We don’t actually own the stars, until our children can lawfully inherit it from us.

But when that day comes: when we can see our children built up on what we made, and our grandchildren go even farther than we ever went… then we can rest easy: all our work, all our pain, it all actually meant something in the end.

In the Biblical view, Inheritance is the last of the five covenental points:

  • Transcendence/Immanence/Sovereignty
  • Hierarchy
  • Ethics/Laws
  • Oath/Sanctions
  • Succession/Inheritance

In Imperial terms, you have

  • The Emperor
  • The Nobility
  • Imperial Law
  • Imperial Oaths, Honour Codes, and Justice
  • Lawful Succession & Inheritance

And on the scale of a starship, you have

  • The Captain
  • The Crew
  • Ship’s Law
  • Ship’s Justice
  • Changing/Dissolving Ship Ownership
    (Ship shares comes in here)

Military ships can run a Captain’s Mast for minor offenses, and can turn to formal Military Trials for major issues.

For civilian ships, things are more murky – see the current state of cruise ship law for more info.

But that’s all from the Traveller point of view.

Most Imperials are not Travellers, but remain on just one world all of their lives. Most (but not all) have families: many (but not all, perhaps not even most) have children.

As a rule of thumb, they want their children to inherit what they built up, and make their family grow even stronger and wealthier over time, building up the family name.

This attitude has broadly died out in the West: but our society is not organized around aristocratic/clannish/familial lines:

  • The Archon
  • The Family Elders
  • Familial Law
  • Familial Punishment
  • Familial Inheritance (including property and businesses)

I myself prefer the nuclear family model, with every son sent out to found his own family and work out his own calling, and every daughter to join with a suitable man of her choice, with only ties of sentiment and love (not command or authority) linking the extended family together. But there are many Solomani cultures who disagree with me: and I can see the Vilani disagreeing as well.

But after all that, I still believe that “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” (Proverbs 13:22), and — more to the point — a majority of Imperials, even the more decadent ruling Nobles, also want to leave something good for their children after they die.

Of course, I would want my wealth to be used as tools of dominion, to further extend Christian civilization. But other families would have other goals, from the Roman-style glory of the family name, to protecting their own nation, land, and race; long-term tasks like terraforming a world or taming a continent for your own people, ideology and culture; or even the interstellar arena, like gaining a senior position in a vast megacorp, following the family tradition of Imperial Service, or leading the exploration and settlement of a distant subsector.

Merely because you preach the goals to your children, does not mean that they will take those goals as their own. And even if they seem obedient, they may well change their minds after your body has cooled and your assets transferred to their name.

But then again, they may well catch your vision, and — after changing it somewhat to make it their own, for better or for worse — become rightful heirs not only to your genetic legacy and your property (and any Imperial fiefs & titles!), but to your spiritual legacy as well.

(Yeah, I miss those glorious covers of yesteryear. Sure, the art here isn’t all that good: but it tells a story, and it’s definitely imaginative, speaking of daring adventures on a far away future world. What more could a Traveller want?)

About Alvin Plummer

I enjoy playing in the huge sandbox that Classic Traveller represents. Come along for the ride!
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