Jae is an "energy" or agency that allows travel between two dimensions by shifting particles or waves from one dimension into the other. Jae has two main practical applications: 1) near instantaneous travel between remote points in space; 2) exploration of the dimension of Jana, to which jae connects the "real space" of the Continuation universe.
Continuation science has not found an adequate explanation for the existence and function of jae as a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is widely conjectured that jae was created by some intelligence in the past as an interdimensional infrastructure, like a set of railroad tracks, but there is no direct evidence of this.
The Ránlans first discovered evidence of jae in 1029 BE. They found the "energy" to potentially be highly destructive. In 895 BE, they abandoned research into jae, classifying it as an "unjustified risk."
The Samas, building on records from the Ránlans, resumed research into jae some time later. They were the first to find a practical application for it, constructing large jae ships to travel point-to-point nearly instantly: a trip across Selbûn that would take about 7 days at maximum rippling "speed" could be made in seconds. This revolutionized the Sama economy, but massive jae contamination caused the so-called Quark-Shift Plague that decimated human and animal life in the Sama Empire. Flight from the Plague was a key factor in the efforts to colonize Feyléna that led to the Kiri-Sama War. After the War's End disaster (1 BE) that destroyed most of the Sama Empire, jae contanimation levels were unprecedentedly low, which suggested a connection between jae and the disaster, but the connection remained uncertain for 2000 years.
The Perditan EraEdit
In 2033 AE, jae researchers, Sylan and Nevan West-of-Now unintentionally introduced jae technology to the planet Perdita, where it was rigorously developed as a potential means of space travel and until a small jae accident in 2042 AE stopped the project. In this accident, however, one individual, Miri West-of-Now (later called Imasrase: Tapanayn: "the pilgrim"), was transported into the sister dimension connected through jae. Though she was not able to return physically to real space, she projected her thoughts back, revealing that a human mind could exist in this dimension over a period of time. As a result of this discovery, Perdita undertook a new direction in jae research with the aim sending people into this dimension, which they named Jana (Tapanayn: "Jae Land"). The initial aim of this Jana Program was to make contact with Imasrase. This was briefly achieved.
The Jana Era calendar (J) began in the year 2043 AE with the transportation of Miri West-of-Now though the After the End (AE) calendar continued to be standard for about 200 years.
The First WalkersEdit
In 2113 AE (71 J), Perdita's Jana Program succeeded in sending into Jana and retrieving the telepathic energy of seven subjects, later called the First Walkers. While six subjects never physically left real space, one, Ishan from Zerin, physically disappeared and was not retrieved. Despite this mishap, research into Jana continued. It was discovered that the surroundings one saw in Jana shifted with thought, rather like dreams.
In 2114 AE, one of the First Walkers, Ghanior from Senarna, unintentionally transported his body to Ash'torian space via Jana. This launched the practice of Walking: using a jae generator to send a single person through Jana to another point in real space in much the same way as the old jae ships did but using much less power and generating much less contamination.
In the next century, Walking became a social and economic staple in much of the Continuation. Walking programs were begun by Ghanior from Senarna in Ash'tor, First Walker Laran West-of-Now in Leddra, and less formally by First Walkers Sheseson from Oja City and Elleen from Lo Renna in the Kiri Empire.
In 2155 AE, it was revealed that a population of Pey (bio-engineered humanoids) on Shi-Durn had been trained as Walkers. They had a natural predilection for it that exceeded that of most humans. In 2245 AE, the Shi-Durn Pey (later Durpey) became an international police force for managing human use of Jana. The same year, the Jana calendar became standard (203 J).
Over the next few centuries, new jae ships were developed to transport multiple humans and cargo. They were much safer than the original Sama ships.
After a period of relative stability in the Jana Era, it slowly became evident that human activity in Jana was having a deleterious effect on Jana. Walking safely became more difficult and experiences within Jana itself became more threatening. During this time, humanity became better acquainted with Dwellers, permanent denizens of Jana, with whom Walkers often had hostile interactions. Jana also came to be called Song, in reference to the use of singing as a means of stabilizing telepathic energy while traveling in and through the dimension. Walkers came to be called Singers, though the act of travel in or through Song was still often called Walking. By approximately 600 J, the difficulty of Walking through Song was causing significant negative socioeconomic impacts. Circa 1000 J, the Ránlans made a concerted effort to stabilize Jana, but the long-term effectivenss of this effort remains unclear.
Jae contamination consists of "partially shifted particles" that carry a charge from the sister dimension. They disrupt tissues in a way somewhat similar to free radicals. In high concentration, jae contamination can kill instantly. In lower concentrations, it leads to a slow, lingering death the Samas called the Quark-Shift Plague. In still lower doses, it causes minor damage and shortens life expectancy. Walkers commonly have a much shorter life expectancy than others.
Within Jana itself, the effects of contamination are less well understood, but contamination is also linked to illness in organisms there, sometimes leading to dead landscapes. It has a concomitant of upsetting telepathic energy, which can create chaotic, uncoordinated perceptions of time and space.
Origin of the Term "Jae"Edit
The early Samas studying jae phenomena perceived transformations in quarks that appeared associated with what they took for tachyon particles. Thus, they named the phenomenon: "jagunoän emboän" (Dabunè: "tachyon quark"), shortened to the acronym "jae." Though the term is a misnomer in describing the nature of jae, it came into common usage owing to its ease of pronunciation.