Trade Routes

At first glance, starships seem to just follow straight lines from origin to destination.  The reality is quite different.  There is a kind of terrain in interstellar space; clusters of worlds and regions of empty space direct ships into distinct channels.

The Imperium is criss-crossed with trade routes which jump between major worlds, connecting vital suppliers with essential markets, important government worlds with high population worlds, and strategic resources with exploiting industry.  Trade routes are a natural outgrowth of economic and market pressures.  When a market is no longer profitable, the trade routes bypass it.

The trade routes are typically the territory of the Imperium's largest trading companies.  They maintain fleets of commercial transports and merchants who serve these tradeworlds, and they reap large profits in doing so.

But the trade routes directly serve fewer than a tenth of the worlds of the Imperium.  The other 90 percent of the Imperium's worlds are served by feeder lines, tramp freighters, and free traders.  These smaller companies and unscheduled ships carry passengers and cargo between worlds off the main trade routes.

A traveller leaving Menorb for Heya would first catch a tramp freighter for Pixie and transfer to a scheduled liner for Kinorb.  Once at Kinorb, he would wait for the first available ship to Heya.  Ships along the trade routes are scheduled and predictable; ships travelling to worlds off the main routes are unscheduled and unpredictable.

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