In Solar Storms, inflatons were discovered shortly after verifying the GUT scale in the Yevatron, uniting the strong nuclear and electroweak forces into a single, electronuclear force. Probing even higher, fruits were bared quickly, the sheer power involved created an entirely new realm of physics - at the expense of the accelerator and a not insignificant volume of island and ocean in the resulting explosion.
This discovery was originally termed the inflaton itself, and though considered a bit of a misnomer, the name has stuck. They are understood to be the raw combination of spacetime fabric and matter. That is, before inflation took hold, but after the singularity of the Big Bang collapsed, there was no difference between particles and the space between them. Only a form of pseudo-space - something that could be translated as determining distance, exists. This 'false' spacetime has been called the aether, and the bulk-medium in which all known things within the rein rest.
The inflaton, then, is a complex particle containing both real and imaginary mass. It decays into a mixture that makes up all known space and energy, save for that of gravity itself, including tachyons, the lowest energy of which are actually the medium that drives the continued expansion of space. By 'pseudo-stabilizing' the particle or its decay products, it is possible to produce a continuous stream of tachyons - enough to make a signal with.
More cleverly, it responds in a very unusual fashion to gravity. By making use of a pair of large, nearby gravitational fields - such as between stars, the inflaton and certain decay products can be tightly controlled, allowing for a complete reshaping of the fabric of space. Using this as a base, in the early 23rd century, Melisse Ferlin formulated a means by which this stable configuration could actually be formed - the stargate.
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