Grazer
Grazer
Image from Steve Bowers
This grazer wormhole is extracting hot matter from the surface of a star

The vast amounts of energy consumed by archailect activity sometimes require more energy or materials than can be easily obtained in-system.

Grazers are purpose-built spherically symmetric wormholes carried into systems, such as globular clusters, that are rich in material and energy but (usually) poor in planetary materials.

Usage:

A likely system is identified and the microscopic wormhole is carried in via probe. Once the wormhole attains the desired orbit around the system to be converted, it is inflated at the receiving mouth with the proper scalar fields and energies to masses orders of magnitude larger than normal for standard stargates. *

Unlike typical wormholes, the inflation and stabilization apparatus is not recycled for other uses, but rather enhanced in preparation for heavy use. Once inflation is completed, additional specialized scaffolding is constructed on the receiving end of the grazer consisting of a complete shell of energy and mass collectors, and a large gamma-ray laser substation for power transmission (another origin for the name).

Typically, the harvesting mouth of a grazer contains most of the mass of the wormhole, to maximize efficiency.

Mode of Operation:

The harvesting end of a grazer is set in a decaying orbit around a system possessing large amounts of natural resources, such as a globular cluster, protostar nebula, or one of the dense solar systems found towards the galactic nucleus. The gravitational action of the wormhole then draws large amounts of matter during the initial phase of its operation. This matter is recycled to inflate the grazer to larger and larger masses; dynamic stabilization by archailects or specialized hyperturings of S3 or above is required to maintain wormhole viability.

During the second stage of operation, the grazer achieves enough mass to be able to skim material from energetic protostars and smaller stellar bodies, such as brown and white dwarfs, without collapsing.

Eventually, the grazer is able to cannibalize most of the stellar matter in the system, and can efficiently harvest solar masses of energy. Often the target stars are seeded with large quantities of monopoles to increase their energy conversion ratio. This phase often consumes large amounts of effort by the archailect to provide the extreme stabilization required during this stage of mass and energy harvesting.

Once the target system has been efficiently dismantled, the monopoles can be recollected (if massive), and the grazer wormhole itself is either placed into standby mode until needed again or moved to a new center of operations.

To shift a grazer from one worksite to another the mass energy in the harvesting mouth is transferred through the wormhole to the receiving mouth, which expands and gains mass accordingly. However, since the receiving mouth is purposely kept at a location remote from habitation/computation centers the increased mass and gravitation of the receiving mouth poses no danger. The now reduced harvesting mouth is transported via linelayer to a new location in proximity to another unused star system where the mass-energy of the wormhole is once more shifted to the harvesting mouth and the process begins again.

On occasion, the receiving mouth of the grazer may be more convenient to the next target system than the harvesting mouth or both ends of the wormhole may need to be shifted to new locations. In these situations mass-energy is transferred back and forth between the wormhole mouths, allowing first one and then the other to be transported wherever needed. With careful timing a harvester mouth may be expanded and released in deep space with a velocity that will have it arriving at a new target star system just after its receiver mouth has been set up and is ready to commence operations at a new location, even if years, decades, or centuries have been spent manoeuvering both gates into position across interstellar distances.

On very rare occasions, instead of being moved and reused, a grazer wormhole is induced to decay explosively, recycling a large portion of the initial energy budget and leaving behind a remnant black hole. The efficiency of this stage depends to a large degree upon the toposophic level and capabilities of the controlling sophont.

Remnant grazer black holes can, themselves, be efficiently harvested for energy.

History:

The first use of grazers was apparently in a war fought by the Negentropy Alliance, although the cause, identity, and other historical details of this conflict are not known outside of the Alliance. The Watcher inferred the usage from the disappearance, over a span of decades, of about 50 systems and numerous nebulae from a frontier zone bordering the Alliance that was previously emitting signals corresponding to an advanced civilization.

Inexplicably, large Dyson swarm computronium nodes have been observed at the former location of the missing systems, although the various polities have invariably invoked a Hazard Rating 10 on such locations, and no probes or ships have returned with survey data.

Observatories on several near-baseline frontier worlds have noted the sudden emergence of unusually dense areas of spectacular energy releases corresponding to frontier areas between certain polities.

Footnote:
  • Grazer construction requires the stabilization of asymmetric shape functional wormhole metrics. Typically archailects choose to interact with the grazer at the collection end, so as to minimize their exposure in the target system.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Adam Getchell

Initially published on 10 September 2005.

Page uploaded 10 September 2005, last modified 8 June 2007