First off, I agree with Meocron et al - a large amount of energy is not required to cause big differences within systems. I think the confusion may have arisen from the use of an avalanche as an example because in that particular system there has been a gradual build up of a rather large amount of potential energy. There are other systems/situations, Erinys mentioned one (the flight example), where a small amount of energy, used in the correct manner, can be far superior to a 'brute force' solution. For instance, the current cosmological model assumes a small change in the quantum foam lead to... well... everything
. I could also invoke 'chaos theory' but that is a bit cliche, and is more to do with a small change in the initial (or MUCH earlier) state of the system leading to big effects later on.
The science behind this particular piece of science fiction is actually quite simple. What I'm suggesting is that the asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is an illusion. The Meniscus is the Mirror of Creation, the protective sheathe of the universe, which separates the matter and antimatter components of a closed system. The Meniscus is the reason that antimatter is so uncommon in the visible universe, the reason that we are not all constantly being converted back into raw energy as matter and antimatter recombine all around us. It also explains a number of other problems with the visible universe--including the problems of "missing" matter
Pardon me for a moment... ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Sorry.... the dark energy/matter theories are highly ad hoc and bring me no small amount of pain when I hear them invoked - admittedly this is in a science fiction game so I can put my usual predispositions aside. Still, I do like how you have used a sane explanation of dark matter in your science fiction rather than the current "invisible magic fairy dust" explanation that is common among the physics (well cosmology) community
. But I digress...
A question has occurred to me: when matter is brought over the Meniscus (either way), it retains it's properties, yes? i.e. antimatter from the antimatter side remains antimatter when brought over to the matter side of the Meniscus..? Is there any way to preform a 'matter/antimatter transform' of sorts? I'm not great with eloquent language, so I may have to resort to other means to explain what I mean, so sorry if this is a bit confusing. With that warning, let me explain what I mean.
Let the 'antimatter universe' (the antimatter side of the Meniscus) be 'Universe A', and this universe (the matter side of the Meniscus) be 'Universe B'. If I were to have made a device in Universe A, can I bring it over to Universe B, but have it exist as matter, rather than antimatter..? Man, that is still pretty awkward, sorry
. In addition, would an equal mass of matter from Universe B have to be transported & converted back into Universe A? The implications of this line of questioning is whether it is possible that the Silver Empire 'switched positions' and performed a 'matter/antimatter transform' on itself, replacing the lost stars (or possibly just the homeworld itself) with its converted equivalent from the other side of the Meniscus..?
Furthermore, out of curiosity, can the Meniscus be thought of having a 'thickness' (by that I mean an internal 3d space? Possibly a stupid question, since multiple dimensions are probably implied)? Might there be some connection between the Meniscus itself and Nodespace (i.e. Tarka warp the Meniscus, but the Humans & Zuul travel *through* it)?
On the other hand, it does NOT take tremendous energies to penetrate the Meniscus--the smallest Tarka destroyer could do it at a whim, and even the tiniest particles cross the Meniscus routinely in order to sort themselves to the proper side. In fact, Hiver scientists would explain, if asked, that the secret of generating antimatter in sufficient quantities for propulsion is really not a matter of "creating" antimatter--antimatter is generated by all mass-to-energy annihilation--but of preventing its escape.
This may be a nerdy question, but what happens when a particle crosses the Meniscus "sort themselves to the proper side"? Does it require to be in an excited state to pull it off? Or is the tendency for particles to cross the Menicus a kind of force, and by crossing the Meniscus it emits energy (presumably in the form of a photon) because it has 'lost' the potential 'Meniscus energy' by crossing over? Finally, and sorry for being a stickler (I feel a right bast**d right now to be honest - but I can't really help it since I'm an antimatter researcher. I'm sure you can understand & forgive me...
), antimatter isn't generated by mass-to-energy annihilation (but it is always required) but is ALWAYS generated in energy-to-mass situations.