Dark Flow Travel (FTL)
Near the end of the 21st Century, NASA discovered by complete accident the existence of a Dark Flow Conduit within the Sol System. This discovery is singlehandedly credited with reigniting the space race and propelling Humans to the stars.
Dark Flow Conduits are a mysterious circuit of Dark Matter flowing through the arms of the galaxy. Analogous to blood flowing through veins to our organs, these Flows always lead, through the void of space, from one star system to another in a loop. The pair or Flows form a Conduit connecting these systems in an exchange of Dark Matter in both directions.
It is by attaching to a Flow that ships can achieve Faster Than Light (FTL) speeds. As Dark Matter exists outside our universe, these Flows create a Hyper Reality that allows for this FTL interconnection between systems.
Most systems have at least one flow connecting it to every other system within 12 ly of its location. These are called Short Haul Conduits and they form a network of space lanes to travel within a cluster of systems.
However, even at FTL speed, the viable distance of colonization is limited to ~1000ly from Sol Proxima or a Long Haul Conduit (see below).
Some rare systems have a Long Haul Conduit hidden within them. These Flows connect the system to a very distance Nebula, Cluster or Super System. Speeds are many times faster within a Long Haul conduit than even a Short Haul Flow.
Finding a Flow is extremely difficult since Dark Matter does not register in this universe as normal matter would. A flow can only be found through close proximity with the right detection equipment. As such, the mapping of the Flows of the universe has been very slow.
Connecting to a flow requires a small artificial singularity powered by Astatine Crystals to form at the heart of the ship. This causes a reality bubble to detach from our universe and connect itself to the Flow. While in the Flow, reality is warmed as it distance and time. This warping causes a FTL experience along the trajectory of the Flow.FTL Travel