How Does the Alternate Reality Drive Work?
The Alternate Reality Drive, or ARD, is mystic. It's majestic. It's awesome.
Aside from being fantastically pretty, this mysterious ball of celestial light is what allows the Oddstar--and all ships created by the Masters--to travel between parallel universes. The ARD is a grapefruit-sized sphere of energy that needs to recharge between each jump into another dimension. It's kept in a compartment inside the Oddstar's bridge.
Our heroes don't understand the complexities of quantum physics, but the theoretical science behind the ARD is a wacky thing. The ARD is a device as old as the Masters themselves, capable of generating a micro black hole without the need for a particle accelerator (like your Large Hadron Collider). You see, these low-mass kinds of singularities are generally unstable--they cease to exist almost as fast as they appear. That's why the Earth isn't swallowed up every time scientists smash a few particles together. The ARD, however, is capable of forming a stable environment for a micro black hole to exist without destroying the matter around it.
Impressive, right? But how does that enable transdimensional travel? It gets even wilder. The ARD can create not only black holes; it can make white holes. What the funkenwaggendoodle is a white hole? Black holes, as you know, swallow up any matter near them--even light cannot escape. Nothing can escape their event horizon, so nothing comes out. A white hole, however, functions in an opposite manner. Matter cannot enter its event horizon--but in theory, it can emerge from it.
You might be forming the same hypothesis many Earthling scientists will develop as your species perfects its understanding of quantum mechanics and astrophysics: matter that enters a black hole can exit a white hole. This forms an Einstein-Rosen bridge, more commonly known as a wormhole. It was previously assumed that such a tunnel through spacetime could only exist between two black holes or two white holes. As you can imagine, travel is impossible if you are physically unable to exit a black hole or enter a white hole. You would be trapped in the wormhole for eternity. With opposite singularities on each end of the bridge, though, that travel becomes possible--which is where the ARD comes in.
Another fun thing about singularities is their effect on time. When the Oddstar folds itself up to enter the micro black hole its ARD created, it also creates a white hole for it to exit through. The weird thing, though, is that it cannot create a white hole within a universe it's not currently in. Because singularities bend time, however, the ARD is capable of traveling through a black hole into a fraction of a nanosecond in the past, during which it creates a white hole. Since it creates it in the past, the white hole is already there to exit through by the time the ship is inside the black hole. And since they are able to exit the wormhole before they've entered it, they are able to create the white hole in time to form the Einstein-Rosen bridge.
Because of the field the ARD uses to contain singularities, only the ship and anything it touches is affected by multiverse travel. That's why our heroes don't destroy an entire star system every time they make a jump. As the Oddstar travels through its custom-tailored wormhole, it passes through a theoretically infinite number of other realities. Because of this, it's entirely possible to touch some matter as their Einstein-Rosen tunnel passes through its reality, causing it to hitch a ride with them. Entire objects--even living beings--have been known to get picked up during an ARD jump. That, however, is a post for another day.
Confused yet? Don't worry; all you need to know is that the ARD creates a transdimensional wormhole. Then you can just focus on the awesome action and the funny situations readers come to expect from Which Where.
Does it sound like I'm full of shit? Perhaps. That's why all this remains theoretical to humankind. Us Masters, however, understand quantum physics instinctively. We're born with this knowledge; our heroes were not. I guess that's why they just push the bright blue button and try not to think about the risk of being trapped in a wormhole forever.