Want to get as close as Humanly possible to a UEE battle carrier without joining the Navy or committing terrible acts of piracy? Nul is the place! One of the earliest systems charted by Humans, Nul was discovered in 2290 by NavJumper Antoine Lebec. Contemporary (and oft-disputed) folklore claims that the system’s name comes from a misunderstanding, where Lebec replied “nul” he had not found anything interesting in the system. Nevertheless, it remains the sole star credited to Lebec, despite his noted proficiency with early jump drives.
Nul is a Classical Cepheid star, a yellow supergiant that swells as much as 10% – 15% its standard size at times. While it is an easy system to transit, the nature of the star makes habitation extremely difficult. The inner planets are complete write offs with regards to terraforming, and the outer planets have resultantly terrible seasons that prevent the development or import of even the simplest vegetation.
In the centuries since Nul’s discovery, Humans have made three separate pushes to attempt terraforming operations. None have ever exited the study phase, with the immediate reaction of terraforming scientists being that the system is untenable for any sort of Human habitation. The most recent attempt was in 2619, and the system has faded into relative obscurity since then. Most analysts familiar with the system believe that there is no reason to visit its barely inhabited settlements and, given the danger presented by the star itself, no reason to even transit through the system.
The opposite opinion, however, is held by the single worst group possible: slavers. In recent decades, Nul has become home to a traveling slave market, which assembles at various points in the system at seemingly random times and locations. Travelers are warned to avoid Nul at all costs; where there is sometimes honor among pirates, there is never any among slavers. The quickest ticket to a life of forced labor is showing up at an exchange with a cargo of unwilling captives and learning that your buyers are just as interested in taking cargo pilots.
The first two planets of the Nul system are entirely uninhabitable for reasons stemming from the star’s nature. Nul I is an orbiting mesoplanet that is slowly being burnt away during the star’s expansion phases. Getting close enough to land on Nul I is impossible with current technology, and not especially appealing in any case.
Nul II is an uninhabited iron planet. While it is unusually large for an inner world, its proximity to the star renders mining a challenge without any known worthwhile reward. In recent years, Nul II’s surface has cracked due to the expansion of the star and the world is now slowly emitting gasses chiefly composed of the burnt mantle.
Cole is the third planet in the Nul System, a barely habitable terrestrial world located on the inner edge of the system’s green zone. While geologically similar to Earth, the nature of Nul’s star makes actually attempting life here an unpleasant prospect. An atmosphere composed primarily of ammonia and sulfur, coupled with the fact that liquids can only exist deep below the planet’s surface during the ‘hot season,’ means that environment suits and respirators are necessary at all times here.
And what do visitors get for their troubles? Very little. With the exception of a particular type of ultrafine crystal, used primarily by artists and clothing designers, there is nothing unique to be found here. The world boasts a single landing zone, Char, developed from an abandoned environmental research facility. Note that Char is not technically aligned with the UEE, and has no rule of law per se. Note also that while Char is not affiliated with the sentient slave trade that frequently occurs in the system, it is home to a particularly harsh version of the black market. Char is a landing point for experienced traders only!
The fourth planet in the Nul System is, at first glance, a typical gas giant. But be warned: this is not a fueling point! The entire planet is locked in a permanent electrical storm capable of readily disabling any ship that approaches. Nul IV’s closer Lagrange points are littered with the hulls of spacecraft foolish enough to approach in spite of the electrical interference — and of course, the hapless salvage crews that decided those wreckages were a prize worth taking!
Nul’s high point, if any portion of the system can be so called, is the fifth planet, Ashana. Ashana is home to the single thing that might someday transition the system from slaver hell to tourist attraction: a city built out of a wrecked Human battle carrier. In 2571, the UEES Olympus pursued a group of rebels and pirates back to their makeshift base on Ashana. The ship’s commander directed the Olympus to make a run at the base that took it too far into the atmosphere. The drag slowed the Olympus below its sustainable speed at that altitude and it was unable to recover, resulting in its loss with all hands.
The Olympus crashed to the planet’s surface, where it impacted in the desert wasteland. The crash quickly attracted scavengers, who began to pick the ship clean, until they realized that it was a more pleasant environment than the windswept deserts they had previously called home. When the navy did not dispatch another force to eliminate the wreckage, squatters moved in and turned the Olympus into a town of the same name.
While the UEE offers no formal view on the settlement, visiting the Olympus is fairly easy. The carrier’s corridors and bays are now home to everything from a Tevarin marketplace to a warren of hotly contested individual homes for those living on the planet. Today, Olympus is a semidictatorship, with a Tevarin named Nescus running the entire show (and patrolling the ship’s halls personally). Black market goods are exchanged here, but only in limited quantities: the carrier’s inhabitants know better than to give the UEE an excuse to bomb the wreckage into oblivion.