NationStates Jolt Archive

OOC: A layman's guide to Guild Tech

Spacer Guilds
28-11-2003, 21:39
The Guilds are entirely space-based. Thus, they have developed technologies for life in space further than almost anyone else. The majority of the population lives aboard ships known as Civillian Barges. The other major Capital ships (usually known as city-ships) are Foundries, Agricultural Barges, and Prison Barges. A Guild's Foundry is usually its capital. Most Guild ships are very standardized, but there are a few unique ones- The Phaiakian Foundry (Skheria) is a hollowed out asteroid. The Mycenaeans have as their capital a specially designed city-station, instead of their Foundry, referred to as the Fortress of Tiryns. The Guild's only warship (Samael) was specially built, and the Republic Capital is another specially designed city-station known as Tripolis. The most unique quality of Guild ships is that they lack any form of artificial gravity, including centripetal psuedo-gravity. The only Guild installation with CPG is the Phaiakian Shipyard, which only produces 17 hundredths of a g.

The most common form of propulsion for Guild ships is the IAC or AIE, which stand for Ion ACcelerator and Accelerated Ion Engine, respectively. This consists of a standard Ion Engine which feeds its exhaust into 1) a linear particle accelerator or 2) a pair of cyclotrons instead of directly into space. This accelerates the particles to near-light speed, providing greater efficiency than a chemical or plasma rocket, and higher acceleration than a normal Ion Engine. The usual fuel is xenon, but some engines are modified to be IAC/Plamsa hybrids, which use xenon in normal operation, but switch to hydrogen when high acceleration is needed. Hall Effect Thrusters and electrokinetic cells are also in use.

In terms of shielding, most Guild ships just have really thick hulls, often composed of slag left over from the refining of the materials used for the rest of the ship. Vessels such as the Minos long-haul transport, for which this is not a viable option, are equipped with solenoids, often as a part of their engines, which create an artificial magnetosphere to deflect charged particles, and epoxy microcapsules embedded in the hull to automatically seal microfractures caused by non-charged dust particles and micrometeorites. Very large ships, such as Foundries or Samael, or ships in hazardous environments, such as asteroid miners, are usually equipped with HPDs (Hutchison Point Diverters) <-[My one piece of questionable magitech, but still based on real-life research]. This is a form of point-defense that makes use of the Hutchison Effect to nudge large objects out of the way. It is often put to other uses on mining and Foundry vessels, though- miners often use them to attract valuable meteoroids, and Foundries often employ modified HPDs internally for heavy-metal transmution purposes.

The Guilds make extensive use of nanotechnology, but not in the traditional sense of nano-scale robots. One especially prevalent example is the epoxy microcapsules mentioned earlier. Titanium nanotubes are used as hydrogen sensors or monitoring storage tanks and for mining purposes. Nanofabrication technologies such as self-growing circuits and microchips are also common, especially when used for optical equipment.

The most common form of power generation is photovoltaic cells. In order to increase efficiency, optical systems often have their own separate power supplies that divert sunlight directly into the optical circuits, instead of using light generated by electricity from the photocells. Ships and stations located far away from the sun often have a third system dedicated to collecting thermal energy, a modification of the cooling fins on ships closer to the sun. Aside from solar power, nuclear batteries are common (although fission chain reaction generators are not). While these may be a direct source of power for unmanned probes and other smallcraft, they are more commonly used as a back-up power supply in case the failure of fusion reactors, and as a source of extra neutrons for said fusion reactors. Guild fusion reactors usually operate on a mixture of hydrogen, deuterium, and helium-3, with tritium added when available and lithium-6 added when necessary. Occasionally, however, one may come across a reactor employing boron-11/proton fusion to avoid excess heat production. Carbon is frequently used as a fusion catalyst. Smaller ships almost exclusively employ a pair of alternating IEC fusors, while Spheromaks are occasionally seen on very large ships and stations. Theta-Pinch Resonance Fusors of various sizes occasionally replace either of the other two types. Deuterium and tritium are manufactured by Skheria and Mycenae in large spherical water tanks set exposed to space to allow cosmic rays and particles of solar wind to smack into the hydrogen. Fuel storage is often in the form of MSMH (MetaStable Metallic Hydrogen), referred to as solonite when speaking to non-Guilders, as it's existence and method of manufacture are closely guarded secrets.

Guilders like to build light. Thus, foamed metals and honeycomb meshes are ubiquitous. Magnesium and berrylium are common components of alloys used for structural parts, often reinforced by carbon nanotube fibers. Parts that must be extremely durable are coated with a layer of boron, over which is grown artificial diamond. Carbon nanotube cables and nanotube/graphite composites are common for parts under tension. Occasionally, MSMH is also used in structural elements, as it has greater tensional strength than aluminum, but is significantly lighter. When sufficient amounts of fused slag are not available for shielding, ceramics are used.
Spacer Guilds
29-11-2003, 00:00
A view of an IAC engine:
Spacer Guilds
22-05-2004, 00:32
Santa Barbara
22-05-2004, 01:42
Could you perhaps explain the Hutchison effect and the HPDs a bit more?

I've seen them around on NS a few times, and never have gotten more info about the physics of such.

Anyway. Congrats on not being uber-wanky. And imagine that, no gravity on a spacecraft! Don't tell anyone, but most of my ships still don't have any either, other than when the ship happens to be accelerating.
Spacer Guilds
22-05-2004, 04:20
Thank you, thank you.
As for the physics of the Hutchison Effect(s), nobody seems to be able agree on exactly how or why it works. Essentially, it involves surrounding a region of space with 3 or more high-voltage radio wave sources, such as Tesla coils or van de Graff generators, creating interference patterns. For whatever reason, Interesting Things happen where there is constructive interference (at least, that's my interpretation; I could be totally wrong on that point, might be points of destructive interference, or certain wave patterns and whatnot). Most of the experiments to date have been rather unpredictable, but assuming that it is a real phenomenon and not some massively whacked out case of repeated experimental error, there must be laws behind it that can be employed to predict the outcomes. So, since it's just too cool to put aside, I'm assuming that such laws do exist, that the Spacers identified them, and that they have sufficient computing power to put them to use.

With those three assumptions, I can construct imaginary machines that are able to precisely control all of the permutations of the Hutchison effect for elemental transmution, welding, material dis-integration (note the hyphen), and levitation / telekinesis.
Spacer Guilds
14-07-2004, 17:07