The coverage of the X-boat network is less than total, especially for the less-developed worlds, which are the one least likely to offer regular scheduled service. These worlds have in the past served as staging areas for corsair or invasion fleets not to mention pirates. Additionally, lack of regular service put what little commerce there is at a disadvantage, frequently endangering people and equipment through the difficulty in getting spare parts and the like.
To fill these holes, many worlds, with the support and assistance of the Imperium, band together to form postal unions, groupings of stars that sponsor regular communications between them and contacts to neighboring unions and the X-boat network.
Most unions tend to be attached to at least attached to at least one X-boat station and a hub system or systems. These hubs then communicate to the outlying systems.
Since by convention all ships that carry mail are armed, quite frequently mail ships are carried as colonial navy ships and subsector navies include them as 'colonial communication squadrons', and in exchange for including all non interdicted world in its region and offering at least monthly service to all worlds, the IN offers maintenance assistance as well as technical support.
Frequently, a ship coordinates its schedule with the X-boat trunk and makes one jump to the hub, where other ships, such as subsidized merchants or surplus type 'S' scouts in turn coordinate with the contact ship and take mail and small packages to the other worlds in the union. Generally, there will be one ship per X-boat terminus and one per hub as well as one extra; this allows for one week turn around net contact to the X-boat network or to run emergency runs to other systems in the union.
As a matter of course most unions give top priority to electronically stored data that is processed and sent out at the destination, next to Government packages of any size or configuration, next to small packages, then to containerized bulk cargo. In all cases, the postal union's responsibility ceases when the package or communications enter local delivery channels.
Most postal unions are able to interface with the X-boat network and with neighboring postal unions. To ease credit trouble they tend to use the CrImp and each local office can perform money exchanges, when legal. The scout service, through the communications office, publishes annual surveys of all rates and a debit draft can accompany a package, accompanied by a prepaid X-boat message to indicate either delivery to it's destination or indication that more money is need to complete delivery -- many unions do eat small underages as they average out and especially over long distance are cumbersome to collect on.
As many of these unions include widely scattered systems, the IN offers plans to the 200 ton Poni-class colonial communications courier to postal unions.
The Poni class and similar Groat class variant (substituting 12 tons of cargo for 3 middle passage cabins) are armed ships able to perform wilderness refueling, designed to knot together worlds separated by J3 with basic small package and data communication.
EX-24313C1-330000-10001-0 MCr 165.300 200 Tons Bat Bear 2 2 2 Crew: 5 Bat 2 2 2 TL: 12
Cargo: 41.000 Fuel: 66.000 EP: 6.000 Agility: 1 Pulse Lasers
Craft: 1 x 4T Air/raft
Fuel Treatment: Fuel Scoops
Backups: 1 x Model/3 Computer
Architects Fee: MCr 1.653 Cost in Quantity: MCr 132.240
- 200.000 tons standard, 2,800.000 cubic meters, Close Structure Configuration
- Pilot, Engineer, Medic, 2 Gunners
- Jump-3, 1G Manuever, Power plant-3, 6.000 EP, Agility 1
- Bridge, Model/3fib Computer, 1 Model/3 Backup Computer
- 2 Hardpoints
- 2 Triple Mixed Turrets each with: 1 Pulse Laser (Factor-1), 1 Missile Rack (Factor-1).
- 2 Single Sandcaster Turrets organised into 2 Batteries (Factor-3), Armoured Hull (Factor-3)
- 1 4.000 ton Air/raft (Crew of 0, Cost of MCr 0.000)
- 66.000 Tons Fuel (3 parsecs jump and 28 days endurance), On Board Fuel Scoops, No Fuel Purification Plant
- 3.0 Staterooms, 41.000 Tons Cargo
- USER DEFINED COMPONENTS
- MCr 166.953 Singly (incl. Architects fees of MCr 1.653), MCr 132.240 in Quantity
- CONSTRUCTION TIME
- 57 Weeks Singly, 46 Weeks in Quantity