1. Pribitye sector
Located mid-way between the capitals of Federation and Empire, the Pribitye sector is an area of danger, quick payoffs, and opportunity (including the opportunity to take a big walk out of a small airlock).
Orbiting a variable star, the Pribitye ("Arrival") system has a surprisingly livable world - at least for the moment. Only the short (14.67-hour) day causes difficulties for humans; many people operate a two-local-day cycle using artificial light and thick window-shades.
The three gas giants provide a convenient fuel source, and there is substantial orbital infrastructure around all of these as well as Pribitye itself.
Pribitye's allegiance is to the Federation, and it is the main Federation presence in the area, with several large naval bases in the outer system; particularly notable is the Korolev base complex orbiting Pribitye VII.
Pribitye itself possesses a class V starport, with three runways and full repair and construction facilities, though it does not at present have the capability of constructing FTL ships of its own. The world is wholly owned and administered by the Pribitye Corporation, one of the many exploratory organisations that took part in the rediscovery. While the system was settled during the First Federation, none of the population survived until rediscovery; Pribityans have a tendency to feel inferior to natives of worlds whose populations did survive the Collapse. The Pribitye Corporation itself, while technically a public-stock corporation, is in practice under the control of the Barsin family, who own or control a majority of the shares; in effect, they rule this world.
Population Rating 8: around 450,000,000 people.
Control Rating 4: firearms are not permitted among the general population (this is widely flouted, but usually in a subtle way); taxes are moderate; corporate propaganda is constant.
Koshchei is a cold but otherwise pleasant world, with a thin but oxygen-rich atmosphere and a 16-hour day. It gives allegiance to the Empire, and is the local main base for Imperial forces.
Koshchei's government deserves special attention. It was functional at the time of rediscovery, and consists of a "military democracy". All adult citizens are (without the option) members of the Koshchei Armed Forces and are organised on a military basis; a "platoon" might consist of all the people living in a single street, while a "regiment" would be everyone in a city. Every four local years, or when an incumbent dies or retires, each unit votes to select its leader; unit leaders vote for one of their number to operate as their leader; and so on up the chain. Anyone running for a leadership position is required to have passed the examinations necessary to hold that position (requiring both military and administrative competence). Overall control is held by the Council of Generals.
In truth, the Koshchei Armed Forces would be hard put to it to do more than defend their world, but any invader would face years of guerilla warfare.
All Koshchei citizens spend one or two days in ten in military training; other forms of recreation are somewhat discouraged and neglected. This can be a disappointment to visiting ships' crews (except for the firearms enthusiasts).
Koshchei possesses a Class V starport with two runways and extensive orbital infrastructure. There is a deep-space Imperial Navy base orbiting outside the jump limit.
Population Rating 7: about 80,000,000 people.
Control Rating 5(0): although private ownership and use of firearms, including military weapons, is positively encouraged, the society is very restricted in other respects. Operating a communications device without a licence is an imprisonable offence, and taxation is very high.
Ivanov has a thin atmosphere that is nonetheless high in oxygen; its light gravity makes it a pleasant place to live, though its long (75-hour) day leads to extreme diurnal temperature variations.
Ivanov's government is a tribal structure, which the Imperial Viceroy is using as a basis for demonstrating his idea of enlightened rule; in practice the world has become a near-socialist state. For the moment, it's working, though it's generally felt that the Empire will eventually stop subsidising this experiment.
Population Rating 6: about 1,600,000 people.
Local TL is 9; TL10 items are available as imports, but mostly cannot be manufactured or repaired locally.
Control rating 4, 2 for offworlders within the vicinity of the starport. Trade is actively encouraged and many tax breaks are available for exporters; alas, the only real export from the Ivanov system is bulk minerals from its asteroid belt. Luxury goods are popular imports with those who can afford them.
Ivanov has a Class III starport with a single runway, which does not see heavy use.
5. Last Chance
Last Chance is a cool, dry world with a thin but oxygen-rich atmosphere. An extensive irrigation programme makes it the breadbasket of the Imperial half of Pribitye sector.
Population Rating 7: about 34,000,000 people.
The government of Last Chance is diffuse, thanks to the local wildlife (which tends to be armour-plated and vicious). A farmer needs light artillery just to herd the fauna, and anti-tank weapons to defend them from their natural predators; this cuts into the force advantage of a conventional government. About the only matter all the factions agree on is that damaging irrigation systems is a Bad Thing.
Control rating is 2. Duelling (normally with knives) is a substantial part of the local legal tradition, though in deference to Imperial oversight a judicial duel cannot be held to prove guilt, only innocence.
Last Chance has a class III port with a single long runway and an orbital transshipment station: the port facilities are very large, to handle the bulk freighters which make agricultural shipping economically viable, but have little in the way of construction or repair facilities, since those matters are usually handled at the ships' home ports. Jobbing mechanics can make a decent living doing running repairs.
Schneier owes allegiance to the Federation; its land surface is mostly jungle, with the monotony broken by large areas of swamp. It is generally hot and cloudy, and both atmospheric pressure and gravity are slightly higher than standard. The high natural percentage of oxygen
Schneier's main natural resource, and the reason for living there, is the diversity of its ecosystem. Several companies make decent money from collecting, analysing and exporting samples of the native flora and fauna. There are also some concerns that grow local plants and animals, primarily for biochemical resources rather than for food (in which Schneier is self-sufficient). Schneier imports large high-tech items and luxury goods.
Schneier's government, insofar as it exists, is mostly an informal meeting-place for the specimen-collecting companies to divide up exploitation rights; there's very little visibly governmental structure. Policing in the starport and startown area, the largest single settlement, is supplied by detachments of corporate security guards. Other settlements are the property of individual companies.
Schneier has a Class IV starport with two runways, though the current level of traffic does not justify it; it was built as a speculative venture by the Stanov Company (now defunct) for bulk export of farmed crops.
Population Rating 6: about 3,200,000 people.
Local TL is a mixture of 9 and 10; there is no heavy manufacturing capability here, but smaller TL10 items are produced locally.
Control rating 3-4 in settlements, 0-1 elsewhere - as long as nobody raises a complaint, nothing is likely to happen.
Wooldridge is an unpleasant but technically habitable Federation world. Since its sun is the binary partner of Pribitye's sun, it is convenient for work which benefits from isolation but may need to be communicated quickly.
Its 44-hour day leads to major diurnal temperature changes, typically about forty Celsius degrees; atmospheric pressure is only 0.3 atm, so even with the 50% oxygen atmosphere many people feel short of breath when out of doors, though the 0.8 standard surface gravity compensates for this to some extent. Many buildings, particularly in the starport area, have airlocks and pressurised life-systems, though long-term inhabitants tend to spurn such "softness" (and indeed to be proud of their separateness from Pribitye).
Wooldridge's main purpose is as a research facility for various Pribityan corporations. It is also used as a convenient location, isolated from Pribitye, for prison facilities, military training bases, and the like.
A jump courier is normally on station to carry data between Wooldridge and Pribitye.
Population Rating 5: about 670,000 people, of whom about 240,000 would consider themselves "locals" either through birth or through long-term residence; almost all the remainder are Pribityan.
Local TL is 10, but at the high end; many new developments are here in prototype form before they are generally released.
Control rating 5, mostly in terms of excessive bureaucracy. Legal weapon ownership by ordinary civilians is basically impossible, as is legal use of communication devices other than the (heavily-monitored) planetary net.
Wooldridge has a very basic Class II VTOL port; while there are substantial shipyard facilities in private hands, these are dedicated to the construction of prototypes rather than mass production or repairs.
Of some interest is Wooldridge III, a fast-spinning water world with a 99.9% helium atmosphere and surface gravity of 1.3g. Its thick and relatively calm atmosphere makes it a popular location for the testing of reentry vehicles, but there are no permanent surface bases or long-term inhabitants.
8. Dai Lung
Dai Lung is a small Federation colony. The most habitable world in the system is a warm, low-G world with a very thin but mostly oxygen atmosphere; it's technically survivable, but people working outside use compressor masks with nitrogen tanks for comfort, to avoid oxygen toxicity, and to provide a carbon dioxide breathing cue. The four main population centres are in individual large domes.
Population rating 4: about 64,000 people.
The colony was established after rediscovery, primarily to support industrial plant. However, it became something of a sanctuary for oddball political groups (mostly because nobody else wanted to live there), so while the principal government is the Dai Lung Corporation there are two other states in their own domes (a technocracy, ruled by engineers and programmers, and a recent dictatorship under the control of "King" Ivan). Both of these operate elaborate "air tax" schemes.
Dai Lung's spaceport is Class III, with an electromagnetic launch/recovery system.
Domed colony, compressor masks. Empire.
Population rating 4: about 28,000 people.
tech is slightly retarded
Government is an athenian-style democracy.
Class III port
10. Korzibsky A
Korzibsky A is a Federation research base with a small population scattered across the system. Its initial colonisation was to take advantage of the high-pressure helium atmosphere for hazardous research; outposts have since been established in the asteroid belt by organisations that wish for extra privacy.
Population rating 3: about 9,100 people, of whom around 6,000 live in the main habitat on Korzibsky A.
Government is a corporate state, the Korzibsky A Holding Corporation.
Korzibsky A has a class III port with a single runway (electromagnetic boost is available for launching but not for landing), and one orbital station. The cargo hauler KAOP operates a single in-system freight hauler for resupplying asteroid belt stations, but other traffic is limited to the occasional free trader,
11. Korzibsky B
High pressure but little oxygen; toxic levels of nitrogen. Empire.
Population rating 3: about 3,100 people.
Government is a representative democracy
Class III port