Chapter 29

“Conmer.” Genrou knocked harshly on the door of Conmer’s cabin. “Conmer.”
A robotic voice chimed, coming off as mildly irritated despite it’s chipper tone. “The inhabitant of this cabin is aware of your presence and will be out shortly. You may now stop knocking.” Genrou ignored the voice and continued to knock. “This cabin is soundproof. Any further noise will only serve to irritate its neighbors, and make you look like an idiot. Please stop knocking.” That was a lie. Genrou could tell from the way his footsteps echoed that the soundproofing only kept noise in, not out. Conmer could hear him just fine.
The door slid open, revealing Conmer – whose expression was slightly more wooden than usual. “What.”
“We’ve landed at the shipyard.”
“Thank you, Genrou.” Conmer’s face went completely blank, but his tone still held a twinge of emotion. “I’m so glad that I got this vital information swiftly. I will drop everything and deal with this immediately.” It was never easy to tell when he was being sarcastic.
“The rosearn shipyard.” Genrou’s eyes sharpened into a glare. “On the rosearn colony. Filled with rosearn.” He stared at Conmer’s forehead. Eye contact showed respect he really didn’t feel like giving at the moment, but talking to the floor showed submission. “I was not informed of this.”
The last vestiges of emotion drained from Conmer’s face and voice. “I went to the closest, cheapest shipyard. The price of things on rosearn colonies is a tenth of what you’d pay elsewhere. We don’t have a steady income, so I’m not blowing all our damn money on one repair just because you and all the arlvere feel like throwing a hissy fit. Even with the reduced price, it’ll still cost us about a half million credits.” He took a step forward, moving his eyes into the path of Genrou’s gaze. “We are going to invest the remaining four and a half million into equipment, goods to smuggle, and actual food. I don’t care how sanitary and nutritious those stupid cafeteria pellets are, it is made from literal crap, and somehow still tastes worse than its ingredients.” A touch of emotion returned to Conmer’s voice. “It’s all the poor cook can do to keep that stuff from triggering the crew’s gag reflexes, and we’re running out of ketchup. Honestly, if we don’t spend at least some of the cash on food, there’s going to be a mutiny.”
“…Fine, but I don’t like it.”
“Good for you. Now keep the rest of your complaints to yourself.” Conmer scowled. “Your whole ‘honor-and-nobility’ shtick is starting to run thin.”


A note from the author ninja:

You know, now is as good a time as any to talk about labor credits and the Alliance’s economic state. They are a purely digital currency that is closely monitored by the Alliance to insure that the ratio of credits to citizens remains as consistent as possible. (In hopes of combating inflation.) Using any other form of currency is a felony, but barter is completely legal and relatively unregulated.

One credit is roughly equivalent to $1.7 USD, the Alliance enforces a minimum wage of 10 credits an hour, and credits are calculated down to the first decimal place. If a citizen makes less than 910 (+350 for every dependent) credits in any given month, the Alliance will give them the difference. (If they made 900 credits, the Alliance gives them 10. If they made 800 credits, the Alliance gives them 110.) This is enough money for a citizen and their family to live without worry about food, shelter, or other daily necessities – but it is certainly not enough for a pleasant life. Citizens that rely on regular government payouts can only afford apartments on fringe colony worlds, eat mostly cafeteria pellets (healthy but disgusting), and will likely be frequently relying on public transportation.

That being said, most Alliance citizens are doing pretty well for themselves. Due to the Alliance’s relentless expansion onto new planets and constant terraforming projects, employment is high. Plus, there’s a nearly infinite amount of unclaimed land, so property is cheaper than ever. (Advancements in automation have knocked the price of physical goods down pretty substantially too.) In other words, the Alliance is undergoing the same economic boom every nation undergoes when it’s discovered new (mostly) unclaimed land, except the land never stops coming.

Well, that’s about everything. But before I go, a note on ketchup: While it might seem odd that ketchup is still around thousands of years after humanities extinction, you’ve got to remember that the Alliance and its people are obsessed with humanity. After finding packets of the red stuff just about everywhere humans used to live (alongside a few other choice condiments), one of the larger food corporations decided to give it a molecular scan. It turned out to be simple enough to replicate, so they mass produced it and sold it under the slogan “the condiment of kings, gods, and humans!” It caught on like wildfire.

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