Kirkite, also known as Tiberium, also known as dilithium, also known as energy crystals, and so forth. Kirkite is an energy dense supermaterial that can be used in arcanotech devices. It is a luminescent blue-green crystal like material that is radioactive, carcinogenic, mutagenic, combustable, flammable, toxic, and explosive. Fun stuff.
Kirkite appears in areas where there have been dimensional fatigue events and is considered an environmental contaminant. These sites are most commonly in the Wastelands and Silk Road areas. Kirkite can also be found in decommissioned arcanotech devices, predominantly larger ones like dimensional reactors, naval grade a-pods, and naval grade heat sinks. This constitutes a mechanical hazard because if the material isn't removed restarting the equipment can cause massive explosions or, if there is a sufficient amount of the material, trigger a dimensional fatigue event.
Discovery - Kirkite was first discovered inside a dimensional reactor aboard the AFS Challenger, a Federation long range cruiser. The reactor had been shut down not long after the ship left port for a two year loop around the solar system, which it accomplished on one reactor. The ship returned to its anchorage and during the restart attempt on the shut down reactor, it exploded. The Challenger was almost completely destroyed, and the anchorage was out of service for 16 months. The investigation revealed the presence of the previously unknown supermaterial, and how it eluded detection in the prestart inspection. New procedures went into place, and a new set of tools were introduced for inspecting dimensional reactors for this kirkite resin.
Terrestrial kirkite was found in areas classified as wasteland zones, especially in the presence of damaged or destroyed arcanotech, and almost always in the vicinity of dimensional fatigue events. This discovery explained how after an event was over, there could be aftershock events, the spontaneous detonation of kirkite build up.
Decontamination - Kirkite is a mutagen, and it can be taken up into biological systems as a contaminant. In small amounts the host can generally survive its contaminated state long enough for biomagnification to begin. In wasteland areas, the wildlife and plant life can have a disturbing amount of kirkite contamination in it, including people who live there. On the plant and animal side, there is rampant mutation, including incidents of creatures becoming oversized and aggressive, even demonstrating advanced intelligence and what amounts to rabies like symptoms after a contamination threshold is reached. In humans, mutation and degeneracy are common, and disturbingly, parapsychic abilities are much more common. These 'crystal' parapsychics have little to no control over their power and often only manage to use their powers a handful of times before going into a burn and self destructing.
Extraction - Once discovered, and its properties were documented, kirkite became a highly valuable material. Being a supermaterial and existing in multiple states at the same time, creating it synthetically is impossible, so it has to be found and extracted. One of the objectives inside the Utopia Initiative and the clandestine support of tech cults is the acquisition of kirkite. These small samples tend to be relatively stable, and the individuals collecting it have no real concept of its value. Arcanotechnicians are trained to inspect their equipment for kirkite contamination, and once a piece of large equipment is taken out of service it is almost always placed in storage or mothballs. The general hope is that kirkite condensation inside the mechanisms will occur and that material can be harvested.
In the instance of a DFE, there are clean up teams who follow the reflex teams into the event. These clean up teams include heavy machinery, specialists, and scientists to oversee the clean up and extraction. This stage typically sees microscopic kirkite formation, and one of the goals is to fix the material in this state, the larger the crystals become, the more unstable they become.
Exploitation - there are a large number of uses for kirkite, high energy particle research, high energy weapons, arcanotech explosives, parapsychic research, power generation, and more. The first step is to refine the 'ore' into a usable form. The safest method to date is to treat the crystal like tempered glass and extrude it in wafer form. These wafers are still unstable, and if mishandled can explode like pulse grenades. These crystal wafers can be used and handled with a modest amount of care and light personal protective equipment.
OH NO CONTAMINATION - the PCs are in an area and are exposed to a large amount of raw kirkite. They are irradiated with strange radiation and might start mutating, developing mutant abilities, and start going stark raving mad. The Colour out of Space, but much spicier. Likewise, an experienced group of PCs might be contaminated and have to go through decontamination, or deal with what happens when the crystals become unstable and start exploding on their own.
Valuable Cargo - a shipment of kirkite crystal wafers makes for an exceptionally ripe target. The PCs have to protect the shipment, or they have to steal it. Either way, the valuable cargo is really valuable, and if it is handled too roughly, it goes off. If more than one case of wafers goes up, it could start a chain reaction leading to a DFE and the guards/thieves being caught in a bubble of hell they have to work together to get out of alive.
The Big Bang - Kirkite can be used to create the Cosmic Era equivalent of a dirty bomb. Packing an explosive device with kirkite can create a 'dimensional warhead' that will trigger a dimensional fatigue event. There is no telling what might happen when it goes off, but no matter what does, it will be interesting.