Savage Reich Star Tech #3.4: Contra-Grav
Contra-Gravity technology can work in many ways, but I want to put a sense of realism to the technology of Reich Star.
Contra-Grav is simply the technology of manipulating an object’s individual gravity signature to work contrary to a larger gravity well’s influence. In most cases, that is working contrary to the Earth’s own gravitational influence, but it can also mean the gravitational influences of other stellar bodies like the sun or planets.
It started as a simple technology primarily used in military use. Jets flew more efficiently, cargo was moved faster and at less fuel cost, but powering contra-grav capacitors proved to be a challenge until the mid-1950s. Experimental units were built into large vehicles at first – trucks, railway cars, etc. Eventually Porsche built a luxury model for the Elite of Reich society. Eventually, once the technology was perfected, public market models were built.
The first models of contra-grav simply made things float. Propulsion was accomplished by some sort of jets or propellers. Huge dirigibles-like vessels were commonly seen in the air. More advanced modern versions are still seen today. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that contra-gravity technology was advanced enough to manipulate the field laterally as well as vertically.
This new contra-gravity tech directed the manipulation of gravity in such a way that objects virtually “fell” in the directions they wanted the object to go. Speeds never obtained by jets or propellers were reached by this new technology. Contra-Grav super trains were built to cross continents in hours. Contra-gravity passenger “zeppelins” or G-Zep Liners became the new means of conveyance for luxury vacations, like cruises of the past. Contra-Grav vehicles become more common to the elite and their “underlings” but were not available to the commoners until nearly the end of the 20th Century. The governments of the Reich and the Empire did not want the commoners to have access to such speeds and freedom of movement, so technological limitations had to be built into the “economy” systems. These limited the altitudes (the elites did not want the commoners tarnishing their airways) as well as speeds (the authorities had to have the faster vehicles). These “economy” units were called Skimmers because they barely got above a foot or two off the ground.
As space travel advanced, contra-grav technology was used to overcome many of the challenges. Gravity plates, although expensive, are commonly used in larger ships and stations. Gravity Field manipulation is used to counter the effects of high speed G forces in interplanetary travel, making trips between systems even shorter. Gravity shielding is used to protect ships against space debris, relieving the ships of much of the heavy armor plating that ate up all that fuel.