An Informal Guide to Known Space

The Free Trade Baronies

Submitted by C B Wright on

Wedged between the borders of the Alliance of Free Worlds and the Empire of the Radiant Throne is a cluster of planetary systems that, while comparatively small in size, represent the third largest power in known space. This power is not military, but economic: and that power rivals, perhaps even exceeds, anything either superpower can bring to bear.

The Free Trade Baronies are, essentially, corporations that grew so large that their infrastructures encompassed worlds, then solar systems. In time the logistics involved in supporting these corporate monstrosities grew so complex that they developed into governments, with the HR department transforming into a judicial system, managers becoming governors, subsidiary holdings becoming fiefdoms, and the CEO becoming a monarch. Ownership of a Trade Barony is transferred through the family line, usually the oldest child of the current Baron though each Baron has free will to designate any heir he or she chooses. The Trade Baron’s power, however, is not absolute – the executives of each company under the barony’s umbrella wield great power in their own right, and from time to time a Trade Baron can find him or herself voted out of power… or worse.

The Empire of the Radiant Throne

Submitted by C B Wright on

Historically speaking, the Empire of the Radiant Throne is a relatively new phenomenon: it is only a few centuries old. In that time, however, it has grown quickly and aggressively, far more quickly than the AFW, and is now the second largest government in known space, consisting of at least 50,000 worlds and still expanding.

The Empire of the Radiant Throne (or simply the “Radiant Throne,” or “The Throne” as it is known among its member worlds) is a theocracy. The state religion appears to be an offshoot of an obscure Christian sect that was originally known as the Cult of the Mind’s Eye, which teaches that telepaths are marked by God with divine power and insight, and as such have the God-given right to rule over non-telepaths. The official state name of the religion is the Church of the Holy Divine, and any citizen of the Empire who exhibits psionic potential is inducted into the church, first as an adept, then ultimately as a priest.

The Alliance of Free Worlds

Submitted by C B Wright on

The AFW was created shortly after the conclusion of the Psi Wars. Its purpose was simple: to provide for the military defense of member worlds and systems. Since that time its purpose has expanded somewhat, and its size dwarfs all other governing bodies in known space. The AFW is comprised of more than 75,000 habitable star systems: it’s closest competitor, the Empire of the Radiant Throne, is only two thirds that size.

The Maxwell

Submitted by C B Wright on

In 1867 HTD (Historical Terran Dating), Terran physicist James Clerk Maxwell articulated a thought experiment that described a whimsical method of violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In this thought experiment, an imaginary container was divided into two parts by an insulated wall. In the wall was a door that could be opened and closed by a “finite being.” This “finite being” would only allow “hot” (fast) molecules to pass through the door to one side of the wall, and would only allow “cold” (slow) molecules to pass through the door to the other side of the wall. The end result would be that the container on one side of the wall would always be hot, and the container on the other side would always be cold.

Superluminal Drives

Submitted by C B Wright on

A superluminal drive, rather than a subluminal engine, is the technology that allows modern spacecraft to move at speeds significantly beyond the speed of light.

Unlike subluminal drives, which come in forms and encompass a wide range of approaches to providing propulsion at sublight speeds, there is only one technology capable of “breaking the light barrier:” the Artificial Tachyon Induction Field, produced by an Artificial Tachyon Induction Drive, or ATID.

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