For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I'm posting alphabetically on things related to Shayla's world from my (unpublished) novel, Ghosts of Innocence...
Space ships, anti-gravity, death rays ... all the staples of sci-fi are present in Ghosts of Innocence. But I try to keep them in the background. Part of the furniture. Not something to be drooled over.
I've talked about odd bits of technology in various posts already - space travel, drugs, electronic implants, passkeys, quark bombs, shimmerblades - and I will talk more about weaponry in a later post.
Alongside the "hard landscaping", such as faster than light travel and death-dealing weapons, I like to bring a lot more of the "softer" technologies into the story.
I also make a point that not everyone has access to the same technology. Some groups have specializations, and are far more advanced in some areas than others.
The Imperial Family Skamensis is all about the harder stuff. They have the big ships and the big guns. They also excel in electronics and computing, and have the more advanced artificial intelligence systems to command their fleets. The latter being their Achilles' heel, when Shayla dupes the Emperor into compromising his access codes, allowing her to take control.
The computing devices are worth a mention. Pretty much everyone carries either a notepad or a scroll, flexible computers no thicker than a sheet of cardstock that you can either fold or roll up and tuck in a pocket. Many tables, desks, and walls are also computationally-active surfaces that you can write on or throw up images from our own device.
By contrast, the Family Firenzi are masters of materials and biotech. Many of the drugs I mentioned earlier come from them, and they have more highly advanced medicines than the other Families.
They can produce materials able to withstand extraordinary temperatures, like the re-entry bubble Shayla uses to eject from a crashing starship.
Firenzi agents carry chemical recognition devices, usually a small piece of jewelry, which emit a chemical tracer that can be recognized by another such device close by. A stealthy version of a secret handshake.
My favorite device, though, is the "nose", which allows you to follow a planted scent...but let Shayla show you how it's done:
Finn took a deep breath and nodded. "Time to pick up her trail." He handed Shayla a thin translucent strip about an inch across and a few inches long. "You know how to use a nose, don't you?"
"Of course." Shayla took the strip and placed it across her eyes. It stuck to her skin and held itself in place. To outward appearances, this might have been nothing more than a fashionable sun visor. Perfectly reasonable in the high altitude glare.
Through the hard but flexible material, she could just make out the outline of the path. Her vision cleared when she squeezed the topmost of a row of tiny protrusions at each end of the strip, and a luminous display hovered in her line of sight. Shayla fingered the bumps along the edge, tuning the device in to the chemical signature that had been planted on their quarry. This was another secret from the Firenzi materials laboratories, but one which the Insurrection had known about for decades.
"Got it." A hint of fluorescent violet hung in the air in front of Shayla. "Raven managed to plant the tracer OK."