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nobby-w October 4th, 2018 05:58 PM

Industries in a sci-fi setting
I've been doing a little bit of examination of the banal and mundane in a sci-fi setting (3I or other). When your party rocks up to a high port, startown or some other location, what is actually there? If you think about the terminal of an airport, there are loads of duty free shops, cafes and various other facilities. What might one find in the passenger concourse of the high port at (say) Regina or Rhylanor? Who might have offices in an orbital facility, or startown, or downtown in a major city on a TL13 planet?

There are some fabulously detailed lists of products and industries in today's world, for example NAPCS/NAICS, NACE (links below).1

What industries might one find in a high tech economy - for example:
  • A fabber company that custom builds parts for out-of-production spacecraft.
  • A small company that services robots.
  • A company that manufactures third-party sights for ACRs or gauss rifles.
  • A company that manufactures vacc suits
  • A company that refurbishes vacc suits.
  • A company that refills fuel canisters for vacc suit thruster packs with Hydrazine2
  • A clinic that installs cybernetics
  • A clinic that uses a small meson accelerator for radiological cancer treatments.
  • An interstellar chain of mediocre coffee shops called 'Apollo's'
  • A Bertram - a chain of superstores selling ship's supplies. Found in most class-C or better starports.
  • Moss & Eisley small cargoes - a chain of cargo brokers.
1Links to big, comprehensive lists of industry classifications

2 Hydrazine is famously toxic and generally regarded as a PITA to handle. See John D Clark's Ignition, which has just been re-printed for a fabulous treatise on rocket fuels.

Whipsnade October 4th, 2018 06:42 PM

Thanks for the links. Lots of stuff to borrow and lot of stuff which should stir the imagination.

If memory serves, Flykiller put together a downport for a world he'd been "given" via one of FFE's patent of nobility cards. He listed several types of businesses and industries.

Another member here whose name my sieve-like memory can't recall has worked as a chandler and made several very interesting posts about that work.

wbuthod October 4th, 2018 07:29 PM


Originally Posted by nobby-w (Post 593793)
  • An interstellar chain of mediocre coffee shops called 'Apollo's'
  • A Bertram - a chain of superstores selling ship's supplies. Found in most class-C or better starports.

The SPA likes to make the spacers feel at home wherever they dock (think Love's or Flying J truck stops) so,

1) On every high port the SPA runs (IMTU), you'll find the chandlery two decks below main freight level, across from the main freight elevators. They'll sell you replacement consumables, parts, tools, and a selection of general items. Custom clothing orders in the livery of your ship or company can be processed in about a day. The sales staff can arrange for other services and products, acting as a concierge - for a small fee. Small crews and harried pursers find the upcharge is worth not having to make arrangements with a dozen different service providers and suppliers. And the chandlery often negotiates discounts with preferred suppliers/providers, so the upcharge barely ticks over the MSRP. If you make your order inbound from the Jump point, it will be palletized and ready to load by the time you've offloaded cargo and your payment method clears. New or refurbished vacc suits can be obtained, but you'll need to get measured in the store before their preferred partners begin fitting it.

2) There is a small space off to one side the chandlery entrance that sells mediocre coffee in zero-G cups (just in case) and cheap snacks (tasty, but think Space Food Sticks(tm) in sweet and savory varieties). There are a few tall tables to stand at as you nosh. A lot of gossip shows up here but you'll likely get more details one deck down.

3) Go one deck further down on the personnel elevator nearest the freight tube, and you'll find cheap lodging for crews taking liberty without landfall.

4) The low-end bars and entertainment start about 90 degrees counterclockwise from the main freight elevator on the same level.

5) Fast food and cafes can be found 90 degrees or so clockwise, same deck. Nothing fancy, but the good coffee and the comfort foods of a dozen planets in the region can be found, in addition to generic crowd-pleasers from throughout the Imperium. Unlike the passenger/tourist levels above main freight, they don't harangue spacers for how they're dressed.

(90 degrees each direction from port one is usually where the intakes for the air processors are. It keeps the smells from overpowering the whole level.)

vegas October 4th, 2018 08:22 PM

There are a lot of good resources of this stuff (T5, GT:Starports) but a few things that probably should be present but I find tend to be overlooked

On the starport grounds:
* water & gas suppliers (specifically O2 N2 for ship atmo control),
* galley & cabin janitorial services (stewards aren't maids and the onboard robots only do so much),
* hazmat control & disposal services (ships are messy and since they put in port once a week, they probably don't bother with 100% closed loop systems),
* fumigation/irradiation/quarantine facilities (and other hi-tech bio contamination control for cargo/livestock/passengers as necessary),

Near the starport:
* logistics & forwarder service provider offices (big boys just need warehouses/fulfillment centers, but lots of small companies can't justify their own IX/shipping/warehousing, so they outsource the management & performance of these processes. This is likely especially true in a high tech future when lots of small, high-value, high-tech components are in routine use.)
* fabricators & glass/ceramics/polymers/metals suppliers (the ship yards/maintenance suppliers inside the starport need raw materials to do their work, and they will be located nearby but outside the gates.)

Away from the starport/downtown:
well, that is beyond the scope of this little post. Everything in those industrial codes is a good start. Economies are vast and complex; future high tech ones probably even more so!

Whipsnade October 4th, 2018 09:06 PM


Originally Posted by vegas (Post 593800)
* logistics & forwarder service provider offices (big boys just need warehouses/fulfillment centers, but lots of small companies can't justify their own IX/shipping/warehousing, so they outsource the management & performance of these processes. This is likely especially true in a high tech future when lots of small, high-value, high-tech components are in routine use.)

Good list. The bit I quoted is often overlooked despite extrality figuring in so many adventures. Companies which specialize in the moving goods both ways across the extrality line would exist if only because of their expertise with local duties, tariffs, paperwork, etc. Such companies would also be able to consolidate small amounts of goods with other small amounts into larger "extrality crossing" shipments saving on duties and handling charges.

Bonded warehouses are going to be present on either side of the extrality line too acting as duty free "annexes". These warehouses wouldn't only stores goods but would also process, repackage, and sort goods too. Take air filters for example.

There would be a firm in port supplying air filters to ships which needed them. Certain classes of ships would buy certain types of filters in certain quantities. That would mean the firm would sell Suleiman packs, Beowulf packs, Marava packs, and so on. If the firm moved those filters in sales packs across the extrality line, they'd pay export duties on them at retail prices. If the firm shipped unsorted quantities of filters across the line and then sorted them into packs under bond in a warehouse in the port, they might not pay duty at all if the filters were only supplied to vessels engaged in interstellar traffic.

epicenter00 October 5th, 2018 02:00 AM

A lot of businesses in a port are not unique. You'll have many variations of certain kinds of popular services.

Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and places that straddle the line between these establishments - there'll be a huge number of these, many of them very similar, some catering to particular tastes.

Religious chapels - The more widespread religions may have a chapel in every port. Less widespread ones not so much, perhaps very common in their home region, then only found in the largest Class-A starports outside their home region. They might be given an entire wing unto themselves.

Hotels, Hostels, Flophouses - There'll always be places for people to sleep, of varying price and accomodation.

Mortuary and Death Reporting Service - The 3I is a big place. A lot of these itinerant travelers die from a huge number of causes. I think every large starport will have a service where you can bring them a body (provided it's been cleared by all the legal authorities) which will preserve a body for transport and take it back to a homeworld. If that can't be afforded, for a smaller fee, they'll send a letter back to the homeworld of the deceased along with a box of personal effects. The cheapest services are likely heavily subsidized by various charities and so on so are cheaper than you'd think.

Appraisers/Pawn Shops.

timerover51 October 5th, 2018 02:02 AM

With respect to specifically Traveller, I would anticipate a couple of Hortalez et Cie offices. One dealing primarily with insurance and financing, and one dealing primarily with mercenaries. Another familiar facility would be the Instellarms sales and warehouse, for buying and selling both individual arms and arms for a larger mercenary unit and the local government.

There would also be the custom warehouses for the holding of cargo until cleared through customs, along with inspection for contraband.

Black Vulmea October 5th, 2018 03:19 AM

I strongly suggest checking out BITS' 101 Corporations and, if you can find it, Phoenix Games' Spacefarers Guide to Sector Two - I used these, plus the handful of canonical corporations mentioned in Judges Guild's adventures and other sources, for my campaign set in Ley Sector years back.

I then used the corporations in my campaign to create an interstellar stock exchange - four of them, actually - as described in JTAS 6.


Originally Posted by nobby-w (Post 593793)
What industries might one find in a high tech economy [. . . ?]

  • Hospitality and entertainment: Hotels. Clubs. Theaters. Amusement parks. Production companies. Publishers. Frex, Freefall, a nightclub in an orbital habitat with clear floors and no artificial gravity - zero-G dance contest, anyone?
  • Environmental services: Resource extraction site remediation. Hazardous material management. Frex, a shipbreaking yard which, for a fee, allows you to scavenge hulks for replacement parts. Don't forget to bring your tool kit.
  • Public relations: Advertising. Image management. Propaganda. Frex, living billboards - viral ad campaigns involving genegeneered viruses which cause a corporate logo or celebrity's picture to appear on your skin.

Condottiere October 5th, 2018 03:47 AM

For stuff you don't need.

Ulsyus October 5th, 2018 06:50 AM

A catering firm that that supplies pre-packaged meals, drinks, desserts, snacks, etc at varying standards of complexity & cost. Not necessarily divided by crew v passengers. The captain may eat better dinners than the ratings esp on larger vessels. The high-passage meal-sets would be packs of the ingredients, bundled by the no. of passengers at each meal.

All in all, an easy-option victualler that provides nutritious and balanced culinary options for spacers of all means.

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