Time and Scale
Image from Steve Bowers

Calendars and Timekeeping in Terragen Space

Over the course of its history, Terragen civilization has used a variety of calendar systems and dating schemes. Nearly every major civilization or empire has its own calendar based on such things as the date of the cultures founding, the day the first colonists arrived in the local solar system, or other events of civilizational or local cultural importance.

Local dating systems however, do not provide a convenient 'universal' system for measuring dates, even when 'local' in this context may span millions of solar systems. For this reason the A.T. (After Tranquillity) calendar is used across most of the Civilized Galaxy in addition to whatever local system is in use.

The A.T. system was first implemented in the year 391 (2360 c.e.) when a number of Lunar and orbital habitats determined that they preferred to use a calendar that was based on a historical event more significant to them than the birth or deeds of any person or polity from Earth's past, in part especially since arguments over other usages might be divisive. Eventually the First Federation made it the standard timekeeping system. Although its popularity has waxed and waned over the course of ten thousand years, and though in a universe governed by special relativity it is impossible to say in an absolute sense whether two events occur at the "same time" if they are separated in space, the A.T. calendar has remained a fairly constant factor in Terragen culture.

To learn more about the history of Terragen civilization, click HERE.

Scope of the Known Galaxy

In the current era, civilization has expanded across a volume with an average radius of approximately six thousand light years; in some directions the maximum extent is more than a thousand light years more than this.

The area of space touched by Terragen exploration swarms, survey drones, probe ships, and follow-up expeditions is expanding constantly at an average rate of about 70% of the speed of light. The vast majority of this expansion takes place along the plane of the galaxy. While various survey craft continue to travel above and below the galactic disk, the majority of exploration shifted away from these directions (in 2930 A.T. and 3300 A.T. respectively due to the Solar System's position within the galaxy) and most colonisation is confined to the galactic thin disk.

Within the volume of explored space there are some one billion stars and a roughly equal number of brown dwarfs and interstellar gas giant planets as well as vast numbers of comets, Kuiper objects, dust clouds, Bok globules, and various types of nebulae. Virtually all of these places either are, or have the potential to be, habitations for intelligent life.

A rough breakdown of star types within the Terragen bubble is as follows:

O = 160
B = 900,000
A = 5,800,000
F = 29,000,000
G = 73,100,000
K = 150,900,000
M = 732,500,000

Regions of Terragen Space

The expanding sphere of Terragen space is broken up into a number of fairly distinct regions.

The Inner Sphere

The Inner Sphere is an irregular ovoid, extending some 100 LY from Sol in most directions, and sometimes aligned with the "local bubble" (local star and interstellar gas formation). This is the most densely settled region of space, with civilization on many worlds going back thousands of years. Here there are many imperial capitals, civilization centers, and megastructures.

The Middle Regions

The Middle Regions, or Hinterregions as they are sometimes called, extend some 1000 to 2000 LY from the Inner Sphere in all directions. These are the old frontier worlds of the Federation and early Empire Era days, long since settled and developed. Here are imperial regional capitals that can no longer be called provincial, mighty stargate links, newly emerging empires, resource poor systems, megascale projects, and ancient relativistic trade routes. Here are countless isolated and culturally (and even technologically) backward worlds and polities running on their own. Here also there are no-go areas, perversions, blights and rogue AIs, feral autowars, eccentric AIs and clades and phyles, enclaves, preserves, reserves and wildernesses.

The Outer Volumes

The Outer Volumes extend beyond the Middle Regions some 3000 to 6000 LY in every direction. Often the boundary between the Middle Regions and the Outer Volumes is arbitrary. This is the expanding frontier, where adventure awaits and fortunes can be made. Some Outer Volumes worlds have been settled for centuries, even several millennia, and are as rich in culture and history and information as any in the Middle Regions. These are linked by stargate to the Inner Sphere and Middle Region capitals. Angelnetted and guarded by AI godtech, they are as safe as anywhere in the galaxy, and serve as the nucleus for further development. The further from these provincial capitals one goes, the fewer the signs of civilization. While the image of the Outer Sphere backworlds as a lawless frontier inhabited only by pirates, outlaws and technologically impoverished "barbies" is a parochial fantasy and prejudice on the part of Inner Sphere dwellers, there are many doubtful and dangerous areas.

The Periphery

The Periphery is the ever-expanding wave-front of Terragen exploration and colonization. The periphery is in fact the furthest layer of the Outer Volumes. It can only be reached by taking a stargate to the furthest system out, then acquiring a relativistic ship and making for the unknown. Of course, there will always be someone who has gone further, but the Periphery is so vast that there is enough for everyone. Some even make for the galactic core, or a globular cluster, or even leave the galaxy altogether.

To learn more about the galaxy occupied by Terragen civilizations, click HERE.

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