Prior to the discovery of a practical way to navigate hyperspace there was no way to travel faster then the speed of light, limiting a ship to the velocity it could achieve with its engines alone. This bound the majority of ships to their home system as the fuel requirements to reach high subluminal speeds were prohibitive; the time to travel between systems more so.
Observation of certain natural phenomena convinced many that the ultra high velocities these objects could reach were indicative of a possible way to transition with greater velocity about a star system with limited fuel consumption. It was soon discovered that these phenomena were in fact hyperspace bubbles and more so were attracting dark matter before converting even small amounts of the illusive matter into dark energy. At that point even a small outside force would toss them away at high supraluminal speeds. Efforts were then undertaken to find ways to capture these bubbles and to harness their potential for high speed intra-system travel.
Though the theory and math behind slipstream drives is difficult to explain, the actual function is not so. A captured hyperspace bubble, once excited by the bombardment of tachyons the bubble will attract any dark matter in surrounding space, coating the object, in most cases a ship, in dark matter. It will then state change the dark matter into dark energy. Once this occurs, the dark energy decreases the effective mass of the object. Once this occurs any outside force exerted on the object results in a correspondingly higher acceleration than normal.
In practice, SlipSteam Drives (SSDs) are made up of the hyperspace bubble containment bulb and the tachyon excitation array. These integrated units can be swapped out with ease on a variety of ships as the hyperspace bubbles lose their strength the more they are used. More advanced SSDs can self-recharge the hyperspace bubble, though this is a power intensive process. In use recharging is also available, but at substantially greater power consumption.
Modern SSDs will decrease the mounted ship’s mass by several orders of magnitude such that the onboard drives will be able to acceleration the ships to high relativistic speeds. These SSDs are defined by their mass reduction class. Therefore the velocity a craft can attain is directly related to the size and lifespan of the bubbles they carry, as well as the power of their own engines. As super massive capital ships can carry larger drives and have more powerful engines, they can end up far faster on the slipstream then any strike craft they might carry. SSDs installed on larger ships are typically self-charging. These SSDs feature hyperbubble generators installed that can maintain their bubbles, whereas the SSDs carried by fighters and support craft must be recharged or replaced between missions.
|Class||Ship Scale||Mass Reduc||Bubble Diameter||Duration||Notes|
|A||Capital||10^-10||30||finite||Can maintain as long as onboard Hyperbubble Matrix is functional|
|B||Capital||10^-9||25||finite||Can maintain as long as onboard Hyperbubble Matrix is functional|
|C||Capital||10^-9||25||10 cycles||Non-rechargeable Hyperbubble Matrix|
|D||Heavy||10^-9||20||10 cycles||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|E||Corvette||10^-7||16||7 cycles||Partial Charge Hyperbubble Matrix|
|F||Medium||10^-7||12||5 cycles||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|G||Medium||10^-6||3||7 cycles||Partial Charge Hyperbubble Matrix|
|H||Light||10^-6||3||4 cycles||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|I||Bomber||10^-5||1.5||4 cycles||Partial Charge Hyperbubble Matrix|
|J||Fighter||10^-5||1||2 cycles||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|K||Fighter||10^-4||0.5||2 cycles||Partial Charge Hyperbubble Matrix|
|L||Fighter||10^-4||0.5||1 cycle||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|L+||Fighter||10^-5||0.5||10-Hect||Specially modified type L found aboard S.5000s primarily. Usually used in conjunction with a second L+ or a standard L type.|
|M||Probe||10^-4||0.4||25-Hect||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|M+||Probe||10^-5||0.4||8.0-Hect||No Hyperbubble Matrix aboard|
|N||Probe||10^-4||0.4||1 cycle||Partial Charge Hyperbubble Matrix|
|O||Torpedo||10^-6||0.5||1.5-Hect||Special use for extreme long range torpedoes, usually employed against fleeing craft while they are using their SSDs, based off of the Type L+.|