The Border Colonies
“No matter how both governments try to separate each other, the Border Systems thrive on cooperation of both major factions. Neither want to admit it, but realize that if they really wanted to crack down on the ‘no-contact’ rules they both seem to have around here, they would have been met with a resounding no. And a possible repeat of Sigma. And nobody wants that.”
Lucas Hammond, current head of Cross Star Academy.
While both factions have made a point of expanding in directions that exclude any border contact, there is a wide border line of about 100 systems with several major and multiple minor colonies in it that are cross colonized by both factions. Some of these date back to the original split between the GHA and UEN, others are more recent, up until the Sigma War neither faction had much reservations about neighboring their competitors colonies, often it would prove beneficial for technological and cultural exchange, as well as help in case of crippling emergencies on fledgeling colonies.
The Sigma War and the resulting “cold shoulder” policy that both factions have adopted did little to stop the spirit of mutual cooperation and understanding fostered in these colonies over the years, to the point they have grown to their own, distinct culture called the Border Colonies. Many colonies in this region have received some independence from their governing factions and most major inhabited planets in the region do not outlaw technology or trade from any faction, as long as it meets their own legal standards.
The more prominent initiatives in the area is the joint industrial and technology system known as the Hermes Initiative hosted by the major colony that has taken up the same name shortly after the Sigma War and has since gained virtually complete independence from the UEN through gradually receiving more and more leeway in setting their own laws in exchange for the technological advances the initiative provided.
Another such example is the Cross-Star Academy, originally a GHA project hosting state of the art pilot training facilities, but currently being completely ran by civilian interests and maintaining independence. Both the GHA and UEN are known for sending a portion of their most promising cadets to the academy.
The Border Colonies also maintain their own security and police fleet and while GHA and UEN ship presence is not completely uncommon, typically its the Border Fleet that maintains the peace and responds to pirate threats in the region. Piracy and other outlaw activity remains relatively law, but is a constant problem, especially since the independent state of most colonies means that attacks against private interest inst technically considered a crime in both major factions.
Several major crime syndicates dealing with smuggling, of both technology and illegal substances, are believed to be based in some of the more shady regions of Border Space.
The Border Colonies are also relatively infamous for off the book exchanges between espionage agencies of both factions and it is commonly believed that both the UEN and GHA maintain heavy intelligence presence in the region. Every few years such presence is is discovered by the independent governments of the colonies and the spies are expelled to their appropriate factions.
Notes on player characters from the Border Systems:
Characters born and raised in the border systems are more likely to have knowledge of technology used in both factions, they are also more likely to understand and be able to navigate the social structures of both. Customized ship designs are very common in the systems, typically re-purposed faction ship that have been given extensive modifications. Less-then-stellar professions like bounty hunting, smuggling, hacking/thieving (of the non-pirate variety) or even assassination are way more likely to thrive here then any other region of known space.