Anglic Union

“Victor,” Benjamin Goldsmith asked, “why didn’t we try to contest the claims of the cartel that they owned the monopoly on importing rare earths? Letting them bar our sales that way seems to put a significant limitation on what we can do with the material.”  He shook his silver-white hair.

“On one hand,” Victor said, “ as Tara Broadbent explained to the Audit Committee, our chances of winning the case were extremely poor. The cartel agreement was a very solid standard contract, one whose style has been contested repeatedly before without success.  We could spend large amounts of money on expert attorneys, but private inquiries to several law firms confirmed that there was almost no point to contesting the case. On the other hand, our competitors are now in a bit of a pickle. They have been expelled from the China Yards, so they have to do their own maintenance. If they are taking good care of their ships, and we suspect that they aren’t, a reasonably-qualified ship’s crew can do the needed maintenance over the short term.  Eventually they run into a problem they cannot fix, for example replacing drive spines. Previously, their foreign part-owners dealt with this.

“Except for one minor detail. Thanks to the Stellar Republic trade embargo, our competitors can’t buy high-tech parts such as drive spines from the Republic. They have to buy them from inside the Anglic Union. We’re approximately the only people in the Union who can build them. Drive spines need fine and coarse molecular spray units in good working order, but other than for spaceship parts there’s approximately no demand for molecular spray units.  It’s not apparent there are any in working order anywhere in the Union except in our shops.  Thanks to that court order, we can’t sell them spines. As a result, very gradually, the cartel is going to lose its stock of operating spaceships.  Their fractional outside owners from the Republic can’t help, under the new Republic import-export restrictions.  By the time this is a major issue, we should be in a financial position to offer to buy their derelict freight haulers, for which they will have no use, at a generous price. They get a substantial chunk of change to distribute among their stockholders, not to mention their overpaid and underworked corporate officers, and we end up with more spaceships.

About George Phillies

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