Cathcart - A Den of Thieves

Excerpt…

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An ongoing series about the upcoming first-person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.  This week’s episode takes us back to the outer reaches of the Star Citizen universe, to explore another Star System. It’s Cathcart, one of the systems in my top 10 must-see list.  Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

 

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An ongoing series about the upcoming first-person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games. I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog. This week’s episode takes us back to the outer reaches of the Star Citizen universe, to explore another Star System. It’s Cathcart, one of the systems in my top 10 must-see list. Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

Directly from CIG, as printed in an Observist article on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com

Greetings, traveler, there are millions of sights to see in the universe. While the team at THE OBSERVIST is here to make sure you get the best traveling experience possible, the true traveler goes beyond the safe and secure, into the wild and unpredictable edges of the universe. This is OBSERVIST DARK, chronicling the systems where safety is not guaranteed.

Today, we’re taking you to the ultimate den of thieves. The capital of crime. The nexus of the nefarious. That’s right, traveler, we’re heading to the Cathcart system.

END QUOTE

Astronomically speaking, Cathcart is fundamentally void: a star without true planets. It’s a loose chain of asteroids and mini-worlds orbiting far from a green band. With this structure, there was no compelling reason for the system to be developed, let alone inhibited.

Cathcart, was initially charted about five hundred years ago, listed as a Class C military zone and abandoned. When attention returned to the system it was for security purposes. The Navy initiated a plan to build a snooping post in Cathcart. However, improvements in scanning technology increased rapidly shortly after, negating the need for a large orbital spy post. Work on the Navy’s partially built platform was terminated, leaving Cathcart to the void.

Sometime later Cathcart’s usefulness was revisited. It was identified as a location where military spacecraft and a limited amount of supplies could be stored. With no planets or local populace to manage, it could be used as a staging area. Making it easy to re-crew the ships and deploy them in the event of a crisis. Decision made, pre­fab processing industrial units were towed in the system. For decades, the system amassed all types of military spacecraft – cruisers, destroyers, carriers, and frigates. All floating aimlessly in space.

As the galactic expansion moved beyond the region, the UEE left the vicinity. The idea of using the system as a staging area was all but forgotten. It was reclassified again. This time as private industry and salvage rights were sold to the highest bidders. Cathcart had become a junkyard. And not a well monitored one at that.

Eventually, someone came up with a plan for what the government had discarded. An enterprising pirate named Whando recognized its potential. He set the precedent in motion, that would transform Cathcart into a pirate’s den. He recognized that the abandoned platform and ships could be used to house his cartel. By 2750, other pirates had come to the same conclusion.

Small clans, illegal cartels, and individual pirates retrofitted the various ship hulls into homes and bases of operation. Snaking them together by whatever means necessary. Goodbye Cathcart. Hello Spider, a straggling world-­sized mass of retired starships, half-built platforms, and abandoned colonizers. All held together with a prayer and plexi-metal.

Using Spider as a jumping off point, pirates raided the surrounding systems and occasionally, each other. Buyers looking to obtain illegal merchandise were drawn to the area, which in turn encouraged the establishment of permanent businesses. The UEE became aware of the system’s transformation but was unwilling to dedicate the money and resources to reverse it.

Spider is a living beast, continuously expanding. New wrecks and abandoned ships are joined to the maze daily. It’s a labyrinth on a grand scale. Taking a wrong turn could lead to a new find or your death. When you enter Spider, you are very literally taking your life in your hands. No insurance company will ensure a spacecraft that is knowingly going to Cathcart.

This den of thieves has one saving grace. If you’re accepted as a member of the pack, the wolves won’t strike. However, establishing those credentials can be tricky and unhealthy for your lifespan. If you insist on visiting, your best course of action is to dock at one of the locations that require password access. Entering through one of these “secured” locations will give you the air of being a member.

The current protocol for docking is to signal the tower four times for a vector approach. Any other number will immediately flag you as an outsider. You’ll also need to know the following docking location passwords.

  • Charm’s Weapons landing zone its eggbrain
  • Lance’s Lair, also called Organs is 42equinox
  • Dace Headquarters is dorrit
  • Spinward Toxin Farm is highnoon

It’s interesting to note that even pirates may harbor a fondness for historical references from earth. Dorris is likely a reference to Little Dorrit a novel by author Charles Dickens that is considered a classic look at society’s view of poverty and crime in Victorian England. And the classic American western film, High Noon that examines loyalty, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Even with these passwords, you are at great risk entering Spider. I don’t advise going alone. And always be on your guard at all times. A friendly smile can quickly turn into a knife in the back.

END TRANSMISSION


SC Historical Timeline

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Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO, Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

This week’s episode returns to Star Citizen lore. I know people enjoy shows about ships, which is understandable.  But I don’t always have enough time to compile the content necessary to do a those the way I prefer.  I’m working on doing the Hull Series for next week.  For this week, I hope you enjoy this narrated look at our fictional universe timeline.

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION
2075: Roberts Space Industries introduces Quantum Core Engine Technology. Capable of traveling at 1/100th the speed of light, this new engine allows humanity to travel to the corners of our solar system with relative ease.

2113: Terraforming technology patented.

2120: First attempt to terraform Mars begins.

2125: The Mars Tragedy. An Early attempt at terraforming the planet suffers catastrophic failure. Over 5000 souls killed when the atmo collapses.

2140: First commercially available starship.

2157: Mars successfully terraformed. Memorial built to honor those killed in the Mars Tragedy.

2214: New version of the RSI engine released, allowing travel up to 1/10th the speed of light. More ships exploring our solar system.

2232: Artemis Launched. First attempt to have a manned spacecraft fly (slow-burn) to the nearest star system. Captain, crew and thousands of volunteer colonists are placed in stasis for the flight. Ultimately the ship disappears.

2262: A series of ships inexplicably disappear in the same area of space. Drawing comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle, the government declares the Neso Triangle a no-fly zone. There is much more myth and conjecture about why this happens than there are hard facts.

2271: After almost ten years of study, Nick Croshaw goes to investigate the Bermuda Triangle-esque Space Anomaly and discovers the first jump point, becoming the first human to travel to another system and the godfather of the modern Navjumpers.

2380: Croshaw System has been terraformed. The search for new jump points signifies the beginning of Humanity’s expansion to the stars. The Earth’s social and political differences are set aside. We are united in our desire to strike out into the stars. The United Nations of Earth (UNE) is born.

2438: First Contact. It is considerably less cinematic or romantic than many had dreamed of. An explorer encounters a Banu in Davien. He is just as surprised as we are. The Banu are also just beginning to expand into the universe. General Neal Socolovich and delegates negotiate the first intergalactic peace and trade treaty.

2460: Through expansion and terraforming, there are vast amounts of land and territory for humanity to move to. Earth is overcrowded, so more and more people are leaving to stake their claim out in the universe.

2516: Terra settlement established. Found at a confluence of jump points, it’s a perfect nexus.

2523: 70% of humans live off-world. They feel that they deserve equal representation in UNE proceedings. The government changes form once again, becoming the United Planets of Earth (UPE). The new government will be run by a tribunal; a High-Secretary (responsible for maintaining the infrastructure), High-General (responsible for expansion and protection), and a High-Advocate (responsible for maintaining the law).

2530: Discovery of the Xi’an Empire. We stumble into their territory without knowing and are about to start terraforming. High-General Volder receives criticism for being too aggressive, while there is muscle flexing and threats from both sides. A cold war of sorts begins, with occasional casualties, but not full-on open conflict.

2541: The UPE first establish contact with the Tevarin. While not as technologically advanced as us, they were just beginning to strike out into the universe. A proud, martial society, the Tevarin wanted what we had and struck first. The First Tevarin War begins. Colonel Ivar Messer, a brilliant and ruthless strategist, distinguishes himself in the Battle of Idris IV. He quickly becomes the pride of the military and the face of the War.

2546: Messer, now promoted to commander, brings the captured Tevarin leader to the UPE floor. He rides the popularity of his victory to become High-General. Claiming the Tribunal is an outdated system and cultivating a fear of the Xi’an, Messer proposes the creation of a new single office with the title of Prime Citizen. Upon election as the first (and last) Prime Citizen, it isn’t long before he restructures the government into the new United Empire of Earth (UEE) and anoints himself Imperator, ushering on in an age of unprecedented expansion and colonization.

2603-2610: The Second Tevarin War. Repopulated after hiding on the Fringe, the Tevarin have spent the last fifty years building their forces for the sole purpose of retaking their homeworld Kaleeth (renamed/resettled by the UEE as Elysium IV. While theirs is a cause that some humans could support, the UEE isn’t about to give up territory. Realizing that they can’t win, the Tevarin decide to make a final desperate push to scuttle their ships on Elysium IV. If they can’t live there, they will die there.

2638: Senator Assan Kieren of Terra publicly decries the pro-military agenda of the UEE and its unconditional support of the military-industrial complex. He calls for another vote of sovereignty for Terra and its adjacent systems. Imperator Messer XI wields the UEE’s brutally efficient propaganda machine to discredit and destroy Kieren, who disappears soon after. There are rumors that he is murdered, but nothing can be proven.

2681: The Vanduul, a nomadic leeward race in the west, starts raiding our new settlements in the Tevarin systems and disappearing. They seemingly have no homeworld; each Vanduul clan is a roaming fleet, making them exceedingly hard to catch.

2715-2788: The military regime reaches a plateau. While the human populace has been somewhat beaten into submission, there’s a current of subversion in the culture. People are starting to see the cracks in the system. Activist groups launch attacks against the political/propaganda machine. The military is stretched thin, bracing for war with Xi’an, chasing down Vanduul raiders, and trying to maintain security on the human systems. The Imperator’s power is waning.

2789: In a daring act of defiance, peace is independently brokered with the young Xi’an Emperor Kray by Senator Terrence Akari of Terra, who refuses to fight open war on his doorstep. Terra blasts Earth for being imperialistic and short-sighted. Xi’an looks at the situation as a potential way to create a divide in the Human Empire.

2792: The Massacre of Garron II. A terraforming Corp begins to terraform an inhabited planet. The inhabitants weren’t star-travelers, just a developing race, which gets wiped out from the atmo-processors. The corp vehemently denies that the aliens were capable of conscious thought. Activist vid footage of the aliens’ rational behavior is leaked to the Spectrum. It is also revealed that the terraforming Corp is closely tied to the Benevolent Imperator’s family. That’s the final straw; the people rise up and overthrow the government. Erin Toi of Earth becomes the new Imperator and promises an age of enlightenment and social consciousness.

2795: The Fair Chance Act is ratified, decreeing that is a capital crime to attempt to terraform planets with developing creatures. These planets are to be left alone to give the species a chance to advance/evolve.

2800: UEE builds the Ark, a repository of information and culture located in space for all the races in the universe. It is seen by some as an attempt at reparation.

2872: In response to criticism that humanity is only interested in greed and blood, the UEE embarks on its greatest achievement: a SynthWorld, converting a lifeless rock into a life-sustaining planet. Construction begins in Chronos system. It is viewed as the current era’s legacy. A massive undertaking, it will take decades, maybe centuries to complete.

2920: The SynthWorld project is moving slowly and it’s draining the Empire economically. This is the point where our reach starts exceeding our grasp. The disparity between the rich and the poor is reaching an all-time divide, and the poor are reacting with greater and greater frustration. The Vanduul attacks are growing in frequency and the UEE doesn’t seem to be doing a thing about it.

2942: Today…


Nyx - Home of Anti-UEE Activists

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Nyx consists of three unremarkable planets circling an F-Type Main Sequence star.  Located directly on the border of a dark nebula, visibility and scanner use are limited due to the gases being discharged. The system’s few inhabitants are rather fond of being able to fly under the radar.  Lacking invaluable natural resources, the system is not known for possessing much of interest.  However, it has gained utility as a waypoint for haulers flying the Castra-Stanton run. Be forewarned – piracy is common is very common in this system. Travelers are advised not to veer off the standard space lanes. And even then, your safety is not guaranteed.

NYX SYSTEM

  • Alignment: Unclaimed
  • Habitable Planets: None
  • Space Stations: None
  • Asteroid Belts: Glaciem Ring and Keeger Belt
  • Gas Giant: None
  • Ice Giant: Nyx III
  • Jump points: Breman (L), Castra (L), Odin (L), Tohil (L), Pyro (M) and Virgil (L)
  • Points of Interest
    • Delamar asteroid settle.  Be sure to bring a weapon and some mace


Dramatized Lore: Ellis to Taranis Jump Discovery

Excerpt…

This standard year marks the 150th anniversary of Harper Nguyen’s famous journey. At 128 years old, she holds the record for the oldest explorer to ever chart a jump point. To this day, she is renowned for not only her discovery but also the harrowing circumstance in which it occurred.  To honor her accomplishment, below are select excerpts from the incredibly detailed audio journal Harper kept during her voyage.

Star System Dossier pages on Aly’s World:


Lore Collaboration: Mining Rocks

A couple of months ago, I was asked to collaborate on producing lore narrations with SCLoreCast. SCLC is a group dedicated to bringing SC lore to life by narrating the official dispatches and fiction from Cloud Imperium Games. I’m looking forward on-going relationship with this very talented group, all of whom are members of the SC community.

You can listen to the episode here and help them out by subscribing to their YouTube channel, where they’re also running a contest.


Alien Races: Banu

BANU STAR SYSTEMS

Caveat: This is the Beginning
Star Citizen’s feature set and lore are evolving. This article is based on what we know now. The information in the Star Systems section is based on the current ARK Starmap. I think it’s safe to say that the high level configuration of the known Star Citizen universe is locked for release. Cloud Imperium Games has already started shipping the physical star maps to players who purchased them. That said, we know that economy, population and locations of conflict will change as the universe progresses and players begin impacting it. Therefore, this discussion is the likely starting point for the Banu species.

Banu aligned star systems account for 7% of the known Star Citizen Universe. Which means that they govern 6 of the 90 known systems. That’s small compared to the UEE’s 42%. All of the Banu controlled systems contain high populations. As traders, they take action to accommodate and cultivate customers traveling through their spacelanes. It’s not uncommon for them to build flotillas to support pockets of consumer traffic to encourage the development of trade hubs. From an economic perspective, they’re holding their own with only 30% of their systems falling into the low economy range. This compared to 100% of Vanduul systems and 70+% for the UEE.

Banu Star System Economy and Population
ARK Starmap classifies Economy, Population and Danger on a Scale of 0 to 10

Eco and Pop Combo

Banu Governed Systems

  • Bacchus homeworld. Houses a large permanent flotilla that is a popular destination for haulers and traders.
  • Geddon atmosphere is hostile to Humans. Banu established subterranean biomes to harvest valuable resources.
  • Gliese is rich in resources and acts as large shipping hub. Permanent flotilla near Gliese IV
  • Kins houses the main indentured servitude market. Area considered most dangerous in Banu space
  • Trise is the religious center for the Banu and is home to The Council
  • Youlin is a popular vacation spot for Banu and Humans

Banu Systems Account for 11% of Available Asteroid Belts and 11% of Gas Giants.

Percentage of Asteroid Locations and Gas Giants per Government/Faction

Composition of the Banu Star Systems

Celestial Bodies

Click here to see a one-page view of the charts looking at some of the ARK Starmap data for Banu Star Systems. The left side represents all known star systems.  The right side only includes Banu star systems.  This data was extracted from the live ARK Starmap hosted on Roberts Space Industries.com and imported Tableau, which is an analytics tool.

BANU AS A SPECIES

Our first encounter with the Banu occurred in the Davien system. In 2438 an independent nav-jumper named Vernon Tar, opened fire on what he thought was another privateer trying steal his meager claim in the system. The pilot of the other ship turned out to be Banu. Luckily, the incident didn’t lead to any deaths and became humanity’s first introduction to the Banu Protectorate.

Bacchus is believed to be the Banu’s home world. We say “believe” because the they haven’t been forthcoming on the subject. As with most Banu systems, their trade lanes are always packed with travellers from across the universe. Permanent flotillas are built anywhere they find a confluence of potential customers. The Banu are the traders and lore hounds of the Star Citizen Universe. As such, it makes sense that they would be the manufacturers of the prize among deep space merchants, the Banu Merchantman. A vessel that is more of a lifestyle than a ship.

Early Concept Art of the Banu Merchantman

Banu Merchantman Concept Art

 

Banu societal beliefs and principles are dictated by The Council, their religious leaders located in the Trise system. Members of The Council intentionally remain isolated from the rest of Banu society. It should be noted that their belief system supports and participates in indentured servitude. The Kins system is their primary slave trade market. This is a dangerous systems. As much from the slave trade, as it is from illegal activities undertaken by those visiting the area.

The Banu Political System is a Republic of Planet-States, each run under its own set of governing laws. The representatives of each planet gather for a quorum to debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each planet is left to their own devices. The lack of a central government, formal or required communication between the planets and loose historical recordkeeping, means that Banu planets are rife with crime. Criminals can migrate from one Banu planet to the next when things get too hot. And since the UEE is forbidden from crossing borders to pursue wanted felons, Banu worlds are also a haven for human criminals and syndicates.

The Banu do not maintain a standing army. Local militia keep the peace within their systems and they’re not especially selective. Even criminals can and do serve. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this makes the Banu worlds an easy target. On the contrary, they have the means to muster a formidable fighting force if necessary.

Lastly, if you want to vacation Banu style, head to Yulin. It’s a popular destination for Banu and humans. Yulin’s mix of unique planets have been turned into an entertainment mecca with legal and illegal diversions. After seeing Earth and Terra, exploring the Banu systems will be high on my list of things to do.

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Alien Races: Vanduul

The Vanduul are one of humanity’s most dangerous foes in the Star Citizen universe. They’ve attacked us unprovoked for centuries. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and star systems abandoned to their constant marauding.  Check out my article on REDACTED to learn more about the history of our relationship with the Vanduul and the systems they’ve conquered.


Drake Interplanetary

Where it All Began

For many citizens, the name Drake Interplanetary conjures up images of ships whose silhouettes don’t look aerodynamically balanced.  And the ne’er-do-wells and criminals flying them.  Pirates. Drake hasn’t helped change this perception by naming its ships things like Cutlass and Buccaneer. And their the cheesy billboards featuring overly endowed woman, dripping sex appeal all over the newest starfighter they’re showcasing, doesn’t help much either.  When you’re not seeing Drake’s in-your-face adverts, it’s yet another newsvid about investigations into their criminal ties.

Drake’s keystone design is the Drake Interplanetary AS-1 Cutlass. Incredibly inexpensive, Drake Cutlasses are used across the galaxy for thousands of different roles. From search and rescue ambulances, to mining prospector conversions, to short hop food transports.  The modular nature of the Cutlass means it can be anything to anyone. Including those skirting the law.

Beyond its modularity, the Cutlass’ claim to fame is that it’s built from common parts.  This makes it an affordable ship to replace for those who are living a lifestyle that no longer offers the benefit of purchasable insurance. Drake Interplanetary incorporated soon after the success of the Cutlass. Lead designer Jan Dredge became CEO, with a seven member board, consisting largely of aerospace engineers who had worked on the project.

Drake is not the surname of anyone involved in the project; it was selected as an acceptably “smooth-sounding” name, chosen specifically in the hopes that it would make their spacecraft more appealing. This was the first of a series of money-over-all decisions that would quickly come to define the company.

Drake Sets Up Shop in Magnus

Another factor that swaying the UEE’s belief that Drake is in some fashion associated with criminal activity, was their decision to locate their corporate headquarters and key factories on Borea in the Magnus system.  At the time, Magnus was a desolate and lawless system, peppered with ghost towns and people living on the fringe of the space frontier.  Locating on Borea, was yet another seed planted in the garden of their outlaw image.  Regardless of the UEE’s assumptions or those of more polite society, within five years Drake was the fifth largest spacecraft manufacturing concern.  

However, with the galaxy in a relative level of peace, or as close to peace as it had ever been –  Vanduul raids at the time were disorganized and the UEE military was in the middle of a several year stand down. Who was buying thousands upon thousands of Cutlasses? The answer, of course – pirate organizations.  The affordability of Drake ships created readily replaceable spacecraft that fit a pirate’s budget, and thanks to its larger-than-average cargo hold , they could also transport pirate booty.

It eventually became clear, though not publically acknowledged, that Drake had made a deal with the devil … but the money was too good to turn back. It’s rumored that in looking toward future, CEO Dredge is authoring a plan to streamline their spacecraft lineup and clean up the company’s image.  A daunting task for the modular, boxy Cutlass, Caterpillar and Buccaneer! And then there’s those ship names. Only time will tell.

For a time, Borea – Magnus II, was a barren desert world — the effects of terraforming had not yet completely transformed the planet, and a ten-year period of extreme solar flares hampered its transition to a temperate world.  This increased the decay of the UEE facilities and generally reduced overall interest in resettling Magnus. The result was an eerie, depopulated ghost world with declining structures full of refining and shipbuilding equipment considered too expensive to move elsewhere. During this period, the system’s population declined to less than 3,000, most of whom had no legal right to their encampments.  

Drake’s decision to locate the headquarters and primary factories on Borea, eventually helped to  revitalized the landscape. Vast tracts of empty warehouses and rusting construction yards have been modernized and returned to life from building Cutlasses and Caterpillars.  All’s well that ends well and good on Drake.  But personally, I’d have started job hunting when the news came around about where the offices were going.