The Structure Of The Fringes
The fringpaths follow a very uniform structure:
- A platform with eight portals that each lead to a location on the same world. These are called Prime platforms. There are two exits at opposite ends of the platform. The “north” exit leads to:
- A platform with eight portals, each of which leads to a different world or pocket universe. These are called Alternate Platforms. There are four exits arranged equilaterally. The “south” exit leads to the Prime Platform. The “East” and “West” exits lead to other Alternate Platforms. The “North” exit leads to:
- A platform with eight portals, each of which leads to a different world in the star system of the world connected to the Prime platform. This is called the System platform. There are four exits. The “south” exit connects back to the Alternate platform. The “East” and “West” exits connect to System platforms associated with other Prime worlds. The “North” exit connects to:
- A platform with eight portals, each of which leads to a world orbiting a star other than Sol. This is known as the Star Platform. It is strongly believed, but not easily confirmed, that these are stars in the same universe as the world of the Prime platform. There are four exits. The south exit leads back to the System platform; the “East” and “West” exits lead to Star platforms for other Prime worlds. The “North” exit leads to a new Prime platform, and the process continues, evidently forever.
At this point, it is believed that all of the “Prime” worlds are, somehow, a variant of Earth, though some are so variant it’s hard to see the relationship. Likewise, the non-pocket worlds linked to from the Alternate platform are also, seemingly, Earth-analogues, though this is not always easily confirmed. The reason for this is unknown, since it’s obvious, from the Star platforms, that the Tehrmelern could cross space as well as reality with their network. There may be underlying laws of parachronic physics that dictated the structure of the paths. It’s also not clear why some alternate worlds merit Prime, System, and Star platforms, while others having a single gate on the Alternate platform; whether this is due to unknown laws of physics or unknown motives of the builders is simply one more unknown.
Most exploration is taking place along what’s being called “Mainline”, the east-west axis of platforms leading away from Core Earth, and the corresponding Alternate platforms. The System and Star platforms generally lead to places which are not easily inhabitable and hauling life support gear that far, mostly to examine lifeless rocks, is considered a poor use of very scarce resources. As new “Mainline” platforms get farther away, there’s more impetus to look at the “North” and “South” lines, especially now that there’s reason to believe other worlds are exploring the Fringes; staking out “territory” might become an important issue.
The Platform Guide
This is an incomplete guide to the platforms and what’s on them. Platforms are coded as follows, assuming the Core Earth platform is 0,0, and that directions are based on standing with one’s back to the pathway that’s adjacent to the Antarctic door, and the direction one subsequently faces is called “North”.
The first coordinate, usually called X, measures the count East or West from Core Earth, so heading to the right from the Core platform is “East”, and thus, +1, while heading left is “West” and thus, -1.
The second coordinate, usually called Y, measures the count North or South, keeping in mind that the order is always, Prime, Alternate, System, Star, Prime, Alternate, System, Star, and so on, back and forth to infinity. The first Alternate platform to the “North” is +1, and the Star platform to the South is -1, and so on.
The third coordinate, usually called Z, is optional; it refers to a specific gate on the specified platform. If left out, whatever’s being discussed applies either to the platform itself or to all gates on the platform. It’s rare to see the third coordinate left out except when discussing a Prime world.
Gates are number 1-8, and gate 1 is always the gate to the right of the south portal.
|0||0||3||Sea of Japan|
|+1||0||4||Denver Gate to Pacific Dragon|