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Old October 30th, 2002, 02:26 PM
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Father Fletch Father Fletch is offline
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The fine art of Correspondence is certainly alive and well in the Traveller universe. Indeed, given the usual lag time in any form of communication, the well-written missive is of vital importance. While orders, administrative memos, reports and other bureaucratic ephemera will waft its way back and forth across the aether and the x-boat networks without any regard to whether any sapient gives a Geoneeā€™s damn about it, the personal correspondence of the spacelanes is what really matters.
It is within their carefully thought out and quickly dashed off lines that the sweeping histories of the Imperium was, is and will be shaped. Within their vellum, laser printed or scribbled borders is contained the hopes, dreams, aspirations, grasping, clutching, evil, virtuous, pedantic and loving thoughts of the sapients that make the Imperium what it is. The letters will explain why the report is wrong, why the memo must be disobeyed and why the order is condemning a Destroyer Escort to doom.
The correspondence of the Imperium has an additional meaning. It is the agent of the writer. With TL appropriate verification and bona fide it acts to let the recipient know what the writer wishes and expects of them. It also can act to introduce the carrier to the recipient. This often will have a great effect in game terms, bestowing an immediate legitimacy upon one whom only a moment before was a stranger and unknown.
To that end one of the most powerful "weapons" in the characters arsenal could well be a letter of introduction from a distant noble, admiral, bureaucrat or other. Indeed it could even be substituted in the mustering out table for another benefit, such as a high passage.
To quote from the movie "Thief," "Somebody knows you? Somebody knows your name, that I gotta talk to you?" With a suitable letter of introduction the character can reply "YES!"

The OED defines correspondence so:
Relation between persons or communities; usually qualified as good, friendly, fair, ill, etc. Obs. (Very common in 17th c.)
5. a. Intercourse, communication (between persons). Obs. exc. as in 6. b. Often, intercourse or communications of a secret or illicit nature. Obs. c. Commercial intercourse; business relations. d. Religious or ecclesiastical connexion. Also concr. A connexion, communion. Obs.
6. a. Intercourse or communication by letters. b. The letters that pass between correspondents; also, letters contributed to a newspaper or journal.
Father Fletch,<br />G.T.R.C.<br />cavi inter arma silent leges<br />\"Beware, during war the law is silent\"
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