Appendix A: The Charted Worlds
This is not a map of the galaxy. Much of the galaxy has been mapped, but since intersystem travel is solely by wormhole Jumps, maps are essentially pointless. Jump navigators use charts to tell them how to get from point A to point B -- ideally, without ending up lost in the darkness, or burning up in the heart of a star. That rarely happens, though; the charted Jump points are almost entirely reliable. We assume they were constructed, since wormholes so often emerge in systems with habitable worlds -- far more often than mere chance should allow. But so far, none of the known species have discovered any concrete traces of the conjectured Builders.
There are currently one hundred and seventy-three Charted Worlds. A few notes on ones significant to this text:
Pyroxina Major (where the University of All Worlds is located) is (in some sense) centrally located, with dozens of Jump point connections outward. Although it is also fairly far from the Core human worlds, several Jump points away from Old Earth. Pyroxina Major is the name given it by Old Earth; the locals prefer to call it Kriti, a very old Sanskrit word meaning Creation.
Old Earth and its six daughter planets form EarthCore; one daughter is Solvida, where the Kriti settlers originated. (They fled, citing religious persecution.)
The five Affiliated Worlds are primarily human as well, although all are welcome; they were founded by a corporate consortium, and are governed by the parent corporations, rather than by a civil government.
Deneb IV (no relation to the star) is human-settled and humod-slave-owning; it lies on the Edge, a world with only one known Jump point of access, and connects to Sarine, a Varisian Understory planet.
Varisia is home to a feline species; its nine daughter worlds form The Canopy and twenty-six granddaughter worlds form the Understory. These are only loose genetic affiliations, though; each Varisian-settled world is politically independent of the others. They tend to be sparsely-settled as well.
The Saltair Expanse is a long stretch of barren space -- yet at each end lie Jump points, and so ships do take the time for a long sub-light journey between the points. It's peaceful there.
I am saving the following to use for possible groupings for future books in this universe. :-) Because they are awesome.