Personal travel and other traffic in the Federation

by Jackie Speel

Vila says in 'Stardrive' that all leisure transport has been abolished in the Federation, but this does not appear to be the case during the time the Liberator and the Scorpio groups are in operation. Nobody contradicts Vila's statement about the banning of leisure traffic - or surprised to come across it in operation.

Vila does not say why the Space Rats were in the penal colony with him - but 'acquiring means of fast transport by non-legitimate reasons' would be a possibility, whatever the status of leisure travel. And, given what is said about them, the Space Rats probably preferred appropriating their transport to acquiring it legitimately. The necessity and the banning of leisure travel may have long gone - but the Space Rats still continued their illegal acquisitions, and had moved into acquiring designers (such as the ill-fated Dr Plaxton).

How is the apparent anomaly explained? Or is there one at all?

The simplest answer is that 'leisure travel' (at least on the extra-planetary level) was banned for 'a while' and then restored piecemeal.

There is actual or implied evidence of a considerable amount of 'business and goods traffic.' To list a few examples: the Space Princess as 'banana boat', the mention of Palmero as the Federation's main producer of tropical fruit ('Star One'), and the Ortega is probably normally a cargo ship for Destiny's agricultural produce. The base XK-72 would be in regular contact with its sponsors, the freighter going to Destiny. Dorian as salvage operator (which claim is probably partially true - he is also collecting equipment for his private research) would probably move at times in the (semi-) legitimate field. Less legitimate are the Amagons - the Liberator group are not surprised to encounter an 'unofficial ship in distress.'

Traffic outside the legitimate sphere is also evident - although apart from the Amagons, those who would come under this heading would have suitable cover stories: however big space is they would occasionally come into contact with officialdom. There are the slave traders of 'Assassain' - and Piri/Cancer herself, and the two Dels - Grant and Tarrant - both of whom would be in legal trouble if they operated 'now.' And at least some of the rebels would have to operate within the legitimate sphere at times.

Leisure traffic also appears to be extensive. The Space Princess (the Federation-era equivalent of the proverbial banana boat), the Teal Star and, probably, the Bari are leisure craft. Space City and Freedom City could hardly operate without an extensive leisure traffic system. The Teal Vandor Convention appears to generate some traffic when the gladiatorial conflicts are arranged. In general the business of 'travel for pleasure' appears to be operating fairly readily (especially if you can pay for it).

So Vila's explanation refers to a historical situation. The most logical time for the banning of leisure travel is to assume Travis in 'Pressure Point' was speaking the truth about the move of the computers away from Central Control some thirty years before. (Lurena and the others being part of the second generation of Star One minders, the first group having reached retirement age or died). Star One has some responsibility for flight control - probably at the interstellar level, with bodies such as 'Keldon Control ('Star One') being responsible at the local level. (However, within two years of Star One's destruction the Space Princess could offer its paying customers at least the illusion of travel to 'exotic places.')

During the period of transfer from Central Control, especially given the secretive nature of the transfer, it would be probably be necessary to keep interstellar travel at a minimum for safety reasons - and leisure travel would be the first to go. When Star One was safely installed so could leisure travel - though, given the nature of the Federation probably as an 'officially granted privilege.' And for people at the lower levels of society, even if they could afford it, leisure was probably banned for longer than those at a higher level. For the rich, even when leisure travel was officially banned, as Grenlee in "Rumours of Death", 'There's no law for the rich, Forres, and even less for the rich, personal friends of the President.'

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Last changed on 21st of March 2003