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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:50 PM
kuros kuros is offline
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Default Space!

It occurs to me, as I watch the inevitable flamewar rising out of the Passenger Pods discussion in the Locker Room, that slaver ships and piracy in space is a very different experience than slavery/piracy in the Golden Age of Sail.

Back in the GAoS, hauling a cargo of slaves was merely an ethical choice. If you had the moral flexibility to do it without flinching then it was a no brainer, you trade dewdaws to African kings for slaves, through them in the hold and occassionally slop food and water down onto them, get em to America, make 'em wash out the hold, and then load it up with barrels of sugar and pallets of cotton, which you bring back to Europe and sell for dewdaws to give to the Africans, earning heaps of profits at each leg of the way.

But a cargo ship back then didn't require anything special to run slaves. Whereas in space, you'd need to buy into the extra life support models and whatnot in order to be able to haul that kind of cargo anywhere.

The cost of those ship modifications is proportional to the number of slaves you can trade at any one time, and the volume of slaves potentially traded is also a consideration factor.

I suppose massive banks of emergency stasis pods might figure into this equation somehow...

By the same token, while I've always just sort of assumed that space pirates exist, it occurs to me that repairing a ship on the high seas back in the Golden Age of Sail was usually just a matter of making some more rope, or slapping a patch of tar onto holes. I can't think of much damage that could be done to a ship that didn't either scuttle it completely, or could be patched up with some tar.

Whereas spaceships are EXPENSIVE. Expensive to make, expensive to repair, expensive to maintain.

I haven't nearly the skills or knowledge base to do it, but it would be interesting to see someone do an economic comparison between the cost of building and maintaining space ships in Trav versus the costs in Hornblower's day.
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