The Hypernet allows faster than light travel far superior to training through Jump space. Both the Alliance and Syndicate Worlds constructed Hypernet routes through their territories that were accessible through massive Hypernet Gates positioned at the edge of a solar system. In order to travel through the gate toward a desired destination, a ship needed a Hypernet Key containing the codes to activate and enter the gate of that faction.
Physics of the HypernetEdit
Very little is understood about the physics behind the Hypernet.
It is generally accepted that a Hypernet creates a 'bubble universe' that contains the ships. The ships are surrounded by absolute darkness when in the 'bubble universe', and there is no way known for ships within it to communicate with each other, unlike Jump-space. The ships traveling through the hypernet do not actually move through space, but enter at one gate and then appear directly at another gate. However, if a gate is destroyed while ships are in transit, the ships may (according to the most popular theory) reappear in normal space some distance between the two gates, or be potentially destroyed. Interestingly, the larger the distance between the two points in known space, the smaller the travel time through the hypernet. From these descriptions, the hypernet seems to share ideas with the folded spacetime theories.
The gates themselves are constructed out of tethers that hold the hypernet energy matrix in place. Upon collapsing enough number of tethers, the structure can be collapsed. Different sequences of collapse can lead to energy releases ranging between absolutely nothing to the equivalent of a star going nova, enough to destroy an entire star system and possibly nearby systems also.
A Hypernet gate is activated by a Hypernet key, which contains an encrypted matrix that correlates to the matrix within the Hypernet gate. When the key is activated, these matricies merge, which allows the creation of the 'bubble universe'.
Each Hypernet system has a unique access code that is preset on its construction, meaning that if a key is stolen, the code cannot be changed to prevent its use without destroying the entire network. However, there seems to be a way to deactivate/edit the accessible gates on the Hypernet, as such an occurance prevents the Alliance First Fleet from leaving Midway via the Hypernet, and Unity Alternate's Hypernet gate is not accessible via normal methods. Although it appears both the Alliance and Syndicate have the capability to block or limit Hypernet access it is not explained as of yet how it was accomplished.
Hypernet Influence on Planetary EconomicsEdit
Hypernet gates are extremely expensive to build. For this reason, only rich star systems or those that have valuable, unique resources have their own gates to the hypernet in human space. Alien races use hypernet gates for defensive purposes along their border.
Many star systems that relied on through-system traffic as a major contributor to their economy have degraded or even been abandoned with the deployment of hypernet gates.
Origins of the HypernetEdit
Both Alliance and Syndicate built their hypernets at around the same time. Each side blamed the other for stealing the technology. However, as the story unfolds, it is revealed that the alien species referred to as the Enigmas leaked hypernet technology to both Syndics and Alliance.
The Enigmas leaked the Hypernet technology to humans as they knew that all major systems would have one built in it. However, the Enigmas knew of a way to make Hypernet gates remotely collapse, and in the process, release a nova-scale blast. This gave them a means to control and (if need be) destroy the majority of human colonies, thereby removing any threat against themselves. The Hypernet also functioned as a economy booster at a time where economic hardship was about to force an end to the Alliance-Syndicate war, something the Enigmas did not want (as it would allow the Syndics to focus solely on them).
During the war, multiple systems containing Hypernet gates were occupied by both sides, but the destructive power of the gates was not realised until Syndicate forces collapsed the gates at Sancere and Lakota, causing massive damage to both star systems. Alliance captain Jaylen Cresida later created a program to safely collapse Hypernet gates which was installed on all Alliance and Syndicate gates when it was revealed that the Enigma race could remotely collapse them.