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The Brevis Cluster, when it was originally catalogued, was thoroughly uninteresting aside from being somewhat older than an open cluster should be. It was located near the edge of the territory of the Marakat Interstellar Union, and was just beginning to be colonized by it. The planet of Tarwin had recently begun being terraformed, when something happened.

The cluster abruptly vanished in 88,430 CE. Contact was lost with the colonies at Tarwin and Sheyas at this time, although ships traveling through the area sometimes detect "ghost transmissions" emanating from their original locations as well as the locations of other habitable zone planets which were uncolonized at the time of the Vanishing.

Scientists have no idea how this occurred, although some as-yet unproven hypotheses have been put forward. The most popular of these is the Alternate Plane hypothesis, which postulates that the cluster was somehow shunted into an alternate plane, causing the Vanishing.

Properties

The Brevis Cluster originally had roughly 10,000 stars packed in a sphere roughly 300 light-years across. It was a thoroughly uninteresting open star cluster, aside from its abnormally large size. It did however contain a larger number of habitable planets.

There was a region surrounding the gravitational center of the cluster with a radius of roughly 40 AU beyond which any craft was ripped apart by phantom forces. No one has any idea why this occurred, but telescopes aimed at the center of this region detected some sort of space station.

At the time of the vanishing, only two planets in the cluster were fully colonized and self-sufficient. Tarwin and Sheyas were located in adjacent systems before the Vanishing and were considered to be more prosperous than most new colonies due to the vast stores of resources found in their systems.

Possible Explanations for the Vanishing

Due to the bizarre and anomalous nature of this event, scientists have put forward many hypotheses to explain the disappearance. None of these have been proven, however.

Alternate Plane

This hypothesis has the most (albeit circumstantial) evidence behind it. It still sounds quite far-fetched to most, as it postulates that the station sighted in the aforementioned zone of avoidance somehow shunted the entire star cluster into an alternate plane loosely connected to the Local Universe.

This would also explain the ghost transmissions detected by spacecraft passing through the region, as modern models of physics postulate that some wavelengths of light can somehow escape alternate planes back into the main universe.

Palioxis Starfield

This one is less of a hypothesis and more of a conspiracy theory. This hypothesis states that somehow the entire cluster was shunted to the Palioxis Starfield. This hypothesis has been disproven by the fact that such a large passage through a rift would have been blatantly obvious to anyone with eyes, because said eyes would no longer function. However, those who still believe in it simply say that the government is covering it up or something.

Colonies & Areas of Interest

Before its vanishing, there were several key locations within the Brevis Cluster.

Tarwin, Sheyas, and Surrounding Colonies

At the time of the Vanishing, there were roughly 20 fledgeling colonies spread throughout the cluster. Two of these, Tarwin and Sheyas, were developed enough to become fully self-sufficient if the need arised. The need would arise much quicker than the inhabitants of the two planets expected, as the cluster was completely cut off from the wider universe soon after they completed colonization.

They probably quickly began helping the other worlds of the Brevis Cluster become self-sufficient as well, but thousands would have starved before they finished this project. Presumably, barring unforseen catastrophe, the colonies have probably united into a nation and conquered most of the cluster by the present day.

Zone of Avoidance

The Zone of Avoidance is a region of space surrounding the gravitational center of the cluster roughly 30 AU in radius. Positioned at the dead center of the Zone is a large station with an unknown mechanism making up most of its structure. Hypotheses abound about what this station was, but it was probably placed there by the Providence Union.

It was not possible to enter the Zone of Avoidance, as any spacecraft entering it was ripped to pieces by phantom forces. These forces were probably generated by the station, as after the vanishing of the cluster, it became possible to enter the zone.

Weir System

The Weir System was the site of a small K1.5 civilization which the colony at Tarwin made contact with shortly before the vanishing. At face value, the Weir System was relatively boring, having two orange dwarfs at roughly 500 AU apart, each with a small set of planets.

Upon the second planet of the larger star, Inkala, there was a powerful species which ruled the majority of their star system. Inkala was heavily populated and appeared to have the beginnings of a K2 and beyond.

However, after the Vanishing, no one has any idea what happened to the Inkalan civilization. Most believe that it eventually unified with the colonies at Tarwin and Sheyas or founded its own independent nation.

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