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Subject: Space Dealer (First Play Out of the Box) rss

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Dan Cain
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Space Dealer-A Lesson in Efficiency

I walked into the bar on Moimoi expecting a trap. You see, when you deal in interstellar trading, sometimes you rub up against the darker sides of life and they sometimes put you into no win situations. I deal heavily in interstellar trading, mainly for my homeworld Ru'ul, my name is D'an, and I am the Interstellar Trading and Commerce Commisioner for for Ru'ul. I was invited to this meeting, on neutral territory by my counterpart from Zartok, J'en. I didn't know if she had called this little meeting to gloat over her planets recent acquisition of a certain lucrative shipping contract with an outerworld, or if she was going to blow my brains. Either way I was going to have an interesting story to tell.
Walking into the bar, which was chosen as a neutral location and it's rising profile in Interstellar Trading, I noticed J'en already talking to our counterpart from Zartok, Mel Sa. Closing my eyes as I stepped over the threshold of the bar, I walked calmly over to the ladies. J'en greeted me with a smile, Mel Sa only grinned. Figuring an ambush would have already happened before I stepped into the bar, I figured I was out of danger for now. Maybe this was just a meeting to discuss our recent competition to gain that contract in the Outerworlds.
Always the blunt orator Mel Sa opened with "My planet was just not ready for such a competitive system. Our experience in such matters have been rather straight forward in the past. But we learn quickly, and the next contract that comes, will surely be ours, you can bet on that."
"We were all to this particular game, some or more adapt at meeting needs than others." J'en said with a smirk.
"Come off it J'en, you know the only reason you won that contract was because of a technicality." I shot back.
"Understanding the technicalities of the game, is the game, you should know that better than anyone D'an," she responded.

Let me tell you how we came to this point.

A few months ago the outerworld planet Shelar 8 came to the top three commerce planets in the Innerworlds, that would be our three planets, with a proposition. They said they be holding a competition to see who would get an exclusive shipping contract with their quickly developing, and resource scarce, planet. We were all familiar with Shelar 8, and what this contract would mean for our respective homeworlds. The commissioner from Shelar 8 said this competition would last exactly 30 months, and that which ever planet had delivered the most goods to it's neighbors, while meeting their exact demands for resources, would be awarded the exclusive contract. I knew that to meet this goal my planet, and my three competitors planets, would have to mine for many new resources. Not only that be a vast system of technology development would have to be implemented. This was something wholly new to the three of us, and our planets. I immediately thought I knew how to proceed.
My first order of business was to launch a mining expedition for the less common red crystals. I knew neither of my opponents in this "game" had the capability for this crystal as none of our homeworlds employed any technology that used it. I knew that to advance quickly in the next thirty months, they would need it, and I would be awarded points for delivering it to them. I also launched a program to advance our output capability be building another main generator on the planet. Through intelligence gathering, I learned that my opponents had both opted to build a resource depot, as well as launch new mining projects of their own. I thought they were looking too much in the future for such a project, but it seems that J'en was more tactical than I had anticipated. After getting my generator project and second mining facility up and running, I quickly instituted a program to raise the planets level of technology. This would be necessary for future advancements that would be needed. Production was also kicking into high gear with my new mining operation. Once our technology level had been raised I quickly went onto the open market to see what technology was out there that could give us an advantage. It wasn't long that I learned both of my competitors were biting at my heels in this department. I chose to purchase the new fusion mine technology, but at the time it was only available for the blue crystals, which my planet was already producing. My reports indicated that the new technologies that my opponents were employing for all very blue crystal dependent, and I was hoping this would give me an edge. I also picked up one of the new soar satellites, that would give an extra bump in energy production for my planet. After returning from new technology excursion I quickly put these two technologies into development on my planet. Once these were in place, I again launched a campaign to increase the level of technology on the planet. This may have cost us many Ru'ul lives, but it was needed for future prosperity of Ru'ulians everywhere. While doing that we also began digging on our new blue crystal mining complex. It was time for another excursion for new technologies.
On this technology shopping trip I managed to pick up another solar satellite, as well as a multi-mine. The multi-mine technology was new on the market, and basically gave us the opportunity to mine one out of three types of crystals from any one particular mining shaft. This would definitely increase our diversification of exports, and give us a clear edge over our competition.
Things were moving so rapidly on all three planets now that intelligence was in short supply. I decided the best route would just focus on my own planets needs and abilities, and if I could glimpse at what Zaratok and Wit were doing, all the better.
With enough goods now to meet some of the demands on other planets, our delivery ship took flight, quickly delivering the much needed goods to Wit. Apparently the Shelar 8 observers failed to mention that instant teleportation of returning delivery ships was not allowed, but considering all three planets were using this ability, it was chalked up to ignorance and forgot it.
The pace of technology development was moving even more rapid. On my next shopping excursion I was in a whole new category of technology, with our recent rise in technology levels. I was able to procure a fusion reactor, increasing our possible output, as well as a fusion mine for yellow and blue crystals. These were immediately placed in development upon my return to the planet. Once the delivery ship returned from it's maiden voyage, we again went into high gear on crystal production producing a number of goods. Word of my opponents diversity in crystal production was reaching the planet now, and a lack of certain crystals on our planet was evident. In response I decided to shop for a new mine as well as something that may give my planet an advantage in precisely producing the crystals that were needed. I settled upon a fusion converter, and another fusion reactor. Goods were being produced at such a fast rate now, I knew we would need to build our depot, so as soon as the fusion converter and fusion reactor were in place, the depot project was launched. This would allow us to store any goods, up to a certain amount, if our delivery ship was already en route elsewhere. Which, at the time of building the depot, it was already doing, making two deliveries this time.
Rumors were rampant that Zartok had built a mega-city, and Wit was building a metropolis. Looking back this particular peice of news was both a boon, and a curse.
Ru'ul started to produce all the needed goods for the mega-city on Zartok, knowing that this would get us the larger amount of points with the Shelarians. This also required a bit of crystal conversion, which luckily I had seen the future need of when I purchased the fusion converter. While producing for the mega-city we were also looking ahead to the needs of the metropolis on Wit. After production for the mega-city on Zartok we launched our delivery ship, and then set to work on quickly producing the goods needed on Wit for the metropolis. With the new depot quickly feeling up we felt we were going to be the victors in this competition, because there was only ten months left in the competition, and after our second large delivery we could clearly be out front. Once our delivery ship returned, we loaded it up for it's final delivery of the competition. With only three months left in the competition J'en and the Zartokians made two quick deliveries, and tied us in points. Mel Sa and the Wittians were very close behind us put were not going to deliver in the next couple of months. When the competition was over Zartok and Ru'ul were tied. The judges convened a special session to determine the victor.
The Shelarians said that Zartok came out victorious because they had the same number of points, with fewer deliveries. I, along with my fellow Ru'ulians, was crushed. With a whole new system opening up to us we know that there will be many more opportunities in the future, but this was the first, and that will always be remembered.

Back at the bar on Moi Moi J'en and Mel Sa were again arguing over the finer points of Interstellar Trading. Having heard enough of this already to last a lifetime, I decided to switch the topic of conversation. "So how would you rate that whole Shelar 8 expereince?"
"I would give it an 8" J'en said.
"Yeah, probably a 7.5 or 8" Mel Sa agreed.
"Definitely, at least an 8" I agreed. "We just need to figure out the rules for deliveries ahead of time next time."
Looking back the experience was what I had hoped it would be, and then some.
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