Bellwether was a Commonwealth Colony in the outer Eridanus constellation of the Orion Quadrant of the Galaxy.  Bellwether was highly advanced, heavily populated, and a key transit center for ships headed to the outer quadrants. Bellwether enjoyed a mild climate and had a magnificent ring system. Its capital and largest city was Hellas.

Bellwether was charted in the 27th Solar Century and colonized a century after that. As a Terra Class world with abundant resources and an agreeable climate, it quickly became a major colonial destination. Within 400 years, its population had grown to exceed a billion people, and would peak at 5 billion people by the 36th Century.

Bellwether escaped involvement in the early Crusades. The planet underwent violent purges and insurrections during the Sixth Crusade. In the Seventh Crusade, Bellwether was captured by the forces of Lady Jocasta. Though she promised that her rule would be benevolent, she carried out a number of purges against those she considered “harmful to a harmonious society.” Eventually, a third of the population perished under her rule. The Bellwether system was the site of numerous battles in the remaining Crusades, and control of the planet changed hands many time.

After the Crusades, Bellwether became an important transit point for ships traveling beyond the Orion Quadrant.  Starlock Chesapeake was constructed five light years away in the 45th Solar Century.

A major industry on Bellwether was the cultivation of human embryo to support colonization of the outer sectors of the galaxy. Embryos and fetuses were harvested from pregnant women and grown to maturation aboard colony ship. They arrived at their colony worlds as adults, with false memories implanted during the course of the journey. These memories provided them with the knowledge needed to establish new colonies, as well as artificial personal histories.

(Worlds Apart Short Story “Pioneers”)