The Spice Way

In the year 8054, a forward-thinking Initiative of Ring Dynamics, ICC, evaluating the expansion program for the stargate plexus based on the recent advent of the frameslip drive, a free-flight capable FTL technology which would allow the positioning of stargates with speeds and at distances previously unattainable, made a proposal to the Directorate named after the historic trade route.

That proposal was for a new backbone for the stargate plexus which would cover the entire galaxy, if thinly – rather than expanding by constellations, using the new frameslip drive to build braided “thread” routes out along each galactic arm, connected by initially single – but ultimately multiple – crossing spines. In this way, distant civilizations would be placed a position in which contact could be made relatively simply – each could join the transportation and communications network simply by reaching the local “thread”, and become part of the larger galactic community. New local networks of constellations and cross-links would spin out from such contacts, which would serve as seed crystals for further development.

This was that proposal:

[a map of the routes involved in the Spice Way Program]


  1. The Imperial Way and Lethíäza Trade Spine are, of course, expansions of the existing named routes you will see on previous maps of the Worlds.
  2. The “stations” to be seen on this map, with the notable exception of “Imperial Center”, marking the current center of the Worlds, were to be large regional hub space stations on a similar pattern to the Conclave Drift – providing seeds for local development, and somewhere for the network to broadcast its existence to anyone who happened to be in the vicinity.
  3. All those station names starting with “Cal”? Well, apart from that particle (meaning, approximately, “center”), they’re all named after large, bright stars in that region of space – those being obvious local landmarks around which to place your localized nexus.
  4. As may have been mentioned before, the Greater and Lesser Ancíël Whirls are the Magellanic Clouds (to which the Elsewhere Society has long since dispatched stargates). The Metan Ring is the Andromeda Galaxy, in our Earthling parlance, and the Milky Pool, of course, is Triangulum.

Notable Replies

  1. If previous comments about Humanity being further from the galaxy from the core are correct, and the map here very roughly corresponds to actual galactographic position, then that places humanity somewhere around the Outer Rim station. <scratch that I was wrong about where Sol was supposed to be relative to the Imperial Center, a more likely location for Earth is somewhere near Cal Perinte, since it’s after Transveil which I assume is named after it being right smack in the middle of the plot device keeping them from discovering us.

    Some thoughts of mine:

    1. It seems as if Ring Dynamics would need to severely reduce the tolerance of their stargate timekeeping, so as to prevent random causality loops from popping up in this vastly extended network.
    2. We can probably expect to see an overall migration of Imperial / Associated Worlds activity towards the Long Bar constellation, to take advantage of its better connectivity
    3. I can’t seem to find the Voniensa Republic on this map, has it been conveniently skipped past?
    4. Speaking of skipping, weren’t the Elsewhere Society supposed to take 200000 years to arrive at the Large Magellanic Cloud? How did they suddenly set up stargates at both of the clouds? (Unless they used the frameslip drive already). And in that case did they bother to pick up Deep Probe One?
    5. I don’t think there’s yet been a hard figure for the speed of a frameslip drive? Leaves me wondering how long this network would take to setup. And indeed, how massive would such a ship have to be to carry multiple stargates and their kernels and STILL form a frameslip bubble around the whole thing?
    6. I just realised that the Empire is no longer bound to the Local Group for all eternity as any slower-than-light-expanding civilisation would be. I can’t imagine the cultural effects of this.
  2. The Timebase is life. The Timebase is love. The Timebase is happiness.

    …we just built a set of Interstellar Interstates (Interstells?) specifically so we wouldn’t have to do that.

    It’s too small to readily fit on the map, which is, after all, of the entire galaxy. (Also, whoever drew up the map probably didn’t give a pound of butts for the Republic, not that they bothered putting any other polity boundaries on the map either .)

    They haven’t, yet. Remember, this is a proposal .

    (And taking a frameslip drive through the gate to their on-the-way gates and bolting it on to accelerate their schedule is almost certainly top of their list. That part may have already happened.)

    Cruising speed in the early era is around 200 lights. Peak performance before you run into insoluble instability problems (i.e., you have to compute the solution to the instability in under one Planck time) is somewhere a little over 4800 lights.

    …also, why would you do that? Carry the next leg’s gate to its destination. Wait for them to gate the next link-pair out to you, activate it, then repeat. There’s no need to carry multiple gates at once.

    Death Note - Just As Planned (English) - YouTube

  3. Hey, welcome aboard this crazy train!

    However, unless something awfully compelling by way of an idea turns up, there’ll never be any humans in this 'verse.

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