This post is also dedicated to persecuting Sigmacastell.
Imagine, if you will, a situation in which the interstellar flow of commerce, information, people, military power, and yes, the actual mail all travelled using the same infrastructure. In Mothership's default setting, they do. While MoSh's neoliberal hellscape is dominated by corporations and essential and non-essential services are probably broken up and handled inefficiently but very profitably.
|Child sent by U.S. Mail ca. ~1913.|
But any multi-system state actor that's still alive and kicking is going to nationalize their mail service. It's just too important not to and far too dangerous to outsource. Because it's also the internet, full of private government information. Also, scale efficiencies that come with consolidation of different aspects of space shipping are a big deal. A megacorp can't necessarily subsidize freight and passenger service with communications, national defense, law enforcement and other essential internal business unless they're as large as a multi-system state (then they're just another shitty, especially kleptocratic government pretending to be a corporation).
To that end, a campaign idea: you are employees of the Post Office (or perhaps postal inspectors). It's a good union job in an age when those are really rare. You don't own your own ship (but your players shouldn't own their ship anyway) and you don't have unlimited freedom to go wherever. But if you have a shipment for an obscure asteroid mining colony plagued by a goo monster or get waylaid in Prospero's Dream, that's just how it goes.
A better campaign ideas: you're postal inspectors; work for the Postal Inspection Service; handle criminal matters from wire fraud and identity theft (do you know how many crimes MONARCH commits) to piracy (plenty of adventures about that too!).
When ships keep vanishing mid-jump somebody has to sort it out. It's you. It's always you. You're heavily armed, unionized, and you will not fucking be taken out of this world by the Gaunt without using up all of your PTO (or, for that matter, by moon cannibals who commit serial mail theft).
3 EXAMPLE CHARACTER LOADOUTS/PREGEN TEMPLATES:
- Patch: Notary's Insignia
- Trinket: A Really Nice Pen (vacuum-rated)
- PIS badge
- Revolver (2 reloads).
- SMG (2 reloads)
- Zip Ties
- Stun Baton
- Hard copy edition of Post Office regulations and pocket copy of common mail-related criminal offenses
- Authorization to issue search and wiretap warrants on the spot (programmed to be objective, respect due process norms; issuing a warrant generally requires probable cause).
- Turner Model 4 portable tape computer with universal adapter kit.
- Barcode reader
- Patch: "Pirata est hosti humani generis."
- Trinket: Divorce Papers.
- Combat Shotgun (2 reloads, safety flechettes).
- Stun Grenades (6x).
- PIS Pattern III boarding tomahawk.
- Several gallons of Old Man Isham Black Label in a plastic pouches (he can't get drunk anymore but sleeves run on hydrocarbons and his sleeve likes the oak tannins).
- Beat-up mailbag and the keys to the postal van he drove as an 18-year-old kid.
- Patch: Long Service Award
- Trinket: Mandatory biannual pilot certification and continuing education study guide.
- Revolver (4 reloads).
- Electrical toolkit.
- Riot Shield.
- Foam Gun.
- Black Pear Tree menthol cigarettes and commemorative electric safety lighter (Navy).
- Vac Suit.
- Control codes to the ship.