Near the centre of a spiral galaxy, where stars are much closer together than Earth's sun and its neighbors, a Human race developed. They were not identical to the Humans of Earth, but they were not very different either. When these Humans discovered that waves of subspace pi-tachyon particles could cross interstellar space faster than light, they realized they had found a link to the stars. A radio message that would have taken years to travel between stars could be sent with subspace communicators in months or even weeks. The Humans started broadcasting news of themselves to the neighboring stars and soon found they weren't alone.
The Humans made contact with an inventive race of insect-like creatures called Vrusk, who had developed limited space travel decades earlier. One of the Vrusks' mining colonies had already contacted another race, the shape-changing Dralasites. The two races had been exchanging information for several years. The Vrusk and Dralasites were pleased to learn of another race. They sent a wealth of scientific information to the Humans. Using this new knowledge, the industrious Humans quickly developed interstellar spaceships.
The three races met in a large are of space known as the Frontier. There they also discovered the Yazirians, a race of tall, maned humanoids. Soon, settled worlds in the Frontier became melting pots for the four races, with dazzling mixtures of architecture and alien cultures.
To supply the needs of these worlds, the first interstellar company, the Pan-Galactic Corporation, was formed. It developed interests everywhere, from scientific research to farming to spaceship building. PGC even created its own language, Pan-Galactic, which soon became the most common laguage of all races on Frontier worlds. Many large companies which started later were modeled on PGC, but none approach the size and power of the Pan-Galactic Corporation.
Then, the Sathar appeared. No one knows where they came from or why. They attacked and destroyed lonely systems on the edges of explored space, moving slowly inward. Survivor described Sathars as wormlike creatures 3 to 4 meters long. That was all that was known about them, because they would rather kill themselves than be captured. As the danger increased, the Humans, Dralasites, Vrusk and Yazirians formed the United Planetary Federation (UPF) to defend their worlds. The mysterious Sathar were forced back, but before long they returned in a more sinister form.
The Sathar had learned that they could not beat the UPF in battle. Instead, they began hiring Yazirian, Human, Dralasite and Vrusk agents to sabotage interstellar trade and interfere with local governments. The UPF created the Star Law Rangers, an interstellar police force, to track the Sathar's agents from planet to planet and fight them on their own terms. But despite the efforts of the Rangers, the sly Sathar agents have become the most dangerous threat ever to face the United Planetary Federation and the frontier corporations.
The Frontier! It is a region of densely packed stars, unexplored worlds and the mysteries of deep space. It is a place where the oldest members of the four United Races can seek adventure and fortune. Some find fortunes, in trading, mining or plunder. Some find adventure in exploration, colonization or war. Some find only sudden death.
Beings and products from dozens of worlds are gathered at Triad, Gran Quivera and the other great centers of civilization. Away from these thriving capitals are isolated and bleak worlds'where pirates skulk or courageous pioneers work to build a new life in the wilderness. It is a time of exciting growth, as more and more planets are discovered and opened up to colonization.
With the spread of civilization comes danger. Pirates inhabit many of the abandoned asteroids and barren planets. Their swift ships ambush the plump targets on major trade routes, and the pirates have no mercy for the innocent victims caught in their ruthless assaults.
The United Planetary Federation Space Fleet, created to drive out the Sathar, fights to keep order in the space lanes. Pirates and outlaws have learned to fear the deadly effectiveness of the space fleet and the Star Law Rangers. Even so, a few ruthless bands have grown so powerful that they operate as independent nations, and have even attacked UPF Space Fleet ships.
Fear comes from inside and out. Even these mercenary raiders were forgotten when the Sathar returned. Traveling in mighty vessels of war, attacking with unbelievable savagery, the worm-like creatures leave only death and destruction in their wake. Political and business differences were put aside as all four races banded together to face their common enemy.
It took the courage of a few brave heroes, handling their swift ships with skill and cunning, to defeat the Sathar armada. These elite, honored warriors reminded the Frontier colonists of swift, savage birds of prey, giving rise to the name that still honors the ideal combination of a fighter and his ship: Knight Hawk!
The discovery that allowed the members of the four races to expand beyond their home worlds and enter the Frontier was purely accidental. It occurred when spaceships were developed that could accelerate to a speed of about 12 million km per hour (1% of the speed of light). At this speed, a unique reality of space becomes apparent; in defiance of all previously accepted laws of physics, a ship will disappear from the space known as the universe and enter a region called "the Void."
Time is very distorted in the Void, and space does not seem to exist at all. If a ship decelerates slightly while in the Void, it will emerge into the "real" universe at some point far distant from where it left the universe. By carefully coordinating the ship's direction with the length of time the ship spends in the Void (usually 3 to 15 seconds), a navigator can "jump" his ship into the vicinity of another star.
Although this process of jumping through the Void allows ships to cover immense distances in very short times, jumping still takes several days. Most of this time is spent accelerating to jump speed and then decelerating at the other end.
The characters who live and work on starships call themselves "Spacers." They include members of all four races, united in an elite group that is not bound by the restrictions of a single planet or even a single star. Spacers live with danger, never knowing what peril waits for them at the end of a jump. But they live with mystery and excitement as well. It is said that once a person has tasted the thrill of crossing the Void, charting a world never seen before, or guiding a mighty starship on a trip to the stars, no tiny bit of planet will ever again be called his home.
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