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AL-38 Slipstream Module

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The AL-38 Slipstream Module is an experimental Tau device to allow for faster-than-light travel.[1a]

The device was developed by Earth Caste scientist Ka'buto through years of studying Imperial FTL technology and old wreckages of Kroot Warspheres. Once fitted to a space vessel, the module creates a bubble of anti-matter around the ship and propels it at such a speed that it can pierce the fabric of reality itself. Initial test flights were incredibly successful and allowed any vessel equipped with one to traverse the entire span of the empire within a few days, a journey that previously required many months.[1a]

However despite Ka'buto's warnings, the Ethereal Council activated hundreds if not thousands of of AL-38 modules simultaneously at Numenar Point to begin the Fourth Sphere of Expansion. The resulting mass use of anti-matter created a tear of reality that swept the Tau fleet away. In the aftermath of the Numenar Point disaster the Ethereals scrapped the entire AL-38 program.[1a]

However decades later it was discovered that the Tau fleet had not been destroyed but instead transported across much of the galaxy, leaving behind a wormhole that would become known as Startide Nexus.[1a]

After the disaster at Numenar Point, all the modules were disassembled and returned to storage at the Earth Caste facilities. Ka'buto and his team presumably continued to improve upon the device, in the hopes of a 6th Sphere Expansion.[1b]