Anglic Union

“Esteemed Victor Chelan,

“We remain grateful to you for your most generous hospitality of last month.  You were most generous with your tour of your interesting facilities.   Your order for our senior master tool kit has been received, and is being shipped as I write this brief missive.  We are most grateful for your shipment of mate samples, from which we expect to be ordering commercial quantities soon.

“My primary reason for writing is a matter that is not a secret, but that seems to have drawn no attention within your Union, at least the North American part of it.  As you may be aware, the Stellar Republic has become increasingly sensitive about exploitations of places that are not parts of the Republic, not even as Lower Junior Associate States. 

“One of the more common forms of exploitation is level-unbalanced trade, in which the place trades its agricultural products for technical goods made in the Republic.  In your history, some centuries back, for a time your country purchased oil and sold Cadillacs, a process that kept down the industrial development of foreign oil producers, especially when prices were tilted to impoverish them.

“The Republic’s solution is to mandate trade balance by technical level, for example by saying that you may trade your mate for our near-chocolate, but may not trade your mate for our hand tools.  I will send you, so soon as it is complete,  a list of the levels and their definitions, and the remaining details of these new laws.  Needless to say, engineering and scientific documents are on the most restricted list.  As an aside, thank you for your samples, and  your mate was very well received here. 

“My partners would be delighted to trade with you, as an extra profit line for both of us, except that the Republic has another set of restrictions forthcoming, namely that each party’s goods may only travel in their own interstellar-faring bottoms.  Since your Union produces no starships, we would be happy to trade, but see that it will soon become impossible. Therefore, if you with to trade, you probably need to advance reasonably quickly.

“It is never said aloud, but a sophont of suspicious mind would doubtless unfairly suspect that this is part of a larger scheme to drive your Union and many similar places into joining the Republic with the soon-to-be-announced Apprentice Status, in which you would receive as assistants to your government  distinguished citizens of the Republic whose title would not be spelled ‘Colonial Governor’.

“I have attached file codes for these interesting and doubtless well-meant regulations.

“With high regard for your continued health and wealth,

“Treemuhr Radspeth

“PS. For what it is worth, the Frumpkin combine did lobby the Republic Senate that the first of these proposals is too inflexible, while the second of these proposals will engender unneeded hostility.”

“How utterly charming,” Victor said when he finished reading aloud the letter.  “But why Iceland?”

“Rejkjavik Imperial Starport,” Broadhurst answered.  “Not in Rejkjavik.  Imperial refers to the former empire.  When the Imperials first arrived, as the Interregnum was getting under way, Iceland made with them a deal. They got a starport in the middle of Iceland, a place where no one lives, guaranteed Iceland’s independence and neutrality, guaranteed unhindered passage from and to the warp points for people wanting to trade with Iceland, guaranteed no Imperial citizens would remain in Iceland for more than four days a year, except inside the Starport…all agreements they kept.”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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