Light Speed Paranoia

Federation Map
Image from Steve Bowers
During the First Federation Period each colony was separated from the others by many light years; wormhole travel was thought to be impossible at this time. All information each colony possessed about all the others was years or decades out of date. In theory any of these colonies could have posed a threat to the others, but there was no way of knowing for certain, so a constant state of low-level paranoia existed within the Federation.

Every star is separated from every other star by a distance on the order of light years, and so all information any one star-system can have about its neighbours is years out of date. This makes each star system paranoid about what the others are thinking and planning, so they have to assume the worst.

Prolonged paranoia of this sort might lead to warfare in some, many, or maybe all cases. Interstellar warfare is difficult, but not impossible. Even in a civilisation that has wormhole communication, not all systems are connected, and those which are not may be paranoid about those who are, and vice versa.

This constant state of paranoia has been put forward at various times as an answer to the Fermi Paradox, explaining why the galaxy and the universe have not yet been fully colonised by one of the earliest evolved civilisations.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 09 April 2012.