Tal sighed, he had been told that he would need to explain again to these people. They were responsible for all the major monetary transactions within this region of space. If he was going to be paid, they would be the ones paying. He took a deep breath and spoke into the real-time translator.
'Sirs, some of the details are beyond me though it has been explained that there was some sort of spatial rift in your region of space, caused I believe by the actions of a faction called the Detinus Republic. While I have no idea who they are or even how they did such a thing, there were repercussions in the Corewards Arm - the region of space from where I came. It was detected as a change in resonance across the public navigational frequencies. It was most strongest in the star system Discordia - so called because it has a reputation for peculiar subspace effects.
'During my investigations I was able to pick up what you refer to as subspace static and gain access to your public navigational protocols from which I was able to arrive in the star system Solo. '
'You tell us you represent a faction called the HarCop League of Merchants.' The interviewers looked concerned though eager. 'Who are they and how much territory do they claim? We need to determine if they are a threat.'
'Ah, no, they are not a threat, in fact officially they are no more. Yes I was one of their merchants, but now I am a Free Lancer. I will not bore you with the details as I am sure you have a greater understanding of galactic economics than a humble merchant captain. Suffice to say the League arose as two worlds separated by only a few light years discovered each other and helped each other's research until finally they could reach each other. The League was a privately sponsored enterprise with a monopoly on space travel. They traded between the two systems exchanging significant numbers of civilians then as investment swelled set out to discover new worlds to colonise.
'The premise was simple, borrow from investors to create a colony of civilians on a new world, provide them with the necessary infrastructure to start producing exports and then trade between the new colony and the home systems. It failed. They pushed too far too fast and eventually investors started to worry about repayments as the League had been far too optimistic on the cost and investment turnaround period. Recession swept the Arm and many small colonies declared independence while captains and crew, long without pay started to undertake private contracts - some somewhat nefarious - in their desperation.
'This sirs is why the Corewards Arm holds so much potential for you and the people you represent. We have many small isolated colonies in need of trade, we have too few ships to cope with demand. Yes I understand your fear about pirates but then your ships are vastly superior to anything that has been developed in our region of space. At worst they could prove a nuisance.
'So sirs are we agreed - you grant me the commerce protocols and the sum which I have calculated to be $1.5 million and I will transfer our public navigational protocols, giving you access to more than 30 star systems including our two Home Systems.'
'And the rest - what about the other systems you mentioned in the report?' queried on the interviewers.
'On the subject of the other systems, I cannot help you, I'm sorry. I was only a small cog in the League's engine and my knowledge extended only along the branch terminating in Discordia. Other members spoke of star systems along the other branches. I think that there may well be more than a hundred star systems - though even that number may be being a little conservative.'
Following the interview in the back rooms of Balmoral the two bankers reviewed the information. 'Well, it seems that we must pay the fellow - what choice do we have? War is raging through public space and though we keep hearing rumours of new frontiers the affiliations show little inclination to make them public. With new frontiers comes new markets and new markets means more wages and greater flow of stellars through the Extra-galactic Economic Monopoly. Even as we debate this there have been no less than three minor affiliations petitioning us for early access even though we have not officially confirmed the existence of this starcaptain from the Corewards Arm. Sanction the transfer and as soon as the navigational protocols have been confirmed, make them public then we can work on getting access to the others.'
'What about these other systems he referred to? How do we propose handling them?'
'We will send a delegation to their homeworld and whatever anyone else offers, we will more than match - think about it, if one faction has access we will be lucky to see a few stellars, if everybody has access, they will be falling over each other to ensure that they have troops on the ground and in orbital platforms - and every extra troop is another stellar passing through our commercial protocols. Cynical know, but it's what we do.'
'Agreed. It's looking promising. This year I intend to give myself a nice fat bonus. We might even take a trip to Hannahannas.'
'You'd take your wife to the Pleasure Pits?'
'As far as she is concerned I will be attending a rather dull meeting with the Kastorian Junta. I was referring to my new secretary.'
'Felini isn't she? Is it true, you know?'
'All of it...'