Outer Volumes

The Orion's Arm and Proximity

Artistic Map
Image from Phil B
An artistic interpretation of the Empires and other volumes within the Orion Arm and environs. Although the borders between the empires are displayed as discrete limits in this interpretation, in practice the various empires merge into one another and change over time as the various systems change allegiance.

Note as well that this two-dimensional representation does not show the full extent of empires which overlay one another - the Red Star M'Pire overlays the much larger Solar Dominion, for instance, and the Mutual Progress Association and the Keter Dominion are similarly stacked one above the other

The Outer Volumes comprise that vast and ever changing, every expanding volume of colonised, inhabited and penetrated space beyond the stable regions and ancient empires of the innerward regions, and beyond even the partially consolidated hinteregions or middle regions. It is poorly (and often not at all) served by stargates, and for the most part the great powers only local jurisdictions or spheres of influence within its vastness.
It is mostly lightly settled space (with provincial capitals of greater population and/or technological density) extending outwards from the Middle Regions some 3000 to 6000 LY in every direction. It is divided into 16 sectors; each sufficient to be a vast volume of space in itself. The Outer Volumes area is thinnest above and below the plane of galactic disc, and most populated in the Cygexba, Carina, Serpens and Perseus sectors.

Isolated by vast distances and its limited access to the industrial and knowledge base of the Core, and backward even in time due to relativistic effects, the Outer Volumes polities have always fought an uphill battle to gain economic stability and establish a technological level capable of competing with the Inner Sphere - and defending against incursions both by Core empires and by other Peripheral realms. Empires such as the powerful Laughter Hegemony and the Puppis Democracy currently seem very close to reaching technological parity with the very best of the Inner Sphere, while the Emple-Dokcetics have become a major power and actually have technological superiority in some areas of transapientech over the Inner Sphere empires. Other Outer Volume states also appear to be taking firmer steps toward finding permanent solutions to their economic and military problems.

Meanwhile, the true Outer Volumes and Periphery of penetrated and colonised space continue to expand outwards at relativistic speed; an advance guard of high transapients from many different factions is moving faster than the main exploration wave front. This advanced expansion wave is often known as the Light Speed Frontier, although it in facts moves only a few percent of the speed of light faster than the main wave front.

The Terragen Sphere as seen from Galactic North

Outer Volumes
Image from Steve Bowers
Clickable version of this image here(warning: 5.6 megs)

Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 25 July 2000.