Uncle Jimbo's Bug Huntin' Range
They left it out in the Oort before we crawled from the sea.
The gate of Paradise.
Or the mouth of Hell.
The Nemesis Gate, an alien artifact beyond the orbit of Neptune, allows travel to other solar systems hundreds of light years apart. Using the Gate, humans have colonised five other solar systems and made contact with three other intelligent species - the tísa, weren and sesheyans.
The Nemesis Gate is a cylinder of superdense matter, 100km in length and with a mass three-quarters the size of Jupiter. When activated by a Gate Key transmitter, this mass spins up from near-rest to 4 revolutions per minute. This creates a gate field at each end of the object. One end of the Gate has four immaterial beacons, known as the Stations, each a different shape and colour. Spaceships can travel between the Stations in 24 paths known as Iterations before accelerating directly towards the end of the cylinder. Depending on the path taken, the ship passes instantly to one of 24 destinations. The furthest known Gate passage (Earth to Virgin) covers 227 light years.
Other gates are smaller, with one to three Stations (one, two or six Iterations). The Eden Gate has five Stations, allowing in theory 120 Iterations.
At least two of the 24 Iterations at Sol lead only to Darkness. Ships passing through the 12th and 20th Iterations return months or years later, their crews gruesomely slaughtered or homicidally insane. Nothing is known about the physical nature of the places beyond. In navigation manuals, known Dark Iterations are said to be "malfunctioning".
After the Lorelei Incident and Angel Incursion, the UN retains absolute and uncompromising control over the Gate. Any ship travelling in either direction which does not identify itself, deviates from its flight plan, or approaches the far end of the Gate is destroyed by the Baseís graser cannon one minute after the warning message is transmitted.
Ships intending to enter the Gate must stand off in high orbit until they receive clearance. Clearance is not granted for travel to interdicted systems, except under a UN Special Resolution. Ships arriving at Sol are directed to a holding orbit for customs, health inspection and exorcism.
Nemesis 1: Gehenna - Claimed by Sony Ford Microsoft. Arachne Station.
Nemesis 2: Ash - Claimed by Muhammadiyah. Ash Station.
Nemesis 3: Tau Ceti - Interdicted by UN. Sesheyan population on Tau Ceti
II. Major artifact (Tau Ceti Object). UN and Virgin Space study teams
supported by Tau Ceti Gate Station.
Nemesis 4: Virgin - Claimed by Virgin Space. Binary system. Virgin II:
Habitable, surface settlements.
Nemesis 5: Eden - Interdicted by UN. Major artifact (Tower of Angels).
Nemesis 6: Oasis - Claimed by Coca-Cola Lockheed. Weren population on
Kurg/Oasis V. Oasis III habitable, surface settlements.
Nemesis 7: Ketann - Joint development by UN and Tísa Fifth Line.
Ketann-Ozen (planet IV): Habitable, human/tísa surface settlements. Native
tall forest with large reptiloid animals. Ketann-Sa (planet III):
Habitable, sesheyan population, separate human and tísa surface
settlements. Native scrub forest with medium-small amphibian animals.
Nemesis 12 and 20: Malfunctioning.
All other Nemesis Iterations: Unexplored. Interdicted by UN General Resolution.