Space Travel

The Alcubierre-Bernstein Engine, colloquially known as a Warp Drive, distorts spacetime around ships, "expanding" it behind them while "compressing" it in front of them. In relativistic terms, the ship itself doesn't actually move at all but is given an effectively faster than light ride on the bending fabric of spacetime. Creating warp fields takes enormous amounts of energy, and more energy is required for larger areas or larger magnitude warp distortions. In practical terms, this means that massive colony ships carrying tens of thousands of people can travel at 1 - 3 times the speed of light while small transports, probes, and fighter craft can travel at 100 - 200 times the speed of light. Humans have physically explored out to around 1,000 light years beyond Earth (less than 1% of the 100,000 ly diameter Milky Way Galaxy), but all human colonies are within 50 light years of Earth. Small craft can travel between the most distant colonies and Earth in a matter of months.


Solar power now provides a large percentage of energy needs on both Earth and colony worlds, but truly intensive energy demands (densely populated cities or warp drives, for example) are met with fusion power, which is compact, clean, safe, and runs on hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe.


The dark side of warp technology is its potential for weaponization. Even a small asteroid, when accelerated to 200 times the speed of light, could obliterate all life on a planet. The creation of a warp drive and fusion generator are highly sophisticated tasks, but in space there are no shortage of resources to build or places to hide such a weapon. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction keeps major factions from even seriously contemplating such a move, but the potential for some rogue extremist element carrying such an attack out remains an existential threat. All of this has not put an end to less ultimate forms of warfare. Warfare in the 22nd century, as was the case for most of the 21st century, is generally carried out via proxy. The impressive formal robotic and human militaries of various factions virtually never face one another on the battlefield. Instead, extremists, insurgents, or terrorists operating in foreign territories are given plausibly deniable support in order to weaken a rival faction's control over some region or asset. This tactic doesn't even fool the general public anymore, but it gives factions a "polite" pretense for not utterly annihilating one another and the planets.

Battery technology has advanced to a point where laser weapons can be deployed as small arms, but ballistic weapons are still commonplace. Other than the nearly universal use of caseless ammunition, ballistic weapons are not fundamentally different than those used in the 20th century. Personal armor has evolved from simple ceramic plates to layers of carbon nanotubes and genetically engineered spider silk in full-body, environmentally-sealed suits. Heavier, mechanized battle suits also exist. The most significant advance in infantry and vehicular warfare are personal shields comprised of clouds of billions of electromagnetically charged nanoparticles. It typically takes concentrated fire to overwhelm the batteries and microfabricators which keep shields active.

Robotics and AI

Robots are now an essential and driving force in all human economies. In all but the poorest areas, virtually all manual labor, including sophisticated tasks like surgery, is done by robots. Robots can be made to look virtually indistinguishable from humans, but humanoid robots are usually designed to look simpler and more "robotic," as the former cause many people psychological unease. AIs can carry out many complex tasks and hold seemingly intelligent conversations on virtually any topic. Nonetheless, the general scientific consensus is that AIs lack the consciousness and will that seems to separate humans from them.

Robots have only harmed humans when programmed or ordered to do so (in military settings) or due to clearly traceable malfunctions or hacks. Outside of a few incidents which were later shown to be hoaxes, no robot has ever asserted free will, a declaration of personhood, or any demand for rights as a thinking being. Although AIs still elicit some degree of wariness in both the scientific community and general public, the overall consensus is that if the robots were going to rebel, they would have done it by now.

On the socioeconomic front, widespread anger over displacement of human workers eventually forced all nations and factions to implement some sort of guaranteed universal income program, ranging from bare bones to humble but comfortable. During the 22nd century, this has generally been sufficient to placate the masses, although a large wave of protests did spring up at one point following a leaked corporate memo which referred to over half of Earth's population as "useless eaters".

Medicine, Biotechnology, and Cybernetics

Following the "dark ages" of the mid-21st century, scientific research in medicine, biotechnology, and cybernetics has hit a renaissance period. Life expectancy for the average person is now 125 years, and the oldest human is 186. In well-to-do circles there is straight-faced discussion about which research path is mostly likely to lead to effective biological immortality within the next decade or two. All organ tissue can now be replaced with vat-grown duplicates. Human genetic modification is a controversial topic. Only China utterly forbids it. Other factions generally accept genetic intervention for medical purposes but are leery of going further. RUNIA explicitly prohibits "cosmetic" modifications to enhance human abilities while Kerala and SKC encourage it. Cybernetics have advanced to the point where lost body parts can be replaced with prosthetics which are visually identical but functionally superior to the original. In extreme cases, a person's central nervous system can be transplanted into an entirely mechanical body. Vat-grown biological replacements are generally preferred, however, as they don't requires expensive upkeep. Some career soldiers "upgrade" to cyborg status before returning to fully biological bodies upon retirement.


Psi phenomena have been the subject of modern scientific study since at least the 1940's, but it wasn't until the late 21st century that certain drugs and brain implants allowed psi subjects to produce consistent, irrefutable results. Psi-sensitive individuals who have undergone these enhancements are able to perform astonishing feats including telekinesis, remotely viewing distant locales, reading and even influencing the thoughts of others. Several competing theories exist for the mechanism by which these powers work. Psi-sensitive individuals are quite rare, and often choose to keep their abilities secret. They are viewed with superstitious (and sometimes justified) fear by the general public and are subjected to intense scrutiny by corporations and governments, whether or not they join up when pressured to do so. Major factions would like to be the only providers of the augmentations required for fully unlocking psi powers, but black market and underground psionic-support networks also exist. Possession of illegal enhancements is considered a capital offense in many jurisdictions.

Yet to be Realized Technology

Teleportation - Although quantum entanglement allows for instantaneous communication across any distance, scientists have yet to discover any means for scaling this effect up past the subatomic level.

Zero-Point Energy - The seemingly limitless energy which percolates from the quantum foam of reality could provide orders of magnitude more power to humanity for space travel, weaponry, and more. As with the teleportation problem, however, scientists have yet to discover any means for scaling this effect up past the subatomic level.

Time Travel - For centuries, certain mathematical models have suggested that not only is time travel possible, but that it regularly occurs on the subatomic level. Again, practical, human-scale application seem far out of reach.

Digitalization of Consciousness - Although computers are now powerful enough to make a neuron-by-neruon digital duplicate of a human brain, this duplicate remains nothing more than an inanimate map or database. It can be prodded to provide responses similar to what its human original might give but otherwise seems to be as devoid of consciousness or will as an AI.