Early Galactic Era

It was a time of instantaneous global news when Hermes I returned, and it did not take long for the discovery of a habitable exoplanet to earn a place on meeting itineraries. Just like the golden age of sail, there are untapped natural resources among the stars ready to be exploited, and possession is 9/10 of the law.

Among the first ships to head toward the stars were survey vessels. The theory was if you knew where a planet was and what was on it, you could sell its coordinates to someone who did not want to leave to chance sending out a colony vessel. This worked, too well in fact. A few of the more unscrupulous corporations would sell the coordinates to more than one buyer. After all, there were no laws or regulations for such things yet. This didn't last very long for two reasons. First because buyers demanded non-disclosure agreements, gag orders, and exclusivity clauses in the purchase contracts after more than one colony ship began to arrive at a planet. Second because no one wanted to accept the responsibility of the loss of human life when competing colony ships take more and more dangerous actions to be the first to make planetfall. And if more than one succeeded, the ensuing melee was not pretty.

Soon after the first few colony ships were lost due to fierce competition, the United Nations drafted the Democratic Federation of Planets Galactic Charter. Endorsed by all major nations, The DFP Galactic Charter laid forth the first set of galactic law, and called for the creation of a Federal Navy to serve as a police force. Every colonized planet was able to join the federation as a protectorate member. As a colony grows and prospers, it could choose to becoming a dues paying member. Paying by service or by scutage, a colony provides ships and crew to the Federal Navy and earns a vote wielding membership in the federation. This provides colonies with a chance to influence galactic law and policy. The Galactic Navy was granted the power to patrol and enforce galactic law in unincorporated space, and appoint freelance ships as deputies when required.

After the organization of the Navy, the DFP drafted the Federal Stellar Homesteading Regulations. In short, in order to avoid future bloodshed planetary claims are laid by beacons, and not planetfall. This lead to the development of Claim Vessels, which transport a single person and a claim beacon to a planet. This person could claim a planet for a colony before the colony ship arrives. This didn't put an end to claim jumping or hostile takeovers, but it pared them back some.

Now, in a relatively peaceful and organized fashion, mankind began its spread among the stars.

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