CANNON, HYPER-SPACE: In the millennia before the rediscovery of hyper-drive Cannon, travel between worlds was next to impossible. A vessel leaving Coruscant had to accelerate until it reached near light speeds. However since nothing in normal or N space can exceed light, and the energy cost of accelerating even to 80% was prohibitive, there was literally nowhere to go, and no fast way to get there. The aliens that had left samples of what had to be hyper-light drives had left us no way to make them work. We were primitive natives trying to figure out how a flash-lamp makes light.
However hyper-space physicists on Coruscant came upon an interesting anomaly in some of the hyper-drive engines they had discovered; a field of energy still alive after countless millennia that literally made small objects disappear. The experimenters threw pens, paperclips, loose garbage, anything they could expend without too much cost into the field and watched it all vanish. It was postulated at the time that the unknown energy field entered another dimension, and objects stayed there.
However a simple prank proved this wrong. One of the younger researchers had been carrying a lurid magazine he subscribed to for several days to shock other more religious researchers. After an argument, one of those researchers had thrown it into the field.
Then a moon base on the edge of the system returned the magazine with a demand to know who had obviously thrown it from a shuttle. They knew who to contact because the address of the original owner was still attached to it. The magazine had struck the dome of the military installation hard enough to punch through the clearsteel of it.
The researchers contacted the moon base, set up a watch, and sent the same magazine through. Less than four hours later, they received word that the magazine had somehow covered the 10 light minute distance with a starting velocity of perhaps three meters per second. Clearly impossible in known physics.
The military became involved, and one day after the arrival of another operative engine at that base, a metal rod weighing 1 kilogram landed in the field outside the primary military headquarters. It had traveled from the base, and burned as it hit the atmosphere
It was discovered that the field actually made pinpoint wormholes between the generator and a specific distance determined by it’s mass. The lighter it was, the farther away it reached.
At this stage it was merely a useful toy. However the researchers now heavily funded by the military were able to build duplicates of the section of the drive that was working. It was discovered that the amount of energy (The unit operated in the millijoule level) was the most important. The range could be increased or decreased by adjusting the amount of energy consumed. The first successful launch sent a man sized research package to the same moon base. Later tests boosted that mass to a shuttle with ten men in it.
Ten years after this was worked out, plans for a ‘hyper cannon’ were submitted.
In comparison to the units it mimicked, it was hopelessly crude. The ‘barrel’ of this cannon was a grid 50 meters across, and a kilometer long. It used megajoules of evergy. But if they had judged correctly, it would transmit something large enough for a man to sit in across interstellar distances. The problem with that was it would take years before a message that the traveler had arrived.
Instead the data necessary to build a duplicate was transcribed, and a ship ‘Hawk 1’ was aimed at the planet Anaxes two and a half light years from Coruscant. The ten men of her crew entered their ship, drove toward the cannon, and were gone.
No one knew what happened to them. Hawk 1 disappeared with all hands. A second ship sent toward Corulag also disappeared. However, the third, launched toward Chandrila, returned eight months later.
It has been postulated that the first ships had been sent with either too much energy, meaning they passed through the target system before stopping, or too little, meaning they ran out before they arrived. The research council again returned to working out exactly how much energy was needed to move a specific mass.
The Chandrila route became an overnight success as commerce grew to include the new markets on both sides. With passage times between systems of less than a week tourism has risen. The three week round trip with a layover passages from Coruscant to Chandrila for a cruise on Lake Sah’ot or the Silver Sea has become the new cachet for the idle rich.
Before the decade was out fifteen planets at the center of the galaxy were trading with ease. Those systems built their own networks of cannon to spread farther and those new systems did the same. Soon dedicated cannon aimed for specific destinations were built, creating entire new networks.
Over 200 systems now inhabit the ‘cannon net’ from Lortu to Wayland, from Ambria to Kifex. From the core to the Inner Rim and beyond. Some of those planets beyond the rim have reported extending it further, and trade has become the glue that binds our association together. If the people can ever agree on something as simple as a name, a republic of independent systems will soon span the galaxy...
From: Encyclopedia Galactica: