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Talk:The Trigger Effect

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Hey guys, thanks for this its really interesting and nice to see some meat on the setting's bones. I'm kicking around (well,have got half way through writing) a little self-contained story that I hope would fit into the setting and would like to ask a few specific questions if I may.

How tough is the RIDE export ban, does it prohibit all off world movement or just bulk sales? Can private citizens take their owned RIDEs off world and are they frequently smuggled? In a similar vein, how extensive is off world trade in this universe and what kind of things does Zharus import?

Thanks, and great work on the setting --Fibio (talk) 20:46, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words! And I'm sure both Jon and I would be happy to look your story over before your post it if you'd like feedback and any suggestions for how to make it fit better into the world.
The rationale behind the ban is that they really don't want Earth's peeps to get their hands on this tech and realize how awesome it really is—because if they knew, they'd probably come calling with an army. So they tend to ban things that could result in that happening. So, at least until they're granted full personhood in the mid 160s (and can legally decide for themselves they want to go see the galaxy), even individually-owned RIDEs aren't supposed to be taken off-world for any reason. Or out-of-system, I should say, since I'm sure some specially-adapted RIDEs are used in asteroid mining too.
This prohibition applies to pretty much anything that uses qubitite or sarium, including AIDEs and IDEs (or even just the Ad-I or RI cores that power the mecha), Zharus's super-fast-acting nanites, or sarium storage batteries. (Jon's currently writing another in-universe piece during which a Sturmhaven native going off to visit the other colonies complains about his sarium batteries being confiscated by Nextus customs before he leaves the planet.)
The one exception to this travel restriction is travel to Wednesday, which is close enough to Zharus and far enough away from the other colonies, and tied closely enough to Zharus by their shared history, that it's effectively considered to be a next-door neighbor. (Though Wednesday has its own controls that are just as stringent preventing that tech from going anywhere from there except back to Zharus.)
Needless to say, no system is perfect, and undoubtedly some items (and even RIDEs) slip through the net from time to time. (Zharus has been fortunate so far in that none of these has yet been prominently waved under the nose of the Terran establishment, but that luck only lasts so long…) But I think that by the 150s, for the most part Zharus citizens understand the rationale behind the restrictions, as they don't want to attract any unwanted attention to their home (at least until they're better able to defend it), but there will still be some complainers or people who try to work around the ban (or even succeed), even for reasons as prosaic as wanting to take their RIDE to visit the rest of their family on one of the other colonies.
As for off-world trade and imports, Zharus is basically self-contained. It has to be; during the "present day" in which we're writing the stories, it takes fully half a year to travel to Earth. You're not going to be able to ship much in the way of perishable goods like that. There is the tourist trade with starliners, of course, and I imagine the liners double as cargo ships that carry a decent amount of luxury goods—the latest song, vid, and news files from Earth and the other colonies where it's stopped along the way; foods that keep well in cryo-storage (I imagine some of Nextus's richest millionaires will pay small fortunes for real Kobe beef from Kobe, Japan, Earth); possibly some heavy machinery, computer gear, and other specialized equipment. (During the first century After Landing, this included IDEs, until around 80 or so when they realized IDEs weren't much good on the planet and stopped buying them.)
And it's not beyond the realm of possibility that some dealers in special equipment might find it worthwhile to place an order for special machinery of some kind with one starliner, and get the shipment of it on the next, two years later. (Such orders would necessarily be more generic than that kind of order today, as they'd have no way of knowing the exact price or models of the machinery in question that's available, since it will have been two years since the starliner left Earth by the time it returns!) I imagine this has led to a whole new branch of finance, not just on Zharus but on the other colonies that are also great distances apart from each other, and fortunes have been made and lost on having big chunks of capital tied up in orders for two years until the ship comes back in.
Hope that answers your question!
Robotech Master (talk) 21:40, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
There really isn't what I'd call a well developed interstellar trade at this point. FTL speeds are still pretty slow (at least by most scifi standards). I liken moving to Zharus as going to the California Gold Rush via clipper ship or steamer in the mid-19th century. Things will change as FTL speeds up, as shown in this document.
Even during the Age of Exploration there were cargoes of goods shipped very long distances. Given the risks involved and the massive profit margins, it was worth it.
As time moves forward in this setting you can be sure some real examples will end up on Earth, studied intensely, then actually given some credibility. When that happens, who knows how they'll react? --Buck (talk) 22:01, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay that's cool, so if I understand things we're looking at local traders operating in a limited sphere around their colony of origin and the occasional long voyage by speculative merchants. I suppose that means my question is then, could a Zharus registered merchant use RIDEs and take them interstellar as long as they did not sell them. My intention for my story was to strand a small group of RIDEs onboard a damaged space ship without human supervision but obviously if they aren't allowed out of the system then that's not really plausible.--Fibio (talk) 12:48, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Not unless it only goes between Wednesday and Zharus, or is one of the inter-system ships that supply asteroid-mining outposts and the like. Even if they don't intend to sell the RIDEs, nothing prevents them from being stopped and boarded by a Terran vessel and their RIDEs and other Zharus tech seized for analysis and study. Best not to take that chance. (Further, it plays into Terran supremacist rhetoric, making them that much less likely to pay attention: "If this stuff is so great, why aren't they using it out here?") —Robotech Master (talk) 17:08, 29 July 2012 (UTC)