Interstellar Police

The idea of a police force is somewhat alien to humans of the interstellar era. In most communal societies, law enforcement is handled by social workers and community leaders, working hand in hand with local judiciary authorities. Prison sentences are mostly non-existent for minor offences, especially in the USRE, and the vast majority of investigations result in rehabilitation or community work sentences. More serious crimes are typically handled by regional-level authorities, though they also rarely take the shape of old-fashioned police forces, except in places where the safety of local citizens is directly threatened -- this is the case, for instance, in USRE and Laniakean "grey zones" at the edges of human civilisation on Earth. In fact, the only place where organised police forces that consider themselves as such exist is in space, where the energy density and effective range of ships multiply the stakes -- and potential reach of criminals -- tenfold.

In the solar system, space law enforcement is shared between several institutions that follow similar principles, but greatly vary in their ethos and practices. The USRE relies on the (in)famous Open Handwhose agents have extended judiciary powers and are authorized to carry automatic weapons and personal ballistic protection with them -- a legacy of the Low Age and a practice that makes them both respected and criticized. Due to the highly integrated structure of the USRE, Open Hand agents are only sent on the most critical cases, where local authorities cannot, or should not, handle a criminal matter on their own. Open Hand operatives in plain clothes arriving on a crime scene are never a good omen. Laniakea follows a similar model, with their Sea Guards, famous for their dark blue uniforms, more prone to direct involvement than Open Hand operatives due to the more top-down structure of the Pacifican megastate. Their reputation is certainly better than that of Open Hand operatives, given their tendency to handle trivial investigations much more often -- they're a familiar, reassuring sight, not a distant one falling from orbit. None of these organisations, however, are specifically made for off-world interventions, they only handle them because of the public status of low Earth orbit and beyond.

The only real "space police" resides on Elora, where ground-based police officers virtually do not exist, replaced as they are by qith-affiliated social workers, that benefit from a much higher amount of judiciary freedom (and responsibility) than Earth-based ones. This space police are known as the Traverse Citizens Militia, or TCM. Wearing plain clothes, but with a white triangular symbol always painted on their backs and sleeves, TCM operatives only act beyond the Karman line of Traverse planets. They are highly skilled in engineering, navigation, as well as off-world regulations, and may commandeer ships if need be. Operating under the extremely tight weapons regulations of the Traverse, TCM agents are allowed to carry tier 4 personal armaments in service -- conventional single-shot firearms, combat blades and subsonic semi-automatic guns, specifically engineered for use in enclosed zero-g environments. The Traverse Citizens Militia often uses the services of external contractors, such as Moon Communes workers. It also has its own fleet, comprised of unarmed Luciole Interceptors. In general, the TCM is relatively well-regarded, in no small part because they handle the extremely boring, and absolutely crucial, task of registering and surveying the thousands of geometry drives circulating around the Traverse's many suns. In recent days, the TCM considerably upped its game, getting involved in various high-stakes investigations such as the one that led to the dismantlement of Vyiranga's Dark Sun mafia.

Independent planets often use their ground-based law enforcement organisations to regulate space travel and activities around their system -- though many would certainly liken the meta-queen's police in Smyrnia to thugs with nuclear weapons, which would not be entirely inaccurate. 

All content in the Starmoth Blog is © Isilanka
Written content on Starmoth is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0 license