Thursday, December 19, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is a Shambleau

In addition to the raw materials created by the Solar Event, traders in the Boom Worlds deal in a wide variety of exotic goods.  These are, of course, heavily regulated by the Terran Directorate.  However, there are a number of goods that are completely illegal under Directorate law, with only smugglers, aliens, and pirates to act as purveyors.  Below are a few of the more common, interesting, and exotic ones.

Terran Animals
Strangely, historical accident has created a situation where animals once native to Sacred Terra are now more common on the world Minerva than in the rest of the Directorate.  When the Guild of Redistricters decided to convert Terra into a Metroworld over a century ago, a number of Terran animals became "extinct," existing only as data collected on their respective genomes.  After the failure of the Athena Group's first colony on Prometheus, the megacorporation began researching the possibility of "resurrecting" these animals as part of a future terraforming attempt.  The results of this project can be seen on Minerva, which teems with ancient Terran animals such as zebras, tortoises, and gigarhinos.  These animals are often sought as pets by wealthy nobles, or occasionally simply for their pelts or other animal products.  However, the populations of these animals are tightly controlled on Minerva, and tampering with their numbers by hunting or capturing them is completely forbidden.

Psychic Frontal Lobes
A recent fad among the minor nobility of the Directorate - those that lack the genetic markers and cybernetics that distinguish the nobility of Sacred Terra - is to consume the right front lobe of aliens, and sometimes even humans, believed to have possessed psychic potential.  The goal behind this activity is obvious.  Unfortunately, a huge market of "fakes" has grown up to satiate the demand for lobes.  Many unscrupulous smugglers simply sell non-psychic lobes or those of non-sophants with unusually large brains.  In any event, it is the official position of the Bureau of Astropsychics, as well as the High College of Medicine that this practice is inefficacious.  The Low College of Medicine and the Board of Epicures is still holding debates on the subject.

This strange substance is rarely seen in Directorate controlled space.  Its precise nature is a mystery to Directorate authorities, but it seems to only be used by the mutant populations of the Boom Worlds, mutant or otherwise.  Its illegality is due to the fact that its production seems to be linked with the kidnapping of healthy terrans.

This anti-aging drug was created by Asklepios Pharmaceuticals, a megacorp that was purchased by the Athena Group a little over a year ago.  It supposedly relies on substances found only on worlds with ruins from Interstellar Empire present on them.  It was taken off the market after several users, began to show symptoms similar to the mutagenic properties of the Boom Worlds.  Still, desperate and vain minor nobles and merchants often desire the drug, believing that they will not gain mutations in the same way that the second wave of Boom Worlds settlers have not gained mutations from whatever energies caused them in the first wave.  The Kruelians have taken up the manufacture of a coarse, unrefined form of the drug that is more cheaply available.

These strange creatures appear similar to females of a large number of species, purportedly due to their ability to shape shift.  They are supposedly capable of giving their "owner" all manners of physical and psychic pleasure, but it is well known that the eat the life force of those who utilize their... services.  Unlike other natives of the Boom Worlds, they do not have any significant populations of mutants, leaving Directorate scholars to conclude that they are foreigners, perhaps from the same sector as the Ningaubles.  They are often traded as commodities by Kruelians and [Click]s, thus their inclusion here.

Most consumables on Directorate worlds consist of meat animals, nutrient-sludge, and occasionally the edibles native to nearby garden planets.  However, recently a movement towards culinary "primitivism" has started on a number of high population and non-agricultural worlds.  These people desire a large amount of the ancient Terran grain known as wheat, which is still farmed on a large number of Directorate worlds.  However, the Directorate uses this grain to create the foodbars used by their armed forces and most spacers, and thus normally has a monopoly on the substance.  A few enterprising smugglers have begun moving wheat to feed the growing market for bread and biscuits in Directorate space.

Clicking this link will take you to a table showing the availability and prices of these goods.  Xamblai are not included because they are typically sold as individuals or small groups, not by the ton.


  1. What's the difference between the high and low colleges of medicine?

    1. First, I should note that "college" in this case means a Petrine Russia-style bureaucratic organization headed by a board rather than an educational institution.

      During the expanding of the Directorate, the Steering Committee saw fit to create a College of Medicine, but years later, due to a strange bureaucratic error, they created a second one. The High College is actually the more recent one and possesses exclusive rights to the use of certain genetic manipulators commonly used on the fetuses of the nobility. The Low College primarily concerns itself with providing doctors to frontier areas or non-Metroworlds.