Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tirolian Space and the Flower of Life

This is a bit of explanation fitting the Robotech universe into the broader Star Wars galaxy. As I get time, inspiration, and boredom, I intend to write more along this line, regarding the technology brought to bear on the world of Aeolis III.

Tirolian Space
Tirolian Space is a small cluster on the outer edges of the galaxy, isolated from galactic society by an anomalous stellar nursery. The cluster contains several system, most populated by what seem to be Humans, though no one is clear how they reached their respective systems. The cluster is named for one of the more influential systems of the cluster, Tirol, but many other systems exist, with varying native races. The Tirolians, for their part, are effectively Human, though they favor reproduction through cloning, rather than "traditional" means.

Isolated from the galaxy at large, the Tirolians have developed their own technology. They have not developed hyperspace travel, instead relying on far slower and more difficult "spacefold" technology; trips possible in days on a backup hyperdrive might take months or even years by the fastest Tirolian vessels. They have also not widely developed repulsorlift technology (though some systems make limited use of primitive versions of it), instead using a "vectored thrust" technology.

Most unusual is their power source, which they refer to as "Protoculture". By distilling a plant known as the "Flower of Life", they are able to make "protoculture", which provides large amounts of energy for long periods of time. Protoculture, however, also has the effect of infusing technology with some semblance of a living essence, which is enhanced by sympathetic forms... in short, if a machine powered by protoculture is in a humanoid form, it interacts more closely with its pilot, resulting in better control and reflexes than is normally possible with their technological base. As a result, many of their individual craft bear some semblance of humanoid form.

Approximately two generations ago, a major internal conflict broke out among the Tirolians. Tirol itself is led by a caste of Scientist-Priests called the "Robotech Masters"; one of their number, Zor, defected from that caste, taking with him a large battleship and a goodly number of the Robotech Masters giant slave-race, the Zentraedi. Damaged in combat, that battleship crashed on an even MORE primitive planet, whose scientists reverse engineered Tirolian technology, merging it with their own technological base in unique ways. One of their creations was the "variable fighter"; a starfighter-sized spacecraft capable of changing form from a standard aerospace fighter to a humanoid fom, and a secondary form between the two. Developed to fight the Zentraedi (some few of whom survived the initial crash, but not first contact), these "Veritechs" might stand as tall as 20 meters in humanoid shape.
Since that time, the humans of this primitive world have developed into major powers in the sector, fighting off an invasion of the Zentraedi, the Robotech Masters themselves, and a third race, the "Invid", who claim to have originated the protoculture technology. The Flower of Life, vital to the power systems of the cluster, grows well only on the planet of the Invid (named Optera) and the planet accidentally invaded by Zor, called Aeolis III.

The Flower of Life
The Flower of Life is a curious plant, seemingly native to Optera, but thriving on Aeolis III, where it spread after the assault of the Robotech Masters on that planet. Theorized to enhance a connection to the force, those who eat it experience a euphoric effect, sometimes with hallucinations, and occasional access to Force powers of the Sense discipline; glimpses of the future, telepathic communication, and clairvoyant visions have all been reported.

When properly processed, the Flower of Life can be used to produce Protoculture, an energy source similar in power to galactic standards. Its potential to imbue a degree of life essence into machines, however, helps to make them more responsive, and increasingly more responsive as the machine becomes more humanoid.

Technological Deficiencies of Tirolian Space
Tirolian technology developed seemingly independently of galactic technology; even such commonplaces as repulsorlift and hyperdrive technologies are completely absent from the Tirolian toolkit. Likewise, Tirolian shield technology is very primitive; Tirolian shields create a "shell" around that which is shielded. A Tirolian ship with shields engaged (if it even HAS shields) is unable to fire weapons or thrusters, relying on momentum to continue advances. As such, Tirolian ships tend to rely on smaller, movable "shield discs", and operators whose job it is to interpose those shield discs between the hull and incoming blasts, missiles, and projectiles

Tirolian weapon systems tend to use the less-efficient lasers, rather than the blasters of galactic technology. Their larger weapons are often not blasters at all, instead firing solid projectiles on ballistic trajectories, or using mass driver technology to propel inert projectiles. Many of their ships rely on missiles as a primary offensive armament. They have, however, developed powerful "reflex cannons" for some of their larger ships, capable of destroying several capital-scale ships with a single firing, and smaller versions of these weapons for use on a planet.

As mentioned above, Tirolian flight is based on vectored thrust; rapid expulsion of gasses, frequently heated, to counteract gravity. Some systems within Tirolian space have developed primitive repulsorlifts, but the systems are not widespread. As a result, Tirolian starfighters are frequently unable to launch from planets without the aid of boosters (similar to how starfighters of the Clone Wars era required external systems to reach hyperspace).

Tirolians also do not make use of hyperspace, instead using spacefold technology to propel large ships and their surroundings through realspace at superliminal speeds; the phrase "and their surroundings" is quite literal. During the first war against Aeolis III, the reconstructed Tirolian battleship that the Aeolians piloted executed a "spacefold" within the atmosphere, resulting in a portion of the atmosphere, ocean, and even a small island being cast to the outer edges of the system, along with the ship. The systems are slow, both in terms of transit times and in initiation times, but adequate in such a small space (less than 500 light years across).