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Space travel (and its inherent expense) was not the self-curing event to overpopulation many futurists predicted it would be. The biological need to “stay close to home” has kept much of the human race in or around their ancestral world of origin. The bane of overcrowding is most evident on board the stations, where limited space exaggerates the mega-concentration of humanity across its many decks and corridors.
Nanite driven birth control and/or sterilizations were implemented (described to those treated as “vaccines”) to help stave-off unauthorized births of those deemed “an unjustifiable fiscal burden to the Conglomerate's future.” Most so categorized were from the Lower Levels.
Mandatory, non-permanent sterilizations became policy in 2127 as the first space borne military generation drew its first breaths. This policy also extended to all subsequent orbital platforms, ships and operational bases. Admiral Pentrossa 195-8229-6963 famously said in support of this policy:
“Our warships are not nurseries for irresponsible misfits. Start a family in my fleet and a court marshal is the least of your worries. By the rights vested in me by our Code of Justice, you'll see the outside of an airlock long before the inside of a courtroom.”
[Ref: CMSB-CJ, Article IX, §1149.261.4: Subtext, “Treasonous Dereliction of Duty Through Biological Fiat”]
Admiral Pentrossa is known to have carried out his threat on three separate occasions (including one involving his XO). The fleet under his command had the smallest instance of on-tour pregnancies in all Conglomerate military history.
Sterilization reversal would be granted only when mating candidates demonstrated mature “real world” competence and the means to support offspring without assistance from Social Continuity and Order (SOCOOR) agencies. Increased cycling of migrant workers from the surface (and inbound from external systems) quickly overwhelmed the efficacy of mandatory sterilization. The Conglomerate knew it could not achieve compliance from every human across the universe and rescinded the policy. In its place, they took control of the right to copulate anywhere in space and tightly managed it.
The Mating Permit (also known as: “dip cards” or “sex slips,” by Menials) came into being in 2242. It was simple in concept and ruthless in execution. Failure to acquire a permit prior to mating carries exorbitant financial penalties and in other cases permanent sterilization.
The cost of a mating permit was therefore considered relatively inexpensive by comparison.
The Conglomerate is not so naïve as to believe it is able to stop all unsanctioned acts of carnality. However, sensor equipment have become so invasive that Security Police wielding SEDATR units (and the sporadic, public internment of offenders) have done much to stabilize station populations in ways no other policy could achieve. The fees collected by the Conglomerate also showed profitability where none existed before.