Galactic Ley Line
The Galactic Ley Line is a common term for regions of transdimensional energy which naturally flow through space. Leylines are created by the interaction of forces in the Metaverse and another exterior dimension, referred to as the Otherverse. While there is no known way to cross the dimensional membrane from this universe to the next, certain forces, including Psionic Energy, Sidereal Radiation, gravitation, and Cosmic Energy can cross over or have the ability to influence events in the universe next door. Ley Lines form when superstructures in the two universes interact, creating pockets if folded space, which serve as accumulators for other cosmic forces. Some times, Pocket Worlds are created by ley line energies, either naturally or artificially. As stars and other massive bodies orbit around the center of the galaxy, the shift in gravitational forces cause the ley lines to twist and flow. These patterns of movement are easily predicted once the basic science is understood, and are part of the natural astrophysics of the Metaverse.
Earth is currently passing through a zone of ley line energy, which has given rise to superhuman mutants and advances in improbable science (see the articles on Metagenesis and Metatechnology for more details). Certain forms of technology are dependant on ley line energy, most significant among them being the use of the Slipstream drive. Slipstream is a highly economical form of Transluminal Drive, allowing a vessel to move quickly from one star to another by taking advantage of the difference in certain basic physical laws in the slipstream space. Because slipstream technology is dependant on having access to an active ley line, Galactic Civilization is essentially nomadic, moving from world to world as the slipstream shifts. Leylines form the basic conduits of trade, exploration, and warfare, much as rivers once did on Earth.
Leylines are more prevalent, and their energies stronger, as you travel inward towards the galactic core. This has given rise to a sort of hierarchy among galactic civilizations, with the oldest and most powerful races dwelling in the zone of the 3 Kiloparsec Arm, the old and powerful civilizations such as the Guilds Commonwealth dwelling in the region of the Centaurus Arm near the hub, and the so-called Hoard Worlds such as Earth existing in the outer reaches. Other, more primitive worlds exist out on the Galactic Fringe, but ley line energy is so sparse in that region of space, such worlds can lay fallow for hundreds of thousands of years without ever being able to access a slipstream drive. Fringe worlds rarely support sentient life, and many have no real life at all.
Central to the galactic ley lines is the legend of Shen the Immortal. Shen was said to be the first being to have discovered and mapped the ley line network, and the only being to have ever physically crossed over to the Otherverse, where he discovered a source of god-like power known as the Elixer of Life, which gave him the ability to forge an empire which reached from the Milky Way to Andromeda, and included many of the lesser dwarf galaxies in the surrounding region. An ancient order of priests known as the Watchers act as the conservators of the ley lines, visiting worlds as they undergo the process of Metagenesis and judging whether the new species pose a potential threat to the safety of other races in the galaxy. Earth has been visited by the Watchers on several occasions, and on at least one such occasion, the Watchers are known to have intervened to destroy a race known as the Nephilim. The Watchers often create sacred orders of templar-knights, known as Guardians, who serve the galactic community as an extra-political police force. On Earth, the Circle of Twelve represent the interests of the Watchers and help to safeguard the planet and other nearby races.