The Red and the Black
The following is common knowledge.
- Hyperspace jumps are described as 'Jump-#' with the number being the distance in parsecs that a ship can span in a one-week jump. Jumps are always within a few hours of one week – it's a peculiarity resultant of the hyperspace bubble created by the drive around the ship. Better engines are more efficient and can propel a ship farther, but the time spent in transit is pretty much the same for any jump-capable ship.
- The Third Imperium has existed for over 1000 years and has weathered invasions, wars with neighbors, a few civil wars, succession crises, and all manner of problems. It's best described as a semi-feudal monarchical confederacy, if one could stretch to say that. The emperor rules and is advised and assisted by a class of nobles and some representatives from powerful interests. Given that information travels slowly, a vast bureaucracy handles the daily functions of government along established lines, and localities – sectors and subsectors – are run by the nobles, corporations, and military assets found in them.
- Information travels primarily by X-Boats, operated by the IISS. X-Boats are small, typically jump-4 ships, with a single pilot and maybe another crew member, massive computer storage capacity, and a powerful (for its size) communications array. A boat leaves a system and jumps to the next system along an established route, and upon arrival downloads its packet into the local array, which uploads it to other waiting X-Boats, which in turn jump off to other systems along the route(s). Once a boat arrives it usually takes a few hours for receiving boats to head out. X-Boat tenders sit at the outskirts of systems to pick up, refuel, and refit boats as they come in. Despite well-establised routes, it still takes about a year for information to go from the Core sector (where the capitol is) to the bulk of the Spinward Marches, five few sectors away.
- A sector consists of 16 subsectors, each 8 parsecs wide and 10 high. Thus, a sector consists of 1280 parsecs of space, and typically a few hundred worlds – the Spinward Marches has over 300 worlds. Trae and X-Boat routes (often the same) link worlds together, avoiding empty expanses.
- The Spinward Marches are a sector of mostly Imperium-controlled or aligned space located about halfway from the Core sector to the spinward edge of the galaxy. It contains at least 439 star systems and over 300 charted worlds. In addition to Imperium space, the Sworld Worlds Confederation and Darrian Confederation control sections of space within the sector. Although most of the population is human or human-variant, the Marches are home to a number of alien races. Although many worlds are developed and some reach the highest TL fond in the Imperium, the Marches are still considered a frontier, with plenty of room for exploration and development.
- Humans are the most common race in the Imperium, and are also found in other polities. There are several sub-races of humans, but they are all the same species – this was a surprise to early explorers from all human races as they reached across the stars and found people who looked very much like themselves. There are many other races, as well, including the Aslan, Vargr, Droyne, and Hivers – those being the most prominent in terms of control of sections of charted space – but humans are the most commonly encountered across the Imperium.