Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki

Higher Spacetime

The exploitation of Higher Spacetime is a common characteristic of Elder technology.


Elder AI (Artificial Intelligences):

Skippy the Magnificent

Nagatha Christie
  • Initially created by Skippy as a communications sub-mind to run a Thuranin relay station, but gained sentience.
  • Created by Skippy and Nagatha as the control AI for Valkyrie. Bilby is the product of two dead-end systems that were originally supposed to just float around in Valkyrie's substrate for a while and then get purged, but they evolved and absorbed the two remaining final candidate AIs. The two dead-ends named themselves Bobby and Billy. They merged to become "Bilby".

Dead AI (Newark)

  • Skippy got the AI Worm from deciding to investigate this AI

Insane AI (now dead)

  • Skippy killed this AI and destroyed the Elder Warship it was in.


The Elder Guardians protect the systems in which the Elders put something still of value to them after they ascended. This idea is first introduced in Zero Hour where the Guardians protect this system called the Roach Motel / Hotel California.


Sentinels were created by the Elders to limit the growth of sentient species in the Milky Way.

Wormhole Network

The Elders created a massive wormhole network that stretches throughout the Milky Way Galaxy and also extends to satellite galaxies. This network is used to power the Galactic Shield. A wormhole is essentially a virtual rip in spacetime that allow an object to travel lightyears in matter of seconds. The overall wormhole network contains many local networks with a varying number wormholes each. Wormholes within the network can be active, dormant or damaged.

It is unknown if there are either many AIs that control each local Wormhole Network or just one AI that controls the entire Wormhole Network.

There are two types of Elder wormhole: Normal and Super-Duty.

Normal Wormholes

These wormholes are spread throughout the galaxy and operate in local networks.

According to information that Joseph Bishop got from Baturnah Logellia, for some reason that even the Maxolhx and the Rindhalu didn't know, every once in a while, wormholes shifted. It happened randomly, or in a cascade across a whole quadrant of the galaxy. A shift could happen after a couple decades, or it could take hundreds or thousands of years. Some wormhole A, that used to connect to a wormhole B, suddenly connected instead to a wormhole C, and B shifted to connect to D. Or a wormhole could stop working altogether, or a previously unknown wormhole could suddenly activate. A planet that was strategically important could find itself an isolated backwater, after a wormhole shift. Or a planet that was too far from a wormhole for anyone to bother with, could suddenly become an important staging base for both sides to fight over. That's what happened to Earth.

Named Wormholes

Moved during a wormhole shift that occurred within a year prior to Columbus Day and used by the Kristang to eventually conquer Earth. It is the wormhole the Merry Band of Pirates open and closed to get back and forth to Earth until it had to be permanently shut down in order to move and open the Backstop wormhole.

Sleeping Beauty (damaged)
Closer to Earth than Gateway. Has been dormant for at least eighty million years. It was not affected by the wormhole shift that occurred within a year prior to Columbus Day.

Dormant wormhole that Skippy requested the Wormhole Network to move and wake up.

Dormant wormhole originally 21 lightyears from Earth. Due to Skippy requesting the Wormhole Network to move and wake up the Backstop wormhole, it moved to 16 lightyears from Earth and woke up.

The wormhole in Ruhar territory that is closest to Paradise.

Super-Duty Wormholes

These wormholes stretch much further than local wormholes within the galaxy. Some connect to satellite galaxies of the Milky Way and, presumably. The Sculptor dwarf has only two wormholes that Skippy could detect, in addition to the one connecting to the Milky Way. The Carina dwarf has six, and Ursa Minor has three. The lack of wormholes is not because the dwarf galaxies are actually small, Carina is nearly two thousand lightyears across.

Skippy started looking around for signs of hidden wormholes that might connect out beyond four hundred thousand lightyears and he discovered why wormholes didn’t project more than that distance. It wasn't the technology. A series of seven super-duty wormholes would get all the way to Andromeda 2.5 million lightyears away. It was because the Elders devoted their attention to constructing the Galactic Shield.


Communications Node (AI-Network Module)

A communications node is used to contact the AI Collective.

Conduit Device

An Elder Conduit ties Skippy's canister to the bulk of him in a higher phase of spacetime. The conduit moves around with Skippy, because when his canister moves in this spacetime, the bulk of him doesn’t necessarily move. When the Dutchman jumps, or goes through a wormhole, Skippy has conduit connections on both ends. If they jumped really, really far, like across the galaxy, then Skippy might temporarily lose the conduit and the part of him in a higher spacetime would need to reestablish the connection. Otherwise, no problem.

During Zero Hour, because Skippy was trapped in a corner of his canister, he couldn’t access the conduit. His extradimensional conduit was on the other side of the firewall, with the AI worm. Skippy needed to find a conduit, so he could pull his conscious out of his canister, and come back into it from another spacetime.

Galactic Shield

The Galactic Shield is a huge energy barrier surrounding the Milky Way galaxy, built through a vast effort by the Elders to protect the galaxy from an external threat. Differing opinions on how to maintain the Galactic Shield indefinitely caused The Elder Civil War and led the creation of Master Control AIs and Sentinels.


A power sink, unlike a power tap, behaves more like a motor than an engine. An engine like in a car generates its own power, while a motor has to be supplied power in order to do work. Power sinks draw energy from the magnetic field of a star, for example. These are used in Roach Motels to help supply power to the Galactic Shield and the stealth fields of Roach Motels.


A power tap, unlike a power sink, behaves more like an engine than a motor. A functional Elder power tap is one of the most valuable items in the entire galaxy. It's a sophisticated power cell that draws quantum energy from another dimension to be used in normal spacetime.

Relativistic Impactors

Relativistic impactors are essentially space rocks or small asteroids used to attack targets on the surface of planets, like a railgun strike only much more devastating. Barsoom and Gingerbread have visible craters that are evidence of strikes using relativistic impactors.

Wormhole Controller Module

A wormhole controller module has the codes needed to shut down or move a wormhole. It is used to communicate with the Wormhole Network. Without the controller module, Skippy is unable to shut down the Gateway wormhole. He can only disrupt it. The network protocols will eventually reestablish the connection, and reset the wormhole. The full set of controller codes are needed to actually shut a wormhole down permanently.


AI Collective

The AI Collective is a communications web for AIs, built by the Elders. It's a way for Skippy to connect with others of his own kind.


There are currently only three species in the galaxy that have access to Elder weapons — the Rindhalu, the Maxolhx and Humans (although only the Merry Band of Pirates rather than the entire Human race). Not much is known about Elder weapons, except that they are extremely powerful and capable of destroying entire star systems.

Many thousands of years ago, the Maxolhx found and hoarded Elder weapons and eventually, when they had enough, used them to attack the Rindhalu. During that war, many planets and systems were destroyed until the Elder Sentinels intervened and attacked both the Rindhalu and Maxolhx, sending them both back to the stone age. The Rindhalu and Maxolhx learned their lessons have not used any Elder weapons since.

Skippy discovered a large cache of Elder weapons on the stealthed gas giant Maris in the Avalon system. The Merry Band of Pirates planted Elder weapons throughout Rindhalu and Maxolhx territory, armed them, hid them in stealth shields and set timers on them. Joe Bishop, using the tactic of Mutual Assured Destruction, threatened to use of them unless the Maxolhx left Earth and all Humans alone and never come back. He also told them to give that message to the Rindhalu.

AI Worm

This is a fail-safe weapon designed specifically for and installed in Elder AIs. It is a self-replicating worm created to destroy rogue Elder AIs.

Energy Depleting Virus

This virus affects systems which generate and store energy, rather than affecting matter like a living cell. The virus is energy. It feeds on and attacks patterns of energy. living being's nervous system generates and uses electricity. If all other systems are drained of power, the energy virus will migrate into their bodies and attack the energy patterns there.

Guardians in the Roach Mootel tagged wreckage in the junkyard with tracers, to monitor the status of ships they had broken up.