M81, or Messier 81 and sometimes Bode's Galaxy, is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light years away from the Milky Way.
A spiral galaxy within a small cluster of many, smaller satellite galaxies at only a distance of 12 million light years, Messier 81 was discovered by ancient human astronomer Johann Elert Bode on New Year's Eve of 1774. Because Elert Bode was its discoverer, the galaxy is sometimes referred to as Bode's Galaxy.
It is found in the constellation of Ursa Major as viewed from planet Earth. It is part of the M81 Group, a small cluster of about 34 galaxies gravitationally bound together. It has been studied by amateur astronomers for millennia until the first deca-millennium began.
Within the last ten million years, the galaxy was inhabited by the Gorvat Empire, which surprisingly hadn't been discovered until only ten thousand years ago. The Empire and the human race have been at war twice since their first encounter, and a third war has been feared for centuries.