Worldbuilding Wednesday: Warp Coils

(All Worldbuilding Wednesday posts are here, and as always, you can ask questions about this or any other Parhelionverse thing on the Tumblr blog! These posts aren’t necessary to understand the comic, but they might be handy for summarizing context. Patreon backers can read one post into the future.)

DOSSIER: HOUSE CHAZUL

Yima Family internal use only. Leaks will be detected and summarily punished.

Faster-than-light travel exists, but nobody knows how.

The secret lies with the tinkerers of House Chazul, the only known engineers to develop a practical FTL system. The copy-protection is brilliantly blunt- the vital components exist in an unknowable flux. The gist of the system can be found in any physics textbook, but the genius comes in reducing the power draw from “three supernovae” and not turning matter inside-out nine times out of ten.

Save the engine, every component of a warp coil can be found in a typical industrial hub. (Demand the utmost precision unless you want a PR crisis.) The proprietary engines slot into all standard power couplings, and come with a ten-year warranty. For a price, condensed onboard models are available for high rollers who want mobility at the cost of engine capacity.

Any cosmopolitan station or spaceport features at least one coil- passengers sign a waiver, except in places without such formality. The coil’s range is limited by an inscrutable calculus, and key coil routes can go defunct out of nowhere. Coils typically have a set menu of destinations; anecdotally, “wearing grooves” in space-time makes it safer, but this is mostly superstition.

House Chazul cannot be bought. The members are fanatically secretive, only signing a tightly-limited Yima distribution deal after years of negotiation and at least seven assassination attempts. (Yima lacks exclusive rights, and receives almost none of the profit, but we didn’t want to push our luck.)

Reverse-engineering the tech has been the ruin of many Family members, and a financial black hole. Any Cartel research into it is formally banned after the diplomatic crisis at Lerad Cliffs. (Their threat to brick our whole network was probably a bluff, but let’s not find out.)

House Chazul has been reticent for years, intimating further breakthroughs in the works. Keep them in our good graces, no matter the cost.

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