Public Interstellar Transportation Network
The Public Interstellar Transportation Network, also known as P-ITN, "Webway" or "Communal Line", is a massive, galaxy-spanning transportation system, leveraging the capabilities of the Farseer Transporter to provide cheap, publicly owned, long range transportation in the galaxy. While the majority of interstellar transportation in human space is publicly owned and operated, the P-ITN differentiates itself by its size and and international nature. The network is primarily operated by the USRE Office of Infrastructure, but virtually all Earth-based, space-capable polities contribute towards it. The Network currently 6 has members: the United Socialist Republics of Earth, the Republics of Laniakea, the Lebanese Space Interests, the SAOU (South American Off-World Union), the Canadian Communes and the Integrated Communes of Al-Andalus. The Eloran Ekumen and the Starmoth Initiative had association status with the Network, providing marginal funding and logistical support, but without direct political involvement.
The P-ITN operates fifty-seven Farseers and a total of two hundred relay stations, accounting for fifty thousand active personnel. The Transporters travel back and forth between relays, carrying smaller vessels, passengers and cargo across tens of thousands of lightyears. Centred on the Earth, it links the four corners of the Milky Way with regularly scheduled journeys, operating like the myriad of smaller networks in human space, albeit over much larger distances. The P-ITN is financed by a special tax, raised by its members, with only a small contribution required from passengers, be they individual persons or ships. Attribution of ship, passenger and cargo slots on the Network's Farseers is determined by the administration. The P-ITN administration tends to favour deep space relay resupply runs, long-range expeditions and diplomatic ventures, in that order. The P-ITN is designed to run at a loss; its utility isn't economic but social, as it offers a service that, in the long run, benefits the human community as a whole by allowing exploration and expansion in the less-travelled parts of the galaxy. While it has priority access treaties with recognized organisations such as the Starmoth Initiative, the Network ultimately obeys to its national members alone.
The bronze liveries of its Farseers and the dark blue uniforms of its personnel are known across all of human space. While the P-ITN is not universally accepted as a neutral organisation like the Astropostale, its prestige allows it to moor ships even in the least USRE-friendly corners of human space. P-ITN agents are known for their diligence, especially when it comes to helping passengers...and dismantling smuggling circles trying to use the P-ITN as a stellar highway. The Network operates its own security force, with thirty Luciole Interceptors, dedicated to the protection of the Farseer convoys against human and non-human threats. It is not uncommon for Network Farseers to fly with a Luciole hidden between two containers, ready to spring out and engage hostiles. Network ships travelling through Sequence space sometimes mount heavy weaponry on their own, including spine-mounted ultra-relativistic particle beams.
Six lines are currently in operation.
- The "Golden Line" links the solar system with Elora. This safe, well-travelled line only covers 500 lightyears and is often used for the initial training of P-ITN crews and christening of newly acquired Farseers. It is the only profitable P-ITN line, owing to the large amount of commercial cargo carried between the two planets.
- The "Silver Line" starts in Elora and goes all the way through the Perseus Arm and to the end of the Outer Arm at Finistelle Station. Running over several tens of thousands of lightyears, this is a long, lonesome line, especially in the inter-arm gap, where stars are almost nonexistent.
- The "Queen's Line", named after the Meta-Queen of Smyrnia, links the Earth to Gondwana Port, in the Perseus Arm, with several stops in the Smyrnian Bubble and the ruins of the Gondwana Region. Relatively short, this line is known to be quite lively due to endemic pirate activity around the Smyrnia-Silesia system.
- The "Necropolis Line" runs from the Earth to Station Zero, at the very edge of the Milky Way, alongside the legendary Laniakea Run. This complex line forces Farseers to move quite far above and below the galactic plane to avoid Sequence megastructures capable of FTL interference. It stops in Mundis and alongside the relays around Garro's Respite.
- The "Great Highway" links the Earth to the galactic centre, through Okean, Tyra and large swathes of former Forgotten Traveller space. The presence of many neutron stars alongside the route allows for very accurate FTL target acquisition, allowing the Farseers to cover the twenty-five thousand lightyears of the line in less than three months.
- The "Armilla Line" is the longest of them all, running across the galactic halo, both above and below the galactic plane, through seventy stops and more than one hundred thousand lightyears. As halo stars have very high relative velocities compared to the stars of the plane, this is the most taxing line, requiring long burns at full thrust.
A seventh line is currently in the process of early exploration and charting. The prospective "Millenium Line" would dive deep in the galactic "North", beyond the galactic centre.
The Farseer is illustrated by Lilly Harper for Starmoth. Milky Way background: NASA public domain.
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