FTL Factors are a system introduced by Kit Fernel for describing the speed of a starship traveling faster than light (FTL). FTL factors are not absolute, and determine how fast a spacecraft is moving relative to the speed of light and not any specific object.
FTL Factors Chart
|FTL Factor||Times LS|
This chart does not account for time spent accelerating decelerating. Based on these speeds a ship traveling at FTL Factor 20 would need approximately 4.5 years to cross an average-sized galaxy. FTL factors are only used within galaxies.
Referencing the above chart, there is a very substantial jump between Factor 2 and Factor 3. This is coloqually known as the "fast" FTL Jump. In the early Third Age, an encounter with the enigmatic Adam Cadman II allowed Foundation scientists to make a very rapid and enormous leap in FTL technology.
Prior to the encounter, the fastest achievable speeds were around one thousand times the speed of light, or a little over FTL Factor 2. The scale at the time listed nearly fifty different FTL-factors between 1(the speed of light) and 50(about a thousand times the speed of light). Since the jump-over to "fast" FTL-technology, the old system had to be abandoned entirely as there was, now, effectively no limit.
FTL in the Void
FTL factors were established by Kit Fernel in the early Golden Age in order to help ships determine maximum safe speeds. A typical FTL drive, if given sufficient power, can travel much faster than Factor 20, but gravitational fields of stars and planets cause unpredictable bursts of acceleration and deceleration, making accurate navigation impossible past Factor 20.
However, in the voids between galaxies, where much greater distances must be crossed by graviational interfearance is not an issue, dramatically greater speeds are possible.
There is no factor system, however a System X is sometimes employed by the Gudersnipe Foundation. Under System X, speeds are calculated according to a number(x) times FTL Factor 20, an expressed as 20x(X). FTL Factor 20x20 is 22,400 times the speed of light times 20, or 448,000 times the speed of light.
Intergalactic crossings can typically be made significantly faster than galactic crossings, with an average trip between galaxies being made at FTL Factor 20x80, or about 1,292,000 times the speed of light.
Because of the extreme speeds attained, a ship might travel above a galaxy until coming to a point relatively near it's destination, before slowing to resume velocities in the normal FTL Factor scale.
The highest velocity ever recorded was by a specially built Gudersnipe School ship Galaxy Chaser powered by eight Zero-Point Generators, she ship reached FTL Factor 20x102, or 22,848,000 times the speed of light.