August 20th 2014
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 worldlets, 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.
In 2750, while tugging the fractured hull of a decommissioned ship, a young Navy pilot discovered something stunning. A manmade structure that’s known by one name throughout the Empire:
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, but in this issue, we’re going to be talking about the only area where this intrepid explorer could gain access to.
Probably the most mysterious of the landing zones in Spider. Whereas areas controlled by Fist & Nail and Dace Clan proudly wear their affiliation out in the open, no one really knows who controls NKZ, but the rules are made abundantly clear to whoever enters: leave your grudges on the landing bay. I would urge any would-be visitors not to test the locals’ resolve on this issue.
That’s right. NKZ is a place to do business if you don’t want to worry about getting shot through the back of your head. The peace is so well maintained that JOKER ENTERPRISES even operates an ‘unofficial’ showroom here.
Landing in the hangar ominously named LIMBO, you could tell they were serious. Manned turrets will track your ship as it slowly descends and sets down on the landing pad. The attendant on duty won’t be particularly polite, but efficient as they transport your ship down to the temporary hangar.
Stepping into NKZ proper, you will be shocked at the variety of people inside. From Human to Xi’An, obviously wealthy to barely scraping by, it is a bizarre confluence of personalities. It won’t be that surprising that the largest gathering is at the local lounge. While the SPINWARD TOXIN FARM sounds like the last place you would want to have a drink, the talented bar staff are quite the chemists when it comes to relaxing libations.
Before coming to NKZ, I had been told that a black market exists here, but sadly, I was unable to find it. Not to say that it doesn’t exist, though.
Again, it should be noted that traveling to Cathcart is, in itself, a dangerous proposition and travelers should take every precaution when attempting to visit Spider, but for those who still want to see a true marvel of Human innovation, no warning will deter. It’s one thing to hear me describe it; you really should observe it for yourself.