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With the advent of the frame shift drive there has never been a better time to join the hallowed ranks of the great space explorers. As well as the wonder of vistas unseen by human eyes, there is money to be made collecting data for the mega-corporation Universal Cartographics.

ED Players Guide

Universal Cartographics is a Mega Corporation focused on mapping the universe.[1] Due to limitations of the Frame Shift Drive, its efforts are currently constrained to the Milky Way Galaxy. Cynthia Sideris is the current Chair of Universal Cartographics.[2] The Galaxy Map, System Map, and Planetary Map use Universal Cartographics data. Exploration data on systems that contain a full-size orbital Starport is freely available to everyone, while data for systems with less infrastructure or none at all can either be purchased for a small fee at a station or obtained via scanning with the Discovery Scanner and Detailed Surface Scanner. Exploration data can be sold for credits at any station with a Universal Cartographics contact.

Timeline

14 JAN 3307

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    The newly settled Marlinist Colonies have asked for urgent deliveries of foodstuffs. Millions of Marlinists have relocated to eight systems colonised for them by the Sirius Corporation, thereby reducing tension between the Empire and the Federation. They have asked Universal Cartographics to delay a census of the systems' populations, while the refugees lay the infrastructure for their new societies. The Marlinist factions are holding democratic elections to select their leaders. However, the transitional parliament has declared an emergency due to the shortage of food stocks. Community spokesperson Dr Jenna Fairfax announced: "We are grateful to the galactic community and Sirius Corporation for providing homes. However, we need further help to feed our people in the short term, until we can become self-sufficient. The more supplies we can stockpile, the faster our economies will develop. This in turn will allow us to offer greater commodity discounts, to encourage the establishment of regular trade routes." Pilots are asked to deliver animal meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, and grain to Stillman Hub in the HIP 22550 system. As this system's defence forces are still being formed, the Free Marlinists of Carinae have offered bounties on all wanted ships to secure these initial trade runs to the Marlinist Colonies.[3]

17 DEC 3306

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    Multi-billionaire Zachary Rackham's new orbital outpost at the galactic zenith is now operational. Rackham's Peak is situated in the HIP 58832 system, one of the highest practical locations above the galactic plane. Its construction was funded by Rackham Capital Investments, in conjunction with Universal Cartographics and other scientific research companies. Traders have been welcomed, although the increased distances between stars at the galaxy's fringes mean that vessels with a high jump range are recommended. Rackham's Peak is currently offering high prices for deliveries of beer, liquor, wine, Bast Snake Gin, Centauri Mega Gin, Chateau De Aegaeon, Eranin Pearl Whisky, Gerasian Gueuze Beer, Harma Silver Sea Rum, Indi Bourbon, Kongga Ale, Lavian Brandy, Leestian Evil Juice, Saxon Wine, Thrutis Cream and Wuthielo Ku Froth. Mr Rackham officiated at the outpost's opening ceremony, which was followed by an extravagant press party for media representatives and attending celebrities. He gave this statement: "The top of the galaxy is now open for business! Rackham's Peak is a free port where everyone is welcome, a place where explorers and entrepreneurs can enjoy drinks while overlooking the entire Milky Way. Aim high, Commanders!" In related news, Rackham Capital Investments has agreed to pay a repairs bill from Universal Cartographics for the outpost's sensor array control systems, which suffered fluid-related damage during the party.[4]

11 DEC 3306

  • Multi-billionaire Zachary Rackham is constructing a permanent outpost at the farthest system above the galactic plane. The orbital outpost will be located within the HIP 58832 system. This is commonly held to be at the galactic zenith, one of the highest locations that can practically be reached. The project is funded by the corporation Rackham Capital Investments, with the close involvement of Universal Cartographics and several other scientific organisations. The outpost's location will make it ideal for gathering astronomical data on the overall structure of the galactic spiral. This historic scientific endeavour was remarked upon by Mr Rackham from his private villa complex on the Rhea Archipelago: "Back in my days of plying the trade routes in a second-hand Sidewinder, the idea of standing on the roof of space was an idle daydream. This new generation of pilots and ships will make my vision a reality. No doubt many important scientific observations will be made once the outpost is up and running, but more importantly, there'll be a bar – and the drinks are on me!" A spokesperson for Rackham Capital Investments later confirmed that the outpost in the HIP 58832 system would be operational on the 17th of December 3306, but clarified that there was no legal guarantee for beverage reimbursement.[5]

14 JAN 3306

  • Universal Cartographics has updated the names of fifteen systems in the Witch Head enclave. Cynthia Sideris, chair of Universal Cartographics, elaborated on the development: "Last year's colonisation efforts resulted in a number of new settlements in the region, and providing systems with less unwieldy appellations is of great benefit to explorers. For example, 'the Wisanye system' rolls off the tongue much more agreeably than 'the Witch Head Sector FB-X c1-7 system'. We are confident that these more personable memorable terms will be welcomed by the Witch Head community." The Witch Head enclave is currently experiencing a number of Thargoid incursions, prompting local factions to call for assistance.[6]

11 DEC 3304

  • A new networked database system named the Codex has been released to the galactic community. The Codex is a joint initiative from the Pilots Federation and Universal Cartographics, which issued the following joint statement: "We are pleased to announce that the Codex has been automatically uploaded to the onboard systems of all vessels registered with the Pilots Federation. The Commander section of the Codex collates all ship data, including the pilot's personal achievements, while the Knowledge Base contains information on the galaxy's most prominent organisations and individuals. The Discoveries section is designed to support deep-space exploration. As well as cataloguing stellar bodies and other phenomena, it also logs confirmed and unconfirmed findings from fellow explorers. We hope the Codex will prove valuable to all Commanders, and we look forward to it being updated with their findings."[7]

09 DEC 3302

  • Commander MissingSea of the Deep Recon X exploration team has completed an extensive survey of the Eol Prou GG-X d1 sub sector, located between 260 and 370 light years from Colonia. The sub-region contains a total of 858 solar systems, only four of which were logged in the Universal Cartographics database prior to Commander MissingSea's expedition. In total, Commander MissingSea scanned 1,676 stellar bodies, 5,088 planets and most of the sector's 8,705 moons. Of the planets scanned, 332 contained some form of life and a further 333 were found to be candidates for terraforming. The survey began on the 30th of August and finished on the 3rd of December 3302. The survey overview data is available on request.
    Commander Iconoclypse[8]

27 MAY 3302

  • Cynthia Sideris, chair of Universal Cartographics, made a brief comment outside UC headquarters this morning on Jasmina Halsey's ostensibly unsuccessful search for the "architects of creation": "Whether or not President Halsey's 'architects' exist is open to question, but chances are that some form of non-human sentience exists in our galaxy. We've received data from as far as Beagle Point, but even that represents only an infinitesimal fraction of known stars in the galaxy. We can only keep looking." President Halsey's psychological review continues.
    Commander Stateira Eleshenar
    Zandu Science Journal | Interstellar Press[9]

13 MAY 3302

  • Dr Derthek, a founding member of the Canonn Interstellar Research Group, has embarked on an ambitious project to map NGC 6357, also known as the War and Peace Nebula, in its entirety. Before departing, Dr Derthek gave a brief interview explaining his motivation: "I've examined the Unknown Artefacts, I've seen the barnacles, I've even completed a circumnavigation of the galaxy. But the estimated 13,000 systems of NGC 6357 have always fascinated me. It's one of the most prominent sites of massive-star formation close to the bubble. I think there's something out there, although I don't know what. But it'll be my home until my ship, the RSV Canonn, has visited every single system. I might find more barnacles, more UAs, or something entirely new. Who knows?" Hundreds of fellow scientists have sent messages of support, and Universal Cartographics is understood to be eagerly awaiting Derthek's return.
    Commander Lord Zoltan[10]

12 MAY 3302

  • With the successful conclusion of the Distant Worlds Expedition looming, intrepid explorers both within and without the bubble are turning to the bubbly, and O'Malligan's Coffee Bar at Skvortsov Orbital has announced plans to throw a party for the returning travellers. A spokesperson for the establishment said: "What does an explorer want after they've returned to the bubble, stumbled out of their ship and cashed in at Universal Cartographics? A drink or two! So we're throwing the party of the century to celebrate the achievements of the Distant Worlds pilots, and other intrepid explorers." O'Malligan's Coffee Bar has approached the Diamond Frogs, the system's controlling faction, for assistance in making the party a reality. But the Diamond Frogs' chief logistics officer, Commander Paramemetic, said: "There's no way O'Malligan's is going to be able to throw a radical party without support from the Pilots Federation. Diamond Frogs pilots alone will consume all of O'Malligan's stock within a matter of hours." To ensure the celebration is worthy of the accomplishments of the Distant Worlds team, the Diamond Frogs have promised to reward pilots who bring alcohol and other recreational substances to Skvortsov Orbital in the 63 G. Capricorni system. The campaign begins on the 12th of May 3302 and will run for one week. If the final target is met earlier than planned, the campaign will end immediately.[11]

01 APR 3302

  • For some, Naraka is a system located in the Hydrae Sector, but for others, it's a system situated between Pi-Fang and Eranin. That's because there are two systems that bear the name 'Naraka'. This quirk of circumstance has long been a source of confusion for independent pilots, but Universal Cartographics has deigned to address the issue by renaming the former of the two systems. A Federal spokesperson released a brief statement: "Until Universal Cartographics has dealt with this issue, all travel to the Naraka system has been restricted. Access to the Naraka system located between Pi-Fang and Eranin remains unhindered." Not everyone is happy about the impending change, however, with one resident of the soon-to-be renamed system remarking: "This is all well and good, but what will happen to my mail? It's like Universal Cartographics didn't even consider the postal service."[12]

12 NOV 3301

  • Two weeks ago, the Explorers' Association began work on a new Ocellus starport in the Pleiades Nebula. The project received financial support from the Brewer Corporation and Universal Cartographics, which offered generous premiums to traders providing essential materials for the construction. Now, with the bulk of the work complete, the Explorer's Association has announced a third and final appeal for resources: "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the galactic community, the new Ocellus starport is almost complete, and we are a hair's breadth from gaining an important foothold in the Pleiades Nebula. All that's needed now is one final push. If you are in a position to help, we implore you to do so. This is your last chance to be a part of this historic project." Pilots who want to contribute to the campaign are invited to deliver Computer Components to Neville Horizons in the Kaushpoos system.[13]

22 OCT 3301

  • For the past few months, a development group founded by the Explorer's Association has been working on plans to build a starport in the Pleiades Nebula. Now, it appears the plans are about to become reality. A spokesperson from the Explorer's Association made the following statement: "A starport in the Pleiades Nebula would be of tremendous value to pilots, serving as a reliable resupply point and sanctuary in the depths of space. But breaking into deep space is always costly, not to mention potentially dangerous. Fortunately we have received generous support from the Brewer Corporation, Pacap Limited and Universal Cartographics, and are now in a position to begin construction. The first phase of the project involves collecting the necessary materials to create the starport superstructure, and to this end we are willing to offer generous premiums to pilots delivering metals to Neville Horizons, our base of operations. I encourage all those with an interest in exploration to join this exciting project, and contribute to the next phase of humankind's expansion." One of the pilots involved in the programme was quoted as saying: "Hopefully, getting a station farther out into uninhabited space will be the first step towards human expansion out into the wider reaches of the galaxy." Pilots who wish to contribute to the campaign should deliver metals to Neville Horizons in the Kaushpoos system.[14]

12 OCT 3301

  • Exploration activity has been brought to a near standstill after a data-encrypting firmware bug threatened to compromise recently acquired astronomical data. A spokesperson for Universal Cartographics released the following statement: "Commanders started noting discrepancies between the exploration records stored in their ship systems and their own personal records. When we investigated, we found that one of our contractors has purposely altered a recent firmware update that was applied to all discovery and surface scanners. We also found that the contractor had a connection to Emperor's Dawn. An arrest warrant has been issued, and our staff worked through the weekend to recover the encrypted data and replace the compromised firmware." It has been speculated that the sabotage was designed to hamstring the IISS's efforts to locate Emperor's Dawn bases using exploration data.
    Commander Fionn Mac Cumhaill[15]

04 OCT 3301

  • On the 5th of January 3301, an explorer by the name of Commander Kommodore set off to visit Sagittarius A* in his Eagle-class starship – the first known attempt to reach the core in such a vessel. Nothing more was heard from this intrepid explorer until this week, some ten months later, when his trusty Eagle finally returned to a friendly starport. The Commander was said to have a made a rough landing due to the time that had elapsed since he last experienced docking procedures. During his ten-month mission, believed to be one of the longest on record, the explorer catalogued information on almost 3,900 star systems, and was awarded a staggering 123 million credits from Universal Cartographics for the data he amassed. Core Dynamics, manufacturers of the Eagle Mk II, has expressed an interest in having Commander Kommodore's ship permanently berthed for posterity, and to show just how durable this little ship is.
    Commander Erimus[16]

27 MAR 3301

  • In a press release submitted to GalNet news, Commander Swift Arrow is announcing his recent return from the NGC 3199 Nebula. Swift Arrow is claiming to be the first explorer to fully map out the entire NGC 3199 Sector, and the 2nd explorer to visit the nebula (the 1st was Commander Celmascant). According to the data turned in to Universal Cartographics, all but 5 of the 750 systems in the NGC 3199 Sector have been fully scanned for the first time by Swift Arrow. The 35,000 light year journey started with an excursion to the Butterfly Nebula before heading to NGC 3199 and finally back to civilized space, a trip lasting approximately 5 weeks. Representatives from the Sirius Corporation, Patron's Principles, Chapter of Isinor, the Alioth Independents and the Sublime Order of Van Maanen's Star have expressed great interest Swift Arrow's findings. The data was sold piece meal to each organization, who made various bids ranging from 7.1 to 11.2 million credits for specific high value systems. However, the largest bidder by far was the Patron's Principles, who paid a whopping 37.3 million credits for a lion's share of the data. The total value of the exploration data was just shy of 71 million credits. Swift Arrow has issued a statement saying that he intends to release a guide to the NGC 3199 sector shortly in order to aid future explorers in further research of the area, including a short list of recommended points of interest and systems to avoid.[17]

05 MAR 3301

  • Today marks the official opening of the first Deep Space Exploration Platform being sponsored by the Explorers' Association in conjunction with Universal Cartographics. The station will initially be housed in New Yembo, a resource rich system on the outer edges of human-occupied space. Thousands of Commanders helped provide the materials necessary to build this new state of the art Ocellus. The actual construction of the station took tens of thousands of workers just three weeks to complete, which in itself is a testament to the highly organised and methodical approach that the EAUC collaboration has applied to this project. GalNet can also now exclusively reveal that after an impassioned round of debates between EA and UC committee members, the New Yembo starport has been given the name Unity in honour of the collaborative effort that made its creation possible.[18]

28 FEB 3301

  • An influx of semi-professional miners from Sol has caused a significant increase in the demand for Mineral Extractors in LAWD 26. In order to meet that demand, the Union of Toofla Progressive Party is currently offering excellent rates for all Mineral Extractors sold to Stone's Legacy. As if that wasn't generous enough, in order to attract new potential trading partners the Union of Toofla Progressive Party are also selling off large amounts of gold at bargain basement prices. Furthermore, the Union of Toofla Progressive Party has guaranteed that they will discount the price of locally sourced gold even further if they manage to secure their place as a major player in the local markets.
    The Sirius Corporation released a statement today announcing that thanks to the tireless work of hundreds of explorers, 8 new colonisation candidate systems have now been identified. Sirius scientists hope to discover many more potential sites as they continue analysing the petabytes of data they've received over the last week. Explorers interested in helping with the Sirius Corporation's colonisation project only have a few hours left to make their submissions to Universal Cartographics on Nourse Orbital in Lambda Andromedae.
    Despite heavy interference from pirates and imperial mercenaries, Core Dynamics are still looking to source a large supply of copper for use in the construction of the new Federal Capital Ship aboard Hudson Dock in BD+03 2338. It is believed that Core Dynamics have requested additional funding from the Federal Navy in order to hire private security to protect traders bringing copper into the system. At time of publication the funding had not yet been approved.[19]

23 FEB 3301

  • Inspired by Universal Cartographics' recent push to expand humanity's borders, the Sirius Corporation has today announced its plan to launch a number of new colonial outposts to the very edges of occupied space. Ana Quin, Sirius' Junior Vice President of Interstellar Logistics, had this to say about the announcement: "We're very excited to move forward with this project. It's been a long time coming, but finally the board have agreed it's time to get the ball rolling. We've got the tech and the volunteers, all we need now is to know where to send them." Sirius is currently offering sizeable monetary rewards for explorers who bring usable exploration data containing potential candidate sites to their offices aboard Nourse Orbital in Lambda Andromedae.[20]

18 FEB 3301

  • Thanks to the combined efforts of entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate sponsors, preparations for the launch of the new EAUC Exploration Ocellus are now well underway. 4871 commanders contributed over 8154177 tons of metal to the project, which in turn has allowed the EAUC coalition to outfit the station to a level far beyond their original specifications. Universal Cartographics has released a statement thanking the committee members who wisely chose the mineral rich system of HIP 101110 as the potential launch site, as well as to Zimm_Macugz for organising the delivery of an impressive 150000 tonnes of raw materials. The new station is expected to be ready for its maiden voyage to HIP 101110 now know as New Yembo within the next few days.[21]

10 FEB 3301

  • After a week of speculation, Universal Cartographics have today announced that the system chosen to receive what is planned to be the first of a new fleet of UC controlled Explorer Station's will be HIP 101110. Samuel Covington, the leader of the committee in charge of choosing HIP 101110 as the target location, had this to say about the announcement - "Hopefully this will be the first step in putting a more robust support system in place for all the brave men and women who risk their lives out there in the black. It won't be easy establishing a station so far away, but we believe the rewards far outweigh any obstacles that might crop up along the way." Partial construction of the new station will take place in the shipyards of Yembo. Anyone capable of sourcing metals are advised to get themselves over to Naddoddur Terminal - Yembo straight away, as Universal Cartographics are offering some exceptional incentives to Commanders helping with their current construction efforts.[22]}}

07 FEB 3301

  • Universal Cartographics have today announced their intention to launch a new exploration station. Plans for the development of the new station are already well underway, although the ultimate destination has yet to be chosen. Members of Universal Cartographics and the Explorers' Association were asked to submit proposals as to the most useful location for the station. The following have been identified as candidates -
    HIP 101110
    SYNUEFE FR-T B36-3
    Maia
    HIP 117585
    HIP 27215
    The board has requested that members of the Pilots Federation provide additional system data to help finalise the decision.[23]

30 OCT 3300

  • According to the experts at Wreaken Construction & Mining, all you need is a refinery, a mining laser and a little luck. Most rings in known space are depleted but for the individual there is still some money to be made. The current equipment is not configured to work with ice rings and the best yields will be found on metal rings far from populated space. Our contact at Universal Cartographics, James Urquhart, was keen to point out that data is available in any of the mapped systems, showing both the type of ring/belt and the level of reserves. Reserves have been categorised from Depleted to Pristine and belt composition comes under one of the four types.[24]

01 OCT 3300

  • The Pilot's Federation has made the Universal Cartographics Discovery Module a standard component in all Sidewinder loadouts. The Discovery Module is activated via a fire group, and works at both standard and supercruise speeds. Once charged, it emits radiation bursts and analyzes reflections and reactions to build an overview of local unknown bodies. Pilots can perform close-range scans of stars, planets and moons using standard targeting procedures. After a short delay, the on-board navigation computer will be updated with details of the body. Exploration data can be traded with Universal Cartographics in starports, and growing demand has seen upgraded discovery modules and detailed surface scanners made available.[25]

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