This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.4.
A Rocky Beginning
No place may be a stronger reminder of just how much the Empire has changed since the fall of the Messer regime than the Hadrian system. Once commonly referred to as a ‘No Man’s Land’ for its role in the cold war, today the rapidly changing system has become a bastion of trade between the Empire and our Xi’an neighbors.
Anchored by a red giant, the three-planet system was first discovered in 2510 through its connection with Pyro. Although the jump point was uncovered by a Pyrotechnic Amalgamated scan crew, the company, already stretched thin by its recent investments in Pyro, decided to forgo any claims on the nearly uninhabitable solar system in exchange for the influx of capital that the sale of the discovery would bring. Likewise, with its focus mainly on finding worlds to terraform for settlement, the UNE showed little interest in pursuing an active role in the new system. Instead, the first wave of inhabitants would be those drawn by the resources waiting to be harvested from the asteroid belt circling between the second and third worlds. As the mining population slowly grew, small stations were built to cater to their needs and provide housing for the new influx of support workers that came as well. However, the system’s growth was to be short lived.
A Dangerous Connection
While the discovery of a jump point in 2539 to what would become known as Gurzil opened up more economic opportunities, the arrival of a Xi’an scout ship in 2542 would lead the UPE military to cordon off both systems from civilian use. Shortly after, the Perry Line was formally created and the system began its transition into a militarized zone.
Note that though it was originally named the Nivelin System, after Pyrotechnic Amalgamated founder Tromo Nivelin, the UPE switched to the military designation Hadrian in reference to the legendary defensive wall used by the Ancient Earth civilization of Rome. This was fitting since military strategists concluded that if Gurzil was to be the front line in a Xi’an war with Humanity, Hadrian would become a barrier system to stop any Xi’an incursions from penetrating further into UPE-controlled space. Fortifications began to be constructed near known jump points, and additional resources were poured into discovering any possible unknown connections with other Xi’an systems. While no direct connection with Xi’an space has yet been found, Hadrian was revealed to be connected to other border systems such as Oya, Castra and Kiel, which increased its strategic importance. In addition, Hadrian received a huge influx of resources once a direct jump to Terra was discovered. Eager to protect this rapidly growing system, the military decided that more drastic defenses were needed and considerable efforts were put into creating a vast minefield throughout the system as an additional deterrent.
For the next two hundred and fifty years, Hadrian system would remain a labyrinthine maze of mines and fortified outposts bristling with rapid-launch defenses, all in preparation for a Xi’an attack that would never come. In 2793 the Perry Line Treaty was signed and with the cold war officially at an end, Hadrian was rapidly demilitarized and civilians were once again permitted access to the system. Despite that, the original mining boom that had first sparked interest in Hadrian was no longer an option for economic development. While large swaths of mines were removed as the military pulled back resources, other areas, such as the asteroid belt, were deemed too dangerous to clear and instead were marked with warning beacons. Yet though its primary industry was ended because of Hadrian’s proximity to Xi’an space, it would also receive a fresh start because of it.
A Fresh Start
As the 29th century drew to a close, relations with the Xi’an had finally thawed enough that trade was beginning to blossom between our two species. Hadrian became a natural stop for goods and commodities moving from Terra and the rest of the Empire into Xi’an space. It had good infrastructure in place for refueling, restocking and repairs, thanks to the former military installations built into the system, and even though they made travel difficult, the mines throughout the system also made it hard for outlaws to gain purchase, since ships had to take very specific, well-guarded routes through the system. These clear travel lanes also created an ideal situation for the UEE to establish customs scan stations to help control the flow of goods from the Xi’an. They can easily monitor ships arriving from the border since most prefer to pay the import taxes owed than risk flying along unmarked routes.
As trade increased, so too did the stations that catered to the haulers that were moving goods through the system. The largest of these stations, the flotilla known as Kedsu Reef, has grown in the last decade to become one of the busier xeno-trade hubs in the Empire. Now, with the proposed Human-Xi’an Trade Initiative being decided upon by the Senate and the growing industrialized Xi’an system of Rhilah only a jump from neighboring Gurzil, Hadrian is primed to grow even more.
Hadrian I & II
Both of the two inner planets of the system are gas giants. Hadrian I has a rocky core beneath its tempestuous atmosphere, while the bright blue atmosphere surrounding Hadrian II is calm in comparison. Once the military began to permit civilians access to the system, gas collection and refining at Hadrian II represented the majority of the credits earned in Hadrian until trade income eclipsed it later in the century.
Many of the former military stations positioned along the major trade routes were quickly purchased and retrofitted to serve the transports crossing the system. However, there were still numerous stations located elsewhere in Hadrian that remained for the most part abandoned, owing to the fact that they saw little traffic or were in sectors dangerous to traverse. Where most people saw these floating husks as mere derelicts, one enterprising trader saw opportunity.
Delilah Havers had the misfortune of being captured by slavers when she was a teenager. Sold at market, she was purchased by a Banu trade-souli who put her to work as a translator. Fortunately, owing to the Banu practice of allowing indentured servants to earn their freedom, Delilah was able to liberate herself by the time she was thirty. Having become apt at negotiations after working closely with her souli, she continued working as an independent trader and was able to amass a small fortune. In 2881, while making a run through the system, an idea struck her as she flew past an abandoned station — all of these derelicts would make the perfect platforms from which to build a Banu-style flotilla. Home to some of the biggest markets in Banu space, flotillas traditionally grow organically as various ships and stations are lashed together at trade hubs. Rather than let it happen on its own (as the Banu would), Delilah purchased several derelict stations and had them transported into position to form the nucleus of a flotilla. By doing this she was able to create a single service center capable of handling multiple large transport vessels and their crews at the same time, but for significantly less than the cost of building such a station from scratch. She named the flotilla Kedsu, the Banu word for reef, since the structure reminded her of the underwater formations she explored as a child on Goss. Commonly though, it has come to be known by the misnomer “Kedsu Reef.”
Since more traders could do business here at the same time than anywhere else in the system, it was no surprise that Kedsu Reef became a very popular destination. Home to the largest permanent population in Hadrian, its Kedsu Reef markets and bazaars stock goods from all over Human, Xi’an and even Banu space. Every day, huge quantities of commodities and credits are negotiated and traded. But with habitats for rent and numerous dining and entertainment wings, even if you’re not looking to trade, Kedsu is still very much worth the visit. Today, Kedsu Reef has continued to grow and more pieces are frequently added, further expanding the station. The popular spot has even spawned a small neighborhood of competing stations looking to take advantage of the steady flow of ships.
Hadrian Belt Alpha
Though still abundant with resources, the majority of this asteroid belt remains untouched thanks to the undetonated anti-ship mines that remain from the cold war era. It is true that there are some brave souls willing to take the risk for the chance to earn the credits that harvesting the ore would bring, but most will only visit the belt as they traverse along one of the designated safe flight lanes.
Out where it orbits in the distant reaches of the system, the ice giant Hadrian III has a permanent dark storm cloud that stands out in stark contrast to its otherwise pale color. This dramatic appearance earned the planet the nickname “the Watcher,” as it seems to be keeping a careful eye over the rest of Hadrian.
Despite the abundance of beacons warning about the hazards of mines, dozen of ships are still lost every year when they leave the safety of the designated flight lanes.
HEARD IN THE WIND
“From the softest sheets, to the freshest beef, nobody matches Kedsu Reef!”
– Commercial jingle for the flotilla, 2938
“I dare them to come.”
– Attributed to Navy Admiral Les Holstein, in supposed response to a Senator asking if the forces of Hadrian were prepared for a Xi’an incursion, 27th Century