While the hope is that the story of Forgotten Children will explain all the technology invented between now and the time it is set, this page summarises the technologies mentioned thus far for anyone who forgets while waiting for a new chapter!
An Advanced Neurally-Generated Ether Link, or ANGEL, is a microchip that sits alongside a person's brain stem, augmenting their vision, hearing and short-term memory. It is implanted surgically, and various sections of its surface bond to neurons in the brain to allow it to communicate with the visual cortex and other areas of the brain. It powers itself using ambient body heat.
Initial uptake of the Angel devices was slow, as the public were understandably concerned about the possibility of malfunction. However, due to extensive marketing as a “Guardian Angel” and tie-ins to systems and devices made by many corporations, uptake increased steadily once it became apparent how much easier life would be with one. They also became compulsory in the military.
In adults, an Angel requires occasional recalibration to ensure that it is operating correctly, particularly its interface with the host's vision which requires considerable fine-tuning. In modern times, Angels are implanted in babies along with their vaccination shots. Their interface with the brain modifies along with the brain itself as the child grows.
An Angel's most subtle method of operation is through read/write access to the host's short-term memory. Via this method, a person can think of a question and know the answer within milliseconds. An Angel can also provide an overlay on the host's vision and hearing, allowing them to augment their perception of the world as desired.
The Angel chip itself is merely a dumb terminal; all the processing is done by back-end servers. The Angels communicate with them wirelessly via relay units, and servers also communicate with each other wirelessly when within range. This allows ships to transfer their occupants' Angel data between space stations.
The wireless grid that facilitates this is known as the Ether Network, often abbreviated to Ether, Angel Network, or just the Net.
Nanomachines are tiny machines that are able to manipulate individual molecules. Each machine is specifically built and coded for an individual molecule. Vast groups of machines, known as colonies, can be directed en masse by powerful computers manipulating an electromagnetic field in which the nanomachines float. This allows complex structures – even living creatures – to be constructed from and reduced to their base components, provided their exact molecular structure is known and stored.
Nanomachines are sufficiently dangerous that their use is strictly controlled, and the required processing power puts their use beyond the means of the average citizen anyway. On planetary habitations and large space stations such as Free City, it is still cheaper to produce and recycle in the traditional manner. However, nanomachines are used extensively in the Celestial Fleet's waste reprocessing systems.
Only the very rich can afford to personally own and use a nanomachine colony, traditionally taking the form of a 'maker'.
Human Genetic Engineering
Aboard the fixed stations such as Free City, natural pregnancy is an option that is getting increasingly less common. More usual is that the DNA of parents be sequenced, and an artificial fertilised egg be created based on their wishes for which genes the child should carry. This may then be implanted back into the mother, or gestated in a lab. However the pregnancy occurs, regular screenings for genetic defects are carried out, and defective embryos are not allowed to come to term.
Aboard the Celestial Fleet, strict population control ensures the sustainability of the passengers during what might be a journey of thousands of years. Passengers are sterile, and reproduction can only occur through lab-based combination of DNA. All reproduction can only occur with the permission of the Population Control Committee.
Artificial Gravity occurs in two forms, one of which considerably pre-dates the other. When mankind was building its first large space stations, such as Free City, gravity was introduced by centripetal force – that is, the inhabited areas of the station rotate around a central axis so as to give the impression of gravity to those in the rotating ring, for whom the central spindle is 'up'.
The downside of this is that smaller stations and ships are too small to use this method, and they remained zero-G environments until recently.
Starting a hundred or so years ago, a gene therapy was made available on a voluntary basis that renders the body slightly ferromagnetic. Electromagnetic field generators were introduced on ships alongside this, the combination meaning that the body could be made to feel 'gravity' in the direction of the magnets. This treatment proved wildly successful, and having this gene therapy during childhood is now normal. The sensation of not only being attracted to the floor but repelled by the ceiling too is reported to only feel weird for a few hours.
The Celestial Fleet use this method of applying artificial gravity.