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Slowboat Colonization

Slowboat Colonization was an early method of interstellar colonization, driven by non-FTL ships referred to as "Slowboats". These ships, developed before the invention of the Kearny-Fuchida Drive travelled by accelerating to significant sublight speeds. The travel times for these ships to reach their target destinations was measured in decades, rather than the near-instantaneous travel afforded to Jumpships.

The first slowboat colonization effort was spun out of the Magellan Program, which discovered several habitable worlds. Unknown to the Public, this Magellan Six had been converted to a slowboat colony vessel by anti-Western Alliance members in the United States of America (USA) who worked to hide the changes. The ship's payload bays had been replaced with even larger habitats. For the public it failed to decelerate and was lost.[1]. In reality, the ship succeeded and founded the colony today called Columbia.[2].

Following this, nine individual colonization projects were launched between 2082 and 2099 (with no knowledge of the Magellan Colonization Program). These did not come from a single program or class of spacecraft, and they were meant to carry dissidents fleeing the Western/Terran Alliance. At that time, aerospace technology had advanced enough since the Magellan era to make those slowboats surprisingly feasible despite the limited resources available.

Three ships were lost in flight, likely due to life support failures.[3].

Three more ships were sent to the planets identified by the Magellan Program: Tau Ceti, Epsilon Eridani and Epsilon Indi. When they arrived in the mid-22nd century, what they found was burgeoning colonies already established by Terran Alliance Jumpships. The Alliance, who had a long memory for dissidents, turned those missions into laughingstocks and not the historical achievements they were.[3] It it not known what happened to those colonists.

The last three slowboats went to uninhabitable systems in hopes of avoiding contact with any future Terran Alliance colonization. Nothing was known of their fate on Terra or the rest of the universe until the 2330s when the records of the slowboat projects were rediscovered by historians. This prompted the Terran Hegemony to launch a much publicized "quest for the lost colonies". Eventually, the Hegemony discovered three colonies, New London[3], Paraiso[3] and Terrelibre[3].

Of the three, New London had failed at some point before 2338, having never quite reached a self-sustaining point [3]. Paraiso had established a colony that was growing, but not prosperous. It was abandoned when its population accepted Hegemony offers to relocate to a more habitable world. [3].

Terrelibre was also discovered by the Hegemony in 2238. While some of the population were relocated, the majority chose to remain in the system in its two colonies, Mergelée and Rochegelée. The system would be used as a naval base by the Star League, ComStar, the Word of Blake and eventually the Republic of the Sphere[4].


  1. DropShips and JumpShips: ComStar Intelligence Summary, pp. 8-9
  2. Jihad Conspiracies: Interstellar Players 2, p. 66 "Columbia"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Jihad Conspiracies: Interstellar Players 2, p. 66 "Terralibre"
  4. Interstellar Expeditions: Interstellar Players 3 , p. 25 "Ross 248/Terrelibre"