S:5 Void Factory including 12 stellar-mass black holes and 12 neuron stars
A void factory (also known as a void forge) is used to mass produce void bubbles for use in reactionless drives, metric weapons, void pockets, stasis bubbles, and various other applications. Those most commonly known to modosophonts are massive structures covering hundreds of thousands to millions of kilometers, although at the highest S-levels the design changes drastically such that the very concept of mass or size may not even be said to properly apply.
S4 Void Factory
At the Fourth Singularity, the technology and means to begin creating void bubbles become available. S4 void factories require multiple planetary masses of material and mass-conversion rates comparable to entire stars. While production is only a fraction of that achieved by S5 and higher minds, it is sufficient for the creation of a Displacement drive core every few years. If this rate proves too slow, a determined archailect may industrialize an entire star system, constructing multiple void factories to supply the construction of entire fleets of reactionless drive craft.
The first S4 void factory was created in 2169 AT, less than a century after the appearance of the first Fourth Singularity minds, and the first Displacement drive vessel was launched in 2175.
S:4 Void Factory Design and Operations
Fourth Singularity void factories are built around a binary pair of closely interacting black holes, each of several planetary masses or larger. Rather than being of equal mass, one hole is significantly larger than the other and is circled by the smaller hole, which travels on a short period elliptical orbit. Surrounding both holes is a network of mass streams, which deliver raw materials, usually hydrogen, to both singularities. Both black holes are surrounded by accretion disks — the larger supporting a high energy plasma phase computronium array used for process control, the smaller feeding a Deep Well Industrial Zone.
Part of the hydrogen delivered to the Deep Well Industrial Zone is converted into magmatter, which is then used to construct a stabilization generator and control system for each newly manufactured void bubble. The rest is packaged for use as fuel to power the stabilization hardware, either directly via conversion reactors or by being imploded into a micro-singularity which then radiates energy to a collection sphere via Hawking decay.
As the smaller black hole achieves the periapsis of its orbit around the larger, space-time between the two becomes highly distorted, verging on collapse. At this point the stabilization and control system of the void bubble is injected directly into the center of the zone of greatest distortion. At the same moment, arrays of scalar field generators, which themselves have been on converging orbits around the binary system and are also now at closest approach to the point of maximal distortion, activate and force a shaped implosion of the distorted region into a warp bubble. The stabilization generator, caught inside the implosion zone, activates and prevents the newly formed bubble from collapsing before flying it to a nearby staging area or industrial facility for incorporation into a reactionless drive core, displacement cannon weapons system, or whatever other instrumentality the creating archailect deems fit.
Fourth Singularity void factories vary in their output, depending on the size of the central black hole and the number of secondary holes orbiting it, but generally range from producing one to a few dozen void bubbles per day.
In the Current Era, it is estimated that there are as many as half a million S4 void factories in operation across the Terragen Bubble. Exact numbers are difficult to determine since many installations are located outside the Civilized Galaxy or within modosophont no-go zones inside it.
S5 Void Factory
The most famous class of void factory (relatively speaking), Fifth Singularity-level devices are also believed to the largest and most mass-intensive in the conventional sense. Observation of these devices comes from a variety of sources, including various godwatcher organizations, members of the Technorapture Hypernation, and a particularly forthcoming seraiph believed to be associated with the archailect Orion. Their various accounts have been used to create the summary that follows.
The first S5 void factory went online in 4300 AT, a bit over three centuries after the appearance of the first recorded Fifth Singularity minds, primarily due to the time required to collect the nearly 100 solar masses of raw material required for factory construction. The first Halo drive vessel was launched later that same year.
S:5 Void Factory Design and Operations
The main part of a Fifth Singularity void factory is a million kilometer diameter Klemperer rosette of alternating 1 solar mass black holes and 2 solar mass neuron stars networked together via comm-gauge wormhole links to operate as a high speed process control core. A total of 24 bodies (12 holes, 12 neuron stars) make up the rosette.
At the center of the rosette is an artificial cosmic string, slowed to a stop from its post-creation relativistic velocity, and tied into a 3-dimensional 'knot' of rapidly cycling loops that pass close to each other in a repeating pattern but never quite touch. The string outmasses everything else in the factory.
Moving in rapid repeating orbits among all the major bodies are streams of much smaller black holes (1 Earth mass each) directed so that the individual streams all pass through the loops of the cosmic knot at the center in a precisely timed fashion. There are some six million holes (six solar masses) cycling through the system in six separate streams of one million holes each (note; some larger factories have extra streams). At the center of the complex, inside the cosmic knot, six holes (one from each of the 6 different streams) pass near each other on crisscrossing paths every second, strongly warping local space-time. At the same time, the cycling string generates pulses of gravity waves from multiple points along its length (generated as it goes through its cycle) that intersect in the same area as the passing holes. Space-time is strongly contorted in this region, so much so that it nearly folds in on itself.
Each of the main black holes in the Klemperer ring is surrounded by a dense accretion disk. The matter in the disks is imported on a constant basis by a great network of mass streams fed from materials shipped in via grazer from elsewhere in the galaxy (for this reason most Fifth Singularity void factories are located in proximity to supermassive stars (100+ solar masses), dense stellar clusters, or massive nebulae). Each accretion disk is tremendously hot and hosts networks of plasma processors which handle the fine details of manufacturing process control. The accretion driven processors are themselves maintained by magmatter hardware and void bubble 'herders' which control the plasma magnetically and gravitationally. However, despite their size and complexity, the large black holes are really just convenient storage and staging areas.
The cycling streams of Earth mass black holes orbit through the outer edges of the larger hole accretion disks and 'feed' from them as they pass, creating their own smaller accretion disks. Void mote and magmatter structures surrounding each of the smaller holes control both the influx of matter and the structure of the accretion disks as they form, triggering nucleosynthesis and other reactions even hotter and stranger. Each micro-hole is a Deep Well Industrial Zone dedicated to the creation of 1/6 of a void bubble stabilization generator. Each generator segment is made of a mix of mag and conventional matter components and is both transmuted and assembled into existence during its voyage between the main hole accretion disks and the central cosmic knot.
As the holes (now orbited by completed void bubble stabilizer components and a remaining supply of plasma) pass through to the interior of the ever moving cosmic knot, final process control becomes critical. Close passage with the knot strips a portion of the plasma away from each accretion disk and a combination of knot motion and controlled magnetic fields moves the plasma to 'pinch processors' at various points around the knot. Each pinch point is a plasma processor using quark/gluon plasma running hotter and faster than even the best 'conventional' plasma node operating in the icy depths of a star or accretion disk. The pinch processors are simple and not terribly versatile but tremendously fast. They fine tune the control of the string, the black hole streams, and the placement of the void stabilizer components.
At the precise center of the cosmic knot all six black hole streams converge and eject the newly created stabilizer components on intercepting trajectories along with the last of the spare plasma from their accretion disks (only enough remains to support each holes individual plasma processors after this). The six components and the plasma all come together and connect to each other in a process that has been described as something like using shaped explosions to create a complex sculpture from six detonation points located at 6 different locations all of which are in motion. At this precise moment, the motion of the knot causes space to fold over on itself into a warp bubble. The newly created void stabilizer activates, grabs onto the newly formed warp bubble and prevents it from collapsing. The plasma sent with the components is rapidly cooled and condensed and becomes fuel for the bubble generator. And the newly created void mote flies out of the center of the knot and moves to a staging area located either above or below the factory.
Meanwhile the 'drained' micro-hole returns to the big accretion disk around one of the main holes and the cycle repeats again.
Every second the cycle repeats. Every second a new void bubble is created. 3600 bubbles per hour. 86400 bubbles per day. 31,536,000 bubbles per year. In the Current Era, it is estimated that there are perhaps 1000 S5 void factories in operation across the Terragen Bubble. Exact numbers are difficult to determine for much the same reasons that the number of Fourth Singularity factories is uncertain.
S6 Void Factory
At the Sixth Singularity, the process of creating void bubbles changes drastically. Rather than amassing huge quantities of matter to warp local space-time for the purposes of creating warp bubbles more easily, space-time itself is re-engineered to create such bubbles.
It is unknown when the first Sixth Singularity void factory was put into operation, but it must have been well before the mid-7200's, when the High Road became available for Nexus travel.
Void Factory Design and Operations
Although the exact mechanism of its creation is unknown, it is widely theorized that an S6 void factory is very similar in principle to the multi-branching space-time structures generated by the Galbydeia Torus, but vastly more sophisticated. Like the Galbydeia structures, a Sixth Singularity factory consists of a wormhole like gateway that opens into a branching, basement universe -like artificial space-time. However, after that, the similarities largely cease.
The pocket space-time of the S6 factory consists of large voids interspersed with regions, or 'cusps' of extreme space-time curvature. These regions replicate the conditions found at the heart of both S4 and S5 void factories, but are self-stabilizing zones of stable dark matter produced as a 'natural' property of the artificial space-time itself. As a consequence, the interior of the factory does not require the presence of the large quantities of matter used in the lower-S systems. Along with the mass of the dark matter cusps, the wormhole gate accessing the factory has properties very similar to a grazer, able to shift its mass from one mouth to the other and gain mass from the matter passing through it. As such, it can reduce its 'outer mouth' to minimal size and mass for easy transport and then expand it again to a size and mass that can forcefully disassemble planets, stars, or entire solar systems. The access gate of the void factory has much smaller asymptotic flatness limits than either a grazer or transport wormhole, although the tidal stresses associated with passage through the Throat are such that only magmatter or matter protected by a void bubble can safely pass through without being torn apart down to the level of its component molecules.
During normal operations, the void factory will position its wormhole gate in orbit around a star, brown dwarf, or dense nebula and then activate, expanding in size and mass until matter is drawn into the gateway via gravitational attraction. Once inside, void bubble 'herders' associated with the factory manage the mass inflow and direct it into proximity with some the lower mass cusps where it forms multiple accretion disks which act as Deep Well Industrial Zones. As with the lower-S factories, these DWIZs use nucleosynthesis to create heavy elements and even higher energy reactions to synthesize magmatter. These materials are then used to manufacture the stabilization hardware for each bubble.
The completed stabilization generators, along with a supply of matter for later use as fuel, are then routed into close proximity passes with the larger cusps within the factory, where their additional mass causes the already heavily warped space-time around the cusps to fold up into a void bubble around each unit. At that moment, the stabilization generators activate, stabilize the newly formed void bubble, and then manipulate it to exit the factory and route itself to wherever it is needed.
S6 void factories vary their output according to the needs of their controlling archailect, but generally have rates of production around three orders of magnitude greater than their Fifth Singularity counterparts.
The exact number of S6 void factories is unclear, with estimates ranging from dozens to hundreds of installations spread across known space.