Space Lane Trader Lore Content
Entering the Flying hen pub on Terra station, orbiting earth, you quickly see Stanley, the retired spaceship captain that you came here to see.
As a new and aspiring captain you wanted to hear about what you can expect to find out there in the void before you actually encounter it, and Stan seemed to be the perfect man to tell you something about that.
Hi, he says and stands up to greet you – nice to finally meet you. Did you have a nice ride up to the station?
The greetings out of the way, he starts to give you some well received advice.
Remember, he tells you, that your learning curve will be very steep in the beginning, but try to take things easy, and do few safe and easy cargo runs to start with. After this, you can venture further out and really start earning some money. Considering the state of your ship, you should really buy a few upgrades as soon as you can – a few defence upgrades will be good to prepare for the outlying systems. Getting some extra speed is also good, and can give you on edge on your competitors. Also, remember getting a larger ship, like a cargo Freighter or a cargo Carrier will increase your cargo capacity a lot and let you earn more money even faster than you can now. One other thing that you must consider, he says, is that the Terran Federal Logistical Service doesn’t allow you to trade however you like. Trade is controlled. You are limited to trade only a limited number of types of goods, and will need special permits to do your trading. The market brokers usually don’t ask to see your permit though, so you can buy and sell goods that you don’t have a permit for, but be wary, because if you get inspected by customs, they will take your cargo away from you. I think that was about all I can tell you at this point, he finally says – get out there captain – and stay on the space lanes.
The year is 3018. Man has spread across the galaxy with the help of the Alcubierre drive, making it possible to travel faster than light, and has terraformed and settled many of the planet systems in closest vicinity to earth. Spaceships travel back and forth between the planets along Space Lanes carrying passengers, equipment and a wide array of different goods that are in demand.
You have decided to try your luck in this booming business where it is possible to earn a small fortune in little or no time, but it is also accompanied by a certain degree of risk. Although the authorities fight to keep the Space Lanes free from debris, pirates and aliens, from time to time Transport ships go missing without a trace. You now find yourself looking for your first haul at Terra station – a gigantic space station hovering over the Earth where millions of tons of different cargo switches hand every day.
As man spreads across the galaxy, new opportunities arise for those brave enough to dare to take the risks. This new frontier tempts entrepreneurs from all walks of life to try their fortune and a kind of wild west spirit can be easily found, especially on the outermost planets. Here among the newer settlements man is a new factor, and while mankind tries to transform space to fit mankind, thanks to terraforming exercising its influence onto planets formerly uninhabitable, unknown perils are still many and commonplace for the frontier entrepreneurs.
The oldest and most developed settlements (the Core systems) are situated on planets targeted by the first wave of terraforming effort – 300 years ago.
These planets are Wolf 359, Luhman 16, Alpha Centauri, Barnard´s Star and Wise 0855+0714 – here, man has had a long presence and terraforming have had time to take effect. These planets are called the inner systems and are beacons of civilization. The second wave of the system settling saw terraforming efforts starting on Procyon, EZ Aquarii, Sirius, Ross 248 and Lacaille 9352. The Terraforming process on these planets were started during the last 100-year period, so progress is different on each planet. The pre-conditions for terraforming on each planet were also quite different.
On Procyon for example – life had been established millennia ago and only small adjustments had to be made in order to support human life. As a contrast to Procyon – Terraforming the icy wastes of EZ Aquarii required longer work to be able to support any type of life. All planets are now capable of supporting human life but are still very dependent on imports from other planets.
Epsilon Eridani, Luyten 726-8, Lalande 21185, Lacaille 9352 was deemed unfit for terraforming but is valuable to humankind in other forms – either as a site where valuable resources can be harvested, as a site for huge factories or as a place where space pilots can relax and refuel their ships on their long voyages.
The political situation has been relatively stable since the Terran Federation was formed. The purpose of the federation was to give the colonies independence but also to form cooperation in different areas, such as security, exploration, currency etc. There is the occurrence of an up-flaring skirmish with factions who want to take independence a step further and break completely with Earth, but the majority of the population is pro federalists.
Terraforming is a slow process – taking at least a generation to complete. It starts by modifying the atmosphere – adding gases that will support plant life and produce water. At acceptable levels, different species of plankton and algae is introduced which start to produce oxygen which further thickens the atmosphere and raises the temperature. When the oxygen level reaches about 17%, specially trained personnel is introduced into the environment setting up atmospheric converters to help in the terraforming process. Finally, when the temperature reaches reasonably comfortable levels which is usually an average temperature of 0°C (over the entire year) the world is opened up for settlers.
The safest way to travel between worlds are via Space Lanes – routes that was explored long ago and deemed safe for travel. Security forces patrol along the lanes, making sure that they are free of any objects that ships can collide with, and keeping pirates and aliens at bay. Travelling outside of these lanes are possible but not recommended for civilian ships– the risk of running into pirates, aliens, uncharted asteroid fields or high radiation fields are too great for the average spaceship pilot to face. New space lanes are being chartered however. The interstellar chartering corps are continuously discovering more and more planets and are setting up Space Lanes to these.
Man has encountered aliens many times during the last two centuries, but never completely established communications and no one knows where they are coming from and what motivates them. They continue to be an enigma and a headache for the authorities. They usually turn up from nowhere and disappear just as quickly, sometimes taking people or equipment with them.
The Terran Federation has recently opened up for private enterprises to take over some of the transport duties that was previously carried out exclusively by the authorities. This is due to three main factors, first – the security situation is now deemed to be good enough to let private enterprise to take over some of the transport duties, second – some of the colonies closest to earth has grown so large that the demand for goods are so big that the Terran Federation no longer can keep up, and third – the Terran Federation has now spread so far and opened up so many Space Lanes that the number of ships they have available are not enough to perform all transport missions that are needed
Piracy is not a common occurrence, but as in all societies, crime is a fact of life. Piracy is motivated by both greed and political ideas. There are individuals and gangs that want to pursue a life of piracy, either because of the adventure or because of the money. Piracy, therefore is a factor that must be taken into account, but it is uncommon and if it happens – it usually is where authorities have less presence – on the outlying planets. Then, there is piracy for political reasons. There are different factions that want colonies to fully break away from the Terran Federation and sometimes these groups take up arms to show that they mean business. This is fairly rare and can usually be dealt with pretty quickly, but attacks do happen.
As you are new to the opportunities of the Space Lanes you will not be able to afford a new spaceship. Instead you are limited to the second-hand market and will have to start out with a ship with (at-least) one previous owner. You just hope you will be able to find something patched up enough to be reliable for a few trips on the Space Lanes before it is time to start any major repairs or buy a newer vessel. After a couple of visits to the local junk yards and transport dealerships you settle on a vessel that might suit your needs. In Space Lanes Trader, three different ship Classes are used and can be bought by you – Transports, Freighters and Carriers. Transports are smaller transport vessels that are used for carrying smaller amounts of cargo, mainly between the core systems, but sometimes also between systems quite far from any real civilization. They are cheap to buy, especially if they are used and therefore popular among new and aspiring captains trying to make it in the transporting business. Freighters are larger than Transports and can carry more cargo. Their big advantage however is that they generally are fast and have a considerably longer range than Transports. They are therefore more useful when hauling cargo longer distances – between the inner and outer systems or between different outer systems. Carriers are very large vessels that can carry considerably more cargo than both Transports and Freighters. The big cargo hold however has forced the designers to fit smaller engines to it which makes them rather slow. The range is great, so they are suitable for hauling cargo to the outer planets.
Aegir – Cargo Transport
The Aegir is a Core-system Transport optimized for shorter trips between the inner systems of the Terran Federation. When it was designed, logistics was a priority, therefore, the time for acceleration and de-acceleration is very quick for a ship this size. The cargo-system is also very fast and flexible, with standard containers being easy to load and unload. The Aegir is a flexible design that allows for many different upgrades. The limiting factor is its reactor, which has a quite poor output. Although is does not have substantial amounts of armor, it is very maneuverable for a cargo transport and has great acceleration properties, which makes it a hard target to engage for pirates and aliens. It is a somewhat modern design that has been manufactured in large quantities which makes it fairly cheap to buy. Being manufactured in such large quantities it is quite easy to find good repair facilities and spare parts is normally in abundance. The size of the cargo bay has been a priority, which means that the space available for engines are limited and consequently the speed of the ship is low, but its flexible design allow for modifications to be installed which can improve this. All in all, this makes the Aegir a popular choice for new captains wanting to go into the booming transportation business, since the time spent docked in various space stations is minimized and the travel time per carried cargo weight unit is favorable.
Hyperion – Cargo Transport
The Hyperion is an older Cargo Transport ship used for deep space transports. It was designed about a century ago, when travelling long distances was considerably more dangerous than now. It has pretty good defensive capabilities, and can be fitted with a wide range of weaponry that will make it more than a match in a fight. Since it is designed for deep space transports, its speed is good, but unfortunately have had to reduce its cargo capacity to such an extent that it cannot compete with more modern designs, and therefore been phased out by many organizations and companies. Its older design also makes it more difficult to upgrade and spare parts can sometimes be hard to find. On the upside – when it was designed it was well ahead of the competition and is therefore still in use, and can occasionally be seen around space stations loading and unloading cargo. It is known for its reliability and easy handling and is therefore a popular choice for new captains trying their luck in the transport business.
Taurus – Cargo Freighter
As colonies grew, there was an increased need for transporting more goods each cargo
run. In response to this, the Taurus cargo Freighter was developed. The Taurus retained
the good speed and range of its predecessor – the Hyperion, but the cargo capacity
was doubled. On the downside, its attack capabilities is not up to par with the Rhino. Its
defence its almost as good as the Rhino, but not quite.
The Taurus is normally used for long-range, deep-space transport duty, since the layout
is awkward and the time for loading and unloading cargo is long, making time spent
docked at space stations long. Due to this, it normally cannot compete with coresystem Transports, such as the Aegir when running trade routes between the coresystems. Instead it excels doing long-range trade routes. The reactor is quite powerful
for its size, enabling it to fit equipment that is relatively heavy and requires a large
amount of power.
Atlas – Cargo Carrier
The Atlas is an evolution of the Taurus Freighter, turning it into a Carrier class ship that can carry more cargo than most ships out there. Prioritizing its large cargo bay and cargo carrying capacity, combined with a very large fuel bay means that the engines had to be made smaller. Therefore, the speed capabilities of the Atlas are not as good as the Taurus. This makes it a god economic alternative compared to any of its competitors. The Atlas is usually used for resupplying the outer systems and recently established colonies and space stations. It has an excellent range which makes it very suitable for this task. Being a more modern ship, it is more expensive to acquire and the used-market is very small. It is also quite flexible and can be fitted with a wide range of upgrades. It has inherited the reactor from the Taurus, but since it is a much larger ship, the power to weight ratio is lower and consequently also slower than the Taurus.
X5JN-56 is a highly advanced prototype created ten years ago by the famous cybernetic scientist Dr Egon Hall. When Dr Hall recently died, his last wish was to let X5JN-56 live a life as any sentient human being. After thorough testing, it was deemed sentient and X5JN-56 was set free to determine its own path in life. Being somewhat of an outsider in human society, it sold all of its creator’s belongings and bought a Transport Cargo ship wishing to carve out a new life for itself as a spaceship Captain. As it´s an android, it has multiple sensors that allows it to perceive the world around it in ways no human can. However, due but due to its lack of experience with human culture, it is viewed by most people as a detached and indifferent machine. With money running low, it now finds itself at the Terran space station looking for a profitable haul.
Julia Schmidt knew from a very early age that she wanted to make a career in music and singing. She tried to get into very prestigious schools like the Terran Academy of Opera, but was rejected. Instead, she made a career in music through playing the piano and singing in bars or wherever she could find a job. During these years she perfected her negotiation skills dealing with people from all walks of life. One day she met a spaceship captain of a cargo ship making runs all over the known universe – she married him and became his business partner for about six months. However, he then suddenly and very unexpectedly died for unknown reasons. She is now in possession of a well-maintained cargo transport ship and is looking to make it as a spaceship cargo captain on her own. She is determined to be successful…
Engineer Fred Crankshaft has had a keen interest in technology ever since he was a little boy – especially spaceships and everything having to do with space travel. He decided to go to engineering school to specialize in spaceship propulsion technology. After graduation he was employed by a fusion reactor manufacturer where he further enhanced his skills. In his early thirties he developed a longing for experiencing new things – to go into space and see the wonders of the known universe. He took employment as a chief engineer on a freighter to fulfil his dream and learned a lot in the process. After doing this for nearly ten years he was sick and tired of doing what others wanted him to do and decided to try to go into business of his own. It was natural to continue in the trading business which was now very familiar to him. He is now at the Terran space station with a brand-new Transport ship looking for his first cargo shipment.
Abraham von Geld
Merchant Abraham von Geld was born into a rich merchant clan in what is known as the middle east on Terra. Although his family was very successful, and Abraham had a nice and easy life, it became clear that he wanted more. He yearned to go into business for himself and start his own trading empire. He started slow, trying to find profitable trades in Asia and was fairly successful. His aims were set higher however, as he wanted to go into space and expand his trade empire across the galaxy, where his ships would fly and trade across the planets. He has finally amassed enough money to buy a Transport ship and finds himself now at the Terran space station trying to find his first cargo and make his mark among the stars. Highly excited he enters the local market. Let the trading begin…
Reverend Noel Best grew up in a highly religious home in a remote colony on the moon. It was a tough upbringing, and he took comfort in the presence of God at an early age. In his teens, he had a revelation from God telling him to spread God’s word to the unbelievers in the world. He left the colony and started to preach the word of God in remote colonies all around the solar system. Being a charismatic individual, he was somewhat successful, but he wanted more – he wanted to go further – to other worlds where his work would do even more good. Few captains were willing to take him on as passenger however, mostly because of his habit to use his sledgehammer on unbelievers. He has therefore decided to get his own ship – make some money and start a city on a remote planet, where God’s word will truly be law and people will be free to follow him.
Scientist Manuela Muller had a good upbringing in one of the better families on earth. She did well in school, although she didn’t like it very much. She did what was expected of her even so, and went on to university (more so to please her parents than herself). After finishing university, her father suggested that she continue and pursue a Ph.D. in particle physics – just like him. Faithful to her habit of making her parents happy, she went along and did what her father had suggested. She worked as a scientist for 15 years until her parents died in a traffic accident. After grieving for a year, she realized that only she could decide what she wanted to do with her life and set out to do what she had always wanted – go into business as a captain of her own Transport ship and travel between the stars. After selling most of her belongings, using up all her savings and spending the inheritance from her parents, she finally had the money to buy a Transport ship and is now at the Terran space station looking for suitable cargo.
Monica Sanchez comes from a long line of servicemen. Her father, mother, a few of her uncles, and most of her brothers and sisters joined some branch of military service. She decided to go into service with the Terran Federation Army and has travelled from conflict to conflict during the past nine years. One day she was contacted by her brother, who told her that he had bought a Transport ship and was going into the cargo-shipping business. He asked her to join his business as head of ship security. After only a few cargo-runs, they ran into their first aliens and during the following years they became quite good at keeping away from this menace. A few months ago, however, they had an encounter with an alien vessel and her brother died. She now finds herself as captain of a fine Transport ship, looking for her first cargo-haul as commander.
Robert Berg was born on Luhman 16. His parents were in the shipping business back then, when space travel was significantly more dangerous than it is now. During the first Independence war, when Luhman 16 was trying to break free from the shackles of Earth, the whole family was asked to raid Earth Transport ships that were out in the vast loneliness of space. Somehow, when the war was over, the family continued on the piracy path, although it now made them outlaws. They continued this for many years, and when Robert´s parents got too old for that kind of life, he took over the ship as captain. Good things do not last though, and one day he was captured and put in prison. After serving a 10-year sentence for piracy, he got his old ship back and is now at the Terran space station trying to decide whether to change and do some regular cargo-hauling for the rest of his life or…….go back to his old life as a gun-slinging pirate extraordinaire.