by The Republic of Sunset. . 398 reads.

Among a Sea of Stars...

Sunset Exploration Command Resolution-Class Frigate
As long as the Republic has existed so too has the Sunset Exploration Command. Initially charged with exploring the Solar System, it has expanded as the technologies available to it have expanded to cover not only the local system but nearby star systems, interstellar space, and now nearly the entire galaxy. While the individual odds of coming across a Republic Explorer on assignment in a far-off system are low, those widely scattered ships and their intrepid crews have explored countless worlds and made contact with an amazing variety of new life and new civilizations.

From Empires to Utopias and beyond, some of these civilizations have contributed knowledge and individuals to the Republic far in excess of what their limited contact might suggest. Others have chosen to remain isolated with only scant knowledge flowing to the outside galaxy. There are some more that have become extinct either through their own actions, a grand accident of nature, or outside malevolence. In all of these the Exploration Command has sought to preserve some knowledge of their civilization. In a few cases this has led to the resurrection of entire species while in many others a mere factbook entry will suffice, awaiting the time when once again a starship will cross the void to discover them anew.

While many of the documented species and civilizations can be found in rare numbers in the Republic, this is not universally true. Some of these have links to other, more notable space-faring powers while some are near-vanishing in numbers and representation. In some cases only a single contact has been made with explorers from Sunset or the Triumvirate of Yut and the entire history of the civilization is either mostly, completely, or entirely unknown. Whether or not they are better known to others is up to the whims of fate but the goal of the Exploration Command is to always expand the scope and context of explored space.

Standard Operating Procedure

Galactic Exploration Command System Notation

The Exploration Command labels star systems, planets, and
minor bodies according to the following key:

Example: GEC-F1Ca

    GEC (Galactic Exploration Command) -
    F (Priority Designation; Reserved for Singularities,
    rtificial Constructs, and Fractal Anomalies
    1 (Numbered in the Order Surveyed) (Sol System)
    C (Position of the Planet from its Primary or
    Closest Star
    ) (Earth)
    a (Position of the Minor Body (Moon, Asteroid) from
    its Primary Gravitational Influence
    ) (Luna)
Whenever the Exploration Command surveys a new system, they follow a specific procedure that then varies wildly depending on what they find. However, the following is always true; The basic details of a system are determined and cataloged: The star type(s), how many planets and of what type, how many satellites they have, as well as other major and minor cosmological details. This survey is reasonably detailed but does not involve anything more than the sensors routinely available to an Exploration Command starship. In most cases, if there is advanced life - that is, sentience lifeforms that have a considerable impact on their environment - this will be detected during this phase. A combination communications/navigation/passive sensor satellite is deployed around every major body and these are labeled with the system information. This is also sent back to Fleet and then onward to the Galactic Exploration Command's central record-keeping operation. In most cases that survey data is then accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Not all system elements are named, but local names take automatic precedence over external assignment (if any) in the database and in official correspondence. Stars are then broadly categorized by stellar spectrum (O, B, A, F, G, K, and M), planets and minor bodies by type (D, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, P, T, X and Y) and all others by catalog entry number (10001-XYZ). While this is the official method, there are a large number of planets and star systems that bear popular labels from before the Galactic Exploration Command assumed the role of centralized record-keeper and these are still maintained and used where confusion would arise from their replacement.

Far Beyond the Republic
Beyond the colonies and developed worlds of the Republic, there are a number of planets and systems that have some degree of notoriety or infamy in the minds of both the common citizen and the noted explorer. Most of these are not claimed in whole or in part and some quite the opposite...

The Bazaar, Lethon
Lethon (Alpha/Gamma Border)
A scourge that haunts all righteous civilizations, slavery is a dark stain upon the very galaxy. To take away the free will of another - to remove unwillingly the choices that signify the very gift of sentience - is among the very worst crimes that can be committed on another being. Lethon is just one such manifestation of those crimes but to the Republic and other civilizations that contend over the issue of slavery it is an important one. A nexus for slavers and other miscreants across the sector, the slave markets of Lethon trade in the lives of thousands of slaves each and every day and an untold number more pass through on their way from one world to another. This also makes it an important location for those who fight the trade; Isolated and ill-prepared, it would be the work of a day for any navy to wipe the city away but more important is the information that flows through the traders, merchants, tavern owners, and the slaves themselves.

Numerous spies and informants work here keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the various slave traders as well as the mercenaries, pirates, and others who serve and service them. Occasionally the markets act as other sources of information as well with covert buyers and agents secretly purchasing slaves for both their freedom and for the information they possess. Eliminating the middleman of the Market would only be a temporary setback for the slavers but acting on the information gathered has allowed various entities to strike directly at both the harvesters and the ultimate destination of the slaves that pass through.

Rime (GEC-92, The Periphery)
In the early days of extra-solar travel one of the first ships of the nascent Exploration Command stumbled across a frozen, seemingly lifeless world. Only a chance discovery by the SDF-Columbia would reveal the world to be anything more than just another frozen ball spinning darkly in the endless night. That discovery was a ship buried deep beneath the ice, entombed there for what would turn out to be nearly a million years. Mounting an expedition to breach the ice and explore the vessel, the Columbia's crew - along with several researchers and investigators from the young Triumvirate of Yut - discovered the ship to be both refuge and exile for the being known as the Nameless One. An exile from the long-fallen Empire of the Kal-En-Vesho, it was she who most directly contributed to that fall by betraying the secrets and methods of that corrupt and decadent civilization to their vast slave hordes. For this she was exiled, locked in the ice for all eternity, and doomed to forever contemplate the folly of her actions. The location of her prison was lost during the calamitous war that ended the Empire of the Shapers, but its rediscovery has led to their re-emergence as a species as well as to a glimpse into the far past of the galaxy.

For those willing to make the trip and able to present themselves before the Nameless One, she is capable of acting as both historian and seer. With the advantage of a million years of contemplation and the knowledge of a galaxy-spanning empire that rose and fell in the space of another hundred thousand, she can provide sharp insight into both current events and the consequences of history. Notably she maintains no outside connection to the galaxy aside from what she is given by the rare visitor; As alien as the Kal-En-Vesho are to us is the galaxy as it is now to her.

The Dragon's Eye
The Dragon's Eye (Deep Space, The Delta Quadrant)
Located far from any Republic world, the particularity known as the Dragon's Eye was discovered in deep space by the roaming exploration starship SDF-Ojeni. A rogue planet, the world was cast out of its primordial system many millions of years ago and has since crossed the stellar gulf between one of the nearby dwarf galaxies and our own. Discovered by chance, it was then used as a funeral world for one of the great conquerors; A place where their mortal body would lay undiscovered and undisturbed except for the chance encounter with the Ojeni.

A world covered with a single endless ocean, the secrets of the planet are only apparent when one ventures beneath the glass-smooth surface. Heated by a continual flow of burning phosphorous, and aided by a unique chemical makeup, the liquid seas cover a vast complex that spans nearly the entire planet, ringing the world atop a chain of underwater mountains that have been covered in structures that strongly resemble temples, gardens, amphitheaters, and galleries. But hidden far below these already astounding treasures lies the true secret of the Dragon's Eye; A single enormous tomb dedicated to the life and memory of a conqueror who lived some seventy-two thousand years ago.

This crypt houses both the singular coffin - an enormous crystal formed around the still-whole corpse - and numerous smaller edifices devoted to the bodies of family and most loyal followers. Surmounting these are great mounds of treasure in all conceivable varies from gems to currency to weapons and armor. These are intermingled with the cultural artifacts from a thousand conquered civilizations but beyond these lies the true treasure to those who seek knowledge. In an enormous circle of alcoves around the outer edge lay the preserved bodies of the leaders of these same along with their most important cultural relics; Founding documents, royal crowns, and similar are providing a treasure trove of information as to the past history of the Delta Quadrant.

Distant Civilizations...

The Republic of Sunset