Tag Archive | Hypershards

Gods of Terra | Lethal Emissions: Anti-Hypershard Countermeasures


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Gods of Terra as a setting is more of a cycle than a saga, as far as fiction goes. The stories taking place in it are only loosely connected, and one need not think that any particular story ‘really’ happened as part of any ‘official’ narrative or metaplot. In this sense, the setting is sort of a backdrop of a mythology, a mythology of the far future in a universe of powerful, threatening, and often horrific alien forces.

One element of that setting is a species of humanity, newly evolved, only now establishing their place in the universe, the Wavetouched, the Children of the Galactic Ripple.

After the one of the Wavetouched, the Mirus, escaped servitude at the hands of the Kai’Siri, he revealed to the Local Galaxy the nature, and a crude understanding of the physics, of hypershards, ancient relics of tremendous power. This allowed effective countermeasures to be developed for the technology. They’ve prevented the success of radicalized Wavetouched with these devices seeking to supplant or dominate the majority population of baseline humans through violent revolution or terror.

Hypershards are alien technology, sort of like cybernetic brain implants, originally created by a now-dead civilization, and exist mostly in the fourth and higher dimensions of eleven-dimensional spacetime.

Hypershards exploit features of certain interpretations of Superstring theory, and are composed of hyperspatial matter. They’re created, or rather, grown, to generate powerful effects mimicking supernormal abilities by curling and uncurling, folding and unfolding their constituent spacetime dimensions.

This process alters local spacetime geometries, momentarily adjusting physical laws and constants and  exploiting loopholes in those same laws and constants. All of this is done, however, in complete obedience to fundamental conservation laws observed in all Worlds across the multiverse.

They bend, and sometimes fold, spindle, twist, or mutilate, rather than break, physical laws.

They have a real but tenuous existence in the first three dimensions of spacetime, and thus are nearly intangible to ordinary matter, but not quite. They interact slightly on the electromagnetic spectrum in these three dimensions. When functions are active, these implants radiate brightly in the terahertz band, non-ionizing radiation in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared.

This near-ghostly existence in three-dimensional space lets them pass with minimal resistance through the skull and brain of those implanted with them. They lock into position once in place by low-energy electrical fields generated at contact points on the device that link them to specific brain regions, from which they receive commands for their functions.

An active hypershard radiates strongly in the terahertz band, and they are easily detectable by technology picking up this band. Thus they may be tracked by the conventional technology of the setting.

Understanding of the basic hypershard technology using even badly reverse-engineered knockoffs has allowed the development of a sort of cloaking device. This permits hiding from the extended sensory functions of a hypershard, the extension of the user’s perceptions into higher dimensions of spacetime. This means that any such augmented Wavetouched is now limited to their basic perceptions as defined by their senses and unaugmented central nervous system, and gains no sensory advantages over baseline humans.

The technology is limited from a combination of the energy needs of the system and current engineering constraints. But it is effective, and used for special operations teams in anti-insurgent actions involving rogue Wavetouched. As standard operating procedure, this is combined with terahertz-wavelength tracking and targeting systems.

So hypershards have their uses. As weapons they are unparalleled, but they may be tracked and blinded. So their users can be thus vulnerable to conventional weapons that evade their own detection and tactical systems, while rendering them obvious targets for sensors operated by the squads equiped to handle them.

Wavetouched can be powerful, but they are hardly invincible. That’s a lesson to us all, especially the mighty.

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Future Fluff: Hypershards and their Functions, Part II


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(Image: A Health Blog/Flickr)

 

Last post in this series, I gave an overview of what hypershards are capable of, at least from the examples of some of the Gods of Terra setting’s iconic characters, the Fractus, the Mirus, the Magna, and the Tempest.

But I also mentioned that their ‘supernormal powers’ were secondary to their original function as communications devices by some ancient, inscrutable design. I’ll get to that in this post, and then, I want to discuss the better-known abilities that these relics grant to their users, to aid in writing them up, doing the number-crunching, for roleplaying rules.

Three of these devices have been refitted by the Kai’Siri race of humanity, co-opted to cause extinction-level events, though of course physically blowing planets up is beyond their repeatable operating limits, and these relics are unique and priceless. They are referred to from here on as the Kai’Siric Hypershards.

The fundamental communication function involves the relic’s tapping into whatever passes for the language-centers of a being’s brain, copying for the ‘shard’s use whatever languages that being knows and storing these, to be accessible to the user when needed, and simulating that language exactly and clearly in whatever form is required to convey meaning idiomatically; auditory, visual, olfactory, etc, etc, by a member of the target species.

Sometimes this involves the generation of scents for smell-based languages, holograms and other imagery for visually-oriented beings, even using simulated gestures for non-humanoid forms of sign-based language, and of course, auditory speech, even that based on non-human vocal equipment, perhaps using musical notes or stranger things yet for speech.

This is the closest in the Gods of Terra setting to a universal translator, though sometimes even it cannot bridge a communication gap with species so alien, say, without a recognizable intelligence or anything we would call one. This problem also applies to beings so far above us in intelligence that meaningful dialogue is impossible. Even hypershards cannot bridge such radical cognitive and conceptual gaps in communication.

Communications are further transmitted, spoken, beamcast, broadcast, etc, by a variety of media, like neutrino, maser, and variations in local electrical potential, for the more unusual ones. These relics can both transmit and receive in a variety of spectra and bandwidths, and this leads up to another near-universality for hypershards, their use as sensory instrumentation, on the very same exotic channels they use to communicate…

Hypershards have the curious property of existing in eleven spacetime dimensions, and this existence gives them very powerful means of extending the senses of the host beyond the usual three. Wavetouched have the most suitable brain-architecture for this use by an accident of evolution and of course, a little trans-temporal peeking into the current era of humanity by the King of Shards.

Normal human brains can become quickly overwhelmed by the neural feedback caused by perceiving in more than three dimensions, and Wavetouched brains have structures, most of these in the temporal and occipital lobes, but some in the frontal lobes and limbic system, that mesh well with the interface points of the ‘shards in their brains, allowing them to more effectively screen out stimulation, and focus on what they need to notice.

This appears to the ‘shard’s host to be a sort of diagram or overlay onto the visual field, a sort of virtual Heads Up Display, of whatever sensory modality is appropriate and most useful at the time. The overlay allows optionally blocking out excess data that may be distracting, or in some cases, maddening to a human. This gives Wavetouched a sort of augmented reality, as tags, labels, menus, and various indicator signs of whatever languages are known can be superimposed over the sensory field at will, even for non-visual data.

What about other “standardized” abilities of the four Gods of Terra?

For the three Kai’Siric ‘shards, there are settings initially tweaked in each device to allow powerful life-saving medical functions, and a glitch in this at one point has resulted in the Magna being “gifted” with an extra pair of fully functional arms after an incident early in her career in the extinction-level event industry, an incident that nearly killed her during a mission. It wasn’t just life-saving, but life-altering as well. She sees herself variously as a goddess or a monster, either presiding over death and destruction.

The Mirus and Fractus have so far been relatively unchanged by any such malfunctions, though the Mirus was nearly killed in his first encounter with Dasaelos Gurao, and to save him, his hypershard was forced to reboot and reset its weaponry and combat functions to something less frightening—but he doesn’t need anyone finding out about that, though, as that would adversely impact his fearsome reputation!

Another function is the use of the Kurtz-Dunar effect for both protection and life support via the probability field the shard generates, and the use of the same effect to ride a gravity well, effectively a form of personal flight without apparent support or use of a vehicle. This works in microgravity too, since gravity exists everywhere in the universe, even without apparent weight in space. These uses result from Kai’Siri reprogramming of the relics.

As for the Tempest, her shard, given to her by her patron, It who Scratches at the Gates, is more “pure” in its functions, and allows personal, non-vehicular travel by teleporting anywhere and anywhen in spacetime, and also to and through nearly any reality in the multiverse. She, like the Mirus, retains the communicative function which the Fractus and the Magna lack, and this serves her well on her travels.

Her spacetime travel permits her to carry objects or people with her if she wishes, and she need not touch them to do it, though they must be within a distance of six meters of her. Anything only partly within this radius is simply unaffected; she cannot slice people or things up by accident or as a form of attack. The Tempest retains the sensory enhancement of a typical hypershard, and her patron has also adjusted the coding to allow similar medical and life support functions as the Kai’Siric ’shards, but no flight.

Finally, the Mirus has a nasty twist to his ‘shard; it has a predatory side that emerges when he expends a lot of its energy in too short a time, and that makes it hungry and want to quickly refuel by devouring nearby matter, usually choosing whomever the Mirus is fighting, and using direct mass-to-energy conversion to do this, storing the fuel in a unique pocket universe accessible only by that ‘shard, and tapping it as needed.

Most other ‘shards, Kai’Siric as well as ordinary, and the Tempest’s as well, tap energy by randomly scanning for and selecting a suitable young universe upon first booting up, linking up to it, and accessing it to fuel their Myria, as their “powers” are also known. This ability was uniquely lost to the Mirus’s ‘shard after his first battle with Dasaelos and the relic’s first reboot.

Further, when the Mirus’s ‘shard decides that it’s hungry, its intelligence merges with his more compassionate human personality into a darker persona calling itself the Magnus, who possesses an entirely different set of combat capabilities.

More on that in a future post.

When I came up with the Mirus as a character, I wanted to make him more than just a comic book character with “mad sooper-powerz” who vanquishes his opponents in a quick blaze of pyrotechnic glory.

He’s a rationalist, but with a dark, terrible past as a killer of worlds, and his own darker alter ego. I wanted him to be able to talk to people, to reason with them in ways they can understand no matter the species or culture, not just kill them.

But his past isn’t going to go away. It’s why he terrifies people still, on every world he visits.

Future Fluff: Hypershards and their Functions, Part I


Table of properties of n+m-dimensional spacetimes.

Table of properties of n+m-dimensional spacetimes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In fiction I’ve posted, I’ve written about eons-old alien relics called hypershards, and there’s been some show of what they are capable of in the Gods of Terra setting from those. I’ve written on this artifact elsewhere, but given little information as to their various functions, purpose, and limits. It’s time here to shine a little more light on them as technology derived from an ancient but still advanced higher-order alien science.

First, what are they made of?

All hypershards are crafted of a material that extends into more than just the usual four dimensions of spacetime. It exists mostly within those extra dimensions and is only more loosely associated with the basic three we use to measure spatial coordinates.

Think of them as made of quasi-solidified hyperspace, partly extruded into our space-time, the bulk of its mass existing in seven other dimensions, giving it ghostlike transparency and near-intangibility, and a very strange appearance to merely 3D creatures’ senses as it rotates with an observer’s shift of perpective. It usually requires technology employing Kurtz-Dunar field generators to physically handle a hypershard. Bare hands tend to pass right through them with a little resistance and a slight tingling sensation.

Hypershards are brain implants. The quasi-matter they are made of can without significant displacement coexist with the much more solid and fluid matter of a conventional organism’s body, including the brain, where contact points on the shard can link with particular areas of the brains of sapient species, locking it into place once there. Some other such artifacts have shown compatible with the brains of some non-hominoid species, like the conservative pseudo-reptiles the Rj’lt’ar and the rapacious pack-driven Dalazinattu.

For artifacts billions of years old, they seem remarkably well-designed for contemporary forms of intelligent life. Odd thing, that.

A hypershard may also be regarded as a very strange sort of symbiotic pseudo-life, as they are capable of growing and reproducing, fully subject to the laws of evolutionary natural selection. This where things get really weird. At least one hypershard, the Mirus’s, can get hungry, and sometimes it feeds, drawing upon nearby matter  as fuel when on a binge. Hypershards, most of them, are powered by randomly selecting and tapping the energies of infant universes filled with young or newly-forming stars.

When an adult of any species with a hypershard in its brain sires offspring, the ‘shard generates an odd quantum entity called a hyperseed, potentially a functional hypershard with all of its spatial dimensions curled up, folded so minutely as to render the whole thing smaller than an atomic nucleus.

The hyperseed is then relayed to the reproductive tissues of the host, and like any other quantum object its exact location along with momentum is a matter of statistical probability. It is potentially within every gamete at once, until any given sperm fertilizes any particular egg and the hyperseed’s wavefunction collapses, locating it within the newly developing embryo. It then slowly uncurls its spacetime dimensions, ‘blooming’ into a full hypershard as the embryo grows in the womb, from birth and throughout childhood. It grows as the host’s brain grows until fully developed in young adulthood.

Yes, any theoretical physicists reading this, do feel free to call shenanigans on that one. I suspect that’s not really accurate.

Adolescence is when the hypershard ‘comes online’ in a process known as ‘Prodigy,’ a sort of initial state with some very strange effects on ordinary human brains. Then, the contact points of a hypershard link with the brain architecture and become active. This results in an influx of strange perceptions and cognitive feedback, as the subject experiences its senses extending into more than three spatial dimensions and tries to make sense of them.

In ordinary humans, this can be catastrophic, and the subject can go mad. This is a function of brain architecture, and very few humans have the neuroanatomy to safely and effectively use a ‘shard without severe psychological consequences.

Wavetouched, a human daughter species, have brains particularly well-suited to these relics. This is also odd, and may seem to imply extraordinary foresight by the relics’ builders. Or maybe not.

Prodigy is also the point in time that the other functions of a hypershard initialize, and these are different for each individual. They often seem like remarkable powers and abilities not natural for most sapient beings, but are simply the use of the artifact’s reconfiguring adaptive hardware, the functions and arrangement determined by the relic’s modular, self-organizing software, that in turn written in code that was invented before the rise of multicellular life on Terra.

But what are some of these functions? Let’s take a look at the first four iconic Wavetouched; the Fractus, the Mirus, the Magna, and the Tempest.

The Fractus’ hypershard had as initial capabilities the capacity to irradiate planets, poisoning the sky, ground, and seas and killing even the hardiest forms of life.

Why not just blow the planet up?

Because the shards are not capable of releasing that much energy at once without destroying the host as well, making it a very expensive, very rare, one-shot weapon, and because the planet may be needed for future use, as a strategic outpost following Kurtz-Dunar decontamination procedures.

The Fractus’ hypershard was partly damaged upon implantation, but his talent and skill as a hacker allowed him to rewrite the shard’s code, enabling control over even potential functions that had been initially denied him, for obvious reasons, like the safety of his masters.He can jiggle tiny pockets of quantum vacuum in just the right way, setting in motion a chain of effects that with very little energy results in the birth of a new universe. Also, he has reconfigured his ‘shard’s software to let him personally select the physical laws and constants of that baby universe as it’s created.

For the Mirus, there is enhanced close-combat capability, including a controlled hand-to-hand combat rage, called Saevesis, which when initiated grants enhanced strength, speed, and durability. These functions along with a protective probability field can make the Mirus equal to a modest unit of troops with body armor and conventional weaponry.

But those do not make him invulnerable, just nasty in a close fight. It is possible to kill him with a direct hit from anti-vehicular weapons, plasma and fusion rifles, and especially tactical nuclear weaponry, though conventional anti-personnel arms won’t do much other than get him very cross with you.

The Magna, on the other hand, has the ability to open holes in spacetime leading to a broken universe just bursting with highly energetic particles, which she can tap from orbital distances to release a particle strike to repeatedly batter a planet’s surface into molten slag, after first blasting away the atmosphere. She is still gainfully employed by the Kai’Siri.

Finally, the Tempest, herald of “It who Scratches at the Gates,” has the ability to travel personally anywhere and anywhen in spacetime, into and within any reality, impervious to most hazardous environmental conditions while so doing. The Tempest is the only one of these four “Gods of Terra” with an uncorrupted, unaltered hypershard, one of the four Prime Shards.

What follows is pure technobabble, and I suspect, nonsense to physicists.

A hypershard works by drawing upon the Superforce, curling and uncurling its dimensional axes in such a way as to alter the local geometry of spacetime, affecting and manipulating laws and constants in a very small area.

But those are functions imposed by the Kai’Siris’ monumentally limited understanding of a ‘shard’s hardware and software….and the real function?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not intended as a weapon, not originally, but as a communication device. That function may have been compromised in two of the known Wavetouched, the Fractus and the Magna, but it lies fully capable in the Mirus and Tempest.