As this Progress Level opens, two key events herald humanity’s climb to the stars. First, the mass reactor is invented, giving humanity a virtually limitless, easily miniaturized power source. And second, the fraal, long living in secret and watching the earth, note humanity’s advancements and first steps into the stars. With First Contact in 2124, the fraal open official contact with the human race and begin sharing technology. While the fraal are boggled by earth’s mass reactors, having never mastered dark matter, fraal gravity induction technology plants the seed that will catapult humanity and its fraal allies into the stars. The union of the two species’ most advanced technologies– dark matter physics and gravitic technology– gives birth to the only known means of traveling faster than light: the stardrive.
With the use of the stardrive, world powers begin to explore, divide, and colonize the local and distant star systems. Projectile firearms are in their last days, as crude energy weapons become available. Powered armor becomes available to warriors of this age. Personal (melee) weapons enjoy a resurgence, due in large part to a shift in military tactics– armed conflict between individuals seldom occurs on an army scale, but more frequently involves engagements of small units in conditions where ranged weapons are not nearly as effective.
Computer and mass transceiver technology link every society, settlement, and outpost of a star systems in a single information grid, creating an unparalleled and expedient exchange of knowledge and data for business, entertainment, and research. With the addition of the drivesat relay, the Grid as we know it is born, linking not just planets, but distant star systems. It is during this age of exploration and upheaval that humanity fragments into many the stellar nations:Stellar Nations and encounters both the other starfaring races (the mechalus and the t’sa) and the less advanced weren and sesheyans.
Control of gravity is one of the key features of Progress Level 7. The development of gravitonic science and gravitonic engineering leads to a host of miraculous devices: levitating cars, interplanetary drives that require no reaction mass, and a wide range of military tools. Just as the application of electricity was spurred by the discovery of the induction principle, the creation of devices that induce gravitational energy leads to an effective control over weight.
Gravity induction relies on the phenomenon first set forth in Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity: An object’s mass approaches infinity as the object’s velocity approaches the speed of light. By using a cyclotron to accelerate a tiny particle to near-light speed, the gravity generator creates gravitons between the particle and the surrounding mass. These gravitons can be siphoned off, redirected, or stored by use of the induction coil.
At PL 7, gravity inducers can be miniaturized to the size of hockey pucks for special applications. An inducer powerful enough to negate a human’s gravitational attraction to the Earth is about the size of a discus, while the induction motor in a flying car requires a gravity generator about the size of a spare tire.