A Chunk of SciFi – 2.04 The ZPG Implosion Cascade [Disaster]
Recorded transmission, just before the initial ZPGIC Event
The discovery/confirmation of so-called Zero Point energy and how to harness it was heralded as one of the major breakthroughs any civilisation can make. Discovered by a, at the time unknown species, this tech brought them fame, fortune and attention. Luckily, most of the major cultures of the time had treaties in place for just such an occurrence. Within a decade, the first ZPG (Zero Point Generator) had been built. It was clean, had no known side effects from use. It was difficult to get going, but once done, the process was, for the most part, self-sustaining. One of the major concerns for all cultures had finally been solved – a source of power. Sharing the knowledge on how to make the generators helped to usher in what historians called the “Century of Peace” in which, apart from minor skirmishes, there were no wars, no major conflicts and all citizens had enough energy to do with as they desired, within the realms of the existing laws of course.
Sadly, like all good things, this would not last. Almost a century to the day after the first ZPG went online, a disaster that no-one could have foreseen occurred. During a regular maintenance, one of the control crystals for the ZPG was replaced upside down by mistake. Under other circumstances, this would have not worked, with safety protocols kicking in and alerting the operator’s something had gone wrong. But it didn’t. This crystal controlled the flow of energy to and from the main ZPG chamber. Instead of the energy flowing out, it instead started to be, for want of a better term, sucked back in.
Within a matter of moments, the entire power grid was drawn into the generator. Circuits fused, safety mechanisms overloaded. The Generator was still producing energy, but also drawing in power from the entire planet. Systems were shutting down faster and faster, more energy was being been pulled back in. The ZPG was never designed for this increasing amount of power in both directions at once and something had to give. 20 mins after the disaster began an order to evacuate the complex was given. 5 mins later, the generator imploded, turning for a brief bright glorious moment into a miniature black hole, before exploding again in a wave that propagated through normal space and the higher dimensions, of hyperspace. This wave spread for several light years in all directions. Each ZPG it encountered set off another implosion/explosion, which in turn set off another, and another and another. Within an hour, all ZPGS within the universe had been subjected to this implosion/explosion – Personal ones, ships, planetary ZPGs. Almost all of them had been caught in the what became known as the Implosion Cascade. The reason for a century of peace had been destroyed in less than an hour. The fallout from this event was still felt, almost a millennia later when humanity finally joined the galactic stage.
ZPGs are, to this day, considered to be artefacts of immense power. Even finding a minor one intact could start off a war to possesses it. If anyone does have one, they are keeping it a secret.