approximately five hundred light years of
the Sol System. There are about
two-point-seven million stars within this
volume of space.
another five hundred to fifteen hundred
light years beyond the Sol Cluster. Much
of the Defense Force's Exploration
Command and Triumvirate of Yut's Galaxy
Exploration Command activity occurs in this
region. Because of the varying density of
stars in the area, the appellation is mostly
informal. This region contains another
twelve to fifteen million stars.
Milky Way galaxy as well as the numerous
minor or 'dwarf' galaxies nearby. The Milky
Way contains between four hundred and
eight hundred billion stars and with the
nearby dwarf galaxies there are over two
trillion star systems to explore.
Homes Away From Home
As a nation of explorers, Sunset's civilization is spread over numerous locales that are as varied as the many different cultures and peoples who call them home. From terraformed worlds with wipe-open vistas to confined subterranean arcologies to vast space stations that wander the stars, the people of Sunset have proven adept at putting down the roots of civilization nearly anywhere.
Much of the responsibility for Sunset's expansion into the wider galaxy been propelled by two organizations; Specifically, the Sunset Exploration Command and the Triumvirate of Yut's Galactic Exploration Command. These two organizations, essentially mirrors of each other on a National and Super-Federal level, continually push forward the boundaries of explored space as well as science, research, and technology. Much as the space agencies of the 20th century contributed an enormous amount to the advancements of their respective civilizations in areas as diverse as communications and agriculture, so the SEC and GEC contribute every day to the advancement of Sunset and the Triumvirate of Yut.
As the early space race was undertaken for nationalistic goals, the same applied and still applies to much of Sunset's expansion. The first wave of expansion beyond Sol was engineered in response to an extensional threat by an aggressive nation that was largely bound to the solar system. By establishing the far distant Ares System, it was hoped that this threat would be mitigated and any attempts to bully the nation by threats against the Republic's civilian population averted or diminished. In this, that early wave has more than accomplished this goal. Not only has Sunset out-lasted that threat, and the nation it originated from, but the challenges that were overcome and the technological advances that came with them continue to ripple through Sunset to this day.
Even now, the Sunset government is continuing to establish new colonies and build up existing worlds. New colonies are typically established either to take advantage of a new or unique resource - rather than common materials and minerals - or as an outlet for continued population growth. Some are also established in a protective capacity; Shielding an indigenous species against hostile or aggressive space-faring nations. Frequently a small Colony will reach a tipping point where the population, technology, and manufacturing base edges past that ten million boundary and then the population will rise sharply as those who are looking for more elbow room but the benefits of an ultra-high technology civilization move in from other Major Worlds.
Spread out across the various worlds and systems that the Republic of Sunset claims as its own are many more smaller colonies and enclaves that belong to both friendly and allied nations and civilizations. These can range from the most minor of settlements - even just a dozen individuals working at a research site - all the way up to whole planets or moons. For the most part these are considered sovereign territory of the governing nation, though in a few instances they are also subject to specific local regulations and laws.
By and large these colonies are from the various nations of the Triumvirate of Yut and because of that there is often little difference when moving from one area to another. The rough level of technology available will be the same as well as what products and services can be found and commerce flows freely. Typically the only border controls that might be in place will be there if the area is of a military or government nature. Often this free movement of people has led to a tangled inter-mix where the border between one area and another is more of a concept than a reality. This is especially true on the hyper-populated planets such as Ares and Chuh-Yu where even a large city can blend into the larger landscape without much notice as to its particular status.
The Major Worlds of the Republic are those that have an individual population in excess of ten million. Almost all of these started as an official colony, either as part of a direct colonization effort as with the Ares System, or as part of a specific mission such as the former monitoring station of Terra Incognito. Not all of the Major Worlds are strictly planets; The Saturnian Ring, Monolith Station, and other artificial constructs all house a significant population sometimes in excess of many planets. All Major Worlds are serviced by the Aurora Transit Gate Network, which allows faster-than-light travel and communications between these worlds and any others capable of connecting to the network.
While the Federal Government plays a
large part in the running of the various
Major Worlds and Colonies, there are
additional layers of government under
this that are more directly
representational. In general, the break-
point is about one hundred million.
Above this and the World or Colony has
its own Governor while below this it is
represented by the System Governor. A
particular Star System can have both;
These then have their own Departments
and Secretaries under them.
Reference is occasionally made to the Ares Local Cluster as well as the Ares Super-Cluster. The Ares System itself is located over five hundred light years core-ward of Sol and at the very bottom of the galactic disk. The Local Cluster is those stars that are within twenty light years of the Ares System, while the Super-Cluster are those stars that are within one hundred and fifty light years. Most of Sunset's colonial expansion is concentrated within the Super-Cluster and most of the colonies within this area are slated to be upgraded to Major World status as population pressures push outward from the Core Systems.
Location: Sol System
Local Gravity: .38g
The birthplace of the Republic, the Martian portions are considered to be akin to an 'Old Sunset' and this is reflected in the citizenry. It is very much Human-dominated and, while still liberal as an overall measure, it is considered conservative within Republic culture. It is also the hub of Big Business in Sunset with many major trade and finance corporations having their headquarters there. This serves them well as Martian Sunset is also a trade hub with goods flowing freely to and from as a result of the numerous Free Trade Agreements Sunset is a partner to.
Most of the population is clustered in the Valles Marineris region and the attendant super-arcology. Sunset was founded by colonists from Earth who made their homes in the Valles and the sub-arcology New Vancouver is often considered the physical capital (though not officially so). The city is also the location of many of the embassies and consulates that have been built and is thus something of the political center of the nation though again, this is unofficial. Nearly since the founding, the government of the Republic has existed as a virtual environment accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
Outside of the Valles, major population centers are located on the islands of New ArAreBee in the Mare Utopia and in the numerous arcologies that dot the Lunae, Solis, Sinai, and Thaumasia Planum to the north and south of the Valles. Like the Valles super-arcology, these massive constructs typically take advantage of geographic features, often filling impact craters or lining the interior of canyon walls. In most cases they take their name from the geographic feature they are occupying; A few of the major arcologies are Tocanao, Martin, and Ophir - all of which are named after the craters they occupy.
Thanks to a century and a half of terraforming, Mars is no longer the Red Planet but a mix of colors reminiscent of Earth. While most of the population of Sunset on Mars lives below ground, the surface isn't completely featureless either. The clear domes of many arcologies can be seen, of course, and nearly every crater that isn't built up is capped with an inflatable dome that shields the fields and terraces of agricultural production from the fierce winds that blow down from the Tharsis Plateau. The open space between craters is green as well though this is generally wild. Genetically engineered blackberry vines, kudzu, and other extremely hardy and aggressive plant species have overrun everything. There are some open fields, particularly of wheat and other massive field crops, as well as some scattered trees that have managed to take root, but there are very few roads or other infrastructure on the surface and thus little reason to keep the plant life under control. Wild animals, both hardy Earth species as well as genetically engineered, can be found all over the surface.
Other notable features of Martian Sunset include the titanic dam at the mouth of the Valles that turns the whole length into a gigantic water reservoir, the planet-spanning MagLev network, and the equatorial space elevators that allow seamless transit from the MagLevs into orbit and onward through the Aurora Transit Network to the rest of the galaxy. Further afield from Sunset, one can visit the home islands of the ArAreBeens with their towering mushroom arcologies or Mangala and its flowing tent cities and the enormous Grand Canal that links the Hellas Basin to the Northern Ocean. With its wide variety of cultures and civilizations, Mars is a tourism destination as well as an economic one.
Of additional interest are the changes to the Martian local space made to support the terraforming initiative. Most notably, both of the moons have been re-purposed with one being positioned in a locked orbit between Mars and the Sun and built into a solette so as to provide additional light at Earth-normal levels. The other was deconstructed into an orbiting magneto-array that provides Mars with an artificial magnetic field, shielding the planet from the destructive effects of the solar wind. These two are thus named after the moons they replaced; the solette is Phobos while the magneto-array is Deimos. Both of these are maintained by the entirety of Mars and are considered inviolate as both are necessary to ensure survival across the entire planet.
The Ares System
The Ares System is the primary population center of Sunset. Between Ares Prime, Anuke, and Chuh-Yu it holds about three-quarters of the Republic's population. Because of the large population, easy access to resources, high education standards, and liberal attitudes, it is the technology and innovation center of Sunset. It also has an incredibly diverse population; Every sentient species that Sunset has encountered can be found somewhere in the Ares System along with examples of their cultures and technologies.
Location: Ares System
Population: Ultra High
Local Gravity: .96g
Ares, as the primary colony world, is something like old New York City with lots of business, finance, and marketing-centered activities. It is also the manufacturing center with automated factories turning out low-cost and mid-ranged goods by the billions in order to meet consumer needs and desires. Its population is the primary pressure point for colonial expansion with nearly half of the potential immigrants looking out-system for a new and less-crowded place to call home. Inversely, it is also a popular destination for the young and adventurous who are seeking to make their place in the world. Between these two groups, the population is roughly normalized but thanks to the second it always feels as if it is growing.
Ares has, as mentioned, two main continents and a few other large islands. Due to the terraforming process all of these have roughly the same flora and fauna. Most of these are hardy terrestrial species that were genetically modified to survive in the early environment and have since flourished. The population tends to be crowded into the numerous large cities, leaving a lot of the planet as either open wilderness, vast factory farms, or sprawling factories. Most of the mineral resources required comes from the Crown, the dense asteroid belt close to the star, and thus there is not a lot of large-scale resource extraction operations.
Points of interest on Ares include the planetary capital; Neo-Vancouver, with its massive population sprawling across nearly a dozen super-scale arcologies; the planet's heavily fortified moons; the sprawling Defense Forces research complex known as Area Zero; and the Akashan, Mangalan, Dominion, and Menelmacari cities on the southern continent.
Location: Ares System
Local Gravity: 2.15g
Anuke is much the opposite of Ares. Its enormous size and wide open spaces lend themselves very well to an agriculture world and Anuke grows a tremendous amount of food. It has a relatively small population - most spread out across numerous towns rather than large cities - but they are mostly employed in the agriculture sector. Aside from general production and processing, finding ways to grow newly discovered species and making them fit for general consumption as well as agricultural research is the majority focus of Anuke's economy.
Visitors often come for the University of Anuke, an enormous education and research center dedicated to the agricultural sciences. It is renowned for its Arboretum which occupies an overwhelming series of linked domes and houses at least one example of (nearly) every known species of flora and fauna. It also has an extensive collection of specimens which it shares and rotates between the various institutions in the Triumvirate of Yut BRAIN (Broad Research Archive Information Network). Also of note is the large Akashan agricultural reserve that encompasses the Erendan Basin and houses its own extension of the University as well as several other large research stations.
Location: Ares System
Local Gravity: .75g
Chuh-Yu could be described as 'California on Steroids'. Extremely liberal and very much a high tech paradise with lots of free thinkers, innovators, and more than a few whack jobs and snake oil salesmen. The economy of Chuh-Yu is constantly lurching from one focus to another as new technology sparks new trends and new ideas. Many of the largest companies have their corporate headquarters somewhere on Chuh-Yu. Despite its high tech focus, Chuh-Yu is also a good place to go for leisure and relaxation. Nearly all of the planet's inhabited areas can be considered coastal; There is only one continent but it is a winding super-continent that covers nearly forty percent of the surface. The low gravity and gentle coastlines have made surfing popular, and those with the inclination can try their hand at any number of extreme sports.
Just as in the high-tech sector, these fads come and go with each new year but one thing remains constant; Money. Because it is the de facto home of the Republic's burgeoning entertainment sector, as well as the corporate headquarters of many of the nation's cutting-edge corporations, it is also the most popular place for the wealthy and famous to live outside of Neo or New Vancouver. The Secretary-General makes her home here and many high-profile political and social figures from across the Triumvirate maintain second or even third homes here.
Location: Ares System
Local Gravity: 2.24g
Once a mining colony, Shiva has experienced a rapid expansion in population as migrants from New ArAreBee have arrived and it is now something of a cultural center for the ultra-capitalists. While they are the majority population and have a large influence on the culture, the overall is still broadly representative of the Republic with most species and cultures enjoying some representation in anything from enclaves to broad inclusion. Much of the population lives in high-altitude mushroom-like towers where the central stalk is an enormous mining apparatus that uses the weird technology of the ArAreBees to extract mineral wealth from the planet and this produces a strange glow around the towers that some find off-putting and others fascinating.
Also of interest on Shiva are the mysterious Vaults. These structures, built far beneath the planet's surface, hint at a entirely different past to the Ares system than had been initially understood. Defended by strange and almost biological creations these Vaults are not to be explored except by the most experienced and intrepid. They are also a popular spot for young ArAreBees to sneak off to for typical (For ArAreBeens) teenage activities.
Terra Incognito (New Latin System, Ares Local Cluster)
The New Latin System and its primary world, Terra Incognito, are located quite close to the Ares system which itself is located some five hundred light years core-ward from Earth. Initially established as an outpost to allow the Defense Force to keep easy watch on local traffic, it has developed into a full-fledged world with a substantial economy that rivals Chuh-Yu and Mars. Most of the population of the New Latin system is located on Terra Incognito's major island chain with development ranging from ultra-urbanized areas such as Landor City to scattered fishing villages and small towns.
Tourists and visitors are typically drawn to Terra Incognito because of its pleasant, warm climate and numerous unique animal species. Most of the planet is covered in shallow blue seas and there are hundreds of thousands of reefs, atolls, and tiny islands scattered from pole to pole. Diving, sailing, and camping are popular activities. It's also something of an artist's haven with many small studios to be found on distant islands. Because of its close proximity to Ares and watery environment, Terra Incognito has a much higher population of the various aquatic species than Sunset as a whole. Oeie, Aquafor, Otterkin, and Ewkoo Uh Va are all far more common, and both Pyrk and Tjorengo have been immigrating in larger numbers than on average. It also has a sizable Sanglanti population with the piratical meta-Humans frequently turning their nautical skills to services such as fishing and sailing charters.
Local Gravity: 1g
Monolith Station (GEC-100500 System, The Periphery)
Monolith Station is, as the name suggests, a monolithic space station that wanders the stars. Built on the pattern of the ZMI MegaCities, it houses residents from all of the Triumvirate nations though Sunset makes up the largest percentage. Many of these are refugees of one kind or another and the Station serves as something of a mobile clearing house for transient populations. Since many of these are newly discovered or newly homeless species, much of the station is under constant renovation as environmental requirements shift. Currently Monolith Station is in orbit around GEC-100500B where it is involved in operations to evacuate the planet before a gamma-ray burst from the nearby star results in another periodic extinction event. This is expected to take nearly five years to complete as the population has proven very hard to convince of its impending demise - despite archaeological evidence to the contrary.
Ju-Docri (Docru System, Ares Local Cluster)
Located well within easy travel distance of the Ares System, the planet Ju-Docri was the former home of the Ju-Docri Pirate Clans, which were the source of the only local interference with the early settlement of that system. A civilization of pirates, raiders, and slavers, the clans made many minor attacks against the early colony until their base of operations was tracked down and the planet attacked and conquered by a Defense Force armada. Since then, most of the population has more-or-less willingly converted to Sunset citizenship.
Much of the planet is endless, rolling prairie lands. Large flora is concentrated near the numerous rivers, as are the many small population centers. The Ju-Docri formerly organized themselves into family-based clans that would function as something of a large family business. They typically had a manor, a large multi-family dwelling with shared central facilities, that would serve as the clan's home. It contained everything from manufacturing to maintenance facilities, as well as employing large amounts of both local and imported slave and indentured labor in agriculture and resource extraction.
These manors are still the primary residences for the majority of the population though some cities have begun to crop up. Their population is frequently ex-slaves along with a large helping of formerly indentured servants. The large collection of low-skill labor has kept these cities from becoming the more typical high-tech urban environments normally encountered throughout Sunset as they lack the well-educated labor pool that the rest of the nation enjoys.
Local Gravity: 1g
The Ring (Sol System, Sol Cluster)
In the early years of the Triumvirate of Yut, it embarked on a super-project that was to tie the alliance together and serve to inspire its people to new heights. Even in the current era the Ringworld around Saturn stands as one of the greatest achievements in known space. Dozens of nations came together to turn the debris rings of Saturn, as well as many of it's moons, into usable living space. Those citizens of Sunset who call the Ring home are but a few of untold billions.
Nearly all of the Triumvirate nations have at least some presence on the Ring, though the majority are from the three original Triumvirate nations of Scolopendra, Berzerker, and Karmabaijan. As with most Ringworlds, the terrain and climate of the Ring varies widely based on the desires of the original inhabitants and builders. Instead of occupying one particular section, the people of Sunset are scattered throughout the entire circumference though they tend to prefer large to medium sized cities over wide open spaces.
ePyrk (aPhilos System, Western Expanse)
ePyrk is the homeworld of the Pyrk, a species that was on the edge of interstellar expansion when their world was first surveyed by the SDF-Ganges in 2154. During that survey, a Lieutenant Villanova (Formerly President Villanova) was taken captive by the despotic ruler of one of the planetary nations. During his escape, he discovered a secret complex that was being jealously guarded and contained some kind of alien machine. On his return to the Republic, he began to keep an eye on the planet with the possibility of someday returning and investigating the complex. That time came when the planetary governments came close to annihilating each other in a limited nuclear exchange. The Republic intervened on the side of the Fath-Jirag Combine and, after the situation stabilized, Admiral Villanova returned to investigate the ruins. What exactly he uncovered still remains a secret.
Since that time, ePyrk has rapidly joined together under the Fath-Jirag Combine until they managed to form a planetary government and then apply for official Federal State status with the Republic. With a large existing population and technology base, the planet has rapidly modernized until it is now considered a Major World and the most important in the Western Expanse. It is a blue-gray world with most of the population residing on the coast of the two main continents and a host of islands between them. This was the key division in the earlier planetary war, and this now forms a distinct cultural division between Eastern and Western ePyrk.
Notch (Mojang System, The Periphery)
One of the newest official colonies and a symbol of the useful nature of Galactic Exploration and the GEC/SEC, Notch is a resource colony founded by All Saints Medical Corporation as a way for it to control the production of Ster-X, an anti-bacterial refined from a locally abundant mineral compound. Most of the population of 12 million is centered around the capital and primary processing facility, but there are a number of smaller towns and cities that have been springing up.
Located at the eastern edge of the Sol Super-Cluster, it is shaping up to be something of a hotspot as far as the SDF is concerned, with nearly a dozen nearby nations. The closest would be Moad, a nation friendly to Sunset, with Kardana somewhere in the distant reaches. Far beyond that - nearly twenty-five thousand light years - lies the mysterious Sessool Empire. This is expected to turn Notch into a major world in the not-so-distant future as the Defense Force increases its local presence and various Fleet facilities are moved in to support operations.
Notch is so named because of its unique geography. From space the planet resembles a desiccated orange that has cracked and begun to peel. One of these cracks forms an enormous canyon that can be seen side-on from space and gives the impression that a giant notch has been taken out of the planet. These canyons contain most of the planet's flora and fauna as well as most of the atmosphere. Aside from these, the surface appears to be dead and brown, though this is not truly the case. There are numerous plant species that live tenuously on the plateaus but they are typically very dry and hug the ground, getting what little moisture they can from the occasional thin cloud that slips over the edges of the canyons.
Location: Sslaa System
Local Gravity: .82g
Sslaa VI (Sslaa System, The Periphery)
Located in the Sakkraan Sslaa System, Sslaa VI is known throughout connected space as a resort world. Its numerous floating cities drift among an untold number of jewel-like islands that make up the planet-spanning archipelago. It is well-noted for ocean sports, such as surfing, sailing, diving, as well as for the enthusiasm of the inhabitants towards regular beach activities. Sslaa VI has been the training location for Sunset's Summer Olympics team since it was colonized. Notable is the libertine attitude towards the physical pleasures; A casual hook-up is as common as going out for coffee.
Like Terra Incognito, Sslaa VI is home to a much higher percentage of aquatic sentients than most of the other Sunset worlds. It is also a prime destination for new aquatic species coming into Sunset with the tourism industry providing a large amount of service-sector jobs that allow for easy integration until the new culture can adjust to the generally advanced technology and education standards of Sunset.
Silverstar (Northgate System, Ares Local Cluster)
Originally nothing more than another lifeless world being slowly stripped of its mineral wealth, Silverstar has become a major colony twelve millennia in the making. When the Aqqoyat discovered that their home moon was under threat from their unstable star, they sent a slow flotilla of sleeper ships over the vast interstellar depths towards the closest planet that could be made to support life. Now that they have reached Silverstar they have begun the process of turning the planet into a new homeworld for their species.
Currently the population is low with only a few million, but the chance to colonize a new world is already pulling in colonists from all over Sunset and the greater Triumvirate. There is also a chance that there are more enormous colony ships out there in the depths of space as well and a significant effort has been devoted to finding them and towing them to Silverstar to join their brethren. Meanwhile the extraction of resources from elsewhere in the system continues though now they are being devoted to building the infrastructure that the Aqqoyat will require to expand. To complement this, as well as give the local economy a needed kick, a large number of ship-building enterprises have been established among the orbiting cities.
Hansen's Kneecap, Dawson's Cellar, and Crowe's Gibbet (Parson's Shoal System, Ares Local Cluster)
These three worlds, former colonies all, are located in the Parson's Shoal System. Between the three worlds there are less than a million outside colonists, but two have a significant native population. The question of why each world is named what it is, as well as the system as a whole, is a matter of rumor and speculation. The Venture, which named the system, failed to include the reasons for the name in the registration paperwork and has since gone missing.
Dawson's Cellar is home to a small research colony built out of the decommissioned saucer sections of several old SDF warships. Its primary purpose is the study of the world's sentient inhabitant. This inhabitant looks something like an orange and brown fungus. It grows at the base of a specific species of local tree, or inside fallen logs of the same. Their method of communication is reasonably well understood, but they speak very, very, very slowly.
Crowe's Gibbet is home to the amphibian species known as the Ojeni, or Vasemakers. Much of their technology is based on the construction of decorative and functional ceramic vases. Everything from flower pots, to refrigerators, to batteries, to primitive computers can be made using their techniques and the vases have become quite popular as an export item. Also of particular note are the areas where the Ojeni make their homes, which are often compared to the bubbling volcanic mud pits of Yellowstone and are considered to have therapeutic qualities as well as making good vases.
Zeta Irregularis (Zeta III System, Ares Local Cluster)
Home of the Doso, or Boulder Lords, Zeta Irregularis is now an irradiated nuclear hellhole. During the initial exploration an electronic intelligence asset was 'misplaced' and due to the Doso's unique physiology its databanks were easily accessed. The tribe that 'acquired' it embarked on a war of conquest that rapidly progressed from clubs and spears to machine guns and eventually to a nuclear exchange.
N'Xypndiltn (E'Xypndiltn System, Ares Super-Cluster)
A very recent addition to the Republic, N'Xypndiltn is a lush, jungle world inhabited by the Xypndi species. These hearty warrior women were formerly ruled by a shadowy cult masquerading as Gods and using their religious influence to control and manipulate the warrior tribes for their own sadistic ends. When their world was visited by an Exploration Command researcher, three of the inhabitants returned to Sunset with her. Gaining a taste of the outside galaxy, two returned to the planet to dispose of the God-cult by force.
With the God-cult overthrown the two have been encouraged to establish the world as an official Colony in order to keep it free from either the returned influence of the cult, or from other outside influences. They are aided in this endeavor by the fact that N'Xypndiltn is also the home of Kenjal, a savory drink that is proving to be quite popular in the Republic and provides a built-in industrial base.
Sakaldale / Sha'ukhufa (GEC-4497 System, The Periphery)
The site of a lost human colony from the Age of Expansion as well as the homeworld of the Coatlicue species, Sakaldale is a world that has just recently been opened up to galactic civilization. Governed equally by Warlord Taidasha and the Emperor Sha'Jatuori, the technology is a mix of roughly Viking Era European, Pre-Conquest Mayan, and High-Tech Interstellar. Between the two dominant species, the population is only about eight million but because the planet is located far into the Periphery there is a significant Fleet maintenance base in orbit.
All of these locations have a population under ten million but are worth noting because of some unique export, species, or other rarity. Unlike the Major Worlds, many of these colonies were established by private citizens or corporations. Often the Sunset government's only presence on the planet is through the Senate Offices where the local citizenry can come to interact with that body. Even law enforcement is often scarce, with the only police force being the occasional visit by a Defense Force patrol group.
Tsubasa (GEC-9978 System, Ares Super-Cluster)
A minor colony world, Tsubasa is known for its Venusian atmosphere, floating 'pumice stone' islands, and a particular fruit that floats by means of bladders filled with helium-3. There's a station in high orbit that houses debt laborers who picks the fruit and carefully package it for use in fusion reactors and other industrial applications. Because of its distance from the heavily inhabited and patrolled core - at the outer edge of the Ares Super-Cluster - it is also something of a hub for Sanglanti merchant activity with 'merchant' being very loosely defined.
Various Sanglanti clans visit the world on a seasonal basis, purchasing the fruit for use in their reactors and selling what goods they can to the locals. There is one particular clan that has settled down and built a repair yard in orbit and this sees frequent use by the misadventurous and those on the run for reasons both legitimate and ill. Both of these also makes Tsubasa a minor center of intelligence activity on the western edge of the Super-Cluster.
Casablanca (Bogart System, Ares Local Cluster)
Another minor colony, Casablanca's economy is organized around the harvest of various 'Sun Crystals' that form from several species of mineral-bearing plants. There is also a thriving industry that revolves around the manufacture of various types of solar cloth and research into new uses and methods of manufacture. Both of these operate out of the planet's lone settlement and capital city, Neo-Cairo. It also plays host to a minor amount of tourist traffic for those interested in observing its large collection of active and varied volcanoes.
Due to its distance from the local sun, right at the inner edge of the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone', the entire planet is an endless series of rocky deserts, wind-scoured canyons, low bubbling volcanoes, and shifting dune seas. There is a hydrological cycle but it consists solely of infrequent and torrential down bursts that leave the affected area a brief riot of color that quickly fades away to hibernate for another century or more.
Chains of Jade (Schumann System, Ares Local Cluster)
For those looking for the ultimate Earth-normal camping experience, Chains of Jade is often a prime destination. It was seeded by the University of Anuke as a testbed for various terraforming techniques. These included the introduction of many species native to Earth and these have thrived until the planet resembles a miniature version of that world. For many years, the only settlement has been a small research station that is only inhabited for part of the year by a few grad students doing field work but that has recently changed.
Several colonies - one of Annarii Elves, another of quadrupedal Nwlyan, yet another of the two-headed Arenja, and the last of reptilian Duwerli - have recently been established on the planet. All of these species are few in number and the wide open spaces of the planet are giving them plenty of room to grow and re-establish their culture while still keeping them close to the protection of the Core Worlds. This has become something of the purpose of the colony world; Several more rare species are expected to establish themselves as well, such as the Telari and Esti'Ilwe. With the growth of these populations the planet is expected to pass the barrier between Colony and Major World within the next few years.
One of the most recent additions to the territorial holdings of the Republic, the enormous Krȃng Circlets are well-worthy of entire volumes on their own. In the interest of space only their general details are being provided; Each has enough habitable space for dozens or even hundreds of civilizations though they generally vary from sparsely to entirely uninhabited. Built by the Krȃng Empire preceding their abortive invasion of the galaxy some eighty thousand years ago, these titanic structures were most likely meant as farms, of a sort, where the vile parasites could stock and raise the many billions of sapients that they desired to lay the eggs of their young in. Macisikan and the Phoenix domain - was built in geosynchronous orbit around a gas planet of middling size. These planets and their attending mega-structures are alone in their system, the other planets being consumed to fuel the construction. The planets not only serve as anchors for these structures but as stockpiles as well, with atmospheric recycling facilities located in their lower atmosphere. This was yet another measure of control - if the Circlet somehow managed a revolt, they could simply turn off the air.
The interior of these structures is a massive, open natural preserve set between two towering walls of PTU-557, the engineered element that comprises the vast majority of the Circlet's construction. They are then further divided into eight 'Settings', with each being serviced by one of the previously mentioned atmospheric recycling plants. Access to the interior from the structure of the Circlet is strictly controlled and concealed, with the Krȃng living in the structure and able to 'harvest' the interior residents at their leisure. Even idle, the Circlets contain an enormous number of warships, drones, and armor suits.
Aside from the ceded examples, these constructs are being slowly brought back to functional status and their inhabiting civilizations cataloged and contacted for eventual inclusion into the Republic. This process is slow and painstaking as any hint of their previous owners must be fully eradicated. Each Circlet is accompanied by a Gate Complex; These wormhole-type generators were used to link the disparate mega-structures together and, thanks to their well-understood technology base, have been brought online and linked into the Republic's Aurora Transit Network.
Recent investigations have revealed that the Circlets are more than population centers; Each contains the titanic accelerator required to created the engineered element cataloged as PTU-557. These accelerators were also weapons, capable of firing an extremely powerful particle beam both defensively and - when targeting their own nearby Gate Complex - offensively. These discoveries as well as the sheer size, scale, and number of Circlets has prompted the Republic to maintain an open policy of encouraging scientific research and endeavor regarding the civilizations and species found aboard these structures with friendly and allied states encouraged to send scientists and researchers to further mutual understanding.
Even smaller than the various Notable Colonies are the Frontier Worlds. These worlds are inhabited but only barely, often by only one person or a single family. Some, like Thousand Voices, are only visited because of a particular point of interest while others are noted for a particular resident, as the case with Denali.
Denali (Yukon System, Ares Super-Cluster)
Located in the Yukon system the planet Denali is noted for one thing: Its first and only permanent resident, Jackson 'Howling Jack' Peril. Otherwise it is much the same as its namesake; A rugged planet of incomprehensible beauty with jagged mountains, towering forests, fierce winters, and gorgeous summers.
The planet has two main continents; A medium-sized northern continent that is about the size of Alaska and Canada, and a much larger southern continent on the scale of Asia. Both of these are polar and have significant glacial coverage. While nearly all of the northern continent is above the temperate zone, large sections of the southern extend into the temperate latitudes. Several island chains, most of which are volcanic, can be found between the two as well as several large islands on the scale of Iceland. These are remnants of a past continent and share the same flora and fauna, while the northern and southern continents have significantly varied animal and plant species.
Thousand Voices (Chorus System, Ares Local Cluster)
A tiny world, and the only planet in its otherwise-desolate system, Thousand Voices is home to some of the most extreme aquatic mega-fauna to be found for a thousand light years. Dozens of different varieties make the deep oceans and spectacular reefs of the world their home. Some of these, such as the massive Rezanopoid, average nearly fifty meters but there are samples both living and dead that have reached three times that.
Ms. G's Ranch, run by the stunning Ms. Julie G, is the lone outpost of civilization on the tiny world. It caters to various hunters, diving enthusiasts, and the occasional wildlife artist. Built into the modified saucer section of an old SDF warship, the submerged Ranch roams the ocean to constantly offer new sights and new adventures to those who can afford the luxurious stay.
Kayv (Alawks' Star, Ares Super-Cluster)
A frozen world of drifting snow and icy beauty, Kayv is home to the predatory Pauwyr and to the Maric family that traps them. The Pauwyr have an incredibly soft pelt that stays cool to the touch despite being thick and luxurious. Their environment has something to do with this; Attempts to raise them off-world had resulted in inferior pelts. Because of the harsh conditions and the patience required to trap them, the Maric family has a monopoly on their export.