Two areas are of particular interest, because they are based on technologies left by legendary 'elder' race(s). These are the Jump Gates, and the Matrix.
Jump gates do not physically appear as portals, but are regions in space from which it is possible to transport instantly to another jump gate. This allows interstellar trade on a grand scale. Each Jump Gate is connected to several others, forming a web across CivCore. Occasionally, a new connection will be discovered, either creating a shorter route between two places, or leading to a previously undiscovered gate.
Jump drives themselves vary in quality, from a ranges varying from 2 light years (not very far) up to about 8 or so. CivCore jump ships are not particularly accurate, but are guaranteed to put you in the right system at least, after which other forms of propulsion will take over. The New Empire have more accurate jump drives, with longer range.
Jump drives require a great deal of energy, which is stored in capacitors, and recharged by the ship's engines (or an external power source). Normal procedure is to carry enough energy for two jumps. Recharge can take days.
There is also a strange phenomenon associated with jumpships whereby a certain amount of random 'noise' creeps in, and so sometimes you will arrive not quite in the same condition you left. However, the effects are avoided by the use of a Sneaky Gadget which essentially absorbs all the effects, and which is occasionally replaced. A jump is still possible if it goes wrong or wears out, but it is *far* more risky. On the whole, it is best to use jump gates wherever possible: they don't have this problem.
The Matrix is pretty secure. It is possible to intercept messages, and if they are not properly defended to block them, but not usually to tamper with or read them. The Matrix has never been known to completely crash, but connections can be jammed by computer criminals. Most systems treat such people harshly.
It is not generally possible to physically locate a Matrix terminal, unless you happen to know the physical location of the node being used, in which case they must be withim communication range (a few light hours, at the most).
Telhassium is a black mineral, found in varying quantities on most planets of CivCore. It is a vital component of matrix technology, and is used by all races in their matrix connections. Its nature is not entirely understood: on an atomic scale it consists of rapidly changing arrays of assorted uncommon particles, fields and energy. Nevertheless, it is very stable. It absorbs energy in an astounding manner unique to this mineral, although not to the extreme that it is painful to the touch. The confusion over the structure of Telhassium makes it impossible to manufacture.
Many other means of communication exist: if it moves, you can use it. However, only the Matrix is faster than light.
There are also a few well-known minority tactics:
1) Be very very manoeverable, fly rings around the enemy at light speed, and blow them up [Handrahen]
2) Poison the water [Skithrass]
3) Muck about with their computers [Assorted high-hacking individuals, usually smug]
4) Board their flagship with cavalry [Shari]
5) Be The Good Guy [Johnny Vlarg]
Artificial Intelligence is a subject of intense research, debate, and runour.
Low: Big, clunky-looking things.
Medium: Vaguely human-shaped, walking things.
High: Can't tell it's not human just by a casual glance.
A small ship can normally be detected at a range sufficient to see it coming and react.
Planets produce 'sensor shadow'. Similarly, life signs are easy to detect if there is nothing in the way, not too bad through a ship's hull, and very difficult during a 'magnetic disturbance' or other anomaly.
Terraforming is possible in principle, but would take centuries.
10) Weather control: Not on a proper planet. Possible in smaller environments.
9) The Densitometer.
8) Nanotech (building things one atom at a time), with the exception of inscribed circuitry.
7) Solidgrams. (Hard light holograms)
6) Manufacturing Telhassium.
5) Cloaking Device: It is possible to reduce visibility using image generators but they are heavy, and don't fool 'sensors'.
4) Defensive Shields: No-one has managed to produce any sort of energy field that will act as a barrier.
3) Creating Jump Gates.
2) Matter Transmission, transmutation or removal (although the New Empire do have 'disintegrator sticks'. The technology involved has never been made public).
1) Time Manipulation.