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  Chapter 1

The Business of War


Time: CY 9816 March
Location: Director's Office Free Trade Association Headquarters Dephida V

"Director," came the voice over the intercom. "The head of operations is requesting permission to speak with you. Shall I open a communications channel?"

"Yes, I've been expecting the call."

An instant later an image appeared on the communications screen in the directors office

"Good morning, Doctor." said the Director. "Is situation analysis I requested complete?"

"It is, Director. Would you like me to give you a summary before I send it to you?"


"Very well. In brief my department has concluded that Lundmark will refuse to lower their tariffs on our organization's pharmaceuticals and will continue developing their own pharmaceutical industry with intent to export their products. Our analysis further determined that a blockade will not be a cost effective method of forcing Lundmark to lower their tariffs. We recommend instead surgical military strikes on their pharmaceutical manufacturing industries and their interstellar transport facilities. We further suggest that we use a hired mercenary force rather than make use of our own enforcement arm"

"Wouldn't it be cheaper to use our own enforcement arm rather than hiring outsiders?"

"In the short run yes, but hiring the company we have in mind has the potential of offering long range profits that using our own forces would not."


"The company we are recommending is essentially an infantry force. They are the remnants of the High Guard Lancer division that liberated the planet they operate out of from the Nietzscheans at the end of the uprising. They have some organic interstellar capability but it is limited in scope and effectiveness."

"So you propose that we lease transportation to them?"

"No. I propose that we let them use their own assets. Our analysis indicates that they will be sufficient for the operation we have in mind. It also predicts that 43 percent of their vessels will be damaged to the point that they will no longer be capable of slipstream travel and 68 percent of the defenders will be similarly damaged. The unit has significant repair facilities on their home world but they do not have the capability to manufacture slipstream generators. They will have to buy generators if they wish the vessels to be regain their interstellar transit ability."

"So you foresee that they will become dependent on our supplying them generators, at the price we set."

"Precisely. Our analysis further indicates that as long as we are able to maintain our monopoly on the creation of exotic matter, fostering conflict between other worlds and drifts should produce equally lucrative results."

" You mentioned that this unit has significant repair facilities. What is your estimation of their home world's ability to produce slipstream generators?"

"Essentially nil within our lifetimes. The unit's repair facilities are based on an abandoned High Guard repair facility located on their homeworld, which the planetary government leases to them. Other than the repair facility the planet's technological infrastructure is virtually non existent. The planet has no viable exports other than their mercenary troops. Our estimate is that it will take a minimum of 115 years for them to even begin to approach manufacture exotic matter, let alone produce it in sufficient quantities to support an organic slipstream generator production capability. We will have ample time to develop a plan to stop their production should they attempt to develop the capacity. A complete summary with time frames and estimated expenses will be delivered to you by special courier this afternoon."

"Thank you, Doctor. Tell your team that I appreciate the promptness with which they complied with my request for an analysis. I will study your report and then present it to the directors meeting two weeks from now. You will of course be available if I have any questions after reading your report."

"Of course, Director. Is there anything else?"

"Yes. The Kalderians are opposing our efforts to reestablish markets in the Large Cloud. I will be requiring recommendations on ways to circumvent their resistance. Further details will be sent to you shortly."

  Chapter 1