Introduced in the early 2270s, the Miao Model IV Hyper-Generator is a small, simple Type 1 gravity drive.
Using ship's power, the Model IV takes ten minutes for the capacitors to charge sufficient power to generate a jump point into hyperspace (although for emergencies, a self-contained fusion generator can power a jump in four hours). The jump point, a 1.25 km-wide sphere, can be projected up to 50 km (30 miles) away from the ship. A two-hour cycling period is required before the Model IV can generate another jump point. In cannot be used to for gravity propulsion or to generate gravity shields around the ship.
Although slow, weak, and power-hungry, the Model IV's main advantage is its small size, approximately ten times smaller than any human-built gravity drive on the market. Consequently, it's also twice as expensive, costing 15 million Imperial Crowns.
The Model IV is manufactured and distributed by the K'Nes corporate clan Miao Mercantile, Inc. to meet the civilian demand for gravity drives in human space that resulted from the dismantling of the commercial jumpgate network within the Holy Terran Empire. The Model IV was specifically designed to be small enough to fit into a standard human 1-kiloton cargo pod, thus enabling even large civilian cargo ships to cross over between realspace and hyperspace. This has helped keep interstellar trade running in the Empire.
Due to the enormous price, most independent freighter owner-operators (such as James Welthammer) can't afford to buy a Model IV outright, so many lease them from Miao Mercantile instead (at steep interest rates), giving the Miao a considerable amount of financial leverage over their clients. Moreover, the Miao regularly pressure human freighter captains into accepting discounts, refinancing, or credit extensions in exchange for making off-the-record cargo runs hauling questionably legal merchandise. This has resulted in the Miao becoming the puppet masters behind a smuggling network while not technically getting involved themselves, providing them with plausible deniability to the Empire.
Another big customer are the Imperial nobles houses, who use it to upgrade their smaller ion-drive warships to be hyperspace-capable. Although the Model IV can be crammed inside the modular cargo bays of some older destroyers (like the Archer- or Mandela-class destroyers), more often retrofitting a Model IV into a warship requires sacrificing one of the ship's capital weapons systems or fighter bays.
While the Miao Mercantile subsidiary MIRADI claims to have developed this technology independently, many humans think the K'Nes must have stolen it from a more advanced race, possibly the Jurvain, Vulthra, or even Horadrim. Presumably it is only a matter of time before humans reverse-engineer the Model IV, although the Miao will almost certainly react very strongly (and possibly violently) to the violation of their patent.
Behind the ScenesEdit
The Miao Model IV Hyper-Generator was introduced to the Tech Infantry universe in the between-seasons short story "Let's Make a Deal" by player/writer Lorpius Prime (a podcast version can be downloaded here.) It has yet to be determined if the Model IV will be an accepted part of story canon.