The Haunted Stars
The Post-Collapse Era
Today, the systems are officially at peace. The closing of the Collapse to the majority of humanity has created an environment where war between interstellar governments is impossible in any practical sense.
Though, as is the case with many wars, just because there’s a cease-fire doesn’t mean that everybody has returned to a life free of hatred and violence. Border conflicts still erupt every once in a while, ships traveling from ISA to CoS territory are routinely searched, and often seized on grounds of espionage or terrorism. Procyon has seceded from the ISA because it has become even more isolated from the outer rim than it was before, while Epsilon Indi has fallen to Confederation forces, largely commando and in-system mech-battalions that had been dug in since before the closure.
Omicron Eridani and Epsilon Eridani have also seceded from the Alliance, banding together to form the Eridanus Dominion. Little is known of the Dominion outside of its borders, but rumor is that the leading government of Omicron formed an authoritarian rule, and in the chaos following the closure was able to annex Epsilon. How this new twin-system government is able to function post-Collapse is a mystery; perhaps they have a large number of Navigators working for the government, or simply banded together out of fear of the Bleed, so close to their own borders.
Yes, the Bleed. Stretching for dozens of lightyears it creates a wall of Collapse-radiation from beyond Procyon and Omicron Eridani all the way to Tau Ceti. The worlds of the Dominion, Procyon, Sirius, and Tau Ceti seem to be the most affected by incursions from the Bleed, while Sol has remained surprisingly safe from any attack. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, and many scientists believe that the Bleed is growing, and the rate of growth seems to be increasing.
Trade continues, though at a rate lower than ever before in interstellar history. Navigators and their ships are invaluable to many colony’s continued existence, flitting from star to star with news from across the systems, much-needed goods, and many times with a few men and women willing to help out the local militia against incrusions. These ships have become many things to many people, wearing a great many hats to fulfill these roles. And they’re paid handsomely for their troubles.