The Horizon Flotilla
The Horizon Flotilla
The starcruisers in the flotilla are the Goliath, the Maximus, the Colossus, the Titan, the Jupiter, the Anaximander, and the Cortéz. Each ship is commanded by a captain selected according to the laws that have developed on that ship over the hundred-and-fifty-year voyage from Earth. Each ship oversees a small cadre of support ships, ruling over them like a fiefdom. The Horizon itself no longer has any direct authority over the supply ships. The colony ship is the nominal head of the flotilla, and is viewed as the ultimate prize by each of the starcruiser captains, but is largely powerless.
Of the starcruisers, the Goliath, the Maximus, and the Colossus have developed caste-like hereditary command structures governed by an officer corps nobility. These ships are marked by corruption and intrigue as officers compete for the choicest commands, quarters, and wealth.
The Titan is a technocratic meritocracy and enjoys the most stable leadership and the smoothest successions.
The Jupiter and the Anaximander have instituted republican forms of government, each with its own unique quirks. Each republican ships are highly certain of the superiority of its own institutions, and suspicious and jealous of any successes by the other starcruisers.
The Cortéz is a governed by a mercantile oligarchy, having been taken over by an association of franchise ship captains two decades ago. The Cortéz provides the only trading post in the flotilla apart from the Horizon itself. However, trade on that ship is tightly controlled by the merchant families that rule it.
History: The Five Defining Events
The present culture and set up of the Horizon Flotilla’s voyage is defined by five historical crises.
- The Epimethic Oversight: At the outset of the generational voyage, no provision was made for the orderly succession of command upon the retirement or death of original leaders. This led to a crisis of succession beginning in the twentieth year of the voyage and extending into the fourth decade of the voyage. Each of the starcruisers developed its own solution to the problem.
- The Pitcairn Heresy and the Loss of the Tahiti: At the outset of the voyage, two other massive starships made up part of the flotilla, the Pitcairn and the Tahiti. The Pitcairn was a starcruiser. The Tahiti was a massive hydroponics ship, and was responsible for providing the food supply for the flotilla. In the seventh decade of the voyage, one of the _Pitcairn_’s support ships discovered a habitable but uninhabited planetary system dubbed they dubbed Lotophage. Returning with news of this new system, a movement quickly seized the starcruiser and its support ships to abandon the voyage and settle on that planet. A brief but bloody struggled ensued as the other starcruisers resisted. During the fighting, the heretics destroyed the Tahiti, hoping to force the other members of the flotilla to remain on Lotophage. Ultimately, all but a small remnant of the _Pitcairn_’s small fleet was destroyed. Some these ships remained behind of Lotophage, others were captured by the flotilla, and their crews lost all status and privileges.
- The Starving Time: The loss of the Tahiti placed a tremendous strain on the remaining ships in the flotilla. This was exacerbated over the next two decades as the flotilla passed through a area without many stars, and in which the star systems that could be found were inhabited and generally unfriendly to outsiders. During this time, the pressures on the population forced the relaxation of the stringent and idealistic rules that had previously constrained the actions of the fleet of franchise ships. Pragmatism and the simple desire to survive forced a change that is likely permanent.
- The Twin Admiralties: By the time that the voyage was entering its second century, the political succession in the admiralty of the flotilla had become monarchical succession. However, the death of the third admiral created a succession crisis where two twins, brother and sister, each claimed the title for themselves. At the close of the ensuing power struggle, the brother emerged as admiral, but in name only. The bargains struck to achieve the end left the admiral a figurehead with little authority over the emboldened captains of the starcruisers. To make matters worse, the sister played the political game better in defeat than she had during the struggle itself. Her descendants now captain the Goliath and the Maximus.
- The Drekkin War: The Drekki, a hostile alien. Much battle, etc.
- The Years of Nine Admirals: The fifth admiral died without an heir, leading to a renewed struggle for the office. Over the course of a five year period, nine admirals held the position. Some were related to the dynasty, many who were not. All met bad ends. At the close of this chaotic period, the last remaining descendant of the twin brother was chosen by the captains as a compromise admiral—to put an end to the chaos. If anything, the present admiral has emerged with even less authority over the flotilla than his predecessors.