Map of Human Space
Once upon a time Earth was all there was: a lonely world carved up into countries by tribal passions. Even the early colonies on the Moon and on scattered asteroids looked to Earth for sustenance and commands.
But Earth was finite and space was not, and those who sought new conquests and new lives found them farther and father away. Mars became a world of its own, untamed and mostly empty, and yet people still pushed out beyond.
The edge of human civilization moved out to the Jovian moons and the rings of Saturn. But when the tide of conquest reached beyond Pluto, deep into the Kuiper Belt, it stumbled upon something no one ever expected to see: a gateway to the stars.
In the three hundred years since the discovery of the Kuiper Stargate, humans (and their neo-human descendants) have colonized hundreds of star systems by following the ancient network of alien gates. But the same tribal loyalties, exacerbated by vast distances and genetic differences, have splintered human civilization into a thousand competing shards.
Earth is still home to dozens of human civilizations. The Near Stars around Sol, the first to be colonized, cling to early traditions and maintain a degree of independence from the rest of the Commonwealth.
Nevertheless, humanity's center of gravity has moved to the capital of the Commonwealth, St. Katharine's Star, and its core systems in the New Beyond. While danger from pirates, warlords, and outlaws is ever-present, the relative peace of the New Beyond is an example to many.
Beyond St. Katharine's Star, however, the rule of law gives way to the rule of gunships. The Ungoverned Territories comprise a series of star systems, each controlled by different sovereigns, kept from open war by uneasy alliances, truces, and sporadic cease-fires.
In the Outer Realm, open war is an everyday occurrence. The aged and tired Commonwealth Fleet battles the neo-human Ares, while civilian settlements do their best to repair the collateral damage.
Outside the Commonwealth's sphere, little is known. Ares Space is vast and boasts a civilization more sophisticated and possibly larger than the Commonwealth's. Elsewhere and mostly out of sight, the Ranx Empire rules its stations firmly. And the immense diversity of the Frontier, past the edge of the New Beyond, has yet to be fully cataloged.
Data from the Iocrym visit suggest that the stargate network extends throughout the galaxy. Will we ever push out beyond the Quarantine Zone? How big will Human Space be in another three hundred years? Nobody knows.
The core adventure, The Stars of the Pilgrim, depicts the main line of stargates from Eridani to Heretic.
Corporate Command adds the branches including Tau Ceti, Anaxas, and Gunsan.
The Near Stars will be featured in a new adventure currently in production, and expected to be released in 2014.
The Frontier and its myriad sovereigns is depicted in The Stars Beyond, currently in closed beta.
The galaxy beyond Heretic will be accessible in Part II.