Aesthetics of FTL

How does faster-than-light travel look with geometry drives?

Well. There's a surprising amount of diversity when it comes to faster-than-light travel.

The geometry drive section of a spaceship is usually one of the most well-protected areas of the vessel, not because the drive is fragile or dangerous (it is orders of magnitude less critical than a fusion engine for instance) but simply because it is very, very easy to disrupt its operations by just walking into the room and playing with parameters. And yes, that happens. Drives have a way of influencing people in the strangest manner.

Anyway, where was I? Yes, the drive. The most striking aspect of a geometry drive is that it gleams slightly in the dark even when offline. There is but speculation on what causes this phenomenon, though the light itself is only made of photons and fairly innocuous. Geometry drives only start emitting light after their maiden translation which has fed the most common theory pertaining to this light, which is that the drive somehow accumulates energy during a translation and releases it as light. In any case, the light emitted by a geometry drive depends on its composition. Most drives gleam in cyan or indigo while drives manufactured on Ishtar gleam in dark red and Azur-made drives in very pale blue. Traverse-made geometry drives use a proprietary coating technology that creates variations in spectrum depending on the state of the drive: a functional drive gleams in blue, a damaged yet operational drive in orange while a non-functional drive is red or black.

When a drive is primed for a jump and starts its pinging process the intensity of its light increases about tenfold and a buzzing sound can be distinctly heard around the drive: it corresponds to the vibrations being sent through the drive as the ship calculates the translation. Navigators and technicians often report that the buzzing sound feels strangely relaxing due to low-frequency vibrations being emitted at the same time. The translation process itself is almost impossible to notice from the inside of the ship. Some navigators report a fleeting feeling of weightlessness that has yet to be explained.

Seen from the outside a translation is a rather colourful event. At the entry point, the ship looks like it just vanishes into space, with a very brief emission of white-yellow light. At the exit point however the ship seems to be subjected to some kind of "hyperdimensional redshift" as the Starmoth Initiative puts it. Its frame first appears blue, then switches to violet and finally red before taking its regular colours.

Illustration from the Mass Effect franchise. This is copyrighted. I just wanted to use it. 

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