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The Crucible Campaign: Travelling In the Commonwealth: Overview of "The Sweep"

The Commonwealth of Deneb tends to center itself in a concentric astrography. Beyond its central metropolitian regions, its regions become more remote and backwaterish, until its political power and influence drops away at a point about 20 parsecs beyond its borders and the traveller is now completely at the mercy of astra incognito and its various political powers. This region is known in Commonwealth colloquialism as the Sweep.

An Overview of the Universe in a Bitter, Quick Dissolving Capsule

The scope and intensity of the Crucible War left no part of the region known traditionally as "Behind the Claw" untouched. The Regency invasion of the early 30s tipped over the tottering Zhodani Consulate and was immediately repaid with the Dawn Heralder cult's furious invasion of Deneb and other regions to trailing and rimward. This double shock upended the region's precarious balance of power that had existed ever since the Collapse a hundred years before, and it rippled out as a domino effect that buffeted and battered the other powers into taking extreme actions in kind. Subsequently the Regency fell and was replaced by the Commonwealth of Deneb, while the Zhodani Consulate and the Aslan Hierate remnant fell to Denebian forces and splintered into feuding successor factions. Several Vargr splinter states collapsed, and warfare ripped apart Far Frontiers sector. A pair of Aslan splinter states emerged in Beyond/Touchstone Sectors and launched a furious campaign of vengeance and conquest against their human and alien neighbors that swept away several smaller powers, and left behind shattered sectors composed of paranoid and bitter enemies glaring at each across a tableau of devastated worlds and traumatized populations.

As the Crucible War ended and the Commonwealth shifted from military operations towards the reconstruction of the devastated regions and rehabilitation of interstellar commerce, the universe that had been previously contained by the Quarantine against Virus began to assert itself in complicating ways. Surviving Vargr corsairs built new petty empires away from their former power bases in sectors close to the Windhorn Rift, or recontacted paranoid pocket empires that had somehow survived intact in remote coreward regions of the former Extents. In the trailing domains of the old Vargr Extents, the restoration efforts of surviving interstellar society were plagued by the rapacious vampire-Vargr corsair fleets of the self styled "Mad Dog of Space", a viral hive that represented itself as the best hope for Vargr nationalism and survival against age-old enemies. In former Imperial space a powerful array of vampire fleets had swept through Vilani space to scour away the remnant of that empire, and then would themselves fall to a coalition of small pocket empires in Gushemege Sector. The victors declared a new "Fourth" Imperium in the aftermath of the conflict, and began to reexpand into the old core sectors of the former Third Imperium. The government of a coalition of states in trailing Lishun Sector that had existed since the death of Archduke Brzk moved to reclaim their former domains in the wake of the Dominate's defeat, only to watch as the noble appointed to lead their armies used his command and victories to spurn their authority, and proclaim himself the "Emperor of the Cerise Throne" of the new "Empire of Antares." As Commonwealth Pathfinders, as part of recontact missions, moved beyond the the Great and Lesser Rifts, they discovered that the Aslan and K'kree empires had been decimated by Virus, and their survivors were being ravaged by a mixture of human marauders and vengeful former subject species. The greatest complication has been the emergence of Zhodani splinter states as major powers in the wake of the Consulate demise, and there have been bitter guerrilla conflicts with these powers to coreward and spinward, as many of these states are even more ideologically blinkered and fanatical than the Dawn Heralders were. And in the background of these epochal changes have been the massive movements of refugees, self-styled conquistadors known as "filibusters", and the insinuating trade in resources, people and Collapse era salvage funneled by free traders and merchant princes answerable only to their own morals and the winds of the market.

The picture of the universe beyond these interacting elements is rather incomplete. Thus far Commonwealth Pathfinders and subsequent armed trade missions known as "Nomad Fleets" have only recontacted about 40% of Charted Space. Contact with rimward and trailing regions of the former 3I and beyond in the direction of the former Solomani and Hiver empires has thus far been impossible or unattainable for political, technical or logistical reasons. Contact in the direction of Antares, former Julian and Yilean (Gashikan) space, and beyond has been easier due to the scattered and fragmented nature of political power in these regions, whereas interference by Imperial and Solomani agencies, and bitter conflicts between the Aslan and interloping humans in Dark Nebula and neighboring sectors, has thus far prevented our scouts from penetrating beyond Daibei and Caledon. To date no Commoner mission has yet reached either Terra or Sylea, much less the regions beyond them.

To map itself and these teeming regions of space, the Commonwealth tends to use a pair of lines that intersect perpendicularly as a reference to the remainder of the universe. Each quadrant created by this intersection is extended out to infinity, and used to assign states to a particular direction (coreward-trailing etc...). The Reference intersection is where Gvurrdon, Tuglikki, Spinward Marches and Deneb's borders converge at a corner. Hence the direction of space from Gvurrdon sector to spinward and coreward is the "spinward-coreward quadrant" and includes all of the Zhodani splinter states and their immediate Vargr neighbors, while regions from the Spinward Marches to rim and spin are in the "rimward-spinward" quadrant, and includes the remainder of the states BTC. The 4I, Antares, and Terran successor states are in the "trailing-rimward quadrant" (From Deneb to trailing and rimward), as are the regions of the former Two Thousand Worlds and the former 3I. The regions of the Vargr Extents beyond Tuglikki Sector, and some coreward regions of the TTW, are within the "coreward-trailing quadrant"