don’t go there
it’s reaper space.
Everyone warns you when you move through the ports and bases and outposts. It’s the big zone where ships don’t travel; trade routes route around it; no corporate rig will travel into Reaper space at all. Not any of the big ones, at least, not one of the superheavies. Reaper space is uninsured space. Nobody’s dragging you back out of that.
You haven’t seen a Reaper, of course. Nobdoy has, or if they have, they don’t know it. Nobody’s that sure about the way the Reapers look, though there are a few of their artifacts. You’ve seen one – hanging once in the foyer of a citadel, dangled from the roof, this immense machine that looked like a tank, with an entire assortment of blades on the front and an enormous engine out the back, seemingly made to do nothing but plow forwards; the blades were attached to a wheel, which was itself screwthreaded – so each blade flicked and clacked and dug into the air when they ran the machine –
Which they did, for a little bit.
For demonstration purposes.
Watching it turn an entire shuttlecraft into pieces with all that sound, the shredding and breaking.
It’s not like you need to worry about Reaper space. Reaper space has barely any planets in it, and there’s only one outpost out near the dead zone that serves as a border to Reaper space. Maybe a few planets, sure, probably with some cultures on them that are probably not spacefaring, or if they spacefare it’s to do minor, small trades – the trades of a culture that doesn’t have an empire or corp yet – and when the talk of reapers happens they just shut down their satellites and pretend nobody’s home.
There are pirates, of course.
After all, uninsured space is unpatrolled space.
Gotta be careful out there. It’s Reaper space, but it’s full of scum and villains too.
And that’s what you know about Reaper space.
Before you went there.
Before somehow, through some strange happenstance, perhaps a crashed ship or a helpless rescue or a terrified diplomat, you found yourself on the planet of the Reapers.
The planet of lush, green, endlessly rolling garden of clear sparkling water and blue skies and green trees and brown roots and the warm, summer air and the cool autumns and the white winters that let nature relax, restore, and start the cycle anew, knowing that each winter was just another turning of the great wheel, the fruit that hung freely for picking and the mushrooms and vegetables and bounty that was everywhere.
And that was what you knew before you met Reapers, the agricultural robots, that had been made to heal a planet in crisis, after an apocalypse that turned into a war that turned into the death of a culture and the slow, steady healing of the world by the robot servants they left behind.
It was what you knew before the Reapers filled your hold with food, fresh fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, flax and canvas and onions and beer and did so because if you can, you give.
Strange the corps warn you away.