[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

The Crucible Campaign: Other Commonwealth Ministries

Ministry of Shipping

MoS, or Miniship as it is often referred to by the popular media, is a Regency era agency that was responsible for new commercial construction of ships, starports and shipyards during the Virus War period. The infamous Starship Shortage reflected the massive disruptions created by the economic and military crises of the Civil War, though it appears to have been exaggerated towards the latter days of the Regency, in part because the Navy was diverting enormous amounts of ship construction to build huge cache fleets in anticipation of a reconquest of the Wilds. This "Reconquista" or Grand Crusade to reclaim the former Imperium never materialized, of course, but the cache fleets were put to good use during the Crucible War by the Liberators, who hijacked and used them to rout the Black Regents "Purifier" supporters from their Deneb sector bases, and essentially force him from office.

Nowadays Miniship is less concerned with shipping requisition than in maintaining common standards for designing, constructing, equipping and operating the Commonwealth's commercial, government and private fleets of starships and spacecraft. It also maintains universal standards for starports, shipyards, refueling facilities and most kinds of static or freeorbiting habitats and facilities. The Ministry includes the famed Jumpspace Institute, which subsidizes a significant amount of R&D into new space technology. In wartime Miniship becomes part of the National Defense Council, and is responsible for allocating all shipping and cargo priorities, has complete control over civilian shipyards and starports, and controls ship construction allotments, just as it did under the Regency.

Ministry of Health and Welfare

The behemoth MoHW is responsible for operating the Commonwealth's huge social insurance programs. Commonwealth citizenry have ready access to public insurance covering health, disability, bereavement, sole support and any other number of situations where an individual requires temporary financial assistance. Individual worlds are taxed by the Commonwealth government, as are most interstellar businesses, and a portion of that tax money is put aside into a pair of general funds: one for individual citizens and another for general contingency. A third set of block funds also exist to be divided and delegated to the local Federation and World governments for their own discretion within a limited category. Besides financial assistance, the Ministry is most concerned with the health, welfare and safety of the Commonwealth citizenry. To that end it has several agencies that gather statistics or ensure proper hygenic and prophylactic standards. (It is often noted that most Commoners would rather face a marathon interrogation session any six other security services than face even the most casual MoHW inquisition)

The Public Health Service (PHS) branch is the most likely to be encountered by the public: its inspectors are posted in all starports for epidemiological reasons, inspecting ships and their crews, cargos and passengers for evidence of biological vectors or other agents that could pose a serious health risk to planetary populations. Working in conjunction with the Interface Inspectorate and Vector Control, a Public Health Officer has the power to impound a ship and its cargo, and place passengers and crew into a protective quarantine if their suspicions warrant such draconian behavior. Public Health Officers (PHO) are always trained medical professionals, and include coroners in addition to epidemologists and other normal medical professionals. These officers make a nuisance of themselves to world governments in enforcing the vast number of health requirements and regulations that come with interstellar travel. PHOs are distinctively uniformed civil service personnel with significant regulatory authority.

In addition to Public Health, MoHW also includes such friends of the public as the Professional, Occupational and Trade Safety Service (POTSS), to whom all celestime incidents entailing a loss of life or injury are referred after an initial Astrogation Patrol inquiry, and the Pharmacological Control Board (PCB), which strictly licenses and controls the sale and transport of pharmaceuticals and medical devices (Lemme guess, those aren't your drugs and you have no idea what they're doing in your cargo?). PHS breaks down into several specialist agencies in addition to the main service: Public Mental Hygeine Service (PMHS) which works very closely with the Brotherhood to keep the public mood uncontaminated by excessive alienation, tracks and monitors aberrant individuals, and handles all "mental rehabilitation" of said persons. All of these services use civil service grades, possess uniforms and have some kind of regulatory power over the public body and private persons. Then there's the Genomic Security Office (GSO), that regulates genetic engineering and cybernetic enhancements, Food and Drug Purity Agency (FDPA), which regulates the development and testing of new drugs and devices, and the Veternary Medical Service (VMS), which regulates the health and safety of animals in interstellar commerce.

Ministry of Science and Technology

The MoST is a holdover remnant of the Industrial Development Program (IDP). The IDP was a Regency era program created by the First Regent to bootstrap a certain number of high population worlds to a higher level of technology and living standards. MoST grew out of several public education and R&D programs created to support local technological development. The Ministry has several relevant jurisdictions, but the most important is its control and oversight of Imperial and Regency-era research facilities. The Ministry has inherited the old Imperial Research Station network, all of the Regency's AI Virus storage, research and breeding facilities, and a multitude of other facilities from the Imperium, Regency, Zhodani, Aslan, Sword Worlds, and other antebellum polities. For an agency that would normally be a rather prosaic bureaucratic entity, the existence of this trove makes it the authority that knows where all the bodies are buried (literally in some cases). Because of the need to control access to these secrets, MoST oversaw the design and manufacture of Deneb's various primary information database protocols, such as the public DATA (Deneb Archival Transfer Agent) and government CIRCUS (Central Information Retrieval and Compiling Universal System) systems, and more arcane systems like the X-Web's Secure Data Ultraspeed Transfer Protocol (SDUTP) and the academic/professional NERD (Neurosynaptic Electronic Recall Database) system. All of whom are lineal descendants of the original Domain of Deneb-era SMART (Spinward Marches Archive Retrieval Team) research. To prevent psionic espionage, senior officials wear specialised synaptic implants that spoof or jam psionic probes, even long after retirement.

MoST refers to outstanding scientific and technological issues as its "caseload". Most of its personnel are actually academia and technicians that are merely affiliated rather than directly employed by it. These are its "caseworkers", and their reliability and skill determines the sensitivity of the work they to which they gain access. Little actual research is carried out by the ministry in that regard, it merely acts as the gatekeeper to official secrets. This can mean significant latitude for caseworkers, though they still have to work in the confines of a budget or grant. And additionally the Ministry does not care about private research as long as it does not compromise some secrets that must remain dead and buried. It is estimated that nearly three quarters of all documents and data classified by the government is handled directly by the Ministry. To ensure secrecy, MoST usually retains several private security firms (many of whom were founded by former Ministry employees). These can range from simple security guards for physical installations, to minders and bodyguards for personnel. Access to Ministry files is stringently restricted, and only a handful of senior ranking MoD and MoI personnel, the Science Minister, and the Deputy Science Minister for Archives and Databases have anything approaching unrestricted access.