So what could humanity’s expansion to the stars in 2300AD look like with a realistic star map? It could look like this…
The map above shows all of the stars within 60 lightyears of Sol, though only the stars on the French, Chinese, and American Arms are labelled (as well as those of all of the other space-faring nations and alien races). Obviously there’s a lot to digest in there – I’ll be discussing the arms individually in later posts, but in this post I’ll be providing an overview of what’s going on. As I pointed out in my previous post, this is merely my own personal (obviously non-canonical) interpretation of where the Arms would go – I’ve tried to keep as many systems in common with the original arms as I could given the more realistic stellar distribution, but this is by no means the only path the Arms could take.
The French Arm (shown in blue) consists of two branches that split at the red dwarf DX Cancri – one branch extends up to Beta Canum Venaticorum (Beta Canum), Xi Ursae Majoris (Kie-Yuma) and the Pentapod Finger, while the other goes to Eta Bootis (Aurore), Sigma Bootis, and Arcturus – Beta Comae Berenices (Nous Voila) and the Klaxun Homeworld at Gliese 505 are also on the Arcturus branch. While expansion is blocked at Arcturus by the Kafers, there are at least 35 other systems accessible in a large loop attached to the Arcturus Branch via Gliese 518 and Ross 128 (shown in a dotted blue line on the map), including the bright stars of Alpha Mensae and Alpha Corvi (Alchiba).
Kafer Space (shown in red/pink) extends in two directions from the new Kafer Homeworld at Psi Serpentis (the reason for this change is described in the New French Arm post). Most of Kafer space occupies the Psi Serpentis Cluster, with a finger extending past a fictional Brown Dwarf that bridges a gap between Psi and Lambda Serpentis and out towards Gamma Serpentis and Arcturus. This gap is one of two on the new map (the other is the access point for the Beta Aquilae Cluster off the American Arm) that must be bridged by artificial means – it’s possible that an as-yet undetected brown dwarf exists to bridge the gap, but since there are none known in the area I’ve had to create a fictional BD to make it work (Stutterwarp tugs can bridge the gap to the Beta Aquilae Cluster though).
The American Arm (shown in orange) is now wholly separate from the Chinese Arm and begins by extending roughly coreward fom Sol to Wolf 630 (Clarke’s Star) where its first branch separates to connect to Avalon (Gliese 667 – a system known to have planets) and some other Gliese stars beyond that. The main arm then curves in a spinward direction through Gliese 673 (King) til it reaches Mu Herculis (Hermes) – at this point the American arm splits into a Rimward Branch and a Coreward Branch. The Coreward Branch extends out past Zeta Herculis (Kingsland) and wraps around the coreward end of Kafer Space, allowing the possibility of ‘backdoor’ access to the Ylii cluster of Kafer Space. The Rimward Branch is pretty much new territory (and probably would be better as an ‘extension’ into which the main Coreward branch of the American Arm could expand) and passes through Alpha Lyrae (Vega), 61 Cygni (now easily accessible), Altair (via a branch), Sigma and Chi Draconis, Eta and Mu Cassiopeiae, Iota and Theta Persei, and ends at Upsilon Andromedae, which contains four jovians and is located at a distance of 44ly from Sol. The Beta Aquilae Cluster is also accessible via a branch from Mu Herculis – however, a 10.9ly branch must be bridged by Stutterwarp tugs between Gliese 745 on the American side and Gliese 748 on the Beta Aquilan side to access the cluster, which includes Beta and Delta Aquilae and several other stars.
The Chinese Arm is probably the most complex of the new arms. The green arm is the Chinese Arm itself, covering a region ‘below’ Sol that includes the major systems of Tau Ceti (Kwantung), Epsilon Eridani (Dukou), Epsilon Indi (Chengdu), Delta Pavonis (Cold Mountain), and extends up to Wolf 562 (Gliese 581, a star known to have planets). It also includes the Kormoran Finger (in magenta) which contains the Eber “homeworld” at 82 Eridani (also known to have planets), and the Sung Finger (in cyan) which contains the Sung/Xiang home system of Stark (Gliese 33, a.k.a. DM+4 123). Both of these fingers are short dead-ends. The Chinese can expand into the “Eber Arm” (shown in purple) which extends out to the real Eber homeworld (as revealed in the GDW “Ranger” supplement and 2320AD) at Zeta 2 Reticuli. Since the Eber Arm also includes the systems of Beta Hydri and Zeta Tucanae (which are now inaccessible from the main Chinese arm), their worlds of Daikoku and Syuhlahm would probably have to be moved back to the Chinese Arm. The Eber Arm also contains lots of interesting systems, including the superflaring Kappa(1) Ceti, the still-forming AP Columbae, and Delta Eridani (Rana).
The Latin and Canadian Arms were formerly ‘fingers’ that branched off the Chinese Arm, but are are now considerably more significant on the new map. The Latin arm (shown in violet) starts at Omicron 2 Eridani (Montana), heads up to Procyon (Paulo) to connect to DX Cancri (which is shared with the French Arm) and then has considerable expansion potential via EI Cancri out to Gliese 200A and HIP 23835 (a.k.a. 104 Tauri). The Canadian Arm (shown in red) starts at Gliese 1005 and includes Alpha Piscis Austrini (more famously known as Fomalhaut) and Delta Capricorni (Deneb Algedi, not to be confused with the supergiant Deneb which is far beyond human-occupied space), ending nearly 58 lightyears from Sol at the red dwarf Ross 193.
I’ll be going over these arms in more detail in the next few posts over the coming weeks!
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