Freefall 8 – 2014
The Ataraxian Civil War has reduced in intensity as the various competing offworld corporate interests have tied each other up with suits and countersuits in Alliance Federal Court, thereby choking off the flow of arms and money that was fueling much of the violence planetside. Alliance vessels on patrol along the shipping lanes leading to Ataraxia are aggressively enforcing a court-ordered arms embargo, and the deployment of space-based heavy weapons systems in Ataraxian space has been expressly prohibited. Offworld corporate spending and investment is also being strictly limited pending the findings of the court in a series of cases that may take years to unravel. In the meantime, the Council of Six has been returned to Freefall after giving depositions and hopes to use this erstwhile ceasefire to bolster Freefall’s indigenous economic base through diversification. The Council was able to secure Alliance permission to encourage the introduction of herds of cattle in addition to the already-established herds of pine sheep, and Ataraxian cattle ranching operations are beginning to spring up; unfortunately, in the absence of offworld war funding, many of Ataraxia’s former warlords and armed factions have turned to cattle rustling. The locally-based M3 Mining Corporation, not being party to the lawsuits and embargos currently limiting offworld spending, has succeeded in automating their ore processing operation and used the profits to construct Force 10 Station, an orbital agri-business and trade platform. Force 10 Station’s Heavy Lift Shuttle allows a quick turnover of goods for both legitimate and shady operators who need immediate cash flow, while transport ships still offer the ability to make higher-return offworld trades for those who can afford to wait for their cash. Of course, that first-come-first-served shuttle can fill up with cargo mighty quick. An independent miner, rancher, or rustler looking for a quick fistful of credits or first crack at the next shipment of general supplies is gonna want to get to the landing site as soon as the Spaceport Docking Whistle sounds!