Trope-a-Day: Human Mail

Human Mail: This is what “steerage-class” transportation is.Ā  In the old days they’d freeze you down (Human Popsiclestyle), and in the new days they put you into nanostasis, but either way, at the sophont shipping center they pack you into a body pod, stack them three by three by two into a powered (“reefer”) shipping container, and send the result off as freight to the sophont receiving center on your planet of destination, where they revive you. (Unless something goes wrong and you end up at the lost sophont office, but that hardly ever happens.)

In addition to being the favored transportation method of the poor and near-poor (because it’s obviously much cheaper to ship a corpsicle than something that needs life support), it’s also widely used for bulk personnel movements, like prisoner transfers, colonization ships, and troop transports.