Technological Assumptions

The Hegemony is a TL11 society. All citizens have access to the full range of TL11 goods and services, with a few exceptions as noted below.

Energy

Fusion power is a mature technology. On Earth or any other world, civilization is powered by a mix of fusion power plants and various forms of renewable energy. The power grid applies superconducting materials and “smart” load-balancing to use energy with great efficiency. Compact, portable, highly efficient fusion reactors are available for vehicles or on-site applications.

In space, the Hegemony sometimes uses antimatter power where high energy densities are necessary (e.g., on board armed or high-performance starships). Massive solar-power installations have been constructed close to Sol to generate antimatter fuel.

Agriculture and Industrial Production

Food production is still based on agriculture where that is possible. Agricultural work is almost entirely performed by machines – tens of thousands of acres of productive farmland can be managed by one or two people. Food can also be “printed,” produced through nanotech processes, where agriculture is impractical.

Industrial production is based on nanotech processes and “smart” robotics. All the consumer goods for a major urban center can be produced in a factory complex managed by a handful of people. Goods are based on million-year-old designs – flexible, highly efficient, and extremely durable. Any common piece of consumer technology, such as a tablet computer, is likely to last a human lifetime. There is a great deal of standardization, with people all over Earth using the same models of various items. On the other hand, most technological items are highly configurable to suit personal preference.

The Hegemony recycles everything in its effort to minimize “footprint.” All waste or refuse is returned to the intake of production processes.

Information Technology

Information systems are ubiquitous and thoroughly networked. The Hegemony’s equivalent of the Internet is a dense web, orders of magnitude more extensive than the global information grid of the early twenty-first century. Any citizen can call up vast amounts of technical knowledge, cultural information, or entertainment almost at will.

Robots (usually called “cybershells”) are everywhere, performing almost all labor. Even many “skilled” occupations are carried out almost entirely by cybershells, leaving most humans unemployed (and, in fact, unemployable).

One odd gap in Hegemony technology is the complete lack of self-aware, creative AI. Most machines can understand and produce natural language. Many of them can emulate personality, are quite intelligent and capable of “learning.” However, they do not have free will or true self-awareness, and are always considered property. All machine characters have the Non-Volitional AI package (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 27).

The Hegemony forbids the production of machines that appear fully lifelike or biological in origin – all cybershells can be recognized as artificial constructs on sight. Many humans suspect the Hegemony could build lifelike cybershells or “bioshells” as well as self-aware AI, and it’s something of a mystery why the khedai appear to forbid them.

Communications, Sensors, and Media

All the standard communicator types available through TL11 are in use. The Hegemony also uses TL11 superscience gravity-ripple communications (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 45), especially in space. There is no FTL equivalent of radio – all communications are by light-speed methods or courier.

Information technology has broken down all possible language barriers. Real-time idiomatic translation from one language to another is ubiquitous wherever the Hegemony’s infrastructure is reachable. Even completely new languages can be analyzed within hours (see Universal Translator Program, GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 48).

Neural interfaces are available, and can operate through induction rather than an implant or a direct connection. Neural induction helmets and pads are commonly available. Augmented reality, total virtual reality (“virtuality”), and dreamgames are all available. These technologies are an important part of the educational system. On the other hand, dreamgame addiction is a problem in human society.

All non-superscience sensor equipment available through TL11 is in use. The Hegemony also has TL11 superscience gravscanners (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 63). Ultrascanners and timescanners are not available.

Housing, Tools, and Survival Gear

Gravity control and gravity screen chambers are available (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 78). Grav hammers and tractor-pressor beams are not available.

Covert Ops and Security

Neural disruptor fields, dream nets, and gravity webs are all available (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 103).

Weaponry

All non-superscience weapons available through TL11 are in use. The Hegemony also uses TL11 superscience neural weapons (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 121) and in fact prefers these for non-lethal combat. Hegemony forces applied neural weapons during the Conquest, to incapacitate human defenders with minimal casualties. For lethal combat, the Hegemony uses a mix of lasers and grav guns. Gravity weapons (GURPS Ultra-Tech, page 128) are not available.

Defenses

Force fields of all types are not available. The primary defensive system is some form of armor.

Vehicles and Spaceships

Contragravity is available. Control of gravity also permits vehicles and ships to have an effective “reactionless” drive – the vehicle moves, not by expelling reaction mass, but by manipulating space-time in its vicinity. Spaceships can use the Super Reactionless drive module (GURPS Spaceships, page 24) which provides 10G acceleration.

Spaceships can also use stardrive modules for FTL travel (GURPS Spaceships, page 25). The standard FTL system is a “warp drive” (GURPS Spaceships, page 41), similar to the Alcubierre warp drive concept. One stardrive engine module permits a top FTL “speed” of about one light-year per 100 hours. Additional stardrive engines do not provide any improvement in travel time.

The Hegemony also constructs wormhole bridges between major stellar systems, to provide a short-cut for major trade routes. For example, a wormhole bridge has been set up between the khedai colony at Danaam (Delta Pavonis) and the major nexus system of Vidaruun. The wormhole network can drastically reduce travel time throughout the Hegemony; even ships without stardrive can still use the network.

© 2016 Jon F. Zeigler