand, is nonlocal - it has one or (rarely) more dimensions that have a 'half length' - they have a 50% chance of disintegrating at a certain distance traveled. Likewise, their position in time can only be made so accurate, depending on their mass (which is imaginary, and thus, they have negative mass-energy).

When initially discovered in the 22nd century, using these effects for superluminal communications seemed fraught with troubles, due to the inflaton production required (see Children Again). The dawn of the 23rd century brought exomatter and the mobius patterns. Suddenly, energy could be focussed in ways never thought possible before. Within a few short years, Ouranos Prime, the first satmet, was constructed.

Effects

When a tachyon 'fires', the specific kind of particle has a set effect, either while it remains in existence or after it decays. Notably, patterns of any sort can completely suppress tachyons within their area of influence - though wraiths and cerevates are fully capable of noticing and even analyzing them. Lesser patterns, such as infusions, can also be made to recognize tachyon signals and attacks, or even shape them.

When communicating, an effect is usually chosen based on the desired range, and such devices are called satmets. Most often the line of effect simply decays into a photon burst - meaning such a system can effectively be used as a multi-parsec radio station. Other, less instantly obvious means of communication decay into neutrons or other slow-moving particles instead.

Attacks are a bit different. Even communications attempts draw immense amounts of energy - actually focusing tachyons into an attack medium requires a truly phenomenal power source. Initially, humans used things such as megafusors and a significant portion of Sol's light and the aid of trillions of mobius patterns to destroy single starships. Current designs are directly linked to a Klein tap as part of Regalia, and could, in theory, focus enough energy to crack a planet. Of course, a tap of sufficient potency could do that anyway - but with tachyons, there is no chance of warning. The first such device, Ouranos Prime, turned an average of 40% of target ship mass into antimatter during the Jovian Massacre.

When not somehow adjusted to cover a very tight, specific range distant from the firing vessel, events that generate light always appear to originate at the point closest to the viewer. This can be a confusing phenomenon to those not aware of what is going on - see the Kennedy Station incident.

Relativity

Causality is inviolate. When sending a message instantly between two points moving at different velocities from each other, the effect is to find a common frame of reference for those two points. This doesn't reveal a common frame for the entire Universe - just the points that are communicating. Using the Lorentz and Poincare transformations in such situations merely leads one into silly places.


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