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Forum Name: Undocumented Features General
Topic ID: 11
Message ID: 1
#1, Freespacers - RE: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the (UF) Galaxy
Posted by Redneck on Apr-25-01 at 02:12 AM
In response to message #0

(Article c. 2390-2400)

The Confederate Freespacers Alliance is one of a handful of nation-states with no official home planet, and the only one not composed of a single species of sapient lifeform. Like the others, it is semi-migratory, moving according to the needs of the moment but tending to remain in one system for years at a time. Unlike any of the others, however, it supports (or helps support) one of the ten most powerful military forces in the Federation, and unlike all but a tiny handful of worlds it actively hires out that military force to other planets for a profit. In short, it's a nation of not quite two million beings on close to two thousand FTL-capable starships, mercenaries, pirates, smugglers and free traders, making it a really cool place to be.

The Freespacers began as a civilian auxiliary to the Confederate Freespacers Mercenary Fleet (more on them later), which was founded to help prosecute the Zardon Civil War. At the end of that war, some seven hundred people, military and civilian, were registered as CFMF personnel or auxiliaries, although more than half the ships involved were unarmed. In order to care for the auxiliaries and their dependents, the CFMF command crafted a constitutional government, recognized by the Salusian Empire and Zardon Republic in 2008 but not accepted into the United Galactica until the last decade of the 20th Century.

The Freespacers attracted large numbers of emigrees, many seeking work with the CFMF, with the CFMF's chief supplier RebelTech Industries, or anyone else, others seeking refuge from law enforcement from other worlds, yet others just cursed with a wanderlust which could not be satisfied by the Terran Diaspora of the 21st Century. By the time the Freespacers were admitted into the Galactica, the Alliance had over 100,000 citizens, and those numbers continued to grow. By 2288 the Alliance's citizenry had expanded to over 500,000, and in the forty years following the disbanding of the WDF, leading up to the collapse of the United Galactica, that number doubled. In 2380 the Alliance's population exceeded 1.2 million; in 2390, thanks in no small part to the chaos brought on by the Corporate Wars, the number was over 1.5 million.

Today, about one-half of the Freespacer population is 'native-born,' that is born of Freespacer parents. These people form the national 'identity' of the Freespacers, a culture that values independence, free enterprise, and a lackadasical attitude towards the law. 'Live and let live' is a common Freespacer axiom, with the caveat that if they think you aren't willing to let them live, then you probably won't live very long yourself.

The other half of the population is an even mix of immigrants and refugees from various worlds. The immigrants tend to be similar in thought to the native Freespacers, especially as they usually immigrate to join the CFMF, to avoid prosecution on other worlds, or both. The refugees, on the other hand, are usually people fleeing unstable or repressive conditions on worlds where Freespacer ships happened to be in the neighborhood. Quite frequently, even when the refugees are able to return to their homeworlds, they end up returning to the Alliance, for its high standard of living, low standard of law enforcement, and 10% flat tithe of earnings.

A large number of those refugees, of course, -cannot- return home, for various reasons, and the Alliance is home to several large expatriate groups, including some who are considered harmless (like the Charismatic Vulcans, a religious group dedicated to the dissipation of destructive emotions and the loud and forceful demonstration and sharing of positive emotions, in direct contrast with the Way of Surak) and some who are feared elsewhere in the Galaxy (like the Renegade Daleks, abberant members of the species who do not share their relatives' sense of superiority and, as such, would be exterminated if they remained at home). Tolerance is STRONGLY encouraged when visiting Freespacer ships, since your bunkmate may be a Kilrathi, your cook a Gamilon, your waitress a Romulan and your ship's captain a Cyberman.

The Freespacer government is a representative democracy consisting of three branches. The executive and head-of-state is elected every six years and is limited to one term lifetime. The legislature is divided into two houses, the House of Commanders (a seat for every ship's captain with ten or more crew or inhabitants) and the Legate (a seat for every 25,000 citizens, elected every other year). The third branch, the CFMF, administers the courts through the military system under its Home Fleet (more on CFMF organization in a moment).

The chief employer of the Freespacer nation is NOT the CFMF; RebelTech Industries employs a quarter again as many people in its manufacturing, shipbuilding, and design functions, plus its operations in the entertainment and financial realms. RebelTech is renowned for loyalty to its workers, who have only unionized twice in the hundreds of years of the corporation's existence. (Both times, the union was disbanded when the organizers were revealed to be less interested in worker welfare than union dues.) However, in exchange for that loyalty RebelTech demands hard work, so this is not a position for those seeking quick short-term cash for little effort.

The CFMF, the second-largest employer in the Alliance, is a military force of some two hundred ships and over a thousand starfighters. They are organized under a central command consisting of the Fleet CINC, Fleet Chief of Staff, Fleet Quartermaster, Fleet Adjutant General, Fleet Starfighter Command and Fleet Marine Corps Commander. The military forces themselves are divided into four components; Tactical Fleet, the organized task forces around which fleets are built on deployment; Strategic Fleet, the heavier or more unusual units whihc are deployed as needs warrant; Mobile Assault and Support Squadron (M.A.S.S.)) command, individual squadrons and tender ships deployed to both TacFleet and StratFleet; and the Freespacer Marines, deployed on various ships from anything from squad size up to (on CFMF Chimera) brigade strength.

Also under CFMF command are two civilian branches; Support Fleet, consisting of those civilian contractors who haul supplies to and from Fleet deployments and those nations with whom the Fleet is contracted; and Home Fleet, the organization which operates and administers those Freespacer ships not privately owned. Persons owning their own ships will in particular want to consider employment with SupFleet, which not only supervises supply and occasional blockade-running but also operates the CFMF's intelligence service.

Home Fleet refers both to the organization previously mentioned and the main collection of Freespacer vessels. The Freespacer Home Fleet ranges in size fro two hundred to over a thousand starships in a very rigid flight pattern. Pilots who don't follow the pattern as laid down by Freespacer Traffic Control regret it VERY quickly, and sometimes VERY BRIEFLY, so any pilots visiting the Freespacer Home Fleet for the first time should pay VERY close attention to the warning buoys and starfighter patrols which surround the fleet pattern.

About fifty ships in the Home Fleet are government or CFMF owned, and these comprise the core of the Home Fleet and its visitor facilities. These include the two ships which house the Freespacer government, CFA Washington and CFA Richmond, various school ships such as CFA Jaime Escalante (home of Freespacer Alliance University), and possibly the most famous non-military Freespacer ship, the CFA New Orleans (see separate entry). The New Orleans houses Freespacer Traffic Control and Home Fleet HQ, and as such is the ship at the very center of the fleet pattern. It is also the main location for visitor facilities such as hotels, restraunts, and bars, although other city-ships such as the CFA Port Royal, CFA Boston and CFA New Kesselstan should not be ignored.

Ships docking at Freespacer ships or ports need not worry about customs inspections unless and until they bring something -off- the ship. Aside from basic safety inspections and one of the cheaper docking fees in the Federation, entering the Alliance's 'territory' is a painless process. Even if you are importing something, the Freespacer list of contraband goods is very, very short, consisting of a handful of drugs and suicidally dangerous substances or lifeforms.

Once in the Alliance, either as a shipowner or as a visitor berthed on any of hundreds of ships, there are a phenomenal number of things to do. The Alliance has multiple entertainment facilities (including many forms illegal in most other jurisdictions), great cultural events (including the annual Banned Works festival, where films, plays, music and artwork censored elsewhere in the galaxy is proudly displayed to the public), sports (three GCAA-affiliated universities plus minor league baseball, gravball, hockey and starship racing), and of course the most vital of all services for hitchhikers, booze.

<20 pages of bar reviews and drinks recipies snipped here- the Chroniclers>

After you've sample all of these wonders, or perhaps during, you are probably going to end up coming into contact with the limited Freespacer law enforcement establishment. This will usually result in nothing worse than a session in the local drunk tank, or if a firefight broke out at some point the 'drunk and disorderly' facilities. Freespacer law enforcement is of the military variety, which is usually concerned first and foremost with maintaining the peace and security of the Alliance's ships. Once a disturbance is calmed, the Freespacer security forces will usually either let people go with a nominal fine or remand the offender to his or her ship's captain. Only for very, very serious crimes will they actually go through the trouble of bringing an offender into the court system operated by CFMF Home Fleet.

Freespacer courts are courts-martial, streamlined for quickest resolution. There are no discovery periods, no opening or closing arguements, and no plea bargains. Suspects and witnesses are questioned under a veradicator (except for those who are immune or incompatible to the devices) by counsels for prosecution, counsels for defense, and finally by the three-judge panel themselves. Those tried by a court may appeal to the Supreme Court, chaired by the Adjutant General, or may have their case reheard if and when new evidence is produced. The Freespacers enforce the death penalty for repeat or multiple murder, acts of terrorism, and enslavement.

It is much more important to note, though, that the Freespacer citizenry themselves tend to enforce the laws- or the 'unwritten laws'- much more strictly than the law enforcement agencies do. Although a minority of Freespacers possess firearms, it is culturally believed that the vast majority is armed and, more importantly, believes in the proactive use of those arms against those who pose a threat to themselves or others. A mad bomber walking the corridors of the New Orleans would be watched by the dozens, if not hundreds, of people along the path who know bombs better than he does; a would-be bank robber would find a couple dozen weapons pointed back at him; and a terrorist seeking to take hostages would become barbecue in seconds.

The Freespacers refer to such actions as 'evolution in action,' (SEE ENTRY: 'NEW HONG KONG) but the practical meaning for visitors is, plain and simple, don't scare a Freespacer. A Freespacer in fear of his or her life or property is NOT a safe thing to be around.

Freespacers are among the easiest people in the galaxy to hitch rides from, especially if there's some payment in it for them. This tendency can be used from anything as small as avoiding the cost for inter-fleet transit shuttles to traveling from Zeta Cygni clear out to Tatooine. Be warned, however, that the Freespacer you hitch with may not tell you the full story of flight conditions, such as the existence of blockades or pirate fleets along the course or any unscheduled side-trips along the way.

One final note: never, EVER make fun of a Freespacer's ship. It's like making fun of a person's house, a person's home town, a person's car, and a person's mother all at the same time. If you ever want to have a Freespacer get non-fatally pissed off at you, compare their ship to a garbage hauler and see how fast you get dropped off on an uninhabited world halfway to Salusia... if you're lucky.



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