Astronomically speaking, Cathcart is basically void: a star with no true planets and only a loosely defined chain of asteroids and worldlets orbiting far from the
theoretical green band. In theory, there is no reason anyone should ever have lived here. What is now known as the galaxy’s junk yard came from humble beginnings. The
system was first charted roughly five centuries ago and almost immediately abandoned. It was initially listed as a Class C military restricted system, with plans to
construct a listening post complex…but rapid advancements in scanning technology meant that large-scale orbital listening posts no longer needed to be built so far
from the core worlds.The Navy abandoned the partially constructed habitat platform structure to the void…little realizing where it would lead.
Then, the system spent almost two hundred years as a government dumping ground. Seeking to create a series of spatial ‘boneyards,’ the UEE selected Cathcart as an ideal
(if distant) location for storing decommissioned spacecraft. The reasoning was simple: without planets or other major bodies, spacecraft could be easily stored in the void
of Cathcart’s deep space. Craft stored there, far from most environmental influences, could be easily reactivated in times of crisis. A pair of pre-fab processing factories
were towed in-system and for decades the system began collecting all varieties of obsolete military spacecraft: fighters “parked” in space, end to end for hundreds of
kilometers; abandoned destroyers, cruisers, frigates and carriers; all stripped of various needed or classified systems, berthed together as far as the eye could see.
But Cathcart was out of sight and out of mind from the UEE command structure. Spacecraft decommissioned from the nearby frontier could easily be left there … but without
access to the homeworlds’ supply chain, they were too expensive to effectively scrap and too difficult to re-crew or maintain for crisis. As galactic expansion moved
beyond the Cathcart region, the UEE effectively abandoned the area. Eventually, the spacecraft salvage rights were sold off to the highest bidder and the entire system was
reclassified as private industry.
There is no organized government patrolling Cathcart, plenty of low-caliber pirates hang around the jump point waiting to prey on hapless travellers. Begin signaling your
ID codes before you enter the system; take no unnecessary chances here. Spider itself, the largest gravity source in the system, can’t be missed, but if you need to fly
on autopilot it is at 145 mark 200 mark 30 (Nav 7 if you are using an ACorp standard projection unit). A docking approach is, again, tricky. In short, the process changes
constantly: the most recent docking protocol (which we warn you may be obsolete by the time this article is published!) is that you need to signal a tower four times for
an approach vector. Any other number of signals will immediately designate you a target.
Once you’re in, though, you’re in! Culture aboard Spider is deceptively pleasant:
everyone knows themselves to be in the company of thieves and any business done is no more or less honest than you would find in a public square on Terra. Don’t anger the
locals, of course, but that’s good advice on any world. One important note: every segment of Spider has a different decompression alarm … so watch for flashing lights,
beeping sirens or anything that might be trying to get your attention. The energy fields that contain the atmosphere are in no better repair than any of the other systems
on Spider … so don’t be separated from your helmet and pressure suit. At the center of Spider’s winding ramps and disparate starship hulls is a makeshift pirate court
for settling on-world disputes, part of a fascinating and so far unexplored pirate subculture now taking shape. Appropriately, this is located on the unfinished platform
hull that the Navy initially designated to be a listening post. Beware — disputes are most often settled the old fashioned way: with a duel to the death. Visitors are
encouraged to bet on the outcome!
Market Deals — Spider
BUY: NARCOTICS (ILLEGAL) +7
BUY: BIOLOGICAL GOODS (ILLEGAL) +5
BUY: WEAPONS (OBSOLETE) +8
SELL: LUXURY GOODS +4
SELL: CLASS 4 FOOD +3
Market Deals — Hidden Gems
Spider isn’t the only landing platform in the Cathcart System … so keep an eye out for stray signals that might lead you to one of the smaller bases.
They’re kept off the map with good reason … but if you can locate one, you’ll get an amazing deal on its speciality illegal cargo!
What can you sell on Spider? Basically, anything … with a clear preference for luxury goods.Those trying to build a life on the artificial world crave anything from
the home worlds — high quality foods, games, books, electronics and the like — and will always pay a premium for them. Illegal resources are not in demand because they
are usually in surplus: go to Spider if you need to buy drugs, bootlegged products, slaves, cybots, human organs or stolen goods of any sort. You will probably find
what you’re looking for; if not today, then within a week. Owing to its origin as a junk yard, Cathcart is also a great place to pick up ship upgrades … if you don’t
have a problem with technology that may be a century or two out of date!