Worlds of Empire

Worlds of the Terran Empire

The Empire has more than a thousand inhabited worlds, with billions of native inhabitants. Describing them all is well beyond the ability of any one document, but in the following you will find some worlds that are either unique and unusual in the Empire, or important either politcally, financially, economically, or a combination of all of these factors..

Terran Empire Planetary Classification

Solar System Worlds

Since the Terran Empire arose on and is governed from Earth, naturally Earth itself and the other useful planets of her system — the Solar System in Imperial parlance, the capitalization indicating the Imperial home star system — are heavily developed.


EARTH

The homeworld of Humanity and the capital of the Empire, Earth is rich, sophisticated, and cosmopolitan. In the wake of the Xenovore Wars, Humans rebuilt many of Earth’s cities as planned urban complexes artfully interspersed with and surrounded by parkland and managed wilderness. Though megacities like Atlanta-New Orleans, Chicago-Indianapolis, Boswash, Calipolis, London-Berlin, Nihon, Shanghai-Beijing, Delhi-Bengal, and Rio-Buenos may hold billions of people, the most important city on Earth is probably tiny Lyons, home to the Imperial court.


Luna

Humans have lived in domed installations on their Moon since 2075. Most of the facilities there are industrial (such as mines), but several cities exist. The largest of these, Serenity, is known for its gigantic towers and other spectacular architecture.


JUPITER

Humans, even genetically-modified ones, cannot live on Jupiter, but they can still make use of the planet. Numerous space stations, including Jupiter One and Copernicus Station, orbit the planet, siphoning off its atmosphere to make fuel and other substances.

Other inhabited objects also orbit the Solar System’s largest planet. Several of its moons have Human habitations on them. For example, Europa has several underwater installations, and explorers and biologists traverse its waters in special submarines; and Ganymede has several domed cities.


MARS

Other than Earth, Mars is the most heavily settled planet in the Solar System. Over two billion Martians (Humans genetically adapted for the thin air) and another two billion normal Humans live there; the latter normally stay inside sealed dwellings and must use breathing apparati if they remain outside for more than a minute or two.

Humans established their first permanent colonies on Mars in 2093. Rather than undertake the massive, centuries-long effort needed to make the planet easily habitable by normal Humans, the people of Earth decided to partially terraform Mars to thicken the atmosphere enough to increase the planet’s temperature and allow altered Humans to live there without significant difficulty. They completed the project in 2256, and the population has increased steadily ever since.

Settlements on Mars mostly cluster in the Chryse, Utopia, Elysium, and Hellas Planitias, but every region of the planet has at least a domed science station, a Martian house, or a few other habitations. Chryse City, the largest urban area on and capital of the planet, occupies the site where the Viking I probe touched down. Most Martians are scientists, workers in heavy industry (mining, manufacturing, and the like), or involved in commercial concerns.

Though not as comfortable as life on Earth, lif on Mars is not without its benefits; many natives say they wouldn’t live anywhere else. Known for its active night life, intense native sports competitions and cultural attractions, Mars has something to offer everyone from the casual tourist to the dedicated immigrant.


SATURN

Although it has a few fuel collection/refinery facilities, Saturn is best known for its orbital hotels and spas. A popular vacation destination due to the spectacular views of its majestic rings, Saturn is visited by thousands of wealthy tourists every year. The less affluent have to content themselves with watching Saturn and its rings pass by as they travel to some more affordable place.


VENUS

Due to its dangerous environment, Venus has only a few Human settlements — heavy-duty domes inhabited by scientists and a few people involved in commercial exploitation of the planet. Periodically some official tries to start a project to terraform Venus, but so far none of the suggested plans for doing this have raised enough public or governmental interest to get anywhere.

Other Worlds

Despite the importance of the Solar System, the vast majority of Imperial territory lies lightyears — often hundreds or thousands of them — away from Earth.


ADAMANT

Located deep in the Frontier, Adamant is the biggest industrial and trading center in that area. Resources from thinly-developed systems flow to Adamant where they become goods for shipment to the Heartworlds or export beyond the Imperial borders. Adamant trades as much with the Ackalians and Mon’dabi as it does with Earth, and consequently Adamant’s government favors better relations with other civilizations. The fact that the Core Fleet has its headquarters in the Adamant system shows the importance the Empire places on keeping Adamant peaceful and productive.

A small, Earthlike world with a mass about half that of Earth, a breathable atmosphere, and large, shallow oceans, Adamant has an eccentric orbit about its star, giving it very extreme seasons. (Changes in solar energy swamp the effects of the planet’s minimal axial tilt.) During fall and spring the global climate is moderate, but summer temperatures can reach 50° Centigrade (120° Fahrenheit) in the equatorial regions and approach 10° C (50° F) at the poles. In winter the tropics average -4° C (25° F), with the poles a brutal -43° C (-45° F). Consequently most of the inhabitants migrate to polar cities for the summer and return to the equator at the end of autumn.


ALPHA CENTAURI

The closest star system to Sol, Alpha Centauri was settled early, by colonists who ventured outside the Solar System using the first Hyperdrives.

It has three inhabited worlds. The first two circle Alpha Centauri A. Balder (Alpha Centauri III) is a terraformed planet now home to a billion people. It’s relatively egalitarian and has an elected government, though the large landowners who claim most of the usable territory have immense power. Since the climate on Balder has not stabilized enough for farming, the Centauri use much of the land for raising mutant cattle.

Loki (Alpha Centauri IV), a Type 3 planet, has 200 million inhabitants in domed cities. Society on Loki involves rigid social classes. An aristocracy of hereditary nobles and wealthy industrialists con trols the government and other important social institutions. The lower classes live an existence that’s at best spartan, at worst oppressive; only those who can scrape together enough money to cover emigration fees and the cost of a starship ticket have any hope of finding a better life.

The planet Hoder, an icy world with subsurface oceans home to 100 million people (mostly Selkies), circles Alpha Centauri B. The Selkies formerly worked under “life service contracts” held by various corporations, effectively making them slaves. This state of affairs ended during the Civil War when Count Ivan supported a rebellion against the pro-Antonio masters. Attempts under Feodor to restore the old system failed. Marissa has worked hard to end unrest and integrate the Selkie population into Imperial society. Currently a council of elected representatives rules the planet; slightly over half of them are loyalists willing to carry out Marissa’s agenda almost without question.

The Centauri system has a Senator, chosen by the three planetary governments meeting in council. During most of Marissa III’s reign, the highly regarded telepath Camilla Kosami represents the Centauri.


BARNARD

Barnard’s Star, the second-closest star system to Sol, has five small icy planets plus an asteroid belt. Initial attempts to reach it failed, but Humanity settled it early in the interstellar period. The Barnard system became a center for heavy industry, and in 2592 construction began there on the Empire’s first major antimatter production facility. The antimatter facility consists of a set of huge solar generators orbiting close to the star, powering giant particle accelerators to manufacture antimatter. Due to the dangers antimatter poses, a squadron of powerful Imperial warships from the Home Fleet guards Barnard at all times.

Barnard’s five planets (known simply as Barnard I-V) have a single government, the Barnard System Authority. Barnard’s industrial corporations include some of the Empire’s biggest, with interests across the Galaxy.


EMERALD

Emerald got its name from its lush green appearance: forests cover the land masses, and copper salts and algae mats turn the oceans green. First settled as a scientific colony, it became the home of numerous leading scientists; today scholars consider the Emerald Institute one of the Empire’s top universities and research centers. Science is practically a spectator sport on Emerald, and research other worlds consider dangerous or blasphemous easily gets funding and lab space there.

Because Emerald attracts inquiring minds from across the Empire and beyond, it’s a very cosmopolitan place, with citizens of almost every known species. Emerald’s famously tolerant society adheres to the principle that “all minds are equal” Non-Humans and even some classes of intelligent machines have full citizenship. The planet also allows experiments in genetic modification, and so has many Human variant types.


EUROPA NOVA

A cool, dry planet with large icecaps and extensive deserts, Europa Nova was settled by Europeans, all from hereditary noble families or families with significant wealth, during the mid-2500s. A non-Human “underclass” — a mix of aliens and robots — does all the actual work needed to keep society functioning smoothly. The lords and ladies live a luxurious existence and staunchly oppose any attempt to recognize their servitors as equals. The fact that Humans constitute only 10 percent of Europa Novas population doesn’t seem to make them nervous.


HERMETICA

A thorn in the Empire’s side, Hermetica is an old Human colony world just outside the Heartworlds region on the coreward side. The planet has an unusual environment: most of the water exists in vast cave complexes beneath the planet’s surface. Oases dot the desert landscape where sinkholes allow plants to reach the subsurface water. Most of the inhabitants and native life live in the cave systems.

Hermetica has a population of about 10 million, including more than 2,000 high-powered psionics. The psionics have established themselves as the rulers of Hermetica by using their powers to maintain their regime and oppress the “controls” who lack psi abilities. Public opinion in the Empire favors intervention to remove the psi oligarchy, but the Imperial authorities seems curiously unwilling to get involved. The whole issue has become a divisive element in Imperial court politics.


KAPTEYN

A very bright red dwarf (but still much dimmer than Sol), Kapteyn’s Star has eight planets, one of which (Kapteyn IV) is a Type 1 world. Two others (Kapteyn III and V) are Types 2 and 3, respectively, and have small colonies living in domed communities. Imperial citizens normally refer to Kapteyn IV simply as “Kapteyn”; they call the third planet Rossendrol, and the fifth Arctos (due to its large polar ice caps).

Kapteyn suffered extensive damage during the Xenovore Wars, and has struggled in the ensuing centuries to rebuild (the colonies on Rossen drol and Arctos were founded in part to provide raw materials for reconstruction projects). As of Marissa III’s reign, the Kapteynians have mostly completed their reconstruction work and begun expanding once again; currently, the population exceeds one billion. A Senatorial world, it governs itself through representative democracy.


MARGRAVE’S WORLD

Referred to in planetary catalogs as Epsilon Indi III, Margrave’s World is better known to citizens of the Empire by the name derived from its discoverer, the early space explorer Alexander Margrave. A bit larger than Earth, with slightly stronger gravity (1.1 G), it’s a remarkably Earthlike world in most respects, and as a result attracts many colonists eager for an easy environment in which to make their new home. As of 2640, it has a population of over two billion; ten percent of them are non-Humans.

Thanks to an unpleasant incident early in its history when several psionically-powerful individuals tried to take over the colonial government, Margravites often have a reflexive suspicion about any psionic. By law, any psionic living there for more than a year (or whose powers manifest while living there) must be marked with a purple square moline cross tattoo on the inside of each wrist. (Characters with this tattoo may take it as a 5-point Distinctive Feature.)


NEW ALEXANDRIA

New Alexandria is a dry but habitable planet; its continents are mostly desert but the coastlines and islands remain quite pleasant. The original settlers hoped to create a new center for education and philosophy, and the planet has a first-class university in the capital, Pharos City. But shortly after they established the initial colony, prospectors found large deposits of radioactive organic crystals in the interior of the largest continent. Thousands of miners and prospectors flocked to New Alexandria, changing the academic society of the founders into a wide-open boomtown atmosphere. Though the initial crystal rush ended long ago, New Alexandria still has a reputation as a place where making a profit take precedence over everything, and a person can have anything for money. The ISP advises casual tourists not to visit New Alexandria’s entertainment havens.


NEW CANAAN

A barely-habitable world, New Canaan was deliberately selected for its harsh conditions by its original settlers. Motivated by religious faith, they sought to create a society that met the most exacting requirements of all religions. The original settlers were Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, but since then settlers from dozens of other religious groups have immigrated to New Canaan. Under New Canaan’s constitution, all citizens must obey the tenets of all religions represented on the planet. In cases where practices directly conflict, a citizen can choose, but otherwise he has to follow all the rules. New Canaanites eat no meat, drink no alcohol or caffeine, may not divorce or use contraception, and wear robes and veils. They use only the minimum technology necessary to support life. Needless to say, the planet’s not exactly a tourist destination.


OPARNIA

A hot, nearly airless planet circling a bright type F star, Oparnia has 300 million inhabitants living in underground complexes. The original settlers wanted to set up an ideal society based on the ideals of Plato: they gestate all children artificially, and conduct government via an extremely advanced and incorruptible artificial intelligence computer system. Unfortunately the passage of time and some illadvised upgrades and program changes have made the computer system slightly eccentric, while the people have become xenophobic and culturally paranoid about the “corrupting” influences of outsiders — most of them view visitors from off world with suspicion and hostility.


OSIRIS

A barely Earthlike planet desperately short of water, Osiris has two small oceans at the polar regions, but desert covers two-thirds of the surface. The native species, the Elpadens, are gaunt humanoids adapted to desert conditions. They apparently once had a highly advanced civilization, with technology at least as advanced as current Imperial science. Explorers and archaeologists sometimes find mysterious Elpaden artifacts both on the surface of Osiris and on other worlds in the system. What destroyed their civilization remains unknown.

The Humans on Osiris were initially scientists, but today the planet has a thriving colony with 400 million people (plus approximately 30 million Elpadens, who have full rights as citizens). Osiris occupies a strategic location on the approaches to the Heartworlds of the Empire, and was the scene of two major battles and numerous raids during the Galactic War. Its people (including the Elpadens) are strong Imperial loyalists, and the Imperial Army has a desert-warfare training center on the planet.


PARAGON

One of the most successful Human colony worlds, Paragon was once a marginal Type 2 world. Terraforming made it lush and habitable, and it has become one of the Empire’s centers for cuttingedge technology in all fields. Planetological engineers must constantly monitor the planet’s climate and biosphere to ensure the terraforming remains in place; if the balance tips too far in any direction, Paragon could become a Type 2 world again in just a few decades.

Paragon has an unusual government: a universal meritocratic democracy. Individual citizens must pass exams to vote, and the electoral computer system weights their votes on issues according to how well they score on certain sections of the test. Thus, someone knowledgeable about energy systems gets more votes on energy-related issues than someone who scored well on interplanetary relations.

Paragon has an unusually large proportion of psionically talented Humans in its population. It’s more tolerant of psis than most worlds, making it a leading center for the study of mental powers.


POLYPHEMUS

Approximately the size of Mars, Polyphemus probably could not sustain life were it not for a huge impact basin, approximately 3,000 kilometers across and 10 kilometers deep, resulting from an ancient collision with an asteroid. At the bottom of the crater the air pressure becomes high enough for Humans to breathe, and a small ring-shaped sea exists. Because it has such a small habitable area, Polyphemus locates all its industries up on the crater rim.

Thanks to its location at the terminus of both the Antispinward Corridor and some major trade routes from Mon’dabi space, Polyphemus has a thriving economy. Many interstellar corporations have large offices there, and merchants selling or buying cargos come from thousands of light-years around to make deals.

Polyphemus is a republic — only landowners can vote, but citizens can purchase otherwise worthless land up in the highlands just to get a vote. A total of 280 million people live on Polyphemus, mostly Martian subspecies Humans.


PROCYON

Procyon, a bright star near Sol, has Human colonies on three of its planets. Procyon IV and V, both similar to Earth in size and mass, are now in the final stages of long and successful terraforming projects. Procyon V already has a breathable atmosphere and a population approaching 1 billion; the 20 million inhabitants of Procyon IV still require oxygen masks on the surface, but the planet already exports agricultural products

The third planet, Procyon IX, is a huge icy ball with a dense methane atmosphere. An industrial powerhouse, it produces all kinds of complex organ ics and manufactured goods. The industrial operations on Procyon IX paid for the terraforming of the other two worlds, and its population is now dropping as its citizens take their promised homesteads. In some cases non-Humans step into the abandoned jobs; in other cases automation takes up the slack.


PROXIMA CENTAURI

The small red dwarf companion of Alpha Centauri A and B, Proxima Centauri has no planets of its own, but does have a belt of asteroids and comets. The Proxima system was settled by inhabitants of orbital space colonies, and today nearly fifty habitats and stations circle Proxima (mostly inhabited by Spacers). Among them is the Imperial Star Academy, a huge complex where all the officers of the Imperial Navy and Marines receive advanced training. Because of the Academy’s presence, the Imperial military guards the Proxima system very well.


RAND IV

The Rand system lies along one of the main trade routes through the Outer Core section of the Empire. As an important shipping and trad ing center along the Mandaarian Road, trillions of credits’ worth of goods pass through its high ports, orbital space stations, and planetary facilities each year.

Rand IV is a Type 2 world where Humans must wear oxygen masks and cold-weather clothing when they venture outdoors. The Empire began a terraforming project in 2620, but it will take more than a century before Rand has a breathable atmosphere. It can support some forms of Terran plant life already, though.

Rand IV was settled by several groups of political idealists devoted to the concept of minimal government. It only has three actual planetary laws: no one may touch another person or cause any physical harm without permission; no one may violate a contract; and no one may steal any physical object. Everything else depends on private agreements between citizens. As a result, the average Randite knows as much about contract formation and interpretation as lawyers on other worlds… and Randite lawyers are renowned throughout the Galaxy for their acumen. Maxim Jabi, the Senator from Rand IV, has a well-deserved reputation as a critic of Imperial rule, but he’s so radical his only offworld support comes from students and fringe journalists.


ROHENDRA

A marginally Earthlike world, Rohendra has ice caps covering about half its surface; much of the rest is desert. It does have a spectacular system of rings, thought to be the debris of a shattered moon. Rohendra’s 40 million inhabitants govern themselves with a neo-feudal system in which individuals pledge their loyalty to a local lord, who in turn pledges fealty to the planetary King. Contracts carefully spell out the terms of the loyalty pledges, and a lord’s subjects can remove him from office if he fails to abide by his word or keep his oaths. Conflicts occur frequently among the lords of Rohendra; it’s one of only a few planets where people can settle legal disputes with duels. The Rohendrans take great pride in their dueling traditions; most other Imperial citizens consider the whole idea pretentious at best, foolish at worst. The Rohendra system serves as the headquarters of the Rimward Fleet, though the Navy locates most of its facilities on the airless icy planet Angenar (Rohendra III). The Rohendrans appreciate the boost the Navy’s presence gives their economy, though their impressions of the often-rowdy crewmembers who visit their world on leave is less favorable.


RUSALKA

Rusalka, a large Earthlike planet, has a surface gravity just under 2 standard G. A native form of dense seaweed laces its oceans, making most of the planet’s surface a vast bog. The highly arable boglands make the planet a major agricultural exporter, while the small, mineral-rich continents support numerous mines and refineries.

The people of Rusalka, almost all Heavies, unfortunately do not have a stable government. Most planetary presidents sweep into office as part of a coup detat, and leave office as the victim of another such armed uprising. Since Rusalka is a Senatorial world, it has no Imperial garrison to interfere. However, the Diplomatic Corps maintains a constant presence here to negotiate treaties and agreements between various factions.


SAPPHO

Sappho, an oversized moon of a gas giant, is tidally locked to the planet it circles, giving it a local day four standard days long. An archipelagic world, it has hundreds of volcanic islands but no continents. Approximately a quarter of the planet’s 500,000 inhabitants are Selkies.

A group of “gyno-separatists” who wished to establish an all-female society settled Sappho in the late 2400s. The inhabitants conceive children artificially, and men may not become permanent residents. The government consists of a worldwide participatory democracy of all women over 39 years of age. After more than a century of separate life, the women of Sappho face a divisive political situation: the older citizens want to preserve Sappho as a separatist colony, but the younger generation doesn’t see the point and wants to open the planet to immigration by both genders.


SIGMA DRACONIS III

Settled early in Earth’s interstellar period, Sigma Draconis III houses a thriving colony of nearly three billion Humans. It’s one of the Empire’s major centers for manufacturing, scientific research, and military procurement; the Dracon battlesuits worn by the Imperial Marines were developed here. “SD3” (as it’s often called) also has extensive arable land and exports agricultural products; Draconian beef enjoys a stellar reputation throughout the Empire.

A Senatorial world, Sigma Draconis III lacks a united planetary government. Its inhabitants live in over four dozen nations, each with its own leadership. Every nation chooses a representative to a planetary conclave that selects the Draconian senator.


TARTARUS

The Terran Security Service’s prison planet, Tartarus is an airless world circling a dim red dwarf star well away from the main trade routes. No publicly-available Imperial star chart marks its location; only TSS pilots know its location, and the TSS impounds or destroys unauthorized vessels entering the system.

Tartarus has about 2 million inmates guarded by 20,000 Imperial Army soldiers and TSS troops. The prisoners operate the hydroponic farms and light industry that keeps them alive; conditions are drab and spartan but generally bearable. Most prisoners serve sentences of about ten years (long enough for whatever organization they belonged to to dissolve), though some inmates remain for life. The TSS also has research facilities, training centers, and equipment stockpiles on Tartarus, so it can continue to operate even if it loses its headquarters on Earth.


TAU CETI

The Tau Ceti system rivals Sol itself for wealth and influence in the Empire. Tau Ceti II was one of the first habitable worlds discovered by Human explorers, and today has a population of 2 billion. The planet Tau Ceti III and the large moon Tau Ceti V-A also have thriving colonies; the system has a total population of 5.5 billion.

The contrast among the Tau Ceti worlds is striking. The inhabitants of lush Tau Ceti II ardently protect their planetary environment; they live in small, self-governing settlements based on renewable power and sustainable industries. An oligarchy of hereditary techno-aristocrats controls airless Tau Ceti III; they own the domed cities and vital life-support systems. Tau Ceti V-As people live in vast underground complexes tunneled out of the planet’s many mountain ranges and have a notoriously corrupt democracy. The Cetians chose their Senator by letting each planet pick one in turn, so the Tau Ceti seat cycles regularly through the political spectrum: Liberal when II gets the selection, Aristocratic on III’s turn, and Conservative when V-A makes the choice.


TETSUO

Tetsuo was once a showpiece colony, with a terraformed planet (Tetsuo II) and a couple of industrial sub-colonies. Then the Galactic Wait broke out, and the system was the scene of some of the bloodiest campaigning in the history of the Empire. Of the system’s 200,000 inhabitants at the start of the fighting, only 60,000 survived, and in the decades following the war half of those emigrated to other colonies. The Empire made some sporadic attempts to spur rebuilding, including a showy new orbital spaceport above Tetsuo II, but the destruction was simply too great. Today Tetsuo II is the only inhabited world, a chilly Mars-like planet (its terraforming having reverted due to the failure to maintain it) with 20,000 people. Outside the capital city, gangs of scavengers and bandits control the surface; they live by recovering wrecked military equipment and stealing from each other.


TRIUMPH

Triumph was once one of the most important worlds controlled by the Xenovores. But in the late 2300s, when Humanity began pushing the Xenovore invaders back, Triumph was their first major conquest (hence their new name for it). The attack was thorough: saturation bombing with more than a hundred nuclear and ten thousand kinetic warheads, accompanied by orbital laser strikes. For decades the planet was a radioactive wasteland, slowly dying.

After Humanity stabilized politically, the Empire spent trillions to make Triumph a showpiece world. It sponsored a massive terraforming and decontamination project and established the planet as a major fleet base. Results were mixed. As of 2640, Triumph has a thriving colony of more than 10 million people, many Navy veterans or military families, and almost all clustered in the region around the spaceport. However, vast portions of the planet remain uninhabitable. Settlers in the wilderness report strange mutant creatures and bands of crazed, half-bestial Xenovores.


TROVATORE

Trovatore, an oceanic planet with a great many lovely island chains and archipelagoes, is a popular tourist destination and resort. The pleasant climate and hedonistic culture have also attracted a great many artists and musicians, and a large contingent of Osathri lives in its many lagoons. It’s gained a reputation across the Empire for political radicalism and sensuality. Imperial authorities don’t consider Trovatore a trouble spot — even the TSS and the Mind Police dismiss the political rhetoric emanating from the planet’s artistic community as nothing but talk.


VAXANDROS PRIME

Located in the spinward regions of the Outer Core, Vaxandros Prime is the first of five planets orbiting the yellow dwarf star Vaxandros. Dis covered in the late 2400s, it’s a pleasant, Earthlike world that’s attracted over 200 million settlers in about a century and a half. Most live in one of the planet’s five major cities, but a few have struck out into the wilds to establish homesteads.

Unfortunately, the planet’s relative proximity to Drago’s Reach makes it a convenient stop for smugglers and other neer-do-wells traveling to or from that lawless region of space. The Intelligence Bureau, a combination law enforcement and espionage agency under the control of the planet’s ruling oligarchy, often has difficulty keeping track of all the criminals in or passing through the Vaxandros system. The enormous Vaxandros High Port in particular has a reputation as a haven for criminal activity.


VINARCUS

Sometimes known as Plateau, Vinarcus is an enormous world with an atmosphere far too dense for Humans to breathe or survive in at surface level. Three gigantic, towering plateaus reach up through the atmosphere to regions where the air pressure decreases to habitable levels, and it’s on these plateaus that Imperial colonists built their settlements. As of 2640, there are about 20 million Vinarcans, most engaged in the manufacturing or mining trades. Over half of them are Heavies, or the alien equivalent — Vinarcus welcomes non-Human colonists, and thus has an unusually cosmopolitan culture for its size.

Other Regions

Lying just outside Imperial space are several regions closely associated with Terran rule.


ACKALIAN NEUTRAL ZONE

A narrow band of space, ranging from about one light-year wide at its closest point to well over a dozen at its farthest, separates the Terran Empire from the Ackalian Empire. Both sides patrol this region constantly, often sending stealthy “scouting patrols” into the Zone itself in blatant violation of various treaties and less formal agreements. To make matters worse, Mandaar, homeworld of the Mandaarians, lies within the Zone, attracting explorers, scientists, and rogues from all over the Galaxy. Technically it’s a violation of both Terran and Ackalian law for a citizen of either regime to enter the Zone, but neither seems particularly intent on enforcing those regulations.


DRAGO’S REACH

Wedged in between Terran, Perseid, and Conjoined Civilizations space is a region claimed by none of those governments. Known as “Drago’s Reach” after an infamous (and probably mythical) space pirate of the twenty-fourth century, this is lawless territory where an unusual mix of explorers, renegade scientists, daring traders, cocky smugglers, and ruthless criminals mingle freely without having to worry (much) about the ISP or other such organizations.

The Reach contains several inhabitable worlds, some of them already the home of native species unaffiliated with any major Galactic government. There are also supposedly several independent space stations where “space scum” come together to do business and plan jobs.


SPINWARD TERRITORIES

The Terran Empire calls the region of space between itself and the Perseid Empire the "Spinward Territories;’ as if they were somehow a hinterland belonging to Humanity. In fact, the Territories are nothing of the sort; they’re just a large, informally-established “neutral zone” between the two empires. Few Terran leaders have any desire to go to war with the powerful Perseid Empire, so the Empire long ago stopped any further growth in that direction (the Perseids, for their part, feel the same way). The space between the two Galactic powers remains ungoverned; criminals and rebels sometimes flee there, and a few native species take advantage of their location to trade heavily with both governments.


THORGON NEUTRAL ZONE

Another “buffer zone” established between Terran space and the territory of a hostile power, the Thorgon Neutral Zone is larger than the Ackalian — at least three light-years wide at its narrowest, and up to 20 in some places. Its exact boundaries have shifted periodically, based on the victories and relative strength of the two governments, but Humans now control numerous systems once possessed by the Thorgons… a fact not forgotten by the grateful inhabitants of those worlds, or the hawkish and revenge-minded Thorgons.


THE VORSAN EXPANSE

In between Terran, Mon’dabi, and Ackalian space lies a narrow corridor of space known as the Vorsan Expanse, a name supposedly deriving from a Xenovore word meaning “uninhabitable:” The Expanse was once part of Xenovore territory, but the Xenovores established few successful colonies there and left even fewer ruins. It remains a lawless place, often used as a source of refuge by pirates and smugglers because it allows them to reach nearby inhabited regions easily, then escape back over the border.

Worlds of Empire

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