Last summer, my Royal Air Maroc flight from Casablanca landed at Malabo International Airport in Equatorial Guinea, and I completed a 50-year mission: I had officially, and legally, visited every recognized country on earth.
This means 196 countries: the 193 members of the United Nations, plus Taiwan, Vatican City, and Kosovo, which are not members but are, to varying degrees, recognized as independent countries by other international actors.
I guess that there is some extremely wealthy, anagathic-addict lunatic who plans to visit each of the 11,000 systems of the Imperium.
I say ‘systems’, as there are far more than 11,000 worlds in even a sector. If a sector has 400 systems, and each system has over 50 planets & moons (like ours, but my number of 50 worlds in our solar system is really old here…), then that’s 20,000 worlds right there.
And you’ll need the anti-aging anagathics (or pure Vilani ancestry) to visit all the worlds. Eleven thousand systems is a lot: visiting one system a day, with instant FTL, would take 30 years. But it can take no less than one week (on average) to visit a system, due to the nature of jumpspace, so 11,000 = 7 days = 77,000 days, or 210 years.
To enter one country, the author was
disguised as part of a team studying under the guidance of an archaeology professor and expert on the tiny clay counters used for keeping financial accounts in the Middle East some 7,000 years ago. My own finances were $9,000 weaker after airfare and tour arrangements.
Another officer required a bribe of $50 to leave the
a uniformed officer rubbed his thumb and fingers together as I approached and said, “Money, money, money.” He asked for a bribe of $50 to let me leave the airport.
I told him, in my most forceful French, that I had already paid for my visa.
He looked unimpressed: “Money, money, money.”
I lied and told him that the Chadian ambassador to the United States had assured me that I did not have to pay more money to enter Chad.
He looked at me as if I were a simpleton: “Money. Money.”
I asked him to show me the regulation that required me to pay.
He looked at me as if I were a troublemaker.
I told him I would pay him only if he gave me a signed receipt.
He choked with laughter and shared the joke with two of his colleagues, who were waiting for their cut.
As the end of both his shift and my patience approached, the price of the bribe dropped to $15.
I had only a twenty, which I gave him, and asked for change. For this I got the biggest laugh of the day and a wave to get the hell out.
Now, Somalia is a good model for the more frisky Solomani systems:
Somalia has been devastated by decades of war and terrorism, so it certainly needs tourist dollars, but its government is reluctant to see visitors get killed or kidnapped. A few hotels and guesthouses are, however, open for business, although they primarily cater to diplomats and nongovernmental organizations, and they do take care of procuring visas. They can also book at least four, and preferably six, armed guards who will form a complete perimeter defense around you, with their chief beside you, usually scanning the rooftops with binoculars for snipers.
Looks like a job for a PC crew… “Good pay, but you’ll be earning it, so do yourself a favour and think before signing the bottom line…”
For another nation…
I finally gave up on the official procedure and found a way in (with camera) thanks to a friend at the United Nations, who put me in touch with an official of the Arab League, who put me in touch with a shady character who “facilitated” my entry in 2008 by crossing several palms with silver to procure a visa.
Being a facilitator could be a nice side business, for PCs with initiative!