There are three known methods for quickly crossing interstellar distances, collectively referred to as "FTL Drives." All three are in use today, varying on a ship-by-ship basis.
A Slip-Space Drive uses a device that creates a tunnel within another dimension, and rips open the entrance and exit when they are reached. The ship travels through this tunnel at sub-light speeds, using the calculated ratio between distance in Slip-Space and distance in Real-Space to determine how long the tunnel needs to be. This is typically the first method discovered by interstellar civilizations, as it takes the lowest technological capability. It is also a favorite amongst certain militaries, due to its low cost and the difficulty level of detecting ships while in transit. Like all FTL Drives, it has its perils. For starters, the Slip-Space tunnel can collapse, which will make the traveling ship vanish. In addition, ships traveling in Slip-Space need steel shutters and disconnected communications; sensing anything about the dimension tends to break the minds of any species, including robots.
The Hadron Supercoil Drive uses antimatter fuel to attain FTL travel by brute force. The Hadron Supercoils that give it its name are typically located in the engine blocks, and continuously run to produce the antimatter fuel to power the engines. This is by far the safest of the three travel methods, and the antimatter produced can double as the ship's main power source. The HSC Drive, however, takes up the most space within the ship out of the three drives, and if the HSC's antimatter containment is breached, the ship will annihilate.
The Mass Reduction Drive uses negative matter contained in a vacuum to reduce the ship's mass to near-zero. This allows conventional rocket fuel to accelerate the ship to FTL speeds. This is the newest method of FTL travel, and one of the most efficient. It takes up very little space on the ship, and allows for a far longer range. If, however, the negative matter comes in contact with normal matter, or if there is enough negative matter to make the ship's mass negative, then everything within one light-second is instantaneously transported to Slip-Space.
- ↑ It's matter with a mass less than zero. Weird, highly theoretical shit.