When one examines the nature of multiple spatial dimensions, as one must when one is examining the history of space travel, one must put aside the Einsteinian notion of Time as the Fourth Dimension. This is foolishness. Time is not a spatial dimension, it’s a constant, ever flowing translation of space within the time dimensions. However, that is a topic for fourth year students. Being first years, I must now show you exactly what is meant by the Fourth Dimension and how it relates to space travel.
The Hyperprojection Drive is a simple extension of higher order mathematics and the multiple dimensions that they produce beyond the normal three that we consider (height, width, and depth). Once the ability to both detect and influence spissitude (the fourth dimension of Euclidian space) became available, it was mere childs play to create an FTL drive taking advantage of it. Drawing upon your Dimensions 101 lectures, as I’m sure you all remember quite clearly, the human eye cannot detect the fourth dimension, spissitude, unaided. However, analogy is one of our best friends in dealing with higher dimensions, and is in fact the entire basis for the Hyperprojection Drive.
Consider shadows. If you shine a light on a cube (a 3 Dimensional object), a flat, 2D shadow is created. Similarly, a light shined upon a 2D object produces a 1D shadow, and a light shined on a 1D object, a line, produces a zero dimensional shadow-point. Now take the analogy in the other direction. A light shined on a 4D object such as a tesseract will produce a shadow that is 3D in nature.
This realization was revolutionary! Tremendous effort was expended trying to figure out how to harness 3D shadow-moving, but it wasn’t until some stupid laboratory intern flipped the wrong switch at the wrong time that we realized what we were missing: a 4D form of light. In retrospect, it should have been obvious that we needed a 4D form of light to cast a shadow from a 4D object, but major discoveries always seem that way.
Once the problem of generating 4D light was solved, by something as simple as generating a tensor field, 3D shadows could be generated and objects translated perfectly over long distances. Of course, this principle only works on non-living objects. Humans and other organics are firmly 3D creatures, and since we have no 4D representation, we must rely on the extremely fast movement of shadow-casting. Modern warp stations simply generate a tensor field behind themselves, generating a 3D craft that is fully solid to us, and thus we move with the ship when the warp station increases the energy of the field (and thus it’s rank), moving the shadow by leaps and bounds across space.
This form of travel is not without its hazards though. Because the shadow is being projected across massive distances within a second, making random jumps without first plotting a nav-path is suicidal: objects that get in the way can destroy us on impact. Less common is if the field shuts off while a ship is in transit. This can leave the ship stranded in the middle of nowhere, which is never good. Such problems are extremely rare in cropping up, however.
All in all, however, the technology of Hyperprojection completely revolutionized and allowed us to colonize the stars. Soon we will begin exploring beyond this galaxy and into others. What strange wonders might we find there?
~Transcription of a beginning lecture in Professor O’Neahley’s To the Stars class, explaining the nature of the Hyperprojection Drive