Nickel is a metal. It is used in many items and has millions of applications, but its most notable usage in the Systems Commonwealth is that it is used along with Cobalt to make Carbon Nanotubes. The Nanotubes have an extremely high tensile strength, and because of that they are used to make space elevators and bridges, like in the case of the Time Bridge. It is valuable enough in the Systems Commonwealth to be stolen and smuggled in large quantities; in fact, the way that the Commonwealth and the Andromeda Ascendant became aware of the Templars elevator was that they were trying to track down a supply line of Nickel and Cobalt that was being smuggled to the Templars base of operations.