Okean Bubble

Too many stars...

Though it is common to think of globular clusters as oddities relegated to the edge of the galaxy, some of them also dwell in the central bulge of the Milky Way. The Okean cluster is suspended above the Far 3kpc galactic arm, deep inside the galaxy. Much like the eponymous Okean planet, the cluster once flourished with life as dozens of civilisations shared its ten million stars that were easily reachable with sublight ships. As soon as the cluster was discovered by deep space explorers the presence of ancient ruins soon prompted the establishment of an outpost which quickly turned into a small constellation of stations centred around the Okean planet. The waterworld and the region are controlled by an Earth-bound superpower, Laniakea.

Though the hopes of finding a surviving civilisation still exist, the Okean cluster is currently filled with nothing but ruins, hinting at the slow dereliction of whatever interstellar empires existed there in times past. The only surviving remnant of the Okean cluster civilisations is an elusive underwater species. The Vriij, as they call themselves, have willingly forgotten most of their history. Whatever the Vriij were and whatever they did, they prefer to ignore it. It is assumed they played an instrumental role in the demise of the cluster.

The bubble of settled space in Okean only encompasses a very small fraction of the cluster. Even with geometry drives, surveying ten million stars takes a lot of time and the self-replicating probes sent in the cluster have so far only explored an estimated 5% of the area. It will take time and effort to understand, and perhaps reclaim, the troubled history of the Okean region.

It is to be noted that the cluster itself was not deemed a favourable area for settlement by human communes, as the low metallicity and abundance of unstable red dwarfs makes the region unsuitable for long-term human colonization. 

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