An aetheric gate is the means by which properly equipped individuals (or vehicles) can access the point-to-point transit network that exists within the aether.
The primary point of aetheric gates and their associated transit network is to allow interplanetary travel without actually traveling across incredibly vast stretches of the Void. Their secondary but perhaps more important function is to provide long-term stability and ease of use for their attached Gate spells.
The Gate spell - the fundamental operation of the aetheric gate - was discovered to be very unstable when used over a long period of time; the aetheric disturbance created by the Gate function itself would quickly overwhelm the physical existence of the Gate unless constantly repaired. Before her ascension, Rosewood created a prototype artifact which would in theory allow its attached Gate to remain open indefinitely, as the artifact itself would automatically counter the disturbances. Being theory, however, the artifact ended up creating a tightly contained but extremely potent anomaly which directly caused the collapse of two alternate worldspaces after Rosewood attempted to repair it.
The second prototype version created some time later ended up being the final design, as then-Goddess Rosewood was able to see the problem for what it was: a matter of balance. Taking advantage of her divine powers, primarily rune magic, she was able to properly define the aetheric gate (specifically, its construction and all inherent functions). Further tinkering with the aether resulted in the formation of the special aetheric anomalies that are the very foundation of the transit network.
Later on, the standard size aetheric gate was scaled down to a point that its aetheric disturbances were easily manageable even over long periods of activation. This smaller type of gate, the minigate, can be further scaled down if desired and is used primarily for messaging and data transfer applications as well as anything else requiring only a small amount of physical space.
There are two main types of aetheric gates, the standard size for material and personnel transport and the miniature size (minigates) used primarily for data transfer applications. Standard gates are a uniform 14.7m in diameter from point to point on the outside of their octagonal frames; the usable gate diameter (once again point-to-point) is limited to 14.1m due to the thickness of the frame, preventing items of larger size from traveling the transit network. Minigates are much more loosely regulated, topping out at 10cm (including the frame) and on down to microscopic scale.
Transit network Edit
The point-to-point transit network within the aether is a remarkably simple concept, made of Nodes connected by Links.
Nodes are the first designed of the two aetheric anomalies; each one occupies a specific location in physical space, and serves as a suitable location for a stable aetheric gate. Full-size aetheric gates do not work properly outside of Nodes. Due to the nature of the aether as well as the influence of Eris, Nodes are not always active, nor do they always stay inactive once made so.
Links are the other type of aetheric anomaly; each one serves as a connection between two Nodes. A Node may have any number of Links attached to it. Like Nodes, Links may be active or inactive at various times under various conditions; unlike Nodes, they may be temporarily created by those with enough energy to crease and bend the aether to their own purposes, though most mortals have nowhere near enough power on their own.
Safety features Edit
Unlike raw Gate spells, aetheric gates offer a number of handy safety features to keep transit a painless or at least non-lethal process.
- Doorstop - an aetheric gate, if ordered to close, will not shut off until the concentration of matter in and around it (its buffer area) is down to nominal levels, preventing travelers from being sliced into bits or otherwise inconvenienced once the Gate collapses. This feature can be overridden with the right sequence of runes.
- Environmental matching - if the environment of the target location differs significantly from that of the starting location, the Gate will not fully open until confirmed; travelers will be able to see the other side but not access it until confirmation is given.
- Error correction - should anything go wrong during a transit (or sometimes, just randomly), the aetheric gate provides the mental equivalent of a waiting room in the form of Gatespace while its programming solves whatever issue has arisen.
- Selective denial - thanks to filtering runes, magical creatures or primarily aetheric entities may pass through an aetheric gate, but external spells may not. This prevents outside magic from interfering with a transit in progress, though one may still throw physical objects at people inside the aetheric gate's buffer area or on the other side of the Link.