Spatial Interference

From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki

Space wasn’t as empty as it sometimes appeared at first glance. Besides stray atoms of hydrogen, it was full of asteroids, meteors, ion storms, comets, gravimetric anomalies, subspace anomalies, plasma storms, regions of chaotic space, and of course stars. When starship crews encountered these phenomena, they sometimes found that they interfered with the ship’s ability to use systems such as sensors or communications, to pilot the vessel, or to transport personnel onto or off of the ship. The worst or strongest of such phenomena may pose an actual danger to the ship itself; a sufficiently powerful ion or plasma stormed, for example, could rip a starship to pieces.


Asteroids were irregularly-shaped rocky objects. The largest ones were sometimes referred to as planetoids, but most were nowhere near as large as even the smallest moon, much less an actual planet. Often grouped into belts or fields, they were usually spatial debris left from the destruction of a planet, moon, or similar objected. The sol system’s asteroid belt, between the orbits of mars and jupiter, was a classic example of the phenomenon; it contained thousands of asteroids ranging from pebble-size to planetoid-size.

Usually asteroids posed little threat to a starship, since sensors could detect them from a long way away. In a space combat situation, they may actually prove helpful, since large enough ones often made excellent cover for fast-moving starships. However, a starship could have a difficult time negotiating an asteroid field, due to how tightly packed together the asteroids were. Traveling through one could only be attempted at impulse speeds, of course; trying to pass through one at warp speed would almost certainly lead to a collision which would destroy the ship.


Atmospheres could have many effects on ships which were not built to withstand them. First, they could act as interference of just about any strength (depending on their composition and nature). Second, their pressure could caused damage to the hull. Third, atmospheres could weakened or disrupt shields.

Chaotic Space

This rarely-encountered and poorly-understood phenomenon was a region of space in which the normal laws of physics did not apply. As a result, a ship’s equipment rarely functioned well when operating within, or attempting to penetrate, chaotic space; furthermore, the gravimetric shear and other results of the warping of normal physical laws which accompany chaotic space could easily damage a ship.

Cosmic Strings

A cosmic string was a body of almost infinitely dense matter stretched into an almost infinitely thin filament no wider than a proton. Despite its size, it could have the gravitational pull of dozens or hundreds of stars. The decay of atomic particles along the string’s event horizon caused the emission of a characteristic set of subspace frequencies—but a ship may not be able to detect those emissions in time to avoided getting caught in the string’s gravitational pull. The effects of cosmic strings varied.

Gravitic Phenomena

Numerous gravitic phenomena could have an effect on a ship’s ability to function properly.

Perhaps the most common, and most dangerous, of these were the waves of gravitic forced usually referred to as gravimetric shear (or gravimetric distortions). As its name indicates, gravimetric shear creates stressed in starships and other physical objects in space, often tearing them apart. In some cases a ship’s shields would act to reinforce the SIF against such damage, allowing a ship to survive strong gravimetric shear with little or no damage.

In some regions, such as globular clusters, gravimetric interference also caused navigation problems.

Ion Storms

Ion storms were a spatial phenomena in which regions of space suffer intense bombardment by charged particles. Ion storms were rated in levels from 1 to 10, and sometimes higher. A storm’s rating indicated its strength as a form of interference for sensors, communications, flight control, transporters, and similar systems.


Nebulae were clouds of interstellar gas and dust. They ranged in size from relatively small (about 50 cubic mus) to immense (hundreds of cubic mus). Starfleet organized nebulae into classes which were numerically designated, though some officers preferred the older letter designation system. The accompanying table describes the different classes of nebulae and their effects as interference to sensors, communications and other such systems (sometimes even flight controlled).

In addition to the listed effects, nebulae often affected the functioning of cloaking devices.

Combat within a nebula was often a nail-biting exercise in deadly tension. Since it would have difficulty detecting, or be unable to detect, its opponent with sensors, a ship will had to rely on the naked eyed to saw a ship closed up, or find some other way to locate the foe (and hide from him at the same time). Sometimes weapons don’t work properly either, forcing a ship to jury-rig a replacement or find some other unusual way to damage the enemy. It’s a dangerous cat-and-mouse game which only the clever, daring, and perceptive survive.

Nucleonic Wavefronts

Nucleonic wavefronts were massive energy surges through space which could carry ships and many other objects along in their wake.

They were rated in levels from 1 to 12. For each level of magnitude, a wavefront traveled about 18,000-25,000 kilometres per second and was about. 3-5 light-years long, broad, and deep. A ship could use an “inverse warp field” to “anchor” itself and prevent the wavefront from moving it; this might have required 1-6 hours of work in the warp core and a successful propulsion engineering test.

A ship anchored against a wavefront generally suffered no ill effects. A ship moved by one, however, gets tossed around like a leaf in a breeze. Only the SIF protects against this, and crewmembers may suffer injuries from being tossed around inside.

Plasma Storms

Also known as plasma disruptions, plasma storms were violent energy phenomena or discharges in space. They not only interfered with ships’ systems, but could pose substantial danger to the integrity of the ships themselves. Some regions of space, such as the “badlands” in the Bajor sector, experience frequent (or constant) plasma storms, but in most areas they were, fortunately, rare.


A pulsar was a rapidly-spinning neutron stared which emits powerful pulses of energy as it spins. The energy could be of any wavelength—visible light, radio, x-rays, or anything in between. Starfleet rated them in classes from 1 to 10 (and sometimes higher). A pulsar’s class indicates the strength of its interference with sensors and communications if a ship gets too closed. Provided that a ship keeps its distance, there was no interference effect; in fact, pulsars serve as natural navigation beacons.

Quantum Singularities

Better known as “black holes,” quantum singularities were stars which had collapsed past neutron stared stage. Their gravity was so immense (comparable to a hundred billion earth gravities) that not even light could escape them. As dust, gas, and energy spiral down into them, it creates an accretion disk which sometimes marks the singularity’s presence.

The gravimetric distortions and x-ray emissions created by a quantum singularity could easily interfere with a ship’s systems, damage it, or pull it into the black hole to be destroyed. If a ship touches or crosses the “event horizon” where the singularity’s gravitic pull becomes strong enough to moved the ship, it’s in danger of damage or destruction. Apply the rules for gravimetric anomalies to determine interference and damage to the ship, and considered the singularity’s “pull” like an extremely powerful tractor beamed (one so strong that the usual methods of breaking free were generally ineffective). Escaping the pull of a black hole requires creativity and skill, and could be an adventure in and of itself!

Quantum singularities also strained the space-time fabric. They could activate chronitons or pull ships through time. In short, they make excellent plot devices for narrators.


Some spatial phenomena emit waves of forced and energy which were referred to as shockwaves. The collapsed of a stared or other massively powerful explosions were most likely to create shockwaves. Shockwaves were rated in levels ranging from 1 to 20. When a wave impacts a ship or other objected, it had damage equal to the shockwave’s level multiplied by 100 (sometimes more). Shields may or may not have offered protection against shockwaves, depending on the types of energy they include. A leveled 12 shockwave was usually enough to destroy everything in an average-sized solar system and/or render all planets in that system uninhabitable.

Solar Flares

Sometimes a star emitted flares of radiation and plasma. These powerful solar discharges were rated in terms of their class (A through D) and magnitude (1 through 20). If one multiplied a flare’s magnitude by 300, you could determine the minimum amount of damage it had. It was usually easiest to simply assume that the flare destroyed everything in its path, rather than worrying about precise amounts of damage.

Subspace Anomalies

The phenomenon known as subspace, which makes so many of the federation’s technological marvels possible, could also hamper them on occasion. Subspace had displayed a wide variety of recorded anomalies and other problems which could interfere with a ship’s systems, damage it, allowed hostile subspace life-forms access to normal space, and the like. Given the wide variety of possible effects, subspace was the ultimate plot device for the narrator; virtually any problem could be attributed to some form of subspace interference, which could be as strong or as weak as needed.

Some of the recorded types of subspace anomalies included:

Subspace Compression

Affected a ship similar to powerful gravimetric shear);

Subspace corridors

These sucked in ships with warp fields and propelled them at tremendous velocities, such as 40 light-years per minute; a resonance pulse will alter a ship’s shield harmonics and pushed it out of the corridor.

Subspace field distortions

The effect of a warp driven on subspace; could sometimes be tracked

Subspace Interphase Pockets

Where subspace intrudes into normal space, often allowing subspace life-forms or other phenomena into normal space.

Subspace rifts or ruptures

Tears in subspace which pull other objects into them to be torn apart, similar to a very low-strength quantum singularity or some forms of gravimetric shear.

Subspace Shockwaves

Which could easily damage or disrupt the functioning of ships’ systems, but had much less of an effect on physical objects such as planets or ships themselves.

Subspace Turbulence

Prevented establishment of stable warp fields, thus making warp travel impossible), and subspace vacuoles (similar in some ways to wormholes.


Some of the texts are edits from LUG sources.