There is a very common misconception about what a Research Accelerator actually is. The average person would assume that it is some sort of complicated contraption that is attached to a computer system that makes the machine run faster, a sort of processing turbocharger. They are quite comically wrong. There is no physical concrete apparatus that someone can pat and aggrandize as the Accelerator. It is a common problem, there are all sorts of particle accelerators and bioaccelerators (a potential brand name for a med-pod). Rather, a Research Accelerator is a joint human venture, pumped full of capital, and operating on a short timeline.

90 Days or Bust

The core concept of the Research Accelerator is Rapid Turn Around, also known as a Turn and Burn Cycle. An established research and development center will take on a given project, apply it's equipment and research staff, as well as a healthy injection of currency, and run with it as fast as possible. This might seem simplistic, but there are a number of resources that these agencies have that do not exist yet.

Forced Induction Dreaming

The heart of Research Acceleration is the use of Dream Tank systems. The research and development companies that are involved with R-XL seldom operate physical laboratories. Instead, they make use of guided dream systems, with the members of the research team suspended in a quasi-REM sleep for often the duration of the project. With the characteristics of REM sleep and the CogNet support computers, in those 90 days, the research team might experience five virtual years of activity. Each such research unit will have an associated L/AISC computer slaved to it, and even dreaming at 20 times normal speed, the computer has little trouble keeping up the communal dream, as well as running simulations and such for the project in question.

R-XL differs from the typical usage of Dream Tanks in that the things a R-XL project will work on are typically very concrete issues, such as a new genetic modification, researching a vaccine or cure for a newly discovered disease, or the design of a new piece of consumer technology.

Dream Teams

Often a project is simply too large for a single dream tank group to handle, or just too complicated. In this instance, there can be multiple teams working on a common project, but in a compartmentalized manner. There is very minimal interaction between the teams, but they are aware of each other, and of each other's progress.

The Bugenhagen Project was a Dream Team Operation, with four different tank teams working towards the completion of the Bugenhagen Atmospheric Research Center on Huo Hsing. An engineering team worked out the functionality of the installation in terms of power generation, storing food, and processing water supplies. An interior design team created the layout of the living and working spaces of the installion, while a third team worked out it's computer and research centers. The fourth and final team designed it's surface layout, defensive perimeters and systems. In 120 days, the finalized plans were presented with approximately 22 years of research time compiled into them. The facility was constructed in less than a year, and went into service just over 400 days after the completion of the R-XL.

The Federation's new Platonix class assault ship was likewise developed in a team format. The ship was broken down into six section, with each section being designed by a different team. The team delivered the plans and the prototypes were built, the AFS Lake Placid and the AFS Lake Champlain. The overall performance of the ship was deemed mediocre, at best, but it reached every goal it was given, mounting decent armor, carrying ample firepower, and being able to deliver a heavy or assault mecha into combat and loiter as close air support. Eventually the faults were laid not at the R-XL group, but rather the committee that laid out the goals of project. Such a ship was deemed to be a failure, by it's limited ability to deliver mechs on the ground (at a grand total of 1) and it's limited firepower to support said mech. The handful of crews to serve on the ships adored them, and despite being technical failures, remained very popular among those who served them.

Notes and Usage

Research Accelerators aren't intended for player characters to interact with, they are a background and supporting element for the Cosmic Era. They were born from two things, a method to justify the rapid and bewildering way technology has bloomed in the setting, and from stumbling across the term funding accelerators, a term used for investments in a product that is expected to be mentored, polished, turned around, and demoed or publicly released in a very short time, generally 90 days. This application of arcanotech allows for a small group of people to rapidly pump out large amounts of finished stuff, especially things like prototype weapons, genetic modifications, new robots, and so forth.

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