Pre War Period

I have been thinking about a campaign set before the War of Unification, possibly something like Deadliest Cargo set before the war. Maybe the campaign would overlap the start of the war and the conclusion would be the player characters heading off to join up.

So, what was the 'Verse like back then? As I discussed for my campaign, the Alliance was originally a political alliance between the major worlds of the Core in White Sun: Londinium, Sihnon, Osiris, Ariel and Bernadette. Before Unification, there were various interplanetary organizations, such as the Terraforming Commission and an Interplanetary Council which worked like the United Nations does today. But the individual worlds had their own governments and armed forces. Unification began with the core worlds joining together to form one government. The governments of the main worlds were all very similar having grown from a common beginning, and were representative democracies much like what we have today. It was simply a matter of combining the governments above a certain level into one Parliament and merging the bureaucracies. Well, perhaps simple isn't the right word.

In any case, most of the individual worlds had their own governments, or were directly administered by the Terraforming Commission as new territories. The Colonization and Settlement Authority (CSA) of the TFC provided government functions and law enforcement for newly settled worlds. The major Border worlds such as Persephone, Boros and Beaumonde had fully functioning governments and small military forces. Without one, all encompassing alliance to cover the 'Verse, how were things handled?

The space forces of the time collectively patrolled the trade routes. Interplanetary agreements covered search and seizure laws, extradition procedures and territorial limits (a Londinium Space Navy ship could not board a suspect ship in Beaumonde orbit without contacting the local forces). While the smaller navies might only patrol interplanetary routes within a system (between Boros, Hera, Aphrodite and Shadow for example), the larger navies like Londinium and Osiris patrolled the routes between the systems. The Cortex existed, but its deep space coverage was not as complete. Lesser worlds like Ezra or Regina were totally dependent on the fleets of larger worlds. In short, the fleets followed the commerce of their home worlds. The commerce guilds and major corporations used their government contacts and contracts to lobby for patrols in their areas of interest.

The worlds of Blue Sun were least protected. With little routine trade making the long haul, even the largest fleets barely covered the route. Meridian and New Canaan were able to afford a few small ships for local patrols. If ships of the larger fleets were seen here, it was usually only for long duration training exercises or "punishment" tours. Occasionally, major convoys from the Terraforming Commission would borrow ships from the core worlds.

Because of the multiplicity of armed forces, life was a little easier for criminals like pirates and smugglers. While the various fleets co-operated, it was not as tight as the Alliance is "today". Data about known criminals and ships was not distributed as efficiently and false papers and identities were easier to create (in the modern 'Verse, false papers and identities are simply bought from corrupt authorities, making them more expensive, but also more likely to pass inspection). There was and still is an Interplanetary Police ("Interpol") but it was primarily based on the Core worlds of the Alliance. Border world law enforcement might or might not cooperate, but the Interpol of the time did not have the authority to force assistance in those cases, and its jurisdiction was more restricted. If they could get away with it, Interpol agents or core world ships might carry out operations in other worlds' territory, but there would be political complications if discovered. This high handedness contributed to the Border and Rim worlds' dislike of the Core worlds.

As for the ships themselves, I mentioned in Warship Nomenclature and Evolution that the warships of the 'Verse grew dramatically during the war and afterwards. For example, the Triumph class battlecruisers of the Londinium Space Navy were 80,000 tons (80 ktons) which is the size of a modern heavy corvette like the Cortez class or a destroyer. Most of the prewar navies had only light cruisers or smaller ships. Only the largest and wealthiest fleets had heavier cruisers and there were only a handful of battleships ever built before the war. The Londinium Space Navy was considered the premier navy in the 'Verse, and her latest ships, such as the Triumph class and the Havoc class destroyers pushed the upper limits of size for their classes. There were no pure fighter carrier ships similar to modern day aircraft carriers, but most ships carried a few armed shuttles or even true fighters for boarding, patrol and interception duties.

Prewar tonnages were roughly:
Battleships 100-120 ktons
Battlecruisers 60-80 ktons
Cruisers 50 ktons
Light Cruisers 30 ktons
Destroyers 10-20 ktons
Corvettes 5-10 ktons
Patrol Ships 1-3 ktons