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The Vindicator navigating HyperSpace.

HyperSpace is a "higher dimension" or set of dimensions that forms an alternate space-time to TrueSpace. Basic physical constants are different in HyperSpace than TrueSpace, but modern technology allows spacefaring civilizations to use HyperSpace as a medium for communication (Hyperwave) and transport (Hyperdrive). HyperSpace (literally meaning "above space" in English) is was the first non-TrueSpace dimension to be discovered, and until the work of the Androsynth and the discovery of QuasiSpace by the Alliance was not known to be only one of many such dimensions.

The most striking feature of HyperSpace is the different properties electromagnetic radiation has within it; HyperSpace's different physical constants (specifically the permeability of free space μ) cause the speed of light to be much higher relative to other physical constants than in TrueSpace. Observers in HyperSpace also perceive light as "redshifted", as the increased speed of propagation of light waves causes their wavelengths to become longer.

All of known HyperSpace is permeated by a dense physical medium that emits a constant background radiation, which would be perceived as ranging through the entire spectrum if not for the redshift effect, which causes the shortest wavelengths to be perceived as part of the red area of the visual spectrum. Little is known about this medium, but it seems to be a much denser, higher-energy analogue to the interstellar hydrogen medium and cosmic background radiation that permeate TrueSpace. Random interactions within this medium create patterns of radiation flares and nebulous structures, but these are ephemeral and unpredictable. Under certain conditions strong TrueSpace gravity wells create transdimensional vortices into HyperSpace, regions of overlap with TrueSpace detectable as regions of nonradiating black vacuum from HyperSpace.

Hyperdrive ships operate by artificially generating such overlaps in TrueSpace, allowing ships to "push up" into HyperSpace. The independent development of Hyperdrive technology has been a near universal among modern civilizations, all of whom (with a few exceptions, like Humans) discovered Hyperdrive soon after achieving nuclear-level energy generation techniques. This is usually preceded by Hyperwave, a simpler process that involves generating waves of perturbation in the Hyperspatial medium to transmit messages from one stellar gravity-well overlap to another.

The distance between any two stars in HyperSpace tends to be astoundingly shorter than in TrueSpace; the apparent travel time of voyages of thousands of light-years in TrueSpace is reduced to a matter of weeks from the reference frame of a HyperSpatial traveler. However, the correspondence between points in HyperSpace and TrueSpace may not be one-to-one and certainly does not preserve the geometric orientation of their TrueSpace relationships. Not all stars generate TrueSpace intrusions into HyperSpace, and, although all local HyperSpace gravity wells are clustered in a single galaxy that appears to be an analogue of the local TrueSpace galaxy (called the Milky Way Galaxy by Humans), the spatial relationship between the Hyperspatial locations of stars is often greatly distorted from their TrueSpace locations. These distortions may be due to the fact that HyperSpace appears much more responsive to gravitational distortion than TrueSpace. HyperSpace appears to closely cluster about gravitational sources in TrueSpace, such that all points in HyperSpace seem to correspond to some point near a TrueSpace gravitational source. Tests using Hyperdrive to force reentry into TrueSpace from random points in HyperSpace far away from a natural overlap invariably cause the vessel to reappear near a star or rogue planetary body in TrueSpace.

In mapping HyperSpace, Chenjesu astronomers have divided stars located in HyperSpace into groups or constellations, which Humans have freely named after notable stars and constellations from TrueSpace astronomy, even though most of these stars (whose TrueSpace labels are mostly just numbers) bear no relation to the TrueSpace stars for which they are named. This is rarely a problem, since the advent of HyperSpatial travel in Human civilization has reduced TrueSpace astronomy to primarily an academic concern (as no TrueSpace-based methods of communication across the stars is commonly used or even possible). Constellations are grouped together in relatively dense concentrations with sparser concentrations of stars in between, similar to TrueSpace stellar groups. The Chenjesu standard coordinate system maps a certain set of groups of constellations that have been well-mapped and explored by their scientists; this map defines the safely traversable bounds of "known space" for most races. No races native to this region have had the resources to extend the boundaries of Chenjesu maps very far; only such races as the Ur-Quan or Melnorme are known to have extensively traveled and explored the galaxy outside the Chenjesu starmap.

A Hyperdrive field creates a delicately balanced region of exotic vacuum, sometimes called a Hyperdrive bubble, that allows TrueSpace vessels to travel through HyperSpace. The interaction between a Hyperdrive bubble and the HyperSpatial medium manifests as a constant drag on a vessel, forcing Hyperdrive ships to constantly accelerate and expend fuel in order to make headway. As with the TrueSpace cosmic background radiation, the random motions in this HyperSpatial medium cancel out to create an "absolute reference frame" that holds large-scale HyperSpatial objects like stellar gravity wells motionless relative to each other. Hyperdrive bubbles exist in a unique "vibrational phase" that allows them to maintain their exotic vacuum states; unless Hyperdrive bubbles are purposely created to be in phase with each other, two Hyperdrive bubbles that collide will be out of phase and will interfere with each other, causing them to dissipate and returning their contents to TrueSpace. Any interaction with a Hyperdrive bubble and a natural gravitational intrusion into Hyperspace has the same effect; thus, large local gravity sources prevent the formation of stable Hyperdrive fields (hence the impossibility of "pushing up" within a star system). This property of Hyperdrive is an important consideration in HyperSpatial manuevers and is the main difficulty in using Hyperdrive to escape pursuit.

The speed of light being much higher in HyperSpace than TrueSpace, no ship, even traveling at what would be superluminal speeds in TrueSpace, has ever experienced relativistic effects. Travel at TrueSpace-superluminal velocities is common in HyperSpace, though even vessels only capable of subluminal speeds, when equipped with Hyperdrive, can be practically used for short-distance HyperSpace travel. HyperSpace therefore forms a single inertial reference frame by which timekeeping for all known civilizations can be kept; since all communication and transport occurs through HyperSpace, this single timeframe is sufficient. Any effects of distortion of time that may occur through HyperSpace may be philosophically troublesome -- it may be that by some observers' reference frames in TrueSpace, the Yehat civilization existed billions of years before the Human one -- but is irrelevant for practical purposes; the sense of contemporaneousness and sycnronization of timelines provided by HyperSpace is unquestioned by the spacefaring races.

See also