Null and Void are a pair of planets that are in a stable orbit around a massive black hole, which in turn is teetering along the peripherals of the unstable regions of space. Traditionally the Free State has been adverse to colonizing planets, but it was decided that a permanent facility in proximity to a singularity would provide unique opportunities for science, and even leisurely pursuits.
Over the last decade the Null and Void system has been used as proving grounds for new models of starship, where both a vessel's gravitic propulsion and structural integrity can be tested under far more extreme conditions than the stress of high-speed maneuvering. However, the system's value as a proving ground isn't merely limited to research purposes. Approximately every three years a significant number of grueling competitions that take place in orbit of black hole. Fleets will come together to test their most well-engineered starships, the dedication of pilots, and the most brilliant of SI spacetime navigators.
The system, which has become synonymous with “Null and Void Proving Grounds”, is not only limited to starship engineering however. The Proving Ground facilities are also home to the Free State research facilities charged with what is known as hyperspatial engineering. Specifically this involves the study of the intense gravity fields, spacetime manipulation, and singularity mechanics in order to produce a myriad of related technology. The dual-purpose specimen and stress testing the close-proximity black hole provides has made the Proving Grounds pivotal to the development of technologies such as the Inertialess Drive and the Kinetic Energy Detonator.
By YE 34, the NSN had begun regular patrols in the system. Though these were initially part of an anti-piracy effort, it quickly grew into border protection. In YE 34, patrols usually consisted of a small squadron of frigates or destroyers. By YE 36, the patrols consisted of Nepleslian cruisers and their escorts.
Null is a large planet that hosts the main colony of the system. This planet does not orbit a sun so its temperatures are at least 100 Kelvin below freezing point on its warmest of seasons. The surface temperatures are cold enough to instantly kill anyone unprotected, and there's little else than frozen wastes as far as the eye can see.
The planet is riddled by several boreholes that are hundreds of meters wide. Each of these boreholes are sealed off by large blast doors which can open to allow the docking of starships, but are otherwise kept shut to help preserve heat. These doors are ringed with flare launchers used to melt the thick layer of ice that builds up on the surface, and are used help guide pilots that might otherwise miss the blast doors amidst a ice storm.
Nearly all of Null's infrastructure is subterranean; nearly 50km below the surface where the crust and mantle meet. Here geothermal energy is used in place of solar power to provide power and heat for industrial processes, while additionally allowing mining trawlers to access otherwise unreachable resource deposits through branching corridors.
Nil is Null's only natural satellite. This barren moon houses an older subterranean borehole mining facility, which has been converted into a large moon-spanning mass driver designed to help bulk freight or large ships attain escape velocity. Nil also houses the system's long range communication and sensor systems, since the storms on Null make maintaining sensitive equipment surfaceside quite problematic.
Void is a barren and rocky world that possesses almost no atmosphere. What makes this world unique is that is orbits relatively close to ergosphere of the black hole; a region where spacetime is dragged (relatively) faster than light. An unfortunate side effect of being within the ergosphere is severe time dilation, which will make any approaching object seem to slow down until its practically in stasis from an outside viewer's point of view. This makes the planet Void not unlike a natural museum of the universe, preserving specimens and objects from eons past for present study. However, most of its proverbial gallery remains untouched due to the difficulty of operating in such close proximity to the black hole. The planet can only be reached by specially modified hyperspace drives, and even then only for a limited duration.
Void is also used as the unoffical graveyard world of the Freespacers. Here ships of significant historical or sentimental value will be sent as a final resting place. Most of the original ships their ancestors departed from known space in currently reside here, along with the majority of decommissioned Motherships whose massive skeletons litter the planet's surface.
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