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Empty Hexes...

Spinward Scout

SOC-14 5K
Hi Everybody!

Has anyone heard of in canon having a starport or other things in an empty hex? I mean a hex that doesn't have a star system? I would think that someone that created a highport style starport in the middle of an empty hex and was able to keep it stocked with fuel and supplies would make a killing if it was in between two systems. Say System 1 is in 0807 the empty hex in 0808 and System 2 is in 0809. They just got ALL of the Jump-1 customers that want to go from 0807 to 0809. And to be honest, I think this would something logical that any kind of trade guild would want to see set up. Just a thought.


I don't know about a killing, considering they'd have to import EVERYTHING to sustain themselves. Pretty high overhead.
Could work though.

The only problem that comes to mind:
An empty hex wouldn't have any gravity wells/ stellar bodies to fix on for Astrogation/Jump (depending on YTU rules for Jump Drive requirements).

Originally posted by Despasian Cruesa:
The only problem that comes to mind:
An empty hex wouldn't have any gravity wells/ stellar bodies to fix on for Astrogation/Jump (depending on YTU rules for Jump Drive requirements).
I wrote up some rules for Brown Dwarfs (most would be found in empty hexes) for the August 19th 2003 issue of JTAS, and I'm working on another article for JTAS to cover other types of body that one might find in an empty hex.

But realistically speaking, empty hexes aren't remotely empty - the trick to finding the objects they contain is to be able to detect comparatively tiny planets that aren't emitting much radiation from several parsecs away.
The trick that was bantered around the TML some years back was to explode atomic bombs (or something like that) in the hex and start recording all of the signals that bounce back.
I LIKE this idea. Think of what fun you could have by running an Aslan refueling and outfitting station in the Great Rift. That could put a pretty twist in some big kitty's knickers, I'd think.
There're prolly quite a few corporate bodies that wouldn't mind chipping a bit in to help subsidize the operation, seeing as it's helping with the discovery of new and exploitable territories.
It also gives us a hella spooky setting, too. Imagine thusly....

Your ship enters normal space, and all appears normal. There is a transponder signal from Gentry Station on-line, but you start to become uneasy when no one responds from Traffic Control.
Your unease is heightened as you creep nearer to the station, and realize its docking slips are fairly full...but no one is talking.
No one at all.
It appears that the personell and visitors to Gentry Station have all just...disappeared...

(chuckles evilly, gets out graph paper, practices arching eyebrows and causing eyes to glitter in a disturbing way...)
I think there's an adventure that has you plotting a course to an empty hex, but I can't remember which one. I could be wrong. I didn't know if seting up a station like that was possible or feasable. But I do think it's logical.


In Mega Traveller, in "The Rebellion Sourcebook" it states that the Imperial Navy hsa a Top Secret Refueling Point in the Rift in Corridor Sector to cut transit time for Couriers to the Spinward Marches. There were also mention of it in Challange Magazine of a Deep Space refuelling point somewhere off "Margaret's Domain" but I can't remember when or exactly where it was. (Glimmer Drift seems to ring a bell.) There is nothing prohibiting it.

Though without knowing where it is, precisely, it would be a bitch to find. SInce a hex is 3.26 Light Years across it would be over three years to detect it from an adjacent hex. If it was there for more than three years and stationary you could probably find it but it would still be difficult.

What are you going to use for fuel storage? Have Ice meteoroids delivered in bulk?

Why would anyone go there? You can't take cargo or passengers there and there won't be much to ship out of there. For a Naval Base, Naval secret fuel depot, pirate base, I can see it. Commercial? I don't see the economic feasability of it.
Then there are the Calibration Points in TNE's Regency Sourcebook, which are essentially deep space fuel depots.
the Darriens have built an entire naval complex on a comet in a deep space hex. It houses an entire naval base, offices hospitals stores etc. They use it to house the special arm. I think it is mentioned in the regency sourcebook and may be alien module 8.

Pardon, my lords, If I quote myself from another forum... but perhaps one of my homeworld's research projects has a bearing in this. The following Exerpt is from a post I made on CT Starships, a Yahoo group. Its intent was originally misconstrued as establishing a stable "Jump Gate" ... the following is the clarification of the topic...

"What about this...

A station is built by a government in a rift, using elements of
modular technology and intense automation. There are a number of
ships assigned to support the station, who fuel up at the nearest
practical Gas Giant, and bring fuel to the Station in a cyclic
manner. One ship brings fuel for the next and so on, in a continual
pattern. Also, in addition to the usual Berthing fees, etc., Ships
that would use the station would be required to bring as much fuel
they can carry to add to the station's Reserves.

This system has been in effect on a smaller scale in my home system,
Sidur Haski (B786354E ,Hex 1334, Laeth/Gushemege), as we lack Gas
Giants. We have since struck up a trade agreement with neighboring
Vueegmala, bringing the six people that live there the good life,
while we enjoy the Hydrogen and other resources. It works out well,
even though we often have to hand over a cut to the Subsector Capital..."

We have been looking into fiding a serviceable bridge between Gushemege and the Trojan Reach Sector, by way of reft, for some time... currently, only the feasability study is underway, though there has been a diplomatic initiative of limited effectiveness...
I've always used deep space jumps IMTU, whether or not I was using the OTU or not. I just like the idea of ships going out into the dark between the systems. In my non OTU universe, deep space jumps aren't needed as much, since I use a much different jump fuel ratio than the OTU (1% of the hull per jump number, rather than 10%), but they are still done. You don't HAVE to plot a jump to intersect a sufficiently large gravity well, it's just an easier calc than plotting for empty space.

As always, YMMV
John Hamill
Hello Folks,
Personally, I see *no* difference between a deep space station and a station that is built at a world without any gas giants and without any water. Fuel has to be shipped in from somewhere. Also, for worlds where a fueling tanker brings in fuel from a gas giant that is VERY far away might use JUMP drives to get its cargo to an in-system port faster instead of using just manuever drives to get there. Such a ship jumping in-system to arrive faster might be *just* as expensive shipping its product of fuel as one that jumped in from a system that was 1 parsec away.

All things considered, the idea that a space port has to be more expensive in deep space than one in system bugs me just a little.

Take a planetoid - install a Jump 1 drive in it. Fill it with ONLY the things you need to JUMP and to run a starport with. Then, jump it to your destination. If needed? Use a tanker ship to put it TWO parsecs away from the place you're starting out at.

Once planetoid is where you want it - remove the jump drives and viola - instant space station *with* fuel tankage stores.

One last comment on this topic (I might decide to do an analysis of a Deep space space station using GURPS STARPORTS and rule set for my webpage):

What makes a "shortcut" space station economically feasible or not is how much it costs to travel the long way. If a station charges TWICE what a normal station charges in the way of berthing costs and fuel costs - a merchantman might STILL think it is worth his money to use it *if* the cost is close to what he'd have to pay taking the long route. Example: you have either a 6 parsec "outer" route or a 4 parsec short cut route. Using J2 as an example, taking the shortcut, the merchant jumps to deep space and once more to his destination. Assuming he pays TWICE for services and fees at the Deep Space Station (DSS for short) over what he'd pay at a normal star port, he is STILL ahead of the game. Why?

Lets assume the following:
Stars at 0607, 0605, 0404, and 0205. Nice evenly space J2 stars. A J2 ship needs to make 3 jumps to get from 0607 to 0205. If it could Jump from 0607 to o406 (a Deep Space Station or DSS for short), it would only have to make two jumps.

Lets assume as well, that it costs X credits for Each of the "normal" jumps (ie from star to star). Total expense is 3X for three jumps. If the J2 ship were however, to jump to DSS in 0406 *and* they charged TWICE what is the going rate, the merchant still ends up paying 3X to Jump to 0205 via the route of 0406 and then to 0205. The "savings" is in time. Two weeks are cut off from the journey. In a year's time, a J2 ship could make the "circuit" a total of almost 17 times (includes 2 weeks down time for maintenance). A ship that traverses space via the DDS - travels 25 times. This alone justifies having a DDS.
Hi Hal ! Hi COTI !

The last days I spent quite a while reading newly aquired stuff about astrophysics and world building and deep space objects...
Here there were quite a few paragraphs about the space "in between" the (visible) stars and the theory that these places are not empty at all.
Instead, there might be quite a concentration of chaotically organized cold matter.
This could make it very unpleasant/unsafe out there.
Just think of the Oort cloud located at a distance of about 50000 AU from the sun with an estimated extent of 300000 AU (206265 AUs represent one parsec).

So there might be similar object collections out there between the stars, maybe cut of from the central star or whatever....

Taking this one possible argument against the common use of deep space stations might not be, that there is nothing in between, but that there IS too much stuff out there...

Well, just one thought at a sunday evening....


Here there were quite a few paragraphs about the space "in between" the (visible) stars and the theory that these places are not empty at all.
Instead, there might be quite a concentration of chaotically organized cold matter.
that light can easily shine through without distortion?

(sodden thought) maybe it's all this "dark matter" that causes red-shifting ....
Lord Hal, planetoid is nice concept. Would be very nice for an espionage center... I'll fund some studies!

The real economy of such a station is not having to go the long way, it would be a long term venture, one to contribute to the development of the planets opened up to trade by the station. Even running at prices comparable to standard starport prices, one could stand to make a pretty sweet living off of such an thing.

As long as it had rock solid support ships at work from both sides to bring a steady flow of fuel to the station, it should work. The study we've been doing involves the station at a jump-3 point, and a jump-4 point. I suppose one could even do a string of jump-2 stations and really open it up. One could then cross the claw in a scout/courier. hmmm... One could probably do well as a bar owner or retauranteur on the stations well. Then of course there are the less legal arts to pursue...

Originally posted by TheEngineer:
Hi Hal ! Hi COTI !

Here there were quite a few paragraphs about the space "in between" the (visible) stars and the theory that these places are not empty at all.
Instead, there might be quite a concentration of chaotically organized cold matter.
Hi Mert,

The ramifications of your comment above is rather nasty for those who require a "Mass" to exit jump space. It is also nasty for the GURPS TRAVELLER universe in that it places a player at the total mercy of the GM. Not unlike hyperspace and hyperspace shadow generating problems from STAR WARS, it would appear that the Powers that be have included the issue of objects between point A and point B *can* precipitate a ship out of jump space unexpectedly.
This is one major bone of contention I have with the GURPS TRAVELLER rule set for jump space that I studiously ignore
Otherwise, a nasty GM is perfectly entitled to say "Well, you thought space was relatively empty didn't you. You were WRONG! WRONG! BOY! How could you think that getting from one system to another without the debris in the space between stars getting in the way. Some chumps will believe anything" Of course, this means that you now have a ship that is potentially light years from its intended target, and at the very least, many thousands of AU's distant from a nearby star. NOT good.

No biggie I guess. The GAME RULES POLICE (GRP for short) generally leave me alone. I leave a bowl of milk out for them and they leave me alone (or is that brownies? I never could remember which ;) )
If an object the size of jupiter existed at the center of an empty hex, bumping into it's 100D limit would be like bumping into an object 20ft in diameter crossing the earth, you would either have to know it was there, or Forest Gump into it.
That would make good adventure fodder though
Hi Hal,

regarding the space debris....

I would not expect a signaficant bunch of large compact masses out there which will throw you out of jump space....there might a probability for that to happen, but thats the referees decision.
Its mass density even is not big enough to distort light passing through in a measureable way.

The objects I would consider to be NASTY in outer space are high velocity particles or even larger chunks (maybe up to a few kg) of material, which might hurt space constructions badly and make movement risky.

So, these surroundings will not interfere with normal jump procedures...
, except if you need a large mass to get out, which might be of course quite difficult in an are far far away from large aggregation centers.

But nevertheless I like the idea of a deep space site or an unbound planetary body out there. A very nice setting for a dark and depressive adventure...


I think what gets to me the most is the fact that in the current set up for the Imperium, the propogation rates for information and high speed travel for specific individuals ignores the ingenuity of human kind. Build a small J6 craft and use Auxilary craft to help it jump. A Jump 3 LARGE hull plus the small J6 craft can jump together to a preplanned Deep space location. Refill the smaller J6 craft, and get an average of J9 for two jumps. The fuel tankage in the Aux tanker craft is enough for two Jump 3's for itself plus 1 J-3 tankage for the J6 craft. Would cut a LOT of time off when it has to jump a 9 parsec "rift".