The discovery that often propels a species into the community of civilizations known as the Local Galaxy is the discovery of Kurtz-Dunar field technology, and through it, access to the turbulent levels of hyperspace known as the Maelstrom — and to the stars in a reasonable amount of time — with some risk.
More a state of being than a place per se, the Maelstrom exists in the higher dimensions of 11-dimensional space-time, and so is a common means of transport through those dimensions, bypassing Einsteinian space using artificial wormholes opened and kept open through the Kurtz-Dunar field generated by a starship and its protective screens.
The radiation pressure within these wormholes is intense, enough to buffet a starship in transit, called starfold translation, and it builds up a residue of hyperspace matter particles that can result in damage to the ship and crew if within the Maelstrom for too long. This is also affected by the size of the starship and so the power needed for its drive-field, with larger vessels needing stronger drive-fields and so building up more residual particles. A ship must exit the Maelstrom before the buildup of residue reaches a critical point, and allow the residue to dissipate in Einsteinian space-time before resuming translation.
Theoretically, higher states of hyperspace may be accessed, but this is a technological feat out of reach for the known civilizations, even for the Kai’Siri and the ancient Mokthraga. The Broogh Flow, partly for historical reasons and partly because of the practical limits imposed on the size of starships accessing the Maelstrom, does not use hyperspace travel, and instead relies on sublight plasma drives allowing travel at speeds roughly 10% that of light at most.
These suspected higher regions of hyperspace might be less dangerous than the Lower Maelstrom, and may impose fewer or different limitations on ships travelling through them. The Suthidruu are thought to be one such species with access to them, the Tathladi are another, both of which have use of the mind-boggling technology of the long dead Grand Civilization of the Nine.
Those same regions of hyperspace, useful though they may be, require access to energy sources beyond the current means of the Local Galaxy, and so remain out of reach — so far.
Maelstrom travel has narcotizing and hallucinogenic effects in most species, and so the drive must be controlled by automated systems while in translation as the crew is asleep, delirious, or unconscious. Forced wakefulness in the Maelstrom often results in temporary psychosis, and permanent psychosis or dementia resulting from neurological damage in long-term exposure.
The Mirus’ starship, the Emulael Enza, is navigated by his hypershard when in translation, his mind locked in a dream-state that often allows sensory access to the higher dimensions of space-time and powerful insights not available to his waking state. It is often a time of nightmares, sometimes resulting in screaming fits as he suddenly wakes when translation is complete.
This is a powerful means of travel, despite the limitations on the size of a ship and the safety of the crew, and it is the key to the stars. With it, a civilization can make its mark on the universe, or bring about its early demise courtesy of rival civilizations it may encounter. It’s up to them.