Bottling Up

The Sunstone is just what it appears to be – a star in a bottle.

That is to say, what it appears to be to the normal senses is an almost weightless crystalline sphere, roughly a foot across, shedding light and warmth all around it. A close inspection of the Sunstone, necessarily through darkened lenses, reveals whorls of flame shifting endlessly across its surface in patterns of light and dark spots, broken only by fiery prominences erupting from the surface and falling back once again. In short, a perfect model, one might think, of a sun.

Closer inspection, on the other hand, reveals that the Sunstone is a sun-in-a-bottle in the precise sense that a ship-in-a-bottle is not. Its crystalline surface is free of any of the discontinuities characterizing baryonic matter, because its surface is merely the topological defect bounding the dimensionally transcendent cystal universe within – a vast, encapsulated volume containing a true star as its sole inhabitant. The effects of the mass of the star does not cross this superficies into our parent universe, leaving the Sunstone almost weightless. Nor do the majority of the photons emitted by the star, deflected at right-angles to reality by some arcane means to fuel the mechanics of the axiomantic warp, with the convenient side-effect of making it possible to approach and manipulate the Sunstone with some degree of safety.

What is its purpose? Well, aside from its roles as experiment, proof-of-concept, and asírdaëlíthal for the gentlesophs of the Irreality Vault, I expect the principle role of the Sunstone will be to prove to exoarchaeologists of the future, gentle reader, that we have now equaled the Precursors in our ability to confuse, bemuse, and amuse.

– editorial, issue 394, “Scientific Progress Says What?

Notable Replies

  1. If the star’s mass is hidden from the “real” universe but it still emits energy does that mean the if you stuck the Sunstone in a perfectly sealed opaque box it would slowly get heavier as more photons and energy appears out of nowhere? Or is the mass-dampening factor equal to the proportion of photons that get deflected out of reality, meaning the apparent decrease in weight as it burns hydrogen and emits light perfectly matches the mass of the photons coming out?

    Also did they somehow magic up the mass-energy required (presumably with the caveat that it can’t come out of the Sunstone thus preserving conservation of mass-energy as far as the rest of the universe is concerned.) Or did they actually put an entire star in a pocket dimension for the Sunstone? Because if so that’s probably the most expensive paperweight/desk-lamp in existence.

  2. It could be that one of the requirements for reaching Precursor status (besides not being the Winslow) is that you leave behind these interesting mysteries for younger races to try and solve.

    Bonus points if they spend more than a thousand years trying to figure out that it was just a vase.

  3. I suppose we can also expect to see sun-powered torch-drives with zero fuel requirements popping up soon?

  4. As spin-offs from this technology, no. It’s nowhere near mature enough.

    As spin-offs from plain old wormhole technology, they’re already existed for a very, very long time. They’re easy to make.

  5. It’s the sort of thing that happens incidentally, mostly because if you haven’t littered the galaxy with enigmatic puzzles for the next aeon, who’s even going to know you were out there Precursoring it.

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