Thakur City on Turquoise. Bellatrix cities blend many contrasting styles
from Community, Soirami, Kalied and Sagre designs
A blue giant star in the direction of Orion, roughly 243 light years from Sol traditional theory would have had the chances of any habitable worlds as very remote. Such a luminous and therefore short lived star would have had very little time for a planetary system to develop let alone the long and complex story that is life to be told.
Bellatrix is coming near to the end of its stable main sequence portion of its life, in 4 million years it should start to develop into a mighty red supergiant of the likes of Betelgeuse or Antares. In a normal galaxy devoid of the mysterious and curiosities left behind by earlier possibly transcended or extinct races with a lot of clarketech to play around with, Bellatrix would have been of little interest to colonists except those interested in exploiting the vast amounts of proto-planetary material and available energy.
Experience, however has shown otherwise. Stars such as Alnair, Regulus and Gamma Ophiuchi have shown that such highly luminous and powerful stars are the homes to a varied and beautiful selection of worlds, engineered by means we can only speculate and admire at present.
Because of this hopes where high of discovering something wonderful in the Bellatrix system. Warp probes where sent out to explore the system and its associated cluster of stars as early as the 2460s by various groups.
All ventures justified the expense on the prospects of finding some wonderful garden worlds, some old clarketech lying around and waiting to be investigated or a wormhole leading to some exotic part of the universe. When the first probes arrived they weren’t disappointed!
The rush for Bellatrix meant around five probes arrived in the system within two years of each other, some surveyors where put together hastily to precipitate others claiming the wonders of Bellatrix themselves. An Iota Perseian probe suffered a warp destabilisation which some 90 l.y. away from its destination forcing it to drop out of the race and limp to a nearby system to repair itself.
A Genevogue probe was the first to encounter something unusual. Surveying the planetary system around Bellatrix VII it discovered one of its moons was in fact an ISO of unknown construction. Going against the advice of its team back in Psi 5 Aurigae and the wishes of the other probes in the system it headed straight for the artefact. The artificial personalities of AI warp probes at the time were noted for their reckless and glory seeking nature and often took stupid risks to gain publicity, possibly to remind the general public of their existence.
In this case though and typical of the Genevogue distrust of the artificial the animating Intelligence behind their Bellatrix probe was an uploaded (vaguely) human personality, in this case a 278 year old Klingon-splice human by the name of Krater. His later biographers note that in his genetically fashioned persona he would often do stupid and dangerous things the attract the opposite sex. People have suggested that Krater was again romancing some individual and headed straight for the ISO to show off.
The probes investigating the viable worlds of Bellatrix VIII were too far away to stop the Genevogue device in his reckless behaviour. All they could do was to standby and watch. As Krater came to within 20,000 km’s of the mysterious entity all contact was lost and the onlookers feared the worst.
34 hours later though contact was re-established with Krater. Babbling to all concerned he described losing consciousness and awakening in a bed , in a castle on a gaint floating piece of rock the size of a small 20th century terran nation.
He learnt from his keepers/rescuers/fellow inmates that they existed in a world consisting of a giant and seemingly infinite airsphere, illuminated from above in a vaguely defined source of energy and swimming with rock islands ranging in size from a small moon cut in half to a chunk of rock only big enough to support a modest house.
The inhabitants of this “world” were a varied lot. Some lived in a techno-cratic utopia comparable with contemporary civilisation while others live in feral wildernesses of flying humanoids. Physics apparently had little to do in this world or at least any physical laws that work in the real universe.
Magic was commonplace ,some islands had fantastical cultures full of wizards fighting brave airship pilots.
Contact between the far edges of this fantasy world was sketchy so a rough idea of how many minds actually lived in this fantasy was difficult,but the population probably numbered in its billions. Krater experienced a lifetime within this world.He lived an adventurous life battling evil empires with armies of war Zeppelins and jet craft, going on retreat on a religious island of mystical wizards to mourn the death of one of his many loves where he uncovered a surprising amount about the real nature of the virtual world.Finally he took part in a late industrial style expedition to the very dark depths of their reality upon which Krater discovered a portal to the outside universe.
Krater explained to watching billions of sentients across Community space that long ago a humanoid race built a vast ISO out of the abundant material of the system and then on mass uploaded themselves to a virtual heaven. There they lived their multiple lives for roughly 2000 years until the Community probes arrived.
Krate went on to explain that welcoming something new and original to happen for a change the Bellatrixians “kidnapped” him and compressed a lifetime within the airsphere in a bid to understand the newcomers' and to hopefully attract new personalities to breathe fresh air into their existence.
An image from within the Airsphere showing a portal to reality. Before the arrival of the Community few would venture to the Depths to find a portal but with hundreds of thousands joining the Airsphere these days the portals are quite busy.
With the publicity surrounding Krater’s experience the other wonders of Bellatrix were almost overlooked.
In 2475 AD a Sirian warp probe ,using its gravitic sensors to sweep the system upon arriving in-system discovered the tale-tale signs of a Wormhole. Wormholes were still new and exciting things in those days and being a cautious but curious artificial personality the Sirian launched a sub-Turing probe to traverse the wormhole and see were it ended. The wormhole took the little probe to the Soirami Cluster a presumably artificial star cluster with spectacular views of the Galaxy from its vantage point above the Plane. (note: for more on the Soirami cluster click on the hyperlink.)
The cluster was found to be the home of two species of humanoid. One species and the oldest in the cluster was race of warm-blooded reptile analogue humanoids with ancient legends of a far off and doomed homeworld from which they either fled or were transported to the Soirami Cluster.
The other species were the descendants and the surviving original crew-members and passengers of all the colony craft that went missing beyond Narma Perinous. Relations between the two civilisations was complex to say the least and to avoid getting involved the Community stayed in the background.
Despite the dangers of wormhole leading to a cluster afflicted with war and racial tension and an enigmatic and unpredictable Clarketech ISO colonists to the area soon cam flooding in.
Bellatrix has many attractions for colonists and investors from the wormholes and the ISO to the three lovely viable worlds (Turquoise, Massy and Diego Duran) and a not-so viable world whose orbit caused drastic seasonal changes. Bellatrix was also the closest settlement to the newly encountered Kalieds a humanoid race in their relativity age, some of whom at least welcomed the Community.
Two interplanetary haulage craft return from leaving supplies and cold beer with the workers on the industrial world of Pelé’s Vista at the inferior trojan point of Bellatrix IV. Interplanetary travel in Bellatrix is not without its risks, aside from the asteroid and dust belts and rogue planetoids some craft disappear for a few days only to reappear later with usually no knowledge of the elapsed time.
No one nation laid claim to the whole system, it was just too big and too many had their finger in the pie. A rough constitution was drawn up, a kind of mini-Community in which each nation looked after their own unless some local emergency happened or sentient rights were being abused. For example in 2523 AD a Tucanae Federation corporation building cities on Yanell was accused of practical slavery of neo-gorilla construction workers by the space-adapted Neo-chimps in a Sirian orbital.
The mix of cultures gradually though intermingled to something close to its present day culture.Later though,there were to be two major influences on the system.
First came the Sagres some of whom were happy to finally be reunited with their loved ones presumed dead for (in some cases) 600 metric years. Others came just for the opportunities presented by way of trade with their brothers and sisters in the Soirami cluster. Most immigrant Sagres built vast habitats around the wormhole (which lies at the superior trojan point of Bellatrix VIII)
The blue giant star system has provided an abundance of material for megascale construction and the Sagres and the Sirians compete to build the most impressive habitat. There is even discussion about the two cultures joining forces to build a Banks Orbital on a scale similar to the one in Sirius or the Han Sectors deep in the Sagre Core.
Sagre presence has not always been welcomed though, especially during the Defiance Wars of 2601 AD –2604 AD in the Soirami Cluster. Many hot-headed Sagres from through-out known space converged on Bellatrix to travel through he wormhole and join arms with their brethren against the “evil lizardmen.”
A treaty was drawn up between the Community and the Balalaban (as the “lizardmen” called themselves) stating that known mercenaries intending to join any conflict in the Cluster were not allowed to be let through the wormhole. The Bellatrixians were ambivalent to this treaty as it put a lot of responsibility on them and they feared in the C.D.F. Fleets stationed in the system would not be able to fend off angry Sagres denied access to Soirami.
A number of media-terrorist attacks had took place as the ragtag fleets of ancient Sagre warcraft and privately funded warships grew in the Wormhole Swarm. As the number of killings and damages to property grew the C.D.F. stepped up their level of force in controlling the mercenaries.
Tensions came to flaring point in 2603 AD when mercenary fleet moved en-mass to positions threatening a number of populous habitats and delivered an ultimatum. In a then surprising move for the time and a forerunner to later C.D.F. policies the Community fleets quickly moved and engaged the mercenaries. The firefight was fierce and 8567 sentients were killed in less than 20 minutes of hostilities.
More deaths were feared as the Sirian habitat of Dostoyevsky and the Sagre habitat of Sho-Uric Do were crippled by mercenary combat drones. It was then that the captains and pilots of the rag-tag fleet found themselves locked out of their own systems and the warp-engines of those ships capable of FTL flight began to warm up and head off in the direction of Old Space. With the largest and most powerful vessels gone the remaining fighters, sub-light gunships et al surrendered.
Explanations for this event were later confirmed when the Bellatrix Airsphere announced it had sided with its Community friends and banished the mercenaries from harming their “guests.”
For many decades to come any military force in the system went around on tip –toes so as not to incur the wrath of the Airsphere. Until the Zarquons stormed in of course…..
The other major extra-Community influence in the Bellatrix system (though later they would be absorbed for the most part into the Community) were the Kalieds in the 2590s AD.
The Kalied homeworld is 99 light years from Bellatrix and was one of the closet major colonies at the time (though this claim was later taken by the Bozean cluster and the Unusual Brightness system) Kalied Extropians were especially eager to explore Bellatrix (the third brightest star in the Kalied heavens ) and its ISO.
As soon as warp capable ships became available to the Kalieds they shot across the stars towards the Community system which at the time of the Extropians arrival was still smarting from the mercenary incident ten years previously.
The Kalieds claimed the sparsely inhabited outermost viable moon of Bellatrix VIII which they named Alorellyon. Due to its large orbit the world experiences harsh summers when closest to the blue giant and steely winters when at its farthest from Bellatrix. Despite this the local biosphere is teeming with life ( dumped on the world some 2000 years ago and most probably the result of the original Bellatrixians colony.) Taking their example from the local inhabitants the Kalied colonists adapted their settlements and their lifestyles to the temperamental world.
Their now exists a flourishing colony of 1.2 billion Kalieds and Kalied related sapients ( the Kalieds having used cloning hatcheries to boost their population, quite why is anyone’ guess.)
Involvement in the squabbles between the Extropians and Traditionalist back home is minimal though many feel that Community involvement in their core systems is getting out of hand.
Bellatrix was attacked in the Zarquon war for a multitude of reasons, its strategic importance, its support of the Hyadean Sectors , Whistry-Lopomo and Cesola and it was a key target in the Zarquon’s offensive on the Kalied region. The Zarqs set up an outpost in the sparsely populated and barren blue giant star system of Mintaka some 33 light years from Bellatrix ( and destroying the small habitat of Mintaka Point killing 659 sentients)
Convincing the GE’s Shooty and Bang-Bang to keep the Airsphere occupied (studies of the rogue GE’s have shown them to have a deplorable love of violence, hence the names they have earnt) they struck the Bellatrix VIII planetary system. Most of the C.D.F. forces were stationed at the Wormhole almost 1.5 light hours away forcing them with a choice between using warp travel within a star system full of rubble and having to obey the laws of relativity and possibly arrive at the Bellatrix VIII system to see the people of the viable worlds surrender rather than tempt anniliation.
GE Shooty and GE Bang-Bang were keeping the Airsphere busy including destroying the sizeable EoArean moon of Horst’s Rock as an example of their might. The personalities within the ISO even experienced the attack as the GE’s avatars swept through the virtual world causing the mind deaths of some 900,000. It took the combined efforts of thousands of islands to banish the GE’s avatars from the virch in a battle worthy of Tolkien crossed with Star Wars in some Anime inspired fantasy.
In the end the C.D.F. fleets risked warp travel to save the worlds of Bellatrix VIII. The cities of Mathuska and Basingstoke Bay on Turquoise, the space elevator of Massey, the Blee campus-city of Geth and the city of Monday on Diego Duran were destroyed with small antimatter devices and relativistic particle weapons by the Zarquon fleets as they changed heading towards Alorellyon when the C.D.F. arrived in force.
The battle was swift but bloody, for two years Bellatrix repaired and rebuilt its fleets being unable to involve their decimated space force in outsystem actions.
As the Zarquons retreated back to their base in Mintaka (to be expunged from there four years later) GE Shooty and GE Bang-Bang where approached by the GE’s Rainbow Shores and Linillinilani 45 who scolded the destructive beings by burning their hulls with antimatter and banishing them from Community space (though as the GE’s have no all-encompassing set of laws it is difficult to say when or if GE Shooty and GE Bang-Bang will return)
Habitats and lives were rebuilt following the end of the Battle of Bellatrix and the Zarquon War but ever since then a larger proportion of people towards the end of their lives upload into the Airsphere rather than risk things with Community ISO’s and techno-mausoleums(who are far more vulnerable to attack than the ancient and mysterious Airsphere.)
Bellatrix was never going to be a quiet backwater and its current state of affairs is no exception. With long range trade with the Rigel sectors and an increasing military build-up in the Soirami cluster things in Bellatrix are as busy as ever.
Mysterious disappearance and re-appearances occur every year , sightings of unusual phenomena and strange visitations are also as common. Thousands of Bellatrixians devote their life’s work to solving the many riddles in Bellatrix; why were a humanoid race created and deposited on the terraformed worlds of Bellatrix VIII in the first place, did they create the Soirami wormhole and why do the Balalabans have no account of them, why did they decide to have a mass transcendence into the airsphere and is the local joke about the original Bellatrixians being responsible for all the lost socks in the universe really true?!
Middle Sphere Colonies
Places in the Galaxy