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A personal transportation vehicle, similar to today’s cars. They utilize electromagnetism to rise several inches to several feet off the ground. Most have automatic built-in navigation. They follow the established traffic rules and regulations of the region and are “locked” to established roadways. In cases of emergency, they can rise above traffic to take the fastest, most direct route to the nearest emergency care facility. As they do today, styles, colors, sizes, and available features vary between models and manufacturers.

NOTE: The limitations of these particular vehicles are pre-programmed by the manufacturer. It is, however, possible for someone with the technical expertise and know-how to circumvent them, effectively turning a transport into the equivalent of a personal helicopter (without the spinning blades) that can rise to any elevation, and fly in any direction, with manual navigation.

HOVER (noun)

A mass transportation aircraft used for both short-and long-distance travel on a particular world. Depending on the size and model, it can ferry small groups (up to 50 passengers) between cities, or large groups (over 2,500 passengers) around the globe. Short-range models can reach speeds up to 500mph. Long-range models travel at speeds up to 1,200 mph.

Hovers use electromagnetism to levitate above the ground. The travel elevation is determined by the flight distance. Long-range models travel at a much higher elevation where the thinner atmosphere minimizes pressure waves. A combination of various energy sources, including solar power and static electricity, create and maintain forward motion through a number of different environmental conditions without interruption. They also have built-in systems to counteract and minimize sonic booms and maintain passenger comfort during supersonic flights.

SHUTTLE (noun)

A mass transportation spaceship used to convey people between inhabited planets of the Milky Way galaxy. Most models have a capacity of 50,000-250,000 people and associated cargo. After the near-apocalyptic war of the late 30th century, the Interplanetary Council of Governance (ICG) has also mandated that every city with a population of 5 million or more maintain a fleet of shuttles with ten times that capacity for emergency off-world evacuation. Due to limitations of interplanetary travel, both types of shuttles are roughly equal in size. Commercial shuttles merely offer more comfort and cargo space, whereas emergency shuttles prioritize passenger capacity over cargo.

Shuttles are specifically designed and carefully calibrated to harness dark matter energy to bend time and space. Once a shuttle has reached a safe distance from an inhabited planet (approximately ten Earth-standard hours out of orbit at supersonic speed), the shuttle locks down from the outside, creating a seamless shell. Its proprietary technology then generates a force field around the shuttle which causes it to “drop” into subspace to complete the bulk of the journey and then reemerge a safe distance from the destination planet. This process is commonly referred to as “skipping” and allows people to cross the distance between inhabited planets much faster. Since the effects of prolonged exposure to subspace forces are still unknown, in 2999, the ICG capped the allowed shuttle travel time to three Earth-standard days in subspace per Earth-standard month.

FUN FACT: If a shuttle was to travel the longest distance between currently inhabited planets in one skip, the journey would take approximately two Earth-standard weeks in subspace. The shortest travel distance is between Ela and Mai, two planets in orbit around the same star. The distance between them can be traversed in several hours at the time of planetary alignment to several days at opposite sides of their respective orbits, and does not require a skip.

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