Friday, 27 April 2012
The 3rd Imperium – the default Traveller campaign Universe – is big. It contains something like 11,000 inhabited systems. As an exercise, and to better demonstrate to a reader of this blog who was curious, I did some rough calculations on a large scale map of the Imperium and estimated that it would take approximately 80 weeks for a ship to travel from the Imperial Capital to the frontier Sector of the Spinward March. This represents a round trip of over two years for a message from Capital to reach the frontier and return – if that’s your mum you’re writing to, you’d better say a bit more than, “I am well. I hope you are well, too.”
X-Boats follow X-Boat routes. On the map of Lanth Subsector, as seen above, the X-Boat route is the green line snaking down from Dinoma in hex 0302, through Ghandi, the subsector capital Lanth, D'Ganzio, Ivendo, before splitting. One branch heads to Trailing via Equus into Rhylanor Subsector, while the other branch heads Rimward via Icetina into Mora Subsector. Each of the systems on this route has either an A or B Class Starport (the letters above the dot representing the world indicate the class of the main starport of the system) as A Class and B Class starports have both the best facilities, and the best infrastructure. A message downloaded in one of the systems on this route would then be transferred to a local merchant ship with a mail contract and then passed to the destination world as the mail ship completes its route.
The X-Boat system is claimed to be derived from the ancient Pony Express system as used on Earth in the Nineteenth Century, and on other planets at later dates, though why someone would use a business model 3,000 years old by the time of the 3rd Imperium has never been successfully explained. The emblem and shoulder patch of the X-Boat service is shown above - a messenger riding a poni - and, it is claimed, that this emblem can be traced back to the original mail service.