Initially, humans were only capable of interplanetary spaceflight within Earth's solar system using inefficient propulsion produced by combustion rockets. While primitive, this allowed for the human colonization of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and reaching other celestial bodies. The desire to go further and beyond outer space pushed the limits on science to exponentially advance - eventually humans were able to master space travel through the use of FTL technology. The invention of Tachyon Drive (T-Drive) in AD/CE 2200 allowed the development of starships capable of interstellar voyages. In AD/CE 2230 and 2245 the invention of the Black Hole Engine and Warp Gate respectively, superseded the primary usage of T-Drives for space travel as the new technologies boasted intergalactic travel. With space travel already mastered, humans advanced into the "Space Age" and shifted into the Cosmic Century in AD/CE 2249.
Space travelling is categorized into three levels based on distance:
- Interplanetary - travel between planets within the same star or planetary system.
- Interstellar - travel between star or planetary systems.
- Intergalactic - travel between galaxies.
The Tachyon Drive (T-Drive), invented in AD/CE 2200, is the first FTL technology that humans were able to apply into actual usage. It is capable of interplanetary and to a limited extent, interstellar travel to nearby systems. Theoretically, T-Drive can allow for travel between galaxies but since this takes a long time before the starship reaches its destination, warp gate is used instead. Most starships in CC 430 (the setting of Knight Run) uses the T-Drive as basic propulsion despite it being the oldest. This is due to the catastrophic lost of humanity's great technologies during the 100-year Great War against Beasts which considerably hindered humanity's progress.
It is presumed that the Turin Immigration Fleet uses T-Drive even for intergalactic travelling. Their massive immigration ships are then specially made to act as a mobile residential colony.
Black Hole EngineEdit
Black Hole Engines were developed in AD/CE 2230 as an improvement to the T-Drive. Black Hole Engine achieves FTL travel through instantaneous "jumping" powered by a micro black hole - in effect, it allows for independent teleportation. This technology is very versatile as it can be used both as an energy source and as an engine for interplanetary, interstellar, and even intergalactic travel. Black Hole Engine, together with Warp Gate technology, helped fuel humanity's progress into the Cosmic Century's Space Age.
Though the five factions of the Human Civil War had many warships equipped with Black Hole Engines, the knowledge to recreate the technology was seemingly lost during the Great War waged against the Beasts. By CC 430, only certain preserved starships are equipped with Black Hole Engines though they are used sparingly due to possible risks as the technology is already aging. The specialized exploration ship Alcyone, commissioned by Arin's self defense force AUA, is equipped with Black Hole Engine. The floating fortress Avalon is equipped with a "Nova-class" Black Hole Engine.
Humans developed Warp Gate technology in AD/CE 2245 to achieve faster intergalactic travel. There are two versions of the warp gate technology in human use: the original and the rebuilt versions. Usage of warp gate is prevalent even with the presence of Black Hole Engine as warp gate allows for whole fleets to travel together and without using their internal energy reserves whereas Black Hole Engines can only transport the ship it is equipped on to.
Warping within a planetary atmosphere is possible but very risky. As such, the regulations of the AE Gate Administration only allow warping within outer space.
In AD/CE 2245, applications of fluctuational gravity field were combined with a specially modified Black Hole Engine to artificially create a stable wormhole. From there, warp gate technology was developed. Further mastery of the technology allowed humans to enter the Space Age, starting the Cosmic Century.
The original version of warp gate achieves FTL travel by creating a traversable wormhole which allows instantaneous travel - essentially assisted teleportation. Due to its massive consumption of energy, use of the warp gate was primarily reserved for urgent or distant travel such as between galaxies. It was complemented by the Black Hole Engine and the T-Drive for relatively shorter distances (interstellar and interplanetary, respectively).
Knowledge on recreating the original warp gates was lost during the Great War between Beasts and Humans.
During the chaos and losses of the Great War, humans were only able to preserve an old warp gate model. This served as the basis for the rebuilt warp gate network that is in use since CC 218 to replace the original technology.
The rebuilt warp gate allows intergalactic travel by utilizing access to a bounded extra-dimensional field where spacetime is significantly manipulated according to Alcubierre theory. Passing objects such as a ship or fleet goes into an entry point (origin), accesses and traverses a warp path, then emerges from an exit point (destination). The entry and exit points must be predetermined - ships en route cannot change destinations nor can it reverse back to the origin although it can slow down or speed up. The rebuilt warp gate is not capable of producing wormholes for instantaneous travel - essentially it is only a hyperdrive enabler. Ships using the rebuilt warp gate does not teleport to its destination but rather must still traverse through a "shortcut highway/tunnel" to achieve FTL intergalactic travel. The entry and exit points of the warp gate must remain active all throughout travel to maintain the field otherwise it would collapse along with the passing objects. The Warp Marker is a related technology/facility although its actual use and difference from the Warp Gate is not determined. It is presumed to transmit critical information such as the coordinates between entry and exit points.
In CC 225, the AE established a Gate Administration to handle and enforce regulations on the usage of the technology. The Gate Administration has a monopoly on the operations of human warp gates since then. There is a single-day annual event wherein transportation is disallowed from using warp gates to make way for intergalactic instantaneous communication. This is known as "Talk Day".
Bio-Gates are living, organic beings that mimic the effect of human warp gate technology. The Beasts created this specialized role by assimilating human technology although it is unknown whether it adopted the original or the rebuilt version. Humans have greatly committed its efforts in locating and destroying Beast Bio-Gates. By CC 430 all known Bio-Gates had already been hunted down, securing humanity's Absolute Defense Line and starting the "Age of Humans". It is unknown whether Beast Queen E-34 established new bio-gates.
Blue Flowers can perform independent FTL travel through warping. E-34's Blue Flowers in particular exhibited "jumping" similar to that of Black Hole Engines. This may be due to E-34's erosion and hacking of Avalon and its Black Hole Engine.
Anne Mayer: "When the battlefield extended from our planet to the universe, the most important invention towards the war effort was the gate, it allowed us to traverse space without the time lag. With that technology, the ability to effectively warp in and out of battle was pivotal for the war. But during our first encounter with the monsters 300 years ago, the warp technology was lost. What's left is an old gate model and a black hole engine that is 300 years past working condition. It's not an understatement that the purpose of the war is to protect that technology. Right now, our transportation is fueled by the T-Drive. But it's nowhere near as effective as warp technology".