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Story - Diary of a Trader

Diary of a Trader

Storms hide the surface of Shiva from view and from what I am led to believe they never break. Ganesha, also in this system has a starbase though there is a promise to blow me out of orbit should I ever return, so Shiva seems like a better idea all told.

Turbulence hammers us as we set down close to one of the vast greenhouse farms at the base of the volcano that forms the only continent on this world. Communication with local authorities has been the usual fiasco and I get ever more frustrated at the delays.

Next comes more than a day of marking off items as they arrive from different sources and having to haggle over substitutions. I swear that here the phrase 'everything is as expected' is synonymous with 'yeah, its gone tits up'.

When things turn up, I oversee the crewmembers loading of the local consumables. This is the term we captains use for cheap junk that people at the other end of the galaxy think of as exotic. The manifest breaks it down into no less than sixty-five categories including things like local dried eanchui flowers, trinkets made from seven different coral reefs and what the hell are gobey-balls and why three sizes? Honestly I don't care as long as I have a buyer.

Personally I prefer to buy consumables. Yeah I know that luxuries take up a lot less room, but then you risk getting greedy. That's how I got my scar. The first ship I signed on was the ill-named Fool's Fate. It was smaller than this freighter. The captain, eager to maximise profits used to do 'The Run'. No less than five systems on a round trip. Yeah it took the best part of two months but it filled the hold with top end luxuries, all unique. We were heading between Celt and Brittanicus and out in the middle of space when it got nailed by pirates. Our hold was still pretty much empty so we had bugger-all ejection mass. They boarded us, taking the ship, the cargo and even selling the survivors, including myself into slavery. Anyway, that's in the past. Now I try to go for consumables. That way I tend to have a full cargo - enough to dump and flee - while not losing a vast fortune if it comes down to that.

Time drags. I don't know what is worse, the boredom, the aching gravity or a bunch of dirt grubbers waxing lyrical about their miserable ball of water covered rock. Give me a starbase to trade at any day.

Eventually we are finished and I spend the return to orbit in the can renewing my vow not to touch local food. Still I get the satisfaction of dumping on the world from a great height.

While a course to the next world has been plotted I have already found a buyer for this batch and intend to meet them along the way. After heading out beyond the inner jump ring and performing the jump transition into the Hittite we head back in, stopping only to transfer the merchandise to a privateer freighter. I have dealt with the captain a few times so this one goes very smoothly. I believe that the she works for the Detinus Republic though she prefers the privateer flag out here as it attracts less attention.

A day or so later (a very loose term in space) we land in Westfall by Farmwich. It was dark and raining. I can't remember the last time I landed on a world when the weather wasn't shitty. Give me space anytime.

The ground crew are reluctant to leave the shelter of their office and do the security checks remotely. I can't blame them, I was here to meet the locals anyway and do a private deal. I could have landed elsewhere on the planet and avoided security altogether but I would rather face a few hours here in port than land outside a settlement or bunch of farms. At least here you know where to go, who to meet and the terminal has all the right loading gear.

Security personnel guarding the gate into the inner port section of the base consists of a couple of big aliens with guns. They don't pay us the slightest attention. We quickly make our way to the merchandising zone, having already checked the available deals on the descent. Captains prefer the speed of dealing in a starport so the merchants come here to trade directly with the captains. Civilian merchants prefer dealing directly with captains as they don't like the idea of being ripped off by selling through the starbase. It's worth them paying the starbase tax just to get in the port. This suits me fine as I can get in, get a shipment and get out without having to eat any local food.

We split up. I go onto the exchange hall while the others, my crew, go on to the designated warehouse holding the merchandise I am looking to buy. The exchange hall proves little more than a filthy prefab shelter partly open to the elements with booths, tables and a few vendors clustered down one end.

The deal has been agreed in principle though I loiter around waiting for confirmation of merchandise by my crew. It does not take long, just a quick inspection of random items on the list. After I get it I approach the table with a half illuminated sign and a short squad native. He grunts a few words I have no idea the meaning off and we touch datapads. Stellars are transferred in exchange for retrieval protocols.

The transaction takes only a few seconds and we both leave in different directions. He does not seem inclined to shoot the breeze. It's likely he was just a hired local representing a group of civilian merchants.

A few days later and for once it is not pissing it down - no, it is hot dry and shitty. I am standing under a blazing sun arguing with a bunch of nomads from a nearby settlement. I've managed to exchange the modules with an outpost for a lot of metal ingots. Yeah they want these bloody ingots but as usual, 'everything is as expected'. Seems getting the local currency together and sorting out how to get them from our cargo to their warehouse is proving problematic. Apparently the warehouse is in the middle of town and down a narrow street. They also were under the impression that metal ingots can be stacked on a small cart pulled by a large lizard. I stand looking at the cart and shaking my head - there is now way it will support the weight of even a single ingot, with dimensions of around ten metres cube.

They send out for help into one of the larger townships in this urbanised sector and while we wait offer what appears to be rendered lizard, shooing away insects - I accept as much as I don't want it. Nothing pisses grubbers off more than refusing their hospitality and I don't want to lose this deal.

By the time the trucks arrive I am still living to regret this entire farce. My guts are watery and my skin is blistered worse than when the shielding fell off the tertiary jump coupling.

The coins, notes and bonds are collected and checked while the trucks are loaded. As we are finally lifting off I can see a crowd of natives surrounding an upturned truck and what looks like half a flailing lizard sticking out from under an ingot. Thankfully the roar of the engines drowns out the noise - bloody civilians. Now to find somewhere where I can convert this local currency into nice clean electronic stellars.


Key Features  [Recruit]

Where to Trade?
Buying and selling to civilian traders can be conducted anywhere in the Peripheries. You can trade while landed in an urban sector, a cultivated sector or docked in a starport (not an outpost). Trading from a starport is significantly faster (costs less TU's).

Starbase Restrictions
Just because it is in the interests of the starbase for you to trade from their starport, it does not follow that you are welcome there. Best check first. Look at their market message (if they have one). If they specifically ask you to use the hiport, you can be fairly certain they don't want you landing and may automatically board your ship.

Determining what is on Offer
While in orbit or landed on the world (or docked in a starbase), you can use the 'Contact Civilian Traders' order. This will give you a list of standard exports and imports for the world. You can also seek private deals. This is essentially using your contacts to determine if there are any unusual goods. These can be trade items unique to the star system (and therefore worth a lot more elsewhere as described in the story above). There is also the possibility that other items are available. The deal need not be on the world you are orbiting. This is just information on the deal that has been passed to you by your contact. If a private deal is revealed it will however always be in the same Periphery.

How much can you Trade?
The export and import report gained through 'Contact Civilian Traders' order gives a list of available items that can be bought and sold directly from the civilian population (as opposed to starbase markets controlled by players). These markets are reset weekly so it may be worth checking again in a few weeks.

Buying from Civilian Traders
Civilian traders only accept stellars. The price for trade goods is indexed against the prosperity of the world. With the same ship you can conduct as many 'buy from civilian traders' as you have the TU's and stellars for. Items listed in your private deals can only be bought from the world where they are offered. What you do with them after that is up to you - though selling them to player controlled starbases is the first option. You could try to stash them somewhere (build an outpost or create a cargo dump) but that is risky.

Selling to Civilian Traders
Civilian traders only pay in guilders. Guilders are zero mass trade items (local currency). The amount they pay for trade goods is indexed against local prosperity. The same mechanics as buying from civilian traders also apply to selling to civilian traders. Once you have guilders, you have to sell them on in order to get stellars. Look at the market report to determine who is buying guilders and how much they are paying for them (and of course how close they are to you). As they take up no space on your ship you can have as many as you want but then if your ship is pirated or destroyed, you have lost the lot.

 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic