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Karynis Expanse

Green lines represent Hypergate connections.

Green lines represent Hypergate connections.

The Karynis Expanse is a region of space first surveyed by unmanned probes in 2647 CE. Named for its primary astrographic feature, the Karynis Nebula, the Expanse is roughly 1000 light years in diameter and boasts a disproportionate number of F and G class stars with planetary systems, many of which are habitable by humans.

Despite the potential wealth of the region, at the time of the early survey missions it was impossible for the Terran Economic Sphere to exploit the Expanse. Located some 8500 light years to the galactic southeast, in the Perseus Band of the Milky Way, it was simply too far away. Even though more than a century had passed since the development of the Kerensky Synchrotron Worm Drive and the establishment of the first interstellar colony, faster-than-light travel was still in its early stages. The fastest vessels in use could barely reach 400 cee in the Moeller Layer, and the massive colony ships and cargo vessels that would be necessary for such a venture were much slower.

Despite the hundreds of habitable planets within the Expanse, the number of significant lifeforms is very small, and there is only one indigenous sentient species, the Minosans whose home planet of Minosa is located near the center of the Expanse. The Minosnas are a technologically advanced species with FTL capability, but as of the time of human colonization of the region they had not spread beyond their home planet. The Minosans are a humanoid species and in fact are visually almost indistinguishable from humans. They are fair skinned and slight with an average height of around 172 centimeters, though these figures are subject to the limitation that humans have only had contact with female Minosans. It is believed that they are a matriarchal society whose males are kept confined to domestic roles, though they have neither confirmed nor denied this. They are a peaceful race by nature, though they are more than capable of defending themselves if necessary. In most areas of technology they are on par with the humans of the region, though their expertise in life sciences, stealth and sensor technology is superior.

Though the reason for the hundreds of habitable systems in the Expanse is an often hotly debated subject, the lack of major life forms is much clearer. The Karynis nebula was formed roughly thirty-thousand years before humans came to the Expanse when Eta Karinae, once a supermassive star at its center, went hypernova. The event generated a powerful gamma ray burst that literally sterilized most of the planets in the region by ripping away their protective ozone layers. The majority of lifeforms were wiped out by the unrestricted bombardment of ultraviolet radiation though the planets themselves remained largely unharmed. In the time since the event the ozone layers have repaired themselves and life began to evolve again, but the number of species remain at primitive levels. It is not known how the Minosans survived, but there is specualtion that at one time they inhabited many more systems in the region.

After the hypernova, Eta Karinae was transformed into a type of exotic star known as a quark pulsar.What had once been one of the most massive stars in the galaxy was now a superdense mass just a few dozen kilomterrs in diameter. Like ordinary pulsars, quark pulsars emit beams of electromagentic radiation from their poles, but quark pulsars also send out streams of exotic particals, including dark matter. Dark Matter is the fuel of space faring civilizations, and the Karynis Nebula contains a rich field of this valuable commodity.

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