The History of the Hub
If there is one great difficulty in controlling an interstellar empire, it is the problem of transportation. The oases of life that are stars often lie many light-years apart, and when one is stuck at sub-light speeds, it becomes far too difficult to ship resources, soldiers, and other necessities from where they are to where they are needed. One would have thought that the Wormhole Generator would have fixed this - instantaneous travel from any point in space to any other point. The flaws were two-fold. First, the creation of a wormhole required a not-insignificant amount of energy; certainly too much to simply close the hole up immediately afterwards. And second, wormholes needed to be opened from both points which they were to connect, meaning that somebody had to fly all the way out there in the first place. As one can imagine, an enormous amount of work would be needed to connect the empire's systems to each other, and one can scarely conceive of the energy costs!
The Hub was the military's idea originally. A single system, connected to all the others, where the military could muster its main force. If it was needed, it was only a few weeks away from the wormhole which would carry it to the system in distress. One couldn't hope for a more efficient system. Without delay, a relatively meaningless system - fairly small with uninhabited planets and a few asteroid belts - was found and construction began. It took mere decades for the system's basic installations to be complete - space docks, military installations, ground-to-space defence systems, and everything necessary for the center of the empire's military, with the exception of supplies, which had to be shipped in. It was in these shipments that the Hub was born. Those truckers who brought supplies to the system quickly realized the convenience of a single system connected to every other. One needed to remember far fewer coordinates, could more easily change destinations mid-run, and could plot paths in advance. As such, it was perhaps not surprising that it was these men and women who first began to use the Hub in the fashion in which it is used today.
This increase in efficiency went unnoticed by the empire for some time, but not forever, and it was not that long before officials realized just how effective the Hub could be for the purposes of galactic travel. After some minor preparations to ensure that the military would be able to secure the right-of-way in any situation, the Hub was opened for public travel, and the Age of Interstellar Life began.
The Hub Today
The Hub is the circulatory system of modern life in the galaxy. It is through here that it is possible to ship valued goods from one planet to another in only a few months. A mere glance is enough to verify this, for the Hub contains many streams of ships moving between the various wormholes.
The Hub is always full of ships moving from one planet to another, so, in order to avoid accidents, it is critically important that one surrender one's ship to autopilot upon entering the Hub. All ships are programmed with the safest and most efficient paths through the Hub, so there is no need for individuals to take speed into their own hands. Indeed, police ships patrol the system looking for just such reckless individuals. Large fines can be incurred for such reckless endangerment.
Should one wish to sleep somewhere more comfortable than aboard their ship, to eat better food, or simply to restock their supplies, there exist countless stores, restaurants, and hotels alongside the approved travel paths, and you are encouraged to stop in to these at any time.
Depending upon where, precisely, one is going, travelling through the Hub usually takes only a few weeks. Some individuals like to entertain themselves by checking the registrations of nearby ships. How many of the represented planets can you recognize?
Of the four planets in the Hub, only two are widely accessible to civilians. Hub 1 and 4 are military installations and largely permit only commercial enterprises. Hub 2 is the site of many of the government buildings of the empire, and also holds houses for those so employed. Hub 3 and its moons are designated as refugee safehouses. In the event that planets elsewhere in the galaxy needed to be evacuated, the refugees would be stationed at Hub 3 until they could be relocated to somewhere more suitable. A number of mulitary and commercial installations exist along the two asteroid belts in-system.
Using the Hub in a Game
The Hub is intended as a major feature of a sci-fi game. It allows for mass interstellar travel without ship-based FTL drives.
The Hub can make for an interesting backdrop to a chase scene, it can provide the PCs a chance to relax between planetary misadventures, and it could prove a major setting for a military or political campaign. This is really intended as a campaign-defining sort of thing.
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? Responses (3)
I don't know if this is as much of location as it is a concept for a location. The problem with getting around space has been dealt with in many ways by the different sci-fi settings: you have Asimov's FTL concept, the Warp speed/time barrier concept used in The Forbidden Planet and Star Trek, Hyperspace, the use of Drugs to fold space and many others I am sure we are all aware of. Wormhole construction has also been a conceit used by universes such as the Space Rogue galaxy. I think the idea of the Hub in an interesting one, and it might be that various galactic powers each have their own hub. A Traveller may prefer passing through the Manchi hub because
' he likes the crab cakes- as opposed to the Far Arm hub (which as any Traveller knows, offers the lost common denominator of entertainment in every price bracket)'
So while a neat idea, this reads more like pitch for Hubs rather than a description of an actual place.
Linked to FTL drives and put into the Science Fiction region. Good solid idea it is.
Perhaps it might need a little more personality, but it does characterize its function well. One doesn't want to imagine, what would happen if some rival attacked this system as a primary target... even if losing, the empire would be shaken to its core.