Crime

Table of contents


The Writs

The original body of laws of the Turritella was a simple code of regulations, now written in such an obscure and opaque ancient language that few can make sense of it. The Frontiersmen and Aristocrats worked together to draft a new set of laws, called the Writs, to replace them. They're hardly a complicated document - largely a retelling of the commandments of Danne. They bar thievery and major violence, prostitution and drugs, and most hooligan behavior.

A notable twist of the Writs is that they place a penalty on most crimes, even pricing parts of the body and lives, so that a person of means can chose to pay a fine to the victim of a crime or his family, rather than enter exile or face execution. The fines for petty crime are frequently manageable, payable through hard labor or a year or two's salary, but the fines for major crimes are so steep that some desperate men sometimes try to coerce the affluent into wronging them, just so they can turn a dime for themselves or their families. Confidence games are strictly illegal; barred under the same clause of the Writs that established the fines in the first place. But it's only a crime to the men foolish enough to get caught...

Crime and Punishment

Crime is hardly rampant aboard the Turritella. The consequences are far too dire. The fate of a minor criminal caught is quick and efficient: immediate deportation. The low-level thieves and vandals are rarely given a second chance, they're simply exiled on the next cycle of The Lift to live the rest of their lives in Cessnock. Serious crimes skip the elevator, and are solved by public hangings everywhere but Kaipalu itself. In the city, a death sentence is a ride through the Downs-Tube?.

Still, consequences as great as they may be, there are hardly enough Frontiersmen to turn the space station into a crime-free utopia. The only criminals who can be punished are the ones who are caught, and General Garrett's men don't have the resources or drive to round up every last punk. The worst offenders may get a posse on their tail or a bounty on their head, but most petty thieves and unknown bandits can hide away safely, and smuggling yourself back up from The Surface is no impossible feat.

What is and is not considered a crime is codified primarily in the Writs, but many sheriffs prefer to follow the "I-knows-it-when-I-sees-it" mentality.

There is virtually no judicial system aboard the Turritella aside from the Frontiersmen and its agents. A Sheriff makes an arrest and accuses the arrested of a crime, and his immediate superior - usually the local Marshal, except in cases where a Technical Sergeant has intervened, will sign a proclamation of crime. Theoretically, they are supposed to interview witnesses, observe evidence, and objectively judge a crime to decide guilt, but few crimes have flimsy enough evidence to justify their direct attention.