A Cargo Discussion
The following is a discussion which takes place on the planet of El Paso, D767444 TL 4 (located at 0810, Sword Subsector, Piper Sector, Far Out Rim Expanses). El Paso is Tech Level 4 by choice, has knowledge of higher Tech Levels, and does have some higher, in certain cases, much higher Tech Level equipment. For trade purposes, the planet is Non-Industrial, and borderline Agricultural. The planet population is about 76,000, composed of an extremely independent group of people who view High Tech civilization with disgust, and are interested in living in the manner of their understanding of the Old West (North American Earth, circa 1880). The Law Level is deceiving, as just about all inhabitants have some knowledge of blackpowder weaponry, carrying and using said weaponry with considerable abandon. Visitors are allowed one, repeat one, mistake, after that, it is their problem. If such ratings were allowed, this would definitely be an Amber Zone. Refined fuel is available, and if you land at the starport, a ship must purchase refined fuel. OR ELSE.
In the office of the Starport Administrator/Custom Inspector/Planetary Broker, three different people, one office. This is a “D” starport. The Free Trader “Simple Simon” has just landed with speculative cargo for sale.
Admin: “So, what does he have on board?”
Customs: “Well. some good, some not so good, and some downright illegal. Have to see about impounding the whole ship for import violations. When is Wyatt in town next?”
Broker: “What’s the good stuff?”
Simon’s Captain: “What do you mean, impound my ship? For what reason? And what is illegal?”
Customs (ignoring the Captain): “The good stuff is 240 metric tons of saltpeter, the bad news about that it is in bulk, and not the 25 or 50 pounds kegs or 50 pound sacks that we normally order it in. The not so good stuff is 480 tons of steel, half in the form of 550 or so pound ingots, and half in the form of 5 centimeter sheet. The illegal stuff is 6 containers of synthetic cloth, about 6 tons of cloth per container. That is in 80 kilogram bales. The saltpeter is in 6 containers, and the steel is in 12 containers.”
Broker: “What are we going to do with all those steel ingots and sheets?”
Captain: “Why, they are all ready to go to your rolling mill for cold or hot rolling.”
Broker: “We don’t have a steel rolling mill.”
Captain (stunned look on face, realizing that maybe he really, really, really made a mistake with this cargo): “Oh.”
Captain: “And what is this about the cloth being illegal? It is high-quality synthetic, in a wide range of colors, and water-resistant.”
Customs: “The only legal cloth imports are all natural, mainly wool, cotton, and some linen. We haven’t had any silk imports for a few months, and the ladies clothiers are getting a bit upset about that. Didn’t you bother reading your Trader Import and Export Guide to the sector?”
Customs (continuing): “As for steel, I will show you what sort of steel we import, other than bars and small pigs.”