The Cathcart system, discovered in 2438 by Adelaide Lorris, contains no planets, only a loose collection of asteroids near the system's theoretical green band, so it became the galaxy's junkyard. Old space hulls were decommissioned and deconstructed here for centuries. The Navy began constructing a habitable platform to act as a military transit hub, but ended up abandoning the project. Even though the system has well-travelled lanes, the sprawling debris fields off the well-beaten paths have become a haven for criminal elements.
Without the right codes — available for the right price in surrounding systems — you won't survive a minute from arrival in-system. While there is no organized government patrolling Cathcart, plenty of low-caliber pirates hang around the jump point waiting to prey on hapless travelers. Begin signaling your ID codes before you enter the system; take no unnecessary chances here.
When you enter Spider's airspace, you take your life into your own hands. No insurance company will begin to insure a spacecraft visiting Cathcart. The only thing going for you is the fact that it is the rare domain where pirates will almost never turn on their own. If you are accepted as part of a pack, the wolves will not strike.
The first thing to remember is that Spider is always changing. The abandoned Indefatigable-class battleship you docked with to purchase narcotics a month ago may be an agro-habitat today … or it may have been blown out into space after a pricing dispute with a no-nonsense buyer. Spider is also constantly expanding: junk located in Cathcart and crippled prize ships are added to the maze on a daily basis. Understandably, taking a wrong turn can be extremely hazardous to your health.
Spider isn't the only landing platform in the Cathcart System... so keep an eye out for stray signals that might lead you to one of the smaller bases. They're kept off the map with good reason... but if you can locate one, you'll get an amazing deal on its specialty illegal cargo!
Astronomically speaking, Cathcart is basically void: a star with no true planets and only a loosely defined chain of asteroids and world-lets orbiting far from the theoretical green band. In theory, there is no reason anyone should ever have lived here. What is now known as the galaxy's junkyard came from humble beginnings.. The system was first charted roughly five centuries ago and almost immediately abandoned. It was initially listed as a Class C military restricted system, with plans to construct a listening post complex … but rapid advancements in scanning technology meant that large-scale orbital listening posts no longer needed to be built so far from the core worlds. The Navy abandoned the partially constructed habitat platform structure to the void… little realizing where it would lead.
Then, the system spent almost two hundred years as a government dumping ground. Seeking to create a series of spatial 'boneyards,' the UEE selected Cathcart as an ideal (if distant) location for storing decommissioned spacecraft. The reasoning was simple: without planets or other major bodies, spacecraft would be easily stored in the void of Cathcart's deep space. Craft stored there, far from most environmental influences, could be easily reactivated in times of crisis. A pair of pre-fab processing factories were towed in-system and for decades the system began collecting all varieties of obsolete military spacecraft: fighters "parked" in space, end to end for hundreds of kilometers; abandoned destroyers, cruisers, frigates and carriers; all stripped of various needed or classified systems, berthed together as far as the eye could see.
But Cathcart was out of sight and out of mind from the UEE command structure. Spacecraft decommissioned from the nearby frontier could easily be left there … but without access to the homeworlds' supply chain, they were too expensive to effectively scrap and too difficult to re-crew or maintain for crisis. As galactic expansion moved beyond the Cathcart region, the UEE effectively abandoned the area. Eventually, the spacecraft salvage rights were sold off to the highest bidder and the entire system was reclassified as private industry.
That's where Cathcart's history becomes fuzzy. The system quickly became a 'trash pile' for private industries wishing to dump crippled hulls, toxic materials and all other varieties of odds and ends. Who the first pirate was who realized the universe's largest man-made mess could be a reasonable home is lost to history, but by 2750 Cathcart had a well ensconced pirate population. Individual pirates and smaller clans made the surplus military and civilian hulls their homes, retrofitting them with makeshift atmospheric containment systems and eking out an unlikely living, preying on each other as much as they did on convoys passing through nearby systems.
Enter Spider, a sprawling world-sized mass of crippled starships, abandoned colonizers and ancient platforms, all held together with pleximetal and prayer. Spider's origin story is more the realm of myth than recorded history. Clan legends claim its creation was overseen by a unified pirate alliance which constructed the planetoid together. Tens of thousands of pirates and smugglers worked alongside one another, lashing together old habitat modules, destroyers, carriers and colony ships to form a living, breathing city… of sorts. Modern anthropologists consider this story unlikely, pointing out that pirate organizations have never been able to work together for very long. In all likelihood, a single pirate clan spent the lives of countless imprisoned slaves to construct Spider, and then lost control over the facility during an inter-clan conflict. Whatever the background, Spider is now one of the most fascinating domains in space: by far the largest place in the galaxy where pirates openly congregate, and unique in that it has garnered enough respect for even the larger groups to treat it as an effective free port.
Spider remains the only commonly 'known' pirate facility. The UEE is as aware as any citizen is, but is unwilling or unable to expend the treasure to destroy the facility. Many speculate that Spider plays an important role in keeping piracy organized … and that it is not in the government's best interest to scatter the various clans to the winds.
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 Cathcart system.
Adelaide Lorris discovered the jump point in the mid-25th century – at a time when she was a wanted fugitive. When she donated the jump data to the UNE, many speculated that she had been using the system to hide in and only revealed its location when other explorers were discovered scanning in the area. In a fascinating twist of events, she ended up naming the system after the highly reputed Marshal who would gun her down in 2464.
The UNE withheld claiming the system for some time due to the lack of… well… everything. Aside from some asteroids and smaller world-lets, the system boasts no planetary objects so there was nothing really to claim. The UNE didn't really know what to do with the system and while the Navy initially proposed using it for an experimental inter-system long-range comm system, they ultimately abandoned the project.
For centuries, Cathcart slowly collected more and more garbage from the military, and then nearby corporations began using it as well. No one knows exactly when it happened, but also during that time, the system was slowly accruing something else: squatters.
Cathcart is a A-type main sequence star.
Built out of the bones of ships and old stations by fugitives, criminals and the impoverished, Spider can only be described as a mechanical world that is constantly changing and growing in both form and control. The groups that own and manage the landing zones on one visit might be replaced the next.
The Cathcart system contains one asteroid belt. Belt Alpha is located between the system's star and Spider.
Known jump points
|Cathcart - Nexus
|Cathcart - Hades
|Cathcart - Davien
|Cathcart - Kilian
Loremaker's Guide to the Galaxy
- Galactic Guide: Cathcart System. Transmission - Comm-Link
- Observist Dark: Spider, Cathcart. Spectrum Dispatch - Comm-Link
- Comm-Link:Loremaker's Guide to the Galaxy - Cathcart System. Transmission - Comm-Link