Following The Money

Originally published at: Following The Money | The Associated Worlds

From: Toríno Lanada (Economic Attaché [Vonis Prime Mission], Diplomatic Attachment WG, Active Operations PWG, Second Directorate)
Memeweave: All-Seeing Eye/Voniensa Republic/General
Cc: Intentions Analysis PWG
Subject: Shell colony economic anomaly
Authenticity: 4E11; SENDER, RELAY (4/4), RECIPIENT
Security: EYES ONLY ORANGE ICE SHADOW
Distribution: Executive & Analysts
Date: 7142 Yrnaes 11, Studious falling 14

Be advised that as of this date we have identified and confirmed a number of anomalies in the financial reports submitted by a large number, approximately 20%, of the Republic’s Shell colonies to the Central Financial Group. Such anomalies (detailed documentation to follow by non-expendable communications) vary significantly in detail, but serve the identical function of minimizing the apparent economic product of the colonial economies in reports used by the Central Financial Group to determine the remittances due to the central governance.

This practice appears to have been adopted in the wake of the Council of the Republic’s decision to increase remittances (to a demand of 30% of economic product) to restore cuts made to Core system distributions, these cuts in turn having been made in order to fund the Fleet rebuilding programs called for after the Core War. Such restorations were necessitated by increasing social instability on several of the Republic’s most heavily populated Core systems, including Vonis Prime itself.

In light of the increasingly fragile state of the Republican economy and the increasing divisions now manifest between the Core systems and the Shell, I request greater resources be allocated to determining specific expected fracture points and shock vectors therefrom resulting, as well as additional asset allocations to prominent Shell colonies identified in the detailed documentation if Intentions Analysis concurs that these are high-probability event whenwheres.

– Lanada, ExSec

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‘The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers…’

I was on board right up until the final word.

Which one was that? Whenwheres?

Yeah, given the robust verbosity of these corporate memo style missives, resorting to whowhats and whenwheres is…well, quite believable, actually. But I can’t not groan when I hear it (having first ensured the conference call was muted of course)

Happy new year!

Actually, what’s stopping Ring Dynamics from just shutting off all the stargates in the Csell Buffer and calling it a day, where Ice Shadow is concerned? Even if it’s a temporary solution on the scale of however long it takes lighthuggers or RKKVs to reach the Empire from the Republic, it buys the Empire more time to think of a potential solution to stabilise what’s left after the Republic goes to hell in a handbasket.

What’s stopping them is it being a direct breach of contract on Ring Dynamics part, and a corresponding sledgehammer to their reputation. It was raised in the Core Wars arc, and Ring Dynamics made it clear they weren’t willing to take such an action unless it was an existential threat and I don’t think even the Second Directorate could pressure them into it, given the consequences.

Cutting off the Leviathan Consciousness before it eats everyone’s brain? That’s acceptable. Cutting off one side of a war? That’s declaring yourself part of the war and violating your neutrality. Cutting off a bunch of worlds who are breaking free of a bad government and who might contain some decent chaps who you’d like to be part of your free association, while simultaneously fucking up the majority of plans that the World’s various spy agencies are working on, including the very high probability of stranding some citizen-shareholders on the ‘uncivilised’ side of the border? I don’t see that going down well AT ALL.

The source material from which the Republic is drawn implies that, while they’re not at post-scarcity, they’re not all that far off as of the “modern” setting. But this analysis by the Second Directorate strongly implies that the Republic Tech Group has been writing checks their tools can’t cash – and I don’t mean stargate tech alone.

This message describes a classic decadent pre-scarcity resource extraction empire on the scale of a galactic arm segment, specifically, one at or near the tipping point when extraction no longer suffices to maintain structural integrity. That’s not an accurate description of the source setting from what I can tell; for one thing, no one in the source material would be fool enough to voluntarily join the polity if this was the typical fate of an outer province.

So what drives the difference? The different interstellar travel means, where the stargate predates the frame drive by many millennia? Or an extrapolation of what is possible with versus without intelligence augmentation and Singularity experience? Or is it meant to imply that the source material is itself concealing a far more mundane conquest-and-exploit ethic that most citizens remain blissfully ignorant of?