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  #51  
Old August 27th, 2011, 01:32 AM
Enoki Enoki is offline
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Originally Posted by Icosahedron View Post
It strikes me that everyone is projecting our own balkanised thinking onto the Imperium. We have national registrations and flags of convenience simply because there is no alternative on Earth today.

IMO, all ships would be extraterritorial and would be registered to the Imperium. A set of interstellar 'maritime' laws would have been drawn up millennia ago and these would hold aboard ships and starports everywhere. They would form the basis of Imperial Law. Beyond the extrality line, the planetary laws would hold and would differ to a greater or lesser extent from the Imperial 'norm', but in space, and in the ships and ports that are an extension of space, Imperial Law would hold.
Would that include ships operating in Imperial space but registered to outside systems or governmental presences like say the Mische Conglomerate or Loyal Nineworlds Republic, Glimmerdrift Trade Consortium, Ral Rantha, Darria / Darrian, Sword Worlds, etc? As on Earth I would think these different groups would come to some generally agreed standard of operation as minimal requirements.
I could see some holding higher standards than others and some being told that their minimal standard isn't good enough to operate in another territory for example. So, such a ship could operate in its own territory just fine but may be told it cannot do so in another territory or the Imperium as a result.
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Old August 27th, 2011, 02:52 AM
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I think we have forgotten about the fact that the original point was talking about Free Traders, not flagged commercial lines.

IMHO Free Traders are exactly as they sound: non-flagged, independent "tramp freighter" types who operate on their own and without the umbrella of Imperial or otherwise protection except for maybe within certain boundaries (like inside Imperial space, but not out in the reaches). These are the ones who will travel off the Mains and the authorities may not be as likely to go looking for them if they miss their timetable ("Those Free Traders never follow a flight plan and are always trying to get away with something. We'll wait a little longer then go looking.")

So these types I would see as more likely to not always have all the correct paperwork, know how to skate the usual red tape, who to bribe if needed to get the local Teamsters to help unload the cargo quietly and/or quickly, etc..

So I don't think worrying about all the rules, flags, treaties, and such is all that pertinent to these guys. Isn't that why Free Traders exist as a character type (and with its attendant shadier skills) in addition to the more legitimate Merchant?
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  #53  
Old August 27th, 2011, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
No we don't, but the point is simply that if we've learned anything in the past hundred years, for good or ill, civilizations advance on the back of their lawyers. Advanced societies do not work well without laws and enforcement.

So, basically, canon or no, for a level of society at the advance state and sophistication that is the Imperium, there's no way that there just some arbitrary anarchy at work flying between the stars. That entire domain, particularly because of the importance of trade to the Imperium, is going to be pretty highly regulated.

Devils in the details, but there's something there, and it's not simply Captains word goes. Rather, it's going to be the Captain is the State (Imperial, planetary, whatever) representative with some kind of enforcement and possibly prosecution powers.
I think it might be better to state that civs advance with the cooperation of its given members; i.e. the Vikings didn't have many lawyers, nor did Hammurabi... plethora of other counter examples.

And the same social mechanism might be at work here reinforced with some basic laws of commerce. Given the description of the Imperium in "the bible" of the LBBs, the Imperium is a diaspora in many vast regions, while fairly uniform in other parts. Therefore, I think it more accurate to say that certain vast regions are probably as you describe (Core as a for instance), but the Spinward Marches and like sectors would only have such uniformity among segments of systems.

Other systems, wanting to maintain political autonomy in some form, would not be as cooperative. Such systems might grant governor or monarchical like powers to captains originating from their worlds.

Just a few thoughts.
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Old August 27th, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
I think we have forgotten about the fact that the original point was talking about Free Traders, not flagged commercial lines.

IMHO Free Traders are exactly as they sound: non-flagged, independent "tramp freighter" types who operate on their own and without the umbrella of Imperial or otherwise protection except for maybe within certain boundaries (like inside Imperial space, but not out in the reaches). These are the ones who will travel off the Mains and the authorities may not be as likely to go looking for them if they miss their timetable ("Those Free Traders never follow a flight plan and are always trying to get away with something. We'll wait a little longer then go looking.")

So these types I would see as more likely to not always have all the correct paperwork, know how to skate the usual red tape, who to bribe if needed to get the local Teamsters to help unload the cargo quietly and/or quickly, etc..

So I don't think worrying about all the rules, flags, treaties, and such is all that pertinent to these guys. Isn't that why Free Traders exist as a character type (and with its attendant shadier skills) in addition to the more legitimate Merchant?
I think that is a reasonable position given that such a trader also avoids the more developed portion of the universe so-to-speak. That is, a Free Trader is working non-Imperial systems that are unaligned, the edges and backwaters of the Imperium itself, smaller collections of worlds that are less well governed or willing to tolerate a certain amount of graft in return for technology etc.
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