Short, basic introduction to Engineering, Science and Technology

ANTI-PROTONS (AP): A negatively charged proton that reacts explosively when it contacts a proton (found in the nucleus of any atom). AP is the basic fuel source of Commonwealth civilization, lighting cities and powering spaceship from star to star.

ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY: A versatile technology, which harnesses exotic matter concentrations to alter and manipulate gravitational fields for various purposes. For example, in a spaceship, artificial gravity is used to reduce effective mass for thrust, to prevent items from being squashed by the ship's acceleration and to allow the crew to operate throughout the ship. Also, when artificial gravity is concentrated on an area outside of the ship away from a gravity source (like a planet or sun) it can be used to generate a rip in the fabric of space, allowing the ship to enter the slipstream (see Slipstream).

FLEXI: A flexible plastic computer sheet which is one of the most ubiquitous technologies in known space. Seeing a Commonwealth mentor or All Systems University researcher scribbling notes onto a flexi is a familiar sight to nearly every sentient in known space. It's no wonder. Once written on, the flexi-writer's handwriting is automatically transposed from sloppy handwriting to neat and easy-to-read text. Variations of the flexi are used by nearly every species in the Commonwealth for purposes ranging from instruction to literary composition to gaming.

INTERSTELLAR COMMUNICATION: Many methods have been attempted over the centuries to communicate between worlds at faster-than-light speeds -- from inducing forced tachyon beams to quantum entanglement to slipstream radio. Regrettably, none have yet succeeded.

Instead, millions of tiny courier ships, each with a single pilot, ply the starlanes for the Commonwealth Courier Network (CCN), relaying messages, news and information to nearly every inhabited point in known space. At regularly scheduled intervals, an information-laden CCN ship flies from one system to another, sends its messages by encoded laser, receives outgoing transmissions, then speeds along to the next stop on its route. The High Guard also maintains its own dedicated courier system, as do several private concerns, but none are a fraction as vast as the CCN.

NANOTECHNOLOGY: A widespread technology in the Known Worlds, nanotech is the creation and use of microscopic machines. Virtually every appliance, building, and vehicle in the Commonwealth has nanotech components deployed for a variety of purposes. For example, when a High Guard ship needs replacement parts, small nano-machines can be used to assemble them molecule by molecule. More nano-machines continuously maintain and repair systems, minimizing failures and breakdowns. Still others defend against attacks by hostile nanomachines, which have a long history of use as weapons in modern warfare.

Commonwealth citizens even carry nano-machines inside their bodies, providing protection from disease and infection, as well as repairing and maintaining organs to keep them in top condition.

PERCENTAGE OF THE SPEED OF LIGHT (PSL): The basic Commonwealth measurement unit for spaceships travelling at sublight speed. Cargo ships move 20-30 PSL, warships move at 30-50 PSL, fighters at 40-75 PSL, defensive missiles at 60-70 PSL and offensive missiles at 85-95 PSL.

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