Phoron. That famous buzzword which revolutionized space travel via FTL jumping and bluespace warping. That mysterious substance which makes wonder drugs and topples governments (or, more realistically, Trans-Steller Corporations). That mysterious substance famously discovered by humanity in 2411 (SolGov calendar) by Alden and Sarapova full of strange particles binding realspace to bluespace.
What is phoron? One hundred and fifty-one years since its discovery has yet to yield a definitive answer. Some claim it to be a stable form of tritiated ethanol. Others state it’s a unique element with an atomic weight of 162. Truthfully, both are likely bits of the full story. What’s known for certain is phoron exists partially in realspace and partially in bluespace and how much of it exists here and how much exists there at any given moment is in a constant flux and flow, granting the substance variable properties and allowing conflicting, even contradictory observations to be fully true. As such, only the effects are well-documented while the mechanics remain shrouded in mystery.
Phoron is known to be combustible, a powerful reducing agent, toxic to most forms of life, capable of existing in the typical three phases of matter under standard conditions (plus at least on exotic form of matter), and rich in Alden-Sarapova particles. Other properties seem heavily variable via mechanisms not yet understood; for example, gaseous phoron in most instances does not interact with human skin but has been documented to cause skin to rapidly melt and peel on other occasions.
Generally, phoron typically has three primary uses: FTL travel, fuel, and chemistry. While valued primarily for its ability to power FTL drives, phoron is also heavily used as a combustible fuel capable of generating significantly more energy than typical fuels due to the potential of harvesting released Alden-Sarapova during combustion. In liquid form, phoron acts as both a potent catalyst and reagent, capable of generating miracle drugs about as well understood as phoron itself. Resultingly, phoron is incredibly high-valued; it is the very backbone of the space age without which star-spanning civilizations would quickly fall back small, isolated systems.
As a side note, one may be familiar with the term ‘plasma’ being used to refer to phoron.
Originally named such in the Sol system due to its discovery in the plasma of red dwarf stars, the substance was dubbed ‘phoron’ once discovered to be a unique substance rather than an oddity in star plasma. By this point ‘plasma’ was already heavily in use in both FTL travel and medicine; like many such things, the original name proved difficult to erase despite the confusion caused by the name plasma. ‘Plasma’ remains heavily used in SolGov space, with the term ‘phoron’ being used mainly in less human-dominated reaches of space.
A particularly poorly understood exotic phase of phoron, supermatter is believed to be a heavily condensed crystalline form of phoron with a hyperdimensional structure existing largely in bluespace. In simpler terms, it’s thought to exist mostly in bluespace. Incredibly difficult to study due to inherent safety risks, supermatter gives off heavy radiation, phoron, and oxygen when ‘activated’ by a phoron laser or direct stimulus and collapses in a spectacular implosion followed by explosion if allowed to overheat or remain in vacuum for extended periods of time. Energetic interactions typically destroy the probing object while contact with organic matter quickly reduces the being to a pile of ash.
Despite the risks, supermatter is heavily utilized in thermoelectric engines as it provides a near limitless source of energy.
A term used frequently when discussing phoron and FTL travel but one poorly understood by the majority of spacefarers. Named so for visibly appearing blue if travelled through at low speeds (in relation to realspace), several theories exist on the nature of bluespace with no single theory yet to gain overall acceptance.
According to subspace theory, bluespace is best thought of as the ‘space between space.’ This theory postulates bluespace exists infinitely and not at all, essentially a quantum effect only existing when observed. Travel through bluespace is thus a construction of a three dimensional ‘bridge’ created by stretching realspace infinitely thin and ‘hooking’ it to a distant reach of space. Theoretically, this theory allows instantaneous travel as the speed of the journey depends entirely on the relative distance between bluespace and realspace ‘landmarks’ witnessed during the journey (travelers would refer to this as stars zooming by during FTL travel). Bluespace is thus not an area of space but an area of virtual space only existing as needed.
According to planar theory, bluespace is best thought of as a separate plane or universe with existing at a lower energy state relative to realspace (this particular detail explains the deadliness of bluespace to organic life; anything which comes into full contact with bluespace enters a lower energy state which proves quite fatal). FTL is thus tunneling into this separate plane then utilizing high speeds to emerge back into strained areas of realspace, typically a deep gravity well. Debate in this theory typically centers on whether the bluespace plane exists relative to realspace or lacks spatial ties to realspace with the time of the journey simply consisting of building the necessary speed to break back into realspace (a requirement due to bluespace existing at a lower energy level than realspace).
According to hyperspace theory, bluespace is a hyperdimensional form of realspace and travel simply involves movement along a fourth spatial axis. Rather than proposing a distinction between realspace and bluespace, this theory posits space consists of four spatial dimensions and navigation through bluespace simply involves going ‘around’ three dimensional realspace. A particularly difficult theory to grasp, this theory also postulates life consists of three dimensional beings within a four-dimensional universe.
According to entanglement theory, bluespace does not exist. Rather, alden-sarapova particles are a form of virtual exotic matter capable of transmitting information instantly. The key point of this theory is bluespace particles can adopt the information of classical particles, including a variable referred to as ‘realness.’ While bluespace particles can hold any information anywhere in the universe, adopting a ‘realness’ variable results in the theft of the parent particle’s information. Simply, the bluespace particle becomes the parent particle while the parent particle ceases existence, energy being transferred to the child particle. A rather confusing theory without as much stake as the former three.
While you’ve certainly heard of bluespace, you may have come across the term ‘redspace’ in casual, often confused mentions. Another dimension… the counterpart of bluespace… the whispered realm where all evil sleeps. The stuff of nightmares, the lair of demons, the ultimate reminder that sapient life should not delve into the deepest fabric of the universe. Except redspace is a joke.
A term coined as a science in-joke when the color of bluespace was thought to be due to blueshift, redspace is ultimately a scientist’s way of saying “I don’t know but there’s bluespace shit involved.” In a similar vein to dark matter, redspace simply refers to any bluespace phenomenon with very little scientific understanding and serves as a convenient way to categorize the poorly understood.
Resultingly, the term ‘redspace’ is often used to categorize dangerous anomalies which seem more supernatural than scientific in nature. Such tend to result from artifacts of lost precursor civilizations or beings of a not-entirely-realspace nature. Redspace could perhaps best be thought of as a fear of the interdimensional unknown as outside of scientific circles it’s used almost exclusively to describe dangerous phenomena.
Nobody is quite sure if it’s actually red.
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