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  #11  
Old February 26th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
First, what is your view of the use of hand weapons and implements made of the special bronze alloy of the Sharps' Company in trading with either the Hill Martian middlemen or the High Martians?
"In trade with the Hill Martians, we must remember that if at any time they feel that they can take what they want by force, they will do so. We do not want to over-arm them. Knives and swords and spear-points and arrowheads would be valuable trade goods. I would recommend against providing them any firearms. A further consideration is the workability of the bronze alloy, and this I do not know. If we trade them implements of this new bronze, is it possible that they may trade it to more advanced Canal Martian nations where it might be re-worked into firearms or even artillery? If so, perhaps we do not want to put this metal into Martian hands at all."

"As for the High Martians, given their ferocity and inclination to rob rather than trade, I would hesitate to trade them anything that increases their combat effectiveness in any way."

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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
Based on your experience on Mars, how violent a reaction might some of the current liftwood traders have?
Laclede smiles. "Oh, I would say that reaction could be extremely violent, sir. Those that have become accustomed to profiting from the liftwood trade will not be happy at all to be cut out of it. I understand that resources are limited, but I would be happier with double or even triple the number of armed troops accompanying this expedition. As it is, we shall have to attempt to make good friends early among the Martians, and to maintain matters such that it is in the self-interest of these good friends to protect and assist us, or else we shall be in dire peril indeed."

"In the long term, this is also a reason for my advice of a fortified trading post at which we can take delivery of liftwood. My preference would be for such a post to include within its defended boundary sufficient space for the landing of airships or ether ships, so that the territory of those tribes who would be most offended can be overflown and bypassed, as they have no airships of their own. The alternative would be transport by caravan, which considering the value of the cargo would need to be heavily defended against raiders en route."

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How large a quantity of the various goods would you anticipate taking? There is limited cargo space on the Ether Flyers, and we appreciate your focus on selecting goods that you believe will have the highest return for their weight and bulk.
"The precise answer to that question depends on information that I do not yet have, but the short answer would be, 'As much as we can carry.'" Laclede smiles. "First, I do not know the cargo capacity of the ether ships that will be transporting this expedition. Second, I do not know how much of our supply we must carry, and how much may be awaiting us already at Thymiamata."

"What we must carry with us when we leave Thymiamata for the overland portion of this expedition consists essentially of three parts: food, ammunition, and trade goods. If some of the food and ammunition is already on Mars, then we have more room in the ether ships for trade goods. If we must carry all of our food and ammunition to Mars with us aboard the ships, then I must confer with the military commander of the expedition as to balancing quantities of food and ammunition required, against the goal of our mission which depends on carrying sufficient trade goods. Only then will I be able to answer more precisely."

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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
We do wish to maintain good relations with both the government of Thymiamata and the Empire of Tossia, so are you anticipating supplying the Prince of Thymiamata and the Emperor of Tossia with some samples of your goods?
"Of course, sir. Besides the goodwill value of such gifts, in a stratified society such as that of the Canal Martians, establishing something new as a valuable and fashionable novelty must start at the top."

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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
Also, we have just supplied the city of Thymiamata with an advanced solar boiler powering an irrigation pump. In your view, would material such as this encourage Thymiamata and the Tossian Empire to assist us in acquiring liftwood?
"It certainly ought to. My only knowledge of this is from the news accounts, however from what I have read this installation will significantly enhance the agricultural productivity of the city. Not only should they be grateful, but they should be receptive to further technological advances in trade goods. However, when dealing with Martian governments there is a principle that is the same, I believe, as in relations between Earth governments: 'What have you done for me lately?' I would not rely too heavily on their gratitude, unless we can continue to offer further advances on whatever our government determines to be a suitable schedule."

Laclede pauses, looks down at his notes, stacks them and lays them aside. "Sir, you invited me here to advise you and these other distinguished gentlemen on trading with the Martians. Truly, a complete answer to your last question leads beyond that scope and into the ultimate strategy of our Great Nation for its presence on Mars. I am no grand strategist, only a humble merchant, but I have been on Mars quite some time, and I know the Martian cultures."

He pauses to see if the Secretary wants him to continue along this avenue, and seeing no objection, goes on. "The Prince of Thymiamata, and the larger Tossian Empire, will be friendly to the United States of America for so long as it seems in their best interest, but never forget that they are Martians, not Earthmen. While we may over the years supply them with more technology in advance of their own, we must never allow them to feel that they could gain greater advantage by turning against us."

"Were you to follow my advice, the American compound at Thymiamata would be continuously strengthened and expanded to the point that if the Tossians ever turn against us, the city would be ours and not theirs. Controlling and defending an entire city would be much preferable to defending a small compound within a hostile city."

"Similarly, the fortified trading post should be sufficiently manned and supplied to hold out against the strongest expected attacking force (which might be as much as two or three bands of Hill Martians joined together) for long enough for relief to arrive from Thymiamata."

"As for the High Martians... Well, obviously such strategies must be decided far above the level of my advice, but I think that to eventually have a reliable and stable supply of liftwood, our military forces in the area must be sufficient and on the ready for any casus belli to capture and control the actual highlands where the liftwood is grown - and believe me, the High Martians are barbaric and hostile enough that they will certainly supply that reason for war with their raiding. If we were able to control the actual growing areas, who knows what advances modern agricultural techniques might bring to increasing the liftwood supply?"

Laclede looks around the room to see how his advice is being considered, then returns his attention to the Secretary. "Sir, please excuse me if I have gone beyond the bounds of the advice requested. Do you have any further questions for me?"

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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
Lastly, based on information furnished by Lt. Edward Very and confirmed by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the French are apparently paying even more than the United States for liftwood, although that is coming from a different area. It is understood that they wish to gain an advantage over the German Empire in the use and deployment of aerial flyers. How may this influence your trip?
"As you say, it is my understanding that the French are buying primarily from areas further North. If they have extended their buying as far south as the two highlands near Thymiamata," tapping globe to illustrate, "then we will be bidding against them for the liftwood supply. However, keep in mind the guiding principle that I stated earlier: it matters little if the stated price in dollars or francs should actually increase, so long as we maintain an advantage in the barter of our goods in comparison to their liftwood."

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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
(Note to SpaceBadger: You might want to check with Vladika on the idea of trading technology with the Martians. Also, watch the News Flashes. They are not just for color.)
[Oh, I am reading them all avidly. I just am not sure yet exactly how each will impact our mission.]

[So, Vladika, any ideas you want to share on trading tech to the Martians? I think the general principle should be giving friendly Martians some advantage over unfriendlies, while still preserving the overall tech advantage to Earthmen in general, and Americans in particular, to limit the possibility of our own tech being used against us.]
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  #12  
Old February 26th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Laclede pauses to think a moment after his last response to the Secretary, then asks a question in return. "Sir, I have a thought about that solar boiler powering the irrigation system for Thymiamata. The news accounts that I read did not state whether we had instructed them in its operation and turned the facility over for their operation, or whether it is being operated by Earthmen of the United States. If it is not too late, I would certainly recommend the latter, as it would provide additional diplomatic leverage if they are aware that we can switch off that water supply at any time."
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  #13  
Old March 3rd, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Hearing no further questions from Secretary Tracy or any of the other government representatives, James Laclede addresses the Secretary: "If you gentlemen have no further questions of me, I would like to learn a few things to get down to planning my part of the expedition."

"How many ether ships will make up the expedition, and what is the total cargo capacity of these ships?"

"How much of our necessary supply of food, ammunition, and other equipment will be waiting for us on Mars? As I stated before, I need these figures before I can calculate the amount of cargo capacity remaining for trade goods and begin selection of what goods to take."

"What are the total personnel for the Mars portion of the expedition? I am aware of myself, Captain Pierson and his Chief Engineer, a scientist sent by the Consortium named Jeremy Brownell, two representatives of the British Navy, Captain Cochrane, his Sergeant and eight other United States Marines, and now apparently one or two representatives from Canada as well. That makes eighteen by my count. Will there be any other scientists sent, or military men?" [I don't think Laclede has been informed of the inclusion of Fredric Remington yet; if so his inclusion makes nineteen.]

"Will we have the support of any native troops of either Thymiamata or the Tossian Empire, or will it be up to us to make such arrangements or recruit our own native support once we arrive at Thymiamata? I may be able to enlist some support from Hill Martian warbands that we encounter, but would not like to rely on that as our sole native support."

"What discretionary funds shall I have on Mars for such necessary travel expenses as hiring a steamboat for the canal, paying our way into caravans going the way we wish to travel, buying or hiring ruumet breehr, gashants, and necessary native assistants such as a translator?"

"I believe that once these figures are provided, I shall be able to sit down to calculate the logistical necessities with Captain Cochrane, and once those necessities are known, I shall begin on an exact list of trade goods to be carried."
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Last edited by SpaceBadger; March 3rd, 2014 at 10:57 AM..
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  #14  
Old July 7th, 2014, 03:35 AM
SpaceBadger SpaceBadger is offline
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[OOC: Laclede suppresses the urge to toss a lemon drop at the Secretary, just to see if he is awake... ]
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