Sanctuary World

A Sanctuary World is a legal designation of a planet managed by an alien population and/or populated by an alien ecology, rather than the governments and species of humanity. While each of the 1397 sanctuary worlds are associated with a particular species or ecology, not all of the galaxy's 2430 recognized species have a sanctuary - some species have more than one reservation, some share reservations, and others have none. In addition, because of past system allotments, leading to sales to humans, some sanctuaries are severely fragmented. The geography of these planets are held by separate enclaves or individuals, and in some cases humanity as well. This jumble of private and public real estate creates significant administrative and political difficulties.

Sanctuary worlds consist of planets that were first reserved by treaty or "granted" from what humanity termed "the public domain", and are notable for typically being barren or ugly worlds, with a select few - roughly 3.65% - holding such a diversity of flora and fauna as Old Earth once did. Due to this, they have gained a reputation for being inhospitable places where no human would want to land; this furthers the sanctity that such worlds provide for their host species and ecologies. Sanctuaries are distributed unevenly throughout the galaxy; the majority are in the outer edges of the Milky Way's spiral arms, earning them the colloquial term "The Outer Worlds", although this blanket term is not only reserved for sanctuary worlds.

Because sentient species possess special sovereignty, even though it is limited, laws on sanctuary worlds vary from the surrounding area and from each other. These laws can permit legalized gambling or prostitution on sanctuary worlds, for example, which can attract human tourists. Due to how poor any form of interplanetary commerce tends to be for these outer planets, and how difficult it often is to become self-sustainable, sanctuaries often change their laws out of desperation, relying on tourists to provide money to pay for imports.

The name "Sanctuary" comes from the segregation that was formed after humanity first discovered space travel and began the conquest of the galaxy. While the greater majority of sentient species were peaceful, humanity became known among them for their more warlike attributes; out of humanity's paranoid fear that the other species of the galaxy would try to wipe them out, they developed their weapon technology far past anything the other species of the galaxy could defend against. This paranoid fear continued long afterwards in the form of specism, with many crimes being committed by civilians or militaries against native populations in the name of "protecting humanity". The early peace treaties (often signed under duress) in which alien species surrendered systems of stars to Old Earth also designated planets which the species, as sovereigns, would not be attacked or harmed by humankind and could live in peace. Thus, they became known as Sanctuary Worlds. The term remained in use even after the galactic governments began to forcibly relocate species to more dangerous Outer World planets to which they had no historical connection.

A majority of aliens live somewhere other than sanctuaries, often on heavily populated Inner World planets such as New Earth. There are currently roughly 30 billion aliens living in the inner worlds as of the last census, with roughly 75 billion still residing in sanctuaries. As time goes on, these numbers have shifted such that more aliens are confining themselves to their sanctuary worlds, and fewer remain in the inner worlds than ever have in the past. Studies suggest that this change may be due to further segregation and specism, though no hard data has been provided.