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  1. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    Running Through Ideas For FTL Systems

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by 18-Till-I-Die, Nov 10, 2018.

    So, something I was working with, but a primary concept of the setting I'm working on is the idea that FTL travel and communications are not necessarily set in stone, or more specifically, they are in terms of the underlying “sciences” behind them but different races and different civilizations have developed different types of FTL drive and even variations within those types and sub-types based on their needs, access to resources, etc. I wanted to run this past some people to kinda put forth the ideas for a prospective setting development in hopes of both finding the possible extensions and flaws. And hey if anyone has any other ideas they want to throw out, that would help too. I also wanted to see if a genuine “mix” of FTL systems instead of having just one and nothing else would work since most series only have one like Warp Drive and EVERYONE uses it and never go beyond that. So a genuine question I would ask is, what do you think of a series which has many different, overlapping FTL systems that function in various ways.



    Anyway, one of the major types of interstellar travel in 20,000 years from now is relativistic. Basically, a wide variety and family of drives that allow near-light travel exist, some more realistic than others perhaps but they all let a ship reach a high level of relativistic speed. This includes one type, widely used by the human factions of the galaxy, which lets a ship reach ACTUAL lightspeed, so if a star or planet is like forty LY away they can reach it in forty years straight, but most are not THAT fast but still relativistic speeds. This ties into two other major plot elements: firstly FTL communications are surprisingly easy to build, as humanity discovers, and some exist naturally, like “subspace radio” which is basically a term for actual radio frequencies discovered in the future which perpetuate at “tachyonic speeds”; secondly, tachyons actually exist, a FAMILY of particles called “tachyonic” in fact which travel at different velocities (Tachyon-A and Tachyon-A* both travel at a bare minimum of fifteen times faster-than-light, while Tachyon-B particles are five times slower but more common, etc) and can be widely used. This means that even relativistic travel can be linked by FTL communications of various types so a fleet lightyears away, or a solar system separated form Earth by lightyears, can directly communicate with the “Homeworlds” in real-time. This interstellar internet means that while worlds may be separated or ships separated from one another there is no real distance. By the time most of the series is set real-time communications between star systems is considered a matter of course by literally every civilization in the galaxy, with maybe seconds of “time debt” at most, usually instant or real-time. This also ties into another type of FTL: Free Boosting.



    Free Boosters are basically teleportation technology writ large. In the (relatively) near future of the 2100s humankind develops the technology to upload minds into computers. And coupled with FTL comms, this means that minds can be transmitted over interstellar distances instantly or near instantly, and THAT is combined with being able to upload a mind into a new body (be it fully mechanical or bio-engineered or “flash cloned”) means that Free Boosting is an alternative kind of FTL: send out a ship, once it gets there it can either set up a Free Booster terminal or carry Free Boosters on-board, and this becomes a military strategy for many races. Generally, the technology only allows a specific number, and at the top end of the scale Free Booster termini allow 3000 people to “jump in” every hour due to the speed of manufacturing bodies for them. BUT if a ship is big enough, it can hold a TON of termini. The upper end of this is a “battle planetoid” which are planets converted into ships (yes I stole that idea from Lensmen, mock me as you will lol) which hold three-hundred thousand Free Booster termini that can port in three-thousand people an hour, or almost a billion people an hour. Most worlds in the Empire of Mankind have...well probably millions of termini, some single-person booths and some for many thousands, meaning with FTL comms billions or tens of billions can travel between worlds instantly.



    This is also connected to the Everlasting, a system of quasi-post-scarcity production that exists across most of the Empire of Mankind. It's complicated but it involves a combination of holographs, augmented reality and 3D printing (“flash forging”) that takes concepts like Amazon or Twitter and expands it to the point that virtual reality cybercosms with real matter now exists, meaning a person can buy something and have it instantly forged in their hand in seconds, and on like 80% of the Empire's planets this is commonplace. Those that lack it either choose to not use the Everlasting or are too far on the fringes for it to realistically reach them, but direct connection to the Everlasting is common for almost everyone. Most other interstellar capable races have similar (or better!) systems, and galactic economics are kinda built on it. Now it's not infinite or infallible, and resources are still mined and needed to supply matter for “flash forging” or energy for the planetwide AR/holographic systems. During wars, planets disconnect from the Everlasting, so the enemy can't just make weapons or robot soldiers on the fly, but neither can the Imperial Army so like I said resources are still necessary; it's not ACTUAL post-scarcity but it's as close as I figure we'll ever get even by the year 20,000 A.D. There are other races, like Mankind's ally the Aeon Empire, who are genuinely post-scarcity however.



    (Take note this, and Free Boosting, also is why people have absurd lifespans in the 21st millennium. There are realistically people upwards of 1500-2000 years old, considered “elderly”, but still hanging in there)



    Other, more “traditional” kinds of FTL include DeSynch Drives, Rifts and Free Lanes.



    DeSynch Drives, more formally called “Dimensional DeSynchronization Drives”, are a kind of FTL that allows a ship to skip back and forth between different regions of subspace (a lower plenum of spacetime also used as a means of FTL communication) and hyperspace (a higher realm where tachyons originated, made of pure energy with no natural matter) and real space, like a sine wave. This accelerates the ship faster and faster almost ad infinitum. Kind of a super-relativistic drive. The more energy you put in the faster you can go, so larger ships with more reactor cores and greater capacity for energy generation can achieve speeds upwards of ten times the speed of light. Now this requires the energy of a star, but at the far end of space ships this is some what possible, since they have multiple reactor cores which combined are like small suns. The fact this is fairly common in the galaxy, and that ships can be fucking HUGE, makes this easier than it sounds. The Citadel are an example of a race that has this technology and the hub of the civilization, the eponymous Citadel, is a mobile megastructure the size of a Dyson sphere built around a literal star and can reach ten times the speed of light; on the lower end of the scale, the average Imperial super dreadnaught is 50-75 miles in scale and has four reactors with one-half of a star's output combined and can reach five to seven times the speed of light. The biggest problem with DeSynch is that there is time debt incurred, so one day of ship-time is a week of real time. So if you're going at seven times lightspeed and traveling say five-hundred lightyears, that would take 300 years of ship-time using DeSynchronization, but would, in real space, be two-thousand years. So it's not THAT fast, and that's why other kinds of FTL are necessary.



    Rifts are naturally occurring events which CAN be produced artificially but it's not easy. Rifts are just what it sounds like, a Rift is a fancy term for a wormhole. The number in a system varies, for example, Sol has just one orbiting Mercury while another system, Ares, has FORTY. Also you have no idea where it leads to, you have to map them all out. But it's instantaneous, literally like teleportation, so when you map out enough Rifts, you can travel from one end of the Rift network to the other in minutes or hours.



    Last but not least, Free Lanes are artificial devices built by a race now extinct that used to rule the galaxy called the Priory, who it is believed directly created mankind to take their place explaining our unusually (in the series) fast development and evolution. Free Lanes are gigantic structures, basically artificial singularities, which are linked by massive jets of FTL particles like highways. Ships with special Star Sails, which have to be the size of a city, can “ride” these Free Lanes from one point to the next, and there are literally millions spread across three galaxies—the Milky Way and two of our Satellite Galaxies. Once a ship reaches the end of a Free Lane path, they can use relativistic travel or other kinds of FTL to go where they please, so these Hub Systems are extremely important, and overflowing with trade ports and colonies from thousands of races, basically imagine a system where every planet is a city-world and every moon is converted into Babylon 5 and you imagine what a Hub System looks like. Interestingly, it seems many of these systems were artificial in the first place, and expanded upon by other races, and the Priory made them specifically to be trade hubs and economic centers.

    So any thoughts appreciated, like is there a huge plot hole I missed or something, anything maybe I should add or explore more? I didn't go into precise details on some parts but I could so feel free to ask.
     
  2. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    Wow, whatever you're cooking I'd like a taste. That's is a very creative mind you have there. Faster than light travel... what if it's not travel at all. Action at a distance, free your mind from matter and energy and space. Then actually write something, that's what we're here for. I'll be looking forward to reading it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  3. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @exweedfarmer
    Oh thank you! I'm not sure what action at a distance exactly is, like telekinesis? That would be possible now that I think about it, in the setting with the way that FTL coms and drones work.
     
  4. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    The first question that springs to mind is, how does this benefit your story? Is it just a curiosity of the setting, or will parts of the plot revolve around needing to travel in a certain way, the side-effects of travelling in a certain way? You probably don't need to go into detail on the different types of travel if its role in the story is simple "get the characters to the next plot point".

    Also, what does each type of travel do better than the others? Presumably there's a reason why nobody looked at someone else's transport system and thought "that's better than ours in every way, we should copy it and abandon the old method"? Perhaps one is inefficient but nearly indetectable (great for smugglers and covert ops), one is super-fast but still risky, and another can't be used by vessels above a certain mass.
     
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  5. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    These are well -thought out options for your future world. Go for it, write the story!
     
  6. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    Good advice here. "How does it relate to the story?" is the big question.

    As for action at a distance, it's something that has been kicking around for more than a hundred years and is very like quantum physics in one particular regard, that being, that I don't really understand it.
     
  7. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    I wanted to come up with a kind of detailed continuity, keep everything in line, so suddenly plot hole s don't just pop up (like suddenly DeSynch becomes a WMD because no one ever thought to use it as a battering ram before...*coughlastjedicough*) so yeah I kinda tend to sit and plot out backstory, technologies stuff like that. I kinda also like to explore the logical end results of any technology I introduce, like thelogical extremes, so that it doesn't seem like some weird "why don't they do that?" head scratcher. That and I'm an obsessive compulsive so making sure continuity is tight is like a fetish for me lol :D

    And yeah every time of interstellar travel is VERY different and do very different thinks. Relativistic travel is, honestly, the safest and easiest, just get a ship going fast enough and bang you're done. The problem is it takes literally forever. DeSynch has a WIDE array of problems, and if misused it can cause time disruptions, time travel and ships getting lost in different universes or disappearing forever. I make no excuses, I kinds stole the idea from the Warp in Warhammer 40K. I read those books like the Bible so it had a massive influence. Free Lanes and Rifts are easily the fastest and safest, easily, but they're also fixed in place and in the case of Free Lanes they can't be replicated so you either have a Free Lane or you don't. We can replicate Rifts, but it's difficult, so it's rare and even thousands and thousands of years in the future Mankind has yet to perfect it the way other races like the Aeon Empire and the Nerr Federation have. Free Boosting is LITERALLY instantaneous, but you have to have three major things (Free Booster termini, access to a planet or system, and extra cone or bio-mechanical bodies available). So you have to get to a planet first, set up the termini, and then you can basically teleport people there instantly. Or more precisely, you can send their mind there and then upload it into a new body.

    The last one actually has a huge impact on military stuff, since once you land on a planet you can get a Free Booster terminus set up and then teleport down thousands and thousands of soldiers per hour, but you still have to get there first. Virtually all races use some variation of DeSynch drives, but there are variants with different names even among the Empire of Mankind, but at the end of the day they're essentially DeSynch still; every other race uses either relativistic drives, Rifts and Free Lanes.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    It’s “entanglement.” Problem is, you can’t use it to send information.
     
  9. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    You mean we can't NOW but in 20,000 years surely the method will be invented and put to practice :D

    Seriously, dude (OP), there's a lot of arbitrary stuff in that otherwise interesting technology so there's no way to find actual faults with it. Maybe it looks unworkable in today's terms but in the future it may just as well be invented. So you're fine. It's very detailed and that's impressive. It sounds convincing the way you describe it (suspended disbelief, of course). There are no obvious glaring holes (besides everything being arbitrary and completely random). Things like that work excellent in gaming. For a book, you'll need other stuff, stories and character and the lot. If you have spare time away from creating hi-tech, maybe take a moment to think of that, too. No rush ;)
     
  10. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    This is a really cool thread and I have been playing with the ideas for years but even in my head I can't make the science work so I never wrote a story around it (until now anyway) but I think my opinion might be of some value to the OP so, and this is only MY opinion: Nobody in the science fiction reading public really cares about the science. They come for the adventure.

    Ochams Razor: The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
    Make the science simple enough for YOU to understand and the reader will be able to follow along. It doesn't have to be true, this is science FICTION!
     
  11. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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  12. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    I din't read all the post of this thread, so ignore my comment if someones has correct this conceptual error of yours about relativistic travel.

    You've forgotten that when you travel at some faction of the speed of light. Not only Time but always SPACE suffers a reduction.
    That is, the distance in the direction of the ship is lesser than in non-relativistic speed.

    That means that when you travel from A to B at the speed of light, the space distance that you see betweeen A and B is ZERO.

    I've Just wanted to say that.
     
  13. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @Artifacts
    I don't understand, more specifically I never heard this before, could you expand on that? Like, would that effectively be teleportation?
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    No, because from an outside frame of reference (an observer) it would still take you about a year to travel a lightyear. From your frame of reference within the vessel, it would seem shorter however.
     
  15. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @Steerspike @Artifacs

    Oh! Well, that's what I suspected, so yeah from OUTSIDE it would still take forty years. That's literally what I meant, lol sorry if I was unclear. That's what I meant when I said "time debt". My idea was that, at FTL, it would be kinda like a week on the ship would be a year IRL due to the convoluted nature of how Dimensional DeSynchronization works.
     
  16. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @Lew
    Oh, thank you! Believe me I've been working on it.
     
  17. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    Yes, a weird teleportation indeed. There's no way a crew in a ship traveling at the speed of light can really know WHERE to stop. There's no difference for them to go from here (Earth) to Alfa Centauri or to the end of the Universe. They have to be stopped from the outside the ship somehow.
    ETA: I forgot to expand it, Sorry.
    The Lorentz's Contraction acts upon Time and Lenght.
    You can travel any distant spending any arbitrary LOCAL (the ship) time when the ship gets closer and closer to the light speed. I mean, a ship can go to the far end of the Galaxy in two shiptime-seconds as long the ship is traveling closer enough to the speed of light.
    Of course, when the ship REACHES the speed of light, the time in the ship FROZES, so the distance to everywhere is ZERO. This has no much sense in a local reference system but either does reaching the speed of light anyway.
    Also two ships traveling from A to B in different directions at the speed of light, they both would find that their relative speed is still the speed of light ( not two times the speed of light). A's ship would see B's see approaching at the speed of light as if A's ship were, in fact, not moving at all.
    The thing is, is you want a ship to travel at the speed of light, you need something OUT the ship to stop it. Navigation has no meaning since the ship is at the same distance of everything.
    I don't know if I made it clear. Hope it helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
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  18. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @Artifacs
    I imagined it more like, almost a catapult? The idea was kinda, it shrouds a ship in this exotic energy (something I made up called Delta Energy) that kinda foregoes the "infinite mass" problem with true lightspeed travel, and flings them in a set direction. As they go this energy, this "caul", begins to break down and they slow down until they're just going relativistic again and drift into the system. But the initial "jump" is at lightspeed, so a forty lightyear jump, for us, seems like forty years and the crew is under cryonic suspension so they don't experience it at all. In a sense it's like a bullet, the caul of Delta Energy is like a shell casing that falls away, but eventually the bullet no matter how fast slows down again and stops. This Delta Catapult is basically used for mass transit in systems where relativistic travel is a necessity so you can stand on a planet and see hundreds of thousands firing off on an hourly basis...

    Yes I know that's an overly long explanation lol
    TLDR: I figured this from the start
     
  19. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    Yes, we'd see the ship takes 40 years to reach its destiny but the ship clock is different, the crew doesn't really need cryogenic suspension. A 40 light years travel at the speed of light takes 0 seconds to complete in the ship clock. So it does a travel of 10000 light years. That's the point. Also, if that Delta energy travels with the ship, it won't work. It can't slow down the ship from the speed of light. A ship traveling at the speed of light can't stop by itself. A futuristic brake can't work if it's frozen in time.
    The catapult you're talking about has to aim at something else to stop the ship. A Force Field or something.
     
  20. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @Artifacs
    The way I kinda imagined it was, not literally like it "stops". It basically creates a kind of shell of Delta Energy (or "caul") and inside this is normal space but to the rest of the universe the ship becomes a laser beam, and as it goes this starts to wear down and instead of stopping it slows, until it goes from lightspeed to like 99% of lightspeed or less and they drift into a system at relativistic speed.
     
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  21. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    In my sci-fi world, mankind used many documented black holes to travel through an alternate dimension to different documented exits within that dimension to effectively get to another galaxy without millions of years passing. Although there was a huge risk in doing so, the cosmic horrors inside the dimension would attempt to break into your ship and fry the crew alive.

    I think using space that time does not exist in is probably going to be the most efficient form of travel in the universe. Because if you traveled to the Andromeda Galaxy at the speed of light, while it would feel almost instantaneous for you; 2 million years will have passed in the universe. Your friends, family and loved ones will be dead, civilization may have ended or moved on by then and you'd reemerge in a changed world. At least, that's my understanding of the time dilation effect of traveling at the speed of light, if I'm wrong then please correct me on the matter.
     
  22. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @LordWarGod
    Exactly, that's kinda what I was saying about how relativistic or lightspeed travel is the easiest and safest (just get going and don't stop till you get there or near there) but it's HIGHLY impractical, so basically either entire families go on these journeys or you kiss your past goodbye.

    The whole "charting other universes" thing is a great idea btw, it's been done a lot in Warhammer 40,000 but it really works if you want to go into some of the more philosophical stuff. Like, in WH40K they basically explain and explicitly state that God exists. Period. End of the argument, He exists and lots of OTHER deities too, and they're not remotely as kind as He is (and in 40K He's not as forgiving as He used to be either, kinda "rebooting" Himself as the God Emperor of Mankind) so it opens up a huge thing for, like, atheists--because basically in the WH40K world they're like Flat Earthers, since we now have scientific evidence of God(s) and an actual scientific explanation for their being. It's interesting to consider and the setting kinda goes into that, in that EVERY race that has found this out.
     
  23. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Cool stuff, I've heard of Warhammer before. I had five powerful Dark Gods in my world that came from this alternate dimension and sent their legions of cosmic horrors into the universe to bring the Apocalypse and the eventual death of the universe via entropy as they swarmed every corner of space, suffocating life. When the Dark Gods were killing the universe, they gained so much power that they for a split nanosecond become omnipotent and instantly took over the universe, wiping away the last of the mortal resistance against the demons.

    Then the Dark Gods merged together to form a supreme omnipotent being, since there can't be more than one omnipotent in existence. This supreme being created a new era of peace and prosperity with a new universe of his own with his own creations.

    So the chunk of my story is set in the period where the humans are roughly year 5000 into the Great War that's been raging across the universe and that's when the Apocalypse happens. It's quite a horrifying world that I wouldn't want to live in. A lot of political drama and conspiracies, war, rape, murder, cannibalism, torture, genocide and so on.
     
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  24. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    Then, If I'm correct, I understand that the Delta Energy does create a particular "cauled" space which isn't moving at all and what it's actually "moving" (attracting, in fact) is the space in front of the ship in order to drive the ship to the speed of light. Since the Delta Energy isn't moving in relation to this particular space, it can slow down the ship from 1 to 0.99. That might work. The ship still experiences the relativistic effects, of course but the Delta Energy stills needs to be inifinite to be able to do that. If you manage to bypass the second law somehow, you'll have a plausible speedlight travel system after taking care of the details.
    ETA: Sorry, Forget the second Law, my mistake, the Delta Energy doesn't need to be infinite since it is not the ship whats moving. It's just bendind the space in front of the ship. It just needs enough energy ( which is the same as mass) to bend the space enough to make the ship accelerate until the speed of light.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  25. 18-Till-I-Die

    18-Till-I-Die Banned

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    @Artifacs
    Yeah that's literally it, in fact it's based on some actual theoretical form of interstellar travel I read about, they basically said THAT like that sentence in the article. I forget the name but i believe it had to do with dark energy...I kinda strapped "Delta Energy" on there as an easier way to explain how they mass produced these things. It also said that it could, theoretically, allow for FTL travel so I had a more advanced version used by a race called the Nerr Federation which requires set points to launch from (Delta Relays) but basically fired them off faster so the ship was going at FTL, which again was also mentioned in the article as a kind of "we can't do it now but it works" idea for the future. Fuck I wish I could remember the name of the site I read that on...it's kinda lost to the ether of my memories but yeah it was almost using the same words you did in that sentence lol

    @LordWarGod
    Yeah I kinda put something similar into what I was writing. One of the big ideas in the back ground is that--and this is delving into Christian beliefs but I'm rather religious, so it informs a lot of what I write in--the idea in the back ground is that when God ("The Light Almighty") said let there be light and created the universe, the darkness that predated it, that predated Him (called "The Night Everlasting") was pissed because God basically used His corpse to make our reality. So now He wants to take The Light Almighty's universe and conquer it almost out of spite. So He has slowly built up a cult over eons, called the Watchers of the Dark, who want to bring about this new, eternal night where The Night Everlasting will rule the universe. From OUR point of view this is some unknowable twin deities fighting it out for the universe but really, if I described it sarcastically, it's our foster dad (The Light) in an argument with our actual father (The Night) over who gets custody of Creation.
     

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