The Haunted Stars
The Bleed (capitalized) is a specific location on the edge of human space, an area fraught with danger and horrors beyond imagining. Several light-months wide, it is a region of space where the very fabric of reality is so weak that the Collapse is actually bleeding through to our reality. This has a number of effects on this region of space, but the most obvious one is the occasional Eldritch incursion. As everyone who’s ever worked on a ship traveling through the Collapse knows, trans-dimensional travel attracts parasites from the Collapse to matter from our own reality. The Bleed is weak enough that these creatures are able to sense our reality through it, and when the conditions are correct they are able to push themselves through and into our dimension.
At least, that’s the theory. Others believe that there are no “ideal conditions” for an incursion, that these “Eldritch” creatures instead are able to part the Bleed at their will, but instead simply wait until they have a large enough raiding party. Unfortunately, the Bleed is so large that it’s impossible to effectively monitor the entire volume of space that it inhabits, so this theory is impossible to disprove. For all we know, it’s entirely possible that creatures of the Collapse shift back and forth between our reality through the Bleed all the time.
When referring to a “Bleed Point,” one is talking about a point in space-time that has worn thin for one reason or another, and an incursion from the Collapse is possible for as long as the Point is active. Scientifically, a Bleed Point is the same as the Bleed, the only differences are size and permanency. Bleed Points tend to be rather small, somewhere between a few microns up to a few kilometers in diameter, and last anywhere from nanoseconds to a few days before the damage to space-time is naturally repaired. When a Bleed is detected, all human vessels and colonies in the system go into automatic lockdown, and any armed units in the system are put on high alert, usually surrounding the Bleed Point and watching for any incursions. Sometimes no threat ever emerges, and in time the Bleed is simply repaired. But other times large groups of hungry creatures rip their way through the Bleed and attack anything they can find.
The term “Bleed” is derived from the visual properties that this damage to space-time exhibits; floating in the void of space a large rip appears, as if in a large piece of black fabric, and energy begins to bleed out of it. As this extra-dimensional radiation interacts with the void of our dimension, the matter of our dimension is annihilated, creating a burst of bright blue energy. Because space is not truly a void, this happens at a rather constant rate, and depending on the mass of the matter interacting with the Bleed, generally it looks like a steady stream of blue, liquid-flame is pouring out of the wound.