From a cutting article on the epic corruption of FIFA (World soccer) and the IOC (Olympics) sport organizations.
There were $29m (£22m) Amex bills, there was the hilariously timed release of a vanity movie, there was the stop-motion implosion of Sepp Blatter. The IOC, for all their baroque scandals and malevolence down the years, were at least not this bad.
I think every Traveller should know (or serve) a Noble in one of the three stages of collapse (and a possible stage of recovery):
- huge debts – monetary or otherwise – but also a huge level of denial about just how much trouble he’s in (The PCs are having the time of their lives, but their sixth sense is ringing off the hook…);
- the exact moment when the express train of Really Bad Things Happening Really Fast smashes through the security grid as if it was so much tissue paper (It’s quite likely that the PCs won’t even survive this stage: but if they can figure out what the hell is happening, their likelihood of survival can get as high as 50%…);
- the scramble to survive, where a lot of things need to be done at the same time – get to the safe house, power up the Emergency Contact Network, figure out what when wrong (and how to fix it), find a way to sneak to their stash of weapons/hidden starship/bank account/heavily armed ally/secret compound, and begin the slow, difficult process of rebuilding the network, power, wealth, and respect/glory of the Noble House (while avoiding catching the eye of their enemy)
- maybe – maybe – getting back on his feet again: a lot harder psychologically after going through the fire, and either properly vindicated or well on his way to getting a rematch with his nemesis (who may either underestimate him, or has simply forgotten about him: “To you, it was the most important day of your life… but for me, it was Tuesday.”)
Wada’s budget is $27m, making it marginally more expensive than the IOC’s bar tab in an Olympic cycle, but dwarfed, perhaps, by its prostitute bill.
The Six Subsectors being the Six Subsectors, you’re going to have to spend real money for occasions requiring well bred, top-tier, Imperial Court level
whores prostitutes courtesans from the more wealthier regions of the Imperium. I doubt if most local Nobility can even afford to host these kind of women: “high maintenance” just scratches the surface here…
(I recall one post of the Traveller Mailing List, when a commentator spoke of having Michelangelo painting a unique scene on your body every morning, and washing the paint off before bed every night. This is actually a pretty good way of getting the idea across of just how much money is sloshing around at the very peak of the Imperial Pyramid.
PPS: that paint should be impossible-to-reproduce pigments from a single Ancient site that was destroyed 10,000 years ago. “Because I’m worth it!”, sayeth the fancy lady from the Imperial Core…)
As that verdict makes clear, this catastrophic moment in the pursuit of sporting integrity must not be conveniently confined to Russia. It is much bigger than Russia, though it must be said Russia is, at least to my knowledge, the only country where the sudden death of the first head of its anti-doping unit was followed two weeks later by that of his successor. It’s often said that sudden heart attacks are no respecters of class or wealth, but they do arguably show a certain deference to the Russian security services.
Before a PCs accepts an unexpected offer to a high Imperial office, with its fat salary, extensive honours and glorious privileges, he should find out why no one else has accepted it. It just might save his life…
(And if the offer does hold a murderous surprise, he might want to hold a little off-the-record chat with the kind benefactor that decided to offer it to him in the first place: the answers could be very educational.)
PS: in 993, the next Imperial Olympiad (certainly not to be confused with the Psionic Olympiad of the Zhodani Consulate) is in 1000 Imperial.
I recall (but can’t prove from Canon material) that the Imperial Olympics are held once a decade, and I assume that it circulates among the high-pop/high-tech worlds (Stellar Reaches #12, page 23; Stellar Reaches #19, page 15).
The level, importance, and nature of corruption within the Imperial Olympics, I leave to others. Frankly, I just want to know what all the sports are, and how many sporting events are impossible for humans to compete in…