- It is also known as a Thruster Plate, and also (somewhat inaccurately) as a Reactionless Drive or Reactionless Thruster, or by other terms, due to their design and their apparent mode of operation.
- The term M-Drive refers specifically to the Thruster Plate Maneuver Drive system that reacts against the curvature of spacetime (i.e. gravity) that is in use at standard TL throughout Charted Space, and should not be confused with the generic term "Maneuver Drive" that refers to Impulse Drives and other Relativistic Drives in general.
- Speed of Travel
- Spacecraft Drives (Interplanetary Drives or Impulse Drives)
- Starship Drives (Interstellar Drives)
The fourth significant development came from the search for a starship maneuver drive that did not lose efficiency when away from a strong gravity well. Artificial gravity and damper technology led to yet another sub-atomic force-based technology. This new, artificially generated force pushes against a vessel's "thrust plates" themselves, which make true reactionless thrusters a reality for starship sized vessels. 
The M-Drive use their own gravity field itself for propulsion, by "grabbing on" to the curvature of space and running along it much like an ant on the slope of a sugar-bowl. The M-Drive uses the stellar system itself as their reaction mass. 
Unlike the ant in the earlier example, however, the slope of the bowl has a different effect on the gravitic-drive ships. They depend upon the slope for propulsion. Beyond a certain point, quantum-gravitic effects drastically reduce the efficiency of a gravitic drive ship by a factor of a hundred or more, and thus they cannot maneuver effectively in deep space. 
Thruster plates work normally until the curvature of space reaches a threshold. Below that threshold, quantum-gravitic effects drastically cut the effectiveness, by a factor of a hundred or more. That cutoff level turns out to be around 1,000 Diameters (about 2,000 AU for most main sequence stars). Thus Thruster plate equipped ships can't maneuver effectively in deep space. Ships intended to routinely operate out beyond the cutoff are generally designed with some form of auxiliary propulsion (Fusion Drives or HEPlaR are the most popular).
The theoretical underpinnings of M-Drives involve the strength of gravitational fields from stars and worlds. The practical result is that In-System Drives operate within specific distances of stars and worlds, and are essentially unusable beyond those distances. 
Power for the drives is provided by the ship's power plant. Technology level requirements for maneuver drives are imposed to cover the grav plates integral to most ship decks, and which allow high-G maneuvers while interior G-fields remain normal.
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