- Published: 26 March 2020
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Lying near the center of the sector named for it, Alastair’s Star is the last remnant of a long dead giant star: a pulsar with a strong magnetic field encasing it. The lonely relic had hosted a small research station prior to the war that was largely abandoned when the Shohan swept through the sector. Now, with the Terran Sphere’s forays into the sector, the former research station has become the center of Fleet operations in the region.
Like many stars of its type, Alastair’s Star is the remains of a star that had reached the end of its life, large enough to explode in a massive supernova but small enough to avoid collapsing into a black hole in its death throes. What was left was a tiny dense neutron star spinning hundreds of times per second and emitting wilting beams of radio waves from its poles.
Despite the devastation, the pulsar has developed a planetary system in its afterlife. Four worlds circle the star, 3 terrestrial worlds and one gaseous Methuselah planet - an ancient world from the very beginning of universe. The Methuselah planet, known as Tithonus, is likely to be recent acquisition despite its age as the devastation that occurred when it went supernova would have destroyed the planet. The planet’s extremely eccentric orbit bears this idea out to many scientists that have studied the system. One theory for Tithonus’ presence postulates that Alastair’s Star once encountered the planet’s original star, only to consume it, leaving behind the ancient world as its only gravestone.
Scientists were aware of the star early on in Humanity’s expansion into the stars. However, the star and its system were not properly surveyed until the second wave of exploration and expansion that followed the end of the Colonial War and the formation of the Terran Sphere. A lighthouse for the sector, the system was actually the first in the sector to host a human presence, as a scientific mission has been studying the system since its discovery.
The Alastair system is dangerous to humanity in many ways. While the star is barely visible in the spectrum of light humanity can see, its magnetic fields generate ferocious waves of radiation sweep over the system, and it is all modern radiation protections can do to withstand the onslaught. These same fields mean that non-ansible communication is almost impossible. In addition to the main planets that orbit the star, the pulsar’s magnetic field has swept up numerous pieces of interstellar debris over the course of existence. Swift, dark and fast moving in their eccentric orbits, these bits of debris are known as “the Razors” by experienced Alastair hands, and continue to be a hazard to ships transiting the system.