The Geminorum Cluster
A stellar nursery dotted with massive hab stations
From a distance, Heaven’s Forge would look like a work of art painted in the sky by some transcendant artist whose medium was the very fires of creation. It would seem to be a smear of paint on the canvas of space; a cloud of reds, yellows, and blues spanning a light year or two of the night sky, illuminated by the pale glow of the three infant stars turning through it in a lazy, thousand-year orbit around one another.
No one really knows how long ago the first foundry was built in Heaven’s Forge. No one knows why the protostars at the heart of the Cloud emit as much mass as their gravity attracts, or why they never became stars. Every culture that conquers the system, or just discovers it after the last inhabitants’ decline, has built a science station or military outpost at a slipknot. Eventually, they would discover what the cloud was made of.
It’s mostly made of hydrogen, of course, but also a few parts per million of just about every important metal known to man. It wouldn’t be long before they would bring in more ships and build more space stations to collect that material, or to mine the asteroids that have formed over the Cloud’s strangely long lifetime. Perhaps those builders and miners would die off, or migrate away, or transcend to another existence. Regardless of the reason why they left, they couldn’t or didn’t need to take their stations with them when they did so.
And so it is that over the centuries – perhaps millennia – since the Diaspora, a habitat of sorts has gathered. It’s said that there is enough materials here to support a spacefaring society indefinately, and as long as humans have need of them, there will be humans living out their lives harvesting them, and turning them into the vessels that carry humanity out among the stars.
Currently, the civilization that has taken root in Heaven’s Forge is a sort of anarchocapitalist collective. Numerous corporations of varying size control the hab stations, foundries, and planetoids throughout the system, each working with one another to build the things essential to life in the Cloud.
Though planet-side civilizations in the cluster tend to decry the living conditions aboard the hab stations, most of the real problems stem from overcrowding. The hab stations can only hold so many people, and there are always more coming. Aside from the Forge’s natural birth rate, immigration is surprisingly high. For citizens of Vesta, Hell, or Pranashakti, the promise of guaranteed work is enough for many families to trade in their houses for berths in a barracks-complex on a hab station. Pressured by the inherent dangers of housing a population of millions in space habitats, most of the greater abuses of a workforce by these corporations are impractical; though space and privacy are luxuries for the wealthy, most habs are clean and food shortages are rare.
Heaven’s Forge contains three T-Tauri stars, each between a one and two solar masses. They glow with the beginnings of solar activity. Contemporary science holds that in a few million years, the stars will have completely accreted the cloud, thereby gaining enough mass to start fusing hydrogen and becoming true stars. Until then, they’re relatively dim in the visible spectrum, emitting most of their energy in the radio and x-ray spectrum.
There are no planets in Heaven’s Forge, but there are several foundry stations and small planetoids of interest.
Food for ships!
Humans crammed everywhere
Constant radio interference