Part of a series of meditations on how to crossover Traveller: Interstellar Wars with GURPS: Transhuman Space
1) The United Nations
Let’s straight away tackle the big incongruity: in Transhuman Space the UN collapses in 2034, in Interstellar Wars it becomes a world state until the end of the 2070s.
Those two things seem to not work together that well, but it helps to read on a bit. The IW version of the UN has a near collapse in the same time the TS one has one. So that even fits into the timeline. Further, as it turns out when reading Fifth Wave (the Earth-sourcebook) the UN actually still exists (even if a lot of people don’t really realize that) because some of it’s institutions are too useful to just let them go. Like the World Court.
Not only that, but they actually managed to increase in power and will in some cases hire their own soldiers to do policing in some places. That… is actually pretty far from being as powerless as they are described in the original book. Still, they are far from the world government they are described as in IW. So let’s do it like that: The UN still exists, but has barely any impact on anything the great powers do. It does however have peacekeeping functions in war zones, has the world court, and has among other things, it’s own small space force and research wing. Now, nobody is really taking them serious right now, and that is because of…
2) the Jump-drive
You see, despite all political misgivings the UN has invested a large amount of money into developing a technology most other companies and nations have deemed almost completely impractical: the jump-drive.
The first successful tries with this new technology were actually in the 2080s, and they work. They allow travel between different places in the same solar system in similar (or even better) times as normal He3-powered drives, in some cases even faster. The problem with it are:
- it’s fuel-guzzling and non-standard. Ships build for it would have to be completely rebuild with an expensive lithium-matrix throughout their ships and carry inordinate amounts of hydrogen around (fuel cells in this universe are not yet as effective as they would be later, theywere supplanted by He3 before they could take off)
- the places it can jump from are limited (100 planetary diameters is a LOT in a single-solar system setting)
- you have to spend a week in a place nobody knows anything about, strange things might lurk in jump-space and, frankly, nobody knows what it will do to people using it
So it’s a nice technology, but you can’t DO anything with it, yet.
This changes in the late 2090s. Finally getting the funds for an interstellar experiment the UN research wing manages to create a flight-path for a vessel that will lead them, via a brown dwarf that was recently discovered, to Barnard’s Star.
Which, of course, leads to the first meeting between Terrans and Vilani.