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Tangler Setting

by Hawke published May 16, 2017 11:55 PM, last modified May 16, 2017 11:58 PM
This is information on the sub-setting "Tangler Tech" science fiction setting within the Worlds of Beru multiverse campaign setting. (c) W.A. Hawkes-Robinson, Hawke Robinson, 1988-2015.

Man kind, and other species, up until now, have been unable to find any means of speeding up space travel.

There is no Faster Than Light (FTL), Hyperspace, folding space, nor any means to beat the limitations of trying to travel at light speed, at least not on a reliably usable scale.

However, man kind, after the near destruction of earth by a natural event they couldn't prevent, " The Event[+] ", finally stopped bickering just enough to organize sufficiently and start settling at first other bodies in our solar system, and then over time spread to other systems, finally waking up and realizing how fragile remaining on one planet really was.

This is a long and tedious process. The hazards and obstacles have been very difficult to overcome.

Finally, after centuries since " The Event[+] ", humans have managed to settle a few separate solar systems.

Now that the human species is no longer at risk of annihilation from a single earth or solar event...

At first the only options for extra-solar travel were suspended sleep[+] and long slow travel at sub-light speed[+] s.

Going as fast as humanly possible, and experiencing some time distortion[+] from being closer to the speed of light, and yet still so far away.

It takes many, many, years to travel to the nearest solar systems.

For the local solar settlements[+] and the closest systems[+] , suspended sleep[+] is sufficient for travel.

Subsequent generations then used a "leap frogging" approach, after settling various moons, asteroids, and the few habitable (though difficult) planets, moving on to the next nearest system with the next generation.

In parallel, groups from earth started to create the Arc ships[+] , that were designed for multiple generations to live on board for the longer journeys.

Though these approaches seem event to their creators antiquated compared to science fiction writers, it is the only viable means realistically available.

After centuries of this slow spreading, the human race has covered only a tiny fraction of the galaxy.

Scientists back on earth finally figured out some breakthroughs, based on ideas originally speculated in the 20th century, and poorly tested in the 21st, regarding quantum entanglement[+] , controlling the manifestations of sub-atomic and atomic states between two remote locations.

This has lead to a primitive form of distant communication and teleportation technology, under the laymen slang terms of " Tangler Tech[+] ". But it is still very problematic.

Additionally there are " The Mists[+] " which some scientists think may be related, but they have almost no understanding about. All efforts to survey these strange gaseous bodies in space (and sometimes on some planets) have yielded little usable information, and led to the loss of many lives (as far as they know), since none that have entered ever return.

Where and how that entanglement will manifest is still not fully understood, and has had around a 50% chance of something going wrong (what goes wrong, keeps surprising scientists, from minor to catastrophic issues).

At this stage, a recent (this year) breakthrough now has the "error rate" around 33.3%, a significant improvement over the previous coin-toss-like error rate, but also a puzzling number for scientists, this now 66.6% success rate.

Because of this extremely high risk, it is officially forbidden by all leadership organizations to transport human beings by this means. Rarely, some critical supplies, sometimes animals (which has huge protest from some groups), medicines, etc. are used, but again rarely, since there is a high loss rate to get something through that is actually usable, sometimes hundreds of attempts must be made for enough success. The larger and more complex the item, the more difficult.

So far, the limit of distance for this method has not been found. " Transport[+] " (though scientists object to this term as being inaccurate) appears to be effectively instantaneous.

While communication is still greatly limited by the speed of light[+] . Efforts have been making progress in using this entanglement approach for communication, but the extremely high error rate makes it challenging to decipher on the receiving end. No computer system has quite worked sufficiently to solve this issue without human aide.

Some rare humans are very adapt at the pattern recognition necessary to make sense of the nearly gibberish from these communications. These humans are a very small percentage of the population, and specific testing when they are quite young, has become adept at discovering them. They are called " Pattern Workers[+] ", or more simply " Pats[+] ", and they are usually exclusively assigned to work the, layman term of " Tangler Talk[+] , communication system.Most cultures conscript them into a career as Pats[+] , while others are more encouraging rather than mandating such life-long servitude. In a way, their jobs are basically a throw back to telegraph workers in the 19th century of Earth. Some born with this skill, especially in the more controlling systems, do not like the idea of working in this limited field for the rest of their lives, and so often try to either assume false identities, or leave their systems[+] to try to work where they are less likely to be found out, many join the next Arc ship[+] under assumed names, and fake the results of their tests, so they can gain what they hope will be a life less constrained.

Some rogue groups have been using this Tangler Tech[+] illegally to achieve various goals, at extremely high risk, most have been an abject failure. These Tangler Rogues[+] are lured by the promise of great wealth if they survive and succeed in their mission, whatever that may be. People from all walks of life are recruited by shadow organizations to take a chance. Many will their earnings to loved ones instead of themselves, a lesser death benefit[+] sometimes paid by some groups for just making the attempt.

This high error rate applies to each atomic/sub-atomic particle, so the odds of someone being transported 100% without non-survivable damage are (almost) impossible.But there have been a very rare few that have actually survived, though to various degrees of cost. Some with horrific mutations, others with surprising benefits (though always significant costs associated).

In other events, one of the most distant human groups, one of the Arc ships[+] , has been starting to pick up faint signals that seem to be relevant to potentially intelligent life, but at an angle oblique to their path, and thus also not detectable by Earth or other settlements.

There is debate by that Arc about changing course to follow the signal, even though it could be decades or centuries before finding or contacting the source. This particular Arc is expected to reach its goal within the year. There is significant debate on this ship, with increasing tensions, about what to do. The current leadership thinks they should settle first, then can begin a project to double back and follow the trail as a separate project after they reach their destination.

Politics remain as always throughout human history. Factions, wars, intermittent periods of thriving and chaos, the numbers and ratio of those with plenty of power and resources to those without, and the variance in how many are in the middle, fluctuates greatly over time and location.

Different settlements follow vastly different social models, each believing they will finally figure out the ultimate human Utopian ideal for governance.

But after centuries, and hundreds of settlements[+] , and scores of Arc ships[+] , much is still the same as it has been for many thousands of years for the Human Race...