This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.11.
Ever since Nick Croshaw first successfully transited a jump point, scientists have studied and theorized the phenomena that makes such inter-system travel possible. For years, the prevailing belief was that the gravitational pull from a star combines with some yet-to-be identified circumstances to create these expressways through space. They looked for correlations between the type of star in a system, its number of jump points, and exactly where they appeared. Despite a wealth of theories on how a star’s gravitational pull plays into jump point formation, there was no scientific consensus.
Then the Min system was discovered, resetting most scientific thinking on the subject. The system has no star. It contains only a rogue gas giant with four orbiting moons.
The Dark System
In the pantheon of systems discovered by Humanity, Min is utterly unique due to its lack of a sun. Rumors that a “dark system,” devoid of light, existed in certain outlaw circles for years, but most believed it to be nothing but a tall tale. These tales propagated because Min’s initial discovery was kept a secret for over two centuries.
That decision can be credited to the Hathor Group, which owned a majority of the system now known as Nexus between 2468 and 2672. They mined its planets until almost all resources were exhausted, while enforcing few laws, which resulted in the strong outlaw presence that exists in the system to this day. At some point in 2473, a Hathor-owned ship discovered a jump into the Min system from Nexus. Exactly who flew through this first jump is unknown, so the discovery simply remains credited to the Hathor Group.
For over two hundred years, knowledge of Min’s existence remained a company secret. Historian Eaden Andres believes this secrecy was initially driven by a desire to keep the system’s resources for themselves. Only a handful of years after paying an exorbitant price for access to the Nexus system’s resources, Hathor executives worried about the bureaucratic nightmare and potential cost of accessing Min, if the UNE was informed of its existence.
Instead, Hathor Group CEO Russell Gurney kept Min a closely guarded secret, even going so far as to create a covert division to chart, scan and assess the system’s economic potential. (In an initial comm chain he stated that he wanted “the minimum number of people involved” which is where the planet would derive its name.)
When those numbers turned out to be underwhelming, the division was quietly disbanded in 2476. After that, most mentions of the system vanished from Hathor Group documentation, though some evidence suggests it was occasionally used as a dumping ground for toxic mining byproducts.
Before the Hathor Group relinquished control of Nexus in 2672, their internal archives suffered a massive hack. The coordinates to the Min jump point ended up among the vast stores of compromised data. According to historian Eaden Andres, rumors about the “dark system” began to circulate in criminal circles shortly thereafter.
Rogue in Vogue
Despite whispers about Min’s existence, decades would pass before the truth was discovered, and it wouldn’t even be from its connection to Nexus. Instead, a second jump, to Ellis, had been located by outlaws. It wasn’t until 2702, when the New United reported on an Advocacy sting of a ship smuggling ring, that Min finally became known to the wider UEE. The story became the basis for the blockbuster 2705 vid Unknown Origins, which dramatized how undercover Advocacy Agent Hiram Qureshi discovered that outlaws were using a jump point from Ellis to Min to get stolen ships out of the system.
Direct access to a system that lacked a sun excited astronomers and fascinated the public. The UEE sent in their usual cadre of scientists and bureaucrats to investigate the system. Aside from the novelty, they determined that its lack of resource or habitable locations made it unworthy of claiming for the Empire.
Still, once Min’s jump coordinates were made available to the public, outlaws, who had been accessing Min for years, took advantage of the lack of law enforcement to ambush sightseers and researchers. Attacks become so prevalent that for years the UEE released travel advisories warning about the dangers of visiting Min. Still, Humanity has found a way to call this system home. A small settlement has sprung up on the system’s second moon, proving once again that even in the face of extreme circumstances, Humanity still finds a way to survive.
Without a sun, Min I is the center of the system. This gas giant is dominated by ammonia clouds that ominously glow against the faint light of distant stars. Experts wonder what caused this planet to be expelled from its original star system. They also debate whether the jump points are connected to the planet or tied to this area of space that the planet just happens to be ‘passing by.’ Scientists have yet to discover what it is that makes this planet special.
Min 1a is small, rocky moon. The Hathor Group’s initial scans revealed that it contains trace amounts of marketable minerals. The cost of dispatching a team to retrieve them exceeded the potential profit and was quickly nixed. When the system was opened to the public, these pockets of minerals were targeted for excavation by small mining concerns.
Somehow life has found a way to survive on Min 1b despite its meager prospects. This rocky moon, the largest of the four, holds onto a thin atmosphere and stays unexpectedly warm thanks to the effect its eccentric orbit has on its atmosphere. Its surface is almost completely covered in vast oceans with countless hydrothermal vents in the seabed. These factors are enough to sustain a large community of bioluminescent bacteria. Their ghostly glow radiates up from the ocean floor, making for an almost surreal visual when combined with the stars in the black sky.
In 2816, a unique community, formed by a disparate combination of researchers, outlaws and survivalists, was established on the moon and it has remained occupied since. Its residents welcome any visitors willing to trade with them for the crops grown in their bacterial ocean farms. To learn more about the people who inhabit what must be the strangest human settlement in the universe, watch the exceptional 2921 docu-vid Sunless Souls.
Lacking an atmosphere or many resources of note, Min 1c’s two most defining characteristics are that it’s the smallest moon in the system and that it has a sprawling cavern network beneath its surface.
As Min’s most distant moon, outlaws frequently use its massive impact craters to hide in and wait for the next unsuspecting ship to arrive.
Travelers should prepare for the system’s lack of security and amenities that are customary to claimed, secure UEE systems.
HEARD IN THE WIND
“Min seemingly vanished from the minds of Hathor executives and goes unmentioned in internal documents for decades. Though some had marveled at the system’s unusual astronomical make-up, it wasn’t enough to make them care. To them, there was no profit to be had there.”
– Eaden Andres, The Crossroads of a Company and Criminals, 2881
“I’m not runnin’ from nothin’. I’ve been clear cross the universe, multiple times, and this is the place that stuck with me the most. Never seemed to have a good night’s sleep until I got to Aleya. Don’t know what it is, but something about this place just puts my soul at ease.”
– Bernie Holt, interview from Sunless Souls, 2921