In writing my book, Artifice Bridge, one of my dilemmas was coming up with a reasonable way to accomplish space travel that could realistically happen within one-hundred years. Enter hyperium. The following is a fictional technical brief of this amazing metallic element.
What is hyperium? It is a yet to be discovered fictional element that gets found on, and derives its name from, Saturn’s moon of Hyperion. Hyperium is a copper-gold colored metal and is found no where else in nature — that we know of. Hyperium has the symbol Hy on the periodic table and weighs in with an atomic weight of 132. What makes hyperium unique is its natural repulsive nature. Not that it’s repulsive in a repugnant sort of way, but rather, like two opposing magnets, it naturally repulses other nearby masses by a small amount, 13% of its mass, to be exact. Aside from this very unique trait, hyperium is otherwise unremarkable. It is relatively hard for a metal, scoring a 4.1 on the hardness scale or roughly the same as iron. It is very conductive, scoring above carbon in both resistivity and conductivity. It is this trait that led scientists to use it in resonance coupling experiments.
Resonance coupling, in a sentence, involves wireless transmission of electricity between two separated, magnetically coupled coils. During the first experiments with hyperium, an accident occurred which nearly destroyed the experimenting lab. For the briefest of moments, a blue-white sphere developed between the two coils then disintegrated in a spectacular explosion. This phenomenon baffled the experimenters. It wasn’t until another lab on the opposite side of the facility reported that its study on neutrino capture had been spoiled by an unknown neutrino burst that a theory began to form. The neutrino burst coincided to the millisecond with the accident in the hyperium lab. Under a more controlled test, scientists recreated the accident and after exhaustive analysis realized they had formed the first, or more precisely the second, artificial wormhole using a pair of hyperium coils.
The saying goes that nature abhors a vacuum. It abhors a wormhole more. A vacuum is the absence of matter. A wormhole is a vacuum of gravity. In nature, wormholes may form sporadically, but nature dictates they collapse on themselves immediately. Hyperium allows the creation of a wormhole, but, more importantly, its repulsive nature allows it to push against the walls of the wormhole to keep it open longer than nature would normally allow. It is this usage of its unique property that allows entering a wormhole possible. Entering a wormhole allows travel across great distances and with it interstellar travel.
While this is all great, it doesn’t come without a price. Forming a wormhole takes a toll and hyperium coils degrade with each use. The amount of degradation depends heavily on the mass of the object passing through. Mass attracts and wormholes want to collapse. The two together means that more force must be exerted on the walls of the wormhole when more mass is in proximity. So small objects may enter a wormhole with limited cost, but large masses, such as a spacecraft, must pay a hefty price in the universe’s most rare element. It’s what makes hyperium the most costly and highly sought after element known to humanity.
So how is it that hyperium is found in only one place and not a spec has been discovered anywhere else? The answer is simple: read the book to find out.